Meanwhile, the Gun Lobby Continues to Impress

Fresh from the public relations coup of “Guns Across America” for Martin Luther King’s birthday, and the not at all crazy plans for secession and armed revolt, we now get the nauseating spectacle of gun zealots heckling the father of a victim of the Sandy Hook slaughter.

Update: Some readers are insisting that if you watch the full clip the gun lobbyists are exonerated:

Actually, watching the full clip, what still comes through to me, loud and clear, is the complete emotional cluelessness of the people barking out their replies to this poor man. I don’t think it’s really far off the mark to describe their response as heckling, but at the very least it takes Rain Man levels of emotional and social inability to fail so completely to grasp when to argue and when to keep one’s peace and not behave as these idiots did. The people responding to this grieving father, speaking out of the depths of his agony, seem to be incapable of perceiving him as anything other than another obstacle to be struck down with the same pre-recorded rhetoric as ever. They should have just remained silent and let this man have his say. But they just couldn’t. shut. up. Nauseating.

Upper Update: But, but, MSNBC *edited* the clip! Don’t I even *care*? Sort of. MSNBC shouldn’t have edited the clip. But this is sort of like saying somebody tinkered with the Zapruder film to make Oswald look *really* bad. I think the unedited clip makes these people look bad without MSNBC’s ministrations. People seem to disagree with me on that point, though I can’t fathom why. So, do I think it bad that MSNBC (or whoever) fiddled with the clip. Yeah. But I think that being OUTRAGED! OUTRAGED!!!! about it is is mostly sound and fury to distract from the fact that, even unedited, the clip does not cover the shouters in glory. They should have been smart, let the emotionally charged moment be what it was and, if they really had some burning need to speak, waited till later and done so. This was a deeply dumb way to respond to this poor man.

"How is it that my long comment from 2 days ago (discussing the ASP 2017 ..."

I had Lillian Vogl, the Chairwoman ..."
"Honestly, as a Soviet history buff I’m kind of impressed to see Beria back in ..."

Australian Conservatives are Catching the American ..."
"I would emphasize that 1 Corinthians 12 actually somewhat subverts the typical hierarchical use of ..."

Some thoughts on the Royal Wedding
"Hi Linda, there is not a conflict between the ASP and IDP. IDP has become ..."

I had Lillian Vogl, the Chairwoman ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • And? Yeah? The point? Find someone in a group who acts like an insensitive jerk because…why? I realize for MSNBC and others who have various agendas, it’s the stuff dreams are made on. I thought we wanted to find solutions since Sandy Hook. Nothing I’m seeing in the last month or so is reinforcing my assumption. Do we want solutions, or the same old, same old?

  • The Deuce

    Why exactly is this heckler being referred to as an “NRA mole”? How is that anything but vile slander? Is everyone who opposes gun control for any reason whatsoever now a representative of the NRA? Gee, would this be the Left’s usual tactic of choosing someone they disagree with, and then organizing a 2-minute hate against them by demonizing them with accusations of every kind of evil under the sun?

    And why is the NRA being accused of opposing “gun safety” when in fact they’re the nation’s biggest proponent and teacher of gun safety? Surely this isn’t an Orwellian attempt to conflate gun safety with gun control, right? I mean, everyone knows that leftists are above that sort of thing!

    • For the answer to this:

      And why is the NRA being accused of opposing “gun safety” when in fact they’re the nation’s biggest proponent and teacher of gun safety?

      Please see your previous statement:

      would this be the Left’s usual tactic of choosing someone they disagree with, and then organizing a 2-minute hate against them by demonizing them with accusations of every kind of evil under the sun?

      Not that that sort of tactic is confined to the Left only, but in this case, it’s becoming pretty clear who has stars on their bellies and who doesn’t when it comes to the whole gun violence debate.

  • Dennis Mahon
    • If that’s true, it does put a rather sinister spin on the story. I’ll withhold judgement, but certainly some major retractions are in order if this does turn out to be true, especially if we want to actually accomplish something in this debate.

      • The Deuce

        This is coming from the same MSNBC that selectively edited the police tapes to turn George Zimmerman into a racist in a (successful) attempt to gin up national hatred against him.

  • Mark,

    Does Mr. Mahon’s linked Twitchy piece change anything for you on this?

    I’m hoping so.

    Or, and I ask this sincerely, is Twitchy not to be trusted?

