In Asheville, North Carolina, the Gannett-affiliated Citizen Times gave wall-to-wall coverage to the city's version of Saturday's March For Our Lives. Somehow, though, the paper didn't find the time or energy for almost three weeks to report a March 7 comment by a Democratic candidate for county sheriff who told a Michael Bloomberg-funded "Moms Demand Action" group that prying guns out of owners' "cold dead hands" would be "okay." Finally, the paper noted the controversy on Tuesday — and came down on R. Daryl Fisher's side.
Fisher is one of several declared candidates for sheriff in Buncombe County's May 8 Democratic primary. The county's current sheriff, a three-term Democrat, is retiring after an overwhelming 2014 reelection victory. Hillary Clinton carried the county by 14 points in 2016.
Fisher may not to be a fringe candidate by county standards. He is certainly not fringe by the standards of his March 7 audience, which frequently and enthusiasticallly applauded and cheered as he recited a litany of guns and accessories he'd like to ban. The crowd's reactions make the following video excerpts all the more alarming.
The two snips below identify Fisher as determined to outlaw many varieties of weapons. He also treats the idea of taking guns from people who would rather die than give up their human right of self-defense as a laughing matter (a fuller, 5-1/2 minute segment is here):
R. DARYL FISHER: I would like to see the age for the purchase of any firearm raised to 21. I just think that makes common sense. (Applause)
I think that we should ban the sale of all high-capacity magazines (applause), including handguns and long guns. (Applause)
I think we need to ban the sale of any mechanism which will allow a firearm to fire in rapid succession. (Long applause)
FISHER: Now to answer your question, how far do we go?
Any weapon that's designed for use by the military, I think we should ban. (Long applause)
To answer the question, what about the people that already have weapons. Well, I'm gonna tell you now, don't buy into the scare tactics. Don't believe the scare tactics, because you've heard people say, "You'll have to pry my gun from my cold, dead hands."
(Shrugs) Okay. (Applause and laughter)
Whenever you pass away, we'll come and get it. ... (unintelligible) ... I'm sayin'.
Tuesday's Citizen Times story acts as if the Moms Demand Action group didn't enjoy Fisher's joke — and gave him a pity party for the some comments and actions (to be clear, many were indeed indefensible) made by critics:
... the embattled Democratic candidate for sheriff in Buncombe County vowed Tuesday to stay in the race despite having received threats "too numerous to count" in the days since being targeted by far-right social media trolls enraged by offhanded comments he said he meant as a joke. ... "You've heard people say 'You'll have to pry my guns from my cold, dead hands...OK," he says with a shrug receiving a few chuckles from the crowd.
The video above shows that the paper's reported "few chuckles" is really a room rip-roaring with laughter and sustained applause.
Fisher must not have been bothered by the tone of his comments, because he didn't address them until late Saturday night when the national blowback began. Now he wants to limit the damage to his "joke":
... There is one statement that many up to now have taken offense to.
... I admit the joke was a mistake and I should not have joked. But I go on to relay that the government cannot take away any guns or any items that were legally sold before any new laws take effect.
What's offensive is far more than "one statement." Fisher is fortunate so far that his "joke" is getting almost all of the attention. The litany of weapons he would ban is far more troubling.
In unexcerpted video, Fisher claims that the government can't confiscate guns, even if it wants to. Unfortunately for him, anyone who has followed Democrats' and the left's obsession with gun control knows that many of them would like nothing better than to confiscate citizens' guns. Additionally, a few political jurisdictions have taken steps in that direction.
R. Daryl Fisher's "joke" and his desire to ban a large variety of firearms had to be eventually discovered by others because journalists at the Citizen Times wouldn't report what happened right under their noses until forced to. Even then, as shown above, they did so disingenuously.
A version of this post drafted early Monday before the Citizen Times covered this story is at BizzyBlog.com.