Friday, August 21, 2009

The New York Times reveals its anti-Second-Amendment bias once more


An editorial in today's New York Times set my teeth on edge. It reads as follows:

Packing Iron Before The Cameras

It is hard to know what is more shocking: the sight of a dozen Americans showing up to flaunt guns outside the venue for President Obama’s speech in Phoenix on Monday, or the fact that the swaggering display was completely legal. We are all familiar with the right to bear arms and the noisome extremes indulged by its zealots. But is there no sense of simple respect due the nation’s elected leader when he ventures forth among the citizenry?

One man strutted through the crowd with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle slung over his shoulder. (That weapon was banned in recent American history until a bipartisan retreat before gun-lobby propaganda.) The man also packed a holstered handgun and completed this war-games ensemble with an ammunition clip in his back pocket. Such lethal parading, he announced, was legal under Arizona law and the public should “get kind of conditioned to it.”

The local police and the Secret Service were aware of the armed protestors and noted that they were kept out of the guarded convention hall where Mr. Obama spoke. That is hardly reassuring, especially this summer when so many protestors seem to consider primal rage a reasoned political statement.

New Hampshire is another “open carry” state. When Mr. Obama held a town hall meeting in Portsmouth on Aug. 11, gun-packing protestors were also there. As the television cameras zoomed in, one man preened as if in the O.K. Corral, his holstered gun strapped proudly to his thigh. What’s next? Citizens strolling in helmets and camouflage flak jackets? If we didn’t know better, we would think that the National Rifle Association would be embarrassed by such macho nonsense.


The editorial is sickening in its condescension and insulting in its patronizing tone. It's also inaccurate (well, what else would you expect from the New York Times when it speaks about firearms?). The AR15 rifle was not and has never been banned. Certain cosmetic features of some models of the rifle were banned for ten years, from 1994 until 2004, but the rifle itself continued to be freely available for sale. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a 'semi-automatic assault rifle'. An assault rifle, by generally accepted definition, is capable of fully automatic fire, among its other attributes. Ergo, the AR15 rifle carried by the person in question may have resembled, but in fact was not, an assault rifle.

A friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, points out that if the New York Times were to use precisely and exactly the same language and tone towards any group of Americans other than gun owners, and about any other human and Constitutionally-guaranteed right other than the right to keep and bear arms, the protests would be deafening. He submitted the following example, re-writing the editorial to refer to the right of peaceable assembly rather than the right to keep and bear arms, and changing the race of the protagonists. With his permission, I'll publish his example in full.

Flaunting “Race Equality” Before the Cameras

It is hard to know what is more shocking: the sight of a dozen African-Americans showing up to flaunt themselves outside the venue for President David Duke's speech in Phoenix on Monday, or the fact that the swaggering display was completely legal. We are all familiar with the right to peaceably assemble and the noisome extremes indulged by its zealots. But is there no sense of simple respect due the nation's elected leader when he ventures forth among the citizenry?

One large buck strutted through the crowd accompanied by a white woman. (That man was farm equipment in recent American history until a bipartisan retreat before abolitionist propaganda.) The man also packed a copy of the Bill of Rights and completed this race-baiting ensemble by waving his voter registration card. Such incendiary parading, he announced, was legal under Arizona law and the public should "get kind of conditioned to it."

The local police and the Secret Service were aware of the black protestors and noted that they were kept out of the guarded convention hall where Mr. Duke spoke. That is hardly reassuring, especially this summer when so many protestors seem to consider primal rage a reasoned political statement.

New Hampshire is another state where blacks are allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights. When Mr. Duke held a town hall meeting in Portsmouth on Aug. 11, blacks were also there. As the television cameras zoomed in, one man preened as if in a Civil Rights march in Selma, Alabama circa 1963, carrying a sign saying “We Shall Overcome.” What's next? Blacks strolling in loincloths with a bone through their nose? If we didn't know better, we would think that the NAACP would be embarrassed by such macho nonsense.


It's an excellent parody of the New York Times editorial, and my friend makes an important point with it. Why should those of us who value our human and civil rights, which are upheld and guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, put up with such snide condescension and thinly-veiled contempt from the New York Times?

