And they have absolutely no shame in lying through their teeth.
Today comes this little op-ed from Newsday:
Pick up the Yellow Pages and go to “Guns.” Call the first gun store you find. Ask what you’ll need to purchase a semi-automatic military-style sniper rifle like the one used by John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo to kill 10 people during their 2002 Washington, D.C.-area murder spree.
“You have a driver’s license?” said the man at the Long Island store I called yesterday to ask about buying the assault rifle known as the Bushmaster XM-15.
“Sure,” I said, “but what else do I need to bring?”
I was thinking paperwork – perhaps to verify my clean criminal record, my relative sanity, the lack of any documented connections between myself and al-Qaida.
“Nothing else,” said the man. “Just money.”
Whether you find this surprising or not depends on how closely you have followed the gun-control debate of the past 10 years. In the midst of a series of mass murders in workplaces, Congress in 1994 imposed a 10-year ban on the sale of military style weapons under production at that time.
OK so far, except the last part. The “10 year ban” specifically addressed 19 models and features. It did not ban “military style weapons.” Here’s where Mr. Vitello goes off the rails:
The Bushmaster, a version of the military’s standard AK-47 rifle, was the kind of gun they had in mind: highly accurate, extremely deadly from almost a half-mile away.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry here. First, Bushmaster manufactures AR-15 rifles, which are semi-auto versions of the military M-16, not the Soviet AK-47. Second, while Bushmaster does make some “highly accurate” versions, most “military style” rifles are not known for their tack-driving accuracy, and I have yet to see any AK-47 that I’d call “accurate.” Third, “almost a half-mile”??? A half mile is 880 yards. Maximum useful range of an accurized target AR-15 is 600 meters using specially loaded ammunition. Realistically it’s a 300 meter rifle. But why let mere facts get in the way of a good fear-mongering?
But with a few modifications – a change of barrel size, a different bolt – the maker was able to legalize its product and keep selling it, despite the ban.
Say what? “Change of barrel size, a different bolt”? No collapsable stock, no bayonet lug, no flash hider. PER THE LETTER OF THE LAW.
Richard Dyke, chairman of Bushmaster Firearms, the maker of this gun, did so well in fact that he had money left over to contribute to political campaigns. He has long been a big Republican fund-raiser in Maine, his home state. And in the 2000 presidential campaign, he was appointed as George W. Bush’s state finance director.
(Knowing this much helps to understand why, when Malvo and Muhammad were killing people from 500 yards during that summer and fall, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush saw the shootings not as a gun problem so much as a problem of “values.”)
Muhammed and Malvo didn’t take a single shot over 150 yards as I understand it. And had they used the Remington 700 rifle they acquired first, they would actually have been able to hit people from 500 yards out, not just in Mr. Vitello’s fevered imagination.
Now, the so-called assault weapons ban – weak and evadable as it is – is due to expire. This will make it possible for gunmakers to return their products to their full monty of killing power: more bullets per clip, more thrust per squeeze. The National Rifle Association has made the end of the ban one of its top priorities.
What, exactly, does “more bullets per clip, more thrust per squeeze” mean? The number of rounds per magazine hasn’t changed – my “pre-ban” 30-rounders fit my “post-ban” AR-15 perfectly well, and my “post-ban” AR-15 shoots one round “per squeeze” just like a “pre-ban” does. Again, why let facts dilute a good scare?
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), who is known among NRA-backers as that woman from Long Island who just won’t shut up – just because her husband was killed and her son was wounded by a madman in 1993 with a legally purchased gun, she blames the NRA – has been working the hallways of Congress this week in an effort to bring to a vote a bill that would make the temporary ban permanent. Her bill would also tighten some of the restrictions on fire power. “The majority of people don’t even know it’s expiring,” she said.
“Tighten some of the restrictions?” This is the first piece of understatement in this entire philippic. By the same token a guillotine would be “just a bit extreme” for curing headaches. “Most people” don’t know it’s expiring because it hasn’t had any effect on anything.
