By David Codrea
If you’re reading this on a printed page, you probably know a lot more about the massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and about actions taken in the aftermath, than I do. That’s because a few months elapse from the time an article is submitted until magazines appear on newsstands and in mailboxes.
Still, there are plenty of “evergreen” concepts brought out by such incidents, reactions we can count on as sure as the sun will rise: The gun-grabbers go into full blood-dancing hysteria mode, people who are supposed to be allies desperately look for a bone to toss them, and genuine solutions are disparaged and/or ignored. Those solutions include exposing so-called “gun free zones” as favored hunting grounds for maniacs, and keeping foreigners with values inimical to freedom out of this country, like the Taliban-supporter who fathered the Orlando killer.
On the first count, oath-breaking politicians and shrill useful idiots in the citizen disarmament lobby went into eye-rolling feeding frenzy. In the Senate, Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut staged a filibuster. And in the House, members of the “Progressive Caucus” regressed back to their ’60’s radical days and staged a #NoFlyNoBuy / #NoBillNoBreak sit-in that differed from protests of their radical youth by including comfy pillows and a catered buffet. Their demand, among others: Throw the Second Amendment and due process out the window and use secret government lists to deny gun purchases.
Obama renewed his calls for registration-enabling “background checks” and an “assault weapon” ban as weapons he’d shipped to the Middle East were being used by terrorists. One senator even proposed including a ban on all gun purchases to anyone “reasonably suspected to be guilty of a misdemeanor hate crime.”
As usual, media cheerleaders for a state monopoly of violence outdid themselves.
“50 dead in Orlando club massacre – Thanks NRA,” the rabidly anti-gun New York Daily News bawled in enormous letters on a graphic occupying the full front page. “Because of your continued opposition to an assault rifle ban, terrorists like this lunatic can legally buy a killing machine and perpetrate the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.”
“FOUNDERS’ FOLLY,” Quartz, a digital publication of Atlantic Media proclaimed. “Americans can no longer be trusted with the Second Amendment.” Interestingly, the url for that piece reflected its original intended title, “http://qz.com/714884/we-should-come-for-american-guns/”
There were plenty more just like those. But no one is talking about taking your guns, the antis falsely object, hurling accusations of paranoia when their own words and actions are thrown back at them and treated like they mean business.
For their part, after rejecting four Democrat infringement proposals, establishment Senate Republicans put their fingers resolutely in the air to check which way the wind was blowing, and in the spirit of “compromise” allowed for a “test vote” on “bipartisan legislation” to ban people on the “no-fly list” from buying guns. That has not been killed at this writing, primarily because enough squishes were spooked by Murphy’s filibuster (and because, face it, they support gun owner control), prompting the senator to gloat that they “represented the largest defection of Republicans from the gun lobby in the modern history of the anti-gun violence movement.”
The House reacted with just as baffling a compulsion to cede ground. Speaker Paul Ryan indicated two bills would be voted on after the Fourth of July break, one a “kinder, gentler” terror watchlist and the other a mental health bill. And surprisingly (to some), these have been given support cover from the National Rifle Association, qualifying its position by advocating, “…due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.”
If you forget about prior restraint of rights, that sounds less chilling on the surface, but it still leaves some fundamental questions unanswered: For starters, what do they mean by “due process”?
Is it being charged with a crime, tried in accordance with laws respecting rights, and found guilty before being denied a fundamental right? Or is it some law enforcement careerist using a secret list of undetermined sources and reliability convincing a judge or panel of unknown political sympathies that some tenuous “probable cause” excuse exists?
The same concern applies to mental health-related gun prohibitions. Has the “accused” been afforded the equivalent protections of a jury trial, or is someone who may be quite opinionated about “gun control” all that’s needed to sign off on a “no guns” life sentence?
As for getting off a secret government list, what will that cost, how will people of limited information and means be ensured equal protection, and how long will it take? Will there be recourse against wrong denials? And what will compel judges and panels predisposed to be “anti-gun” not to drag their feet?
As for getting a mental health disability overturned, does anyone know of a shrink who will risk his reputation and career to sign off on a guy he previously diagnosed as dangerous to buy guns? What about his malpractice carrier?
Responding to what they see as a clear threat being abetted by presumed allies, a coalition of gun groups, including many state groups, has formed to oppose all the “gun control” comprises.
“We, the grass roots American gun owners reaffirm: There is NO acceptable gun free zone in America,” the coalition declares. “There is NO acceptable secret government list for government use to approve or deny the sale of firearms. There is NO acceptable magazine or feeding device capacity limit. There is NO acceptable prohibition on owning or legally using any semiautomatic rifle. There is NO acceptable prohibition on responsible gun owners who wish to carry their firearms in any of the States, Territories or federal district of the United States of America. There is NO acceptable restriction on private sale of firearms between law-abiding Americans.”
As this is being written there is still so much to find out. That alone confirms a security theater rush to judgment, and makes the demands and acquiescence for any new gun laws seem bizarre.
The killer, working in private security transporting aliens for a DHS contractor, shouted Islamic phrases and pledged allegiance to ISIS, yet the Obama administration attempted to redact such references from the 911 call transcript. He evidently had been investigated multiple times for statements supportive of Islamic extremism. Some credible reports have produced evidence that portrays him as a self-loathing homosexual and a Hillary Clinton supporter. There are gag orders on information being released, including pressure from the FBI. It’s still unknown if deaths occurred from “friendly fire,” and if so how many, but that it’s being discussed in the media is telling.
Here’s what we do know: Imposing new infringements on you and me, in terms of gun bans, in terms of prior restraints, in terms of wider nets that can snare us all, and in terms of due process erosions, won’t have any effect on criminal violence except to make it easier. What it will also do is give even greater advantages to America’s enemies, and to those who are exploiting them as a means by which they can seize more power and control.
Those uncertain of our strength are testing our pulse for a reason.