Pigs fly, it's snowing in Hell, the world as we know it has ended, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes a pro-gun op-ed

by Chad D. Baus

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a long history of fighting against Ohioans' right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, a right enumerated not just in the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, but in our Ohio Constitution as well (Article 1, Section 4).

In the years prior to passage of Ohio's concealed carry law, The Plain Dealer often utilized the editorial page, as well as the front page, to denigrate gun rights advocates' efforts. When the law did pass, they announced "it is this newspaper's intention to obtain this information and publish it. Our readers deserve to know the identities of those who obtain permits to carry their guns in public. We hope other news organizations will do the same in their communities." The paper followed through with their threat, and at least one person on the list died in an ambush-style attack just days later. One columnist at the paper - the wife of current anti-gun U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown - even won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary that, among other things, bashed Ohio CHL-holders in 2004 as "Dirty Harry wannabe's."

With each and every attempt to pass improvements to the law, The Plain Dealer has been there in opposition. They have twice been caught mis-characterizing proposals contained in pro-gun legislation, and in 2005 Plain Dealer editorial page editor Brent Larkin even admitted to me that they don't always read gun legislation before writing editorials opposing it.

So with that background in mind, I was stunned to read deputy editorial page editor Kevin O'Brien's latest op-ed, "Left's reaction to Colorado shooting reprises the same, old misplaced fears."

Maybe the police officers who protect Michael Bloomberg 24 hours a day ought to let the mayor of New York City experience life without an armed security detail watching over him.

Hey, it's not my idea. It's his -- broached after Friday's mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

"I don't understand why police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say, 'We're going to go on strike. We're not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe,' " Bloomberg told CNN.

"Police officers want to go home to their families. And we're doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets."

In Bloomberg's view, there are a lot of things that people shouldn't have. Trans fats, large sodas, guns. The deprivation of rights and freedom he counsels would be for their own good, of course.

And there we see the guiding philosophy of the statist left that drives so much public policy today: Free people can't be trusted to do things "right."

It's an attitude that, in some cases, gets people killed.

O'Brien continues:

One of the left's most serious problems is that its sincere hope for a better world through authoritarian government clouds its view of the world in which we actually live.
Hence, Mayor Bloomberg's mistaken beliefs that:

• The police keep individual New Yorkers from harm.

• Government can find a way to deny guns to all -- or most, or many -- of the "people who shouldn't have them."

• Fewer guns in the hands of the public would mean a safer public.

Let's take those fantasies in order.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that police are under no obligation to protect any member of the public from harm. It's laudable that they may try -- in the rare circumstances when they are in a position to prevent a crime of violence -- but it's neither a duty nor an expectation.

As for selecting who should or shouldn't have guns -- which is to say, who should or shouldn't be able to exercise a constitutional right -- background checks are probably effective to an extent. But does anyone really think that, in a nation with 200 million privately owned guns rattling around, none of them is going to find its way into the hands of someone who "shouldn't have it"? Come on.

Americans who aren't blowhard mayors with round-the-clock security details are responsible for protecting themselves. That's the way we set it up. That's why there's a Second Amendment guaranteeing each of us the right to own and maintain the means to see to our own safety.

The excellent op-ed concludes with this:

The people who haven't figured it out continue to ascribe evil intent to an inanimate object, to recoil in fear from the sensible notion that a responsible person would carry a gun in public and to dismiss their fellow law-abiding citizens as incapable of prudent self-defense. And they live -- and thereby increase their chances of dying -- in the forlorn expectation that if they encounter a madman while going about their daily business, someone wearing a badge will swoop in to save them.

That sort of thing happens only in the movies. And only on the screen.

Let's be clear - this is an op-ed from The Plain Dealer's deputy editorial page editor, NOT an editorial that represents the entire editorial board or the newspaper as a whole. It would appear O'Brien is still out-numbered, joined perhaps only by the sometimes-pro-gun writings of Phillip Morris. So I have no illusions that we've seen the last of the error-filled, editorialized news articles and vehemently anti-gun editorials.

But coming on the heels of the latest spree killer-inspired anti-gun media hissy fit, this is a very positive sign indeed.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.


[NOTE: This op-ed from Brent Larkin, former director of The Plain Dealer's editorial page, also published last week, is much more in keeping with the inane drivel we're used to from this paper.]

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