Sunday, April 3, 2011

Random Thoughts on Politics

Ever since the massacre in Tuscon this January, the liberal left has been frantically calling for stricter gun control. The shooting in Arizona was certainly a tragedy, and it is sad to see how quickly our leaders seize upon the suffering of innocents as a pretext for advancing their politcial agendas. It almost seems as though they are dancing on the graves of the dead, exploiting a tragedy to score points with their constituents.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a student at Long Island University who was pushing for a new anti-gun law. He brought up the incidents at Virginia Tech and Columbine as proof that guns are inherently evil and should be strigently regulated, if not banned entirely. His concern was certainly an understandable one, but let me address the problem with this young man's reasoning.

In 2005, there were nearly 6,420,000 automobile accidents in the United States. As a result, 2.9 million Americans were injured and 42,636 killed. Statistics show that almost 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States - one death every 13 minutes. Why aren't our politicians calling for an immediate ban on automobiles?

Approximately 1.2 million around the world die by drowning every year, an average of two people every minute. Why aren't our politicians calling for an immediate ban on beaches and swimming pools?

  • In 1988, Islamic terrorist Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi bombed an airplane over Scotland, killing some 270 people.
  • In 2001, Islamic terrorists used hijacked planes to kill a total of 2976 innocent people.  
  • In 2002, Islamic terrorist Richard Reid (the "shoe bomber") attempted to blow up American Airlines Flight 63.
  • In 2009, Islamic terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the "underwear bomber") attempted to blow up an airplane with some 300 passengers over Detroit. 
So why aren't our politicians calling for an immediate ban on airplanes?

Given these gruesome statistics, I find it difficult to fathom the selective outrage over guns - but not cars, or swiming pools, or airplanes. All kinds of objects can be used to inflict deadly harm, and yet none arouses the ire of the liberal left as much as guns. Why?

Here's my theory: The left, as we know, is characterized by an intense hatred towards everything American - a hatred epitomized by the words of Jeremiah Wright. And what could be more American than guns? After all, it was "the shot heard 'round the world" that marked the start of the Revolutionary War. Our nation would not be around today if it weren't guns - and men who weren't afraid to use them.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Indeed, the despots of history understood exactly what could be done when people were deprived of the ability to defend themselves.

  • In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, approximately 20 million dissidents were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1938 Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, over 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill, union leaders, Catholics and others, unable to fire a shot in protest, were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1935, China established gun control. From 1948 and 1952, over 20 million dissidents were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1956, Cambodia enshrined gun control. In just two years (1975-1977), over one million "educated" people were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1964, Guatemala locked in gun control. From 1964 to 1981, over 100,000 Mayan Indians were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1970, Uganda embraced gun control. Over the next nine years, over 300,000 Christians were rounded up and killed.

The sordid truth is this: Over 56 million innocent people have perished in the gulags, gas chambers, and death marches of history ... because of gun control. If only people had the power to defend themselves, the gruesome genocides of the last century may never have taken place.

Of course, the leftist liberals will say, "That was then, and this is now." Leftists knows that their ideas have been discredited by history, and so they will try to dismiss it. They will pretend that a genocide could never happen in the United States. They will pretend that the cavemen plotting the next Pam 103 bombing, the next 9/11, the next Mumbai, the next Fort Hood Massacre, and the next intifada are all a figment of our Islamophobic imaginations. They will complain of our "paranoia" and "McCarthyism." And they will be wrong. As an old friend used to say, paranoia is a disease that results in death at a very old age.

The illusions of the left are nice, perhaps even well-intentioned; but it is not possible to sweep history under the rug and pretend that it never happened. In the words of William Faulkner, "the past is never dead. It's not even past."

Another aphorism comes to mind: "If all guns were outlawed, then only outlaws would carry guns." This may seem difficult to understand at first, but anti-gun laws are meant to target criminals  and - surprise, surprise - criminals do not obey laws! Let's say that Congress were to ban the purchase of guns tomorrow. Would this stop the bad guys from acquiring them? Of course not. But it would stop innocent, law-abiding Americans from defending themselves.

