With the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy having just passed, there have been various commemorations. And of course, there have been various other mentions that have been designed to exploit the tragedy in one way or another. In a recent monologue on his local radio show, former Congressman Joe Walsh railed against the exploitation of the event by leftists, who wish to remind everyone of the event in order to compel them to support more gun control legislation. He found it to be wholly inappropriate to do so and suggested that gun rights advocates would not only be lambasted by the left for exploiting Sandy Hook in the opposite manner, but would be equally wrong-headed for exploiting the situation regardless of leftist outrage, which is usually for show anyway.
I have to disagree with Walsh. Exploiting events in order to promote legislation is not only appropriate, but is sound strategy for getting legislation supported and passed. I mean, how else can it be done? I don't believe it is possible. Can anyone support any legislation without considering the consequences of not passing it? What will happen if we don't? What could happen if we do? In these considerations, how can the discussion not call to mind such things? More to the point, as regards a Sandy Hook tragedy, how can we not think of those kids and their teachers when debates regarding gun-control rage?
I say we cannot, and do not. Why pass gun laws? Proponents rightly (in their minds) wish to prevent another Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. Why else? Just for grins? As ridiculous a notion as it is that more laws prevent such things, they claim a firm belief that such laws lead to more safety. Thus, to recall such tragedies makes sense. The word "exploit" provokes a negative vibe, but exploitation of one consequence in order to garner support for that which is believed will prevent a recurrence is absolutely justified. Walsh would remind us of Rahm Emanuel's infamous line, "Never let a crisis go to waste." While Emanuel would not waste any opportunity to push bad policy, in reality he does what any politician would do.
Thus, we on the rational side of the gun debate see the events of the above listed tragedies as reasons for gun possession. We exploit these situations, and should, to demonstrate the tragic consequences of an unarmed populace. These incidents are manifestations of the downside for ignoring the intent of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. We need to remind our fellow Americans that these possibilities exist more strongly wherever the law abiding are prohibited from possessing weapons for protection.
What's more, we have the advantage of having numerous examples of how these events could have been prevented. John Barron refers to the latest example here. Not long ago I linked to an Ann Coulter article that listed half a dozen more. These, too, need to be exploited and exploited often. The possibility of returned fire always has a profound deterrent effect on the intentions of any who would bring violence down upon the unsuspecting.
We need to remember these events so as to stimulate effective policies for the prevention of future events. We need to remember the sorrow and horror to compel us to act in the most appropriate manner. Joe Walsh is wrong to focus on the exploitation of a tragedy like Sandy Hook. The real focus should be on the intention of the exploitation. Exploiting Sandy Hook in order to pass more laws that make another Sandy Hook possible is what should have provoked Joe's outrage. Exploiting Sandy Hook in order to eliminate such laws, thereby preventing more Sandy Hooks is a good thing.