With less than 72 hours remaining in 2014, two opinion pieces have appeared – including one in the Huffington Post yesterday – that try very hard to blame the Second Amendment and those who defend it for the recent slayings of two New York City police officers.
The HuffPo piece, by Peter Dreier, an E.P. Clapp Distinguished professor of politics at Occidental College, is a defense of ultra-liberal New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is in trouble with rank-and-file cops. The other opinion, in the Dec. 26 Washington Post, is by Kimberly Yonkers, MD, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. Her effort is to shift the focus from mental health – despite a pattern of high-profile shooters who have had histories of mental problems – onto guns.
Dreier writes that Patrick Lynch, president of New York’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, “should focus on the NRA, not de Blasio.” He blames the NRA for opposing so-called “reasonable laws” that might have prevented gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley from getting his hands on the 9mm Taurus pistol he used to murder the two officers. He complains about efforts to protect the right of American citizens to legally carry defensive sidearms in such places as “bars, churches, schools, universities, and elsewhere.”
Churches, schools and universities have been the scenes of some horrible crimes, committed by nut cases with guns. Dreier did note that Brinsley’s sister described the gunman as “emotionally troubled” and in need of help. Why shouldn’t people have the means to defend against attacks in such places?
Yonkers seems somewhat self-contradictory. While intimating that mental health is being made a scapegoat, she acknowledged that Brinsley had “an undiagnosed mental illness.” She also pointed to the Santa Barbara “mass shooting” earlier this year by Elliot Rodger, whose self-made video provided ample evidence of serious mental issues. There are also mental health issues related to the suspect in the Seattle Pacific University shooting earlier this year.
Over the weekend, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat looked back over 2014, noting that the Jet City has so far logged just 20 homicides. That’s down from the 23 in 2013 and 26 in 2012, and one-tenth the number of slayings in Baltimore, Md., a slightly smaller city. Baltimore has posted more than 200 homicides this year, he noted.
What Westneat didn’t mention is that in Baltimore, it is virtually impossible for an average citizen to legally carry a handgun. Seattle, however, has quite a few legally-armed citizens, including a few who carry openly. Seattle is in a state that has among the top ten per capita number of concealed pistol licenses of any state in the nation at more than 475,000 CPLs.
If Dreier and Yonkers were correct in their finger-pointing, Seattle would be awash in blood, as would every corner of the Evergreen State. That is not the case.
Second Amendment activists have always agreed that some people simply shouldn’t have guns. But they will also argue that the solution is not to disarm law-abiding citizens by way of increasingly restrictive regulations, thus turning the Second Amendment into a government privilege.
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