Friday, June 17, 2016

The Boston Globe Goes Full Rambo on Orlando

I am one of those non-gun-owners who supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms but also common-sense gun regulations.

My one experience a couple of decades ago firing a few rounds from an AR-15 was shooting at a small tree on a river bank 20 yards away. I couldn't hit the tree, the gun's owner decided I was wasting ammunition, and suggested that if I wanted to protect myself I should get a shotgun. I didn't. The time I shot traps with a shotgun on Jimmy Carter's nickel as part of the Youth Conservation Corps, I was only 2 for 4. My one time shooting skeet, at a cousin's memorial event a few years back, I was hitting less than 50%.

You have to wonder what kind of well-regulated militia lets a guy who was fired from a prison guard job for an "administrative matter", removed from armed security guard duty at a courthouse after complaints he was unhinged and unstable, and subject to an FBI investigation regarding possible affiliation with terrorists walk into a gun store and walk out with the lives of forty-nine of our fellow Americans. But it's hard to find much common sense in The Boston Globe's editorial response to the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre:
"The United States has been pummeled by gun violence since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. This year, mass shootings have already claimed 61 lives. One class of gun, semiautomatic rifles, is largely responsible. ... Since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, there have been

47 mass shootings
411 people killed
0 successful attempts to reinstate the ban
Yes, 411 people killed in 12 years is a lot, but not all of those were killed by semiautomatic rifles and there have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 130,000 gun deaths by homicide in the same period.
"AMERICAN RETIREES ARE LIVING OFF OF GUN SALES. Some of the largest investors in gun companies are average Americans who own index funds in their workplace retirement plans. If you have a 401(k) plan with Vanguard Group, in all likelihood you own gun stocks — and you’ve done well off it."
This "fact" was immediately followed by this grapes to water melons comparison:
"The Boston Public School system’s 2015 budget was $975 million ... the 2015 revenue from manufacturing guns and ammunition was $15 billion; more than 15 times the BPS budget."
Let's at least talk apples to oranges: $15 billion in gun sales to $620 billion spent nationwide on public school education. Apples to apples: $15 billion in gun sales to $18.558 trillion in gross domestic product. No, American retirees are not living off gun sales, not even a tenth of a penny.

And picking on Vanguard Group out the blue? At least they didn't single out one of our Boston-based mutual fund employers (although I'll bet the first draft did). The Boston Globe has reached Donald Trump level of dumb.

The editorial does make a good case for universal background checks, which it doesn't mention we already have here in Massachusetts, but that also needs to be buttressed by reporting or screening for the types of things that should get someone like the Orlando shooter, the Fort Hood shooter, and a good many of the other mass and non-mass shooters on the no buy list. But the editorial doesn't ask for either of those things, only for a semiautomatic rifle ban.

The Globe has a lot of hand wringing about "legislative paralysis" but I have to ask whether the gun control advocates understand that they are their own worst enemy and perhaps a large part of the impediment to getting anything sensible done. My Congresswoman, Katherine Clark, boycotted the moment of silence for the Orlando shooting victims. In a curious coincidence, Congresswoman Clark got confronted by local police officers armed with long guns after someone called in a hoax about shots fired and an active shooter at her home address just this past winter. So, she may deserve a pass but I still wonder what legislative action her boycott will actually help get accomplished.

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