  • KM

    Somewhat related to the “Continues to Impress” Theme:

    The Gun “Rights” crowd is planning a “Day of Resistance” on 2/23 to resist Obama’s mild 23 executive orders and to celebrate the gloriously supreme 2nd amendment: “the right that protects ALL rights.” The purpose of the rally is to “reassert their community’s right to determine their own destiny” while ignoring the overall American community’s right to reassert its destiny. The website’s image for their banner shows excited Americans holding hands up in the air (like at a religious rally) while others point an assault rifle and pistol toward the sky against an American flag backdrop. The Day of Resistance is being organized by Tea Party activists.

    Not sure that this is going to help moderate the gun debate at all.

  • The Deuce

    Why lookee here:

    I think you at least have an obligation, Mark, to make another post clearing the air on this, since you have unintentionally helped to spread falsehood and agitprop.

    • Mark Shea

      Actually, watching the full clip, what still comes through to me, loud and clear, is the complete emotional cluelessness of the people barking out their replies to him. I don’t think it’s really far off the mark to describe their response as heckling, but at the very least it takes Rain Man levels of emotional and social inability to grasp when to argue and when to keep one’s peace to behave as these idiots did. The people responding seem to be incapable of perceiving him as anything other than another obstacle to be struck down with the same pre-recorded rhetoric as ever. They should have just remained silent and let this man have his say. But they just couldn’t. shut. up.

      • HokiePundit

        It’s a bad communication situation all around: the man is giving testimony, but is asking for a response, indicating disappointment when he doesn’t receive one. Should the people have remained silent during the testimony? Yes, because a witness doesn’t have the authority to give them permission to speak. That said, the witness abused the platform he had been given by asking for a response when none could (under proper procedure) be given,

        I’d call it a draw and move on.

        • Mark Shea

          He didn’t seem disappointed to me. He seemed like he took it as self-evident that the answer to his question would be no. The *smart* thing for the people shouting to have done would have been to remain silent and then, if they really must, address his remarks in a less emotionally fraught moment. The dumb thing to do is what they did. All it did was make them look like autism spectrum folks with no clue about socially appropriate behavior. The gun lobby does not need such people representing them on the national stage.

          • The Deuce

            Did you even watch the whole clip? First the father asks why anybody in the room needs assault-style weapons, and waits.

            At that point, he looks around the room, but everyone keeps silent, as you recommended they should, resulting in a long pause.

            Then, after the pause, he says “Not one person can answer that question, or give me an answer” and looks around the room a second time.

            It’s only at this point, seeing that he really was challenging them to answer, and that their lack of an answer is being used as an admission of assent, that people start to speak up.

            That is a LONG way from heckling. Not only did they not jump on the guy, they didn’t speak up at all until they were goaded into it twice. You can argue they made a social miscalculation in allowing themselves to be goaded at all, but that’s a long way from being the callous heckling jerks you and the dishonest media have portrayed them as.

            • Mark Shea

              Yes. I watched the clip. The guy asks a rhetorical question in the midst of an *intensely* emotionally fraught moment with the clear expectation that nobody will disagree with his point. His view of such matters is, shall we say, colored by life experiences. People with a healthy grasp of social and emotional cues, even when they have remarks of rebuttal, would have grasped that *now* was not the time to offer those remarks. They would have waited till some less emotionally fraught moment to say something like, “I grieve deeply for this man’s loss, as do all Americans, but I also feel it important to say…” and offered their reply. That would have been the socially intelligent thing to do. But instead, they decided this was a great moment to shout some slogans. Result: they come off as totally socially and emotionally clueless people yelling some pre-recorded words at a grieiving man. Saying “He gave them the opportunity! It was his fault! He forced us to speak!” only makes it more socially cringeworthy. There is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking. They should have refrained. But they were more concerned about winning and losing than they were about him.

              • The Deuce

                But instead, they decided this was a great moment to shout some slogans.

                Not so. They didn’t speak until, after a long pause, he asked them a *second* time, making it clear that he really was challenging them for an answer. And you don’t know that they were all just shouting slogans. The moderator made everyone be quiet within just a few short seconds.

                In any event, there is a *huge, massive* difference between making a social miscalculation when you think you’re being prompted, and heartlessly heckling a grieving parent out of nowhere. Those two things aren’t even in the same category, and it is an absolute travesty of charity to pretend otherwise.

