Double Standards on Death

The Obama administration’s selectivity on gun violence.

“No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” President Obama said at the memorial service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, “but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this. If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.”

The president also quoted scripture but he overlooked a key reality. When it serves their interest, the federal government is willing to promote the illegal sale of weapons that wind up in the hands of violent criminals. Consider Operation Fast and Furious, for example.

President Obama and Felipe Calderon, then president of Mexico, believed that American guns cause violence in Mexico and that 90 percent of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials repeated this charge with the obedience of Susan Rice claiming that the deadly terrorist attacks on Americans in Libya were caused by a video. The apologists cited no study for the 90 percent claim, which shapes up as pure invention. The evidence suggests, however, the Obama administration took steps to make the charge real.

Andre Howard is owner of the Lone Wolf gun store in Glendale, Arizona. In 2009, agents of the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms ordered Howard to sell weapons to every illegal purchaser, including Jaime Avila Jr. who purchased AK-47s. Howard had serious misgivings about the plan but AFT agents assured him they would monitor the purchasers and track the weapons. Unfortunately, the federal agents lost track of 2,000 of the weapons, which did wind up in the hands of violent criminals on both sides of the border.

When Mexican bandits killed U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry two weapons from Fast and Furious were found at the scene. Weapons from the operation have showed up at other crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, where in August Mexican federal police opened fire on vehicles carrying U.S. government employees.

Jaime Avila has been sentenced to 57 months in prison but overall punishment for the deadly operation has been light and the media have lost interest. The Justice Department produced a report on Fast and Furious but that same Department approved wiretap applications for that operation. Attorney General Eric Holder still has his job.

President Obama, meanwhile, did not make a televised speech at Brian Terry’s memorial service. Neither did the president appear on television in the wake of Major Nidal Hasan’s murderous rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood. Hasan’s 13 victims included Aaron Nemelka, 19, and Francheska Velez, 22 and pregnant with her first child. As Andrew McCarthy noted in Spring Fever, Major Hasan was a “five-alarm jihadist” but the Department of Defense report on the massacre writes it off as a case of “workplace violence.”

Bible-quoting president Barack Obama was doubtless sincere in his message at the Sandy Hook memorial service. But as the record shows, the Obama administration can be rather selective when it comes to the victims of gun violence. Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza is dead but Major Nidal Hasan, who yelled “Allah is great!” as he gunned down his 13 victims and wounded many others, has yet to be sentenced. Justice delayed is justice denied.

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