By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
March 15, 2011
Last updated on 4/24/11.
Tina Brown, the newly-minted British expatriot Newsweek editor-in-chief, certainly isn’t wasting any time promoting her agenda. By now it’s pretty old news that the anti-gun/anti-Second Amendment crowd (i.e. the political left) has been trying to use the Tucson active shooter situation to get new gun control laws passed, like a high-capacity magazine (not “clip”) ban and a new federal assault weapons ban (AWB). It’s par for the course, really, and to be expected. However, Newsweek just did something sneaky. In a call-to-arms (excuse the pun)-style pro-gun-control opinion piece, two of its writers, Andrew Romano and Pat Wingert, attempted to rebrand gun control as “gun safety” in their not-so-subtly (or pleasantly) titled article 2,405 Shot Dead Since Tucson. Here are the relevant excerpts, all from the Newsweek piece:
– By outspending, out-organizing, and out-politicking its opponents, the NRA persuaded Democrats, who can control Congress only if they control red districts, to abandon gun safety in the 1980s and 1990s, and since then it has successfully pressed for ever-looser local laws.
– Few politicians are eager to paddle against such a powerful tide, which is why so many of them called for “a new era of civility” after one of their colleagues was shot in the head—as opposed to, say, a new era of gun safety.
– It’s hard not to wonder whether Obama’s plan is to pacify liberal critics by continuing to mention some vague dream of addressing gun safety at some wispy future date—then to cross his fingers and hope they forget.
– Gun-safety advocates would argue that Obama has a moral duty to stanch the bleeding, and that may be true.
– Look beyond the hoary Washington logic, and it’s clear that the present moment may be peculiar enough, and the forces at work potent enough, to produce real movement on gun safety—provided Obama proceeds carefully.
– Tucson was the first mass shooting or assassination plot in years in which neither the shooter nor his target died in the melee—an outcome that will shape the media coverage in ways that may benefit the gun-safety cause.
So, now it’s the “gun safety” cause, not gun control, i.e, people control. They must figure “control” sounds too, well, controlling and threatening, like you’re trying to control people. “Safety” sounds much nicer and less threatening, giving the impression that “we just want you to be safe”. Isn’t that nice? They just want us to be safe. Our safety is their singular concern. Nothing to fear, folks! Where I come from, gun safety means proper gun handling: keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire; always keeping the weapon pointed in a safe direction, unless you’re purposely pointing it at an attacker in defense your life or someone else’s life; not pointing the weapon at anything you’re not either willing or intending to destroy; things like that. When the gun grabbers think about gun control, they think about controlling people. When I think about gun control, I think of about hitting what I’m aiming at. Perhaps us pro-gunners should rebrand “gun control” as “people control”, and see how they like it. After all, our term is the more accurate one, since controlling people is precisely what “gun control” is all about. We, the lowly law-abiding proletariat must be controlled, after all, since we’re so incapable of controlling ourselves. We therefore need the Paul Helmke’s of the world to take charge of things and look of all of us, since he’s so much more thoughtful and enlightened than we are. And, yes, that was sarcastic.
Now, a paranoid person might say that this whole gun-control-morphed-into-gun-safety rebranding stunt has a guy like self-proclaimed marketing maven Donny Deutsch written all over it, since this is just the kind of lame idea Deutsch, bombastic host of The Big Idea and Morning Joe’s resident goofball and impromptu massage master, might come up with to try to sell a sinister concept or agenda that’s otherwise unsellable, and he also just happens to be a “Morning Joe” co-contributor along with Miss Brown on MSNBC. However, I’m willing to give Mr. Romano and Ms. Wingert the benefit of the doubt and the credit for it. Calling the gun control fringe/fanatics “gun control forces”, as if they represent the forces of good, while denigrating the pro-Second Amendment forces as the “pro-gun lobby” represents old-school, retread anti-gun nomenclature/tactics, so I’m not giving them any credit whatsoever on that one. It’s just annoying, at this point.
