Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has penned another polemic conflating facts with opinion, anecdotes with analysis. In other news, the sun came up this morning. Still, you gotta give Sugarmann credit for reaching new heights of hypocrisy and misdirection. Let’s start at the end. “When the issue is life and death, feelings should never trump facts,” Sugamann concludes. “Even when there’s an armed mob arguing otherwise.” Anyone even vaguely familiar with the VPC crusader’s writings, whether at the Huffington Post or at kentucky.com, knows that Sugarmann’s plea for a rational debate on gun control is as credible as Kim Kardashian calling for new privacy laws. For proof we need only contemplate the end of that sentence—armed mobs?— or return the beginning of Sugarmann’s rant . . .
Are armed mobs becoming socially acceptable? Watching television coverage of gun owners eager to brandish their firearms in public spaces, that appears to be the desired goal of “open-carry” advocates.
Exploiting loopholes in state laws that don’t explicitly ban the open carrying of handguns and other firearms is an omission of default rather than design – who would think people would actually want to live out their Wild West fantasies in real life – open-carry advocates take delight in thumbing their noses at societal norms by brandishing their firearms.
I’m not exactly sure what Sugarmann is trying to say in the second ‘graph. I think he’s suggesting that open carry is illegal by default. That legislators meant to ban it but, I dunno, forgot. If so, he’s wrong. At the risk of offering a piercing glimpse into the blindingly obvious, American society started out without gun laws. Open carry was de facto legal.
Sugarmann’s failure to appreciate this simple point is indicative of the liberal mindset: that which is not specifically approved by law is assumed to be illegal. And if something that’s legal now is undesirable (as decided by their self-appointed guardians), the government should make it illegal.
At a “Restore the Constitution Rally” held in April outside the nation’s capital, one speaker warned the tiny crowd of fellow “patriots” of those “pushing the country toward civil war” and declared “they should stop before somebody gets hurt.” In May, white supremacists openly carried guns at a small counter-event to a peaceful protest of Arizona’s new immigration law. One armed protester, who characterized Hitler as a great white civil rights leader, asked, “Where on the planet is there one country that’s for white people? There’s not. See, we have nowhere to go.”
The protesters insisted they needed their loaded guns for protection and that they were prepared to use them if necessary.
Sugarmann knows as well as I do that there was ONE white supremacist at the immigration rally in question. The protesterS consisted of this one unidentified, unaffiliated whack job and his silent friend. [See; above YouTube video] To suggest that even a tiny minority of open carry advocates are white supremacists is willfully, libelously, inexcusably ignorant. Oh wait; I forgot. The ends justify the means.
Like any good propagandist, Sugarmann cherry picks his anecdotes and supporting statistics to create a highly plausible case for those who already agree with his perspective. And he practices what he preaches others shouldn’t practice. In this case, again, appealing to emotions rather than considered contemplation.
Despite promises that those who carry guns in public are uniquely law-abiding citizens who protect public safety and aid police, a Violence Policy Center research project available on the web at ( http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm) reveals that since May 2007, concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 157 private citizens in addition to nine law enforcement officers.
And just last month, Jesus Gonzalez, an avid open-carry activist, was charged with homicide and attempted murder for shooting two men on Mothers’ Day. Gonzalez claims he shot the men in self-defense. The surviving victim, paralyzed from the waist down, says he and his uncle were unarmed and merely walking to a friend’s house when Gonzalez threatened them and then opened fire.
For those who don’t like leaping to conclusions (a rare breed on all sides of the gun debate), it should be noted that this case is ongoing. As is Sugarmann’s case against gun owners in general, gun rights groups in specific, and gun-toting extremists in particular. In the reverse order.
The thing of it is this: although there is a spectrum of gun owners—from those who own and use guns without political agitation to full-on Second Amendment paranoid fantasists—playing connect-the-dots between them brings more heat than light. Which, despite his protestations to the contrary, is Mr. Sugarmann’s goal.
Quite simply, the VPC is dedicated to reducing the general public’s access to firearms (for their own good, of course). As we have seen time and time again, their head cheerleader is ready, willing and able to abandon any reality-based sense of perspective in order to achieve their goals (i.e. raise money). In that sense, the VPC are no better than the people they condemn. And in many important ways, worse.