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Saturday, April 20, 2024

We live in a world full of myths. Never mind the tales of an undercover spy, or so-called “fairy” (likely Soviet-trained) sneaking into our children’s bedrooms to do Lord knows what with their precious teeth or the tales of a puppet hiding behind his nasal mutation to cover up his habitual dishonesty. No, we want to highlight supposedly truthful claims and offer a reminder of their unfounded foundations.

Unfortunately, this week’s topic concerns the 2016 election’s reference to a recent tragedy. “Bernie’s Sandy Hook shame,” read The New York Daily News’ headline last Wednesday, reporting on Sanders’ position that victims of gun crimes should not be able to sue gun manufacturers. Currently, family members of the Sandy Hook victims are in the process of a lawsuit against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the assault weapon used to kill 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

As Hillary Clinton told MSNBC on April 6, “That he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me.” No one is disputing the unfathomable horror and tragedy of Sandy Hook. But for the moment we need to separate the tragedy from current rhetoric. Think to yourself: Does Sanders really dismiss the families of Sandy Hook victims?

First of all, Sanders’ position on gun manufacturers has nuance. He believes manufacturers should, in fact, face liability “when they should know that guns are going into the hands of the wrong people.” So he’s not for complete immunity in all cases. Furthermore, Sanders strongly advocates for a national ban on assault rifles across the board — the type of weapon used in the Sandy Hook shooting.

Looking to the other side of the argument, to what extent does Clinton necessarily assume a moral high ground on guns compared to Sanders? She seems to have no problem making these accusations against him. Meanwhile, her campaign allowed for a mid-March Clinton fundraiser to be co-hosted by Jeff Forbes, a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. And just eight short years ago, when Clinton ran against Barack Obama, she proclaimed herself a “pro-gun churchgoer,” according to The New York Times.

Any human being with a moral compass sympathizes with the Sandy Hook victims, so in no way are we attacking Clinton’s character. But on a political level, she clearly has a record of flip-flopping on gun issues that she consistently fails to disclose. So to vilify Sanders for his gun position and further suggest his disregard for Sandy Hook victims now is disingenuous at best and, at worst, playing dirty politics with the Sandy Hook shooting.

This isn’t a debate on Sanders’ and Clinton’s gun policies, but rather a closer look at the myth, the hypocrisy of these Sandy Hook accusations. And this isn’t to say that Clinton is unique in politically motivated hypocrisy — such is the political game. But if Clinton’s going to profess she has tried and will always try “to level with the American people,” she needs to come clean about her own record before lashing out, especially when the families of Sandy Hook victims are catching the political crossfire.

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