The Unspoken Truth About Gun Control
By Gary North
Political activists are more entrenched on this issue than any other issue in American life.
Somebody might say that legalized abortion would be the top candidate. I don’t think that’s the case. Opponents of abortion are not going to change, but the degree of commitment has faded over the last two decades. The futility of trying to stop abortion has generally placed the issue on the back burners of the conservative movement, and also the back burners of most anti-abortionists. They would certainly vote against the extension of abortion, but they’re not going to get actively involved in picketing or other anti-abortion activities that were common in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The original Operation Rescue is long gone. The fire has gone out of the anti-abortionist movement. It slogs along.
The fire has not gone out of the gun-control fight.
Every time there is a mass shooting, people who oppose gun control send lots of money to the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America. Some also register to buy another gun.
The recent knee-jerk reaction of the President of the United States to insist on some kind of gun-control legislation, which he knows there is not a prayer of getting through Congress, took place within hours. Barack Obama responds faster to a mass shooting than Al Sharpton responds to a race riot.
On no other issue in American life is the knee-jerk reaction on each side of the battle lines so automatic. There is nothing semiautomatic about it.
We all know the arguments never change on either side. I could reproduce a flyer on either side that was printed in 1975, and you would figure these are up-to-date arguments.
I was involved with this back in the late 1960’s, when I worked with state Senator Bill Richardson of California. He was the founder of Gun Owners of America in 1975, and he is still actively involved. I can think of no other issue that I actively support that I have actively supported for half a century.
Why is this? What is it about this issue that gets the troops on both sides of the barricades to mobilize?
I think it really is a knee-jerk reaction. Both sides feel that they have to do something to make noise. Neither side believes that any major change is about to take place, and major changes never take place. It is really all at the margins, and in this case, the gun controllers always lose.
Here is the dirty little secret of the Second Amendment movement: we love to see the Left lose.
THE THRILL OF VICTORY. THE AGONY OF DEFEAT
Scenario: there is a mass shooting in some legally gun-free zone.
If I were writing the headline and subhead, you would read this:
Shooter Kills Ten in a Gun-Free Zone.Gun-Control Organizations Call for a Gun-Free America
I do not write the headlines, sadly.
The Left immediately screams, rolls on the floor, and threatens to hold its collective breath until it turns blue if Congress refuses to pass some kind of gun-control legislation. Congress never does. Then the Left gets up, goes back to the office, and sends out fundraising letters. It’s business as usual.
Second Amendment people immediately send a donation to a Second Amendment lobby, knowing full well that Congress will do nothing. Why do we care? Because we love to see the Left scream, roll on the floor, and threaten to hold its breath until it turns blue.
The Left cannot understand why Second Amendment supporters do this every time there is a mass shooting. This lack of comprehension never ceases to amaze me. Don’t Leftists understand what a delight it is for us to see their movement stonewalled successfully for half a century? Don’t these people understand how much delight they provide for Second Amendment defenders when they go apoplectic every time Congress resists acting in response to another mass shooting?
Don’t people on the Left understand how people on the Right enjoy seeing people on the Left bang their heads against a political brick wall, automatically, every time there is a mass shooting? We get to see this every time. We get to see the enormous frustration of the Left on an issue which both sides hold dear. We hold the cards on this one. The Left does not win. It desperately hopes to win because it believes that every crisis should be followed by federal legislation. But on this issue, it never is.
Shelby Foote, the author of the magnificent three-volume history of the Civil War, tells this story. Union troops captured a Confederate foot soldier — just an average soldier. One of the union troops asked him: “What are you fighting for, anyway?” The prisoner of war offered this answer: “Because you’re down here.”
This is one of the best answers that anybody can give for resisting any government intervention. When somebody is down here, trying to push us around, and we have a significant possibility of frustrating him, we are going to resist.
The Left is always interfering with our lives. They want to push us around. They want to get Congress to authorize the creation of a new bureaucracy, filled with people who wear badges and guns, and who then interfere in our lives. We get tired of it. We have been tired of it for over 100 years. And on this issue — this magnificent issue — we have successfully pushed back. This frustrates the Left to no end. They cannot believe that they cannot push through gun-control legislation. They are outraged by this. They become hysterical. Apoplectic. They go — I love this word — ballistic.
We love to see it. There is nothing like watching a hysterical gun controller go into print, or go on television, screaming about the need for the federal government to do something about guns. The Republicans, and lots of Democrats in Congress, then refuse to do anything.
The Left always blames the National Rifle Association. Well, that’s politics, baby. That’s how it works. Hard-core gun-rights voters send money to politicians, and they make it clear to the politicians that if they vote wrong on this issue, they are not going to be reelected. And what do you know? The politicians get the memos. This frustrates the Left beyond belief, because they want this power, and they want it in every area of our lives except sexual promiscuity. They want Congress to roll over and play dead. But on this issue, Congress knows where its bread is buttered.
On this issue, we’ve got the votes. We’ve had the votes for half a century. This is the one issue on which we can tell the Left to take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut. This enrages the Left. That’s half the fun for us. Maybe three-quarters.
HUFFPO GOES BALLISTIC
I cannot imagine any outlet of Left-wing opinion that has not run an article on the shootings in Oregon, and how Congress has failed to act. I have selected this example. It was written by Jennifer Bendery, who is all in a dither. She is described as a “White House & Congressional Reporter.”
Here is the headline: Despite Mass Shootings, Republicans Won’t Touch Gun Laws. This is an accurate headline.
Then the headline writer gets frantic. Background checks won’t work. It’s Obama’s fault. It’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue. Any other excuses? As many as you would like.
WASHINGTON — Last week’s mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, was the 265th time that’s happened in the U.S. this year. It came after the movie theater massacre in Lafayette, Louisiana, in July that left two dead and nine injured, which came after the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in June that killed nine.There have been plenty of others. They just didn’t make national news.
Through it all, Congress has done nothing about gun violence. The last time lawmakers acted was in April 2013, when the Senate failed to pass a bill tightening background checks on gun sales. The Huffington Post got to thinking: Is there a level of violence that would cause a lawmaker to reconsider his or her opposition to gun control bills? A mass shooting every week? Another attack on an elementary school, this time in his or her home state?
All of the above.
Let me quote one of my heroes, who remained my hero until his death: Bobby Fischer. Fischer would not kowtow to anybody’s line. That’s why I liked him.
Back when he was 15 years old, he won my heart. He was asked, after he had become the youngest Grand Master in history, what it was that he liked most about chess. He uttered his classic line, “I love to see them squirm.”
People on the Left, who live their lives in terms of politics, should understand this attitude in the ranks of Second Amendment defenders. We love to see them squirm.
Maybe this is childish. I don’t care. Both sides understand the stakes, which are high, and both sides understand the nature of politics. One side keeps losing. The other side keeps winning. The losers are frustrated out of their minds. The winners are delighted to see the losers frustrated out of their minds...
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