[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Intermittent clouds
Intermittent clouds
68°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 21
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]


Out of Left Field | Commentary by Charlie Vignola
| Monday, Jan 21, 2013

charlievignolaIt has become increasingly clear to me that the NRA no longer stands for “National Rifle Association,” but rather for “Not Rational Americans.” If you’re even paying the slightest attention to the NRA’s behavior and the attitude of right-wing gun owners in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, you’ll know what I mean.

Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, holds a press conference where his best idea for dealing with school shootings is to arm teachers. Larry Ward, chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, said if slaves had been given the right to bear arms, then maybe slavery wouldn’t have happened.

You’d think these were headlines straight out of the satirical newspaper The Onion, but no, they were being dead serious.

There was an old “All in the Family” episode where Archie Bunker appeared on the local news to give his two cents on how to stop airplane hijackings. “All you gotta do,” suggested Archie, “is arm all the passengers.” By Archie’s logic, if everyone on the plane had a gun, skyjackings would disappear overnight. I suspect Wayne LaPierre and Larry Ward wouldn’t get the joke.

Everyone knows the old saying that when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail – but the NRA’s insistence that the only rational move to deal with the 300 million guns already in this country is to add more guns is insanity of the highest order.

To sell this stupid idea, the NRA recently ran an ad outrageously suggesting that President Obama was a hypocrite for not wanting armed guards at schools when his own children are defended by armed guards 24/7.

This is a prime example of what’s called a “false equivalence,” basically a fancy term for comparing apples to oranges, a favorite rhetorical tool of the right. You know, Obama’s also entitled to fly in Air Force One and take vacations on the taxpayers’ dime; is he a hypocrite because he can do this and you can’t?

It should be obvious to anyone who’s not mentally handicapped that Obama’s kids are exposed to a different level of danger than average American school kids; therefore they’re entitled to a different level of security.

To give you an idea, after Obama was elected in 2008, death threats against the president went up 400 percent. He still gets around 30 death threats per day, making him the most threatened president in U.S. history.

Now, unless you can claim the same terrifying threat level for yourself, then no, your kids aren’t entitled to the same level of security as President Obama. And if you still think you are, then you’re a certified paranoid.

Which brings me to a very important point: There’s a dangerously paranoid streak that runs through the NRA and the type of gun owners who’ve been vocal in the media in the wake of Sandy Hook.

If you ask average gun owners why they want to possess a firearm, you generally get two answers.

The first is that it’s their constitutional right under the Second Amendment. If you’ve bothered to read this one-sentence amendment, it clearly frames the right to bear arms within the context of allowing for a “well regulated militia.” The modern NRA wants to ignore the “militia” clause, but sorry: It’s right there at the beginning of the amendment, and it’s not there for decoration but for clarity.

The second reason people give for wanting to own a firearm is self defense. But just for a moment, think what this says about gun owners: It means they fully expect that at some point in their lives, they’ll be the victim of a crime that will require a literal Dirty Harry-style confrontation where they’ll have the judgment, reflexes and presence of mind to be able to injure or kill another human being, while hoping they don’t injure or kill themselves or other innocent people in the process.

As a comparison, when New York police officers are engaged in a gunfight with perpetrators who aren’t firing back, the hit rate is on average 30 percent – and when the bad guys are firing back, the hit rate drops to 18 percent. That’s for well-trained New York City cops. Do you really think if a crack head breaks into your home at 3 a.m. and you’re half-awake and you’ve got to find your loaded gun in the dark, your results will be better?

Another, darker reason for gun ownership was expressed quite clearly by conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones in a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan: that the guns are there to fight back against the U.S. government if it ever becomes a tyranny. “1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms,” an unhinged Jones screamed to a gobsmacked Morgan.

That kind of over-the-top paranoia used to be resigned to crank newsletters found in old bookstores and the darker corners of the Internet, but now it’s right out in the open and reinforced by libertarians and tea party groups – the same “patriots” who revere the Founding Fathers but deeply distrust the government they created.

Look. If one of the reasons you need assault rifles and mountains of ammo is because you truly believe that within your lifetime you may be fighting in the streets, swept up in a violent rebellion against the U.S. government, that level of cartoonish paranoia alone should disqualify you from ever possessing a firearm.

When you think about it, even the NRA’s signature slogan – “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” – is a ghoulish, unsettling motto, one that suggests firearms are so important to someone that you’ll have to kill them to get them to give it up. Does that sound like something a rational person would say?

