Most people who read this blog have probably heard of the book “Glock: the Rise of America’s Gun” by Paul Barrett. Gun people who have read the book have given it generally positive reviews.
However, that view of the book (and its author) might need to be tempered with the knowledge that Mr. Barrett seems to harbor some strong anti-gun beliefs.
In the Politics & Policy section of the January 9-15, 2012 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek (no, I don’t subscribe, but I am not above reading someone else’s magazine when I am taking a dump) there was an article written by Paul Barrett entitled “Gun Control: A Movement Without Followers”.
The table of contents had a blurb for the article which read: “The end of gun control: More Americans than ever believe in the right to pack heat. Anti-gun activists need smaller targets”. To me, that seemed sympathetic to the anti-gun movement. My interest was piqued, as the Glock book seems to have been received as a mostly accurate, nominally pro-gun book.
The article was on page 31. Below the title were two bulleted (heh) statements:
“As more Americans embrace Second Amendment rights, the anti-firearms movement dries up”
“It’s shameful … the only bill Congress has acted on would make it easier to carry concealed guns”
That didn’t bode well. After beginning the article with a recap of the Gabby Giffords shooting, the author says: “What Giffords and her fellow Democrats have not done is use the Tucson bloodshed to achieve tougher gun control laws. The inaction, especially President Barack Obama’s passivity on the topic, demonstrates that gun control has expired as a national political issue. If Democrats can’t sell stiffer restrictions after a midday attack on a congresswoman, when can they?” That seems like wistful regret to me.
It got worse: “The Democratic gun control stalwarts would prohibit the civilian sale or possession of pistol magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Under this rule, the Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner, would not have been able to stroll into a gun store and lawfully purchase the new 33-round magazine that allowed him to fire so many bullets before he was subdued.” Again with the wistful regret. Note the inflammatory language (“stroll into a gunstore”, “lawfully purchase”) which seems like it is right out of the anti-gun style manual.
“The National Rifle Assn. nevertheless opposes the legislation on the debatable theory that it would lead to a slippery slope ending in mass gun confiscation.” That sounds pretty anti-gun to me.
Later, we read that the second bulleted intro quote (“It’s shameful…” etc.) was uttered by Dennis Henigan, the current Brady Campaign mouthpiece. The quote was used without editorial comment (aside from the fact that it was included).
And then we get this: “Truth is, even if the McCarthy-Lautenberg bill were enacted, it wouldn’t matter much. The law would grandfather in large-capacity magazines lawfully possessed on the day it took effect. Since there are already millions of plus-10 mags in private hands, banning new ones wouldn’t seriously hinder a determined criminal.” Looks like angry frustration at the “high-cap loophole”.
Then the call for new gun laws comes: “Rather than argue about which guns or magazines should be banned, Zimring’s findings suggest politicians might have better success by providing resources to crime-prone communities that would allow them to emulate New York’s progress. As a component of such an anticrime package, lawmakers could include improvements to the existing gun laws that Americans tell pollsters they support.” Emphasis mine. So, modify or add to existing gun laws, since new gun laws won’t pass? That’s some sneaky stuff Mr. Barrett is advocating.
The article ends thusly: “Closing gaps in the background-check system would likely have only a modest effect on crime rates. But for gun control advocates struggling to stay relevant, the push for such changes represents a noteworthy shift – and a concession to reality. Having decisively lost the decades-old political and cultural argument over whether Americans should have the right to pack heat, they need to adapt to meet the demands of a public that wants to reduce the number of crimes-not the number of guns. – Paul M. Barrett”
Noncommittal closing aside, the article had a strong undertone of sympathy for the gun-control movement.
At the bottom of the page, there is a note: “This article is adapted from Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, by Paul M. Barrett (Crown)”. But I did some research and learned that Barrett is not just an author excerpting his new book in Bloomberg Businessweek. He is assistant managing editor and senior feature writer at the magazine. And we all know how Mike Bloomberg feels about guns, as well as how tolerant liberals are of employing people who do not toe their ideological line. It certainly would explain why, rather than simply presenting both sides of the issue as an objective journalist, Barrett went out of his way to sympathize with, and suggest strategy to, the anti-gun movement.
I found the article troubling, considering the acceptance that Barrett’s book has gotten from the gunblogging world. And I found other articles by Barrett that are just as troubling. In the February 15 issue, Barrett published another article: “Who’s Afraid of the NRA?”
“Sure as shootin’, the gun issue will surface once the Republicans choose a candidate and face off against President Barack Obama after Labor Day. The National Rifle Assn. is spoiling for a fight. I know because, as an NRA member, I’m on its mailing list.”
“Spoiling for a fight” doesn’t sound very charitable. Then the article doubled-down on the NRA-bashing: “The NRA rarely communicates at less than a panicked pitch. Still, its current warnings seem especially hysterical.” And later: “When you win the NRA’s allegiance, you get not only its money, but its activists, who are among the most vocal and sometimes vituperative in many jurisdictions”.
The irony in that last quote is clearly lost on Mr. Barrett, at least to those people who have sought out news from sources other than the biased mainstream media. There is no group of people more vituperative than liberals. Barrett’s hypocritical boss Mike Bloomberg belongs to a group (Mayors Against Illegal Guns) whose members are far more likely to be convicted felons than the average citizen. And anti-gunners as a whole are a pretty unsavory gang of hypocrites too, with Sarah Brady trying to straw-purchase a sniper rifle for her son, and stalwart anti-gun journalist Carl Rowan using an illegal gun to shoot an unarmed boy who used his swimming pool without permission. Glass houses & stone-throwing, Mr. Barrett.
In conclusion, I would suggest that gun people be on their guard if Paul Barrett contacts them. He is no friend of the 2nd Amendment, and he cannot be trusted. By his own admission, he wants more gun laws. Anything that you say to him will undoubtedly be portrayed in the most unflattering light possible, and will probably be back-channeled to the anti-gunners to be used against us.