Where's the outrage about nutty anti-gun reporting?

By Chad D. Baus

A recent op-ed from Philadephia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller, entitled "Where's the outrage about gun violence?" has me asking a few questions of my own: Where is the outrage about nutty anti-gun reporting? How can so many people who shovel provably false statements on their readers keep their jobs? And was columnist Karen Heller some type of Freudian pen name playing off of Hellen Keller? She is, after all, apparently just as blind, though clearly far less intelligent.

Heller's op-ed begins as follows:

    Any fool can kill a deer. I know, because I've almost done it several times. All that's required is a car driven at a relatively good speed, 30 miles an hour should do it, near a wooded area around dusk or later.

    Voila, venison À la Camry.

    As for pen-raised fowl, released on exclusive preserves for desk-bound potentates, that doesn't require much skill, either, simply money and will, though it's preferable not to spray deep-pocketed supporters with birdshot.

At least Heller recognizes herself for what she is: a fool. But note that she must not be just "any fool", as she hasn't managed to kill her deer. And not-so-veiled slight against our Vice President aside, Heller has already proven she knows nothing about the topic she is writing on.

Click on 'Read More' for more excerpts from the op-ed, with commentary.

The nuttiness continues:

    The less "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State" rings true in contemporary America, the more the gun culture revs up its high-caliber lobbying and propaganda machine.

    We've made smokers pariah, forcing them out to the street. Alcoholism and drug abuse, once private demons, have become public crusades. Abolishing trans fats is a civic battle legislated by urban councils.

    Guns, however, reign supreme. Criticize the need for guns, the obsession with guns, and you're labeled unpatriotic, anti-Constitution or - horrors - a liberal.

    Any politician running for higher office has to kiss the long barrel of the NRA and gun fetishists, preferably by praising gun ownership and going hunting - a dwindling passion - to show how authentically American he is.
    "This is trying to perpetuate the myth of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, the legacy of Buffalo Bill," says Joan Burbick, author of Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy. "Tying gun rights to civil rights, transforming Americans into an armed citizenry, coincided with the civil rights riots."
    Race, she argues, has plenty to do with it.

Heller has (unintentionally?) just admitted something the gun ban lobby has been increasingly secretive about - that its goals for American gun owners mirror what has been done to other users of legal consumer products (ones not Constitutionally protected, I might add) in the United States. They would make gun owners "pariah". They would make gun 'fetishism' a "public crusade" (anyone who believes the Second Amendment recognizes an individual right to own a firearm would fit her definition of a fetishist). They would make "abolishing [guns] a civic battle legislated by urban councils."

But it is the reference to civil rights and the racial connection that is most interesting. What Heller is trying to suggest is that (white) America decided to arm itself during the race riots of the 1960's. Before that, she would have you believe, America was something else but an armed citizenry. History, of course, disproves every part of these assertions. Americans have been an "armed citizenry" since the founding of our nation. In World War II, the Japanese decided against an invasion of the U.S. mainland, specifically citing the civilian arms Heller would have us believe we didn't take up for another two decades.

    As we head into the circus that constitutes a Philadelphia mayoral election, let's hold on to the one number that trumps all others: 406.

    That's how many people were murdered in Philadelphia last year. And here's where generalizations hold up, and need to be remembered as we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the victims were young. Most of them were poor. Most of them were black. Most of them were killed with guns.

    Our problems are bigger than guns. But guns are our problem.

    Armed Americans have more guns than they could possibly need. Guns, as Burbick points out, "are durable goods that don't tend to wear out." So the gun industry keeps producing more terrorizing models that satisfy macho fantasies, outsized security fears, and haven't a thing to do with hunting quail. As if anyone cares about quail.
    The myth of the fighter permeates throughout consumerism, Gap Kids fatigues in blue and pink.

Heller should explain what hunting quail has to do with the Second Amendment before she earns even a minute amount of consideration on her other points. But speaking of "outsized security fears", I can imagine Heller would shiver to consider another reason for why military chique (the Gap Kids fatigues in pink and blue) is so popular today - because consumer demand is disproving another (media-created) myth - that of a lack of support for our troops.

    Second Amendment militiamen tirelessly argue that guns don't kill people, people do. But guns kill people far more efficiently than people without them do. Guns allow disturbed people to shoot up Amish schools. And thugs to shoot children in front of city schools. And distraught kids to terrorize suburban schools.

Yes, and bank robbers steal far more efficiently with cars than people do without them. Ropes allow disturbed people to hang themselves. Knives allow thugs to stab children in front of city schools. Heller would have been better to stop at "our problems are bigger than guns."

    Why aren't local governments as obsessed with guns and crime as they are with partially hydrogenated oils?

I would wholeheatedly agree that government should stay out of our refrigerators, but as for Heller's question...well, there is that pesky lack of any reference to an inalienable right to fatty foods in the Bill of Rights.

    Why aren't the pious as worried about violence as they are about gay marriage? Where is the PETA for people being senselessly killed?

The hypocrisy of those who would ignore the right of innocent human beings to protect themselves while simultaneously asserting 'human' rights for spotted owls and snail darters is not lost on me either. But my guess is that's not what Heller means.

    Where are the celebrities clamoring for assistance to make this country a safer place?

Could this writer be any more out of touch with reality on this issue? For a LONG list of just the type of celebrities Heller would love to have wine and cheese with, click here.

    We need a crusade for peace at home, too. We need to attack guns and the all-too-powerful lobbyists and manufacturers the way cigarettes came under siege. In the modern world, among "civilized democracies," America is a repository of shame when it comes to gun violence. We're modeling ourselves on antiquated ideals, holding on to values that are firing us back to the Wild West.

    Four hundred and six is a hideous number no one in this region should forget. And then, just to reinforce the horror of it all, a minute - only one minute - into the new year, the death tally started anew.

Once again, Heller proves herself out of touch. The gun ban lobby has been attacking our nation's firearms manufacturers like the Clinton industry did Big Tobacco for several years now, and the result was Federal legislation banning frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt this important industry. As far as measuring ourselves up in the modern world, I'll stand our past few decades-worth of crime rates stand up to "civilized democracies" like Australia and Great Britain (both of whom saw the victimization of citizenry skyrocket after imposing the types of gun bans Heller seeks) any day of the week, thank you very much.

Rush Limbaugh enjoys illustrating absurdity by being absurd. I think I'll take a page from that, by closing with a call for a ban on newspapers. After all, journalists with newspapers mislead people far more efficiently than journalists without them do.

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