Yesterday’s tragic accidental shooting at a Hayden, Idaho Wal-Mart is already proving to be a test of media bias, and is likewise providing a final opportunity in 2014 for gun prohibitionists to push their agenda of social bigotry.
The report carried in this morning’s Seattle Times noted the following: “Hayden is a politically conservative town of about 9,000 people just north of Coeur d’Alene, in Idaho’s northern panhandle.” What that has to do with the tragic death of 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge, who lived in Blackfoot – not Hayden – is a mystery.
“Idaho lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year allowing concealed weapons on the state’s public college and university campuses,” the somewhat irrelevant information continued. “Despite facing opposition from all eight of the state’s university and college presidents, lawmakers sided with gun-rights advocates who said the law would better uphold the Second Amendment.
“Under the law,” the story detailed, still straying from the Hayden tragedy, “gun holders are barred from bringing their weapons into dormitories or buildings that hold more than 1,000 people, such as stadiums or concert halls.” What any of this has to do with the Hayden story is a mystery, since the accident happened at a private business, not a college campus.
Contrast this with what appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. That newspaper carefully noted that Rutledge was “a nuclear research scientist” who “grew up as Veronica Hendricks in Harrison, where she was the 2004 valedictorian of Kootenai High School. She attended North Idaho College, graduated from the University of Idaho, and went to work for the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, which supports the U.S. Department of Energy in nuclear and energy research and national defense.”
The story has brought out the bigots. One of them identified as “native4life” wrote in the Times’ reader comment section, “Guns should be banned forever! How many people have to die before we let these paranoid knuckle draggers who payoff our politicians keep this insanity going. Unfreaking believable!! It’s not about left or right or liberal or conservative it’s about do you have an IQ of over 50!”
Another piece of scholarship, from “karolee,” observed, “Yup, another fine candidate for the Darwin award. I agree, gun nuts are on the way to self-extinction. Makes me think that gun laws need to be liberalized so more of these type of people can come to their illogical end.”
And there was a third entry that blamed the shooting on Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. That organization has long been considered “the Red Cross of firearms safety,” and for very good reason. The NRA has a network of thousands of volunteer firearms instructors who have trained millions of private citizens in the safe use and handling of firearms. Blaming LaPierre for this tragedy is tantamount to blaming Henry Ford for car crashes.
Meanwhile, it might also be useful to note that the Hayden tragedy gave some news outlets an opportunity to completely ignore yesterday’s filing of a federal lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and others challenging provisions in Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure. Reaction to that lawsuit can best be judged by reading the comments posted at KOMO.
The Seattle Times and other Seattle news outlets gave the lawsuit some attention, though the Times seemed to quickly move it off the main page of their website. If the lawsuit is successful, and the new measure is found to be unconstitutionally vague and in violation of the Second Amendment, those newspaper editorial boards that supported the measure should do a bit of soul searching regarding the defense of civil rights, even when you don’t agree with them.
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is part of the Bill of Rights, a fact that seems to all-too-frequently elude people in the “mainstream press.” It’s equally deserving of protection as the First Amendment right to free speech and a free press. Indeed, the Bill of Rights is an all-or-nothing proposition, not a menu from which one can pick and choose which rights they care to personally endorse while sending the others to the trash.
This morning, a lot of Second Amendment activists are rallying to support the SAF lawsuit. There may be other legal challenges, but this one is the first, and it is more than just a legal shot across the bows of billionaire anti-gunners who think they can not only buy an election, but use their bankrolls to dictate constitutionally-protected public behavior.
Finally, this column wishes its faithful readers a very Happy New Year. Be careful out there, tonight and every other night.
Resolve to introduce at least one new person to shooting, or hunting in 2015. Resolve to join or support at least one Second Amendment organization with a cash contribution. Resolve to meet your state legislator at least once. Resolve to practice and promote firearms safety, concealed and/or open carry. Resolve to clean and maintain every firearm in your possession and take them to the range at least once. Resolve to be around for the New Year’s Eve party this time next year.
Got an opinion about this column? End the year in style by leaving your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.