Leftists want to strip innocent, law-abiding Americans of an essential freedom in response to the actions of a single lunatic in Arizona. They believe that the caliber of our liberty should be determined not by the Constitution, but by criminals. That, my friends, is called appeasement - giving in to the demands of an aggressor. We cannot allow nutjobs like Jared Laughner to determine the level of freedom that the rest of us will enjoy. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "those who would give up essential liberty in the name of some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Leftists tell us that we should not blame ALL Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks; but they have no problem stripping ALL Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms in the aftermath of an isolated incident like the Tuscon Massacre. A single man has sinned, and they wish to punish an entire nation.

"Never let a crisis go to waste," advised Rahm Emmanuel some time ago. And so, once again, the leftists pounce on a national tragedy as a pretext for promoting their political agenda, their utopian ideal of a gun-free America. But - like the utopian ideals of yesteryear - this, too, is a foolish one.

Statistics show that states with lenient gun laws have lower rates of crime than those with strict gun laws. After all, criminals prey on defenseless people, on those who are weak and unable to defend themselves. Thus, we see that anti-gun laws are counterproductive: they promote crime instead of lessening it.

Guns don't kill people; criminals kill people. Bombs don't blow up airplanes; Islamic terrorists do. Pencils don't fail tests; bad students do. It's time to take off the filters of political correctness and tell it like it is. Truth hurts; but that is no reason why we must call a spade, a shovel. That is no reason to remove the word "jihadist" from government documents. That is no reason to refer to the Libyan war as a "kinetic military operation." Sorry, libs, but your euphemisms must go.

Unfortuanately, we live in a society that scapegoats objects instead of the criminals who use them. We live in a society that pats down 80-year-old nuns at airports for fear that they might have a bomb hidden somewhere. Did 80-year-old nuns fly planes into the Twin Towers? Did 80-year-old nuns try to blow up Times Square, and airplanes, and synagogues, and Christmas ceremonies? 

Why on earth are we pretending that 80-year-old nuns are just as likely to be hiding bombs as 20-year-olds from Saudi Arabia? Whom are we trying to fool? A better question would be: Whom are we trying to appease?

Perhaps we should stop blaming objects and start focusing on the bad guys who use them. Our sages tell us that he who is merciful unto the cruel will one day be cruel unto the merciful. We have become "merciful" towards criminals, granting them the right to an attorney at the expense of the tax-paying public. We have become "merciful" towards suspicious-looking people from countries that are known for sponsoring terrorism. Allow me to offer just one example. Why was the "underwear bomber" able to get on the plane? Why did no one notice that his name had been placed on a terror watch list, that he was not carrying luggage or wearing a coat, that his father had spoken to the US embassy in Nigeria before the flight? 

Self-deception is suicide, and America is clearly engaged in both. We have become merciful unto the cruel, unto the suspicious, unto the criminals among us. We are bending over backwards in order to avoid offending the terrorists. 

Note that the underwear bombing was not stopped by the government; it failed because the bomb was not properly assembled and detonated. If Abdulmutallab had been a little smarter, the ashes of 300 innocent Americans would be flying around in the air of Detroit to this day. Note that the Times Square bombing was not stopped by the government; it failed because the bomb did not detonate when it should have. If Shaszad had been a little smarter, Times Square would be a graveyard of thousands. And their blood would be on our hands; the blood of thosuands would be on the hands of those who set political correctness above national security.

I repeat: "Those who are merciful unto the cruel will one day be cruel unto the merciful."

And, indeed, we are "cruel" unto the innocent. We are cruel by treating every airline passenger as a potential terrorist. We are cruel to the law-abiding, hard-working folks who wish to own a gun for purposes of self-defense.  We are cruel by failing to protect the innocent public from the monsters within our borders.

