BREAKING: Idaho Newspaper Trashes NRA, Has Not Yet Been Burned To Ground

Image fromLarry Brown Sports

Just thought you Wonkers should know that not everybody in Idaho is a raving open-carry gun-fondler, although that does tend to be the prevailing political view in the Gem State. Consider, for instance, this editorial from Sunday's Twin Falls Times-News, in which the editorial board takes the National Rifle Association to task for its opposition to even the slightest hint of regulation of guns. [contextly_sidebar id="1Y7RXtHw5l9zKqeSY8oc0XGlJBf8bOe7"]

The editorial ran following the death of Veronica Rutledge in northern Idaho the day after Christmas, when her two-year-old reached into her purse, found a loaded pistol (for which Rutledge had a concealed-carry license), and pulled the trigger, shooting his mother dead in the aisle of a Walmart where the family was shopping. The purse, designed to carry a handgun securely, had been a Christmas gift to Rutledge, whose father-in-law explained that the gun really truly was secure because the gun compartment zippered closed, but somehow the two-year-old managed to unzip it. Mr. Rutledge is very angry indeed at gun-control extremists who somehow think that maybe his daughter-in-law's death has any larger implications for gun laws:

They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” he said. “… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.”

So there's your context: Veronica Rutledge wasn't irresponsible, and her gun was very securely secured by a zipper, and this tragedy has no wider meaning. And yet the Times-News seems to think maybe it does:

The NRA, once committed to gun safety and education, is now the political equivalent of an English football hooligan. Disagree and get bludgeoned. All the while, the tragedies continue to mount. As gun people, we plead with the shooting community to demand more from society’s primary pro-gun advocates.

The NRA says guns aren’t the problem; a broken mental health system is to blame. But neither Rutledge, a chemical engineer, nor the 14-year-old who killed his friend in Burley [while "cleaning" a shotgun -- Dok Z] were insane.

The editorial picks apart a number of gun-rights shibboleths -- Cars are deadly too! You could kill someone with a chair! My cold dead hands! -- and goes on to call for truly universal background checks and for reasonable regulation of arms, like Idaho's existing requirement that applicants for a concealed weapons permit pass eight hours of training and a background check. The editorial excoriates the NRA for treating every attempt to have a reasonable discussion of guns and violence as if it were a call for an all-out ban on private weapons:

Data on gun violence in America is hazy at best. The NRA beats back any attempt to meaningfully measure the impact on society of a weapon intended for one purpose. The dearth of information is laughable. Imagine if deaths caused by car accidents went unreported simply because Detroit thought it would hurt the bottom line. Colt and Remington should be held to the same standard.

Wild, radical stuff for an Idaho paper!

Just to make sure the place was still standing, we gave a call to Jon Alexander, opinion editor of the Times-News, who said that the paper hadn't received any threats (what's this? Are gun loons losing their edge?) and that the reaction has been the usual mixed bag of angry emails, complaints that the paper doesn't reflect the opinions of the community (which are, of course, the opinions of the person complaining), and the occasional threat to cancel a subscription or never patronize the paper's advertisers again.

The biggest surprise, Alexander said, was the number of people who said the editorial was on target, including some comments from gun owners. He has a concealed carry permit himself, he said, and the editorial board's goal isn't to confiscate firearms (suuuuure it isn't), but to start a conversation about the NRA's role in stifling any meaningful discussion of guns. Imagine that! But honestly, Twin Falls, not one measly death threat? Idaho's getting soft.

And on that point, it's probably worth calling attention to a PBS Frontline program scheduled for Tuesday (check yr local listings), "Gunned Down: the Power of the NRA." Did PBS make an advance copy available for screening by Yr Wonkette? It did not! But we'll go ahead and watch it anyway, because we are just suckers for the dulcet voice of Frontline voiceover guy Will Lyman, who really is the only person who should ever narrate documentaries ever. Oh, and we're betting the reporting will be pretty good, too.

In the meantime, right here in southern Idaho, a local paper has managed to say unkind things about the NRA without being subjected to a wholesale revolt by its readership. [contextly_sidebar id="xU7cwyKjMw7ZIayHFmcBoRRtmdh2reep"]Not that this will make any difference in the state legislature, where the NRA generally gets exactly what it wants, including passage of last year's law allowing concealed weapons on college campuses. That one was a huge success, and everyone feels so much safer now. Let's just not dwell too much on the professor who, two months after the law went into effect, shot himself in the foot during class.

[Twin Falls Times-News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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