Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sometimes Things Aren't What They Seem - Fast & Furious Edition

By now it seems that the Fast and Furious scandal has been one of those things that people have tried to force into our sense of outrage. For some it appears that guns appeared in the hands of drug lords in Mexico and somehow a border agent gets killed by one of them. However, the House subcommittee investigating this has been trying to paint that this was a plot by Obama to get an agent killed and then use public outrage over this to take people's guns away.

While this has been the drumbeat leading to a party line vote in order to try and get Attorney General Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress (over not releasing some papers that may or may not be part of ongoing investigations), there has been a relative shrug from the general public (they have their own problems after all). Over the last week or so this meme seems to be unavoidable. However, an article today in Fortune tells a completely different story.

What hadn't been heard is that ATF agents weren't openly walking guns over the border in hopes of snaring drug dealers. In fact, they were hoping to nab straw weapons sales. However, attempts to seize weapons fell apart due to prosecutors not wanting to enforce existing laws that were reportedly extremely weak in Arizona.

This revelation comes as a surprise in a news cycle that seems to have been hit over the head with the Obama will use this to take away our guns meme. This is ironic given that President Obama expanded gun rights. Under his watch people can bring guns into national parks. In addition, people in America can now bring guns onto Amtrak trains. This is a far cry from the image of someone coming after thier guns whether you want to give them up or not.

However, we currently live in a world where people took Ronald Reagan;s 1988 quip that "facts are stupid things" as a mantra. Their response to why Obama hasn't went for the throat on gun control is...well, I'll let Wayne LaPierre of the NRA say it himself.

Yup, you heard that right. According to LaPierre, Obama's relatively hands off stands on weapons is just a conspiracy so he can take everyone's guns once he's re-elected. And he's been pushing this for months now.

So what's next? I wish I knew. Odds are even if Holder gets held in contempt of Congress, it might not go anywhere. Obama has claimed executive privilege on said documents (which may not have much to do with the investigation and has more to do with Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA) doing grandstanding in an election year). the right is pissed over this (though were extremeley silent when Dubya invoked it on a number of occasions between 2001-2009.).

What I do know is while the brouhaha over Fast and Furious has gained a small amount of traction, the far right's attempt to make it worse than Watergate is overblown. For most people, this is a problem but one that pales next to the economy and other issues that affect us all day to day.

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