You can count on it. Every time there's a mass shooting in this country, the Left comes out of the woodwork to hurl obscenities and point its finger at ... who else? The National Rifle Association.
It's as if the NRA, not the shooter, is the murderer. And in Florida the person who apparently personifies evil gun-love is powerful, longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer.
So, the word out there in Leftland is, we'd better demonize her. We'd better keep the rhetoric coming, because at age 78, Hammer and her friends in the Legislature "have turned a debate over the constitutional rights of gun owners into a public safety menace."
It's important that the Left remind us Hammer and the GOP are to blame for the lack of what progressives call “common sense” gun regulations. Hammer and the party are the puppeteers, and GOP politicians are their marionettes. So, let's keep repeating this. Let's beat it like a drum. Let's keep slapping labels on Hammer -- "angry deity" and "gun moll" and "the NRA's killing machine."
Marion Hammer was the first woman president of the National Rifle Association in the 147-year existence of the organization. The NRA was 125 years old in 1996 when she was elected. But she is so much more than an NRA board member and past president.
Ever since I arrived in Tallahassee I was told over and over how beloved Hammer was, that 5 million NRA members love this woman. "Marion's dedication, her honesty, her exceptional commitment to the NRA, the Second Amendment and our cause of Freedom are unequaled," they told me.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush best defined her character: “When she says it, you know she means it, and you know her word is golden. She is an extraordinary woman in a man’s world, and she’s one of the most effective advocates in the political process over a long period of time.” See the video on this page profiling her.
You want to read more about Marion Hammer's accomplishments, read this.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, who worked extensively with Hammer during his years in the Florida House before being elected to Congress, wrote this in the Fall 2015 issue of Influence magazine:
“I knew the greatest force in Florida politics was on my side," Gaetz declared. "Marion Hammer is the chief [Florida] lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. Armed with decades of political and legislative experience, financial resources, and the most engaged/informed/rabid liberty-loving constituency, she is widely regarded as the most powerful state-level lobbyist in Florida (and probably the United States). ... Her judgment is trusted with good reason.”
The pointy fingers and general demonization actually have multiplied since the January 2017 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, because that incident happened before the circus came to town -- that is, in an ordinary year. The Parkland massacre was timed perfectly for the Left to make hay, in this election year when Democrats are feeling their oats and fancy their chances.
Forgive the reference to Game of Thrones here, but it's as if 90 percent of the journalists in this country see the NRA and Marion Hammer as the White Walkers, out to destroy all living beings. Powerful progressive organizations, on the other hand, get to be the engines of social justice. They are the persuasive force that helps put our nation on the right side of history.
Not exactly fake news, maybe, but certainly a serious slanting of it.
Journalists often go out of their way to treat the NRA differently than they do every other activist group.
Commenting in the National Review, senior writer David French said, "Yes, (journalists) recognize that liberal groups like the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood are important, but they do not treat progressive politicians as those organizations’ puppets. Instead, they do the accurate thing: They cast progressive politicians and progressive organizations as part and parcel of a larger progressive community that shares certain ideas and values and speaks for tens of millions of American citizens."
Why not treat the NRA like that?
Debate Florida's gun laws or lack of them, their effectiveness, their enforcement, all the measures that need to be taken to prevent another Parkland. But realize, please, that it isn't Marion Hammer who strikes fear in the hearts of Florida lawmakers. It's the people back home they represent. The people who don't want to see their Second Amendment rights abridged.
Uncompromising Hammer does nothing more than reflect the wishes of a very large community that senses those rights eroding. It's a job she happens to do as well as anyone who has ever tried. And nothing so cuts her enemies into little pieces as that.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith