(This story is updated here)
The seeming incapacity of San Francisco politicians to get their acts together, clean up the city, stop small businesses from fleeing, and, possibly, recognize the sanctity of individual rights has led to the metropolis being the butt of numerous jokes. But it hasn’t been funny for a long, long time, and now, it’s gotten even more serious.
As if taking cues from Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, the city Board of Supervisors just adopted a resolution to label the National Rifle Association a “domestic terror organization”.
Alexa Lardieri reports for US News that the board voted on Tuesday and the resolution now goes to the Mayor, collectivist London Breed, for her signature. And the claims of the supporting board members are so errant and so recursively revealing, this should be a major wake-up call for anyone interested in free speech, facts, and the right to keep and bear arms.
Here is much of the pertinent information:
The resolution states that the U.S. is 'plagued by an epidemic of gun violence,' with 36,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries by guns each year. The document accuses the gun rights group of using 'its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence.'
The Board is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Their use of the word “epidemic”, as I have discussed previously, is wrong. Even if gun violence were increasing dramatically (it’s not), the word “epidemic” originated with the Greeks. It stems from the roots “epi” and “demos”, or, “upon man”, and is supposed to be applied to naturally occurring maladies that are spread through communicable disease vectors, not voluntary actions taken by human beings. If Orwell’s “1984” suddenly became popular again, one wouldn’t say, “There’s an epidemic of Orwell’s novel,” because people are choosing to buy it. Likewise, the statistic the board uses to support its insulting “medical-sounding” rhetoric is as misleading as something Orwell’s main character, Winston Smith, might see in his fictional home of state-run “Airstrip One”.
Second, on the subject of “choice”, their 36,000 gun deaths stat is not broken down into homicides and suicides, and as Gun Owners of America, and even the Centers for Disease Control state, two-thirds of gun-related deaths are suicides.
Additionally, the association that the board implies, hinting, even asserting, that the NRA’s promotion of personal gun ownership is tied to an increase in gun homicides is belied by two major facts.
First, as any of the board members could have bothered to read, the presence of more guns in peacefully-minded people’s hands appears to be strongly correlated to decreases in violent crime, not increases in them. John Lott has done extensive research on this, and his results can be found in his book, “More Guns, Less Crime”. The Board members also could have taken a look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics, which show that during a time of skyrocketing gun purchases in the US, violent crime, including gun crime, decreased. The depiction that there is a vast increase in gun-related crime is erroneous. For nearly twenty years in the US, until a small increase in 2015, 2016, and 2017 – mostly attributable to underworld activity (i.e. gangs) in urban areas such as Chicago, where “gun control” is so wonderfully strong, we all know “illegal guns” must not exist.
And, of course, the CDC also found (and hid the study) that armed citizens are 3.6 times more likely to stop crimes than to engage in them. So how is an organization that helps promote more civilian gun ownership, ownership which statistically has been proven to stop crimes far more often than to be associated with the commission of them – how is that a “terrorist” organization?
The Board also offered this:
‘The National Rifle Association spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence… The leadership of the National Rifle Association promotes extremist positions in defiance of the views of a majority of its membership and the public and undermines the general welfare,’ it continues, adding that the NRA ‘through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism.’
Which is not only preposterous, it’s a gross insult to the right of free speech. If any group could be claimed to be “spreading propaganda that misinforms”, it seems pretty clear which group that is.
The import of this cannot be overestimated. It not only highlights the overly-broad federal definition of “terrorism” that can be used to stifle free speech, Lardieri offers this chilling final note:
By declaring the NRA a domestic terrorist organization, the resolution says that San Francisco is empowered to "take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships [city] vendors and contractors" have with the organization.
And that means that anyone contributing to the NRA could be termed a domestic terrorist.
Enough said. Welcome to Airstrip One, Winston Smith. San Francisco’s Ministry of Truth is here to take care of you and your errant ideas.