Sometimes it’s excruciating, listening to the rhetoric of gun grabbers. The combination of self-righteousness and sheer bloody ignorance is like fingernails on the blackboard of the mind.
If you’re going to treat your fellow citizens as if they’re dangerous children, it behooves you to act like an adult. The hallmark of an adult chastising a child is—or at least is supposed to be—that the adult knows what he or she is talking about. And gun grabbers so seldom do.
Yet the mindless quacking of hoplophobes can sometimes be amusing. Admit it: You laughed back in 2007 when Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who had introduced a bill banning barrel shrouds, was asked to explain what a barrel shroud is. Her wild guess that it’s “a shoulder thing that goes up” is now enshrined in the hall of American snark.
This year, we’ve been subjected to a new round of gun banning and the strident claims that go with it. Horrible though it’s been, the anti-gunners have once again offered plenty of opportunity for laughs.
Here’s Joe Biden, the for-heaven’ssake Vice President of the United States. In February, he informed women everywhere that AR-15s are too hard for the poor little dears to shoot properly. So what should they get instead? Why, a 12-gauge shotgun. Then, when threatened, the little ladies should fire both barrels in the air or through a closed door.
Just the month before, Biden had admitted on camera—before his handlers could club him into silence—that “Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down….” But he went on to insist that new gun control laws should be passed anyway. Just because, apparently.
From Howard Kurtz’s “high-magazine clips” to the New York Times’ claim that the American murder rate is 15 times that of any other wealthy country, the mainstream media has certainly put its ignorance and dishonesty on display along with its anti-gun prejudices. But an excessive reliance on truth and accuracy has never been a survival trait in a journalist.
Not in a politician either, but it’s the politicians who write the laws we’re expected to live by. If you aim to do something as drastic as take away other people’s rights, shouldn’t you at least know what you’re talking about?
Apparently not. During the last election, U.S. President and noted gun expert Barack Obama called for a “comprehensive strategy—part of it is seeing if we can get automatic weapons that kill folks in amazing numbers out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.” As if automatic weapons have been used in crime—virtually at all—since the repeal of Prohibition.
Last December, New York City Mayor and equally noted gun expert Michael Bloomberg claimed that pistols are different from “assault weapons” in that to fire a pistol “you have to pull the trigger each time.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) called for a ban on “assault ammunition clips,” saying, “I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those know they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”
Gun banners hate those “clips.” U.S. Senator and gun-toting hypocrite Dianne Feinstein has assured us that “It’s the clip that enables you to have the firepower.”
“Huge magazine clips,” we are told by the political blog ThinkProgress in a commentary on President Obama’s January gun control initiatives, “allow a gunman to fire off hundreds of rounds without having to stop, even once, to reload.”
We didn’t know that. Bet you didn’t, either. But if somebody can build one we can lift, we want it!
Commentator Thomas Sowell pointed out that such gaffes aren’t isolated, they’re systemic. “Guns are not the problem,” concluded Sowell. “People are the problem—including people who are determined to push gun-control laws, either in ignorance of the facts or in defiance of the facts.”
It does make you wonder. Are these demagogues all as ignorant as they appear, or are they pinning their hopes on the ignorance of their audience? Sometimes what looks like a typical gungrabber blooper from a single source quickly becomes a widely repeated talking point. Take that comment from ThinkProgress about “huge magazine clips” with “hundreds of rounds.” ThinkProgress is run by the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, which is closely affiliated with the Obama Administration.
We’re not spinning conspiracy theories here; it’s not a secret. If we ever got caught saying something so transparently ignorant, we’d rush to apologize and change the subject. Instead, the statement—word for word—went viral. We ran the phrase through a search engine and got over 8,000 hits, and every one we tracked down simply repeated the claim uncritically. What started out looking like simple ignorant exaggeration now begins to look like deliberate disinformation.
Which makes us wonder about Obama and Bloomberg’s claims about automatic weapons.
Neither of these men are really stupid, or they wouldn’t be where they are. (Okay, we can’t explain Joe Biden, but we’re not talking about him now.) Both are constantly surrounded by professional guards who carry genuine automatic weapons. You have to presume they know the difference between automatic and semiautomatic. It’s not that complex. So were they simply wrong in something they impulsively said? Or were they lying?
And here’s where things start to look quite a bit darker. Guns aren’t the only things the demagogues are wrong (or lying) about. One of the features of the current gun control debate is “mental illness.” Gun banners are unanimously of the opinion that mentally ill people should absolutely be banned from owning guns.
Even the most committed gun-rights activist will at least become thoughtful when asked if mentally ill people should have legal access to guns. We’ve all met people we were glad weren’t armed.
But who is mentally ill? Who gets to make that call? And which forms of mental illness actually make people dangerous to others? Depression? Obsessive- compulsive disorder? Attention- deficit disorder?
The list of “illnesses” grows by the hundreds every time a new medical manual comes out or a pharmaceutical company manufactures a new moodaltering drug they want to market. In Soviet Russia, anybody who criticized the government was judged mentally ill—and could expect to get treated for his illness good and hard. Is that a power we really want a “progressive” American government to have at its disposal?
On 7 March 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein opposed an amendment to her proposed “assault weapon” ban that would have exempted military veterans. She did so on the assumption that military veterans may be mentally ill. She said, “with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how [to] verify that an individual was a … veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this.”
We have no idea how many combat veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or how severely. But veterans—and all well-informed people— know that PTSD has been around as long as humans have suffered trauma. Shakespeare describes it. So does the Old Testament. It’s been called many things over the centuries—shell shock, combat fatigue, soldier’s heart, traumatic neurosis, the red gorilla, gross-stress reaction, post-Vietnam syndrome.
It certainly did not originate with either Iraq war. Nor is it a problem exclusive to veterans. Ask a homeowner after a devastating fire, or survivors of any of the thousands of terrible things that life can bring. Are some PTSD sufferers so “mentally ill” that they are a danger to themselves or others?
Possibly. We don’t know. Neither does Dianne Feinstein. But she doesn’t let that stop her. She wants to claim the power to declare anyone dangerously mentally impaired and thus disarmed by governmental decree.
Stalin would have approved. (So, apparently, does the government of New York state, which recently passed its own draconian gun laws. As this article is written, anecdotal evidence indicates that New York has begun confiscating firearms from state residents, including veterans, based on nothing more than the prescription drugs they take.)
The point is, the people who want to disarm us are either ignorant on the topic they’re so passionate about, or they’re lying. Maybe both, but not “neither”.
So you have to ask yourself: What on earth gives them the right to make such monumental decisions for other people? Seems to us they have disqualified themselves from any such power.