Over at Gun Nuts Media, Caleb Giddings is taking exception to the long-held theory among gun control opponents that being unable to remove oneself from the path of a ballistic projectile somehow makes one an authority on firearms, law, and natural rights.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for the guts and toughness it must take to overcome being shot in the brain and moving on with your life. However, in her advocacy for more gun control, Mrs. Giffords has placed herself on a pedestal above criticism simply because she was a victim of a mass shooting. This attitude of saintly victims is nothing new to the gun control community – Colin Goddard, a victim of the VA Tech shooting was for a time a leading mouthpiece for the now floundering Brady Campaign.
Mrs. Giffords’ status as a victim is central to her support of gun control. Even when not mentioned directly, which is done frequently, it exists behind everything she says. That subtle pressure that her opinions are beyond reproach because she’s been shot by a mass shooter so she must be knowledgeable, she must be an authority. Because it’s a very emotional argument, we frequently let it slide; because of her protected status as a sainted victim of violence, we don’t call out her argument for what it is: emotion based nonsense.
If you remove what she’s saying from the gun debate, it becomes this: “I was t-boned by a drunk driver, thus I am expert on drunk driving.” Well, the truth is that you’re probably not. What you are is motivated to curb drunk driving, because it hurt you. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible for someone who was a victim of a mass shooting (or drunk driving) to become a legitimate expert on that topic. Anyone can learn, and anyone can become educated.
Asserting that someone has authority of firearms issues because they got shot is roughly analogous to claiming that since the grossly obese can’t dodge spoons, they’re experts on nutrition. It’s an asinine argument.
Being a victim does not make you an expert. Being related to a victim does not make you an expert. More times than not, it seems that it just makes you impassioned in your ignorance.
Soon-to-be-retired Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy built her entire political career on the fact that her husband and son were shot by a deranged racist, and thought she spent her entire career attempting to ban guns as a result, McCarthy will always be remembered not for her advocacy, but for her abject ignorance of the very subject that brought her to power.
Like Caleb and every other supporter of the Second Amendment that I know, we hope that the victims of all forms of violence can make full physical and psychological recoveries from their ordeals. At the same time, we’re cognizant of the fact that going through such trauma only gives them experience with trauma; it does not impart special wisdom.