Frankly, I don’t blame Romano and Wingert for trying to rebrand the gun control agenda. What choice do they have? The “gun control”/people control movement has been, by all accounts, a colossal, unmitigated failure over the last 15 years or so, since 1) we Americans love our guns and simply don’t like being controlled, 2) we now have rock-solid empirical data that proves that more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens equals less crime, and vice versa, less guns in the hands of law abiding citizens means more crime, and 3) in recent years, the Second Amendment has been both confirmed as an individual right and incorporated under the 14th Amendment by the Supreme Court. Unlike Miss Brown’s countrymen, we, the people of the United States, are citizens, not subjects. We like to control the government rather than the other way around. Since World War II, the British Parliament has strapped an ever-expanding yoke of tyranny onto the necks of the British people that’s grown so heavy, it would most likely require an actual revolutionary war to shake off. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t think the post-War British people have it in them.
But back to the article. Romano’s and Wingert’s piece is almost illogically hopeful and an over-the-top exercise in liberal socialist wishful thinking. In order for the high-capacity magazine ban they so vehemently argue for Congress to pass to actually pass, it would take a dark miracle and the political seppuku of many Republican congressmen, who would then all fall like dominoes in 2012, either in primaries or the general election. Even President Obama, a devout liberal/leftist, is wisely treading very softly and carrying a rather small stick on the gun control issue. Even if the Democratic will were there (and it isn’t, at present), the hi-cap mag ban is very wishful thinking (and borderline delusional) on the part of the authors, and it ain’t gonna’ happen anytime in the near future, particularly while conservatives control the House. To quote the character Elaine Benes, speaking to the “Soup Nazi” on the hit show Seinfeld, “Next!”.
What’s great about the Newsweek liberal battle cry piece from a pro-2nd Amendment/pro-freedom perspective is that it puts it all out there. It lays it all right there on the table. It exposes not only the “latest and greatest” gun control strategy regarding the political left’s utilization of the Tucson shooting to try to jumpstart new gun control measures, but offers gun owners and pro-Second Amendment voters a window into the left’s true nature, into its anti-gun/anti-freedom, people-controlling political soul, so to speak.
Even better, the Newsweek article is severely and fatally flawed. First, the Newsweek writers predictably followed the gun-grabbing playbook and blame the object(s), the firearm and its high-capacity magazine, rather than blaming the perpetrator himself (Jared Lee Loughner) and the pre-event systemic failures allowing said perpetrator to continue to walk around freely and purchase a firearm, not to mention the aforementioned law enforcement/security failures at the event, itself. Many people at Mr. Loughner’s school observed his bizarre, anti-social, and obviously mentally-disturbed behavior that was severe enough to get him pulled from the college class in which he was enrolled. Apparently, there’s no system in place in America to keep people who display socially aberrant and/or psychotic behavior witnessed by multiple people from continuing to walk around freely and purchase firearms. That needs to change, and right quick. Putting a system in place that would cause someone like Loughner to either fail the required federal background check, or better yet, be locked up in a secure psychiatric facility, would be efffective, unlike a high-capacity magazine ban, as is currently being proposed (more on that farther down) by Democrats.
The Newsweek piece also completely glosses over the obvious, that in a supposedly free country of 300 million people, chaos and evil can and will rear their respective ugly heads from time to time, somewhere, somehow. Sorry, but that’s the cost of freedom combined with a very large population. If Miss Brown doesn’t like that, she can go back to her mother country (England) where a much smaller number of law abiding subjects are forcibly disarmed like good little sheep, while agents of the government (law enforcement and military personnel) AND violent criminals remain armed to the teeth, so the law abiding population is simultaneously subjected to the watchful eye and iron fist of an increasingly-oppressive police state and predated upon by armed violent criminals, not exactly a healthy environment for freedom. Pervasive ownership of the latest and greatest tactical firearms by the law-abiding populace is what frees us from that double-headed monster (police state and criminal predation) here in the United States of America. AMERICA.
