BuzzFlash Guest Commentary
October 17, 2002
Tear Down That Wall, Mr. President
BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
President Bush has finally found his voice on the slow motion sniper terrorism that is wracking the capital city in which he temporarily resides. The President grimaces that he is "just sick to my stomach" and professes to "weep for those that have lost their loved ones."
Unfortunately, neither Mr. Bush's teary moments nor his cranky stomach has inspired him to take any sort of preventative, preemptive action that might actually save lives before they are taken. The President's prescription for dealing with America's domestic gun mayhem sticks line for line to the script written for him by the National Rifle Association. Better 100 funerals than a single new law that the NRA fantasizes touching in any way, shape, or form on the alleged "right" of every crackpot in the country to own and use any murder-friendly weapon the gun industry cranks out.
In all fairness, such inspiration may be too much to hope for from this President. After all, thought is father to deed. And like Bush 41, Bush 43 has a problem with "the vision thing." He can see clearly the merit of unleashing holy hell on Iraq to protect American lives from foreign madmen. But he can't see the merit in even such an innocuous and limited a "gun control" measure -- if it can be called that -- as the anemic ballistic fingerprinting law some have proposed as the outer limits of the possible. This measure does nothing to interfere with the purchase, ownership, or use by any person of any firearm. What it does do is provide an imperfect but possibly useful investigative tool to help -- after the fact -- track down, apprehend, and convict those who criminally attack, wound, and kill others with guns.
But even this cautious baby step is too much for the NRA. In a predictably paranoid argument, the NRA claims that fingerprinting guns is the first horrible step toward establishing a national gun registry. That will be followed by jackbooted government thugs smashing in doors and taking away the family's arsenal of 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifles, its layers of pocket rocket "self-defense" guns, and its stacks of AK-47, UZI, AR-15, and Mini-14 assault rifles.
The President's wooden script may be written in the office at the White House that NRA operative Kayne Robinson promised during the last election the pro-gun group would get if Mr. Bush were elected. As it happened, the President lost the popular vote and was anointed first by the Florida Secretary of State and later by the U.S. Supreme Court. But no matter. There is every evidence that -- in the rugged Texas manner of back room oil profiteering on which the Chief and his elusive Number Two were weaned -- a deal is a deal. The NRA is plainly up to its shoulder holsters in the White House.
The perfect embodiment of all this was emitted in a rambling discourse by White House flack Air Fleischer. "How many laws can we really have to stop crime, if people are determined in their heart to violate them no matter how many there are or what they say?" This memorable example of the rhetorician's oily art ought to have embarrassed Mr. Fleischer, who eviscerated any legislator daring to question one jot or tittle of the USA Patriot Act -- which at last reading piled new laws on top of semi-new laws whose ink was barely dry.
The saddest part of this charade of impotent sympathy is that by building a wall around the White House, the NRA has succeeded in isolating the President from common sense. This is the same smarmy thing the NRA has done to millions of good, decent, law-abiding gun owners in America. By pumping gun owners full of paranoid fear, the NRA has prevented rational inquiry into the real problem -- the gun industry's vicious marketing schemes.
Most gun owners are not bad people. But like the illicit drug industry, the legal gun industry has its pushers, companies that have flooded America with assault weapons, sniper rifles, and other handy implements of murder. The sale of these killing machines is helped along by various enablers, including in addition to the NRA, gun magazines with the ethics of ladies of the night and in the special case of sniper rifles, a pack of "sniper entrepreneurs" who sell sniper books, videos, and training courses to civilians.
Smugly waiting around to "punish" the people who will inevitably abuse these products is madness, when the products have no business being on our streets to begin with. Next year, or five years, or ten years down the road, Mr. Bush, try looking the survivors of gun violence in the eye and say there was nothing you could have done to prevent the loss of their loved ones.
Tear down that wall, Mr. President, and find out the reality of gun industry marketing in America. This is the last wild bunch of consumer products, and it needs desperately to be reined in.
* * *
|DAILY BUZZ||FIFTH COLUMNIST||CARTOONS||SOUTHERN STYLE|
|MEDIA LINKS||LINK ARCHIVES||SEND NEWSFLASH||ABOUT|
otherwise noted, all original