Jewish World Review May 22, 2000/7 Iyar, 5760
The message, however, was all wrong, a downer about the dark side of life. It was emotional and naive, short on facts and long on sentiment. The emphasis was on death, not life; on control, not freedom; law, not liberty.
It was enough to rankle even a dedicated feminist. Says sharp-tongued Camille Paglia in Salon "Webzine:'' "It doesn't take a weatherman to figure out that the average citizen doesn't want national policy determined by packs of weeping women led by a shrill dim-witted talk show host (Hillary sycophant Rosie O'Donnell).''
Nobody defends bad people who shoot people, whether adolescent gangsters who kill each other over drug turfs, careless men and women who leave guns around for children to find, nuts who ignore their meds to look for someone to murder because they hear crazy voices in their heads or instructions broadcast by the CIA through the fillings in their teeth. Nearly all of us know someone hurt or killed by a gun.
The nation's capital, where I live, has the toughest gun control laws in the country and the rate of gun crime is among the highest. In states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, murder, rape, truck and carjackings are down, along with other kinds of violent assaults.
Pistol Packin' Mama, as the song goes, is not the most feminine image for a woman, but packing heat is beginning to make sense in a world where a woman is often defenseless without a man at her side. Criminologist Gary Kleck estimates that 2.5 million men and women successfully defend themselves every year against a burglar or mugger with a gun.
Most of the murders wouldn't have happened if gun laws were enforced. Criminals don't give a fig for the law -- that's why they're criminals. Ban gangs, not guns.
Fatherless families breed criminals. Law-abiding gun users don't. Neighborhoods devoid of adults during the day allow certain adolescents to sink to their basest instincts. The most creative political idea for mending these problems is to support faith-based organizations in the community, enabling them to reach out to troubled youngsters. Men and women who work in these organizations have the structure and the motivation to take over when parents are gone.
The rich and privileged celebrities who led the Million Mom March are the least likely among us to have a personal knowledge of the rudderless young people growing up in cities. (If they're scared, celebrities hire bodyguards.) Celebrities get their information from songs their colleagues write, from the movies and television shows they perform in. (They never look for the causes of crime in artistic violence.)
They're like the administrators in a school in New Jersey who suspended a kindergarten boy for pretending to make a gun with his index finger and shooting at his schoolmates at recess. (Will finger locks follow trigger locks?)
Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, insists that George Bush will lose big on guns. After all, she and others point out, he's the governor of a state that permits adults to carry concealed guns.
But women aren't stupid, nor do all of us play follow the sheep. Women can recognize a complex issue when they see one. After the march, lo and behold, the polls showed women to be fairly divided on the gun control issue. Al Gore does only slightly better with single women, George W. attracts a large majority of married women and mothers.
Carrying a gun is a good feminist issue. The Second Amendment Sisters who counter-rallied to the Million Mom March display a picture on their Web site depicting a tough looking blond pointing a gun at the viewer. Caption: "As seen by would-be rapist, for about O.2 seconds.''
Talk about bang for a
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