If there's one thing Brady Campaign president Dan Gross learned from the days when he worked for an ad agency, it's that you have to tailor your message to your audience. So when Gross was writing his most recent commentary for the America-bashing Huffington Post website, it was only natural that he would try to stir up support for gun control by speaking in terms America-bashers were sure to understand.
So, on Thursday, two days after four Americans--Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods--were murdered by America-haters in Libya, Gross said that those of us who think that America is the greatest nation on Earth should prove it--by imposing more gun control.
Realizing that England--or, for that matter, probably any other country--is more popular than the United States among Huffington Post readers, Gross praised Great Britain for banning virtually all handguns in the 1990s, while criticizing "America's response" for having been "the polar opposite."
Whether America's response has been the "opposite" depends upon what you are measuring, of course. On the one hand, it's a fact that while Britain was banning semi-automatic rifles, then center-fire handguns, then rimfire handguns, America was eliminating or favorably amending one federal, state and local gun control law after another. And while guns were being turned in to the police in Great Britain, gun purchases were soaring in the United States.
On the other hand, American and British crime trends have not been "opposite" at all. While crime has decreased in Great Britain, it has decreased here as well. For example, in the next few days the FBI is expected to release its crime report for 2011 which, in conjunction with earlier reports, will likely show that our nation's murder rate has fallen to nearly an all-time low, down by more than half since 1991.
Since President Barack Obama took office, the Brady Campaign, the Violence Policy Center, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence have written over 300 commentaries for the Huffington Post, while having only several published by the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times combined.
That suggests that anti-gun groups have largely given up trying to sell their ideas to mainstream Americans, sensing that gun control now appeals only to those on the fringe. However, the Huffington Post is the most popular political commentary website according to some measures, so its influence should not be underestimated. Certainly not in an election year when polls show that Gov. Mitt Romney--currently being attacked by the pro-Obama media because he correctly pointed out that on Sept. 11, our embassy in Cairo condemned a controversial movie, when it should have condemned the people who attacked our embassy--is still running neck and neck with the candidate most Huffington readers surely prefer.
Let's all vote on Election Day and really give the Huffington gaggle something to complain about.