On Fox Friday afternoon, Democrat strategist Mark Hannah supported a gun control coalition’s ad against Rep. John Barrow. Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, is being targeted because he ran an ad in which he explains his support for the Second Amendment. The coalition’s ad uses images of the Sandy Hook shooting, cut into Barrow’s original ad, to make him appear to be callous toward the tragedy. It’s a dishonest, scurrilous ad. The use of Sandy Hook images in a political ad comes just a little over a month after the killings, which some may suggest is too soon to use such images.
Hannah justified the ad’s content, and the use of the images. He said that it’s right to keep stirring up our emotions about the killings, so that we don’t lose focus and will do something about guns. I’m paraphrasing from memory, but that was his logic. That anti-gun activists should use the images of horror from Sandy Hook to keep America’s nerves raw enough to keep the drive for gun control going.
Panic legislating may not be the best idea. New York state used the state’s raw nerves to pass a sweeping gun control law, with very little discussion or even time for legislators to understand the bill they were voting on, that accidentally made criminals of police, and may even have harmed Olympic marksmen’s ability to train in the state. Connecticut is considering a new gun law that would restrict all firearms to just a single bullet capacity. That would render them nearly useless in a life-or-death self-defense situation. It would effectively disarm every law-abiding citizen in the state. These laws are not rational.
I wonder, did Mr. Hannah have the same reaction to the political use of imagery after 9-11? The media very quickly and nearly unanimously decided to stop using the images of people who were trapped in the burning towers, and jumped to their deaths. Did he and people like him agree or disagree with the media’s decision to put those images out of sight?
The 2004 Bush campaign provided a good test. Three years after 9-11, President Bush’s re-election campaign used 9-11 imagery in one of its ads. The John Kerry campaign criticized the use of those images, directly and through the use of surrogates including a firefighters union. Mr. Mark Hannah worked on that campaign.
Mark Hannah is evidence of one of the most important problems we have with our political class and the consultants it hires: The lack of any sense of shame.
Update: NRO has posted both ads, the original and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s smear ad.