The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

April 5, 2013

Obama is exploiting a true national tragedy

There must be a lot of “gun nuts” out there.

While President Obama claimed recently at an elaborately staged event at the White House that the “entire country” had pledged allegiance to his gun control agenda after the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn., his allegedly loyal soldiers in Congress apparently didn’t notice the same thing.

Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who feels he can easily get away with accusing former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of failing to pay taxes for a decade, is not so reckless about confiscating guns.

Reid recently stiffed the effort of his fellow liberal nanny, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, to include an “assault weapons” ban in proposed gun control legislation. Why? The votes weren’t there.

And this is in the Senate, where Democrats have a 55-45 majority. If all Democrats voted for it and Republicans tried to filibuster, Reid and his colleagues could have a fabulous time accusing Republicans of not wanting to protect “the children,” who, by the way, are our future.

But Politico.com quoted Reid as saying that Feinstein’s proposal, “using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes.” Which is another way of saying that it is not just Republicans who oppose it. Which is also another way of saying that not even a majority, let alone the “entire country,” supports it either.

And which is probably why the recent scolding from the Guilt Tripper In Chief didn’t gain a whole lot of traction. It is not just “gun nuts” who are realizing that they are being manipulated, that they aren’t being told the whole story.

Obama, who pretended that the lack of support for his agenda was because people had “forgotten” the massacre, gave us all a stern lecture. “I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” he said.

That is amusing, for starters, because he didn’t mean shame on “us,” including himself.

As he was careful to point out, he had not forgotten.

He meant shame on anyone who disagrees with him, by claiming we’ve forgotten the kids who died.

To which I say, and I suspect an increasing number of people are saying, “Shame on you, Mr. President, for such cynical exploitation of a terrible tragedy.”

The president doesn’t care about the Newtown victims and their families any more than the supposedly demonic National Rifle Association does – perhaps less so. The family members of the victims were political props – nothing more – invited so the president could exploit their grief to promote his effort to increase the power of government through emotion rather than reason.

Proof of that is that we have yet to see the president visit his home city of Chicago, given the murder capital of the nation last year, to comfort the grieving relatives of some of the 439 people (20 times the number killed in Newtown) killed with guns in the city last year. Chicago police responded to 2,460 incidents where at least one person was shot – a 10 percent increase over 2011.

But, you see, most of them weren’t children, although far too many were teens. They were killed one, two, three or four at a time – not 26 at once. And most of them were not killed with “assault rifles” with the kind of magazine capacity the president wants to ban.

If he really cared about victims, he would have been there many times through last year, to visit his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of the murder capital of the U.S. – the guy famous for saying a politician should never waste a crisis.

But that would have exposed one of the major distortions of his gun control campaign, which is that banning “bad” guns and large magazines will make some big difference in violent crime. It won’t.

Most estimates, based on FBI data, are that assault weapons are used in around 1 to 2 percent of gun crimes.

And that means when a ban of one kind of gun doesn’t work, the president will be back trying to ban another – you know, for the children.

In fact, there is better news out of Chicago – since late last year, police have been able to make a dent in the violence and killings there. How did that happen? According to DNAinfo.com/Chicago, it was thanks to, “comprehensive violence-reduction strategy that focused on using crime databases and localized patrols to identify people most likely to be involved or victimized by gang violence.” Nothing about deciding what kind of guns law-abiding citizens should be allowed to own.

But you won’t hear that from the president. You also won’t hear him acknowledge that experts on all sides of the political divide say the relentless violence dished out by Hollywood in TV and movies has an effect on people – especially young people.

That would mean challenging some of the media millionaires and billionaires who shower him with campaign cash.

Finally, while polls say 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, you won’t hear Obama promote the fact that he wants the background check system to have access to what is currently called Protected Health Information – your private medical information.

The laws now in place to protect your privacy are, in the president’s words, “unnecessary legal barriers.” Even the left-wing ACLU has a problem with that.

It’s enough to make you start thinking that the “gun nuts” are some of the more sensible people in this argument.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net

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