One is that the media and the Democratic Party are intellectually and morally dishonest when they approve of, and feature, Sandy Hook parents. The press and the Democrats would have relentlessly yelled "foul," "beyond the pale," "demagoguery" and "using human props" had George W. Bush done the same thing on behalf of the death penalty. And one can only imagine the vitriol if a Republican president were to travel with parents of murdered children who opposed further gun control.
Democrats and Republicans should always ask themselves how they would speak and act if the shoe were on the other foot.
My second argument is that there is nothing to be learned from the Sandy Hook parents' support of more gun control. That support is neither morally nor intellectually persuasive. Its appeal is entirely emotional. It may be understandable, but it is still sad that these parents have used the emotional pull that their horrific pain exerts on all of us and expended it entirely on expanding gun control measures that would have in no way prevented Adam Lanza, a sick and evil man, from taking their children's lives.
Had their child's murderer been committed to a psychiatric hospital, or (as absurd as it sounds to many Connecticut voters and to the editors of the New York Times) had he been an active member of a church community -- some of us believe that either or both of these would have had a considerably better chance than more gun control in preventing those murders.
Assuming, then, that neither the media nor the Democrats would complain if a Republican leader were to do on behalf of capital punishment what President Obama did on behalf of more gun control, one cannot argue that the president's use of Sandy Hook parents was inherently irresponsible.
Where the president indisputably crossed over into demagoguery was in his repeated implication that those Americans who oppose his gun control proposals care less than he does about these parents' pain and about the murder of children in general. That, to put it mildly, compromised the dignity of his office.
Ironically -- at least in the eyes of the president and his supporters -- those of us who want as many good people as possible to own guns (and therefore more likely able to stop those who are about to, or in the midst of committing, murder), and those of us who want to execute most murderers, hold these positions precisely because we do weep for the parents of murdered children.