Did Jesus Carry A Gun? That’s What Sarah Palin Would Like You To Believe.

Back in the 1980s, when the Republican Party discovered that it could build a base among Christian conservatives, the social niche issues were all about opposition to what they called ‘alternate’ life-styles; i.e., gays, feminists, pro-choice and the like.  Only a funny thing happened between Jerry Falwell and the SCOTUS decision known as Obergfell v. Hodges, namely, that all the worst excesses of secular progressivism and liberalism have, de facto or de jure, come true. Now let’s not get into an argument amongst ourselves as to whether everyone and everything really is equal in every sense of the word; when it comes to social issues that the Right can use to help sway election results, their victories have been few and far between.

palinBut in the run-up to 2016, the Right appears to have found a new issue, or at least an old issue that they are using for the first time, and the issue is guns. This doesn’t mean that Republicans ignored gun owners; various Republican Presidential wannabees always show up at the NRA convention to burnish their gun-loving credentials in front of the gun-owning crowd.  But these appearances are no different from requisite appearances that all politicians make in front of their traditional constituent groups: Democrats talk the civil rights talk before the NAACP and the UFT; Republicans greet the faithful in pilgrimages to Liberty University and the KofC.

Back in 2010 Rick Perry made headlines when he allegedly pulled a Ruger out of his jogging outfit and shot a coyote who was allegedly menacing his dog. This incident, in fact, was the beginning of the end of Perry’s political career, or at least a career that he hoped would land him in the upstairs apartment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Put simply, the attempt to create an image of himself as a latter-day Annie Oakley got himself dismissed as a buffoon.

I wonder how Perry feels this time around when the Republican Presidential race so far has centered not on lowering taxes or cutting the cost of government, but on the degree to which each candidate supports the 2nd Amendment and who among them is walking around armed.  This nonsense started with Trump following the Virginia shooting of two television journalists, but the notion of an armed citizenry has become the de rigueur Republican response to every issue involving safety and security, particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks and concerns that the ISIS-led rebellion in Syria may be getting out of hand.

The recent attempt by the NRA to market guns as a life-style is tailor-made for helping to boost the Republican brand.  Because the polls seem to indicate that Republican support gets weaker as one goes down the age pyramid, ditto interest in guns.  When Colion Noir dresses up hip and cool and prances around the NRA video channel with his AR-15, he’s trying to promote a ‘life-style’ that will appeal to the young and non-White demographics whose support the GOP desperately needs.  When Dana Loesch tells all those soccer Moms they should be carrying guns, she’s sending a similar message to another population group that, hopefully, will vote Red instead of Blue.

Into this newly-found Republican marketing scheme jumps none other than Sister Sarah Palin, who just released a book that unites faith, freedom and guns.  It’s a collection of devotional verses that can be read every day, and Sarah chose to hype it on her Facebook page by saying that Jesus would “fight” for the 2nd Amendment because otherwise only the ‘bad guys’ would have guns.

I feel sorry for Palin; she’s reminds me of a wannabe Anita Bryant who ended up trying to prevent gay marriage and now runs some kind of online ministry which sells the usual inspirational junk. If uniting guns and religion is how the Republicans believe they’ll expand their base, it just opens the door for the faith-based GVP groups to remind their followers about turning the other cheek.

 

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The Florida Campus-Carry Bill Gets Support From A Willing Source.

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows, but that’s something of an understatement when it comes to the politics of gun violence.  I’m referring to a letter written by Niger Innis, National Spokesman of CORE, supporting a bill that would authorize concealed-carry on Florida college campuses.  The law was stalled in the Florida legislature earlier this year, but appears primed to go forward again. Tallahassee has been called the NRA’s laboratory for developing legislation making it easier for people to own and carry guns, and if the NRA succeeds in pushing through the law allowing guns on college campuses in Florida, no doubt college-CCW statutes will spread to other states as well.

If you honestly believe that the effort to legalize guns on campus is anything more than a cynical attempt by the NRA and its sycophantic noise-makers to promote gun sales among the up-and-coming generation, you should be laying brick.  Either the gun industry figures out how to generate more product enthusiasm among members of the millennial generation, or they’re going to be in for some rough times when all those older, white male gun owners (like me) fade away.

campus                Ditto when it comes to minorities who also show a marked disinclination to get involved with guns.  Hence the letter from Niger Innis, whose father, Roy Innis, is still the National Chairman of CORE and also happens to be a member of the NRA Board.  Roy also chairs something called the NRA Urban Affairs Committee, although I can’t recall any statement ever issued by this committee about urban affairs or anything else.

When Innis became active in CORE, the organization was one of the major civil rights groups, along with NAACP and SCLC, that championed civil rights campaigns in the North and the South.  Initially hewing to the liberal, pro-integration stance of the civil rights movement in general, CORE began to veer rightward after 1968, and under Innis’ control, adopted a mixture of nationalist economic and social positions, along with increasingly embracing conservative political ideas.  The organization today seems largely to be a vehicle for employing Roy and Innis Niger, who spend most of their time appearing before various legislative and political confabs where either law or custom require representation from all sides.

I can’t think of a single other, public individual besides Roy Innis who has lost family members to gun violence and yet promotes the ownership and use of guns.  In fact, two of Innis’ sons were shot to death, the first in 1968 and the second in 1982. Neither crime was ever solved, but the experience evidently transformed Innis into a staunch supporter of guns rights and an advocate of arming the African-American community as a response to crime.

If Innis father and son want to posture as supporters of gun rights, the least they could do is support their arguments with statements that align with facts. Niger’s letter argues that guns on campus would be particularly important as a means for women to defend themselves against sexual assaults, a crime which Innis claims has increased by 50% on college campuses over the last decade.  Actually, what has increased is the reportage of assaults as colleges have struggled to bring this issue into the open.  But then Innis goes on to make the following statement: “Federal studies indicate that where potential rape victims use weapons to resist the rape attempt, the rape is rarely if ever completed.”

The only Federal ‘study’ that I know which deals with how women protect themselves from sexual assaults and crimes in general is the annual report published by the National Crime Victimization Survey. Hemenway and Solnick studied the NCVS data covering 2007-2011 and found that, “there were no reported cases of self-defense gun use in the more than 300 cases of sexual assault.” Way to go, Niger.  There’s nothing like voicing an opinion at total variance with the facts. But who cares about facts when you have a Constitutional right to defend yourself with a gun?