I meant to get to this post much sooner. Two Saturday’s ago, the Register’s relocate Libertarian/Christian columnist Mark Landsbaum went after progressives/liberals/leftists in a big way with this column. Here’s a taste: “Fortunately, after bullying, lying and otherwise contriving themselves into power, self-anointed progressive benefactors’ claims of a better day ahead often are recognized for what they are: false. Propaganda. A means to an end. But by then, the damage is done.”
To let this go unchallenged means allowing Mr. Landsbaum, who believes his religious rights trumps the civil rights of those who aren’t straight/Christian/conservative, to set the narrative. So I drafted this op-ed for the Register, which they ran as a Letter to the Editor last Saturday. I appreciate the editors did not cut my piece at all.
With the exception of regular columns from UC Irvine law school professor Erwin Chemerinsky and the OCEA’s Jennifer Muir, the Register’s opinion pages are a sea of Libertarian/Conservative/Republican hogwash. As progressives, we’re supposed to be happy that letters from Democrats are published and these two lefties contribute to the Register’s editorials.
When I got the hardcopy edition of the Register and accessed the online version of the story, it featured an editorial cartoon of a sign that reads “Welcome to Chicago” and its riddled with bullet holes and has a factoid of how many shootings in the Windy City so far this year, which my initial response was WTF because there’s a no reference to Chicago or guns in my piece or Landsbaum’s. But the cartoon is designed to undermine the context of my piece (which I appreciate the Register didn’t change a word of) and make fun of progressive opinion.
I contacted Brian Calle, the editorial page editor of the Register about it. He tells me the graphic was added by his graphics editor to “balance out” my story which ran in a space normally reserved for a conservative writer (otherwise known as just abut every single day). The Register has two liberal columnists, and well over a dozen local, state and national conservative and libertarian columnists and a progressive piece needs balance?! Its this sort of tactic that keeps progressives from contributing to the Register’s pages and from subscribing — but go ahead and not offer a voice to more than a half-million “leftists” in OC that get the LA Times and NY Times daily.
The notion that all the shootings in Chicago were somehow a result of liberal or progressive policy is completely incorrect. Gun violence is predominantly a big problem in Red States, as this week’s shooing in South Carolina so clearly illustrates.
According to a report from 24/7 Wall Street, issued a little more than a week ago, gun violence per 100,000 residents in a far bigger problem in red states than blue ones. From the story:
More than two-thirds of all homicides in the United States are gun-related. Of the 16,121 homicides reported in 2013, 11,208 were caused by gun violence. Including suicides, nearly 34,000 people died in gun-related incidents in 2013, up 13.8% from 10 years earlier.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps track of the number of gun-related deaths in each state. Fatalities include homicides, suicides, and accidents. The frequency of firearm-related deaths varies considerably across the country. In Hawaii, the state with the fewest gun-related fatalities, there were just 2.6 firearm-associated deaths per 100,000 people. In Alaska, on the other hand, there were nearly 20 gun-related deaths per 100,000 residents, the most of any state. 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 states with the highest gun-related deaths.
Suicide is the leading cause of gun-related deaths across the country in recent years. Of the 33,636 firearm deaths in 2013, more than 21,000 were suicides. In fact, suicide accounted for more than half of gun-related deaths in all but one state with the most gun violence. In three states — Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming — suicide accounted for more than 80% of all firearm deaths.
The top ten worst states for gun violence with shooting deaths per 100,000 residents are:
10. Tennesee (a Red State) with 15.4 per 100,000)
9. New Mexico (a Blue State) with 15.4 per 100,000)
8. Oklahoma (a Red State with 16.5 per 100,000)
7. Wyoming (a Red State with 16.5 per 100,000)
6. Arkansas (a Red State with 16.7 per 100,000)
5. Montana (a Red State with 16.8 per 100,000)
4. Alabama (a Red State with 17.5 per 100,000)
3. Mississippi (a Red State with 17.7 per 100,000)
2. Louisiana (a Red State with 19.1 per 100,000)
and #1 is Alaska (a Red State) with 19.6 per 100,000.
Illinois, New York, Chicago, and Massachusetts — all reliability Blue states for years — don’t show up. In fairness, neither does South Carolina, Missouri or Texas.
But perhaps what the Register is trying to tell us but using a sign riddled with bullets is that America does indeed have a serious gun problem and its time to take harder line on assault weapons and guns that only hve one purpose — to kill people. Increasingly, as ammosexuals flaunt open carry laws and are armed to the teeth upon entering grocery stores, shopping malls and even school grounds, its very hard to tell apart a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun.
Coverage of the South Carolina shooting from Fox News and right wing blogs are nothing short of digusting.
But the gun problem isn’t a problem in Chicago or in Progressive States as it us many of those who live in Red states.
And there’s your balance to last Saturday’s taunting.