The Washington Post’s Metro columnist John Kelly has climbed aboard the gun control train once again. Usually Kelly's writing is non-controversial non-political fare about local Washington, D.C. history, but this week, his columns turned political. For Inauguration Day, he turned his column into a screed to attack out-of-towners for being dismissive of the District of Columbia's lack of voting representation in Congress.
Two days later, Kelly turned his pen to pushing for more stringent gun regulations, recounting the horrific story of Judith Cox, a housewife who killed her four children, then turned the gun on herself, on Valentine's Day 1964.
This is a truly awful story, but if Kelly wants to politicize tragedy, then why didn’t he pick an event more recent to drive his point home? Well, because Mrs. Cox's husband Thomas became a gun control advocate afterwards, of course. Kelly devoted his January 24 column to Cox's activism.
Of course, it’s convenient that Kelly picked a time before most major federal and state gun control measures were put into effect.
Cox’s wife had been committed twice for mental illness. The 1968 Gun Control Act prohibits any one who has been declared mentally unstable, or has been committed to mental institution, from purchasing a firearm. But even with such common sense restrictions, there's no way to prevent a disturbed mother -- or father for that matter -- for using a knife or a bath tub to brutally murder their progeny.
Indeed, when Andrea Yates brutally killed her four children some years ago, she accomplished her heinous act by drowning them in a bath tub.
Cox bought her gun the very same day she killed her children and then herself. But would a waiting period have prevented the multiple homicide? No. It's likely she would have chosen alternative means. But alas, Kelly's aim is not a logical debate but a thoroughly emotional plea.
Apparently it's never too late -- even though nearly 49 years have elapsed -- to capitalize on a tragedy for political purposes.
This isn’t Kelly’s first foray into gun control advocacy. In July of 2012, NewBusters colleague Ken Shepherd noted that:
Kelly offered an idea of his for a gun control measure but concluded by grousing that it probably would never get passed into law because those pesky "Second Amendment absolutists" would get in the way and so, "we'll just continue to accept that the price for having a well-regulated militia is that homicidal maniacs will be able to buy guns as easily as buying tickets to a movie."
After noting how Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes "supposedly was odd enough to creep out a Colorado gun range owner" and citing "[a] report last year from the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns," Kelly offered, "How about requiring a co-signer for your gun license?" The co-signer "could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, anyone who could swear he knew no reason you shouldn't have a gun."
"[S]urely it would stop the friendless loners -- or at least deprive them of an easy way to kill," Kelly insisted.
Kelly, like most liberals skittish about guns, believes the burden of proof should begun purchasers to sufficiently defend their desire to own a gun, not on government to find a legitimate reason that disqualifies a potential purchaser due to criminal conviction of mental disability/illness.