“In the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun — more than a thousand,” Obama declared during his Feb. 12 State of the Union speech.
Although Obama’s “more than a thousand” claim conflated the deaths of children and adults, suicides, accidents, self-defense and murders, he used his stage in Congress to push the emotional button hard.
“One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration … a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my [Chicago] house,” he said.
Since Pendleton’s death, Chicago police arrested a young man who had earlier been freed by the local court system, despite a string of suspected crimes.
“Chicago officers arrested him in October, 2011 for carrying a loaded .38 special, but a judge sentenced him to probation for two years. And even though he’d been arrested on other charges three times during that probationary period, he remained free,” said a Feb. 13 op-ed in the Chicago Tribune.
More than 500 people — mostly African-Americans — were murdered in 2012 in Obama’s adopted hometown, making it the murder capital of the United States. Under its progressive leadership, the city sharply restricts legal ownership of guns.
Obama’s sophisticated and broad 2014 push — which is backed by most of the established media — has prompted concern among some gun-rights enthusiasts who want to deliver a soft-edged message to suburban women.
That strategy would use media advertising to showcase women who have used guns to secure themselves and their families from commonplace crimes, a gun-rights activist told TheDC. (RELATED OPINION: Guns aren’t national news when they save lives)
The campaign should be easy to design, he said, because many women are signing up for firearms lessons.
That potential power of that campaign was showcased at a Jan. 30 Senate hearing, when conservative activist Gayle Trotter rebuked Democratic senators for trying to disarm women.
“Guns make women safer… guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation,” she declared, adding that “every woman deserves a fighting chance.” (RELATED OPINION: Gayle Trotter explains why banning guns isn’t the answer)
LaPierre’s op-ed, however, wasn’t aimed at suburban women.
Instead, it sought to rally the NRA’s base among gun-rights supporters.
“During the second Obama term … threats are growing,” he wrote. “Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States. Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, and though the states on the U.S./Mexico border may be the first places in the nation to suffer from cartel violence, by no means are they the last.”