Michael Smerconish has been a part of my Saturday mornings for years. I only have time to watch the first half of his show, but I sometimes catch the second half when they replay it at 5:00 PM (Central).
Smerconish leans Right, but he tries to present issues in a fair and balanced way, and not in the Fox News "Fair and Balanced" way, either.
Proof of Smerconish's balancing act is in the nasty tweets he gets from both sides.
Moore doesn't exactly have the look for a poster boy.
Moore predicted Trump's win and speaks out against that particular blunder at every opportunity. He can be abrasive, but he tends to be on the right side of history on most issues.
Smerconish polled his audience this weekend, asking for a response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida. The poll asked participants if Nikolas Cruz was able to murder 17 people because of a failure of
A. Gun Policy or
B. Data Integration.
The results were evenly split, but with only two choices, the question was poorly framed.
Gun policy and data integration are not two separate things. Intelligent gun policy would require that pertinent information, like the state of Nikolas Cruz's mental health be uploaded into a central data base.
That data base would provide the criteria for reasonable background checks.
There was a ton of information out there indicating that Nikolas Cruz was not someone to be trusted with firecrackers, much less a weapon of war. Unfortunately, there is no law, procedure or protocol to funnel all that information into an organized format.
There's plenty of blame to go around, including failures on the parts of the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff. Both Donald Trump and Florida Governor Rick Scott have made it easier for disturbed people to buy and keep guns, so they don't get off "Scott" free, either.
There is one thing however, that is certain. If AR-15s were not available to teenagers (or not at all), Nikolas Cruz would not have had one.
It's true that Cruz could have walked into that school and shot the place up with a handgun, but there would have been two distinct differences.
First and foremost, gunshots from a 9 millimeter handgun are often survivable. The catastrophic damage done by an AR-15 is rarely survivable.
Second, Scot Peterson and the three other officers who cowered outside the school after hearing the explosions of AR-15 rounds might have reacted differently had Cruz been shooting a handgun.
Taking on an AR-15 with a pistol is akin to the proverbial knife in a gunfight.
It's one of the reasons having teachers with pistols under their shirts makes them primary targets, not deterrents.
Where Smerconish got it really wrong though, was conflating a tweet by Michael Moore with the incendiary vitriol of NRA spokesbitch, Dana Loesch. That is as false a moral equivalency as you can possibly find.
Moore tweeted out that the NRA, like ISIS is a terrorist organization. It's extreme, but rings true on many levels.
The proliferation of guns in this country, supported by the NRA is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. More than the attack on 9/11.
The real terrorism of the NRA is on a more subtle, but pernicious level. They use money, coercion and intimidation to force pro-gun laws into our culture. If you don't think federal and state legislators are terrorized by the NRA, just listen to their words.
While some terrorists may use exploding vests to shape history, the NRA's tactics are more sophisticated.
Dana Loesch has made so many baseless, inflammatory claims in support of gun sales at the expense of mounting body counts, that she is truly an enemy of the people. Her attack on the media this weekend was typical, underscored by her comment that, "Crying white mothers are ratings gold."
Michael Moore and Dana Loesch are both making a case for their sides, but the similarities end there. You can no more equate them than you can Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini.