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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guns and Democracy

Steven Levingston, the Book World Nonfiction Editor at The Washington Post shot me (and other gun bloggers I presume) an email about a blog post on The Washington Post Book World blog by none other than Joshua Horwitz. The lead to the blog post says:

The intent of the second amendment right to bear arms has come under debate since health reform protesters showed up with guns at town hall meetings last month. We asked Joshua Horwitz, a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, for his interpretation.
Most Second Amendment activists would disagree that debate on the intent of the amendment started only this past summer. But that gave Horiwitz the opening he needed to hawk is book - "Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea," which was published in April by the University of Michigan Press.
Many Americans were disturbed by the sight of protesters carrying guns to town hall meetings across the country. How have we reached the point where individuals feel the need to engage in such shows of force? The truth is that the seeds of armed political activism in the United States were planted years ago by the gun lobby.

Yeah, that's right, it's the NRA's fault. According to Horwitz, because the NRA's natural constituency - hunters and recreational shooters - was dwindling, it and other pro-rights organizations had to reach out to the paranoid fringe - those who don't trust the government. Horwitz repeats his charge that this formula is what created the Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

Horwitz says the public rejected the NRA's "caustic" rhetoric after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma so they turned to talking about freedom and "patriotism" - code words for a "radical audience."

Tricky thing is, you go to any gathering of NRA members, whether it's a Friends of NRA Banquet, or the NRA Annual Meeting, and you don't see these "radicals" that Horwitz believes make up the over 4 million NRA members. What you see are business men and women, veterinarians and doctors, housewives, children - families that enjoy the shooting sports just as much as they enjoy watching their kids play soccer, baseball or football. And, they love their freedom that so many have fought for and died to protect.

What we witnessed this summer was a frustration that our elected officials no longer listen to the people they are supposed to represent. Not a single one of the individuals who carried a firearm during a tea party or other public event broke the law - including the Black gentleman carrying the sporting rifle (AR-15) in Phoenix. It should be noted that Horwitz left out the fact that the AR-15 toting gun owner was Black because it likely did not fit the stereotype he was trying to create.

Horwitz says he doesn't wish to marginalize individuals who carry firearms but instead he wants to educate us about the dangers of a "cavalier attitude towards insurrectionism and political violence." But make no mistake, marginalize is exactly what he and his cohorts in the anti-rights crowd want to do with Second Amendment activists. The more they can paint us as a bunch of radicals, the better their chances of restricting our rights.

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