Paul Jacob

Which is illuminating on the issues of both money and guns: Bloomberg is worth $27 billion. But, when he spends it to convince Americans on an issue, it remains the public that decides — not Bloomberg. As National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre ably put it on NBC’s Meet the Press, Bloomberg “can’t buy America.”

No, Bloomberg’s rented megaphone won’t convince Americans, because we are not mindless automatons programmed by 30-second television ads.

We make up our own minds. And not just according to the passions of the moment.

Reacting to President Obama’s statement on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co., host Chris Jansing asked Josh Marshall, founder and editor of Talking Points Memo, “Does [the president] think emotion is going to help this cause?”

“I think it’s the only thing that can,” Marshall answered. “This issue, guns and opposition to any kind of new regulation of guns, seems to be as powerful as it’s ever been, as though nothing’s really changed from three months ago.”

The American people were deeply and emotionally moved by the horrible school massacre in Newtown, but, simply put, Americans have not been rationally convinced that the gun control agenda pushed by President Obama, Bloomberg and others is helpful to public safety or respectful of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Reasonable people take into account facts that lie outside the horror of one event’s official narrative. Facts like:

  • Murder rates by guns have declined since their high point in the very early 1990s. Dramatically.
  • Mass shootings are not actually increasing in frequency.
  • If you take away black-on-black crime, U.S. murder rates are amongst the lowest in the world, making the focus on America’s gun tradition a little off point — it’s the cultural and economic degradation of African-America sub-cultures that constitutes the real problem.
  • Much of the focus of the latest round of gun regulation has been on inconsistently defined “assault weapons,” which have little to do with most gun violence.

Still, the president implores, “We need everybody to remember how we felt a hundred days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes — that we meant it.”

In other words, let’s allow emotion to overrule our rational faculties and pass whatever gun control laws are proposed in the wake of the horrible Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre (even when the policy being advanced would admittedly make no difference in preventing a future Newtown).

Why? We must do so to symbolically pay proper homage to the dead, and to save Barack Obama and much of the Washington-ensconced political class from being reduced to a “bunch of platitudes.”     [further reading]

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.