Progressives, Guns, and the Assault on Truth
William L. Anderson
by William L. Anderson: Once
Again, the U.S. Courts Rule That Progressivist Fiction Is Truth
smell blood in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting
in Connecticut and their coordinated assaults, while not actually
making Americans any safer, nonetheless are going to see positive
results for the anti-gun lobby. Not surprisingly, the New York
Times, which is full of what Daniel
Okrent once called "bien-pesant" journalists,
has been leading a full-scale charge, demonizing any gun owner who
does not carry a weapon as part of his or her employment as being
a murderer or enabler of shooting little children.
A lot of writers,
such as Robert Higgs and Will Grigg, have dealt with the utter hypocrisy
of President Barack Obama decrying the killing of American school
children while at the same time ordering drone strikes in Pakistan,
Yemen, and elsewhere in which little children are killed. However,
since Obama has been declared by at least some of his
supporters as "our lord and savior," one would suppose
that The Great And Holy One is beyond any criticism, and especially
criticism from the "bien-pesant" journalists that
rule our media.
It is very
clear that the Obama anti-private gun ownership people are on the
offensive right now. The mass murder of little children by a private
gun user has a way of doing that. (There was
no such outcry when Bill Clinton and Janet Reno ordered the massacre
of more than 20 children at Waco in 1993. After all, Branch Davidians
were on the fringes of what "bien-pesant" journalists
would call polite or acceptable society, or what my academic colleagues
call "wackos," "gun nuts," and "whack jobs."
In other words, they were not like the rest of us, so the FBI and
BATF gave them what they deserved.)
Since the Sandy
Hook killings, the NYT has run a huge spate of editorials
and columns denouncing gun owners, calling for new controls, and
generally taking the offensive against anyone who might think differently
than journalists in mid-town Manhattan. Before I deal with a couple
of these pieces, I will relate a personal story of dealing with
the NYT types.
I went to high
school with a couple members of the Sulzberger clan (their mother
was the publisher of the local Chattanooga Times, which was
propped up by Sulzberger money even as her own policies ran the
paper into the ground). Not surprisingly, they were permanently
aghast at the way of thinking that other young men in Chattanooga
might exhibit, and it was clear that the Sulzbergers really did
regard the rest of us as the Great Unwashed and worse. There was
only one way to think and view the world, and anyone who did not
carry the proper "credentials" or who might think differently
than a True Sulzberger would think was not worthy even of casting
a shadow in front of them.
Over the years,
I have known a number of people who either have written for the
NYT or who have connections with the paper, and while my
relationships with them are pleasant enough, nonetheless the real
divide remains. The air of intellectual and moral superiority that
many of them carry is unmistakable. (I also have known some who
are decent enough people, but they also don’t last in that environment
and take their talents elsewhere.)
I write this
not as a personal slam against people who are connected with the
NYT, but rather to point out that these are "Progressive"
people who approach life from a very different viewpoint than most
readers of this article. For all of the talk about a "gun-control
debate," they are not interested in debating anyone, since
the Great Unwashed have nothing important to say. The following
two pieces I critique will demonstrate that point quite well.
In an editorial
the Guns," the anonymous editorial writer intones:
Obama on Wednesday gave
Vice President Joe Biden Jr. a month to complete a job that
he could have finished that afternoon. It is time to come up with,
as Mr. Obama put it, "a set of concrete proposals" to
make the nation safer from guns. The ways to do this are well-known
because the nation has grappled with gun massacres many times
before. It is Congress that hasn’t.
sensible gun-control bills have been offered and rejected.
The occasional bill has actually become law – but in hollow, loophole-riddled
form – and then been allowed to lapse. Farther-reaching proposals
focusing on things like banning certain kinds of bullets, or taxing
them out of existence, have been laughed at. (Emphasis mine)
What is a "sensible"
bill? To be honest, the only "sensible" bill that would
truly be acceptable to these people would be a total ban on all
privately-held firearms and handguns. Period. This is what they
believe. Like all good Progressives, the NYT editors hold that anyone
who does not use a gun in the line of government employment is
not fit to possess guns. Government agents are "trained"
to use guns; ordinary citizens are not, or so what is what Progressives
When one tries
to inject logic into the discussion, the editors slap down any such
remains is mired in excuses and passivity – an assault-weapons
ban is a nonstarter, Republicans say, because assault weapon is
a vague term. "How do you define assault weapon?" Senator
Richard Shelby, a Republican of Alabama, asked
Politico, saying a ban wouldn’t fix anything. "We’ve
seen that movie before," he said. What that answer ignores
is that definitions are possible, but the gun lobby and its
supporters, mostly in Mr. Shelby’s party, pepper them with exemptions
to make them less effective and to keep the gun-making business
nice and healthy. (Emphasis mine)
is correct. The so-called definitions in the end are arbitrary.
The typical standard rifle one can purchase at Wal-Mart or Dick’s
Sporting Goods is no less lethal than an "assault rifle."
