Imagine if Sarah Palin Had Said “Buy a Shotgun” Before the Navy Yard Shooting

palinLast February, as part of a White House push for a ban on semi-automatic rifles in response to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, Vice President Joe Biden offered some advice to a mother who was concerned about losing the ability to protect her children inside their home.

“Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun,” he told the woman during a Facebook town hall event for Parents magazine. Biden explained that he had given this same advice to his wife, instructing her to take the Biden family shotgun and fire it into the air if she ever felt threatened at their home.

A month earlier, in a similar forum, Biden offered a similar recommendation, explaining that gun-owners will feel much safer with a shotgun than with an AR-15 rifle because they are more accurate and easier to use.

Following Monday’s Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. several media outlets initially reported that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, had used an AR-15 to carry out his killing spree that resulted in the deaths of 12 innocent victims. The reports turned out to be wishful thinking on behalf of a media that desperately wanted to tie the horrific event to the kind of weapon that would have been banned by the Obama administration’s proposed gun laws.

The weapon that Alexis actually used? A shotgun – the very weapon that Joe Biden advocated for.

Is it fair to say that Joe Biden is at least partially responsible for what went down at the Navy Yard on Monday?

Of course not! Making that claim would be absolutely insane and totally unfair. Biden obviously had nothing to do with it.

But isn’t that essentially the same criteria the media used to indict former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting a couple of years ago?

As many might recall, almost immediately after Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at an Arizona event put on by Giffords (then a congresswoman), several media personalities were desperately looking to connect the violence to the vocal Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin in particular took a lot of heat after left-wing bloggers did a Google search on “Sarah Palin” and “Gabrielle Giffords” and discovered that Giffords’ congressional district had been “targeted” months earlier on one of Palin’s websites as part of a get out the vote election strategy. Along with several others, Giffords’ district was marked on a map of the United States with a cross-hair icon superimposed over it.

“Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin,” the Daily Kos website tweeted soon after word of the Arizona shooting broke.

The media ran with the narrative.

Michael Daly (no relation) of the New York Daily News wrote a column entitled “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands after putting cross hair over district.” Among other accusations, Daly wrote, “At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.”

The New York Times‘ Matt Bai wrote, “it’s hard not to think [Loughner] was at least partly influenced by a debate that often seems to conflate philosophical disagreement with some kind of political Armageddon.” He went on to explain that Palin and others used “imagery of armed revolution.”

The Today Show ran a segment on the Palin criticism, putting forth the question of whether or not “today’s political rhetoric is inspiring a lunatic fringe?”

Caroline Howard of Forbes attributed the condolences Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page toward the Giffords family to a guilty conscience.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews shamed Palin for using “gun play language” against Giffords.

Matthews’ colleague at the time, Keith Olbermann, went a step further saying, “If Sarah Palin… does not repudiate her own part, however tangential, in amplifying violence and violent imagery in American politics, she must be dismissed from politics, she must be repudiated by the members of her party.”

CBS News ran an article on their website highlighting social media outrage of Palin’s use of the target symbol, and celebrities had a field day with their online condemnation of the former governor of Alaska.

There were plenty more examples.

It eventually came out that Loughner, who peers described as a “liberal”, suffered from severe mental illness. He had a documented fixation on Giffords that pre-dated both the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin’s ascendency to the national scene. Palin had no influence whatsoever on Loughner, as any fair-minded thinker would have simply just assumed in the first place.

Still, that didn’t stop ABC News, ten full months later, from recalling Sarah Palin’s “targeting” of Giffords during a television special on the former congresswoman’s inspirational recovery, listing it as a danger that Giffords overcame. It also didn’t stop CNN’s Piers Morgan, in an interview with Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, from expressing appall over Palin’s refusal to take any responsibility for the incident.

The truth is that many in the media never were able to bring themselves to detach Palin from the the Giffords shooting, despite there being no connection between Palin and what happened that day.From a Dead Sleep - by John A. Daly

So I would ask those same people in the media why, then, isn’t Joe Biden somehow to blame (if  even in a small way) for the Navy Yard shooting? Why do his comments get a pass when the weapon he recommended that people use was the same one used by Aaron Alexis (a man who reportedly supported President Obama)? Why does a cross-hairs icon on a geographical map inspire murder, but telling people to “buy a shotgun” does not?

Again, I certainly don’t blame Biden for Monday’s shooting. But why don’t you in the media? You set the standard after all.




Guns, Gats, Rods & Heaters

By this time, everyone in America has commented on the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, so I suppose I might as well toss in my two cents worth. It was a heart-wrenching event and I personally hope that there is a Hell and that young Mr. Lanza will spend eternity being roasted over a slow fire. But I don’t blame his guns. I don’t blame the NRA. I don’t even blame the movies. I blame him. I also blame society.

Unlike some, I don’t blame society because Americans love their guns and, as a result, there are millions and millions of guns running around loose. I fault society because there are so many evil lunatics like Mr. Lanza being allowed to run around loose.

Every time I hear about a person who requires meds in order to achieve something resembling mental stability, lest he lapse back into schizophrenia or paranoia, I say to myself, that person should be institutionalized because crazy people can’t be depended upon to faithfully take their medications. And anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to let them roam free is crazier than they are. Quite often, these self-righteous oafs are card-carrying members of the ACLU.

I am not suggesting electric shock treatment or lobotomies for people like Mr. Lanza or Jared Loughner, the cuckoo who shot Rep. Giffords. I simply think that they should have been institutionalized long before they finally called public attention to themselves by killing large groups of innocent strangers.