At this point, everyone understands and agrees that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should have had at least a modicum of police protection, especially since she’d been recently threatened and her district office had been vandalized. Perhaps instead of becoming a self-appointed news commentator and politicizing the event in front of the cameras after the fact, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik would have better served Rep. Giffords and the country at large by providing her with a security detail of at least 2-4 Sheriff’s deputies. In other words, perhaps it would have been a better idea to do the job the people of Pima County elected him to do instead of blaming America’s toxic political culture, which, Dupnik would have us believe is primarily caused by conservatives. Where was Rep. Giffords’ security detail, Mr. Dupnik? Didn’t she deserve one? Didn’t she merit it? The fact is Mr. Dupnik displayed utter incompetence both in the lead-up to and aftermath of the shooting, and everyone knows it.
Since she obviously wasn’t receiving any help from local law enforcement, why didn’t someone as visible as Rep. Giffords, whom had already been recently threatened, have a private security detail? Law enforcement veteran and executive protection instructor Ricky Tucker put it this way: “When you are allowing anyone in that close, there are a lot of threats that are there.” Tucker contends that while a private security detail (PSD)/executive protection team would have been intrusive to Rep. Giffords’ daily life, and the shooting would have been difficult to predict and/or prepare for, it could have helped prevent the tragedy.
Just like the rest of the national news media, the Newsweek piece also failed to point out that the rally being a Democratic one was very likely the main reason not one person in the crowd (an Arizona crowd) was armed, so there was no one who could immediately fire back at the active shooter (Loughner), once he opened up. If just one trained, legally-armed person (or, ideally, two or three) had been in the crowd (the most likely scenario in a conservative Republican Arizona crowd) and in close proximity to Loughner, it’s likely that they could have neutralized him quickly, resulting in less people being shot and killed. They would have at least had a better chance of survival. Remember, in an active shooter scenario, the rule is that you can lose up to one victim per second, so every second counts, and you have to respond to the threat immediately. According to reports, the closest armed person (armed with a firearm on his actual person), hero Joe Zamudio, was in a nearby Walgreen’s buying cigarettes at the time, so he wasn’t able to get to Loughner before Loughner was able to shoot a lot of people and completely empty his magazine. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that his being armed aided him in his decision to get involved and run towards the trouble.
The Newsweek writers might not even realize that the previous high-capacity magazine ban, a component of the ridiculous 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, didn’t effectively prevent anyone from purchasing or owning high-capacity magazines (greater than 10 rounds). It simply prohibited manufacturers from selling hi-cap mags that were manufactured after the law took effect directly to the public. Any/all existing hi-cap mags in circulation were still readily available to anyone and everyone that could afford to purchase them. Prices went up, but that’s it. So, even if the old Assault Weapons Ban (with accompanying high-capacity magazine ban) were still in place, Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, still would have been able to obtain all the high-capacity magazines he needed, provided he had the money to buy them.
Even if Loughner couldn’t have obtained magazines with capacities higher than 10 rounds, he could have prepared differently and/or improvised. For example, he could have easily just used multiple pistols, obviating the need to reload. When one gun runs out of ammo, just grab the next one off the belt. Three guns, each with 10 rounds, equals 30 shots, roughly the same number of shots he fired. Or, he could have used a scoped (or optical gunsighted) 5.56mm NATO /.223 Rem. or 7.62mm NATO/.308 Win. semi-auto rifle to easily snipe Rep. Giffords and other people in the crowd from longer range, like 100-200 yards out, for example. There are so many 30-round 5.56mm and 20-round 7.62mm mags on the market, he would have had no trouble obtaining either. Even if were were only limited to 10 round mags, being further away, he could have taken his sweet time reloading without harrassment. With a properly-scoped semi-auto 5.56mm or 7.62mm carbine or rifle, precise, lethal shots are fairly easy to accomplish within 300 yards with a minimum of training.
