Monday, January 11, 2016

Executive Cartoonist Overreach

I deeply admire political cartoons. Those one-panel illustrations that miraculously convey in a single drawing an opinion about complex and many-layered issues. 

Their well-chosen imagery frequently lingers far-longer than even the most well-written editorial.

A recent example would be a Michael Ramirez cartoon for Investor's Business Daily—but not for the reasons he intended.

In Ramirez's cartoon, a caricature of President Obama stands before an enormous, bullet-riddled copy of the Constitution, gazing at its remains as he holds a smoking gun. (I will admit its wildly overheated and twisted symbolism took a minute to sink in.)

Pandering to the knee-jerk anxiety of the gun crowd, Ramirez's cartoon conveys a seething, smoldering outrage at the mere thought of a president even considering highly-specific gun legislation aimed at a very small portion of the gun-buying public.

I could've sworn the Constitution had more than one amendment. Perhaps I need to revisit civics class.

Let's be clear: the gun lobby has one simple and well-defined strategy: No compromise. Ever. It's their way or no way.

The gun lobby is a cloistered, monotheistic sect, with the gun as Lord. It couldn't be more-evident that thou shalt have no other god before theirs. This is a religious war, where any outcome other than the complete fulfillment of their short-sighted agenda is a shameful and humiliating failure.

To wit, a mid-level member was drummed out of the NRA merely for suggesting several years ago that the best long-term strategy going forward might be occasional compromise.

Through no fault of the NRA's, this individual is reportedly still alive today.

The gun lobby has repeatedly blocked the implementation of smart gun technology, which would allow a gun to fire only when a recognized user was attempting to use it.

They have repeatedly blocked common sense legislation which would seek to ban assault weapons, or bar people on our nation's No-Fly lists from purchasing guns and ammunition.

Most damningly, they are responsible for making gun manufacturers the sole business entity in the United States of America which enjoys absolute immunity from any damages wrought by its products.

Think about that.

And yet the gun lobby is screaming that by attempting to narrow—not close—a loophole which allows anyone to buy or sell a firearm at a gun show free from any licensing requirements or background checks whatsoever, Barack Obama is destroying the Constitution.

Now would be a good time to remind ourselves that per Ramirez's cartoon, the second amendment is the Constitution, which tells you all you need to know about the gun crowd.  

Perhaps their myopia is the result of too many years spent squinting though gun sights. 

Just a thought. 

Sadly, the truth is that our would-be John Waynes, Chuck Norrises and Vin Diesels will remain free to play with their gun-penises for another day, while the rest of us are free to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in between lock-downs and calls to 911 and from behind a police barricade.

Michael Ramirez's cartoon is the canary in the gun control coal mine which confirms how very far those of us who truly value life have yet to travel.

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