Yesterday’s editorial pages in three different newspapers, in California, Florida and Kentucky, regarding two important gun-related cases underscore for gun rights advocates why the mainstream press is no longer taken seriously by the firearms community, if not the public in general.
In an editorial decrying last week’s Ninth Circuit Court ruling against San Diego County’s arbitrary and unconstitutional method of not issuing concealed carry permits to law-abiding Californians, the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa observed, “California law accounts for those who shouldn't be packing at all times by authorizing sheriffs and police chiefs to determine who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public. To qualify for a permit, the law says applicants must be ‘of good moral character,’ must have ‘completed a course of training’ and must have “good cause’.”
“Those standards hardly qualify as onerous,” the editorial contended. “But they were too much for a federal appeals panel, which shot down California's law in a ruling last week that identified Second Amendment rights broader than any previously recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Evidently, the editorial writer missed the civil rights struggles of the 1960s when “literacy tests” were administered to black citizens in southern states that were deliberately designed for the failure of citizens taking the test. An article last June in Slate details the egregious Louisiana test, but the philosophy behind it seems not unlike the standards that the Press Democrat believes should apply to citizens wishing to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to bear arms.
After all, what other civil rights would the newspaper argue to be restricted to those with “good moral character” and “good cause,” and leave that determination up to a sheriff or police chief?
An opinion piece in the San Diego Union Tribune Sunday puts the issue in its proper perspective: “A ‘right’ is an ‘entitlement’ that’s not dependent on the whims of authorities. If you have a right to ‘free speech,’ then you can speak as you choose. The courts let the government enforce a few standards, but it wouldn’t be a ‘right’ if government officials got to preview and restrict what you were planning to say.”
Leap across the country to Florida, where the Miami Herald editorialized about the conviction of Michael Dunn in the shooting that took the life of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, and then up to Louisville, Ky., where the Courier-Journal did the same thing. However, in their zeal to capitalize on the case to attack a law they don’t like, these newspapers can’t get their stories straight.
The Herald wrote, “Although Dunn didn’t invoke Florida’s overly broad Stand Your Ground law — he claimed that Mr. Davis had pointed a shotgun at him, making him fear for his life — it still played a part at his trial. Judge Russell L. Healey told the jury that they should acquit if they found the defendant had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground.
The Courier-Journal insisted, “Mr. Dunn invoked Florida’s infamous ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, claiming he acted in self-defense after he saw Jordan Davis, 17, point a shotgun at him. While no gun was found and no one corroborated the defendant’s claim, it apparently was enough to plant doubt in some jurors who convicted him only of attempted murder for shooting at the teens with Jordan as they fled for their lives.”
Well, which is it? Did he or didn’t he “invoke” Florida’s SYG law?
Dunn’s defense was not an SYG argument, but neither newspaper is after Dunn for his fatal irresponsibility, but the SYG law. Liberal newspapers despise the law and the concept behind it, which recognizes the right of citizens to defend themselves from criminal attack that occurs in a place where they have a right to be.
With these editorials as evidence, the phrase “All I know is what I read in the papers,” coined by Will Rogers, is a reminder that people should know a lot more than what the newspapers say.