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Uber: Showing How It Works In La-La Land

Uber: Showing How It Works In La-La Land

So you own a glorified cab company with operations in dozens of metropolitan areas throughout the country. It employs tens of thousands of drivers who are independent contractors, using their own personal vehicles to provide rides to your customers. One of these hardworking Americans is an Illinois resident who recently applied for and received a state concealed-carry permit.  

While on the job driving the streets of Chicago at about midnight, he uses his legally carried handgun to stop a mass shooting in progress—someone is shooting into a crowd of people. Your contractor exits his vehicle, draws his legal handgun and shoots the wannabe-killer multiple times, causing harm to no innocent parties at the scene. It’s a textbook defensive shooting. Even the Illinois assistant state attorney has to agree it was a permissible shooting and declines to file charges against your driver.No one at Uber thought of the practical implications of the policy on its riders, because it would be safe to assume no one with an office on the top floor of its San Francisco-based headquarters building has ever carried a firearm on a regular basis.

Do you: A) celebrate the driver as a hero, give him two months’ paid vacation and name an entire wing of the company’s national headquarters building after him; or B) promise that this will never happen again and officially amend your company policy to mandate that drivers and customers be disarmed and rendered defenseless before entering vehicles being driven on your company’s time?

Well, assuming that you are the sort of rational, freedom-loving American who regularly reads this magazine, you are probably emphatically yelling the first letter of the alphabet right now. However, if you are advised by a guy who is one of the few most responsible for the unmitigated national disaster that has been the Barack Obama administration, answer “B” would apparently be the only course of action.

Yes, this defensive shooting that saved the lives of innocent bystanders did happen in April of this year, precisely as described. The company is Uber, and the option it chose was “B.” David Plouffe is the advisor. He ran Obama’s Machiavellian campaign in 2008, and his last position in the administration was as David Axelrod’s successor. Yes, that David Axelrod. Both have enthusiastically served as Obama’s mouthpiece when it came to his opportunistic push to erode firearms freedoms. This nonsensical story is starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

With regard to the specific policy aimed at eliminating unacceptably heroic use of a legally possessed firearm to defend innocent life, Uber’s statement reads in part: “We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform—both driver-partners and riders—feels safe and comfortable using the service.”

What about the people like me who “feel” safer and more comfortable carrying a gun and having an armed driver as well? Are my feelings as a rider unimportant simply because I don’t choose to rely on the government for my protection at all times? The truth is that the executives at Uber—those willing to hire a nanny statist nut like Plouffe—haven’t even considered this. In their “progressive” world, no one could possibly feel safer in the same zip code as a gun unless it’s being carried by a government official.

They’re all about diversity—until they aren’t. The policy prohibiting firearms possession in Uber-associated vehicles should have been amended to include “who thinks like we do” after “everyone.” This would have added some touch of honesty. 

If the company really cared about all of its riders, it could have at least entertained some sort of system that allowed those scared senseless of guns to ensure that their driver is as defenseless as they are. Maybe “Carjacker’s Dream” could be added to the service’s vehicle selection for these riders. For the rest of us, things could have remained the same. It’s not as if there has been some sudden problem caused by legally armed drivers and riders.This goes back to the chasm between those of us who actually make ourselves safe by carrying a gun and those in La-La Land who just want to feel safe, whether they are or not.

No one at Uber thought of the practical implications of the policy on its riders because it would be safe to assume no one with an office on the top floor of its San Francisco-based headquarters building has ever carried a firearm on a regular basis. Not all rides begin and end at a person’s home. In these other instances, what are the millions of Americans who routinely carry firearms supposed to do with their guns? 

A few months back, a friend took me to lunch. He picked me up from my office and we drove the 15 minutes north to a place that we both liked. During the lunch, he got a call to attend a business meeting that was farther north. I told him that it wasn’t a problem for me to Uber back to my office and sent him on his way. Of course, I was carrying, as I have virtually every day of my life for the last 25 years. Am I supposed to now leave my gun at the hostess station until the next time I do lunch?

I’m certain Plouffe would just tell me that I don’t “need” to carry a gun in the first place, just like the hero in Chicago didn’t “need” to carry his gun that night while serving as an Uber driver. Those who are alive today because of his gun and actions might disagree, but Plouffe would never understand that. We all must come to grips with the fact that there are those who just can’t be helped.

What is particularly ironic about all of this is that Uber is fighting for “consumer choice” with regard to allowing its service to be legal in jurisdictions where the cab unions are strong and protected by government thugs. I suppose consumer choice only matters when it adds billions to the company’s valuation.  Some of us are all for freedom across the board, whether it’s the freedom to provide for our own safety or the freedom to enter into mutually beneficial business relations without government interference. 

As I reflect, it’s hard not to just laugh at the ideologues who run companies like Uber. I suppose I could if the stakes weren’t so high. Maybe, in the end, this goes back to the chasm between those of us who actually make ourselves safe by carrying a gun and those in La-La Land who just want to feel safe, whether they are or not.

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