Half-Truths Or Lies?

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Any individual or group that has to resort to distortions of fact or outright lies to support its political agenda is in serious trouble. This pretty much defines the policy of anti-gun organizations and politicians for whom distortions of fact are increasingly a way of life. There have been far too many examples to list here, but one of my favorites was an op-ed piece by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (a founding member of the anti-gun club) that ran a few years ago in USA Today.

It was titled “Bullets For Boy Scouts?” and in it Lautenberg railed indignantly about how the Government was going to spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars by directing the Department of Defense to turn over tens of thousands of guns and millions of rounds of ammo to organizations such as the Boy Scouts. In his words: “The total tab to the American taxpayer for this boondoggle is over $76 million. Why should taxpayers be delivering cost-free to American gun enthusiasts more than 176,000 rifles and enough ammunition to start a small war?”

Having read this, many innocent readers no doubt shared Lautenberg’s supposed outrage. But those who bothered to check Lautenberg’s facts discovered a cleverly worded deception. The supposed $76 million giveaway had been the cost, many years before, of the 176,000 rifles–military rifles that were long since obsolete and scheduled for destruction, as was the equally outdated ammo. In fact, the cost of destroying those rifles would perhaps have been in the millions, but congressional watchdogs introduced the very legislation Lautenberg deplored to save taxpayers the money by putting the rifles and ammo in the hands of qualified organizations like the Boy Scouts, to be used for teaching gun safety and other worthwhile marksmanship programs. Clearly a win/win situation for everyone except Lautenberg and his cronies.

So Lautenberg practiced distortion by telling only part of the story, and perhaps in his anti-gun view a half-truth is not a lie. But one thing is sure: Without resorting to such distortions the anti-gun movement would turn to ashes. And they know it.

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