A Response to State Senator Perata's "Republican+NRA =Terrorism" Mailer


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Secret Master
October 29, 2004, 07:28 PM
Those of you who live in Contra Costa County may have receive a mailer from State Senator Don Perata entitled "Right-Wing Republicans + N.R.A. = Homeland Terrorism." Below is a copy of a letter which I have composed in response to this unamusing bit of political tripe. Having already submitted copies to the editors of the SF Chronicle as well as the Oakland Tribune I present to the High Road for your reading pleasure.


Dear Tribune Editor,

I recently received a rather alarming mailer from the office of State Senator Don Perata which, amongst other things, loudly pronounced on its front flap that "Right-Wing Republicans + N.R.A. = Homeland Terrorism." Imagine my surprise when I found that I, an NRA Republican from a family of the same, was a terrorist! Like most members of the National Rifle Association (not to mention the Republican Party) I thought that I was a patriotic, law-abiding citizen who took the War on Terror considerably more seriously than many of my Bay Area neighbors. Silly me!

Now of course I understand that this flyer is really about a subject near and dear to Senator Perata's heart: namely, the raising of cash funds for his friends at The Brady Campaign. In return for his help some of these funds will undoubtably flow back into his own campaign coffers in the near future. Fair enough. What I object to is the fact that very little of the information included within his mailer is actually true. The expiration of Clinton's Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 has been greeted with a shrug across our nation because, frankly, it hasn't changed anyone's life very much. Our streets aren't suddenly going to be flooded with machine gun toting terrorists because so called "assault weapons" (semiautomatic rifles dressed up in plastic) have never been a weapon of choice for American criminals, let alone our "terrorists, anarchists, political and religious fanatics" as Senator Perata claims. If they were it would be reasonable to assume that Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona (places which Senator Perata's mailer imply are as foreign as Afghanistan or Chechnya) would be as overrun with gangsters as they are with fleeing Californian businessmen. I can assure you that they are not.

One should never confuse the violent fantasies of Hollywood with real life. Statistically speaking "assault weapons" (I prefer the term sports utility rifle myself) have never accounted for more than 7% of criminal use of firearms in our country. The firearms of choice for most gun-carrying criminals are the same firearms that most law abiding citizens here and elsewhere favor: high-end handguns and shotguns of the sort that Senator Kerry has been seen strategically toting around Wisconsin lately. I don't see anyone around here accusing the Senator of being a terrorist even though his firearm of choice is, statistically speaking, far more likely to claim a life in the "neighborhoods, onto school grounds and on the streets of America," as the mailer rather dramatically puts it.

I submit to you that Senator Perata is guilty of tapping into that dark tradition of the Democratic Party which was so lamentably pioneered by former Georgia Governor George Wallace: namely fear and hatred of ones neighbors. Like George Wallace, Senator Perata hopes to gain political and financial capital by preying upon the ignorance and fears of uninformed voters in his district. But whereas George Wallace targeted African Americans in the Deep South, Senator Perata has picked a different politically powerless portion of the Bay Area's population to serve his ends: Republican gun owners. People like me.

I would ask anyone who reads this letter to remember that those of us whom the Peratas of the world seem to despise are not some sort of frightening "other" but instead your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and fellow citizens. We believe many of the same things that you believe. Yes, we may enjoy going to the rifle range more than the beach and buying revolvers more than sports cars but that hardly makes us "terrorists, anarchists, political and religious fanatics." I urge you to please ignore Senator Perata's demagoguery and look at the truth of responsible gun ownership in our nation instead.

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R.H. Lee
October 29, 2004, 07:41 PM
Excellent letter and worthy of publishing. Let us know if they print it.

Sactown
October 29, 2004, 08:14 PM
send it to Chronwatch as well.

bailer
October 29, 2004, 08:34 PM
Very nice!

I just noticed today that I could barely get home with the streets here so slick with blood.:rolleyes: If only it were safe to get back in my truck I could console myself by purchasing a few more 25 rounders for the 10/22.

If I sound bitter it's due to the three families from CA that have moved into my neighborhood in the last month. Two are sporting Kerry bumperstickers on their cars. We'll be outvoted in no time

Pilgrim
October 29, 2004, 10:14 PM
I thought George Wallace was the former governor of Alabama. Is there another one?

Pilgrim

Secret Master
October 29, 2004, 10:31 PM
Doooh! Well, you guys know what I meant.

Standing Wolf
October 29, 2004, 11:11 PM
...former Georgia Governor George Wallace...

Alabama.

Perata is one of the reasons I left the People's Republic of California two years ago to return to the United States.

El Rojo
October 30, 2004, 02:22 AM
Don't you hate that Secret Master? In what was a great letter is instantly ruined by one minor error. I have had the same done to me. I liked your comparisons and humor. Very good letter. I just hope it fits in the 250 words or less catagory and they don't think you are an idiot for one mistake. If you are really lucky, they might fix it for you. I probably would if I were an editor.

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