TOUGH FACTS CAN LEAD TO THE PASSAGE OF BAD LAWS: LISTS AND GUN CONTROL

The minds of some journalists are again very much on the subject of gun control measures after the recent tragedy in California involving the killing of 14 people and the wounding of many others. For years, politicians backing gun control have attempted to prohibit those people who are included in the government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing guns or explosives. Recently, the measure was again defeated and the New York Times reported, “While the nation suffered through the shock of another bloody massacre, on Thursday every Senate Republican except Mark Kirk of Illinois voted against legislation to prevent people on the F.B.I.’s consolidated terrorist watch list from purchasing guns or explosives”. The paper is obsessed with the notion that the so-called easy availability of guns in the market place is directly related to the numerous killings around the nation. They are beyond being appalled, they called the vote a “cowardly” action. Never mind the fact that there is zero evidence to support the conclusion that the killers were on any watch list or prohibited in any other way from possessing or using the weapons at the tragic murder scene. The fact that such weapons were available period, is sufficient for them to condemn the vote. Even more disturbing is the NY T’s apparent willingness to return to the dark days of the assemblage of “lists” in this country. It has not been that long ago since “lists” were made of potential communists during the McCarthyism era, and for people of Japanese ancestry during the interment times. Suffice it to say that lists can be frightening and the New York Times, of all publications should know that. There is an old adage in common law that says “Tough facts lead to bad laws”– the Times should think about that. We are not not saying that the government should not be vigilant in their battle against terrorists, but concern and caution should envelop the compiling of lists and their use for collateral purposes. 

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