Never Let a Dead Child Go to Waste
Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and their cohorts followed Rahm Emanuel's advice to "never let a good crisis go to waste" when they used the Sandy Hook shooting to renew their assault on the Bill of Rights. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell added, in effect, that one should never let a dead child go to waste if one can exploit him or her for political gain.
"...the good thing about Newtown is, it was so horrific that I think it galvanized Americans to a point where the intensity on our side is going to match the intensity on their side."
This is difficult, if not impossible, to explain away. Suppose instead that an armed teacher or staff member had stopped Adam Lanza after two murders the way Pearl High Assistant Principal Joel Myrick stopped would-be mass murderer Luke Woodham. A case study for The American Rifleman's Armed Citizen feature is not what Dianne Feinstein, Ed Rendell, and their cohorts need in order to eliminate the Second Amendment a piece at a time. They need a mass murder that is "so horrific" that it will manipulate the public, and legislatures like New York's, into acting before they have time to think. Their modus operandi is to exploit grief, shock, and outrage for political gain the way itinerant rainmakers once exploited the plight of drought-plagued farmers, and quacks and charlatans peddle miracle cures to desperate cancer patients.*
Ed Rendell is not the only anti-Second Amendment leader who has done this. As stated by Joshua Horowitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,
A historic opportunity now lies before us to curb the gun violence destroying our families and communities. For the sake of future generations, let us hope our elected officials seize it.
Horowitz at least had the decency to add, "Nothing can right the terrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Conn. on Friday," but this does not change the fact that he also sees this crime as an opportunity to manipulate people's emotions.
To this, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey added, "If the slaughter of 20 babies does not capture and hold your attention, then I give up because I don't know what else will." He added that so-called "assault weapons" are not suitable for hunting, which is a deliberately dishonest statement about the Second Amendment. The same goes for Andrew Cuomo's statement that you don't need ten bullets to kill a deer. He is right; a good hunter won't take the shot if he can't kill the deer with one bullet. The Second Amendment does not, however, guarantee the right to hunt deer or indeed anything else. There is, in fact, no Constitutional impediment whatsoever to a ban on all hunting and fishing. What the Bill of Rights guarantees is the right to defend oneself against violent human beings.
Joseph Goebbels said of this kind of propaganda that "Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect." Goebbels' and Hitler's success with this approach proved that it can be decisively effective, but there is a strong caveat. When the natives figure out that the Great White God is not a god, and that his beads and trinkets are not magic, he usually comes to a bad end. The instant people wake up to the fact that you are lying to them and manipulating them, they will turn on you with no less enthusiasm than that with which they once followed you. When the enemy cites openly the mass murder of children and teachers as an opportunity to pursue an agenda, this will happen very quickly.
The destruction of the Million Mom March in 2000 exemplifies this principle. The group solicited donations, volunteer time, and corporate contributions under the premise that it was working for "gun safety," and particularly to protect children from "gun violence." When it became apparent that the group was using the money to promote House candidates on its Web site, while it threatened pro-Second Amendment candidates with defeat, its supporters distanced themselves from it very quickly. As an example,
(CNSNews.com) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is distancing itself from the so-called 'Million Mom March' because of the gun control group's stated intention of supporting political candidates.
...Church officials also said they were not aware that MMM organizers planned to become politically active regarding candidates for office, and would have preferred knowing the organization's plans before the event.
The enemies of the Bill of Rights have again chosen to use children as human shields, but our side must do more than merely call them out for this despicable propaganda tactic. We must also show why the other side cannot appeal to logic and reason.
Why They Must Appeal to Emotion; The Facts are Against Them
Honest human beings are almost universally receptive to facts. The statement that two and two make four is nonpartisan as well as inarguable, and Rudyard Kipling pointed this out in "The Gods of the Copybook Headings." Thomas Sowell explained very clearly,
If, as gun control advocates claim, gun control laws really do control guns and save lives, there is nothing to prevent repealing the Second Amendment, any more than there was anything to prevent repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that created Prohibition.
But, if the hard facts show that gun control laws do not actually control guns, but instead lead to more armed robberies and higher murder rates after law-abiding citizens are disarmed, then gun control laws would be a bad idea, even if there were no Second Amendment and no National Rifle Association.
The hard facts are that gun control in Australia and the United Kingdom has done nothing to reduce violent crime, and has probably increased it. The hard facts are that the cities with the toughest gun control laws -- Chicago, Washington DC, and New York -- are far more dangerous than cities and states in which people can carry guns openly. The American people are not interested in snake oil and quackery, which is why Feinstein & Co. must deal in emotional propaganda as well as outright falsehoods.
Turn the Monster on its Creators
Manipulative propaganda backfires horribly the instant people recognize the manipulation in question. The anti-Second Amendment Million Mom March went down hard for this very reason. The current enemies of the Bill of Rights will suffer a similarly devastating backlash the instant people recognize what is being done to them, and "Never let a dead child go to waste" is an easy way to facilitate this recognition.
* "Rainmaker" by the rock group Kansas is an outstanding flash (210 word) horror story in which the protagonist gets far more than he bargained for.
William A. Levinson, P.E. is the author of several books on business management including content on organizational psychology, as well as manufacturing productivity and quality.