The AR-15, which allegedly was used in the Sandy Hook shootings,
fires bullets the same way any rifle shoots them; there is nothing
special about the rifle itself that makes it any more deadly. The
definitions of which the NYT editorialist speaks are based
simply the cosmetic aspects of the gun, period.
True, an assault
weapons ban would include something about bayonet holders, but mass
murderers generally don’t use bayonets and the bayonet itself does
not make a bullet any less lethal. So, if it is not the lethal capacity
of a rifle, then what is it?
It goes back
to the view that Progressives have about government itself, that
government is sacred and holy, and that includes the armed forces.
Thus, if any ordinary citizen has a rifle that might look something
like what a U.S. soldier carries, that in and of itself is wrong
and violates the purity of the State. Regular people should not
own military-style guns because, well, they just shouldn’t.
To many of
us, cosmetics are just cosmetics and don’t mean much. Progressives,
however, believe that government is so sacrosanct that there needs
to be a separation between what ordinary "mundanes" might
own and what is in the possession of the state, and that certainly
holds when one is speaking of firearms. I believe that is one of
the reasons that I never have read an editorial in the NYT or any
other Progressive publication that condemns or even questions the
militarization of the police.
at all levels of government have become much more military in style
and much more abusive in their treatment of ordinary citizens, and
I believe the two things are related. As Will
Grigg points out in this article, even small towns where there
is almost no violent crime now are subject to marauding police officers
armed with military-style gear that allows them to "play soldier."
On top of that, we have seen exponential
increases in SWAT-type raids in which innocent people are killed,
young children terrorized, and people unnecessarily exposed to police
the Progressives have not condemned such Police State events speaks
volumes to the current gun control media monologue. In reality,
innocent people are much more likely to be victims of "soldier-style"
police brutality than they are a mass shooter, but to the NYT crowd,
the former is acceptable because it is carried out by state agents,
and there is no higher or holier calling than to be part of the
Nicholas Kristof then cites the Usual Litany of Things that
have been trotted out before – and have not prevented a single murder
reasonable argument that the Second Amendment confers an individual
right – to bear a musket. Beyond that, it’s more complicated.
Everybody agrees on a ban on fully automatic machine guns. The
question isn’t whether to limit the right to bear arms, but where
to draw the line.
to see us take
a public health approach that reduces the harm that guns cause.
We could limit gun purchases to one a month to impede traffickers,
make serial numbers harder to file off, ban high-capacity magazines,
finance gun buybacks, require solid background checks even for
private gun sales, require microstamping so that bullet casings
can be traced back to a particular gun and mandate that guns be
stored in gun safes or with trigger locks.
It then gets
The gun lobby
often cites the work of John Lott, who argued that more guns mean
less crime, but scholars
have since thoroughly debunked Lott’s arguments. Published
research makes it clear that having a
gun in the home simply makes it more likely that you will be shot
– by your partner or by yourself. Americans are safer if they
rely on 911 for protection rather than on a gun. (Emphasis
"debunking" is found in one paper that appeared in Stanford
Law Review, which hardly is going to require the kind of rigor
needed to debunk other arguments backed up with statistics. (Law
reviews are run by students and tend to be highly ideological, and
simply do not carry the same authority that other peer-reviewed
journals might have.)
idea that 911 "protects" us is a howler. Sandy Hook School
is a perfect case in point. Here is a school that had a lockdown
security system that supposedly was foolproof, yet Lanza still got
into the building. Furthermore, people at the school did
call 911, yet 27 people quickly were murdered. The police, like
the police at the Columbine murders, played no part in preventing
No doubt, Kristof
believes that creating more "gun-free zones" like what
we have in schools and movie theaters would make us more "safe."
Tucker absolutely debunks that notion:
In the days
that followed the (Sandy Hook) killing, my browser kept taking
me back to a Wikipedia link about the Gun-Free School Zones Act
of 1990. The law, still intact after many challenges and rewrites,
reads: "It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly
to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects
interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual
knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone."
Guns of all
sorts are banned anywhere near schools. If the government’s
laws had worked, this killer would have realized that his plan
was unachievable. After all, the world’s most powerful government
had banned the whole idea of guns at school.
But the law
did not work, at least not as intended. On the contrary. The
killer could be pretty sure going into this that he would be the
only one at the school with a gun. (emphasis mine)
this: Schools in particular have been singled out as a place without
the ability to defend against violence. The law has been challenged
and revised and debated ever since, but the bottom line stands.
Have school shootings declined? Most major shootings now occur
in gun-free zones, and nearly twice as many since the act passed
than in the 20 years prior. (See
the full list.)
The silly idea
of having "gun-free zones" falls right in the line of
Progressivist thinking, and Progressives are people who do not like
to be confused with facts. The creation of these "zones"
is not done in order to protect anyone; indeed, law-abiding people
in those areas are more vulnerable to spree killers than they would
No, the creation
of "gun-free zones" is ideological, period. Progressives
are making the statement that guns are bad and that people need
to be protected from the evils that the mere presence of a gun create.
As the NYT intoned, "It’s the Guns." It is not
people, just the guns.
L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland,
and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute. He
also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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