Tim McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet intended for President Ronald Reagan, will observe the 30th anniversary of the attempted assassination on Wednesday by going to Springfield to oppose legislation that would repeal Illinois's ban on concealed carrying of firearms.
McCarthy said he's alarmed that an Illinois House Committee approved a concealed carry proposal. The full House could vote soon.
As happens so often, the fact McCarthy, now the police chief of Chicago suburb Orland Park, is a Democrat isn't reported. In 1998, he sought his party's endorsement for Illinois Secretary of State.
Loyal readers will recall that I warned last year of the perfect storm approaching on gun control. Now, with the Tucson, Ariz., tragedy as a steppingstone and with eyes firmly focused on his re-election, President Barack Obama has opened a campaign to appease his base on the polarizing issue.
Let me completely disclose my position: I am a strong Second Amendment advocate. I believe in protecting our fundamental rights, including our Second Amendment rights, through the political process. To that end, I serve as honorary chairman of the "Trigger The Vote" voter registration campaign.
John Avlon again attacked conservatives, this time on the gun rights issues, in a Thursday column on CNN.com. Avlon bashed the "bumper sticker policies" and the "reason-free activist crowd" of Second Amendment activists. The Daily Beast writer also invoked Reagan's past support of gun control measures in another attempt to sever today's conservative activists from the former president's legacy.
Editor's Note: Michelle Malkin is on vacation. The following column was originally published in March 2007.
"The Second Amendment," Charlton Heston used to say, "is America's first freedom." The Second secures the rest.
It's a message narcissistic journalists need to hear again. A decade ago, Heston chastised the media in a National Press Club speech for its collective ignorance, apathy and open hostility toward gun owners' rights:
A confounded Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, couldn't get his head around the concept of Texas allowing 21-year-olds on college campuses to carry concealed weapons to defend themselves, as he repeatedly threw out scenarios, seemingly from TV, movies and his own imagination, of crazed students with guns.
Fortunately Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth was on hand to repeatedly and ably clarify and correct Matthews of his misconceptions. In fact Matthews was so bewildered by Wentworth's command of the facts that by the end of the interview he admitted his own anti-gun bias as he blurted: "I don't know. It's a strange world you're getting us into Senator. Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's cowboys and Indians. I live in a city, I think it's strange."
First up Matthews, drawing from his expertise in old TV and movie Westerns, questioned Wentworth if he thought it was okay for college students to bring guns "into saloons" to which the state senator had to notify Matthews that bars weren't even allowed on Texas campuses.
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Martin Savidge teamed up with guests Rachel Sklar and Nick Ragone to oppose a proposed bill in Texas that would allow college students with concealed carry permits to carry handguns on campus. Savidge only had conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson on to voice his support for the bill during the segment, who faced off against the three.
The anchor brought on Sklar, Ragone, and Ferguson 48 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour for a panel discussion on the Texas legislation. He first turned to the former Huffington Post editor: "Rachel...what do you think of the idea of Texas allowing students to carry guns?" Predictably, Sklar ripped the idea:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday conducted a softball interview with Michael Bloomberg, touting his new gun control campaign and never once calling the New York mayor a liberal.
GMA even featured a truck promoting Fixgunchecks.org, highlighting the parked vehicle just outside ABC studios. Ignoring ideological labels, Stephanopoulos introduced, "New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg joins us now. He's co-founder of Mayor's Against Illegal Guns and he's unveiling a new campaign today to toughen gun control."
Stephanopoulos didn't offer much in the way of tough questions. After Bloomberg cited the Tucson shooting, the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the co-anchor blandly wondered, "So, better background checks?"
Andrea Mitchell, for a second day in a row, pushed for more gun control on her MSNBC show as she encouraged Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, "You and Mike Bloomberg...have all been yelling and screaming," about more restrictive anti-gun measures, "Somebody's got to listen in Washington." Initially invited on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss the Obama administration's push for more green jobs, Nutter wasn't allowed to finish the segment without Mitchell pressing him: "As a big city mayor, what are you saying to the White House about waiting for this gun control speech we keep hearing about?"
On yesterday's show Mitchell expressed disappointment, to the aformentioned New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, that Barack Obama had "absolutely nothing, not one word....not even a sentence" in his State of the Union speech about gun control.
In a pre-taped interview with gun control advocate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aired during Wednesday's 1PM ET hour on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell browbeat President Obama for having "absolutely nothing, not one word....not even a sentence" about gun control in his State of the Union address.
Prior to the interview, Mitchell touted Bloomberg's anti-gun crusade: "Michael Bloomberg is on a mission, a mission to curb guns, especially the semiautomatic pistols and the magazine used in Tucson. He sent New York undercover investigators to buy guns and ammo at a Phoenix gun show last month." While she noted how the Arizona attorney general "says Bloomberg overstepped his bounds" she seemed to cheer the Mayor's defiance: "I talked to the mayor last night and he's only just beginning to fight."
