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IN: Maybe Democrats should visit more gun shows

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Harry Tuttle, Nov 11, 2004.

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  1. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Member

    Nov 14, 2003

    Maybe Democrats should visit more gun shows
    Pierre M. Atlas
    November 11, 2004

    We've all heard that "moral values" topped the list of voter concerns
    in the exit polls. As numerous pundits have noted, same-sex marriage
    was the ultimate wedge issue in this presidential election.

    But the Second Amendment was another critical element in the cluster
    of "traditional values" that President Bush successfully championed.
    The National Rifle Association wholeheartedly backed Bush and played
    a major role in mobilizing millions of gun owners against John Kerry.

    For many Americans, this election was more about God, guns and gays
    than about Iraq or terrorism.

    I witnessed the passion behind the gun issue on the last weekend in
    October when I attended the Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show at the Indiana
    State Fairgrounds, one of the largest gun shows east of the
    Mississippi. Thousands of guns were on display, from rare
    collectibles to the latest pistols and assault rifles.

    I've been to many gun shows in several states, but this was the first
    time I attended one just three days before a presidential election.
    The gun show was Bush country. Almost every display table had Bush-
    Cheney bumper stickers and signs. Many attendees wore Bush or NRA
    hats and T-shirts. One T-shirt said, "The Second Amendment: America's
    Original Homeland Security." If there were any Kerry supporters at
    this venue, they were keeping their opinions to themselves.

    Gun shows attract both the mainstream and the fringe. Randy Weaver of
    Ruby Ridge had a book-signing booth. Next to him was a "My Man Mitch"
    table. As is the norm, the attendees were overwhelmingly white, with
    a few blacks and Hispanics in the crowd. But those who have never
    been to a gun show might have been surprised by the number of women
    walking up and down the aisles. There were uniformed police officers
    from across the state engaged in small talk with civilians carrying
    weapons for sale. At a gun show, the guns themselves are simply a
    matter of fact, no more controversial or intimidating than cats would
    be at a cat show. It is considered by many to be a wholesome
    experience. I saw dozens of families walking around, with some dads
    looking to buy their son or daughter a first .22 rifle or shotgun.

    On the drive home that day, I put the radio on a local country music
    station. It played the Toby Keith song, "Courtesy of the Red, White
    and Blue," which is not just a hit on the charts, but served as an
    unofficial anthem of the Bush campaign. When the song was over, the
    DJ commented on its patriotic theme and said, "Keep that in mind when
    you go to the polls on Tuesday."

    Country music, like gun ownership, has long been one of the many
    threads in the American fabric. But increasingly both have become
    easy indicators of partisan and ideological affiliation. Partisanship
    now permeates popular culture, with country singers on one side and
    rock stars on the other. And conservatives have their own "political
    correctness," as the Dixie Chicks quickly found out.

    The cultural, regional and ideological gulf within the nation is, if
    anything, wider now than in 2000. It is also urban versus suburban
    and rural. Many Bush voters were endorsing the president's values and
    beliefs, not just his policies. Bush received 51 percent of the vote
    nationally but 60 percent in Indiana, one of the northernmost red
    states. If the Democrats are to avoid being relegated to the
    perpetual role of minority opposition, they will need to develop and
    articulate an alternative, coherent set of cultural values that
    resonates with, rather than alienates, a larger number of Americans
    living between the two coasts.

    Guns might be a place to start. In the Indiana House elections, the
    NRA endorsed candidates in 77 of the 100 districts: 46 were
    Republicans, but 31 were Democrats. On the other hand, the national
    Democratic Party, which demonizes gun shows and ridicules gun owners,
    has little credibility with the millions of gun owners who have been
    willing to vote for local Democrats in the red states.

    With guns in perhaps one of every two households in this country,
    that's something Democrats need to consider as they begin their much-
    needed soul-searching.

    Atlas is assistant professor of political science and director of the
    Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College. Contact him
    at patlas@marian.edu
  2. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    IndyStar is in many opinion the most Lib Rag in the MidWest

    This is the most neutral story I have seen from them in the 5 years I've lived there.
    Another point for In residents I have wittnessed is indiference to candidates and siding with the AWB. There are the panicked soccermom and cheerleader camp moms to reactionarys to cop killings this year. One university officer killed with his own service gun and another who died from an ak/ar clone wieded by confirmed mental case who needed treatment.
    This article is a streaching swing from recent election editorial opinions. I would take it with a grain of salt considering the press. Indiana re-elected a socialist senator.
  3. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    If he was there, why didn't he buy my carbine for sale. :neener:
  4. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "It is considered by many to be a wholesome experience. "

    Imagine that!
  5. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Well, yeah. I went with my father for my birthday. Warning: do not go with your father, he will stand there ooing and ahhing and not spending a dime of money (he asked me for the $7 to get him in and "allowed" me to buy lunch) and ask you [repeatedly] "are you really going to buy that?", "do you need that much ammo?", "don't you already have 5 of those?". ;)

    Was nice to be out with him, otherwise he would be at home keeping in constant contact with the Weather Channel and running out to check his barometer and rain gauge. That's his work, for fun he walks around Lowe's or Menard's on weekends giving out free advice on home improvement projects.

    "Excuse me, sir. Do you work here?" :uhoh:
  6. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Washed out of Four-dollar Bayou. Now I'm... somewh
    Back to the subject...

    Thanks, Harry. I have forwarded this to places it needs to be read.
  7. PaleRyder

    PaleRyder Member

    Oct 16, 2004
    It was an excellent show. I did not know at the time Weaver was there. I also didn't have any spare cash or guns to trade for some of the really nice firearms I would have liked to have gone home owning.
  8. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Essex Co, MA
    ET-- "If he was there, why didn't he buy my carbine for sale."

    Maybe because you were asking $800 for a Universal with a drilled receiver. :neener:
  9. ZeroX

    ZeroX Member

    May 30, 2004
    Bloomington, IN
    Surely there exists a second Indy Star somewhere that I don't know about. It can't be the same one I'm familiar with. :confused:
  10. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    Chipper, I see you are familiar with El Tejon's gun policies. BTW, there was a "1" in front of that "$800". :neener:
  11. Archie

    Archie Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Familiar subject...

    I've read any number of articles lately about how the Democrats need to do this or that to win in 2008. Embrace family values, other than homosexual marraige; downplay abortion; be seen in church and so on.

    So I offer an old quotation to the Democratic Party for a new motto:

  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    ...unlike Democratic (sic) party functions, which attract the fringe and the completely insane.
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