Reply to -- Gun Advocates Envision the Murder of Mrs. Brady (By Knife or Injection)

By Bruce A. Clark (Written 4/10/96)

I beg your pardon? "Gun Advocates"? Every gun advocate is not, as you seem to imply here, envisioning anything of the kind. It would be preferable, I think, to just say it was some loudmouth, and not say something that tends to brand all of us. These guys no more speak for all of us "gun advocates" on this issue than does the man in the moon. I think you'd better read this paragraph again. What he said about about Mrs. Brady is not that she should be killed, but that she is trampling on her husband's dignity. The writer is saying that if his wife did such a thing to him, that someone would slit his wife's throat, and ditto for his friends. While this is still an ugly thing to say, it is not a threat directed at Mrs. Brady. Again, an ugly thing to say, something I wouldn't say, but neither is it a serious threat. It's strictly rhetorical. But it is an indication of the depth of feeling stirred up by the attacks on fundamental liberties made, so hypocritically and dishonestly by the Bradys in particular, and those allies who work hand-in-glove with them.

I guess I should say something to back that up. The Bradys and their organization(s) and political friends are trying to ban (one step at a time) guns, especially handguns in this country. But Mr. Brady has a gun. In a long article about the Bradys in the 1/91 issue of Vanity Fair, Mr. Brady said that he got it in case John Hinckley came after him again. Excuse me, but Hinckley was not after him in the first place. Brady wants to be able to protect himself, but does not want the rest of us to have that same right.

And the same goes for Senator Diane Feinstein, who had a concealed carry permit and carried a .38 revolver when she was mayor of San Francisco. A lot more of us regular folks get killed than politicians, but she wants people like herself to be the only ones who get to have that kind of protection.

Last Fall, PA State Rep. Godshall proposed changes to the Uniform Firearms Act of 1995 such that persons with drunk driving convictions and those with a history of mental incompetence be allowed to possess a firearm. Sarah Brady released a statement saying "This is an outrage. I cannot fathom why Rep. Godshall would be willing to arm Pennsylvanians who have had a history of alcohol abuse and/or mental incompetence. ..." The Vanity Fair article mentioned above stated that Jim Brady was having "mental problems," "seizures" and spells of "involuntary wailing." And he thinks John Hinckley is after him. But it's ok for him to have a handgun.

And the Bradys are, of course, doing all of this because they believe in it. I'm sure their their involvement has nothing to do with the six-figure salary they receive, and not the five-figure sum ($10,000 - $20,000, I forget exactly) they each receive for speaking engagements, either.

Let's not forget how Brady ally in Congress Charles Schumer tried to use the Oklahoma City bombing to advance the gun-banning schemes, even though such things as "assault weapons" played no part in it.

What was their ('they' being the Bradys and their allies, especially those in the media) argument for putting an assault weapons ban in Clinton's Crime bill? It was to stop crime and violence with such weapons. But after the bill was passed, what were they saying? "No one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by passage of the crime bill]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic" (Washington Post editorial, 9/15/94). Any honest investigation of the usage of such weapons in crime backs that up.

As for the high-capacity magazine ban, also included in the Crime Bill, the New York Police Department Academy Firearms Discharge Report says that, on average, criminals fire 2-3 rounds, if they fire at all, making a gun's ammunition capacity pretty much irrelevant to crime.

Brady supporters claim that so-called assault weapons may comprise a small percentage of weapons, but are traced by the BATF to a large percentage of crimes. But the BATF says that "it is not possible to determine if traced firearms are related to criminal activity" and that that is not the purpose of their traces. The BATF's statement on the subject is available in the article "Setting The Record Straight On BATF Firearms Traces".

And the debate on this issue is not conducted in a manner calculated to give the voters the information they need to make up their minds. Nearly all of the large media outlets and television networks have shown enormous bias, flooding the airways and newspapers and magazines with biased articles and pseudo facts, as when NBC talked about semi-automatic weapons, with file footage of fully-automatic machine guns firing in the background. A recent, egregious example will have to serve. The Larry King Live show proposed to discuss the gun control issue on the 3/27/96 show. And how was it going to promote a fair debate? Sarah and Jim Brady would get twenty minutes by themselves, then the NRA's chief lobbyist, Tanya Metaksa, would get to debate Senator Diane Feinstein for 20 minutes. Doesn't that sound like both sides will get equal play? Ms. Metaksa didn't think so,either, and complained. On the day of the show, the show decided to drop Metaksa entirely, and just have the Bradys. Unfortunately, most media organizations do not display the attitude of The Ethical Spectacle, and hold a truly open debate.

I could go on and on, but I'm probably being tedious already. But can you blame people for being very, very angry at being treated this way? This is the root of the statements Mr. Wallace complained about, not a personal hatred for Sarah Brady. It's one thing to say that such a statement is boorish, but quite another to make such a big deal about it, all the while ignoring the very real things, like I have mentioned, that led to it.

In the demonization department, these statements are small potatoes, compared to the mass media blitz identifying law abiding gun owners with murderers and other criminals, and stereotyping them as a bunch of ignorant red-necks, beer-bellied "bubbas", right-wingers and racists. As long as this continues, and until the media returns to some semblance of honesty and objectivity, ceasing its own mass demonization campaign, the anger will continue to grow, and such stupid statements will continue to be made and be applauded by other angry people.