Friday, January 18, 2013

Gun owners...the new drunk drivers

It occurs to me that the campaign against American gun owners can be compared to the campaign against drunk driving of the early 1980s. I came to this realization during an e-mail exchange I was having with a group of co-workers on the whole gun control debate, and the more I think about it, the more apt I think the comparison is. I'll just paste below a portion of an e-mail I sent on that thread:

...The larger point is that if the gun control lobby’s goal is, truly, to place “reasonable” limits on private ownership of firearms, they’ll have to do so with a Constitutional amendment. As things stand now, they get to hop in front of the TV cameras whenever something horrifying like Sandy Hook goes down, gnash their teeth and rend their garments…and let the donations pour in. But if they got their way, they’d have two choices: Cease operations and hit the unemployment line or…push for even MORE restrictions.

Take a look at MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). I’m old enough to remember when they came into being. Before MADD, getting popped for drunk driving generally meant having the cops take your car keys and getting tossed into the drunk tank until you sobered up. It was only if you actually damaged property or injured or killed someone as a result of drunk driving that there were any real consequences. Then MADD was founded by a lady after (IIRC) her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. This lady was tireless in her efforts to make drunk driving a national issue, and she succeeded. Pretty soon, every state had laws on their books limiting blood alcohol content to .10. Victory! This lady could now get on with her life, right? Not so fast there, Skippy. MADD eventually decided that .10 was too high, and pushed for levels of .08 as a standard. Once again, MADD got their way, and now just about every state sets the legal limit at .08. Along the way, the penalties have gotten more and more severe, we have roadblocks set up specifically for the purpose of finding tipsy drivers, and there’s talk about lowering the BAC limit to .04.

It. Never. Ends.

Note: At the time of writing that e-mail I excerpted here I was writing off the top of my head, so some clarification is in order. First, it's Mothers Against Drunk DrivING, not DrivERS as I originally wrote. Second, it was, indeed, the mother's daughter who was killed by a drunk driver. The woman who founded MADD is Candace Lightner, and she left the group after five years because they didn't know when to quit.