Sunday, January 02, 2005

Like Fish in a Barrel

A Fisk of the Million Mom March
This is Denise here. Bill is still snoozing this Sunday morning. I got out on the Internet and decided to check out the opposition for a change. I looked at the VPC (Violence Policy* Center) website, cruised to the Join Together site, and then lit on the Million Mom March (MMM) site.

It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to all the pink I was seeing. C'mon ladies there is enough pink here to paint ten elephants. On the very first page was an "Action Alert" titled "Protect Gun Victims, Not Gun Dealers" (I don't know how long they will leave the page up, but I am including generous snippets here). The alert asks its members to oppose any legislation that would "deprive gun violence victims of their legal rights." I realized that they were talking about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act (PLCFA).

This alert struck home since Bill and I had included the defeat of PLCFA in our post on the three biggest gun stories of 2004. So let's do some fisking shall we.

The very first sentence is:
The National Rifle Association and other extremists in the gun lobby are once again gearing up to deprive gun violence victims of their legal rights.
Many gun people think the NRA is far from extreme. But, listen for a second to the emotional appeals in this one sentence. The "NRA and other extremists," "gun lobby," "gearing up," "gun violence," "deprive...victims." It oozes with sentiment. But wait it gets better with a call to contact legislators:
Dear Senator/Representative,
Please OPPOSE any legislation that would deprive gun violence victims of their legal rights. Reckless gun sellers should not get special legal privileges. [Italics and capitalization in the original.]
First, I am offended that this "action alert" talks about depriving anyone of their legal rights when the MMM wants to deprive me of my rights to own and shoot firearms. Second, it is talking about the right to sue gun sellers and manufacturers for making and selling a legal product that is not defective. These suits are not about the gun violence victims. They are aimed at one thing; bankrupting manufacturers and making the burden of selling guns so high and so costly that no one will stay or get into the business. The "victims" are the unwitting fronts for this anti-freedom agenda.

Let us continue:
You will remember that during the last Congress the gun lobby pushed legislation that would have thrown gun violence victims out of court and created special rules that would prevent even the most reckless and irresponsible gun sellers from being held accountable.
The legislation is PLCFA and I have no idea why they don't give its name except maybe that it is more scary and has more emotional appeal to leave it as some nebulous legislation the gun lobby wanted. I also note that they are talking about creating "special rules." This is right out of Vast Right Wing Conspiracy jargon--that some anti-discrimination laws would be special rights not equal rights. I won't even go into the emotional content of "reckless and irresponsible gun sellers." It fisks itself.

This next sentence takes the cake. It is why I even wanted to waste my time fisking this tripe:
Because concerned Million Mon Marchers, like you, mobilized and spoke out, their outrageous legislation was defeated in the United States Senate.
I call bullshit! I followed the PLCFA and the MMM had little or nothing to do with it. Senators Feinstein, Schumer, and Kennedy loaded the bill with poison-pill amendments. The amendments would have led to more gun control even while protecting some manufacturers and some gun sellers from groundless lawsuits. The NRA supported the bill without the amendments, but its rank and file demanded that the poisoned bill die and the NRA helped strangle it. Thus, despite the MMM's opinion, the legislation was not defeated in a vote on its merits, instead its supporters killed it to prevent more gun control.

Umm...well afisking we will go:
But they're back. They're spreading lies to the media, twisting arms in the halls of Congress, and getting ready to launch another assault on gun violence victims.
First, "they're back" sounds like the trailer to one of the Poltergeist movies. Then, we get into emotional language with no basis in fact; "spreading lies," "twisting arms," "launch," "assault," "gun violence," "victims." Jeez, it fisks itself again. C'mon MMM tell us what lies we gunnies are spreading. We are no more twisting arms than you do in your lobbying efforts. It is called DEMOCRACY people. No gun does violence on its own. A gun is a machine for launching projectiles and must have an operator. And, no one is assaulting any victim. We want to ensure that our rights under the Constitution, those rights enjoyed by our parents and grandparents, are protected and passed down to our children.

To continue:
On behalf of innocent victims, and all Americans who don't want to see our judicial system corrupted by powerful special interests, WE MUST STOP THEM. [Capitalization in the original.]
Again, the emotional appeals, "innocent victims," "all Americans," "judicial system corrupted," "special interests." I am not as bothered by this sentence as I was with previous sentences. It is advocacy writing and they want to appeal to emotions since facts don't back them up.

The MMM is winding down now with this:
Our efforts to defeat this legislation have become more important in recent months, because gun violence victims have exercised their legal rights and held reckless and irresponsible gun sellers accountable:
Again there are the emotional buzz words you can list for yourselves. Following this sentence is a list of three lawsuits they claim to have won. The first is the Washington, D.C. sniper area case against Bullseye Shooters Supply and then two other cases. All three ended in settlements and at least one, against Bushmaster, I know ended because it was cheaper to settle than continue to fight. I know nothing about the other two cases and don't want to do a lot of research on them.

Finally the "Action Alert" winds up with:
If the NRA's special interest legislation had passed Congress, these victims would never have obtained justice and it would be business as usual for these dangerous gun sellers.
We have the now boring emotional appeals and without knowing the particulars of the listed cases I won't argue one way or the other about how "dangerous" the gun dealers in question may or may not be. I have a feeling that the cases were bogus and that MMM had to do some stretching to make them fit their argument. Still, in my more liberal days I was taught that we do not take rights away just because one person or entity was irresponsible.

What happened to the left? At one time, they were the ones who supported personal freedom and now they are the ones who are working to curtail it. The left once accused the right of emotional appeals to the flag, Mom, and apple pie. Now the left is the one that uses no facts only emotion. I am a woman and this emotionalism does not appeal to me. I feel too. I am sorry if a young life is snuffed out too early by a thug with a gun, knife, or baseball bat. But, law-abiding gun owners are not guilty of anything and should not be punished by misguided laws.

The MMM alert ends with an appeal to contact your Senator and Representative to fight new legislation that would protect gun manufacturers and dealers. So folks, I want to make an appeal to you. Go to the NRA political site and make sure your Congress Critter knows you SUPPORT legislation to protect gun manufacturers and dealers.

Jeez, I don't know if I will fisk MMM again. Too easy.

*UPDATE: Kevin of Smallest Minority caught an error (see comments). I had called the VPC the Violence Prevention Center instead of Violence Policy Center. Hat-tip to Kevin.


Kevin said...

Actually, the VPC stands for "Violence Policy Center" though the only "violence" they seem concerned with is violence committed with firearms. The VPC is an organization dedicated to getting handguns banned, and anything they can do to reach that goal, they'll do.

Denise was Here said...

Oops. I knew it was Violence Policy Center and somehow it came out Violence Prevention Center. I stand corrected and will change it in the text with a hat tip to Kevin. Thanks for catching my mistake.