I’m a NRA member, but I didn’t get overly upset about Obama’s latest round of gun control proposals — except, of course, that our former Constitutional law professor/president will be using executive orders in his usual disregard (or disdain) for the separation of powers. Did I like his ideas? No. But nothing in the proposals themselves seemed to move the proverbial football very far. More background checks don’t add up to much more than propaganda.
Still I guess there was enough there from the president’s point of view for him to channel his inner John Boehner and weep for us on television.
But buried beneath the tracks of Obama’s tears was something much more significant than his paltry partisan fiddling with the gun laws. Take a look at the following excerpt from his speech and let’s play the old Sesame Street game, “Some of these things are not like the others.”
“Fort Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, San Bernardino. Too many,” Obama said, ticking through a list of mass shootings since the 2011 Tucson shooting that killed six and injured more than a dozen more, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was in attendance in the East Room.
No doubt you got it in one. Two of those mass shootings (Fort Hood and San Bernardino) were perpetrated by jihadis motivated by fundamentalist Islamic ideology — while the others (not all very mass) were the work of common criminals and/or (to be blunt) nutcases.
Why is this important? It should be obvious that gun control legislation of any sort is absolutely irrelevant to jihadis. As has been demonstrated, they have had no trouble getting arms even in societies like Canada, Australia and France where the gun laws are far more stringent than ours. Indeed, they are able to obtain weapons of all sorts all across the globe. (Of course, criminals in general don’t have much trouble getting guns, but jihadis have a world-wide network of the sympathetic at their disposal.)
And yet the president persists in lumping the jihadis together with the nut cases and criminals in the other shootings. His reason couldn’t be more obvious. He cannot stand to acknowledge the Islamic basis of terrorism. This is another case where he will do anything in his power to equalize it with other criminal or insane acts, make it banal. It cannot be the work — organized or not — of a highly evolved and specific seventh century ideology. Even in the midst of proposing his morally narcissistic gun control regulations he cannot resist trying to transform jihadism into a simple common crime, sort of like a biker gang rumbling at a truck stop and subject, as John Kerry would have it, to local law enforcement.
This is not accidental. Equating Fort Hood (once risibly called “workplace violence” — imagine the pressure put on the Pentagon for that) and San Bernardino with these other mass killings is a deliberate attempt to obscure an uncomfortable reality or, as Al Gore terms it, an inconvenient truth. In an election year, the president seeks to convince the public, and himself, I wouldn’t be surprised, that nothing exceptional went on in Ft. Hood and San Bernardino. It was just gun violence perpetrated by angry “folks.” Everything is under control, if only we had a few more background checks. But this is a man who denies the Islamic State is Islamic. At least he’s consistent. As Big Bird would have it, “All of these things are just like each other.”