                • Mark Shea

                  We’re getting into the realm of what I regard as silly quibbles. As I say, the father’s “life experience” has obviously rather colored what he expected to be a reasonable answer to his question: namely, NO! In that emotionally fraught moment, gun lobbyists had a choice. They could have, like most emotionally and socially adept people, remained silent and let this man in excruciating pain have his say even if they disagreed with him. Or, they could do what they did and think, “If we don’t shout some slogans this guy will win! We have to defeat him!” There is, at the end of the day very *little* room between that “social miscalculation” and “heckling”. What bleeds through loud and clear, whatever word you choose to describe their behavior, is that what was uppermost in the minds of the shouters was that he was an enemy to be defeated, not a dad in fathomless pain who suffering should be met with respectfful silence even if you have to bite your tongue to do it. And the more shrieking there is now about the edited video and “We’re the real victims here” talk goes forward, the more socially clueless that crowd looks. So yeah. MSNBC edited the video and made the gun lobbyists look a bit worse than they already looked. They didn’t need the help and they are only stamping down the dirt on the grave of their credibility when they try to claim that they and not the dad were the victims. Sometimes, you just have to know when to fold ’em.

                  • The Deuce

                    If you think that the distinction between unprovoked jeering at a grieving man and giving an answer when you believe you’ve been asked for one is a “minor quibble,” I really don’t know what to say.

                    MSNBC’s chop-job didn’t make the people look “a bit” worse. It made them look like absolute moral monsters as opposed to (at worst) somewhat bad at social cues. This wouldn’t have even been a story without the false reporting on MSNBC’s part, and you never would have linked to it in the first place.

                    Furthermore, it’s not at all clear that the guy was being purely rhetorical, as even Slate admitted when they issued their correction to the story. Perhaps it seems obvious to *you* because rationalizing your prideful decision to double down on your participation in libel requires it to be.

                    This isn’t some contest of who is the bigger victim. It’s about basic right and wrong. The father’s obviously greater suffering doesn’t make MSNBC’s little excursion into Orwellian historical revisionism any more acceptable. In fact, it makes it far worse, because they were exploiting him in addition to demonizing their political opponents with misinformation. You should have nothing to do with this.

                    Honestly, I have been shaking my head at your behavior regarding most things gun-related since Sandy Hook, but in my opinion this takes the intellectually dishonest cake (not that you fell for MSNBC’s hoax in the first place, which is understandable, but that you barely skipped a beat after learning what it was). I have not seen you even once deal with the actual arguments that gun control proponents have put forward using studies, statistics, and other facts regarding gun crime and gun ownership. What I have seen you do is attempt to evade any such discussion by impugning motives, hurling epithets, looking for excuses to pigeonhole them into categories of untermenschen like “nutjob secessionist” so that they can be summarily cast into outer darkness, and generally highlighting any example you can find (or trump up) of any gun proponent anywhere in the world behaving badly to hold up for scorn and guilt-by-association. And then you complain when they actually do deal with the substance of your arguments and ideas (such as the feasibility of foolproof biometric guns that can’t be hacked by thieves), but aren’t persuaded to your conclusions.

                    • Anson

                      As much as I wish you were wrong about this, I have to admit you have taken the temperature just about right. I just really hate it that this is the case. I loved “By What Authority?” And I am grateful for what it brought me during the RCIA process, but now I’m wondering if I should reread it with a little more intellectual rigor. Even Slate and lefties like Patton Oswalt and Anderson Cooper have seen fit to acknowledge that any fruit from a fraudulent tree like this one is unfit for consumption. But Mark doubled down. I never thought I’d get the “fake but accurate” runaround from a Catholic writer I admire as much. Oh well, good object lesson in the whole cult of personality thing we were talking about yesterday, huh?

                    • Mark Shea

                      I’m afraid I disagree. You can attribute my reaction to those guys to pride if you like, but the reality is that I just think their response was cringeworthy, edited or not. MSNBC’s edit was wrong, as I’ve noted. But the shouters should have just kept their mouths shut. The hysteria at MSNBC just feels to me like the standard Right Wing Noise Machine Outrage of the Week–and with the secondary effect of trying to mask the fact that the unediited clip does not do the shouters proud. Hard for me to care too much at the end of a month of HITLERSTALINMAOBAMA freakoutery.

