Do you know what we’re celebrating this January 19?
If you said the 20th anniversary of the Oakland A’s unveiling of their new elephant logo, you’d be right about the date (at least Brainy History says so), but a bit off in your judgment of what warrants a celebration.
According to Larry Ward, speaking on behalf of those with a peculiar piety toward firearms, this January 19th will be a day to exhibit our appreciation for steely weaponry, a day for “Americans nationwide to show their support for gun ownership by turning out en masse at gun stores, ranges, and shows from coast to coast.”
Frenzied gun rights activists swarming our nation’s gun suppliers to show their support for guns — what could possibly go wrong?
Mr. Ward is the President and CEO of a relatively small “Republican new media consulting firm” called Political Media. On the same day as the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, where 20 children between the ages of 5 and 6 were shot dead, Mr. Ward claims to have started up a White House petition titled, “Arm the Teachers and Principals” (no one ever said tact was a conservative priority). Ward goes on to say the petition was “shut down” almost immediately by the White House.
A few days later, Mr. Ward took to the street where a massive anti-NRA protest was occurring at the group’s Federal Affairs Division offices in D.C. (This required very little effort on Ward’s part, since his business’s 406 1st St. SE building is just a couple doors down from the NRA’s at 410 1st St. SE.) Yelling, “arm the teachers” in his bid for attention, Ward was soon thronged by reporters, eager to hear from someone who would dare voice their support for the deadly weapons that had so recently claimed all those young and innocent lives. (You can see video footage of some of Ward’s conversation with the press here, though he’s often drowned out by synchronized cries of “shame on the NRA!”)
A few days after that, Mr. Ward was front and center at the NRA’s first press conference since the shooting. There, he met the Coffee Party’s amazing Annabel Park (also director and producer of “Story of America: A Nation Divided“), who very adeptly talked Mr. Ward into foolish circles (a must-see video!)
So perhaps stinging a bit from his poor showing on a fairly large stage, Ward decided to organize this “Gun Appreciation Day” (or GAD) for citizens with a love affair of those handy killing mechanisms.
According to the GAD site, its sponsors include gun rights groups, along with conservative media and/or action sites and PACs, many of which Mr. Ward has direct involvement with, including the Social Security Institute (SSI) and Special Operations Speaks (SOS). And of course, this special day is also sponsored by the Committee to Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano (who famously said, “The purpose of the Second Amendment isn’t to guarantee the right to shoot deer, it’s to guarantee the right to shoot at government if it’s taken over by tyrants!”)
Speaking of paranoid delusions about America’s leadership, Ward has begun a new pro-gun/anti-gun-control petition on the GAD site. Can you tell what the following excerpts from the petition have in common?
“[H]istory demonstrates convincingly that the first act of tyrannical governments in expanding their powers beyond those granted to them is to disarm or short arm individuals so as to render them defenseless against the state’s heavily armed police and soldiery.
“A well-armed citizenry is both a necessary condition of liberty and the only effective deterrent against tyranny.
“[E]very human being possesses an inalienable, fundamental, natural right, which pre-dates the Second Amendment, to own and bear arms and, if necessary, to use those arms in self defense, including self defense against tyrannical government agents, police forces and armies that would over step their proper bounds.”
“To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them;
“[T]he Second Amendment was designed…to provide individuals an effective deterrent against and a means to defend themselves against tyrannical and oppressive governments and their agents acting improperly under the color of law.”
Paranoid much? This whole “protection from a tyrannical government” idea is the very height of preposterousness. When you live in a democracy, where the people choose their government, you don’t get to decide to begin shooting police officers and soldiers when you don’t agree with the government. See, the cool thing about a democracy is that, after a relatively short period of time, the people get to CHOOSE a new government if they don’t like the old one. Cool, eh? And if they don’t like the new government, but the majority of their fellow Americans do, they can either accept that and play nice, or find a different country.
See, by pledging your allegiance to America, you have given yourself over to America’s law and order in a democracy that lives by majority rule (unless gerrymandering is involved – but that’s a whole different issue). So if these gun-stockpiling nut jobs actually believe the ‘tyrannical’ government is going to send out its minions and invade their little lives, requiring them to use their multiple assault weapons with high-capacity clips, I ask again, paranoid much?
My favorite part of the GAD site is the meme page, teeming with armed righteousness in order that site visitors can spread the peaceful message of violent weaponry. The two memes that appear at the top of the page (and other places throughout the Website) seem to be the two that Political Media are most fond of. And they both FAIL in spectacular fashion.
The first one appears to be from Conservative Action Alerts, and features a picture of George Washington with the quote:
“Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.”
Effective, no? The only problem is that George Washington never said that. His attribution to the quote was well debunked several years ago, as you can see at this pro-gun site, Guncite.com.
The second meme, which is perhaps a Ward original, shows a picture of the late President Ronald Reagan accompanied by the quote:
“The right of the citizen to keep & bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive.”
Now, while this passage is spattered all over the ‘Net on a multitude of pro-gun sites, I couldn’t find where or when Reagan had said it. I did, however, find an interesting quote from Reagan (along with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford):
“This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. . . . Although assault weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime. . . .
“While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.
“We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.”
See, according to the Los Angeles Times, back in 1994, the three presidents teamed up in an effort to convince Congress to pass the Assault Weapons Ban, and the above quotes appeared in a letter they sent to all House members, who consequently passed the bill which was subsequently signed into law. I find it deliciously ironic that Ward’s Political Media would choose to further their message of no gun control with the very president who was so instrumental in getting the very gun control signed into law that Ward is now looking to prevent from finally being renewed. For a “one-stop shop” consulting firm, Political Media may want to stock their shelves with a bit of fact checking – their clients might appreciate it.
As far as the upcoming celebration on January 19, it’s doubtful there’ll be many Gun Appreciation Day demonstrations in the Newtown, Connecticut area, or any other area that’s been victimized by such terrible gun violence. I have a hunch the residents’ hearts just won’t be into it, nor their stomachs up for it.