Is there any other inanimate object you could imagine saying that about without sounding like an unhinged lunatic?

President Obama held a press conference last week where he made some perfectly reasonable suggestions about how to diminish the scourge of gun violence in America, including universal background checks; banning assault rifles and high capacity clips; and creating stiffer penalties for gun trafficking and lying on paperwork to acquire a firearm. Perhaps none of those would have stopped Sandy Hook, but so what? They’re smart ideas and long overdue.

If common-sense steps like these are inspiring this level of rage among gun owners and threats to impeach the president for acting like a monarch, then I’d submit that those people are way too paranoid to trust with firearms in the first place.

Here’s the deal. The status quo is over, new regulations are on the way, and screaming “they’re coming to take our guns” just makes you sound like a creepy nutcase. We had an assault weapons ban in 1994 and it didn’t lead to a second civil war, so take a deep breath and relax.

Sandy Hook was a shattering tragedy for the American psyche, second only to 9/11 in recent history. But after 9/11 we felt justified spending trillions, starting two wars, killing thousands of innocent civilians overseas, strip-searching passengers at airports, torturing people in secret prisons and illegally wiretapping Americans to gain a sense of security.

In the month after Sandy Hook, more than 1,000 other Americans have been killed by guns. If you truly believe the best we can do to stem the tide of gun violence is to put even more guns into the hands of untrained civilians, then in my humble opinion you shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a deadly weapon.

 

Charlie Vignola describes himself as a former College Republican turned liberal Democrat.  A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1999, he works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

13 Comments

  1. spkr3136 says:

    you have obviously never opened a history book in your entire sheltered spoiled life. This level of arrogant pacifism is only possible because many years ago somebody was fighting for their freedom to speak freely, in the steet, with weapons of war that a governement did not want them to have. Shame on you traitor.

  2. It sad you dont understand the 2nd protects the 1st you use today freely.

  3. brentondadams says:

    The indivdual right to keep and carry arms in not connected to any service in any militia. The Supreme Court has hashed this out twice now in the last decade.
    Does that make you feel better?

  4. JasonC says:

    The writer of this piece just needs to be mugged once, then maybe he’ll get it. Americans are victims of violent crimes 16000 times per day. Every day. You can look it up at the FBI. Or you could just walk outside sometime, outside you gated community.

    No, you can’t have our guns, and insulting us isn’t going to help your case.

  5. CCSir says:

    …..and you are too ignorant to be trusted with the 1st Amendment that my 2nd Amendment protects.

  6. Danny says:

    Another ignorant gun fearing bed wetting leftist gives his opinion.. lol

  7. George Posten says:

    Mr. Vignola, first of all I would like to thank you for sharing your well-framed opinion. I read it with interest at many levels.

    I describe myself as one whose eyes tear up every time he hears news of another senseless murder. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if all human wickedness could be solved by forever banning all weapons including rocks?’ -I guess that thought is also a false-equivalence on my part.

    Paranoid?

    I think that I have never seen anything people are more passionate about than then issue of guns -except perhaps politics, religion, sports… Anyway, I don’t think we need to repeatedly affix an insulting label such as “paranoid” to any group.

    Different level of security?

    I was taught that all lives are equally valuable and therefore all children, not just the president’s children, indeed all people, should be entitled to the same level of security, regardless that the threat may be greater for some than for others.

    Gun laws:

    Of course we need sensible gun laws. Unfortunately, when it comes to stemming the tide of gun violence I’m sure these laws will work as well as prohibition, the war on drugs, and stemming the tide of illegal immigration -not to mention the no cell phone while driving laws.

    And while we are creating laws to reasonably limit the second amendment I think we need to include a few more restrictions on the first amendment, including no more murder, gruesome gore, gratuitous violence, and especially no GUN violence in movies or television, except in documentary form where it can be verified that these accurately portray historical events. Also, I would call for an immediate ban on all forms of violent video entertainment, on the grounds that these serve as a ‘virtual’ tool for would-be terrorist training.

    I WILL GLADLY GIVE UP MY GUN when everyone else is disarmed and I can be assured that the police will instantly be there to protect me when a crack addict breaks into my house at 3AM… In the meantime I shall clobber him with the lamp.

