- Henry Rollins
The point that a commenter on my blog was trying to make was a good one. Since “gun suicides make up about 60% of all gun death[s] in the USA” he felt that there should be more of a focus on suicide prevention. In his opinion this would be more effective than more legislation focusing on gun control. Unfortunately, he derailed what could have been a very interesting conversation with one of his next statements.
“When has the Brady Group or any of the other groups demanded more mental health for white men? NEVER, which is curious if they truly want to mitigate gun violence in ALL its forms.” The first problem with this statement was the use of “never,” as this opens too many doors to proving the statement incorrect. More importantly, a search of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s web site shows that there are articles on both mental health and suicide prevention.
To the credit of the person who made the comment, he admitted that he “was wrong” when he was presented with the evidence. To me this act restored much of his credibility and suggests that his misstatement of facts was a mistake and not an attempt at deception. This line between the two is not always clear cut.
A rant on a different blog started with a defense of the Tea Party against claims that they are racist and drifted into an attempt to throw this charge at Liberal groups. Unfortunately, his premise was based on a misrepresentation of facts:
- “Arguably Tea Party organizations are much more inclusive than the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, La Raza or any of the left-leaning organizations that are devoted solely to the advancement of one group of people over another using skin color or ethnic origins as the basis for inclusion. To become a bonafide” participant or beneficiary of any of the aforementioned organizations you have to have black skin or be of Hispanic heritage. How is defining ANYONE’s membership in a political group based solely on their skin color or ethnic origins not the very definition of racism? Imagine the media reaction if an organization emerged tomorrow entitled ‘National Association for the Advancement of White People.’”
Part of the commentator's error is that he does not seem to understand that these groups are not attempting to raise one race or nationality above others but to try to raise their constituencies to a point of equality. “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” “Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and to address their legislative concerns...to ensure that everyone in the United States has an opportunity to achieve their version of the American Dream.” “The National Council of La Raza (NCLR)...works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.”
His next point drifts into the category of outright lie as only the Congressional Black Caucus does not admit white members. Tennessee Democrat Stephen I. Cohen applied for membership based on the fact that “more than 60 percent of the people in his Memphis-based congressional district are black,” but found that the group has an “unwritten rule” that it is “‘critical’ that the group remain ‘exclusively African-American.’” The other two organizations have no such restrictions. The application for the NAACP does not even include a field to specify your race. The NCLR’s website specifies “that throughout NCLR’s history, its staff have been represented by Americans from a wide spectrum of racial and ethnic groups - White, Black, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, and so on. We note further that NCLR’s bylaws, personnel policies, and institutional values contain explicit prohibitions against discrimination.” This kind of throws a monkey wrench into the allegations of racism.
In other cases any attempt at honesty is thrown to the wind and actual facts are deemed unnecessary. For example, Congressional candidate Mark Reed wrote a recent blog with the headline “Covered Calif sends ‘Dem’ Voter Cards!” and a red-lettered “Voter Fraud” graphic. In it, he retells a story from ABC10 in San Diego about a couple who received a “voter registration card from Covered California” in which “the box marked ‘Democratic Party’ was already checked on the form.” From this story he summarizes that programs that use government agencies to promote voter registration “seem like a formula for...voter fraud.”
First, I am not even sure how the described event even qualifies as voter fraud. Even if someone failed to realize that the party had been inappropriately checked, registering to a specific party does not automatically cast any votes for you. Second, in an article on Red State that was recommended by Reed, readers were cautioned that there was a possibility that this story was a hoax. “The name of the couple who got this letter has been withheld, so there’s no way to check their reliability; and it would be trivially easy” to mark the cards themselves. In the comments Reed was undeterred. The fact that fraud could have occurred is enough to demand voter ID laws. I wonder if he gave any thought to the fact that his triggering of the cow patty detector might lead people to draw the opposite conclusion.