Friday, December 28, 2012

The Magic of Gun Control

by John Hayward

Newark’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, raised some eyebrows by describing the post-Newtown media mania for gun control as a “false debate,” on last Sunday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week.”  As reported by the Newark Star-Ledger:
“I don’t know if anybody here has seen somebody shot. I have,” Booker said during a round-table discussion on the show, hosted by George Stephanopoulos. “I don’t know if anybody here has had to put their hand in somebody’s chest and try to stop the bleeding so somebody doesn’t die. I have. And the what frustrates me about this debate is it’s a false debate. It’s a false debate.
This is a convenient trick to try to divide our country more. Most of us in America, including gun owners, agree on things that would stop the kind of carnage that’s going on in cities all over America.”
“I’m tired of the political debates,” he added. “They’re not necessary. I’m tired of the ideological positions. We don’t even need to visit them. Let’s stick to the pragmatic center where all Americans believe the same thing and let’s pass legislation that would make America safer.”
Booker pushed for stronger background checks on people looking to purchase guns and said a key way to curb gun violence is to shut down secondary markets.
I’m not afraid of law-abiding citizens who buy a gun,” he said. “Buy the guns you want. What the problem is in America right now is that a terrorist person who is on the no-fly list could go into the secondary market today and buy a weapon.”
“Criminals are killing people,” the mayor added. “Not law-abiding gun owners.”
(Emphases mine.)  The second highlighted comment, about his trust of law-abiding gun owners, has gotten more attention, but Booker’s comment about the deliberately divisive nature of the gun-control debate is more explosive, coming as it does from a prominent Democrat mayor poised for a run at the Senate.  He’s going even further than calling gun-control zealots – almost all of whom are Democrats, or allied politically with Booker’s party – silly or misguided.  He’s calling them mendacious, dishonest, and ultimately dangerous.
Hopefully Booker can stand a bit of rain on the one-man contrarian Democrat parade he’s trying to lead across the talk shows, because it must be noted that the “pragmatic centrist” solutions he mentioned about have no more to do with Adam Lanza and the Newtown horror than the “false debate” he decries.  Lanza did not get in line behind no-fly-listed terrorists to buy his guns on the “secondary market.”  Whether or not legislation directed at such markets would “make America safer” is debatable, but it most certainly would not have made America “safer” from Lanza.
The relentless drive to score first downs in an abstract political football game is part of the “false debate” Booker decries.  This explains some of the nearly universal media hunger for gun control laws, as chronicled by Byron York at the Washington Examiner:
It’s not just the ranters on the left, like MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who recently called National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre “the lobbyist for mass murderers.” O’Donnell is a controversialist who says things like that all the time. So is CNN’s Piers Morgan, who told the Gun Owners of America chief Larry Pratt, “You are an unbelievably stupid man” and “You shame your country.”
More notable are the ostensibly straight-news journalists who have come down on the side of stronger gun control. For example, when a Republican congressman, Georgia’s Jack Kingston, argued on MSNBC recently that tough gun control laws haven’t prevented mass shootings in some European countries, the network’s anchor, Thomas Roberts, responded, “So, we need to just be complacent in the fact that we can send our children to school to be assassinated?
Earlier, while reporting from Connecticut, a CNN anchor, Don Lemon, burst into an impromptu appeal for action. “We need to get guns and bullets and automatic weapons off the streets,” Lemon said. “They should only be available to police officers and to hunt al-Qaeda and the Taliban and not hunt elementary school children.”
Really, Mr. Lemon?  The only conceivable uses for firearms are (a) law enforcement, (b) terrorist-slaying, and (c) hunting down school children?  Ask the armed security officers at CNN if they can think of a few other purposes for guns.  While you’re at it, ask the CNN research department to Google up some stories of law-abiding gun owners using their weapons to stop or discourage criminal assaults.
As York notes, even most straight-news reporters clearly view themselves as driven partisans in Cory Booker’s false debate. They view the NRA as an enemy to be defeated, both on this issue and because it’s an effective opponent of the Democrat Party that most reporters belong to.  That’s why so many of them spun on a dime to describe Wayne LaPierre’s idea of enhancing armed security protection at school as “crazy,” even though yesterday’s Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, advanced similar proposals.  Today the Party is interested in nothing but gun control, and whatever alternatives its political enemies suggest must be assaulted in the strongest possible terms, even if they are broadly compatible with the Party’s positions from a decade ago.
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