by Max Brantley
Yesterday was Gun Appreciation Day across this exceptional land and it produced a fair amount of gun-related news:
* GUNS: APPRECIATE WITH CARE:In case you missed it, five people were injured at three accidental shootings at Gun Appreciation Day events nationwide.
* GUNS: LEGISLATE WITH EVEN MORE CARE: Bill Clinton, who took on the NRA as both a governor and president, offered other Democrats some advice in a speech yesterday devoted largely to the president's gutsy decision to employ his considerable campaign organization to a gun safety agenda. It was far more cautionary than remarks a week or so ago illustrated above. For one thing, Clinton said, it's best to remember that no matter what the polls say about majority opinion in favor of some new gun regulation, that sentiment can fall politically to the fervor of opponents. From Politico:
Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said.
“A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things,” Clinton said. “I know because I come from this world."
Clinton said that Democrats could win national dominance on other issues — economy, health care, immigration — but guns held peril. He noted Colorado, where a gun control measure won voter approval in 2000, but Al Gore lost the state, in part because of the anger of single-issue gun voters over Gore's support of closing the gun show loophole. And Clinton's own assault weapons ban cost many Democrats seats in Congress, he said. That experience could repeat in the current Obama push, he said.
Clinton also recalled threatening to veto a bill as Arkansas governor that would have prevented the city of Little Rock from instituting an assault weapons ban.
Clinton said that an National Rifle Association lobbyist threatened him over his veto in the state house, saying that the group would cause problems for his upcoming presidential campaign in rural states like Texas.
“Right there in the lobby,” Clinton said. “They thought they could talk to governors that way.
“I knew I was getting older when I didn’t hit him,” Clinton said. Clinton recalls telling the NRA lobbyist, “If that’s the way you feel, you get your gun, I’ll get my gun and I’ll see you in Texas.”
But he said that he understands the culture that permeates a state like Arkansas — where guns are a longstanding part of local culture.
“A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing,” he told the Democratic financiers. “Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.”
* GUNS: CAREFUL WHO YOU SHOOT: From the Garland County sheriff's office:
At approximately 1:45 this afternoon we received a call of a shooting at 265 Bryant Road in Garland County.
Reportedly, the suspect, 74 year old Clarence Lewis, walked into the yard of his neighbor, 62 year old James Southard, and shot him in the stomach without warning with a small caliber handgun. The victim (Southard) was able to get the handgun away from the suspect and used it to strike the suspect.
At this point the victim (Southard) is in surgery at a local hospital with unknown injuries and the suspect was treated and released from the hospital with lacerations to the head.
This is all the information we have been able to obtain, as the victim is in surgery and the suspect refuses to cooperate.
Lewis is being charged with Criminal Attempt at 1st Degree Murder, a class A Felony, and is being held at the Garland County Detention Center.