WITH THE ACADEMY AWARDS BEHIND US, we now turn our attention to the SAP Awards, honoring the biggest Second Amendment Phony. And the nominees are:
"The West Wing." In a recent episode, President Josiah Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, pronounced the Second Amendment "stupid-ass." After all, he said to an aide, we have the police! (Apparently, "West Wing" writers don't know that the amendment exists to protect citizens against tyranny of government.)
California State Sen. Don Perata. In the wake of California's projected $17 million budget deficit, anti-gunner Sen. Perata proposes a tax on bullets. Perata intends to use the money to support medical trauma centers. "Bullets cause injuries that are expensive to treat," offered Perata, "and generally speaking, the public is footing the bill." Perata applied for and received a permit to carry a concealed weapon and justified his request by noting, "My public policy efforts to seek rational regulation of firearms have engendered the enmity of some individuals who have made overt threats on my life and the well-being of my family." What about the "enmity" one encounters living in a high-crime, inner-city neighborhood?
Sharon Stone. In May 1999, actress Sharon Stone stated she intended to turn in her firearms. "I urge you to trust and believe in your local law enforcement officers," said Stone, "and to trust and believe in the courage of following your heart and surrendering your fear and anger." Yet, according to Movieline magazine, Stone used a gun to threaten a trespasser. "As (the gate) swung open," said Stone, "I pumped my shotgun and said, 'I'm gonna blow your ass all over the street.' And I heard him land when he jumped and his footsteps running off."
Geraldo Rivera. On May 3, 1999, on CNBC, Rivera announced his support for gun control. "How much longer," Rivera said, "are we gonna be wrapping in the flag of patriotism to justify 250 million guns out there?" Yet when Fox Cable sent Rivera to cover the Afghan war, he and his brother packed heat. A contradiction? Rivera explained, "We refuse to be crime victims. We're not the victim types. If they're going to get us, it's going to be in a gunfight. It's not going to be a murder. It's not going to be a crime. It's going to be a gunfight."
Michael Bellesiles, author, "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture." Bellesiles argued that, contrary to popular belief, few early Americans owned guns. Argued Bellesiles, so much for the alleged gun culture that Second Amendment supporters claim helped found America. Assuming people included guns in their wills, Bellesiles looked at probate records of early Americans, which presumably give us an idea as to the extent of gun ownership. But several people raised questions about the accuracy of Bellesiles' data, some of which turned out to be nonexistent. Emory University, Bellesiles' employer, said the criticisms constituted "prima facie evidence of scholarly misconduct."
The red-faced New York Times revised its earlier enthusiastic review of "Arming America" and said, "Over the past year a number of scholars who have examined his sources say he has seriously misused historical records and possibly fabricated them. They say the outcome, when all the evidence is in, could be one of the worst academic scandals in years." Ouch.
NRA President Charlton Heston's liberal friends. In 1992, Los Angeles burned after the first Rodney King verdict. In his book "The Courage To Be Free," Heston said that his anti-gun liberal friends called and wanted to borrow a gun and get lessons on how to shoot it. "I could teach you," said Heston, "but not in an hour."
Rosie O'Donnell, comedian, anti-gun activist and co-organizer of the Million Mom March. In her ambush interview of Second Amendment supporter Tom Selleck, O'Donnell said, "You can't say 'I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA represents' if you're doing an ad for the NRA. You can't say that." Yet O'Donnell hired a bodyguard to accompany her son to his private school. Oh, and the bodyguard applied to the State of Connecticut for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Sarah Brady, anti-gun activist and former head of Handgun Control, Inc. Brady urged Americans to rid guns from their homes. "We must stop equating guns with protection," Brady once said, "because more evidence shows that guns increase the risk of violence, not decrease it...[The] gun lobby continues to peddle the notion that more guns will make us safer." Yet in her new biography, "A Good Fight," Brady admits that she purchased a Remington .30-06 rifle for her 18-year-old son. "I can't describe how I felt when I picked up that rifle," said Brady, "loaded it into my little car and drove home. It seems so incredibly strange: Sarah Brady, of all people, packing heat."
The envelope, please.