Thursday, January 20, 2011

I will not stand idly by

Sebastian put together a post confirming that an NPR show deliberately presented opinions biased in favor of Representative McCarthy's gun magazine ban.  In response to this, I followed Sebastian's recommendation to e-mail our Congrescritters, and to forward a copy to Matthew Baskin, the person who sent the e-mail.

This is what I wrote:

Dear Matthew Baskin,

I have recently learned about the deliberately unbalanced reporting that you presented on the issue of Representative McCarthy's gun magazine ban.  I am disgusted by the deliberate attempts to skew the debate to your favor, and I will not stand by as you attack freedoms dear to me.  I have thus sent the following letter to my congressmen:

Dear Representative,

I recently learned of a deliberate attempt of NPR to deliberately stack a debate in an effort to undermine our right to keep and bear arms, by searching for pro-gun bloggers that supported McCarthy's anti-gun bill that would limit magazine capacity.

Indeed, here is the text of that e-mail sent to various bloggers:

From: Matthew Baskin <>
Sent: Fri, January 14, 2011 1:32:22 PM
Subject: NPR show On Point needing progressive gun guest

Hi Mr. Blogger,

My name is Matthew Baskin and I work for the NPR program On Point with Tom Ashbrook. I’m writing to ask if you’d be able to speak as a guest on Monday, January 17. We’re looking for a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter who is not opposed to the forthcoming McCarthy bill re: limiting magazine capacity. I’d be very grateful if you could put me in touch with any gun owner who is not opposed to regulation. Let me know if anyone comes to mind. Thanks very much.

Matthew Baskin

It is disgusting that a news organization that purports to be neutral would take efforts to be so biased; it is doubly disgusting that such an organization receives the tax dollars of those who oppose such a ban, like myself, to deliberately skew a debate against my position.  I would therefore ask that you end funding to NPR, and let them find their own funding from private purposes, if they wish to continue to pursue such dishonest tactics.

[Epsilon Given].

Firearms are an important part of American culture and history.  By owning certain firearms, such as the Henry Repeating Rifle used in the Civil War, we can own a little piece of that era, and show it to friends and family.  By choosing to arm ourselves daily, we take upon ourselves a responsibility to protect ourselves and our families--a responsibility that cannot be filled alone by police, because police will seldom be available when danger is imminent.  And by becoming familiar with the types of arms used in war, we prepare ourselves for the possibility that we may be called upon to defend our freedoms against enemies both foreign and domestic.

Representative McCarthy's ban is an attack on all these purposes of owning firearms, and your blatant attempt to disregard those who would oppose such an attack, particularly when you position yourself to be neutral on such an issue, cannot stand unopposed.

[Epsilon Given].


  1. Dear Epsilon, Your Grandiose Victimism is acting up again. When you refer to McCarthy's silly legislation as a "ban" you're already whacked out, but when you say it's "an attack on all these purposes of owning firearms," you sound like a complete nut.

    It's not a ban, it's a restriction. And I call it silly, and figure that applies to your excessive reaction too, because it wouldn't do much to either reduce gun violence or limit your ability to protect yourself, which is in itself a bit silly. Your need to protect yourself, that sacred right and duty of all free men, is mainly a fantasy that you have in your head, unless of course you're in the cocaine business or live in the ghetto.

  2. Mikeb302000, that's rather silly. If the government were to forbid people from criticizing mathematicians, it is a ban on certain kinds of speech--and it is certainly a restriction on what I can say. You would not stand for such a ban, or restriction, or whatever you want to call it, because it would prevent you from criticizing me! And it would certainly be a violation of the First Amendment.

    Banning magazines--or restricting them--whatever you want to call it, is as surely an infringement of our Second Amendment rights, as would be the above restriction of speech.

    When you say "Your need to protect yourself, that sacred right and duty of all free men, is mainly a fantasy that you have in your head, unless of course you're in the cocaine business or live in the ghetto," what makes you so certain that I don't live in a ghetto? Or that I don't live or work in areas that don't have cocaine dealers? You are assuming way too much.

    In any case, you are defending an attempt to skew the debate in favor of a given position--where special effort was taken to make it look like there was no difference in opinion. One funded by tax dollars, to boot. If NPR were to attempt any semblance of balance, they would have looked for people both for and against the ban.

    If you are in favor of this, imagine, for a moment, if NPR had a lineup of individuals who were firmly against McCarthy's bill--and they searched the blogs for an anti-gun person who thought that McCarthy's bill was nonsense. Would you just stand idly by?