Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vigilantism on the Agenda

It is already mid-September and we have not seen a single jobs bill passed in the Wisconsin Legislature. Yet they rushed through irresponsible legislation enabling the concealed carrying of guns. In the legislature’s rush to arm the public they shot down most common sense amendments that sought to at least provide sensible limits. Now people can conceal and carry their firearms in places like city parks, the Milwaukee County Zoo and even in taverns and other places that serve alcohol.

The gun-obsessed lobby pushed concealed carry legislation in Wisconsin for years. Now we can all start packing heat but apparently it still is not good enough. Now a “castle doctrine” bill is getting some movement in the legislature. This legislation would allow people to use deadly force if someone breaks into their home or business. It would allow a person to use deadly force whether the intruder was armed or threatening or not.

If the Wisconsin legislature rushes through this new “castle doctrine” bill, what comes next? How far are they willing to go? Many members of our current legislature are clearly under the influence of groups like the National Rifle Association. In fact that powerful influence should perhaps worry us more than anything else. There has been real extremist rhetoric coming out of the leadership of that organization for quite a long time. How much of it will our legislators turn into Wisconsin policy?

Today a new website called Meet the NRA was launched by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. The site provides a plethora of information on the board members of the NRA. That information includes a disturbing amount of over-the-top vigilante rhetoric. One of the many examples listed includes the crazy rantings of NRA board member Ted Nugent. During Texas Governor Rick Perry’s 2007 inaugural ball Nugent declared, “Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em! To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead.”

Reasonable Wisconsinites should be concerned that each gun bill in our state legislature seems to be moving closer to the same “shoot ‘em” approach that is expressed in Nugent’s comments. Again, we should be asking exactly how far our lawmakers are willing to go in this dangerous direction? At what point does this become less about actual public safety and more about a base fascination with vigilantism?

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could not disagree with you more. If I don't have the right to defend myself and my family, I have nothing. I have a great respect for law enforcement, but there's a saying "When seconds count, cops are only minutes away" What's way scarier than responsible citizens carrying guns? Being unarmed when someone who wishes to do you or or your family harm. Not at a time of your choosing but when they choose and on whom they choose to inflict harm. I will be carrying everyday, if there's ever a situation where someone wishes to do me or my family harm I will be prepared to stop the threat and prevent them from harming others in the future. If one has to decide to protect their family knowing they could get sued for many millions of dollars it may make them hesitate having horrible consequences. If someone forcibly enters my residence, I assure you both my family and myself will be safe. Whether they are armed or not they are clearly showing intent of doing myself or my family great bodily harm or worse. I pray to God I never have to use my firearms in defense, I much rather just use them for sport and hunting...but if the situation arises, it is my duty as a husband, father and law abiding citizen to protect my loved ones at all costs.