  8. Cisco says:

    On the same day of the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook a man in China stabbed 20 children, so it is not the guns that are the problem but unbalanced people with murder in their hearts looking for an available tool

  9. Reason says:

    The idiocy that spews forth from liberals, such as this
    writer, about guns is astounding.
    Nothing proves that more than when they distort our Constitution in an
    attempt to give validity to their warped claim.
    This writer tries to justify restricting the individual’s right to bear
    arms by claiming the 2nd amendment points to that right in the form
    of a “well regulated militia”. Many of our founding fathers have made it
    clear that they granted the “right to bear arms” for self protection while the militia
    refers to the ability of the individual armed citizen’s to coalesce and form a
    group to defend the nation. The modern
    NRA doesn’t “overlook” this as the writer suggests, they understand the correct
    meaning. Ironically, what the liberal
    anti-gun crowd always purposefully overlooks is the last part of the 2nd
    amendment – “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
    infringed.” Another thing this writer
    forgets is that the President works for “we the people” so if it is considered
    good enough for his children to have armed protection at school then it is good
    enough for the people he works for. Just
    another example of have liberals bow down to government and not the individual.

  10. Realist says:

    Charlie Vignola needs to leave the shelter of Valencia and come out to the real world in Lancaster and Palmdale where he will have to WHEN, not if, he will be the victim of a home invasion robbery.

  11. Realist says:

    Charlie Vignola needs to leave the shelter of Valencia and come out to
    the real world in Lancaster and Palmdale where he will have to wonder WHEN, not
    if, he will be the victim of a home invasion robbery.

  12. ascetic43 says:

    You should be ashamed of your willful blindness and support for lawlessness. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are the only reason you’re not a dirt-farming Chinese slave. You’re a traitor to this country, and should be ashamed of yourself. I can see I’m not the only one who feels this way. Nobody want’s “gun control”, they want a monopoly on violence for the small group of elitist monsters at Mordor on the patomic. Shame on you….

  13. ascetic43 says:

    “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” It’s really that simple. The Constitution doesn’t tell us what we CAN do, it tells Government what they CAN’T do. Who gives G it’s “power”? God? Bloodline? Paternity? Unicorns? The consent of the PEOPLE give them their power, period. WE DO NOT CONSENT to being disarmed by murdering thugs. Do you know how any innocent children Obama is responsible for killing with drones? Whole weddings and funerals. But this is “for the children”. Wake up you idiot….

