Left-wing activist, author, and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has a plan to fight the United States' current "gun crisis" — and it includes banning bullets and expanding the size of the U.S. federal government.
The liberal peacenik — known for her plan to "harness love" to defeat President Donald Trump, her New Age-y understanding of America's "soulful ache" (as Alyssa Milano put it), and her yodeling — gained serious notoriety after the first two Democratic primary debates.
Following the first debate in Miami in June, Republicans noted her quirkiness and made a push to get GOP supporters to make $1 donations to Williamson's campaign to help her clear the minimum-donors threshold for the second debate in Detroit, hoping that Williamson's presence would embarrass the Democratic Party. With their help, the former spiritual counselor for Oprah Winfrey qualified for the Motor City madness in July.
Her weirdness led her to be the most Googled candidate during the second Democratic debate and has gained her fame among the far-left reaches of the Democratic Party.
What's this about bullets?
In a Washington Post op-ed titled, "America doesn't just have a gun crisis. It has a culture crisis." published in the wake of the Odessa, Texas, shooting, Williamson first offered the usual litany of liberal demands following a mass shooting: universal background checks, close the alleged gun-show loophole, get rid of bump stocks, and ban scary-looking semi-automatic rifles that anti-gun politicians and activist have successfully labeled "assault weapons."
But she added something interesting to her things-to-ban list: bullets.
"Of course, we need universal background checks; we need to close all loopholes; we need to outlaw bump stocks; and we need to outlaw assault weapons and the bullets needed to shoot them," she wrote (emphasis added).
So-called assault weapons do not require special or unique ammunition. The rounds used in those rifles are the same rounds used in "normal" rifles.
Were the words Williamson wrote — and the Post published — an error based on a misunderstanding of firearms or an admission of the anti-gun crowd's plan for undermining Second Amendment rights? No one knows, because Williamson didn't elaborate and the Post apparently did not want her to.
A new federal department
Williamson lamented the state of America's "violent culture," though nothing that "as individuals, Americans are not a violent people." She said U.S. politicians need to stop worrying only about symptoms and start getting to the root problems:
Most politicians stick to a discussion of symptoms only. Politics should be the conduit for our most expanded conversation about societal issues, not the most superficial one. Conventional politics does not lend itself to a discussion of the deeper issues that plague us. Yet go deeper we must.
America does not just have a gun crisis; it has a cultural crisis. America will not stop experiencing the effects of gun violence until we're ready to face the many ways that our culture is riddled with violence.
Where is the U.S. riddled with violence? Williamson explained ... sort of:
Our environmental policies are violent toward the Earth. Our criminal justice system is violent toward people of color. Our economic system is violent toward the poor. Our entertainment media is violent toward women. Our video games are violent in their effect on the minds of children. Our military is violent in ways and places where it doesn't have to be. Our media is violent in its knee-jerk shaming and blaming for the sake of a better click rate. Our hearts are violent as we abandon each other constantly, breeding desperation and insanity. And our government is indirectly and directly violent in the countless ways it uses its power to help those who do not need help and to withhold support from those who do.
The darker truth that Americans must face now is this: Our society is not just steeped in violence; we are hooked on violence.
Williamson went on to state that, though gun control ideas are something to work toward, the United States' tendency for "brute force" rather than diplomacy shows that there's little hope the current governmental structure can actually provide a solution to violence. For proof, she noted that the Pentagon budget vastly outsizes that of the State Department. She wrote:
Though gun-safety legislation should be fervently pursued, a political establishment so steeped in the ways of brute force is hardly equipped to be the purveyor of a solution to the problem of violence in this country. With a nearly $740 billion military budget but only $40 billion proposed for the State Department budget, our outsize commitment to brute force and ever-withering commitment to soul force is obvious. With the Air Force seeking 100 stealth B-21 Raiders, each with a price tag of $550 million and each equipped to carry both nuclear and conventional weapons, while 12.5 million children in the United States live in food-insecure homes — the idea of politicians who allow this to happen being the ones who are going to save us from the epidemic of violence in America is almost laughable.
Williamson has a solution, however. She wants to expand the size of government by creating a new U.S. Department of Peace.
Among the Department of Peace's responsibilities would be "to coordinate and harness the powers of conflict resolution; restorative justice; violence prevention; trauma-informed education; mindfulness in the schools; child and family wrap-around services; social and emotional learning; and a world-class peace academy to train and to deploy thousands of peace-builders, plus national conferences and a presidential task force for peace creation."
What exactly would the Department of Peace do to make these platitudes a reality?
Williamson did not offer any specifics.
How much would the Department of Peace cost?
Williamson did not offer any cost estimates.
Would the Department of Peace impact the deficit and the debt?
Williamson did not say whether her proposed new department would increase the annual deficit, which is estimated to be $960 billion in 2019 and $12.2 trillion over the next 10 years. She also did not elaborate on how expanding the size of government would impact the federal debt, which is currently more than $22.5 trillion, or 110 percent of GDP.