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April 6, 2013

Gun column fuels lawlessness, paranoia

By Skip West
The Daily Star

---- — John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln and leaps to the stage screaming, “Death to all tyrants”. Timothy McVeigh blows up an entire kindergarten class while wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Lincoln with same phrase. In Colorado, a judge who is working for rational and fair gun laws opens his front door and is shot dead.

In Oneonta, Chuck Pinkey’s words pour from the page of The Daily Star in a torrent of twisted thinking, prejudice and hate — and fill me with fear of what could come of his view of America.

There has been a “tip line” in place in New York since February 2012 for reporting possible gun violations to the proper authorities. Using a typical right-wing propaganda technique, Citizen Pinkey substitutes “informer” for “reporter” and makes it appear to be entirely Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s idea to have citizens inform on one another, police-state style. Pinkey bases much of the rest of his piece on this distortion.

• First: He maintains Cuomo is “picking on” upstate New York because, according to Pinkey, we have a negligible crime rate here. I would like him to explain that position to the families, friends and fellow officers of those state troopers and others who have lost their lives in protecting us here in the last few years. Mr. Pinkey, upstate New York does have serious crime problems, and a great many of them involve guns. Crime stats are not based on your personal opinion or imagination.

• Second: According to Pinkey, this terrible act [the tip line] by Gov. Cuomo has created a “frenzy” of fear among New York residents. This would lead [by Pinkey logic] to horrible violations of our “rights.”

Here’s what will actually happen in the real world. I will call the tip line and state that I have seen you with a gun that might be illegal. An agent will come to your house and politely request to see the gun in question. After examining the weapon, the agent will inform you that your gun is perfectly legal and leave after thanking you for your cooperation. The end.

• Third: Pinkey asks if “informants” should have to be paid. In a country where people care so little about each other they can witness murder and do nothing about it, the answer is yes.

• Fourth: Pinkey states: “In Gov. Cuomo’s America, constitutional rights can be taken away in the dead of the night without debate.” No examples, just further baseless accusation. The SAFE Act was passed by a wide margin in the state Senate and Assembly.

• Fifth: Pinkey states that in addition to all the above, Cuomo is “killing babies!” He makes it sound like our governor is poised above a helpless infant with bloody knife in hand, ready to slash away another innocent life while the screaming parents look on helplessly. Disgusting!

• Sixth: Mr. Pinkey accuses the governor of making a photo-op of a murderous shooting spree tragedy, as if he cared nothing about the people involved.

• Seventh: Suddenly, his article is about fracking. Fracking? There is zero logic involved in this transition but it does show clearly Mr. Pinkey’s actual purpose. He hates Gov. Cuomo, and is using a shotgun blast of falsehood to denigrate him.

• Everyone should read the latest articles on the Pennsylvania ghost towns which enjoyed a “fracking boom” about five years ago. Sorry, I do not want to drive through Otsego County five years from now and see empty stores, deserted homes, a poisoned environment and betrayed people.

• Eighth: Now Gov. Cuomo has become Judas Iscariot with this quote from Pinkey: “Certainly your ‘tip line’ and ‘30 pieces of silver’ that encourage upstate New Yorkers to turn in their neighbors and etc.!” A sick parable.

• Ninth: Next, the inevitable reference to Nazi Germany. This paragraph gives the impression that a country with realistic and sane weapons laws is like Nazi Germany [and guess who is Hitler?]. The only group I hear using the language of dictatorship and manipulating people with fear is Pinkey, and his fellow right-wingers.

• Tenth: Many right-wing rants eventually come around to the threat of violence against our government and here it is from Mr. Pinkey: “Create a few more stats about gun crimes and you never know, with a little luck, maybe tempers will flare, and there will be real trouble.”

My translation: “If you continue to press for reasonable and sane weapons legislation there will be a violent reaction from gun owners. Don’t forget, Gov. Cuomo, we have the guns and we will use them against those who dare to oppose us!”

Pinkey, this “real trouble” to which you refer might lead to the death of more innocent people. Your irresponsible column only makes matters worse.

Skip West is a Worcester resident. Contact him at