Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Answering some critics

It seems that some folks have taken exception to some of the statements I have made about everyone's favorite civilian disarmament lobbyist-turned Illinois state senator, Dan Kotowski.

You can see more of this type of vitriol here (Kotowski treating the state police as “his personal goon squad), here (”Commissar” Kotowski) . . .
I'll acknowledge sloppy wording on my part in claiming that Kotowski was using "the state police as his personal goon squad"--a junior senator does not really have the power to make the state police do his bidding, so it would have been more accurate for me to say that the ISP is playing the role of Kotowski's goon squad, entirely of the department's own volition. If it would make anyone would feel better to receive my sincere and humble apologies for the misstatement, please consider them given. I suppose that what I am trying to admit here is that I was wrong to blame Kotowski for the ISP visits and interrogations of people who had clearly issued no threat whatsoever--that blame lies with the ISP. As for the "Commissar" thing--hey, I crossed it out--don't be so sensitive.

I simply do not buy the explanation that a few (very few, I would wager) threatening calls/FAXes from hotheaded idiots justifies an investigation of people who have given exactly zero reason to believe they were behind said threats. As for the "hotheaded idiots" I just mentioned, apparently one of the criticisms leveled at both ISRA and bloggers like me is that we have not done enough to condemn such threats.
Kotowski and his office staff received threats during the first few months of the Spring Legislative Session, most of which specifically referred to his sponsorship of gun safety legislation. “If Illinois State Rifle Association members were as law abiding and anti crime as they claim, then they would be the first to condemn these threats and help to champion the cause for measures designed to get guns away from those with criminal intent.”
This, despite the fact that ISRA's first press release on this matter said:
Of course, the manner in which citizens exercise that right must not include any threats of harm against elected officials.
My first post about this issue included an acknowledgment that such threats "would warrant a police response"--which I had kind of hoped would make clear that I disapprove of such threats. Toward the end of the same post, when I urged readers (I must be up to three or four of them by now) to contact Kotwoski, I made clear (I hope) that it was vital to be careful to keep the messages absolutely, utterly without threats of any kind.

I suppose I was guilty of the overly optimistic assumption that it would go without saying that the vast majority of us do not condone threats of physical violence. Clearly, I presumed too much. So now, to be absolutely clear, I will try to leave no doubt whatsoever that I categorically condemn anyone who would make threats of physical violence against those with whom one disagrees. It is a boneheaded move from a tactical standpoint, and more fundamentally, is not civil behavior. I hope anyone who made such threats is caught, and that the punishment is severe. I would think, by the way, that the likelihood of catching the perpetrators would be increased if police manpower and resources were not wasted on investigations of people whose only known contacts with the senator had not contained threats.

I should also amplify the point that The Armed School Teacher made so well--that if gun rights advocates are being blamed for threats that were either never made, or had been made by agents provocateurs aligned with the other side, with the intention of discrediting the gun rights advocacy movement, it would not be the first time. I am not claiming that this is what is happening here--only that it has happened before.

Finally I will reiterate my disappointment that the very well documented calls to "snuff out" both a legal businessman and state lawmakers are, apparently, considered unworthy of investigation, while alleged threats (the evidence of which we are so far being asked to take on faith) have triggered investigations of people who were never thought to have made them. I simply do not see how anyone could argue that gun rights advocates in this state are frequently on the short end of a profound double standard.

People tend to take that kind of thing personally.


me said...

As you know, Kurt, I'm one of the folks criticizing the fact you call our state troopers a "goon squad" -- our policemen and women deserve better.

Do you run around calling your fellow military folk "Pres. Bush's goon squad"? Didn't think so.

As for that one line tucked into the middle of the ISRA's original press release, yes, Mr. Pearson did cover his butt with a little MAD Magazine "Who Me?" line.

But the rest of the press release which you, like so many other gun enthusiasts, copied and pasted without question was clearly intended to raise, not lower, the level of ire directed at Sen. Kotowski. And it's that sort of flame-fanning which is precisely what led to the death threats in the first place.

Clearly the police had good reason to launch an investigation. The one person anonymously noted in the ISRA release was either someone the police thought might provide important information and insight or would potentially be able to provide evidence.

As for Fr. Pfleger's inflammatory rhetoric, while I agree it was unnecessarily jagged you fail to recognize that he did not first declare that he has a gun, unlike the threats Kotowski and his staff received.

Like many of the benign, if harsh, faxes and letters Kotowski received the phrase "snuff out" has multiple meanings.

Kotowski himself rec'd several faxes saying things like "Judgment Day would be coming soon". Just like Pfleger saying he wanted to "snuff out" the gun store owner, that could be taken to mean 'murder' or it could simply mean 'put out of business'.

But if you want to continue to appear hypocritical by railing against a Catholic priest but turning a blind eye to the irrational level of anger and vitriol hurled at Kotowski, that is your first amendment right.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I acknowledge that the police officers (or detectives, if that is the more accurate way to refer to them) conducting the actual investigations are acting on orders from on high, and thus perhaps deserve some slack, even when those orders have them investigating the senders of non-threatening FAXes, because of the allegedly threatening phone calls made by others.

Back in my military days (when, incidentally, we would have been "Pres. Clinton's goon squad"), you may have been surprised at some of the names I had for the folks in command.

I still disagree with the statement that I am "turning a blind eye" to what is being said about Kotowski. I would think that you have noticed that I actively participate in the anger being directed at him--I see him as leading the charge in an assault on my Constitutional rights. As I've recently said, "people tend to take that kind of thing personally."

I have tried to point out that I do not condone threatening him with violence. However, I do not feel at all guilty about condemning his agenda in no uncertain terms. If, with my paltry language skills, I manage to "raise the ire" directed at him, great--I am succeeding beyond my expectations.

It would seem a rather enormous stretch to claim that anything I have said is an incitement to threats of violence, let alone actual violence.

Unknown said...

As for Fr. Pfleger's inflammatory rhetoric, while I agree it was unnecessarily jagged you fail to recognize that he did not first declare that he has a gun, unlike the threats Kotowski and his staff received.

No instead of a gun, the good Father merely incited a crowd of people. How do you suppose his immediate audience would define the phrase "snuff out"?

Don said...

Exactly as I predicted, there's no level of condemnation that's good enough.

If the ISRA says nothing about it, then they're the callous ISRA who all but brainwashed decent people into pro-gun unabombers.

When it's pointed out that the ISRA actually did condemn the threats, then it was just a cynical fig leaf used to cover up the fact that they're the callous ISRA who blah blah blah unabombers.

If the ISRA came out with the same message, but stated " . . . and to that end, we're putting up $500,000 to pay private investigators to find the people responsible for this outrage" then Rob would find a way to dismiss that, too. Probably it would be a sure sign that the ISRA is not only callous, but grandstanding and publicity-seeking, too.

If the ISRA said "Senator Kotowski can rest easy tonight, because we at the ISRA have identified the idiot who sent the threat and he was booked into Cook County Jail ten minutes ago" Rob would tell us all that they'd just set up a patsy to take the fall.

There's only one solution: Richard Pearson and Todd Vandermyde have to team up to form the greatest bounty-hunting/cyborg chess-boxing team ever conceived, and they must find the man who made those phone calls.