As if America’s school children don’t already have enough to worry about since the Sandy Hook tragedy, now Fox News is complaining about a proposal to put seat belts on school buses.
An op-ed by John Stossel was published today that took the administration to task for the seat belt initiative. He characterized the safety measure as another boondoggle by big government. He mocked the agency that was proposing the new standards. He also argued that it was too expensive and that some studies have concluded that they were unnecessary. But what really destroys his case is that the evidence he relies on to bash the government is from – the government. In fact, it’s the very same agency that he’s bitching about, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Stossel wrote that a few years ago the NHTSA conducted a study that concluded that seat belts on school buses were “of no value in the majority of fatal accidents.” He listed six additional items culled from the report. He didn’t cite the specific study or the year it was published. There was a study in 2002 that found that seat belts were not effective in severe frontal collisions. However, it also found that the benefits more than offset the risks, particularly with regard to preventing ejections. Apparently there are more types of collisions than just from the front.
Bottom line: Stossel is criticizing the NHTSA’s big government decision to install seat belts in school buses and supporting his criticism with older NHTSA big government data that he misinterprets. But to pile on the stupidity, take a look at the headline from Fox that mangles both spelling and syntax.
That’s an apt demonstration of how idiotic the right-wing is in their haste to condemn any government initiative, even those designed to protect kids. They derisively portray Team Obama as spending wastefully on seat belts, just as they cast Obama as a Stalinist gun-grabber when he proposes safety measures to reduce gruesome shootings.
[Update] Fox News has removed this article entirely from their web site. That seems like a drastic reaction to a couple of grammatical errors. Could they have realized that Stossel’s argument was idiotic? Nah … if that bothered them they’d have to take down 80% of their site.
The conservative congregation of gun worshipers is pulling out all the stops to prevent any dialogue on gun safety and common sense measures that might protect citizens from the sort of mass carnage that has shocked Americans recently in places like Newtown, Aurora, and Tuscon. With the help of right-wing media, notably Fox News, they are promulgating fear and hostility as a response to a political difference of opinion over how to make our communities safer.
They mantra from the right is that Obama is a tyrant who will abolish the Constitution and confiscate all guns. While there is not even an inkling of evidence that any of that is true, the terrifying specter of a dictatorial slave state is flushing through the veins of pseudo-patriots who pretend to revere America and the soldiers who defend it, but are adamant that they retain sufficient firepower to massacre them if necessary. That’s how they thank our heroes for their service.
In the rhetorical battle to preserve their alleged right to carry weapons of carnage into schools and bars and laundromats and baseball stadiums, the Gunnies are now declaring that every threatened or oppressed group of people would have been better off if they had been armed to the hilt and prepared to blow away their assailants. Reality is at variance with these apocryphal claims, but that doesn’t lessen their feverish insistence that a fire-with-fire response to every conflict will bring about a peaceful, secure society. Despite the obvious contradiction in that view, conservative mouthpieces are expressing remarkably similar themes that arrive at the same conclusion: If [fill in the blank] had guns the good guys would always win and violence would become a thing of the past (er, like the wild west?). It’s a Fox Nation style argument that dispenses with truth in favor of hyperbole and historical revisionism. For instance…
If Civil Rights Activists Had Guns…
Rush Limbaugh:“If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed [to march at] Selma?”
This astonishingly blockheaded statement ignores the fact that the civil rights activists protesting segregation and discrimination in Selma, Alabama were devoted to peaceful change. They were led by Martin Luther King who was inspired by the non-violent methods practiced by Gandhi. It was a successful strategy that resulted in profound changes in both government and people’s hearts. In effect Limbaugh is expressing solidarity with the Black Panthers and suggesting that armed protesters shooting at southern sheriffs would have brought about a better result. However, the presence of guns would only have put everyone in greater danger, sapped the moral advantage of the protesters and produced more corpses all around. And Limbaugh would have been the first to condemn them for their reliance on violence.
If Slaves Had Guns…
Gun advocate Larry Ward:“If African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”
Of course. If the slave traders had given each of their human “cargo” a musket along with their shackles they would have been able to kill off their prospective masters and enjoy life in the new world. I’m sure that Ward and the others propounding this theory would have been delighted to hear that armed slave rebellions had put folks like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their graves before they ever got around to declaring independence from the British. Furthermore, the unorganized, disoriented, involuntary African immigrants would have had no problem dispatching the southern slave states that a civil war with the rest of the nation struggled with for years at horrendous human cost.
If Jews Had Guns…
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News:“If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.”