Perhaps it's time we spoke up rather more loudly when such bias becomes evident - and perhaps we all need to exercise our rights more often, publicly and openly. After all, as others have pointed out, rights are like muscles. Unless they're exercised, they atrophy.

Peter

5 comments:

Unarmed Canadian said...

What a stupid analogy.

The problem here isn`t someone`s right to bear arms, it`s the troubling fact that their `right` could easily be used to endanger other person`s right to safety and security. All constitutional arguments aside, these people are carrying weapons. Weapons designed to inflict damage. Your `parody` is ridiculous - race may have caused many deaths in American history, but I`ve never heard of a person being killed by someone unhostering their heritage and firing the colour of their skin through that person`s heart.

Give your head a shake. You can take issue with the Times for a degree of fear-mongering in their writing, and a general lack of knowledge and research in their reporting. All fine and dandy.

But seriously, it`s no one`s dream to be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their hoster. Don`t compare apples to Agent Orange.

Peter said...

"The problem here isn`t someone`s right to bear arms, it`s the troubling fact that their `right` could easily be used to endanger other person`s right to safety and security. All constitutional arguments aside, these people are carrying weapons. Weapons designed to inflict damage. Your `parody` is ridiculous - race may have caused many deaths in American history, but I`ve never heard of a person being killed by someone unhostering their heritage and firing the colour of their skin through that person`s heart."

With the greatest of respect, Unarmed Canadian, you're completely, utterly wrong in everything you say in that paragraph. Let me elaborate.

1. They're weapons? Of course they are! I carry one daily. I've had to use it on occasion - in fact, the only reason I'm alive today is that I've been able to 'do unto others' before they were able to 'do unto me'. However, in each and every case, the 'others' were engaged in criminal, unlawful conduct. I have never, and will never, use my weapon against someone who isn't unlawfully and illegally endangering me or mine. Why should you think I would? Does the mere possession of a weapon carry that risk? If it does, why do we arm our police? Aren't they subject to the same risk? They're human, after all!

2. People may not have 'fired the color of their skin' at another, but they've most certainly used weapons to accomplish the same result - witness the Ku Klux Klan, the lynchings of the pre-Civil Rights era, etc. Let's not forget that most of the restrictive weapons laws in the USA, until not too many decades ago, were intended to disarm people of color, leaving them defenseless against such attacks. That's a thoroughly documented fact.

3. You might stand next to me in a crowd, and never realize that I was armed, because I carry my weapon concealed (legally, I might add). Why should you be in greater danger if you could actually see my weapon? The answer is, of course, that you'd be in no danger in either circumstance. My gun isn't going to take on a mind of its own and 'go postal'. I won't either. Merely possessing, and carrying, and displaying a weapon doesn't mean that others are at risk from it. To assume otherwise is blatantly silly. After all, for a man or woman to display their figure in tight, body-hugging clothes doesn't mean they're about to turn rapist, does it?

4. One person's rights can't trump another person's rights. You may feel threatened by seeing someone with a gun, but that can't abrogate his or her right to be armed. Equally, that person can't complain if you decide to make your own property and house into a 'gun-free zone'. It's your property, and your right. If I'm armed, and see a sign on your property that I can't enter it while armed, I have a choice: disarm and enter, or remain armed and go away. However, I can't override your rights - and you can't override mine.

reflectoscope said...

The NYT is free to publish such nonsense, and the rest of us are free to make a mockery of them for their narrow-mindedness. Your friend has done an elegantly simple job of it, too. It seems your previous commenter isn't the only one who doesn't understand the difference between the means and the motive. They would both do well to read Labrat's latest on the subject.

Jim

Old NFO said...

Means DOES NOT EQUAL motive... The hysteria is amazing, and I love the way the MSM has tried to spin the fact that the man with the AR-15 was Black!!! Hilarious!!!

Mikael said...

Pretty much everyone who's not suffering from some sort of paralyzation has the means to kill.

The difference with guns is that you have the means to kill someone who is physically stronger, faster, and fights better than you. It's the great equalizer.

Consider this situation: Local athlete goes on a roid rage with a baseball bat in the local park, he's coming in your direction, he's faster than you, he's stronger than you, and he's armed. Would you give yourself high survival hopes at this point if you didn't have a gun?