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Courant could be shown costs of calling for arrests of ‘undocumented gun owners’

Gun owners would be justified in hastening The Courant's writing of its own obituary.
Gun owners would be justified in hastening The Courant's writing of its own obituary.
David Codrea

With its call to the state of Connecticut to identify, arrest and prosecute gun owners who have not complied with “assault weapon” registration edicts, The Hartford Courant has removed all pretenses of “common sense gun safety” advocacy, and placed itself squarely in the confiscation and persecution camp. That has not been lost on defiant activists who correctly think of themselves as “undocumented” rather than "illegal."

By demanding the state enforce the unenforceable and deal with both predictable and unintended risks and consequences, the paper’s hard line "leadership"approach is a departure from its earlier panting follower role in its relationship with government, that is, as a publicist for citizen disarmament legislators and a trusted chronicler for the enforcement apparatus. As this column documented about the December, 2012 joint law enforcement agency raid on the Riverview Gun Shop in East Windsor, evidence and timing point to their being given insider information about an ongoing criminal investigation, something generally withheld from the media as a matter of policy so as not to endanger lives and jeopardize prosecutions.

“It’s fair to ask how The Courant was able to produce such a detailed report practically simultaneously to the events without advance information of the ongoing raid,” a September, 2013 Gun Rights Examiner report observed. “It would appear to be especially relevant as the situation was deemed by professional federal law enforcement to be dangerous enough to send dozens of armed agents and police officers ostensibly into harm’s way, not to mention posing real risks to store employees and any customers who may have been on premises.”

Rather than being a government watchdog concerned with protecting rights against infringements, the publisher and editors have instead assumed the role of cheerleaders and inciters. And that has gun owners understandably angry over the betrayal of everything journalism is ideally supposed to stand for.

It also has some wondering what their options are for showing the paper their displeasure -- it’s not like activist gun owners, generally internet-savvy and not dependent on old print media to get up-to-date reliable information, have many subscriptions to cancel, so options beyond that appear limited.

That doesn’t mean there are no options. The Courant is hurting and desperate to find a solution in new business models, and that will only be exacerbated when “Around mid-year, the 250-year-old publication's parent, Chicago-based Tribune Co., will spin off the Courant and seven other daily newspapers into a separate, stand-alone publishing division that has lost subscribers and revenue steadily for the past five years.

“As part of the sendoff, Tribune newspapers will be saddled with new debt and expenses, including rental payments on properties they previously owned. Revenues, too, will take a hit as Tribune keeps to itself key online assets like CareerBuilder.com,” HartfordBusiness.com reported in January.

That publisher Nancy Meyer foresees offsetting this with “new revenue streams, including a paywall for Courant.com, hosting major events, and offering contracted digital services like web design and development,” shows thinking that is wishful, but hardly convincing. It might help if someone "seeking her master's degree in interactive studies ... to learn more about digital operations and social media" had more than 312 Twitter followers.

Besides, there’s plenty of competition in the non-core business areas, and as for the Courant's primary function, providing news and information, why anyone would pay to access the same quality of delusional anti-gun shrieking they can get for free on the Moms Demand Action Facebook page remains a mystery.

The Courant is vulnerable, and they just poked a wolverine that wanted to be left in peace with a very sharp stick. And then threatened to dig up all the burrows...

Big mistake.

So what can gun owners do?

A lot more than complain.

We need to understand and accept that there is an ideological cold civil war these Fourth Estate Fifth Columnists and their fellow monopoly of violence zealots are prosecuting against Americans who simply want to be left alone, and that if we don’t treat it as such and respond in kind, they’re going to keep at it. We have given them no incentive to stop, and the more successful they are, the more they’ll be encouraged to turn up the heat.

A way to discourage that is to cut off the enemy’s -- and that’s what they are -- supply lines. Major advertisers like automobile dealerships and realtors provide “aid and comfort” to that enemy via advertising revenues. A group of committed and organized gun rights activists could discourage that by approaching one or more with a phone, email and letter campaign, and even weekend sidewalk demonstrations, asking them if they agree with The Courant that the state should lock up their gun-owning customers. It would be especially effective if gun owners who have done business with such firms in the past contact the reps who made the commissions and who send them new business card refrigerator magnets every year.

These businesses don’t want to get involved in a polarizing issue, all they want to do is sell their products and services, and making them understand they are enablers who will be held accountable would in turn make them pass it on to the advertising rep who sells them space: “Your editors’ personal political agenda brought this down on us. You’re supposed to help us attract customers, not drive them away!”

Connecticut’s “undocumented gun owners” are showing the world that resistance is not futile, and that could be the inspiring example that sets gun owners in other states on the same course. Likewise, if they would only realize and then use it, they have the power to hasten The Courant and similar rags writing their own obituaries.

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Despite all those blood-curdling screams coming from those haunting the halls of politics, the true chilling threat is to our rights. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Ghost Guns.”