Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just Making a Comparison...

A friend of a friend posted this picture a few days ago -
The picture itself is fairly offensive - showing our current sitting President, elected by a majority of the voters, alongside a list of some of the worst dictators of the last century. In fact, the poster got called out on that, but defended herself with the claim that this was only showing leaders in the two categories. It wasn't meant to imply that Obama himself is a murderous just happens that his opinions and policies regarding personal weapons place him in the same group as all those horrible people.

Yeah, right. Just a coincidence. Okay, let's look at this a bit.

First, of course, is the obvious - these names and faces were not chosen at random. If we're looking at world leaders associated with gun control...where's Tony Blair, who got the 1997 Firearms Act passed in the UK? Ronald Reagan, who endorsed the Brady Act? Angela Merkel, who signed a measure in Germany that even bans Tasers? I'm guessing that they weren't considered scary enough - especially Reagan. Including him on the list would have confused the target audience severely, I suspect. It is fairly obvious that this list was designed to provide a group of absolute villains specifically for the purpose of ranking Obama alongside them. Showing that some reasonable people support certain gun control measures would have been counter-productive to this Orwellian hatefest.

Second, to be a fair comparison, Obama's policies have to actually qualify him as a leader looking to strip citizens of their right to own guns. Does he have that sort of record? I haven't seen much on that from him. Back in June, he apparently put out some executive orders that would result in computerizing background checks, increased enforcement of existing laws, and improving interstate cooperation. None of which sounds quite like prying guns out of peoples' hands - and I haven't even found confirmation that the orders were issued. Even the NRA says he hasn't done anything on the issue - though of course that only means it's a conspiracy to do more later. But before you go lumping our President in with a bunch of dictators...shouldn't you be able to point to something he's actually done?

Third, the others in the group really ought to belong there, too. Some of them, sure. Stalin, yep. He instituted gun control in the Soviet Union. Amin, Castro? Couldn't find anything on them. Though Uganda seems to me to have been a failed state under his rule, so I wonder just how effective any gun laws really were...and I suspect that it isn't all that relevant in Cuba, where most of the populace can't afford food, let alone a handgun. But Lenin? Gun control in the Soviet Union appears to have started under Stalin, not Lenin. And Hitler? It turns out the 1938 German Weapons Act completely DEregulated long guns and ammunition, as well as liberalizing the rules on licensing. (In fairness, it also made it illegal for Jews to own any guns at all - but considering all the other antisemitic legislation of the time, it hardly seems fair to characterize that as gun control.)

So tell me again - is this really a picture showing the category that Obama's actions have placed him in, alongside all these historical villains? Or is this yet another attempt to demonize the President with lies, half-truths, and innuendo?

Of course, if you wanted to do it right, you could leave the picture exactly the same, and merely change the captions - the pictures in the bottom row are all leaders who believed that they had the right to murder their own citizens purely on their own word. But the people who put out this sort of thing seem to be just fine with that.

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