                      Sorry I’ve offended you by not particularly being impressed by much of the gun culture rhetoric. I have no interest in confiscating guns. I don’t want to repeal the 2nd amendment. I don’t think there are any serious plans to do it. I think secessionism is nutty. I gave my little suggestion on what I’d do, and I’ve been struck by how much of the Can’t Do Spirit has dominated the conversation since. But it’s not like I have some big comprehensive plan. I come at this stuff as a sort of bystander to the gun debate, horrified by Sandy Hook, and not very impressed by a lot of the gun culture rhetoric. At the same time, I’m sympathetic to conservatives who deeply fear the growth of the police state and so forth. Think of me as the Man in the Street, looking in from the outside and having no particular agenda, just trying to get a feel for what the different sides are yelling at each other. You can, if you like, regard me as having some “agenda”. But I don’t. I’m just trying to figure it out.

                      And, just so you know, I’m trying to be as honest as I know how here.

      • The Deuce

        So, I take it, Mark, that you’re going to rationalize MSNBC’s deliberately edited agitprop as “fake but accurate” and not issue a correction? Would you find this sort of thing acceptable coming from James O’ Keefe and Project Veritas when used against Planned Parenthood?

        • Mark Shea

          No. I’m saying that when I watch the unedited version at the link you provide, I still come away thinking that the people barking out their pre-recorded responses simply don’t get when it is and is not appropriate to speak and still come off like socially clueless buffoons. You can complain about how MSNBC tinkered with the clip, but the unedited clip doesn’t exonerate these dorks. They should have kept their traps shut. If they wanted to, they could have waited a little while till the air was not charged with emotion and grief and attempted to make some sort of cool reply. But because they were socially inept knuckleheads, they decided to swat down the grieving father in a way that only succeeded in making them look like jerks. It is straining at gnats and swallowing camels to gripe that MSNBC tinkered with the video when the unedited video is just as cringeworthy to watch.

          • ” barking”
            “socially clueless buffoons”
            “kept their traps shut”
            “socially inept knuckleheads”
            “straining at gnats and swallowing camels”

            Ladies and gentleman, the face of the Catholic blogosphere.

            • Mark Shea

              As with your efforts over at the Coalition for Fog, your capacity for misplaced tender pity continues to impress.

              • That isn’t even a logical response. You have absolutely no rational response to anything anyone has said, you double down on your insistence of boorish behavior despite evidence to the contrary, and your only response to my pointing out how ill-tempered your remarks are is reference to a blog that has been defunct for four years and which I didn’t, as a matter of fact, help run.

                Do you realize how much influence you could really have in the wider world if you took five seconds, paused for a second, and didn’t treat everybody who disagrees with you like a piece of dirt? Can you really not appreciate why your attitude is a turnoff?

                Now say something snarky and make another non sequiter remark.

                • Mark Shea

                  We Torture Pharisees are notorious for being turnoffs to truly civil people.

                  • You truly never disappoint to disappoint.

                    • Mark Shea

                      It’s what we Torture Pharisees do. Thanks for stooping down to provide uplift. I’m irredeemable though, what with being incapable of honesty. Save yourself while you still can.

    • You’re assuming intellectual honesty from a man who is incapable of it.

      • Mark Shea

        “Incapable”? Really? And from a guy who helped run the Coalition for Fog too!

        • Wow, you can’t even get that basic fact right.

  • Kenneth

    These are the folks who say the Second Amendment is about keeping weapons parity with our government so that they can throw them over and be our new overlords. Cause the feds aren’t good people, like them….

  • Marty Ahrens

    The man ASKED for a response. He turned around and looked at the audience. There was a fairly long pause. Then, a few people attempted to answer his question. This is NOT heckling, and it’s NOT disrespectful. The man ASKED…
    Altering the tape to make it LOOK like he was being heckled is reprehensible.

    • Mark Shea

      If you want to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, knock yourself out. Even unedited, the shouters come off looking socially clueless.

  • Marty Ahrens

    Immediately after the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook, the gun control proponents started saying it was time to have a “conversation” about guns. Evidently, the conversation can only go one way.

    • The Deuce

      Shut up you gun-loving, nutjob secessionist NRA mole who hates grieving parents and wants millions of children to die to protect billionaire white supremacist gun manufacturers!

      • Mark Shea

        Chill dude. Sorry, but I’m just not feeling the outrage. Should the clip have been edited? No. But the unedited clip does not make those guys look any better.

