New York Times columnist Joe Nocera jumped on Guns & Ammo-gate lickety-split. Duh. Joe is the Gray Lady’s leading proponent of civilian disarmament, through his own personal context-free zone (Gun Report) and regular editorials. Joe starts this morning’s anti-gun piece When a Gun Advocate Dissents with a simple statement: “It’s not as if Dick Metcalf was some kind of gun control fanatic.” You see what he did there? With one sentence Nocera paints gun rights advocates as intolerant fanatics. The rest of the polemic follows entirely predictable lines, especially this bit . . .
When people like me read an article like that [claiming mandatory training is not a Constitutional infringement], it seems momentarily possible that gun advocates and gun control advocates might be able to find some common ground. Much in the way that many gun control activists have come to accept the legitimacy of the Second Amendment — something that hasn’t always been the case — here was a man on the other side of the divide saying that some sensible regulation didn’t necessarily lead down a “slippery slope” to confiscation. If we are ever to have a sane gun policy, we desperately need people from both camps to meet somewhere in the middle.
As I explained to Joe on the ‘phone yesterday (before he wrote this column), there is no middle ground. The right to keep and bear arms in a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right. The Second Amendment specifically prohibits any government infringement. As in regulation. None.
In the course of our conversation, I asked Joe whether he would be in favor of mandatory training for journalists. “No I wouldn’t.” Then why do you support mandatory training for people exercising their right to keep and bear arms? “C’mon,” Joe said in his collegial sort of way. “There’s a quantitative difference between a newspaper and a gun. A gun kills people.”
And there you have it: the liberal elite’s rationale for regulating firearms. They’re dangerous. No really. Here’s a comment exchange underneath a cnn.com editorial Gun violence is a public health epidemic that called for universal background checks.
vrage UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS TO EXERCISE A RIGHT…..ok, I want a universal background check before people are allowed to vote to ensure they understand how our gov’t works, that they are a citizen in good standing and that they speak/understand American English. I want a universal background on all news agencies to ensure they have NO political bias and report the news events truthfully and factually. I want a universal background check on all persons wanting to exercise any of their US Constitutional RIGHTS . . .
kbtrpm Oh yes, because voting, like speaking English and reading newspapers, is lethal activity. One mistake and somebody dies. One fool and dozens die.
vrage What you fail to understand is whatever you allow the evil dictators in DC do to any one of the US Constitutional RIGHTS, you must be willing to allow them to do the same or similar actions to ALL your US Constitutional RIGHTS as you have allowed them to set the precedent to do so. Get it yet?
I didn’t take that tack with Nocera. I pointed out that knives are dangerous too. That car accidents claim the lives of 40k Americans per year. “That’s why I hate talking to you people,” Joe responded. “The conversation always devolves like this.” “You mean you don’t like it when people start talking about common sense and logic?” I replied.
At that point we both agreed that it would be a good idea to discuss gun control over a beer. Besides, Joe had an anti-gun rights advocates’ column to write.
But when people like me see the reaction from gun advocates to Metcalf’s tame proposal, it all seems hopeless again. Robert Farago, who maintains a blog called The Truth About Guns, started the ball rolling by linking to — and denouncing — Metcalf’s “diatribe.” He went on to describe the article as a “bone-headed, uninformed, patently obvious misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.” Other bloggers piled on. On the Guns & Ammo Facebook page, subscribers demanded Metcalf’s head, even as they canceled their subscriptions.
Well, it was. And I explained my reasoning to Mr. Nocera. But Joltin’ Joe had another agenda: taking a baseball bat to the gun control advocates’ bête noire, the NRA.
If you want to understand why so few gun owners are willing to stand up to the National Rifle Association, even though the majority disagree with the N.R.A.’s most extreme positions, here was a vivid example. Straying from the party line leads to vilification and condemnation that would give anybody pause.
Sure. The NRA are a bunch of jack-booted thugs looking to name, shame and defame anyone who goes against the “most extreme positions” of their “party line.”
That said, like all good propaganda, Nocera’s condemnation of the NRA contains a kernel of truth. The gun rights org is antagonistic to those who would compromise on Americans’ Second Amendment protections—in the same sense that the Democratic party has no tolerance for those who oppose income redistribution.
In fact, I wish the NRA was more antagonistic to gun rights waverers within its ranks. NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre’s call for the feds to fix the current FBI background check system before expanding it is the worst kind of appeasement. The NRA should declare itself opposed to background checks as a clear violation of the Second Amendment. Period.
Of course that’s not going to happen. Any more than gun control advocates are going to stop trying to portray themselves as reasonable, rational, open-minded—even as they work to undermine and destroy the right to keep and bear arms.
My guess is that Dick Metcalf always knew what he was in for — all the more reason writing his article took guts. In the aftermath, he was the only one who could still hold his head up high. On a blog called The Outdoor Wire, he wrote a lengthy response to his critics. He didn’t back down one iota. Describing himself as “disappointed” at the reaction to his article, he added, “If a respected editor can be forced to resign and a controversial writer’s voice be shut down by a one-sided social-media and Internet outcry, virtually overnight, simply because they dared to open a discussion or ask questions about a politically sensitive issue…then I fear for the future of our industry, and for our Cause.”
Maybe there’s hope yet.
And maybe there isn’t. But here’s something you can do. Joe said he didn’t include defensive gun uses (DGU) in his Gun Report column because he couldn’t find them. When you see a DGU in the media—a good, “clean” one—click here and send him a link. Nothing else. Just the link. What else is there to say?