-By Warner Todd Huston
In a July 21 column by the editorial board of the New York Daily News, there is fault assigned for the massacre in a Colorado theater. The fault is not just assigned to killer James Holmes, but absurdly to Obama, Romney, the NRA and every American that wants to protect the Constitution of the United States. That’s not too much hyperbole, is it?
This extreme, even silly, piece can be considered no less than a screed, an attack on nearly everyone but the man who pulled the trigger on that horrible night. The blame is cast so broadly as to seem idiotic, making the whole editorial something to dismiss instead of something to ponder.
To the editorial board of the NY Daily News, not only is Obama “standing at Holme’s side” as he “sprayed bullets and buckshot into a crowded movie theater” but so was Mitt Romney, the NRA and its President, and every American “zealot” for the Second Amendment.
“In a vain claim of innocence,” the NY Daily News accuses, “the fanatics will say Holmes is a monster and a maniac, that he fired and fired and fired as a man possessed. Each protestation clamps their fingers with his around the trigger.”
Any American interested in the Constitution and the Second Amendment is a gripped by “conscienceless extremism” that dismisses mass killings as if they are but a “fatal highway pileup,” the editorial cries.
The Daily continues the hyperbole with, “The day-to-day mayhem of street-crime shootings, responsible for more deaths than all the mass carnage combined, makes it to the police blotter, the courts, the newspapers, the emergency rooms and the cemeteries.”
But according to the FBI’s crime stats, 2011 crime is down from 2010 by .08 percent. And it’s down more year-to-year between 2007 and 2011 (FBI Preliminary 2011 Crime Stats).
And speaking of “highway pileups,” about 37,000 Americans die every year in auto accidents while only about 8,700 are killed with firearms. So, why don’t we see the NY Daily News saying that every car dealer and driver “has blood on their hands.”
Again the Daily’s absurdity is on full display when one reads its dramatics over less than 9,000 deaths a year when compared to the almost 40,00 killed in automobile accidents. Why are auto deaths at a rate four times more any less outrageous, New York Daily News?
This all smacks of a political agenda as opposed to the NY Daily News’ anguish over large numbers of dead Americans.
Now, is it 8,700 too many Americans killed with firearms? Nearly, yes. But the hyperbole of the NY Daily News does not tend to help the situation. This over-the-top blather about how everyone and his brother is at fault makes any argument for change the paper may want to seriously propose become so easily dismissible as to make their effort clownish instead of setting them as worthy players in the discussion.
Worse, the NY Daily News wants to use this tragic crime as a political tool in order to bring back the lamentable, but not lamentably ended, 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, a law so fraught with mistakes, confusion, and over generalities that few worried over much about its sunset provisions when they went into effect on 2004.
If the New York Daily News wanted to enter into a serious discussion of gun control in America, it would have been well advised not to sound like a child outrageously blaming everyone but himself for getting caught stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. With this one, the paper made itself look entirely foolish.