The Brady Center to Prevent “Gun Violence” was handed a victory on Monday when the Supreme Court ruled that its lawsuit against firearms manufactures could continue. Under Washington DC’s Assault Weapons Manufacturing Strict Liability Act of 1990, firearm manufacturers can be held financially liable for injuries or deaths resulting from the criminal use of guns; not the manufacturer’s criminal use, but someone else’s–someone more like a criminal.
In 2000, the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project (LAP) joined forces with the District of Columbia in an effort to punish firearms manufacturers, and to score some easy money. Since the defendants didn’t sell or import guns in D.C. (it’s unlawful in freedom’s capitol city), twelve concerned states joined with firearms manufacturers in begging the court to dismiss the suit. They lost.
For manufacturers, the decision may soon be moot, because in July the US Senate passed a measure specifically protecting firearm manufacturers from liability damage lawsuits. But the madness that works against gun manufacturers also works against other innocents, and it’s worth examining the method behind it. Guns don’t create the Brady Center, ignorance does.
It’s easy to amass a list of movements similar in nature to gun industry litigants represented by LAP. There’s the it’s-Philip-Morris’s-fault-I-have-lung-cancer crowd, the it’s-McDonald’s-fault-I’m-a-pig crowd, and the ever-popular it’s-the-bucket-company’s-fault-my-child-drowned-in-it-while-I-wasn’t-paying-attention crowd, just to name a few. An obvious unifying characteristic amongst all these groups is that their members seem to suffer from a severely stultifying form of cognition. Like lower animals, they seem stuck in a state of perpetual perception, unable to conceive of a world beyond the immediately visible and unable to differentiate between entities with volition and inanimate objects with none. As a dog excitedly chases its wagging tail in apparent oblivion that it is his own actions that cause the wagging, so these poor souls stumble through life wondering how it is that they keep swallowing cheeseburgers and inhaling tobacco.
But human beings simply can’t survive in such a seriously degenerative state, and they don’t–at least not all the time. Instead, they seem to fade in and out of this pre-human perspective. These same persons would laugh at a basketball player who blamed the ball every time he missed a shot, but when someone misuses a firearm, it’s the gun’s fault. This contradiction raises a serious moral question: are the Brady crusaders and their ilk doing this intentionally, or by accident? Do they–could they–really believe what they’re saying, or do they know it to be false but preach it just the same?
When faced with a new battle, the enemies of gun manufactures, tobacco companies, fast food chains, and free enterprise in general usually adhere to the following well-tested pattern for whipping-up some public sympathy:
Step 1: Identify people who knowingly and willfully caused harm to themselves or others. For example, a good selection would be someone who smoked for 30 years despite the large warning with the word “cancer” prominently featured on the side of every single pack of cigarettes they ever touched. Another good selection would be someone who loaded a Beretta 92, walked into a 7-Eleven, and shot the clerk.
Step 2: Once the culprits have been identified, erase all evidence of them. Stop talking about them completely and locate the inanimate object that they chose to use as an instrument of destruction. For example, this could be a Virginia Slim, a Ruger, or a super-sized order of fries with extra salt. Conveniently forget the fact that people have free will.
Step 3: Before vilifying the inanimate object, it is necessary to pick an appropriately offensive label. For example, don’t call it a “gun,” call it an “assault weapon.” No one will know the difference. It is often even more important to pick a dastardly label for referring to the manufacturer of the inanimate object. For example, Americans have already been preconditioned to resent corporate success, so don’t simply say “cigarette companies.” Call them something like “the big tobacco industry.” Better yet, try to make it a proper noun and drop non-essential terms: “Big Tobacco.” Yes, that works well: “Be very afraid of Big Tobacco. It hates your children and enjoys sucking the blood from small furry animals.”
Step 4: Suddenly remember that certain people (especially those with deep pockets) actually do have free will after all, and that they should be blamed for everything done by those people without free will in Step 2. Form groups, centers, coalitions, committees, and organizations dedicated to “raising awareness” about the evil corporations with the misfortune of having sold products to people without free will. Give the groups names that sound inarguably just: “The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.” Don’t you want to prevent gun violence? Lastly, include lots of moms. People like moms.
Step 5: Tell the media that you’ll be filing lawsuits. File lawsuits. Tell the media that you’ve filed lawsuits. Prepare video clips of moms crying. Tell the media that the lawsuits will make the crying stop. People don’t like to see moms crying.
In the framework of this convoluted rationale, an accused firearm manufacturer has only one possible line of defense. Were he to use it, how his accuser reacted to that defense would reveal the accuser’s own guilt. That defense looks something like this:
“You’re barking up the wrong tree, because it’s really not my fault. You see, my car drove me to work. Blame Ford. My milling machine made the gun. Blame Ingersoll. MIT taught me the physics. Blame Newton.”
The fact that this defense wouldn’t work is evidence that the Brady clan–and similar anti-corporate swindlers–are intentionally dishonest. They know exactly who wags dogs’ tails, and they are desperately afraid that someday the dogs will discover it, too.
The above commentary has been brought to you by Intel, Dell, and Microsoft, who were all negligent enough to sell the author the tools necessary to complete this article. Naturally, they are 100% liable for its contents.
It is not the corporate CEOs who deserve to be blamed: governments are the real villains.