Karl Rove was a “distinguished” guest on ABC This Week With George Stephanopoulos where the one of the opening talking points became a shortened discussion on gun control, gun rights, gun registration and of course the words “Sandy Hook” came up. There was a minute or less of agreement, or even an opening of a political middle-way, until the hack Rove decided to get high and mighty and walk backwards towards his party line.
The agreement was about background checks – Terry Moran (from ABC’s Nightline) and Rove seemed to agree, with 92% of Americans, that the idea of background checks were sound and should be implemented as much as possible, even closing the famed “gun show loophole” by making entrants to gun shows pass a background check upon arrival;
ROVE: There could be a lot of mutual agreement found on closing some of these so-called gun show loopholes. We could probably get agreement on a — a widespread basis of people saying, look you go to a gun show, you walk in, you get — you — you pass a check. You give — you get your little stub that allows you to purchase a weapon, and that’s it.
Of course, this goodwill and agreement didn’t go on too long because Moran, Messina and Rove started to argue over paranoia and which side is scaring who, and who we should be more afraid of – government lists of gun owners or actual gun owners. I’m sure you can guess who said what, though it was funny to hear the exchange;
ROVE: Let — let’s be clear about this, this was prompted by the Sandy Hook murders. Those guns were legally purchased with a background check. This would not have solved something like that. Let’s be very careful about quickly trampling on the rights of people who — and look, you want to get something done? Then stop scaring people. Don’t say we’re going to keep a registry of all of these guns, and…
Rove’s point, registries scare people. Why? Because Hitler. It’s always Hitler, if you’ve ever heard this argument, you know it. Hitler made people register guns and that allowed him to kill all those innocent Jews. Of course. But of course, this isn’t really true – at all (PDF).
The argument over gun registration between Rove and Moran continues as thus;
MORAN: Stop scaring people? You’re scaring people with this Orwellian sense that black helicopters and the government, if we register guns, they’re going to confiscate Americans guns. That kind of paranoia fuels…
ROVE: With all due respect, it is not paranoia.
MORAN: Who is going to confiscate all of the guns in America? [I wish this was addressed, it wasn't]
ROVE: People have a fear of this. Why do it? Why do you need it?
MORAN: Lots of things are registered in the United States of America
Okay, it’s pretty boring stuff you’ve probably read all your Facebook friends fight about since Sandy Hook or the last time a bunch of innocent people were killed so senselessly. Rove thinks as soon as Obama knows who has guns he’ll turn into Hitler and you’ll be forced to be a Muslim slave or something. Moran wants to make the point, we’ll assume, that gun registries are not as dangerous as Rove makes them out to be and taking guns away from less than half the population isn’t as easy as he makes it out to be, and etc.
Honestly, I don’t care that much about this gun debate because both sides are really silly about it, and a lot of what happens here on both sides is total paranoia and they are both unstable (though I think Rove’s side is a ton more unstable in regards to being the people who actually don tin-foil hats).
Where I lost my shit though is lost in the crosstalk and arguing and isn’t in the rush transcript I used to pull the above quotes from. You’d have to watch the show or subscribe to their podcast (RSS) and hear it for yourself (direct link to episode, MP3).
Terry Moran says that lots of things are registered in this country to which Rove gets snippy and responds with;
ROVE: Do we register books, do we register other things that are constitutionally protected?
I. Fucking. Lost. It.
Well, yeah, we kinda do Rove, you dumb prick.
Let’s talk about the Patriot Act. It requires libraries to suddenly keep track of books borrowed – so they can turn this information over to investigators – not after you’ve committed a crime – but so they can find you first. The FBI or other outfits can ask the library who is borrowing what so they can mine that list for people who they deem “unsafe” or a “threat”. You read a book about Islam, it mentioned the phrase “Jihad” (struggle), then you might be a terrorist so we should check you out. I’ll be clear and say we aren’t supposed to be using this to violate First Amendment rights, but because the request for library records is covered under a gag order, no one knows who has asked for what on whom, and of course you can’t challenge the Constitutional nature of the law and the requests for information by law enforcement.
“Trust Us” is the motto of the Patriot Act in this regard.
The USA PATRIOT Act amended over 15 federal statutes [snip]. These amendments expanded the authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement to gain access to business records, medical records, educational records and library records, including stored electronic data and communications. [snip]These enhanced surveillance procedures pose the greatest challenge to privacy and confidentiality in the library.
“The American Library Association (ALA) opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry…ALA considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT ACT are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.”
So what’s the distinction? The government doesn’t keep records on who is reading what – that’s not like the gun registry idea. The libraries keep track, because the law forces them to, and the government can demand the (de facto) registry and the librarians can’t tell anyone about it. The ALA and their lawyers seem to agree, the Patriot Act, in this case, is an affront to the Constitution. Remember that book on Islam you got from the library? The religion that’s covered under the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment? And the book itself, also covered? Well, “we” know about it. And you are busted, come with us.
Rove is opposed to gun registration because the Constitution says you can own guns (and doesn’t mention registries). Fine, then fight to also repeal the Patriot Act that your former boss signed into law. Books are protected too – but you don’t mind if the government is in the business of knowing who reads what?
The reason I lost my shit – other than comparing books to guns – is that Rove fully knows we force libraries (and others) into keeping records on their users/customers for this same exact purpose. And we used 9/11 to scare people into buying this bull – but a school of dead kids isn’t enough to do a better job of looking at where the guns are moving among the citizens?
We don’t register books? Bull. We do, it’s just a secret.
Now ask yourself how many mass shootings has there been in the United States since Columbine. And how many terrorist attacks on the United States since 9/11. Either the FBI is using that book registry data to thwart terrorism, or one is not worth the freedoms you sacrificed to prevent while the other real harm to innocent people will make too many tin-foil hat wearing voters upset come the next election.