Thought on Brady Campaign, etc.
Thought: faced with years of defeat, and no end in sight, the Brady Campaign has morphed (as it did once before, ranging out as Handgun Control Inc. into "assault rifle control" when the media began to drive that issue). Now it's becoming anti-self-defense, with its opposition to the Florida statutes liberalizing defense of the home (which statutes make no mention of handguns, guns, or any other implement).
What if the tide had gone the other way, and Brady had essentially gotten all that it claimed it was driving for? Oh, Brady Act, restrictions on gunshows, assault weapons ban renewed or even broadened. Would it have declared its objectives met, or moved on to national registration and permit systems (that it defends the DC handgun ban suggests not, and that an outright ban on handguns, at least, is seen as something praiseworthy). What then?
FoxNews has an interesting report on an organization faced with just that question. Mothers Against Drunk Driving succeeded in what seemed to be its ultimate goal: nationwide lowering of DUI levels from .15 to .12 to .08 (as the article notes, the average alcohol-related accident occurs at .17, and there's no credible evidence that lowering from .12 to .08 affects levels of those accidents). Plus, of course, stiff penalties -- here, mandatory jail, a thousand or so in fines, 90 days' suspension of license, for first offense, and much worse for second). As the article notes, MADD has moved on to pushing proposals to penalize driving after having consumed anyalcohol, if there is a child in the car -- penalties to include loss of custody or even termination of parental rights (i.e., you're legally no longer parent). Even its founder, the story notes, says it is becoming neo-prohibitionist.
BTW, I've got no personal interest in this. I was once hit by a DUI, and have never driven anywhere near .08 since that became the standard. I just find it interesting that an organization that has achieved its legal goals just keeps on going, in this case to measures both oppressive and ridiculous.
A writer I once knew made the observation that "Any organization that loses its mission goes insane." He noted how when government tried to take over roles originally held by the church (charity, morality, etc.) both organizations went nuts.
MADD and the Brady's may well be in the same position, though one has gone MADD from success, and the other from failure. But both no longer hold their original purpose.
Posted by: Guy Smith at October 18, 2005 09:50 PM