Her opponents include not only Bushmaster’s maker and Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the majority leader of the House, but the formidable lobbying apparatus of the NRA, which flexed its muscle Tuesday when it pulled its support from a Senate bill that would have attached McCarthy’s ban to another measure.
The other measure, shamelessly named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, would have protected the gun industry from lawsuits filed by shooting victims or their families. Several such suits have been brought already by families of the 10 D.C.-area sniper victims.
The NRA was so opposed to McCarthy’s weapons ban, it was willing to scuttle the Lawful Commerce bill for now, and wait for another shot.
“The president himself says there are terrorist cells at work in this country,” she said. “Do we want these people to be able to walk into any gun store?”
Non sequitur alert! How would extending the “assault weapon ban” prevent “these people” from walking “into any gun store”? Another example of the complete logical disconnect exhibited by gun banners.
Bush, during his 2000 presidential campaign, said he would support extending the assault weapons ban. But he hasn’t lifted a finger to help bring it to a vote in the House or the Senate.
So, to review just this much: A weak ban on assault weapons is passed in 1994, despite which assault weapons sales flourish.
If you want to be truthful, not despite, but because of.
Bush says he will support the ban’s extension, but doesn’t seem to really mean it. Members of the Republican-controlled House and Senate keep the extension from coming up for a vote; in an election year, no one wants it on record that he or she voted for every American’s right to shoot people’s heads off from 500 yards.
As Marie Antoinette or someone similar once said, let them eat values.
Actually, if I want to shoot someone’s head off from 500 yards, my “assault rifle” or any military-style semi-auto is going to be about my last choice. I’d use my 1914 vintage 1896 Swedish Mauser bolt-action rifle that I’ve configured for steel silhouette shooting.
Or I’d get a Remington 700 PS like Muhammed and Malvo originally were going to use.
The fact of the matter is, only a few safe congresscritters want to be on record as voting for further infringement of the right to arms. Most of them have discovered that voting against the right to arms makes re-election a chancy thing, and that violates the First Rule of Public Service: KEEP GETTING ELECTED.
People like Mr. Vitello were the reason I got active in the fight over the right to arms.
I got very tired of seeing the public blatantly lied to with essentially no way to rebut the liars.
Mr. Vitello, you’re a liar. A willful, blatant, rabble-rousing preacher of fear. You should be ashamed of yourself, but of course you aren’t. You wrap yourself in a mantle of “good intentions,” and deceive yourself that lying in a “good cause” is justified. It isn’t. You are yet another example of the falsity of University of Toronto associate professor of philosophy Benjamin Hellie’s statement:
But left- and right-wing sources are not symmetrical. The goal of the right wing is to perpetuate and worsen a system in which a small number of people control obscene quantities of wealth and power at the expense of the vast majority, whereas the goal of the left wing is to distribute wealth and power more broadly. For short, the goal of the right wing is perpetuating and increasing injustice, whereas the goal of the left wing is increasing justice.
People do not like injustice. The knowledge that injustice is being done to others offends their sense of morality; the knowledge that injustice is being done to them makes them angry and resentful. Both these emotions contribute to a desire to use the political system in order to counter injustice. So it is very helpful for the right wing to achieve its goal if the existence of injustice, and the unjust effects of the policies it endorses, can be concealed.
Providing this concealment is the role of right-wing political writers. Thus, a priori, given that injustice exists and that right-wing policies are unjust, you might expect the ample use of lies, misdirection, and sophistry from these guys. (In fact, my intimate knowledge with right-wing political writing provides ample evidence that what you might expect is exactly what you get.)
By contrast, the role of left-wing political writers is to cause people to believe that there is injustice, and that right-wing policies make it worse. Given, once again, that both these points are true, all that left wing political writers need to do is report the truth.
(Via Francis Porretto)
Polemicists such as Mr. Vitello cannot report “truth.” It isn’t frightening enough. They must lie to achieve their ends. They must mislead, obfuscate, twist, mangle, spindle and mutilate the truth, because otherwise “the people” won’t fear enough to be lead to the safety the Anointed have engineered for them.
Fuck you, Mr. Vitello.