Mindless in Milwaukee II

The civilian disarmament advocates at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel were busy yesterday–first (anti-gun new Glock owner) Barbara Miner’s editorial (thanks for the link, David), and on the same day, this ostensibly “news” story by Eugene Kane, titled, with laudable journalistic objectivity, “Argument against gun bill tired, off target” (that was a bit of sarcasm on my part, Eugene, in case you missed it).

I’ve kept in touch with Fifer over the years since her son was killed with two companions outside a tavern by a shooter with an illegal gun. During that time she launched an ambitious campaign to restrict the easy access to guns in the central city of Milwaukee by toughening existing laws.

It’s been an uphill battle, mainly because Fifer has found it hard to wean some people off their personal love affair with guns.

Oddly enough, I never hear First Amendment rights advocates referred to as “having a love affair with” printing presses, from which they need to be “weaned.” Could it be that advocacy of any part of the Bill of Rights is the manifestation of a “love affair with” freedom?

The legislation Fifer is currently advocating is Wisconsin Senate Bill 104, which would require background checks for all firearms transfers in the state (as introduced, the bill would only have applied to Milwaukee County, but an attempt is underway to amend it to apply statewide).

It’s usually hard to deny a grieving mother – let alone three – but some people have resisted the bill out of concern for their Second Amendment rights.

Yeah–we’re kind of funny that way–that weird preoccupation we have with rights, again.

In Fifer’s mind, the bill will be an effective way of cutting down the number of handguns passed around in not-so-legitimate “gray” markets, including gun shows where dealers have long skirted the letter of the law.

And by what authority do you claim that gun shows are “not-so-legitimate,” and that dealers at gun shows have “long skirted the letter of the law”?

Fifer called to remind me of a public hearing last week on the bill on the north side of Milwaukee. She was worried the public had not been adequately informed about the state Senate Committee on Urban Affairs hearing.

And she was equally concerned that members of the NRA would show up in force.

“We need people to turn out,” she told me.

Well, which is it? If you “need people to turn out,” presumably members of the NRA showing up in force would constitute people turning out, would it not? Or did you mean you wanted your people to turn out? Early in the article, Kane referred to Fifer as “a grass-roots activist.” While gun rights organizations are generally referred to (in dark, menacing tones) as “the gun lobby,” when a public hearing about an issue is called, it’s the people who care about gun rights who are the ones to show up in large numbers. Which side, then, can be more accurately characterized by the term “grassroots,” again?

The hearing was last Tuesday afternoon; by the time I arrived it was a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people. Just as Fifer suspected, the majority of the people who arrived early to take seats in the cramped meeting room weren’t central city residents plagued by handgun violence.

This was a mainly white crowd of NRA supporters or sympathizers, which wasn’t exactly what bill supporters had hoped for when they persuaded state Sen. G. Spencer Coggs to hold a hearing on the north side of Milwaukee.

White and NRA? The double whammy of malignancy. In fact, I’d wager that many were white, male, NRA supporters–the veritable triple crown of evil.

“We were outnumbered,” Fifer said afterward. “I was disappointed.”

Well see, that’s the problem with representative governments–they tend to . . . represent the people who get involved and who actually participate in the legislative process. That can cause a troubling tendency for the civic-minded types to have a disproportionate influence on the legislation passed–get enough of that going on, and you could (gasp!) actually find yourself in a society in which the Constitution is treated with reverence. But don’t worry–it doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

Fifer had a possible explanation for the low turnout on the civilian disarmament side.

Ironically, the hearing fell on the same day the city’s African-American community was buzzing with news about the recent arrest of Ald. Mike McGee. Fifer said that last-minute distraction might have accounted for the poor turnout from the central city. She had only good things to say about McGee, who she said had supported her efforts to pass a local resolution on gun control in Milwaukee.

“Yes, he’s been one of our supporters.”

It seems that Alderman McGee, “one of their supporters,” is suspected of extortion, corruption, and plotting a severe beating (originally a murder plot).

Those anti-gun folks certainly are an admirable bunch, aren’t they?

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One Response to “Mindless in Milwaukee II”

  1. hairy hobbit Says:

    Why is it that the descendents (perhaps) of slaves, especially those still stuck on the government’s plantation (aka the inner city- complete with the same benefits that slaves were furnished with, just enough to eat, a roof over your head, beatings if the master thinks you’ve done wrong)are the same people begging to be disarmed and to rely on the master’s whims?

    Folks, YOU were given freedom. The killing and problems with inner city culture come from within yourselves, NOT from anything else. Period. End of story.

    Freedom means YOU are responsible for yourself, your own actions, and your own safety. The government takes money from all of us to provide education to all students who bother to go and participate.

    You really need to figure out just what the hell you want. Damn, Americans in general need to get their shit straight and figure it out. Do you want freedom or do you want a just master who guarantees nothing?

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