You probably remember the name Andy Parker from the tragic shooting of two journalists, Adam Ward and Andy’s daughter Alison, during a live broadcast at their local news station. As soon as the details of the brutal killing were revealed, Andy became a focus of sympathy across the nation while his family’s grief was played out on television screens everywhere. But no sooner than the funeral arrangements had been made, Andy was back in the public eye, this time as an anti-gun activist. He was actively recruited by one of Michael Bloomberg’s groups and has been making the rounds of every cable news show and online news outlet that would have him.
In the wake of the mass shooting in Oregon, Andy was at it again, this time with an ill conceived editorial for CNN.
The common denominator in these cases is also the too easy access to guns. And that has got to change. Yes, there is undoubtedly a mental health component to these attacks, and that needs looking at. But addressing access and mental health shouldn’t be seen as somehow mutually exclusive.
When I heard about Thursday’s attack, my heart broke for the families affected. But it quickly turned to rage, because I can’t believe that this is continuing. The president is right — we do need to politicize this. Because opponents of gun control like the NRA sure have politicized the issue. Rep. McCaul knows this very well, because he has been given an A grade by the organization’s political action committee for his voting record and positions.
Mr. Parker’s editorial is actually quite mild in tone compared to some of his appearances on TV of late. When he showed up for one of his many spots on CNN he accused the NRA of perverting the Republican Party, as well as saying that they have “blood on their hands” for the death of his daughter and the more recent victims in Oregon. He made the same bloodied hands comment about essentially every Republican who didn’t immediately call for new gun grabbing measures. (And to be clear, Mr. Parker blames only the Republicans, not the failed law enforcement policies of Democrats in the major cities where most gun deaths take place.)
The number of things that Parker gets wrong in both his editorial and his TV gigs is too great to detail here. (He recently told the CNN morning host that Jeb Bush was the GOP “frontrunner” for the nomination after his stuff happens comment.) Parker is spouting all the practiced rhetoric of the anti-gun preachers on the left who have swept him eagerly into their arms. My default reaction was not to blame the man, honestly. He’s just lost a child in tragic circumstances and lashing out is understandable. Plus, the Democrats have never been shy about exploiting a victim of tragedy for political gain when it comes to Second Amendment rights.
But in this case I’m not so sure. Andy bounded back awfully quickly from such a life shattering loss. And it’s not as if he was a stranger to politics, at least on the local level. He actually needed to drop out of a political campaign he was engaged in when he lost his daughter so that he could pursue an anti-gun agenda on a national level full time. (I’m sure you won’t be terribly shocked if you find out that he was a Democrat.) He also seemed rather fast on the uptake to declare that he would need to buy a gun (?!) to defend himself for the crime of arguing against gun ownership.
The usual rules of engagement in our American Game of Thrones don’t apply to Mr. Parker as far as I’m concerned. Normally, no matter what sort of outrage he was spouting I would leave him out of the discussion by virtue of not being a player and presumably being engulfed by unimaginable grief. Not so here, though. It’s precisely those factors which make him such an attractive spokesmodel to Bloomberg’s forces, who no doubt assume that nobody would be so callous as to counter his arguments. But Andy has put himself on the playing field by leaving the side of his grieving family to become a national figure on a widely debated issue of the day. And he’s dead wrong on virtually everything he’s had to say so far. Sorry, Andy, but you lost your free pass when you suited up and put yourself on the front lines. Now you get to face the same scrutiny as everyone else who wants to be a player.