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski broke from the panel discussion Tuesday and implored Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to close the state's so-called gun show loophole. The MSNBC panel was discussing lax gun show laws allowing persons to purchase semi-automatic guns with little or no background check performed on them.
Brzezinski, seemingly abandoning journalism in favor of advocacy, tersely asked Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on camera to close the state's gun show loophole. "Just close the loophole. Governor Bob McDonnell," Brzezinski pleaded, staring into the camera as she singled out the state's chief executive.
Virginia law presently allows private transactions at gun shows to be completed without paperwork. Federal law mandates licenced gun sellers to perform background checks on buyers; private sellers are not obliged by the state to do so.
Given the chance to interview Katie Couric, I wouldn't ask her what newspapers she reads. I'd want to know how she understands her role as anchor, and why she thinks it's appropriate to express opinions on controversial issues of the day.
For that's just what she's done on the subject of gun control, expressing disappointment that Pres. Obama didn't raise it in his SOTU.
Describing her dissatisfaction in her "Notebook" yesterday, Couric asserted that PBO's failure to raise gun control put a "cloud" over the SOTU.
It appears NBC's Matt Lauer is not happy about Barack Obama's failure to exploit the Tucson shooting to push for more gun control as on Wednesday's Today show, he seemingly expressed disappointment to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that the President "missed" an "opportunity" to address it in his State of the Union speech.
Lauer's anti-gun question to Giuliani came on the heels of his pushing White House senior advisor, on yesterday's show, to reveal if Obama would join current NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in making a push for more gun control. On this morning's Today show, Lauer went even further, as he, in addition to throwing Bloomberg's words in Giuliani's face, also read directly from a Brady Center press release, as seen in the following January 26 exchange:
In previewing the President's State of the Union Address, on Tuesday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer pushed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, mostly from the left, as he pressed her to reveal if Obama would "directly address gun control" and asked if Obama's appointment of business leaders to his team, risked "alienating some more liberal voters...who don't like big business."
Appearing in the 7am half hour of this morning's show, Jarrett was questioned by the Today co-anchor if the President was moved, in the wake of the Tuscon shootings, to join New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's effort to push for "tougher gun laws," as seen in the following exchange:
What's with the New York Times and its inability to practice what it preaches when it comes to avoiding gun-filled images and rhetoric? A few days ago I noted how the Times had placed a bullet-riddled ad for a violent video game right on its online op-ed page.
Now comes this Times headline: "Republicans’ Budget Man Draws Fire". That is of course a metaphorical invocation of someone who by his actions invites an enemy to shoot at him. The article's subject was Republican congressman Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and budget hawk who will be giving the GOP response to Pres. Obama's SOTU. To complete the martial metaphor, the article, by Jennifer Steinhauer and David Herszenhorn, also describes Ryan as "the Republican point man" on budget cuts. A point man is of course the soldier at the lead of a patrol, hence most likely to be shot.
On Monday’s the Last Word show, in its new 8:00 p.m. time slot, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell referred to the manufacturers of high-capacity magazines as "merchants of death" who purchase "their political protection from the NRA." As he continued his push for a ban on magazines with 30 bullets in light of the Tucson shootings, O’Donnell dismissed a statement from the NRA which argued that such magazines are useful in self-defense, and went on to make his latest attack on the manufacturers:
So the merchants of death are buying their political protection from the NRA and leave us to stare at our children and wonder: Who among them will be the next nine-year-old their high-capacity magazines unload on? The next Christina Taylor Green.
He went on to plead with President Obama to talk about gun control in the State of the Union Address, or otherwise "become part of the problem." O’Donnell:
If the President follows Republican and Democratic tradition tomorrow night and says not a word about gun and ammunition control, if he does not use this moment of his increasing popularity, if he does not believe he has the communication skills to convey the necessity to control the capacity of automatic weapons, then I, for one, will become disappointed in him for the first time. And he will become part of the problem.
There are times it seems the folks at MSNBC are so driven by their liberal agenda that they're missing their own hypocrisy even when it happens on the same show separated by mere minutes.
Take for example Chris Matthews who moments after a lengthy segment Monday complaining about Glenn Beck and the so-called "violent rhetoric of the Right" ironically tied Tea Party members to "Nazi stuff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There I was this morning at the New York Times online op-ed page, the scene of so much self-righteous hand-wringing in recent weeks over the violence in our culture and rhetoric. I was deciding whether to subject myself first to Gail Collins or Charles Blow, when my eye was drawn to the ad you see here for something called "Project Blackout." A busty babe wields an assault rifle the Times surely wouldn't want in private hands. And look: the ad is peppered by bullet holes.
