Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Shallow Opinion of Margaret Carlson

Over at the Chicago Tribune you can read Ms. Carlson's not deeply thought-out perspective on the NRA annual meeting.
"It would be a valuable cross-cultural field trip for LaPierre to take a look outside the hall, where representatives of the 90 percent were gathered."
She is of course referring to the Moms Demand Action/MAIG/EGS, or whatever Bloomberg's group is called now. We're talking all of 100 people staging a protest against the 75,000-attendee event put on by the NRA. But what would LaPierre have learned from this field trip?

First, 100-odd protesters is a sliver compared to 75,000. Literally. As we closely contemplate the graph to the left we should keep in mind we're talking about 75,000 people who paid their own travel and expense vs 100 folks who probably had their bus-fare covered by Bloomberg. Additionally, these 75k are but a subset of millions of dues-paying members. Lesson Learned: gun-control groups are astroturf, and millions with $25 will be stronger than one man with $50 million.

Second, he would have seen armed guards hired by Moms/Mayors/Everytown to protect Shannon Watts, the group's spokesperson. Lesson Learned: gun-control groups believe in armed defense for those who can afford it, but not self-defense for those that can't. "Rights for me, but not for thee" is their policy.

Another quote catches the eye:
"It is also a place where the young and female are pursued. Kids are encouraged to fondle semi-automatics and take virtual target practice. Women have their own events. . . ."
Let's ignore that Ms. Carlson paints women and children at the convention as prey. Let's ignore what her choice of words like "pursued" and "fondle" imply about her own biases. No, the thing that really jumps out at me is the irony that "virtual target practice" in the company of gun safety experts is painted as bad, while simultaneously some 10 million children are at home running through first-person war simulators on their game consoles, 'virtually' killing hundreds of times per day. I'm not one to advocate censorship, but it's simply that her concern for children (if it's really that) seems misplaced. The NRA has a safety program for kids endorsed by the National Safety Council, the Department of Justice and others. If MDA/MAIG/EGS really cared about gun safety, they'd work with the NRA on the educational front. Just as sex-ed doesn't cause kids to have sex, gun education won't make them murderers. Safety education is often what's required to counter-act some of our culture's more risky and objectifying influences.

Lastly, let's talk about that 90% number that are supposedly in favor of background checks. Look - we all want less gun violence, but it's empirical fact that background checks don't prevent that violence - criminals don't comply with the rules and law enforcement doesn't prosecute the check failures. That same 90% probably assume that background checks would reduce gun violence, perhaps because it was implied by the survey questions or takers themselves. Ask a targeted batch of 2000 whether they support warrantless wire-tapping if it prevents another 9-11, and you get an idea of the quality and worth of such survey results.

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