Once again, the dimwits on the right think that civilians of an oppressed minority would have managed to overcome a military power that held at bay most of the free world. Apparently Napolitano believes that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had some superpowers that, were they armed, would have made them a more ominous opponent than the Americans, the Russians, the English, and the French combined.
If Schools Had Guns…
Ann Coulter:“Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits. If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area, you sort of sense this, because they so often happen at public schools.”
Something that the Gunnies seem all to willing to excise from the debate is the fact that prior incidents of shootings at schools occurred despite there being armed guards present. That was the case at Columbine. It was also the case at Virginia Tech where they had a whole armed police squad on campus. Despite their best intentions, guards cannot be everywhere at once. And they also are often at a disadvantage when confronted by an assailant with a military style arsenal and bullet-proof gear who gets the jump on them.
If Teachers Had Guns…
Pat Robertson:“The truth is, if teachers had guns in classes, these shooters wouldn’t come in because they would be afraid of getting shot themselves.”
The truth is, that teachers are frequently the first victims of school shootings. The time it would take them to retrieve a weapon from a place that is safe enough for it to be stored in a classroom full of students would be plenty of time for an assailant with an AR-15 to riddle them with bullets. Robertson also forgets that most of these assaults are perpetrated by people who end up taking their own lives, so it is ridiculous to regard them as being afraid of getting shot themselves. And the presence of others with weapons certainly didn’t deter the shooter at the Ft. Hood Army base in Texas, where he certainly had reason to believe that there were other armed persons in the vicinity.
The speculative query as to whether there would have been a different outcome in any of these situations if [fill in the blank] had guns is just plain lunacy. It would be dubious under any circumstances to pretend to predict what might have occurred in these after-the-fact scenarios, but the specific examples chosen by these Gunnies demonstrate how blinded they are by their prejudices and violent, video game fantasies. The speculation could go on indefinitely. What if the women suffragettes had guns? What if the students at Kent State had guns?
What if Jesus and his disciples had guns? Pontius Pilate might have been riddled with armor-piercing bullets. There would have been no crucifixion. In fact, the soldiers and pharisees who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane would have been slaughtered. It was there that Jesus admonished his disciple Peter, who took up his sword to defend him, saying “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” That’s a lesson the sanctimonious gun evangelists still haven’t learned 2,000 years later.
Sometimes the dementia of right-wing fabulists is a richer vein of comedy than a Marx Brothers marathon. And speaking of Marx (Karl), his press agent, Glenn Beck, is contributing more than his fair share of unintentional hilarity to a nation thirsty for humor.
On his silly and mostly ignored webcast, Beck set out to warn his flock of the dangers of getting sucked into conspiracy theories. He expressed his deep concern that people understand that the real reason these tall tales are disseminated is to distract unsuspecting citizens from the evils being perpetrated by the government. You know…evils like the conspiracy theories Beck espouses.
Beck is America’s preeminent source for conspiracy theories. He just published a book titled “Agenda 21″ that is based on a nightmare fable of the United Nations subjugating the world to slavery on the pretense of building sustainable communities. He produced a three day Fox News spectacular revealing that George Soros is also plotting to rule the world. He’s certain that the art and architecture of Manhattan conceals communist propaganda. And who can forget his sermons on the Islamic cabal, in league with Western European socialists, to restore the ancient Caliphate and, of course, rule the world.
Now the master of conspiracy madness is revealing a deep cover plot too scandalous to believe (video below). Beck has discovered that the whole birther mess was actually devised and implemented by a scheming White House in an attempt to divert attention away from a dastardly blueprint to bankrupt America and deliver its carcass to her enemies.
Beck: “The only time you ever heard about [Obama's birth certificate] was from the lunatic fringe – and I mean a very, very, small group of people that were talking about it – but the White House was the one that was constantly bringing it up and stirring the pot.”
That’s right. It was a very small group of people consisting mainly of Fox News anchors and pundits, right-wing activists and Tea Partiers, and the lunatic fringe more commonly known as the Republican Party. The mini-faction included unknown, media-shy characters like Mitt Romney surrogate, Donald Trump. This tiny, almost imperceptible, collective of outliers had little influence on public opinion unless you count the polls that show nearly half of “staunch conservatives” saying that they think Obama was not born in the U.S.
Now that Beck has exposed the truth that conspiracy theories are really covert diversions, the only unanswered question is whether the conspiracy theories Beck spins are themselves distractions from the government’s clandestine plots. How can we know that Beck is not a part of the plot to draw attention away from far more fiendish exploits contrived by federal super-villains? If conspiracy theories are government plots, and no one is more adept at constructing them than Beck, well ….. connect the dots.