Why Howard Kurtz Is Dangerously Wrong

Howard Kurtz, among others, are being very vocal in their defense of Meet The Press host David Gregory. I understand his arguments that Gregory didn’t intend to commit a violent crime while showing a 30 round AR-15 magazine on television. But he (or the show) did apparently ask for permission to show it and that request was denied by Washington D.C. police.

The facts are pretty straightforward. Gregory (or the show) knew that it was a crime in Washington D.C. to be in possession of a high capacity magazine, they ignored the law and they showed the crime being committed on television.

Is the particular law ridiculous? I don’t know. But it was enough to put this wounded veteran in jail earlier this year. And Lieutenant Kim wasn’t aware, like Gregory was, that he was committing a crime.

Whatever the gun laws are, they need to apply to everyone. If a wounded vet can be jailed for inadvertently violating them, so should Mr. Gregory. For journalists to hold themselves to a different standard than everyone else is absurd and hypocritical.

Many of the existing and proposed gun laws do little to deter crime. A few years ago I received death threats from a man who was clearly deranged and had previously been convicted of a felony. Yet he still possessed multiple guns and other weapons.

He was never charged with a crime.

If Gregory walks away from this without being charged, this can easily become a rallying cry for gun rights advocates. Many of these people are already on the edge of paranoia, convinced the government wants to strip them of their weapons as a prelude to tyranny. Giving special treatment to those who are in favor of gun control and allowing them to flout laws will only increase that paranoia.

If people (like me) really want tighter gun control they need to show that even their own are not exempt from prosecution. That’s the only way for them to logically defend their arguments.

If I was Gregory I would proudly turn myself in to the police and plead guilty to violating the law. It would be a powerful message that he truly believes in the laws he’s supporting and is willing to make a personal sacrifice to make this country safer. The fact that he isn’t doing that shows little more than hypocrisy.

30 thoughts on “Why Howard Kurtz Is Dangerously Wrong

  1. Alexander Muse says:

    Bravo!

  2. Different Question: Why does it have to be a paranoia?
    Let’s look at some datapoints:
    1930′s Germany: Jews are specifically disarmed and banned from possession of firearms. Gun laws tightened up for everyone else.
    1920+’s USSR: Population disarmed, guns are only in possession of Soviet govt agents
    Feudal Japan: Peasants banned from owning any form of weapon, sword is a ritualized object of power and privilege.
    1950+’s China: Population at large is disarmed, banned from owning weapons, and Mao slaughters millions of middle class families, imprisons millions more in work camps.
    1950′s Cuba: population is disarmed, marginalized (and disenters with tyranny are of course slaughtered)

    I don’t think the U.S. government is anywhere near as bad or malicious as the best of those governments/societies listed, but let’s not kid ourselves. Our government only works when we stand up for ourselves, and all the scraps of antique paper aren’t going to protect our rights when push comes to shove.

    Respect comes through the mutual realization that the people have teeth, and we need to make sure those teeth don’t rot thanks to some plaque-heads like Gregory.

    • Cursivex says:

      By calling it “paranoia” you can trivialize arguments you don’t agree with. Is an ad hominem attack.

    • By making an ad hominem attack we can dismiss arguments we don’t agree with. Is an individual right grand in the Bill of Rights.

    • Martin Baker says:

      Nicely repeated NRA propanda.
      It is, however, misleading in several points. First, the Nazis actually relaxed gun control for the general population compared to the Weimar Republic when they came into power.
      Second, without relaxed gun control in Cuba before the revolution, Castro’s rise to power would probably not have been possible. Same goes for the Taliban in Afghanistan in the late 90′s.
      Third, most democratic states have enacted gun control laws and somehow they haven’t turned into oppressive dictatorships yet. How do you explain that?

      • Nice lead in with an ad hominem attack.
        I hesitate to quibble with your first and second points. I believe we’ll both see what we want to see here.

        The third however, I think is a misunderstanding and requires clarification. It’s great that states exercise their rights; I believe this is what the founding fathers intended. The point isn’t that banning guns turns a country into a dictatorship only that there is a close relationship between disarming a population and the formation of a dictatorship. Arguing over this relationship is like arguing over the relationship between the freedom of speech and dictatorships.

    • All this was before the internet and Social Media. In a country that sparked this evolution, if the US government were somehow violating human rights, there would be no way to cover it up.