The way things are stacked these days, you have a better chance of getting Barack Obama recalled than you have of committing a ticking time bomb before he detonates.

Speaking of Obama, there’s only one bright spot in the economy that he can take credit for: gun sales. Smith & Wesson, along with every other gun manufacturer, is enjoying — you should pardon the expression — booming sales. There are a number of possible reasons for this. To begin with, some people are afraid that Obama, a big fan of the U.N., is about to go along with the group’s desire to confiscate firearms. Some people fear that Obama, who has shown an unhealthy appetite for ruling by presidential fiat, is establishing a banana republic without the bananas. Others just want to be able to confront the IRS on something like equal terms once push comes to shove over ObamaCare.

What I find fascinating about the current war on guns is that the person who has come up with the latest piece of legislation is none other than Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had led an earlier crusade against gun ownership until it was discovered that she, herself, regularly carried a gat in her purse. If I were a senator, especially one who had vowed to get to the bottom of the security leaks that wound up in the NY Times and then never did a thing about it, I’d probably lug around a shotgun. After all, some people take it personally when America’s national security is jeopardized for no better reason than to make Obama’s foreign policy look good on that rag’s front page.

One hears that the schools should teach gun safety. It’s safe to assume that teachers, 99% of whom are liberals, would merely try to convince the kids that guns are intrinsically evil. Only a pinhead would fail to recognize that guns are the best way to confront those who are doing most of the killing these days, they being jihadists employing car bombs and land mines.

Besides, teachers can’t even teach their young charges to read, write and do math. Instead of trying to make schools weapon-free zones, and inevitably failing, they should have off-duty cops on patrol, ready at a moment’s notice to gun down armed nut-jobs, drug dealers and schoolyard bullies.

Some of the anti-gun advocates have called Hollywood on the carpet for romanticizing violence. I’m all for chastising Hollywood, but we all grew up watching westerns and war movies, and most of us didn’t end up popping our corks. We recognized that we were watching John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart and Gregory Peck. They were the good guys and when somebody had to deal with bad guys, whether they were cattle rustlers, bank robbers or Nazis, hot lead was what they were asking for and hot lead is what they got.

Instead of attacking Hollywood because of phony violence, I would prefer to see people like Jamie Fox being ridiculed for referring to Barack Obama as “our lord and savior,” or Matt Damon and Gus Van Sant for turning out Promised Land, an anti-fracking piece of cinematic propaganda. Because Hollywood already takes itself so seriously, the worst thing you can do is to follow their example and make them feel even more important than they already do.

In closing, I would like to leave you with these three thoughts: One Henry Ford, is alleged to have said, “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian.”

Two: Susan Ertz said, “Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”

Three: I say that it’s not easy to be a Pollyanna when two of the biggest human disasters are sitting in the Oval Office and running the U.S. Senate, but I feel compelled to say that I for one am extremely grateful that it’s been ages since I’ve seen those two obnoxious caveman in a TV commercial.

Although, if I were given the choice, I’d prefer to see the two cavemen running things in Washington and those other two Neanderthals, Obama and Reid, trying to sell me precious metals or wart removers on the tube.
©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




Please Take the “Need” Factor Out of the Gun Control Debate

In the wake of the horrific school shooting that took place last week in Newtown, Connecticut, we’ve heard a common question asked by supporters of increased gun controls: Why does anyone need the type of guns used by the shooter?

For me, it’s a simple question to answer: The average citizen probably doesn’t need them. What I don’t understand is how that answer is relevant to the debate.

It irritates me whenever I hear someone begin a legal argument with, “Why does anyone need…” In a free society, it’s not up to me or anyone else to be the arbiter of what someone needs. It’s an extraneous question. The legality of private ownership shouldn’t be tied to necessity.

Let’s face it…Most of us own plenty of completely unnecessary things. A lot of those things are even dangerous. We buy cars that are built to reach speeds that far exceed safe, legal limits. We buy samurai swords and large knives at shopping malls. We buy propane tanks and rat poison at supermarkets. We buy alcohol.

Whether or not we need these things isn’t a determination that should be made by the government or anyone else who isn’t involved in the purchase. They’re not our spouses, parents, or whoever holds the purse-strings on our family budget. Consumers shouldn’t be compelled to defend to society or the government their reasoning behind buying products, even when those products are firearms.

If someone likes to shoot at cans or paper targets in the woods with a semi-automatic firearm, or feels safer in their home with one, it’s not my place to say that they can’t own it because I don’t think they “need” it. It’s none of my business.

If the argument is truly about a public safety concern (and it certainly is to many), let’s just come out and say that. That should be the debate. Imposing a legal limitation on property by playing the need card, on the other hand, is nothing more than a self-affirming, symbolic mechanism for penalizing people who are simply enjoying their freedoms.

When peddlers of class warfare target rich people for tax hikes, they often ask the question, “Who needs that much money?”

When a city mayor feels compelled to dictate the dietary habits of his citizenry, he asks questions like, “Who needs to drink more than 16 ounces of soda pop?”

The only answer that such questions warrant, in the United States of America, is: “It’s none of your business.”

If the government is not the entity providing the product or service, it’s not their role to cast judgement over our rationale for consuming it. It’s certainly not their role to create legislation based on it.

There are real arguments to be made for how we can best protect our children from people like Adam Lanza. The “need” factor isn’t one of them.