Bombs, Guns, & Poison: A 72-Hour Panic Attack!
Bombings in Boston on Monday. Poisoned letters sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Gun control dies on the Senate floor on Wednesday. What’s going on here?
Stunningly, a series of legislative measures on gun control designed to expand background checks and block further sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were shot down on the Senate floor Wednesday, according to a report by the New York Times. Despite considerable popular and political support for expanded gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting, many Senators who were initially in favor of passing the legislation backed out at the last minute, caving in to the power of the gun lobby in an especially gross display of cowardice. The NRA has increasingly revealed itself to be a paper tiger over the course of the 2012 presidential elections and beyond, but apparently that tiger still has teeth enough to tear into the hearts of the privileged. Couple this with the events of the previous forty-eight hours, there is a distinct possibility that the Senate might throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to gun control.
Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon couldn’t have come at a worse time for the gun control debate. Within hours of the tragedy, a hailstorm of accusations, insults, and crackpot conspiracies blew their way across the Internet, even gracing the feeds of supposedly ‘respectable’ news sites like CNN. One of the major pitfalls of the 24-hour news cycle is the constant need to be the first one on top of any lead, no matter how unsubstantiated or outright ludicrous, and this has been ratcheted up to new heights of outlandishness since the bombing took place. Never one to miss an opportunity to push an agenda, the NRA’s very own Angry White Everyman Ted Nugent took the program Cam & Company on Tuesday to simultaneously compare the heroic first responder efforts in Boston to the NRA’s principles, and decry those that support the proposed gun control measures:
Those uniformed heroes of the military charged in with the uniformed heroes of law enforcement, the first responders, the EMTs, and quite relative to my opening statement today, citizens, just people, American citizens knowing that two bombs had gone off, limbs had been blown off of peoples’ bodies, massive amounts of blood and terror and trauma. And where did civilians and heroes of professional organizations and law enforcement and military, where did they run? Straight into the danger. That’s the America that I pray every day that represents what the NRA is.
Nugent went on to state the following:
…why can’t we communicate with those who we oppose on the gun control issue, on the tax issue, on the court system, on the welfare issue, ad nauseum? Why can’t we somehow, and I believe we can if we continue to communicate and turn up our activism heat, why can’t we create an America that is united constantly like we’re united when terror strikes?
The message is clear: the Obama administration is soft on terror and hard on gun owners, and if it was the other way around, Monday’s bombing would have never happened. This charming piece of illogic and others like it fall apart almost immediately under the light of inquiry, but they appear to have had the desired effect of greenlighting the pro-gun lobby to step up the saber-rattling on Capitol Hill and across the nation, stoning the fence-sitters into submission.
On the same day as Nugent’s rhetoric-filled romp on hate-wing radio, two letters laced with the poison ricin were intercepted by the FBI en route to the Capitol, one addressed to the president and another to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), one of sixteen Republicans who voted with Democrats on the gun control bill. According to an NBC News report, a suspect has been apprehended in the mailings, one Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Mississippi. The entire contents of the letters have not been divulged to the press, but according to a bulletin released by the FBI, both letters contained the chilling phrase, “to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.” It is uncertain whether Wicker was specifically targeted as a gun control advocate, but per the news site Politics USA, ‘it is not an illogical assumption that the poison letter could be tied to the vote.”
While the poison letter debacle is not being called an act of terror by the media, it seems readily apparent that it very much is, one designed to strike fear in the hearts of our policy makers. The geographic connection between the suspect and Wicker is quite telling, given Wicker’s position on gun rights and the proximity of the letter’s intended delivery date to the start of this latest round of voting. Sending one to the president, while equally ominous, is redundant; gun nuts hate the president, and have been bracing against the “coming tyranny” for some time now. Of course, Curtis’ guilt and motives are all speculative at this point, and we’re not likely to get much more information from the FBI or the media beyond this. But it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that what I’ve described here is precisely what happened, and why.
It’s amazing how quickly minds can change when under duress, whether through the clever exploitation of tragedy for political gain, or the sudden violation of personal safety. When applied in rapid succession, the results can be devastating, as seen in Wednesday’s Senatorial gun control hearings. It remains unclear whether gun control advocates can secure a victory, especially if this is the kind of “activism heat” we can expect to see in the future.
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Filed Under: blowback, Capitol Hill, Congress, Democracy, dnm, Gun Control, Guns, House of Representatives, Media, NEWS, NRA, obama, POLITICS, POTUS, President, radio, Senate, Ted Nugent, twib-ce, Vote