When did this ridiculousness start? I would say that it started with Miranda v. Arizona, a naive albeit well-intentioned Supreme Court decision that attempted to level the playing field between law enforcement and criminals. Ever since Miranda, American society has placed greater emphasis on the rights of criminals than on the rights of their victims.

We are outraged by the torture of foreign-born terrorists in a foreign land, but we have forgotten the torture that our own people endured on 9/11. We are outraged by a Floridian pastor's attempt to burn the Qur'an on the anniversary of 9/11, but we have forgotten the thousands of books that lay within the World Trade Center and were burned to ashes on that fateful day. Granted, torture and book-burning are certainly not nice, not moral, and possibly not legal. Yet, it is fascinating to see how quickly we forget the suffering of our own people, our own families, and our own nation - and turn our concerns to the discomfort of genocidal murderers. It is alarming to see how quickly we forget the suffocated corpses, the mothers and fathers who leaped from the heights of the Twin Towers, the twisted heap of ash that lay in the middle of our city. Instead, we are concerned about the comfort of those responsible for this dastardly deed - and those who may be planning other terrorist attacks against our people.

We are concerned about the burning of Qur'ans - even though thousands of books were burned in the World Trade Center, even though our soldiers burned hundreds of Bibles to avoid offending the Afghan people, even though the American flag is burned nearly every day in the countries of our enemies. Liberals vigorously defend this sacrilege - this outrage - in the name of free speech and the First Amendment.  But when a fringe pastor announces his plan to burn some Qur'ans in a little-known church, we are outraged. We are not concerned about Americaphobia, but only about Islamophobia.

What is to account for this double standard? Who can explain the laughable hypocrisy of the liberal left? Could it be that the Qur'an is any more sacred than the American flag? Could it be that the comfort of our enemies is more important than the lives and safety of our people?

And so it is with guns. Just as liberals do not want terrorists to be tortured, they do not want robbers to be hurt or killed. So, they don't mind the burglaries and home break-ins that the mere brandishing of a weapon could prevent. Gazillioniare politicians walk around with Secret Service agents and hide behind bullet-proof screens when delivering a speech, but they don't believe that we are entitled to the same safety in our own homes.  We are told that Democrats are for the poor and Republicans are for the rich, but Democrats don't seem to mind that poor people can be easily robbed and killed if they are denied the right to self-defense. President Obama will not give up his taxpayer-financed Secret Service protection, but he wants ordinary Americans to give up their only means of self-defense. Obama's hypocrisy is so ubiquitous that it is almost unnoticeable. His double standards are so many that we no longer pay attention to them.

But we should. We as a society should do an about-face from the suicidal tactics of political correctness, stop our counterproductive attempts at gun control, and get to the core of the problem.

Blaming guns is a way to avoid blaming criminals, something that politically correct elitists love to do, since all criminals are "victims of society's oppression." In fact, liberal ideology is based entirely and exclusively on the notion of victimhood. If you read the Huffington Post or the New York Times, you know that the "evil corporations" are oppressing the poor, the "racist whites" are locked in a perpetual struggle with African-Americans, and the "apartheid Israeli regime" is torturing downtrodden Palestinians. But the other side of the story hardly ever gets told.

When Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. refuses to identify himself to a white police officer - a white police officer who previously saved an African-American man's life - the media screams racism with little regard to the actual facts. When Arabs butcher a family of five in Israel, the media sides with the murderers simply because the family was living in what they see as the "occupied West Bank." Perhaps a gun would have helped the Fogel family. If they could have defended themselves, perhaps they would still be alive.

But I digress. It would be interesting to know what my friend at Long Island University has to say about all this. Perhaps he, too, has been brainwashed into hating the United States of America and everything that makes it unique - like the freedom to defend oneself, a freedom that would have saved the lives of my ancestors.

But surely, my LIU friend will not dispute one simple truth: Innocents can be killed in a myriad of ways. Maksim Gelman stabbed people to death with a knife, as did Arab terrorists in Itamar. Does that mean that we should ban all knives?

Only a fool would think so.