It should perhaps be noted at this point that the Second Amendment’s core purpose is to ensure and protect an armed citizenry as a counteracting force to potential government tyranny. It’s my understanding at present that U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s proposed high-capacity magazine ban bill would conveniently exempt law enforcement officers (LEOs) and military personnel (unconfirmed/unverified). Well, who exactly does he think the American people will have to fight if we have to fight a tyrannical government (perhaps one day lead by him) hell-bent on our collective oppression? See where I’m goin’ with this? Law enforcement and military personnel, as great as they may be and as much as I support them, are, ultimately, agents of the government, and are both elements of the government’s “muscle” and instruments of force over us, the citizenry. The whole point of the Second Amendment is to ensure and protect the ownership of military infantry-grade tactical firearms and ammunition by private citizens. Allowing U.S. law enforcement and military soldiers to have weapons with significantly higher magazine capacities than us, the law-abiding citizenry, would put us at a distinct disadvantage in a fight if, God forbid, it ever came to that. In order to remain a free people, the law-abiding citizens of the United States need to have access to tactical firearms that are absolutely commensurate technologically and capabilities-wise with the standing army’s infantry firearms and police force’s tactical firearms in order for the spirit and purpose of the Second Amendment to live, and in order for government to continue to operate by the consent of the governed. That’s government by the people, not over the people.
And what about all the violent criminals (felons) out there that already have illegally-obtained tactical firearms with high-capacity magazines in their possession? What are law-abiding citizens supposed to do about them? Should we be limited to 10-round magazines while the bad guys have access to 15-30-round, or even 100-round mags? What happens if a family has to go up against a team of 3-6 armed home invaders, which isn’t all that uncommon these days? That family may need more than 10 rounds at their immediate disposal to repel the invaders from their home. In that situation, a 30-round magazine capacity becomes not only advisable, but even necessary. Ask yourself this question: If a criminal home invasion team were trying to break into your home while you were in it, would you rather have 10 rounds of ammo at your immediate disposal, or 30 rounds? Do you think you should be limited to 10 rounds in the magazine by the government, the very government the Second Amendment was specifically designed to protect you against? Kind of a conflict of interest, don’t you think?
What about civilian competitive shooters who need high-capacity magazines for both practice/training and competition? The trend in 3-Gun competition is now towards 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO)/.223 Rem. AR (AR-15) rifle magazines (4179 STANAG) with greater capacity than 30 rounds. The new SureFire MAG5-60 60-shot HCM (High Capacity Magazine) is a perfect example of this, as it was a big hit with the competitors at Fort Benning 3-Gun (FB3G) Challenge 2010. Should they not have access to the SureFire mag? Are they not trustworthy?
And why 10 rounds? Why are the anti-gunners trying to limit us all the way down to 10 round magazines from 30-round mags? That’s roughly a 67% ammo capacity reduction. What happened to 20 rounds? How did they determine that 10 rounds is enough ammo for law abiding people to have, and what’s their expertise in martial matters? Do they have educational or experiential credentials that prove some kind of expert knowledge in the area of ammo capacity for various tactical/defensive situations? Have they conducted any studies? If so, who ran the studies, and what’s their background and expertise?
Why should ANY law-abiding U.S. citizens pay any freedom price whatsoever because the the U.S. mental health system and Tucson Arizona law enforcement, the latter run by the aforementioned grossly incompetent Sheriff Dupnik, failed all of us? Why look at guns and magazines, first, instead of fixing the real failure points and removing Dupnik from public office?
It’s nice to read that under Miss Brown’s recent stewardship, Newsweek has changed its typefaces and is now making “much more dramatic use of photography.” I’m relieved. After all, everyone knows that Newsweek’s core problem under Jon Meacham’s leadership was typeface and photo-based. A little too sarcastic? Tina Brown seems like an intelligent woman, but she’s a European-model socialist, and I have yet to see any evidence of her being a genius–and it will take the combination of a genius-level intellect and a significantly more conservative mindset than Miss Brown’s to save Newsweek from oblivion. In the immortal words of Admiral Bates from the movie Under Siege, “they’ve got a lot of trouble on that ship”.
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