Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 14, 2000 /7 Shevat, 5760

Michelle Malkin

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



Tune out Columbine chorus -- BLAME THE GUNS! Pass new laws! Stop the violence! Once again, the post-Columbine High School chorus is rising. Once again, it's screechingly off-key.

A trinity of gun-grabbing groups has formed in Colorado since the campus shootings last spring. The state's Republican governor, Bill Owens, just introduced a package of new gun mandates that would have done nothing to prevent the deaths. President Clinton, invoking the Littleton legacy, now wants to throw $10 million at "smart-gun" research a technological pipe dream.

To these futile gestures, bipartisan opportunists respond with hearty religious fervor: Amen, amen, amen! Thankfully, not everyone touched by the Columbine tragedy is singing the same cheap tune.

Listen to Rick Castaldo: "Last year, 6,000 juveniles brought guns to school. That's a federal crime. They only prosecuted 13. What good would a few more laws do?" Castaldo is not a member of the National Rifle Association. He is not a politician or lobbyist. He doesn't own a gun.

Castaldo is the father of Richard Castaldo, a Columbine survivor who was shot eight times in the arm, kidney, lung, spleen, and back. The hits to his spinal cord left the teen paralyzed from the waist down. When his son was shot, Castaldo recounted in a TV interview, there were "somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 different laws broken. In Richard's opinion and mine and a number of other people's, a few more laws would not make much difference."

"But what really disturbs me and my son," Castaldo said, is when "politicians go out and lead you to believe that we're going to pass more laws and make your children safe without enforcing the ones they have. It's not a worthwhile effort."

His son agrees. "I don't think they should pass any more" guns laws, the teen said after appearing with his dad at a press conference in Washington, D.C. last fall. He repeated his beliefs to a befuddled-looking reporter on MTV. The special, aired last week, was intended to goad young people into politically correct activism. After Castaldo's remarks, the MTV interviewer hastily changed the subject.

Gun-control advocates may have telegenic tears and emotions on their side. But the Castaldos have the cold, hard facts in their corner. According to a Senate Judiciary Committee report released three months ago, the number of federal gun prosecutions by the Justice Department plunged nearly 50 percent under the Clinton administration. The report also found a 44 percent decline in the number of gun cases referred to prosecutors by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from 1992 to 1998.

And while 100,000 people were denied gun purchases since computerized background checks came online, the BATF referred a mere 200 cases for federal prosecution. Money is not the problem: In the past three years, the Justice Department budget has ballooned by 54 percent.

The Castaldos are not alone in opposing post-Columbine gesture politics. Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was killed during the shootout as she lunched with Richard Castaldo, echoed grave doubts about the coming pile-on of anti-gun legislation. "No amount of laws can stop someone who spends months of planning [on] this type of massacre," Scott said.

These common-sense heretics have received negligible press attention compared to hysterical advocates demanding everything from mandatory trigger locks to outright gun bans in the name of school shooting victims. The media bias against Columbine's contrarians is overwhelming. In a report released this week by the D.C.-based Media Research Center, pro-gun control stories aired on the morning and evening broadcast news outnumbered stories opposing gun control by a ratio of 10 to 1.

Gun-control groups laughed off the study. They and their media sympathizers can bury their noses in their NRA-bashing hymnals, but they can't drown out the truth. "Passing any law will not stop any criminal from getting a gun if he knows the violation won't be prosecuted," the elder Castaldo notes. In short, the calmer voices of Columbine are pleading: Enforce existing laws. Punish criminals, not gun owner. Stop the blame.

Amen, amen, amen.

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.


01/12/00: Dying to be an American
01/10/00: Time for smokers' revolt?
12/30/99: Reading, writing, PlayStation?
12/27/99: Fight money-grubbing mallrats
12/23/99: Christmas for Cornilous Pixley
12/20/99: Who will help the Hmong?
12/16/99: Shame on corn-fed politicians
12/13/99: EPA vs. the American Dream
12/09/99: Look behind the Pokemon curtain
12/06/99: Amateur hour in Seattle
11/30/99: Stop the Ritalin racketeers
11/23/99: Welfare for a sports fatcat
11/19/99: Jeb Bush's political ploy of the week
11/16/99: Ben & Jerry serve up junk science
11/12/99: A monumental waste of our veterans' resources
11/10/99: Tax-and-spend schizophrenia
11/05/99: Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line" (or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes

© 2000, Creators Syndicate