Brian Coulter came out of his editorial hiatus (Forum, June 4) just long enough to wield his poison pen attacking Joe Biden, gun safety advocates and anyone else who doesn’t align with his radical brand. of conservatism.
On first reading, I was disappointed that the editors of LNJ didn’t take a red pen to delete some of his unsubstantiated statements, such as a “study” downplaying the effect of the Brady Act, enacted after a deranged John Hinckley shot President Reagan in 1981.
But then I noticed that the title of Brian’s column described him perfectly: “Soft targets tempt hard hearts and sick minds.”
It’s really hard to take Brian seriously when he’s so careless in stating things as fact when he should know they’re untrue or grossly exaggerated. For example, the claim that Biden was responsible for the military leaving $83 billion worth of weapons and equipment with the Taliban when US troops left Afghanistan last year.
A simple Google search would tell him that this figure was the total of all arms and ammunition expended by the military over many years. A Department of Defense Inspector General made this clear when Donald Trump made headlines of the same complaint after our troops left. And what about abandoned hardware? The military had destroyed or rendered inoperable helicopter avionics and other vital parts to make the equipment usable.
Also, what does the war in Afghanistan have to do with gun safety issues in the United States?
Nothing, and that seems to be the theme of his other rants, like making innocuous claims about sales of AR-15 rifles, the weapon of choice for many mass murderers. Brian explains the name of the AR-15, but does he know the history of this rifle?
This is the semi-automatic version of the military M-16 that I trained with in the army. I actually qualified as an expert on the M-16 during basic training in 1970. I also received one for the defense of our compound in Vietnam, but never had to pull him into guard duty.
If you watched the recent episode of “60 Minutes” on the AR-15, you learned that the tumbling bullet from this rifle has a devastating effect on human tissue and bone. This weapon was designed for military purposes to kill enemy combatants, not to slaughter innocent school children.
The only difference between the two models is that the M-16s can be tuned for full automatic fire. Then a “genius” designed an attachment called a shock stock that converts AR-15s into an automatic weapon. This devastating effect was on full display during the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, when 60 people were killed and 411 injured by AR-15s modified with bump stocks. The result of this massacre was a federal ban on the devices, which is being challenged in court.
Brian also claims that violent crime in Democratic-run cities is attributable to defunding the police after the death of George Floyd two years ago. In truth, there’s been a lot of talk about defunding the police, but the number of cities actually cutting police budgets can probably be counted on the one hand.
Rather, part of the problem is due to the declining number of police officers per capita, a trend that began in 2006. In our region, police services in many communities are reporting staffing shortages, as in other parts of the country.
Another interesting stat that Brian might have mentioned is the 43% increase in gun deaths from 2010 to 2020. They now account for 1.3% of all deaths in America and are the leading cause of death among children and young men, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Unfortunately, that was not to be the case if George Bush and the Republicans had reinstated the ban on AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles that had expired in 2004. Congress had enacted the ban 10 years earlier when Bill Clinton was president, but Bush faced a tough re-election and, like Trump, bowed to pressure from the NRA and the millions of lobbying dollars it lavished on politicians, mostly Republicans, to let the ban expire.
Congress, finally spurred to action by the Uvalde massacre, last week passed a minimalist, bipartisan bill, the first such legislative reform in about 30 years. It didn’t enact a ban on AR-15 style weapons, but at least it’s a start.
Interestingly, our illustrious governor also lives up to the old tricks beyond the usual thoughts and prayers that Greg Abbott expressed after the Uvalde massacre. Just like a few years ago, after a mass shooting, he called for legislative action. He wants committees to study the issue which will soon be ignored when the furor subsides and the funeral ends.
To borrow Brian’s wording, without substantive red flag laws, expanded background checks, more focus on sanity, and making it much harder to buy these military-style guns, all the talk and posturing will amount to little more than dog vomit. We will only have to wait a few days for the next mass shooting followed by greater public outrage.