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]
The L.A. County Superior Court on July 17 sided with Los Angeles County and dismissed a portion of Chiquita Canyon LLC's complaint, which challenged 13 conditions of the county's conditional use permit governing how the landfill operates, Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Friday.
Court: Chiquita Landfill Must Comply with CUP, Pay County $12 Mil.
Four men allegedly stole a van and crashed it at Cinema Drive and Valencia Boulevard late Friday afternoon, breaking gas and water lines and snarling rush-hour traffic in the center of the city.
Suspected Van Thieves Crash, Rupture Gas, Water Lines in Valencia
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission has announced $4,518,000 in two-year grants to 216 nonprofit arts organizations through its Organizational Grant Program, and the Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra and the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival are among the grantees.
Santa Clarita Philharmonic, Shakespeare Festival Win County Arts Grants
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's board of directors voted in its Tuesday meeting to revise its per-diem payment policy for board members attending industry-related meetings and conferences.
SCV Water Board Trims Own Meeting Attendance Pay
College of the Canyons men's basketball player Robert Moss will continue his playing career at University of Saint Katherine after committing to join the Firebirds program.
COC Hoopster Robert Moss Commits to University of Saint Katherine
When wives earn more than their husbands, a puzzling thing can happen: Husbands say they earn more than they are and wives underreport their income, according to new Census Bureau research.
Census Research: Spouses Report Earnings Differently When Wives Earn More
Responding to a booming economy and a generous state budget, administrators on Thursday approved the first tuition decrease for the University of California system in nearly 20 years.
University of California Cuts Tuition for First Time in 20 Years
The William S. Hart Union High School District and Spirit Holding, developers of Castaic High School, will host a community kick-off event on Friday, Aug. 3, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. celebrating the one-year countdown to the grand opening of the new school, currently under construction.
Aug. 3: ‘Countdown to Castaic High’ Public Celebration
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, July 24, starting at 9:30 a.m.
July 24: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert for Monday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 24, as high temperatures have been forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Heat Alert Called for Monday, Tuesday
The Lancaster JetHawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but two late home runs from Stockton's Sandber Pimentel led the Ports to victory in a 5-4 final on Thursday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Lancaster Can’t Stop Pimentel, Ports
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Department of Justice have made public the government's plan for the court-ordered reunification of children ages 5 years and older who were separated from their parents by immigration authorities.
Feds Detail Plan to Reunite Immigrant Children with Parents
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
During a press conference on Thursday at the Gerdau steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga, Chief Eric Parra announced the destruction of 3,566 weapons confiscated within in Los Angeles County. This event comes typically in July, in compliance with California Penal Code 18005(c), which calls for weapons unable to be sold to the public or returned to their owners, to be destroyed.
More than 3,500 Weapons Destroyed at Annual Destruction Event
The Summer Art Festival, at the Oaks Club of Valencia, invites you to a fun, free artists’ reception on Saturday, Aug. 11, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 11: Summer Art Festival at Oaks Club
When you think "Advanced Manufacturing," Santa Clarita Valley probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
SCV Paves the Way for Advanced Manufacturing
(CN) – Delivering a blow to a Silicon Valley billionaire, the California Supreme Court on Wednesday erased a November ballot measure proposing to divide the Golden State in three.
State Supreme Court Tosses Ballot Measure to Split California in Three
Internationally famous Doña Oxford aka “The Goddess of Soul,” is fronting one of the hottest Blues bands of the 21st century. She has toured all over the world, bringing her amazing keyboard playing and vocals to devoted fans in Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States.
July 20: Valencia Jazz & Blues Series to Feature Doña Oxford
No business is immune from the unthinkable. Workplace violence is an increasingly important topic for organizations of all types.
Aug. 21: Active Shooter Awareness Training at VIA Luncheon
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Church is holding their 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show Friday, Aug. 24 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: St. Kateri 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show
The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Thursday launched the Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal, dubbed LA-HOP, the new Countywide Web-based portal that channels outreach support to people experiencing homelessness.
County Launches Online Portal to Combat Homelessness
LOS ANGELES - Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced Tuesday the company is now offering $75 rebates for residential customers who purchase eligible Energy Star certified smart thermostats that help residents manage their heating and cooling costs and conserve energy.
SoCal Gas Offering Rebates for Customers with Smart Thermostats
STOCKTON – Brian Serven put together one of his best offensive performances of the season to lead the JetHakwks to a 7-2 to win over the Stockton Ports on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Serven Leads JetHawks to Victory in Series Opener Against Stockton
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Brad Renison to become the new Director of Transportation. Most recently, Mr. Renison has been serving as the Interim Director of Transportation.
Hart District Names Brad Renison New Transportation Director
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Díaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera.
Dodgers Acquire 4-Time All-Star Manny Machado
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Dr. Catherine Nicholas to become the new principal of Sequoia School.
Hart District Appoints Dr. Catherine Nicholas as New Sequoia School Principal
Welcome to paradise at a high-energy, live show coming up in Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union, this Saturday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m., in Central Park (27150 Bouquet Canyon Road).
July 21: Concerts in the Park to Feature Green Day Tribute Band
SCV Sheriff's Crime Prevention Unit deputies and station detectives have noted an increase in the thefts of catalytic converters from cars in Santa Clarita Valley. The favored target of thieves has been the Toyota Prius (2005-2009).
Deputies Warn of Rise in Catalytic Converter Thefts from Prius Cars
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy Thursday for sensitive individuals in San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
Would you like to be a volunteer at beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park? Learn about the volunteer program and the park’s natural and cultural history at our two-day volunteer training, Saturdays, Sept. 1st and 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Ricardo Visitor Center (new volunteers must attend both days).
Red Rock Canyon State Park to Hold 2-Day Volunteer Training
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces the scheduled closure of the Tejon Safety Roadside Rest Areas on Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) to replace a water main line.
Caltrans Announces Temporary Rest Area Closure on I-5 at Tejon
1924 - Sherman Block, L.A. County's 29th Sheriff (1982-1998), born in Chicago [story]
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies have arrested a Santa Clarita woman who allegedly spray-painted walls on a city park building in Saugus early Tuesday morning, also discovering she was allegedly in possession of forged checks.
Woman Charged with Defacing Park Building, Check Forgery
The Paramount Network has set Aug. 11 as the premiere date of 'I Am Paul Walker,' a new film documentary tracing the life of the late actor, who was killed in a 2013 car crash in Valencia.
Aug. 11: Paul Walker Film Doc to Debut on Paramount Network
Marston's Restaurant in Valencia is helping raise funds for Carousel Ranch, Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization that provides equestrian therapy for disabled and special needs children and adults.
July 15-Aug. 15: Marston’s Restaurant Fundraising for Carousel Ranch