  3. The law in question is unconstitutional. “Shall not be infringed” is pretty clear cut.

  4. The Riot Act says:

    Aside that the veteran’s story, as per your link, isn’t exactly analogous to Mr. Gregory’s, I disagree with the premise here–that criminal punishment should be ubiquitous and without mitigating circumstances.

    I understand that people lose “faith” in the state when it doesn’t mete out punishment credibly in law when it applies to criminals. If citizens don’t see a law being enforced then the law and the state lose a margin of power to deter criminals. This could have a ripple effect, a slippery slope that might lead to a positive argument for gun rights.

    However, I do believe that credibility for the state is more nuanced than just the surface relationship between law abiding citizens and mere enforcement. There is a complex, normative value structure between state and citizen that is intuitively considered in cases where we might have a slightly less deserving “criminal” and a potentially dangerous one.

    All that to say, nice post. I’m now a follower.

  5. kyle says:

    he probably should turn himself in, to highlight how ridiculous laws are now. this gun law does not apply to everyone.

    illegal to show a high capacity clip on tv in a studio in DC, but totally cool to stockpile those across the border in VA and most of the US…

  6. Zen Icon says:

    From rewatching the Newscast, it appears that the case that David Gregory is holding was ‘empty,’ therefore the case wasn’t IMHO illegal. It was Illegal to show a case containing the ammo.

  7. This is absolutely right. The arrogance of the Washington beltway insider elite is one of the things that causes the dysfunctional relationship between all branches of government and the American public. The view that there’s one law for the little guy and one for connected insiders is pernicious and rots society from the inside. When it’s validated by clear examples like this it takes a deeper hold and is harder to dislodge – because, of course, it’s so clearly true. With such a public example as this there HAS to be consequences. The fact that it’s on such a hot button issue means there’s less wiggle room as it won’t go away if it’s just ignored. The beltway media repeatedly fails to do the job it’s given such a privileged position to do – which is hold the governing elites accountable. Does anyone think they’ll be more inclined to so so when the governing elites give them a free pass over lawbreaking. You scratch my back…

  8. Seanie Byrne says:

    Great, this is what people are talking about after that interview…

  9. pb says:

    You left out a couple details: a) the ATF said it would be OK if the magazine was unloaded (it was unloaded) and b) not only did Kim possess actual firearms, all the charges were dropped.

  10. Honestly this just shows how odd laws like this are. It’s a few pieces of metal/plastic. This reminds me of the DeCSS situation [0]. In which of these situations am I breaking a law? Magazine and spring with no follower. Magazine and follower no spring. Just the magazine. Having all three with an extra large follower that prevents the magazine from actually holding more than X rounds. Besides being trivial actions all of these involve simple bits of plastic or metal.

    Pretty soon we’ll be able to prin these things and leave them in the street. Don’t pick one up otherwise you become a criminal.

    Honestly no one should be considered to have violated the law for being in possession of a pound of plastic and metal.

    [0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeCSS

  11. David says:

    … “Howard Kurtz, among others, are being very vocal in their defense of Meet The Press host David Gregory…” — Well, Mike, please come back to reality. I mean Washington DC “reality,” where this type of situation was, most probably, approved in advance — let’s not forget that NBC, as well as the “media” in general. are in lockstep with the Obama administration. It probably took just a phone call from the White House to the DC Mayor to offer “suggestions,” meaning “let’s this slide and we will not mess around with Federal money that generously flows to the DC Government…”
    Howard Kurtz speaks for the White House and knows of the Obama agenda regarding repealing of the Second Amendment…
    In a related situation, sale of all types of guns has skyrocketed since Obama’s reelection — now, wonder why is this happening…

  12. nate says:

    Yeah, well, laws are made to be interpreted in our system. informing the public in a journalistic pursuit in my opinion trumps the law in this case–where no immediate threat or danger to the public exists, and no intent to commit a crime–and probably can find other such precedents (though am too lazy to look right now). However, it would be interesting to see Gregory join Bubba and maybe do some time covering the penal system. Lot of pun in there, sorry.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      It would be interesting if his attorney in the trial that will never happen were to bring up a first amendment defense to the crime. I’d love to see how the Supreme Court analyzed that.

  13. g says:

    David Gregory is a moron and deserves to go to jail. So does his Fannie May executive wife. These people are what is wrong with America.

  14. It appears to me that my liberal friends owe James O’Keffe a big apology for demanding that he be arrested for the investigative journalism that he has practiced to expose voter fraud and corruption by elected officials.

  15. David says:

    Hi Michael,

    It has occurred to me lately that you are a truth teller. Thank you for that.

    Keep up the good work!

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