E.J. Dionne is upset that the Lightworker apparently doesn't want to start a civil war and burn the country down to the ground around all our ears. YET. My open letter to the silly putz follows.
Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?
By E.J. Dionne Jr.Monday, April 20, 2009
Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of guns, including assault weapons, were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, arming criminal gangs who were killing American law enforcement officials and other U.S. citizens.
Then imagine the Mexican president saying, "Well, we would really like to do something about this, but our political system makes helping you very difficult." Wouldn't Mexico's usual critics attack that country's political system for corruption and ineptitude and ask: "Why can't they stop this lawlessness?"
That, in reverse, is the position President Obama was in last week when he visited Mexico. The Mexican gangs are able to use guns purchased in the United States because of our insanely permissive gun regulations, and Obama had to make this unbelievably clotted, apologetic statement at a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón:
"I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment rights in our Constitution, the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners who want to keep their families safe, to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know, here in Mexico, are helping to fuel extraordinary violence.
Violence in our own country as well. Now, having said that, I think none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy."
In other words: Our president can deal with all manner of big problems, but the American gun lobby is just too strong to let him push a rational and limited gun regulation through Congress.
It's particularly infuriating that Obama offered this statement of powerlessness just a few days before today's 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado -- and just after a spree of mass homicides across the United States took the lives of least 57 people.
No other democratic country in the world has the foolish, ineffectual gun regulations that we do. And, unfortunately, what Obama said is probably true.
Earlier this year, when Attorney General Eric Holder called for a renewal of the ban on assault weapons -- he was only repeating a commitment Obama made during the presidential campaign -- the response from a group of 65 pro-gun House Democrats was: No way.
Their letter to Holder was absurd. "The gun-control community has intentionally misled many Americans into believing that these weapons are fully automatic machine guns. They are not. These firearms fire one shot for every pull of the trigger." Doesn't that make you feel better?
Those Democrats should sit down with Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. "Time and time again, our police are finding themselves outgunned," Rendell said in Harrisburg last week. "They are finding themselves with less firepower than the criminals they are trying to bring to justice."
The Democratic governor told his own state's legislators that if they didn't support such a ban, "then don't come to those memorial services" for the victims of gun violence. "It's wrong," he said. "It's hypocritical."
And why can't we at least close the gun show loophole? Licensed dealers have to do background checks on people who buy guns. The rules don't apply at gun shows, which, as the Violence Policy Center put it, have become "Tupperware Parties for Criminals."
But too many members of Congress are "petrified" of the gun lobby, says Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a crusader for sane gun legislation ever since her husband was killed and her son paralyzed by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993.
Family members of the victims of gun violence, she says, are mystified by Congress's inability to pass even the most limited regulations. "Why can't you just get this done?" she is asked. "What is it you don't understand?"
Obama, at least, should understand this: He was not elected by the gun lobby. It worked hard to rally gun owners against him -- and failed to stop him.
According to a 2008 exit poll, Obama received support from just 37 percent among voters in households where guns are present -- barely more than John Kerry's 36 percent in 2004. But among the substantial majority of households that don't have guns, Obama got 65 percent, up eight points from Kerry. Will Obama stand up for the people who actually voted for him?
Yes, I understand about swing voters, swing states, the priority of the economy and all that. But given Congress's default to the apologists for loose gun laws, it will take a president to make something happen.
An Open Letter to E.J. Dionne: The "Gun Lobby" is YOUR last line of defense.
re: Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?"
Ho Chi Minh once cautioned his followers to "cherish your enemies, they teach you the most valuable lessons."
Ensnared by your own prejudices and cut off from a complete sense of reality by your isolation from other folks (us) who do not agree with your world view, citizen disarmament advocates such as yourself present our side of the argument with a moral dilemma. Should we explain to you how little clue you have about the dangers you face or should we just let you walk forward unwarned into a minefield that you unwittingly made yourselves?
As an owner of the types of heretofore legal semi-automatic rifles you are seeking to ban, I will try to save you from your own worst impulses.
What you must understand is that the old political verities no longer apply. You berate Obama and other members of his party for failing to embrace further gun control while you are in ignorance of the fact that there are gun owners far more uncompromising than the NRA who refuse to obey any more gun restrictions. Such "bitter clingers" are known as "Three Percenters."
If such a law as you propose is passed, we will resist it and defy you to enforce it upon us. And the Government, being the government, will attempt to do just that. Shots will be fired and the next American civil war will be joined.
Now, as we come from entirely different world views, you may not believe this. It is nonetheless true. And as an advocate of other people's disarmament and the official theft of their liberty and property, you should hope that they don't choose to play by Bill Clinton's rules should push come to shove.
Surely you recall when Clinton decided to expand the rules of engagement with the Serbs in 1999, declaring that the political, media and intellectual underpinnings of their regime were legitimate targets of war? Do the precision guided munitions he had directed into the headquarters of Serbian Television and Radio ring a bell?
At the time this was roundly condemned by free speech and press advocates all over the world, and rightly so. Yet, the precedent WAS set, the point WAS made. Can you be entirely confident that it won't be invoked once more against you?
Here's the thing about "enemies lists" such as Napolitano's "Right Wing Extremists" report -- the sloppy scholarship represented by the elisions and conflations of the very real differences between veterans, constitutional militias and small government activists and mad dog white supremacist terrorists convinces all of us that we are intended victims regardless of what we believe. And the dangerous thing about "enemy of the people" lists in the real world is that they work both ways.
So cherish the "gun lobby." The way many on our side see it, as long as they exist and are able to use traditional politics to protect our rights, they protect YOU from uncompromising gun owners and not the other way around.
This may not be the "hope" and "change" you were looking for, but it is the hope and change you got.
I expect to be in Washington in the month of June and would welcome the chance to discuss these issues and answer any questions about the great percentage of your countrymen of whom you seemingly know so little.
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