Sunday, February 13, 2011

Abrams and the NRA--First Look

Humm, well, I read the responses and took notes and I spent several hours researching the actions of Sandy Abrams. I am doing some more research on the questions raised but I do have a couple of comments. The first is that where there is smoke, there is fire. I won’t excuse Abrams’ actions and I am curious about the reasoning behind the NRA’s investment in his defense. Perhaps there are some other circumstances that need to be considered. As for the flood of online reading about the Abrams case I did spend quite a bit of time reading a variety of material, including the 26 page report by the Brady Campaign. Therein lies the problem, I waded through more than 50 different web sites and postings on the Sandy Abrams issue and all but one was either by, or originated with the Brady Campaign or an element of it. But, as I said, where there is smoke there is fire. I am trying to get a few more details on Abrams and the NRA’s policy regarding any felon serving on the board. When I have this information I will share it with you.

Please note, however, that my initial reading of the dates, charges, offenses, etc. all show that during his time on the board he had not been convicted of any crime and therefore, even though he had been charged, he was not convicted and could serve. I could very easily be wrong and if I am I’ll let you know.

One of the problems with the Internet is that a massive amount of material can be placed on the web so that an organization actually floods the Internet with “their” side of an issue. All it takes is for the material to be slightly repackaged, even though it is essentially the same material, and because there are changes in format, style, layout and other details, but not in the actual content, an organization can flood the Internet, making it appear that a number of different organizations, including organizations that resemble legitimate news organizations, all share the same viewpoint. The crawlers, spiders, search engines, and whatever else, pick up the sites as being different, thought linked to the question. This is exactly what the Brady campaign does and does very effectively. Every (there was not an exception) site that contained information attacking the NRA and Abrams I traced back to the Brady Campaign. I was unable to locate a single independent source to verify their claims--even when I examined the Brady Campaign’s endnotes on their most official appearing PDF file it was filled with information generated within the Brady Campaign’s other publications. Granted, not all of the sources cited were Brady sources but so many were that it invalidates the Brady report on Abrams.

Still, I am not convinced that Abrams should be allowed to go unpunished and the transfer of guns that Swamp Thing mentioned does stick hard in my craw and I feel it is a violation of the spirit of the law, though it is apparently not a violation of the letter of the law. Too often the spirit and letter have been allowed to drift apart and the law suffers for it, especially in gun laws.

The final question I have is whether we would still have the right to own firearms if we did not have an NRA in Washington? To really understand the possible answers to the question we must get past all of the hyperbole and consider the history of firearms issues. If the answer is that the Second Amendment would stand as a sacred protection that does not require constant defense then the NRA should return to its roots of promoting marksmanship. On the other hand, if the answer is that the Second Amendment, like the First, and in fact most of the amendments of the Bill of Rights, must be constantly examined and defended, then the NRA’s role is an essential one, just as the organizations that are watchdogs of the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, etc., are all essential. I believe it is a valid question worthy of discussion.

What do you think?

glg

2 comments:

Swamp Thing said...

If I have my dates wrong about his board service vs. conviction date, I am more than willing to concede. Did NRA ever make a public statement about his resignation from the board? It may very well be on Abrams, who may have told NRA "I'm definitely going to beat these charges," which would have been an idiotic statement.

To your question, I'm sure the 2nd amendment would exist without the NRA. After all, even with the NRA, we've had tons of kooky anti-gun legislation put in place, and stay in place for years, before it's overturned by SCOTUS. So, some variant of the 2nd amendment (freedom to bear some arms, some of the time) would certainly exist without the NRA.

Question is, what would it (our second amendment rights) look like without the NRA? Would we wonder year-to-year if we could use this gun or that gun to hunt? Or if the ammo in our safe is now contraband? I think there would be a lot more uncertainty about our right to bear arms without the presence of the NRA. I do think that they keep the kookiest laws far away from being presented in Congress.

I'd like to see them tend their own house a bit, though. The movement doesn't need any more bad press. Prudence & pragmatism can go a long way.

Swamp Thing said...

And yes, I have long considered it a problem that the only substantial information on the case could be gleaned from the Brady Campaign and the lefty (and very anti-gun crime) Baltimore media.

I understand why Abrams' supporters have shied away from the fracas (a clear losing battle), but at some point, are you going to let your enemies define your life and legacy?

What about good things he had done? Maybe some of the charges were attributable to aggressive prosecution? A bad business partner? We will never know, because Sandy Abrams allowed (via failure to publish his own version ) the Brady Center to tell his story. That's on him.