Ian Mercer, the father of Oregon mass murderer Chris Harper Mercer, was eager to blame guns for hypnotizing his boy into a shooting spree.
“We talk about gun laws. We talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it and nothing gets done,” he lamented. “I’m not trying to say that that’s to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get hold of 13 guns, this wouldn’t have happened.”
As a point of order, Mr. Mercer is in fact saying that guns are to blame, when he begins his remarks by complaining that fresh gun control laws aren’t getting passed every time there is a shooting. The next words out of his mouth in the interview were, “I’m a great believer you don’t buy guns, don’t buy guns, you don’t buy guns.” It sure sounds like he’s blaming the guns for what happened… and he wants the rest of the populace to feel ashamed for not sharing his personal aversion to purchasing firearms.
Also, the number of guns owned by the shooter is not logically relevant. He wasn’t juggling 13 guns while he executed Christians for testifying to their faith, and the 13th gun did not magically compel him to become a killer.
Logical fallacies and dishonesty are par for the course in the gun control debate. Zealots always insist they have nothing against certain kinds of guns or gun owners – relax, hunters, your friendly Democrat representatives would never dream of taking your guns away!
Opportunistic politicians such as Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker demonstrate shocking ignorance of existing gun laws by calling for “urgently needed” measures that have already been on the books for years. Their few new proposals are either meaningless gestures designed to evoke a sympathetic emotional response from listeners, or full frontal assaults on the U.S. Constitution that have no chance of passing either Congress (which no longer matters to totalitarian liberals) or the Supreme Court (which does.)
When the local Oregon sheriff refused to get on board with the gun-control agenda, pig-ignorant activists grabbed headlines by demanding his immediate termination… even though the sheriff is an elected position, and this particular sheriff’s positions appear to be widely shared among his constituents.
The triumph of emotion over reason makes for bad politics, and there are few political arguments worse than gun control. (Another contender for top dishonors would be abortion, where pro-abortion zealots display similar hostility to reason, and proud ignorance of the laws they agitate over.)
One curious side effect of the gun-control lobby’s remorseless efforts to manipulate emotion is that suddenly liberals claim to care about what the victims of violent crime think.
The Left is usually very hostile to the notion that crime victims – including survivors, families of the slain, and people like Ian Mercer whose lives are damaged by the violent actions of loved ones – should have anything to say about punishment or criminal law. Such people are obviously distraught, they tell us, so we should pay no heed to their demands for swift justice, their denunciations of left-wing policies that put criminals back on the street, or their enthusiasm for capital punishment. Of course a grieving father wants the man who killed his child put to death! Pay no attention to the man, he’s just working out his grief. Reporters often go out of their way to avoid interviewing such people, even when they’re willing to make public statements.
Likewise, the media is not much interested in crime survivors who want to talk about how they legally employed firearms to protect themselves and their loved ones… or who wish they had been allowed to protect themselves with guns, when robbers or rapists attacked them in a “gun-free zone.” No special moral currency is granted to such knowledgeable witnesses to the defensive value of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. On the contrary, liberal Democrats are prone to attacking such people for speaking up, calling them foolish and lecturing them on how their desire to fend off violent criminals with firearms is wrong-headed.
But when a victim or family member says something helpful to the gun-control cause… whoa, stop the presses! Argument over, dude! How can you possibly argue with the Absolute Moral Authority of this distraught individual?
When someone like Andy Parker, the father of slain Virginia reporter Alison Parker, makes himself useful to the gun control cause, instant celebrity across the media spectrum is readily available – especially if he wishes to portray himself as the little David trying to slay the Goliath of the “gun lobby” that supposedly holds Congress captive.
Such an activist’s level of knowledge about firearms and gun laws is not considered a necessary qualification for the position of superstar spokesperson. All that matters is the assumed moral authority that comes from being the family member of a victim… an authority the Left is unwilling to grant most other survivors.
A notable recent exception would be the families of people who were killed during confrontations with law enforcement officers, which would seem to contradict the Left’s preferred narrative that only cops can be trusted with guns. When they’re not busy pushing gun-control laws to control citizens, certain elements of the liberal coalition don’t seem all that enthusiastic about the police having all the weapons.
Also, it’s interesting how no one calls for stricter gun control laws after armed youths, and young men who were such “gun nuts” that they littered their Facebook pages with photos of firearms, are killed by the police. In fact, the media goes out of its way to ignore or suppress photos of such young men proudly posing with their guns.
Those who ignore the political positions of crime victims in every other context would doubtless say that criminal law is a complex matter that should be left to lawyers, legislators, and judges, rather than being shaped by the emotional pleas of those who have suffered unspeakable tragedy, no matter how sympathetic they might be. Gun control ties directly and inevitably into the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – the right our Founders thought should be confirmed in the very next breath after freedom of speech and religion – so it should be considered even more dispassionately.
Most criminal laws affect a fairly small percentage of the population.
For example, laws against murder are not necessary to keep the vast majority of Americans from seriously contemplating murder. Gun control laws affect millions of perfectly decent, law-abiding Americans who have never committed a crime. Draconian restrictions or an outright ban would be the largest exercise of compulsive power ever directed at innocent Americans by their government.
One might be tempted to argue that the income tax was larger, but remember, when it was first imposed, the income tax affected a very small number of wealthy individuals. The sort of gun ban President Obama was musing over when he cited the Australian example would be huge right out of the gate, and it would probably grow larger over time. Once the floodgate of a Constitutional right has been smashed, the tide of compulsion will inevitably surge through.
We should be discussing such matters of Constitutional law, affecting millions of people and profoundly influencing the relationship between American citizens and their government, in the most carefully reasoned manner. Instead, all we get are lies, distortions, and cheesy attempts to manipulate emotion, in a blind rush to exploit a headline atrocity before the news cycle rolls along.