The Philadelphia Inquirer will never be mistaken for a pro-gun publication, but even their editorial board found the travails of Shaneen Allen — a single mother of two who ran afoul of New Jersey’s Kafkaesque firearms laws — appalling. “Allen’s case illustrates the danger of relying on prosecutors for restraint, a consequence of any mandatory minimum sentence. Tough gun laws can save lives, but rigid penalties for sometimes minor crimes risk needlessly ruining lives, along with the rationale for those laws.” . . .
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of freedom and liberty. Heaven forbid that mandatory minimum sentences should ruin the case for laws restricting our civil liberties.
This is the sort of statement one would make upon learning that a significant portion of the universe doesn’t comport with your vision of things. But openly admitting such would cause discomfort among one’s social circle, and might lead to exclusion from the really good cocktail parties. The Inquirer’s editorial board clearly had to thread the needle between their ideology and some semblance of integrity and this was been the best they could manage. Kudos, Inquirer, on a job…done.
Of course, some people don’t even bother with the whole integrity bit. Bryan Miller, formerly of Ceasefire New Jersey and current executive director of an anti-gun religious organization called “Heeding God’s Call”, is one of them.
Upset at the ideological apostasy committed by the Inquirer, this modern-day zampolit penned a letter taking them to task. He starts off by admonishing Pennsylvanians who carry firearms to stay away from the Garden State (don’t stress too hard about that one, Mr. Miller; it’s more of a ‘drive-over’ territory for those of us who occasionally go to New York City or parts beyond on business.) Then, he turns his little ideological crusade up to eleven by attacking Shaneen Allen directly.
As to Allen, yes, she’s a mother with a law-abiding background. Yes, she alerted a policeman in New Jersey that she was carrying a loaded (with hollow-point bullets), concealed, and unsecured handgun. Yes, her plight pulls at the heartstrings. But equally, she broke three laws that Jerseyans overwhelmingly support.
There is a duty of responsibility upon anyone possessing a gun, the most lethal consumer product. That duty is dramatically greater for anyone seeking to carry a loaded and concealed handgun. And it grows further for anyone deciding to load her handgun with massively destructive hollow-point bullets.
Allen, however, acted as if she had no duty or responsibility at all. When the Editorial Board implied that New Jersey law and its enforcers were at fault, it turned logic on its head.
Bryan Miller, executive director, Heeding God’s Call
The only logic turned on its head here is where Mr. Bryan claims to be concerned at all about law and personal responsibility while he rhetorically kicks to the curb a single mother of two who worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. Someone who bought a pistol after being repeatedly robbed, who by all accounts was safely and responsibly carrying that pistol, and who spent 40 days in jail before making bail because she volunteered the truth to a police officer and an overzealous prosecutor decided that this poor Black woman was an easy mark for a plea bargain.
Miller has no problem with the horrendous treatment accorded Ms. Allen by the state of New Jersey. A woman who is now out of work because New Jerseyans apparently “overwhelmingly support” laws that would put a single working mother in jail rather than let her safely and responsibly carry tools to protect her life and those of her children.
What nonsense. I would have expected a man leading a religious organization — particularly one that claims inspiration from the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. — to understand that the approval of a majority does not give that majority the moral right to imprison and oppress the weakest, poorest, and most vulnerable in that society.
In fact, I’m compelled to wonder: is Miller’s “Heeding God’s Call” group really a serious faith-based organization? Or is it a farcical group that was cut from the final draft of a particularly verbose Ayn Rand novel for being “too much of a cliched one-dimensional straw man?”