Utah's rookie Republican U.S. Senator Mike Lee is showing just how well-prepared he was for his new job. He's wise to the tricks of the opposition, and has already anticipated the possibility that gun-grabbers might try to seize upon the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as an excuse to impose more gun control upon Americans.
On January 9th, 2011, Mike Lee appeared on CNN's State of the Union program and rejected any notion of increasing firearm regulations in the wake of the tragedy. Lee noted that current laws are adequate, and that several studies showed that area with more permissive gun ownership laws tend to be safer. Specifically, there are Federal and state laws in existence which prohibit citizens formally certified as mentally ill from owning firearms. Video of interview embedded below:
Mike Lee's apprehension is not misplaced. Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is already using the shooting as an excuse to promote more gun control. Helmke not only characterized Arizona's gun laws as "weak", but also said it is a moment to review federal laws. Helmke claims the extended magazine the gunman used for extra bullets may have been illegal under the federal ban on assault weapons which expired during the Bush administration. This means Helmke favors bringing back the so-called "assault weapons ban". But any weapon can become an "assault weapon" if it is used to assault people; a knife can be an assault weapon.
The New American is also warning against the possibility of a renewed push for more gun control. But the Washington Post is not so pessimistic. They cite statistics showing a sharp drop in support of gun control over the past 20-year period. The legislative power of the National Rifle Association is likely to ward off more gun control.
One person got a completely different message from Mike Lee's remarks. Local gay-rights advocate Eric Ethington is accusing Lee of blaming the gay community for the shooting. He cites Lee's statement, "...some have pointed to the breakdown in the family structure, many people who engage in these activities come from families that have broken down in one form or another" as support for his contention; he believes "family structure" is code for homosexual. But several gay persons gently take him to task in the comments; Lee writes, "...We need to stop trying to twist everything into being anti-GLBT. Doing this only limits the effects of when something truly IS! If we as a community continue to always twist what’s said, it gives so much ammunition to truly anti GLBT groups to say that you can’t believe the gays, they always twist things".
But in the final analysis, Ethington defends his position, stating that he's heard Lee refer to the LGBT community with words like “family structures” far too often to easily give him a pass on this. Ethington insists that if he didn’t mean it as such, then that’s for him to clarify. He asserts that it is often less what a political figure says or intends to say, but more to do with how his words can be perceived.
Basically, what Ethington's really saying is that in his mind, all straight people are to be presumed to be homophobic until they prove otherwise. This violates the customary American presumption of innocence we afford people. And note how Ethington is more concerned about perception than substance; this is characteristic of how hard-line progressives think. Progressives, by their abusive, tyrannical, and imperialistic behavior, are their own worst enemy. And One Utah reveals why progressives won't be bound by rules of civility; anyone who they think is lying should be "ruthlessly mocked" or "laughed out of the room".
Until progressives grow up and change their behavior, they deserve nothing more than a rhetorical backhand from the greater society. But let's make sure we don't tag responsible liberals with the sins of progressive extremists.