Click through to learn more about the violent video game, and you'll see the image [after the jump] of a man . . . in a crosshairs.
Note also the legend under the ad image that appeared on the op-ed page: "Advertise on NYTimes.com".
"[W]hether you think a ban on police-style assault weapons such as the one Jared Lee Loughner used in Tuscon is good policy or not, it is curious to see that Republicans are not even bothering to make legitimate arguments against such proposals," Newsweek's Ben Adler scoffed in a January 18 The Gaggle blog post:
There is simply no precedent to support the claim that laws preventing civilians from obtaining weapons that can fire 30 bullets without reloading would violate the Second Amendment. This does not mean that one cannot have a valid concern that even constitutional laws place an undue burden on one's freedom, but that is a question of values and public policy tradeoffs, not constitutionality.
While it's true that courts have not examined the constitutionality on such a ban, it's completely ludicrous to say there is in no way a constitutional issue at play here. Courts invalidate legislation on the grounds of creating an"undue burden" on constitutional rights all the time, as well they should, seeing that the purpose of the Bill of Rights is, well, securing rights to citizens from the abridgement of the government.
From the files of clippings I've saved over the years, one of my favorite headlines -- "Prison populations, costs climbing: $40b a year spent on inmates despite falling crime rate," as published in The Boston Globe on July 28, 2003.
Yes -- "despite".
Not the only time I've seen a headline along these lines, though less often nowadays, its idiocy becoming too obvious to ignore.
As if to fill the void, a variation on the theme has appeared, especially in the wake of the Tucson shooting. It goes like this -- gun ownership rates climb despite falling crime rates. With any luck, this too will be consigned to the dustbin, but don't hold your breath.
Best recent example -- agitprop filmmaker Michael Moore appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Monday and saying this --
On Tuesday's John King USA, CNN's John King issued a prompt on-air apology minutes after a guest on his program used the term "crosshairs" during a segment: "We're trying to get away from using that kind of language" (audio available here). This action stands in stark contrast to an incident over a year earlier where former anchor Rick Sanchez took four days to apologize for using a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh.
The firearms term appeared during a panel discussion about the race for Chicago mayor with CNN contributor Roland Martin and former journalist Andy Shaw, who is currently the executive director of the Better Government Association, a watchdog group involved in Illinois politics. Twenty-four minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour, King asked Shaw about former Senator and mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun's claim that she was the most qualified candidate in the race: "Can she make the case- you can say Rahm Emanuel- you don't want him as mayor, but he's been a congressman. He's been a White House chief of staff. He's been a White House aide. Carol Moseley Braun- have more experience, more credentials?"
Shaw underlined his point that the Braun and the other mayoral candidates were going after Emanuel by using the sniping term:
In a fine example of the new civility at MSNBC, Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday actually yelled at an Arizona Congressman who didn't agree with him about the need for gun control following the shootings in Tucson.
The discussion on "The Last Word" really got heated after the host made the case to Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that additional security at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-Ariz.) Congress on Your Corner event wouldn't have mattered because "The overwhelming majority of bullets fired by police officers always miss their target" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Catching up on an item from the Tuesday, January 11, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host O’Donnell blamed President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress of 2004 for some of the deaths in the Tucson shootings because they did not have the "basic human decency" to renew the assault weapons ban and require Jared Loughner to reload his weapon sooner. O’Donnell talked of learning which victims would be alive if not for Bush and Republicans. O’Donnell:
When the investigation reveals the exact order of the 31 shots fired, we will be able to do the grim accounting and tell you exactly, exactly who would be alive today if the Republican House, the Republican Senate and the Republican President had the basic human decency to do the right thing in 2004.
Later in the show, he quoted the spokesman of the National Rifle Association and tagged him as "soulless" for opposing a rush to pass new gun control laws. He went on to contend that the NRA believes "there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns," and suggested that the NRA wants to keep the murder rate in America above that in other countries. O’Donnell:
Quote, "Anything other than prayers for the victims and their families at this time would be inappropriate." So says the soulless spokesman for the National Rifle Association, the most successful special interest lobby in the history of lobbying. Success in lobbying is scored according to how difficult your case is. The NRA has a very difficult case to make, that there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns and bullets in this country, and that we must never allow our homicide rate to fall below any other country`s homicide rate.
On Saturday, both ABC and NBC ran stories fretting over the Crossroads of the West Gun Show that was held over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. On ABC, at one point, correspondent David Wright seemed surprised that the large number of people showing up at the event were customers instead of protesters. After relaying that some members of Congress want more gun control laws and cautioning viewers that they should not "hold your breath for them to pass," he continued: "If you wonder why, just check out the crowd at today's gun show. These aren't protesters, they're customers."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker noted that it is legal to carry concealed weapons in Arizona, "just as Loughner did last Saturday," as if a person with homicidal intent would decide to obey a law against carrying concealing weapons:
KRISTEN WELKER: Guns are permissible almost anywhere in the state, including many public buildings, and it is legal for people to conceal those weapons and carry them around, just as Loughner did last Saturday.
