Columnist compares U.S. guns to Putin

Gun control activists are desperate to find some way to use Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to bolster their attacks on our Second Amendment rights, but Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham’s latest column is a bizarre new low. Her contribution to the gun control debate? The media should start showing more dead bodies, because that will convince politicians to take action, just as they’ve done since the images of slain Ukrainians and dead Russian soldiers have started appearing on our social media feeds.


Disclaimers about graphic or disturbing content are standard, but many Ukrainians have been adamant — they do not want journalists to shield what Putin’s war is inflicting on their sovereign nation and its residents.

“We know the enemy. In the end, the world must see and hear this,” a Ukrainian soldier told a CNN reporter after he was injured when his barracks were struck by a Russian missile. “I don’t know. How many deaths will it take for everyone to see?”

In his lament, I heard the echo of so many in this nation tired of relentless gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do anything about it. Would their collective hand finally be forced to action if the media were flooded with graphic images of the toll of America’s addiction to guns?

Here’s the first problem with Graham’s argument: that Ukrainian soldier isn’t blaming the deaths of his countrymen on arms makers or equipment used by the invading Russian army. He’s blaming the individual responsible for sending Russian troops across the border in an attempt to turn Ukraine into a vassal state of a reconstituted Russian empire.

Graham, on the other hand, never once mentions the people who are perpetrating violent crime in Boston or any other American city. Her focus is entirely and exclusively on guns.


Perhaps what was needed after Sandy Hook was graphic evidence of America’s murderous firearms folly. Every lawmaker who literally closed their office door to avoid meeting with Sandy Hook parents in 2013 should have had to view crime scene photos of those children, their principal, and their teachers. That is what legislators, with their useless supply of thoughts and prayers, should have to witness before defending their decisions to do absolutely nothing.

Well, not nothing. Several states are currently trying to pass laws that would allow citizens to legally carry concealed guns in public without a permit. Though the Supreme Court is currently discussing a concealed carry case brought by the NRA and two individuals challenging a New York gun law, the state bills aren’t receiving attention commensurate with their frightening implications. And silence only benefits perpetrators.

This is grotesque on a couple of different levels. I personally know people who lost family members in the cowardly attack on the Connecticut elementary school, and whose children were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; parents and siblings who have felt pain and heartache that none of us could ever know, even by looking at crime scene photos, but who haven not embraced Graham’s calls for more gun control as a result.


Do these individuals care less than Graham does about “gun violence”? Of course not. They simply don’t buy into the lie that gun control will save us or make us any safer, but in Graham’s world these people are actually “perpetrators” of violence because they’re not demanding or supportive of more gun laws aimed at legal gun owners. She’s willing to dehumanize and depersonalize all those who disagree with her stance on gun control, even as she advocates using pictures of their murdered children to advance her anti-gun agenda.

As I said; grotesque. And honestly, I think Graham is well aware of what she’s doing, especially when she continually compares inanimate objects like firearms to a guy like Vladimir Putin.

Every image of broken bodies or faces smeared with blood and tears is an indictment of the Russian president’s barbarism. If Ukrainians must endure this, then we can bear witness and push for action. We should do as much for Americans being sacrificed daily to feed this nation’s Second Amendment fix and say out loud what that wounded Ukrainian solider asked of the world: “How many deaths will it take for everyone to see?”

Nobody’s trying to save Ukraine by taking their guns away. Quite the opposite, in fact. No one is trying to stop Russian aggression by trying to ban tanks and bombs. And to be honest, Ukraine’s allies haven’t been able to actually stop the atrocities being committed by Russian forces, even with the images of dead and wounded children on our smartphones and computer screens, which makes Graham’s idea even more disturbingly awful.


If Graham actually meant what she said, she wouldn’t be directing her ire and outrage at guns, gun makers, or gun owners. She’d be demanding sanctions and consequences for those responsible for atrocities on American streets; the ones who are actually pulling the trigger.

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