Conservative political and social commentary
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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|NRA = KKK? Elena Kagan Thinks So - Thursday, June 24, 2010
NRA = KKK?
Elena Kagan Thinks So
David C. Stolinsky, MD
Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, has some interesting views. When she was dean of Harvard Law School, she went along with other Harvard deans in barring military recruiters from the campus. Her announced reason was the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.
But this is not the military’s policy. It is the policy of the Democratic Congress and President Clinton. How is it logical to blame citizens for obeying the law? How is it reasonable to ban those citizens from the campus, when Kagan herself had worked for the Clinton administration − which was responsible for the policy in the first place?
Is this an example of a judicial temperament? No, it is an example of leftist ideology. Would you want to appear before a judge who tends to blame the wrong people? More importantly, would you want someone on the Supreme Court who scapegoats the politically incorrect?
Another example is a note in Kagan’s handwriting, in which she equates the National Rifle Association with the Ku Klux Klan as a “bad guy” organization. Such a comparison reveals not only leftist ideology, but also profound ignorance of the facts. Of course, ideologues are rarely bothered by facts.
● In fact, the NRA was founded in 1871 by Union Army veterans. Its first president was former Union Major General Ambrose Burnside. Members included U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. It has nothing to do with racist organizations like the KKK, either historically or ideologically.
● In fact, the National Rifle Association includes almost four million members, many of whom are doctors, lawyers and other professionals. Members also include minorities and civil-rights activists like Roy Innis, head of the Congress of Racial Equality, who sits on the NRA board of directors, as does Carl Rowan Jr. The last time I checked, there weren’t many African American officials in the Klan.
● In fact, there are important civil-rights aspects of gun ownership. Early gun laws in the South were aimed at disarming blacks. Recent laws unfairly prevent minorities, who tend to live and work in high-crime areas, from defending themselves.
● In fact, without the NRA, minority citizens will continue to be arrested for defending their families from criminals. An African American man and Navy veteran was arrested in Brooklyn for shooting an intruder who was entering his young child’s bedroom in the middle of the night. He had recently moved to New York City and filed an application for a permit for his gun, but the application had not yet been acted upon. This incident is typical of how gun-control laws are counter-productive − they affect the law-abiding more than they affect criminals.
● In fact, if you are looking for examples of bias, you would do better to look at the opponents of the NRA, who often demonstrate a profound bias against guns and gun owners.
Some time ago, TV screens were filled with live coverage of a botched bank robbery that was unusually violent even for Los Angeles, the bank-robbery capital. Two masked men clad in body armor and armed with automatic rifles shot it out with police. Hours later both criminals lay dead, and 11 officers and six bystanders were injured.
The blood had not yet been washed from the sidewalks when the ranting began. A state senator called for closing loopholes in weapons laws. The chair of the public safety committee of the Los Angeles City Council called for stricter gun-control laws. A law professor went so far as to blame the gun lobby. Similar baseless remarks follow many violent crimes.
These criminals used automatic weapons, which fire repeatedly with one pull of the trigger. TV showed gunfire spraying from weapons firing so rapidly that anyone could see they were machine guns. Such weapons have been virtually banned by federal law since 1934, subjecting anyone possessing them to 10 years in prison.
In contrast, semi-automatic weapons, with which they are frequently confused, fire only once with each pull of the trigger. Those claiming that these criminals obtained their weapons legally were thus wrong by over six decades. Clearly they got them on the illegal market, where most criminals get their guns. Perhaps the guns came across the Mexican border in sealed trucks, uninspected by U.S. Customs as allowed by NAFTA. Perhaps they originated in China, a major source of such weapons and our “strategic partner.” Those who incorrectly blamed lax gun laws never raised these possibilities.
In a tragic incident, a six-year-old boy brought a gun to school and shot a classmate to death. Again the gun lobby was blamed. But the boy lived in a crack house filled with stolen guns and illegal drugs. Can anyone believe that a drug-dealing thief would feel obliged to obey safe gun-storage laws or use trigger locks? If we can’t stop the smuggling of drugs, which are consumed daily and must be replaced by the ton, how can we stop the smuggling of guns, which last for decades?
Placing blame where it does not belong means not having to discover where it does belong − which might be embarrassing. Rather than tracing the source of illegal guns, or taking children out of crack houses, it is easier to blame the gun lobby. Anti-gun activists tell us that it represents gun manufacturers and is composed of bearded militia types, running around in camouflage fatigues and hatching nefarious plots.
But if there is a gun lobby, where is the anti-gun lobby? Anti-gun groups such as the Brady Campaign are called public-interest groups, not lobbies. Anti-gun activists are never called lobbyists. This fact should ring alarm bells. The media often refer to the religious right, but rarely to the religious or secular left. There are ultra-conservatives, but no ultra-liberals. Likewise, there is a gun lobby, but no anti-gun lobby. This reveals more about media bias than about reality.
Many people know little about guns, but newspapers and TV news often provide erroneous information − for example, that machine guns are legally available, or that so-called “assault weapons” are the same as machine guns. They publicize polls that favor gun control, but ignore polls that do not. They present as “news” statements by anti-gun activists, while pro-gun statements are called “claims” or “assertions.” They emphasize statistics that show crime is worsening but downplay favorable changes.
Few know that the U.S. homicide rate reached its peak in 1980 under Jimmy Carter, then fell dramatically in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. Perhaps it was embarrassing to report that this welcome change occurred in the absence of new anti-gun laws, but in the presence of anti-crime laws and attitudes.
The fall in the crime rate has continued during the current recession, which is impossible for liberals to explain − they still insist that “poverty causes crime.” No, absence of ethical values causes crime. If anything, crime causes poverty. Would you open a new business in a high-crime area?
But as the crime rate fell, the number of crime stories on TV news increased. We watch TV news and see corpses carted away by the coroner every night before bedtime. So we conclude that crime is rampant and are frightened into giving up more of our rights.
We are misinformed as to what is already illegal, or whether the homicide rate is rising or falling. How can we solve complex problems such as what to do about a revolving-door justice system, drug-dealing gangs, illegal immigration or fatherless boys?
Without facts, how can citizens form rational opinions on important matters? And how can officials make informed decisions? No, it’s far easier to respond to violent crime by reflexively repeating, “We need more gun-control laws, and it’s the NRA’s fault that we don’t have them.” Such mindless repetition could be performed by parrots, which are both cheaper to maintain and prettier to look at than politicians or pundits.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.