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Pima GOP gun raffle: The politics of fake outrage

A gun, by any other name, is just a gun.

Unless it’s a Glock semi-automatic pistol raffled off by Republicans in Pima County, which just happens to be the same county where Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people were shot, with six of them killed.

Then it’s an outrage.

Or so we’re supposed to believe.

The 24-hour news cycle, the blogosphere and the Twitterverse erupted this week when the Huffington Post pointed out that the Pima County Republican Party was holding a raffle of a Glock 23 pistol, saying it’s the same pistol that Jared Lee Loughner used Jan. 8 to shoot Giffords in the head.

It’s not the same. Loughner used a Glock 19 (Huffpo changed to story headline a few hours later from “same gun” to “same gun type”)

Liberals immediately decided it was an affront to Giffords and the others shot that day and dubbed it an insensitive outrage.

One can immediately figure out that the outrage is fake because much of the indignation centers around the gun being made by Glock, and one assumes that if the County GOP had raffled off a replica of the new state gun, the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, it wouldn’t have been outrageous because that gun wasn’t made by Glock.

But Glock didn’t shoot Giffords and the others, Loughner did using a gun legally purchased a few weeks before.

The politics of outrage is a well-worn shoe in America. One pol or another, or their minions, are always trying to fan the flames of outrage to gin up votes.

It works so well that we’re constantly barraged with outrages to the point that we are permanently outraged.

Ironically, in a country where everyone is outraged, no one is. But there are some things happening in this country we should be angry about and one of them is our inability to come to terms with the Second Amendment.

In the 10 years since America went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq about 7,500 American soldiers have been killed by enemy action.

In that same time, more than 300,000 Americans were shot to death in this country. That’s a little less than all the American war deaths in World War II. If that many soldiers had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d be outraged (and the wars would be over and the troops home).

But since it’s happening in America and doing something about it would mean changing or repealing the Second Amendment, there is no outrage. Unless someone mentions changing or repealing the Second Amendment, then there’s plenty of outrage.

Consider the fake fury by conservatives over the ATF Fast and Furious scandal, an attempted sting operation by federal agents who allowed “straw buyers” to legally purchase thousands of assault rifles from Arizona gun dealers so that the guns could be tracked to Mexican drug cartels. The ATF lost track of many of the guns and two of those guns ended up at the shooting scene where smugglers killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Conservatives say they are outraged about it and are desperately trying to pin the scandal on Attorney General Eric Holder and through him, President Obama.

But in the three years prior to Operation Fast and Furious, the Arizona Republic, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the San Antonio Express-News all had written investigative stories about tens of thousands of legally purchased American guns being smuggled into Mexico.

And rather than be outraged by that fact, conservatives saw it as an insidious attack on the Second Amendment by attempting to conflate Mexico’s drug war with America’s gun laws. The only way to stop the exportation of American assault weapons to Mexico was to curb the sale of assault weapons in the U.S. And that was outrageous.

So nothing was done. Until the ATF got the bright idea of tracking those guns and then lost track of them and two turned up next to the body of a murdered Border Patrol agent. Now it’s an outrage.

It’s legal to purchase and own a gun in the United States. It’s legal to purchase and raffle a gun in Arizona. And until we do something about that, tens of thousands of Americans will be slaughtered every year and America will remain the arsenal of thugocracy.

Since the Loughner shooting, people using guns of various makes, types and calibers have killed about two dozen people in Pima County.

Are Democrats outraged by that? Or are they only outraged when Republicans try to raise money raffling off a gun made by the same manufacturer of a gun used to shoot a Democrat?

By the way, Giffords owns a Glock.

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