Is The Goldman Pile-On Getting a Little Tired?

Marla Singer's picture

The Zero Hedge tips line has received perhaps a dozen emails pointing to today's Alice Schroeder piece in Bloomberg "Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public."  Apparently, we are expected to take the fact that some unspecified number of Goldman employees have applied for handgun permits as some sort of harbinger of an impending coup d'état by Goldman employees, or perhaps merely some sign of their close personal and financial connections to the antichrist.

Ms. Schroeder, most recently in the public eye for her work as Warren Buffett's "hand-picked" court historian, also seems to make much of the security precautions Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein took "two months before Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed."  We are expected, it seems, to draw a sinister connection between these events to support her assertion that "Blankfein somehow anticipated the persecution complex his fellow bankers would soon suffer." I sort of suspect that there is a less interesting explanation that does not actually require the presupposition of clairvoyance.  We suppose also that by "persecution complex" we are expected to believe Mr. Blankfein, and by extension the average Goldman employee, are the victims of some sort of paranoid disorder.  It's only paranoid, we might point out, if the country isn't out to get you.  In this case, it doesn't take the President himself warning you about pitchforks to make it pretty clear the country is actually out to get Goldman (whether they have earned that ire or not) but it sure helps.

That Ms. Schroeder has absolutely no idea how handguns are actually used (or, apparently, what they are for) is quickly apparent:

Common sense tells you a handgun is probably not even all that useful. Suppose an intruder sneaks past the doorman or jumps the security fence at night. By the time you pull the pistol out of your wife’s jewelry safe, find the ammunition, and load your weapon, Fifi the Pomeranian has already been taken hostage and the gun won’t do you any good.

If New York legally required storage in such a manner, Ms. Schroeder might be right- if such an imaginary statute was uniformly followed.  Of course, gun owners with even a lick of actual common sense (contrary to Ms. Schroeder's version thereof) do not deploy their home-defense or work-defense handguns in this fashion for exactly this reason.  This precise issue was center stage in successful Supreme Court arguments to invalidate gun control laws in Washington, D.C. recently.  (District of Columbia v. Heller 554 U.S. _ (2008)).

We might add that the million plus Americans who use a handgun to stop crimes every year might have a different view with respect to their immediate utility.

Then there is this:

Concealed gun permits are almost impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain in New York or nearby states.

Obviously Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania (all of which either have "shall issue" concealed carry permit laws or permit carrying outright without restriction) don't meet Ms. Schroeder's definition of "nearby states."  Further, Delaware permits "open carry" without a permit and the procedure to get a permit, which includes "open carry" is actually quite reasonable in Connecticut.  This is a pretty big "gun law fail" on the part of Ms. Schroeder.

This is our favorite part:

Talk that Goldman bankers might have armed themselves in self-defense would sound ludicrous, were it not so apt a metaphor for the way that the most successful people on Wall Street have become a target for public rage.

Really?  We actually think Ms. Schroeder's piece is the apt metaphor.  Either one must believe that every single Goldman Sachs employee is an individual personification of manifest evil and should be the subject of unrestricted suburban warfare wherever he or she beds down- and further that acquiring the means to protect themselves should carry the death penalty, or you might just find yourself not blaming the Goldies for arming themselves.  On this point I have to say, just personally, as a long time, avid and law abiding handgun owner, and carrier, I'm with Goldman on this one.  Moreover, I'm ready to make that call that, yes, when we heap abuse and threats on them and then finally chastise them for preparing to defend themselves in response to a public threat so pervasive and obvious that we would gloat at them after the fact for not "seeing it coming" should something actually happen, it seems pretty obvious that the Goldman bashing has, finally, gone just a wee bit too far.