PAUL HELMKE, BRADY COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Arizona is only the third state in the country to allow people to carry loaded, hidden guns without any permitting process at all.
“The country is pretty unified behind the idea that President Obama found the right words, the right tone at the right time,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos announced Monday night in touting how a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found “78 percent approve of how he handled” the Tucson shooting, in contrast to Sarah Palin, “not so much, only 30 percent approve of her response.”
When Stephanopoulos noted “the support for stricter gun control has dropped over the last few years,” anchor Diane Sawyer expressed astonishment: “Stricter has dropped?” Instead of detailing that trend, Stephanopoulos concentrated on some specific policies with overwhelming support.
The ABC duo ignored how their poll advanced a false media narrative in asking: “As you may know, a gunman shot a U.S. Congress member and 18 other people in Arizona late last week. Is it your impression that the political discourse in this country did or did not contribute to this incident?” [PDF rundown of the poll]
Yesterday (covered here at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in his report on the arrest of Eric Fuller at an ABC "This Week" taping in Tucson, Arizona, the Associated Press's Bob Christie either failed to perform a basic web search that would have revealed Fuller's Friday "Democracy Now!" rant, or failed to report what he found.
This evening's AP report from Christie and Amanda Lee Myers at least recognizes Fuller's appearance on the far-left program. But that acknowledgment appears at Paragraph 14 of a report that is primarily about Gabrielle Giffords's recovery (headlined "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords condition improves"), instead of in a different AP dispatch this evening ("With shock subsiding, pain sets in for AZ victims") where addressing Fuller's outburst would have made more sense (what would have made the most sense is a separate report on Fuller alone).
The submission by Christie and Myers also fails to go into much of the substance of Fuller's "Democracy Now!" appearance. Readers get the impression that Fuller was fulminating against conservatives in general, when in fact he called out several by name -- including, bizarrely, new House Majority Leader John Boehner.
Like Rahm Emanuel, who wouldn't waste a crisis, Frank Rich doesn't want to let a murderous rampage pass without trying to wring political advantage. By now, even most ardent liberals have had to admit that there was no nexus between conservatives and the manifestly psychotic AZ shooter. But there was Rich, in his New York Times column of this morning, still bitterly clinging to the accusation.
To be sure, Rich recited some disclaimers that by now have become standard. But by unlucky paragraph 13, Rich could restrain himself no more. Fulminated Frank: "Much of last week’s televised bloviation was dishonest, dedicated to the pious, feel-good sentiment that both sides are equally culpable for the rage of the past two years." That is a "false equivalency," he sputtered.
Two paras later, out popped what amounted to a flat-out accusation. After claiming there exists "antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s," Rich argued:
"That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there."
Translation: yeah, Loughner was crazy, but conservatives are still to blame.
Here's the opening paragraph of the Associated Press's 8:16 p.m. ET report on the arrest of Eric Fuller:
One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled: "you're dead."
The rest of Bob Christie's dispatch reflects either a failure by "The Essential Global News Network" to do a simple Google search on the guy, or, if such a search was attempted, a failure to report what was found.
Noel Sheppard posted the news about J. Eric Fuller's arrest at NewsBusters earlier this evening:
According to the website of ABC-TV affiliate KGUN, J. Eric Fuller was arrested and charged with threats, intimidation, and disorderly conduct.
Demonstrating impressive prescience, John Hayward at Human Events predicted on Friday that Fuller would attempt to capitalize on his being among the injured in last Saturday's Tucson murders. After the jump, you'll get a sampling of Fuller's full feelings from Hayward:
"The Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms is part of America’s founding fabric. So is senseless violence brought about by guns also American?" asked Newsweek's Daniel Stone in a January 13 post at the magazine's website.
Stone noted that his question was inspired by a similar query posed recently by a Russian journalist Andrei Sitov to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.:
Is occasional violent tragedy a distasteful byproduct of a free society? I walked out of the briefing room with Sitov, who appeared to realize the impact that his question had on the roomful of Americans. “It’s an obvious question and nobody asks that question,” he told me through his thick Russian accent. “This is a cost that your country pays for freedom.”
Of course the cost of freedom with any right is that evil and/or deranged people will abuse it to the harm of others, but Stone's piece seems to focus on civilian gun ownership as though it is mostly a societal liability without considering the real benefits private gun ownership have in protecting life, liberty, and property.
For example, since 1958, the National Rifle Association has been collecting news clippings from across America of everyday citizens using a firearm to defend their lives and property.