      • Marty Ahrens

        A point well made!

    • Mark Shea

      Yes. There has been a *total* media blackout on gun lobby rhetoric. You wouldn’t even know they exist if it weren’t for comboxes.

      • The Deuce

        The media “reporting” on gun lobby rhetoric has been pretty much all like this. Deceitful editing, deliberate misrepresentation, and hyperfocus on the few crazies they can find, so that they can then dismiss the arguments of everyone who disagrees with them with name-calling and blood libel.

        Just look at the multiple levels of dishonesty at work in the piece you linked to. First, they take the deceitfully chopped video, and make the widely repeated false claim that the grieving father was heckled out of nowhere. They then build on those two lies by claiming, without evidence, that the nonexistent heckler was an “NRA mole” and that this was an “NRA tactic,” thereby slandering an entire organization and its millions of members with an atrocity that never even happened.

        And worst of all, you seem to see nothing seriously wrong with this, and you just repeat the gun-rights supporters were socially inept. The closest you come is where you at least admit that the tape shouldn’t have been edited. You think?! You think that maybe it’s just a little bit wrong to accuse people of doing a horrible, heartless thing that they never actually did, and to slander millions of others as being complicit in it, by deliberately editing a video to present a false history?

        This is the “reporting” on our position there’s been. It’s suspiciously similar to the “reporting” on pro-life rhetoric, or the “reporting” on the Church’s position regarding being forced to pay for womens’ birth control. That is to say, there’s been practically no actual reporting at all, just dishonest emotional manipulation and a search for examples to use as slander.

        • Mark Shea

          Deuce: As I say, I don’t think the tape should have been edited, but I don’t think the unedited tape does the shouters proud. Is the media biased? Duh. All the more reason the gun lobby should *think* before they do something as dumb as this.

    • Mark Shea

      If by “correction” you mean “note that the original video turned out to be edited” I did that when the unedited video was brought to my attention. What I did not not do is conclude that the unedited video makes the people shouting at the father look good. That’s because I don’t think the unedited video makes the shouters look good. This is what I call “trying to be honest about the facts” and “being honest about what I think about the facts” and what you call my being incapable of honesty. You apparently have concluded the original video makes the shouters look terrific. I beg to differ. Only, unlike you, I will assume you arrive at your (to me, incomprehensible) assessment of their behavior in good faith while you call me a liar for giving my assessment of their behavior.

      • You apparently have concluded the original video makes the shouters look terrific.

        Understanding that there is nothing to be gained by replying, I merely note that – as usual – you employ strawmen arguments in order to make your opponents look foolish. Nowhere did I say or imply that. My only point was that the full context of the video reveals that the crowd neither heckled nor acted in a particularly boorish manner.

        what you call my being incapable of honesty.

        I called you intellectually dishonest. Just like the term “useful idiot” does not mean that one is an actual idiot, neither does that expression mean that you are fundamentally dishonest. Rather, what is means is that you seem unable or incapable of accurately portraying your opponents’ arguments, and present wildly distorted versions of reality. You have done that twice to me in just this one thread (stating I helped run a blog I merely commented on, and implying that I think the behavior of the audience was “terrific.)

  • Mr. Shea:

    I hope you will come visit me in the camps.

    Oh, wait, you’ll be the one in the camp. I’ll be dead. Never mind.


    Bruce Lewis

    • Mark Shea

      Yeah. No hysteria or anything.

  • JParker

    Googled “Coalition for Fog,” saw some blog that mentioned torture (OK) and “the Protocols of the Elders of Likud” (no comment)

    well actually, yes comment on that last point, since the paleo/antiwar right’s monomaniacal obsession (not all, but a good amount) against Israel, and their belief that Israel dictates all U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, is the reason they aren’t taken seriously.

    • Mark Shea

      The CfF was not anti-Israeli by any stretch. They were actually quite pro-Israeli. Just pro-torture and anti-me. 🙂

      • JParker

        I was referring to an unhealthy negative fixation on Israel (coupled today with a total dismissal of any concerns over a nuclear Iran) w/r/t to the antiwar/paleo right. there’s quite a bit of overlap, and it’s part of the reason why they aren’t taken seriously in mainstream politics.

        • Mark Shea

          Okay. But I’m just saying the the CfF was not part of that crowd. They were generally quite enthusiastically pro-Israeli. No doubt the piece you saw was tongue in cheek.