Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Brady Bunch and Minnesota

I wrote a parody not long ago about how gun-grabbers can spin the truth into an unrecognizable hash. If I didn’t know better I would say that the Brady Campaign press release on the school shooting in Minnesota was a parody. Let’s take a look at it.

First the title is a strident plea to emotions: “America's Gun Violence Epidemic: White House, Congress Must Stop Feeding Culture of Death.” It speaks of gun violence as an epidemic as if we were talking about influenza or cholera. The term culture of death is of course a jab at President’s Bush’s desire to create a “culture of life” in America. Most gun violence in this country comes from criminals. There are some unhappy incidents where a seemingly law-abiding person goes berserk with a gun. The same can be said of a person going berserk with a meat cleaver or a car.

The Brady’s press release mentions ten dead in Minnesota and that “…the toll from multiple shootings this year are going through the roof.” I’ll grant them that there have been too many shootings this year. Bad news always seems to clump together. Their answer is to always disarm citizens without recognizing that guns serve a useful purpose for the millions who own them.

I haven’t even got to the first paragraph and already I’ve spilled a bunch of pixels. Here is a lie from that paragraph:
…his rampage becomes another entry on a growing list of news reports on horrific gun violence and reports on the ready availability of ever-deadlier weapons.
His rampage is part of a too long list this year, but “ever-deadlier” weapons had nothing to do in this case. The shooter’s grandfather was a reservation police officer and the shooter used his grandfather’s police issued handguns, shotgun, police car, and bullet-resistance vest. There is nothing “ever-deadlier” about these common police weapons.

The press release talks about recent attacks and includes a quote stating,
And we're deluged with reports about legal guns that can shoot down airplanes, guns designed to kill police wearing body armor, and the FBI being forced to watch as terrorist suspects arm themselves with firearms.
Let’s look at that more closely since it contains numerous lies.

Guns that shoot down airplanes refers to .50 caliber rifles. Experts doubt even a well-placed shot would seriously harm an airplane unless they’re referring to a small Cessna and even then an extremely well-trained marksman would have to hit the pilot.

The guns that are “designed” to kill police are FN Five SeveNs, which were not “designed” to kill police. They were designed to take an armor-piercing military round that is not sold to civilians. The ATF states that the ammo is not sold in this country and the gun is legal to sell.

And the comment about the FBI refers to suspects on terror watch lists buying guns. There are potentially millions of Americans on these lists; Teddy Kennedy was once so listed. Do we want to deny people the basic rights of a citizen because the government put them on a secret list from which there is little or no way to clear one’s name?

The release goes on to talk about this being the worst school shooting since Columbine. Well, it’s been six years—some epidemic. There’s another list of lies or exaggerations in the same paragraph,
In Atlanta, a beloved judge, an innocent court reporter and a veteran police officer were laid to rest. In Tyler, Texas, a brutal spouse killed his wife and a bystander and wounded his son with an AK-47 copycat weapon.
In Atlanta the judge, court reporter, and deputy were killed by a man on trial for rape and kidnapping who didn’t get his gun from a gun show or gun store. Instead he grabbed it from another deputy; a 51-year old, 5 feet tall grandmother who was his sole guard.

The bystander mentioned in Tyler, Texas had a concealed carry permit and used his gun to shoot at the killer and save the life of the killer’s own son.

The release complains about how our lawmakers haven’t helped because they haven’t infringed on our rights enough to suit the Brady Bunch:
In Washington D.C., by contrast, lawmakers have allowed the Federal assault weapons ban to expire, limited law enforcement investigations of gun sellers, mandated the immediate destruction of records of gun sales, and stand poised to make it impossible for victims of gun violence to seek justice against reckless gun sellers in the courts.
The Brady bill instituted records on gun sales through the NICS check. By law, those records were never supposed to be kept. Our lawmakers are following their own laws. Similarly, the lawsuit protection bill stops people from filing reckless lawsuits against people engaged in lawful trade and manufacturing. Lawsuits that were designed to bankrupt gun companies and gun stores.

The release ends with quotes from a Million Mom March chapter president (not the one who went to jail recently with an illegally owned gun and drugs) and Sarah Brady. Their quotes wonder when we’ll make our communities safe from gun violence.

My answer to them: We’ll never be safe from gun violence anymore than we’re safe from any kind of violence. Bad or mentally disturbed people will always find a way to get a weapon. We can defend ourselves, we can work harder to recognize when people need help, and we can lock up violent offenders until they’re too old to commit violent crimes. In Minnesota and in Atlanta the perpetrators got their guns from police. How do you stop that, short of disarming law enforcement?

Update: 5:13pm, fixed two links.

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