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Guns n' Rosie By: Chris Weinkopf
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 05, 2000

YOU COULD DO WORSE than to start a family in Greenwich, Connecticut. It's a town where houses often cost more than $1 million, where no teen is without his own SUV, and where school violence is generally limited to the lacrosse field. All in all, it's a pretty safe place to raise a child. That's why TV talk queen and gun-control crusader Rosie O'Donnell moved there shortly after becoming a mom.

Greenwich is no doubt all the safer when you have a full-time bodyguard who is trained in the art of self-defense, as do Mother O'Donnell and her three children. Yet even in this secure setting, the agent assigned to protect Ms. O'Donnell's four-year-old son, Parker, feels the need to pack heat. He has applied to the town's police department for a permit to carry a concealed weapon -- a right that Rosie O'Donnell would deny to ordinary Americans.

The day before she emceed the Million Mom March in Washington, Rosie took her gun-control message to the national airwaves on ABC's This Week. There, interviewer Cokie Roberts noted that "there is some evidence" that right-to-carry gun laws, by arming potential victims, actually reduce crime. What, Cokie asked, does Ms. O'Donnell think of such laws?

"Of course I'm against them," Rosie answered, because they "do more harm than good."

That is to say, carrying weapons for self-defense does more harm than good for average folks who lack the luxury of armed bodyguards. For the security detail that protects her family, it's a great idea.

Rosie rejects charges of hypocrisy, claiming that her situation is special, as she has received threats since becoming an advocate for stricter gun control. She does whatever she can, regardless of politics, to protect her son -- that makes her a good mom. But other moms, those who don't live in communities like Greenwich, or walk around with personal bodyguards, face their own set of dangers. They need to worry about rape, carjacking, and armed robbery -- crimes that generally do not afflict the well-guarded celebrity set.

Nor, for that matter, do such mundane forms of terror tend to affect fellow gun-control fans Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both of whom are surrounded at all times by a phalanx of machine-gun-toting Secret Service agents. It's easy to oppose the right to self defense when someone else is paid to exercise it for you.

Rosie, of course, sees it differently. "I want to take the gun away from the bad guy," she insists. But bad guys generally regard laws against gun possession no more seriously than they regard laws prohibiting theft and murder. It is the good guys who obey the law, and the good guys who are disarmed and made defenseless by the sorts of restrictions on gun ownership that Rosie promotes.

It is the good guys who endure waiting periods, pay the fees involved with registering guns, and fuss with trigger locks when burglars break into their homes. It is the good guys who apply for concealed-weapons permits. The bad guys don't let little things like illegality stand in their way.

After news broke that Ms. O'Donnell's bodyguard applied for a gun-carrying permit, other parents worried that he would bring the firearm to the boy's school. That didn't reflect too well on Rosie, who had decreed on TV that "my son and daughter should be able to go to school without the threat of your child bringing a gun that you left in your house." So, in an effort to assuage fellow parents' concerns, she assured them that the agent would be going to her son's kindergarten without his weapon.

But she would soon regret that pronouncement. According to the Greenwich Time, Ms. O'Donnell worried that "publicity about her son's attendance at a local school -- coupled with the information that the guard would be unarmed -- could make him vulnerable to harm." It was as if, for just a moment, she understood the futility of gun control. Announcing to the world that her son was defenseless put him in danger, just as gun-control laws endanger the lives of millions of Americans by telling "bad guys" that they need not worry about confronting potentially armed victims.

Not that Rosie's brief encounter with reality did much to alter her ideology. She's still in Greenwich, and her son still has a bodyguard who, for most of the day anyway, will be able to carry a firearm. It's still safe for her to support gun control -- which makes life a little less safe for the rest of us.

Chris Weinkopf is an editorial writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News. To read his weekly Daily News column, click here. E-mail him at chris.weinkopf@dailynews.com.

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