I loved this segment of Part 2 of the Libertarian debate (which was on TV last Friday).
Watch Gary Johnson — the one who's been a state governor — concede — in a light whiff of pragmatism — that we should "be open to a debate and discussion" on the subject. He immediately — perhaps prompted by the boos from the audience — says that he has never seen "any argument" that would prevent the "mentally ill" category from being applied to "people like me.... because I'm gonna fail some sort of litmus test."
The mere entertainment of the possibility of a limit on gun possession lights Austin Petersen on fire: "Don't you think that King George would have declared the colonists to be 'mentally ill'?" That gets a big cheer from the audience — "Yeah!!!" "It's the government that sets the standards. The government has no right to take away our form of self-defense. It is an individual right to bear arms." Petersen gets rolling and ends up on: "The Second Amendment was not for hunting. The Second Amendment was to shoot at tyrants if the government becomes tyrannical."
That gets whoops and cheers from the audience, and we see Johnson scanning the crowd as if he's thinking: Come on, Gary, you are the non-demagogue here, you are a normal candidate, you are a genuine, mainstream alternative to the demagogues of the Republican and Democratic parties.
John McAfee — who has a fantastically resonant voice — follows on: It's the government who'd get to say who is insane. He segues into concern about denying gun rights to felons — especially those who've (unjustly) served time for marijuana possession. Petersen breaks in to demand that "the Governor" (i.e., Johnson) state a position on background checks. Now — this is at 16:52 — Johnson becomes extremely animated — agitated — and Petersen — hilariously — interrupts to say: "Take it easy. Don't act so crazy or we might take your guns, Governor."
Petersen keeps pushing — "Who do you think is mentally unstable?" Johnson, with controlled annoyance, says: "Somebody that is mentally unstable." Petersen asks how he would determine that, and Johnson says: "I find it — are you listening? — I find it difficult to be able to actually come up with a piece of legislation that would address that. That's what I said."
ADDED: While I'm putting this post together, studying the video, I comment that Austin Petersen looks like Og Oggilby (a character in "The Bank Dick" played by Grady Sutton). You can see him in a video clip, here, at 2:05. Still:
Meade sets out to show me how wrong I am to read Austin Petersen that way. He floods me with pictures of an Austin Petersen and assures me it's the same guy. I become — depending on how you define the term — mentally unstable.
ALSO: Here's how I answer the question "Who do you think is mentally unstable?":