Mainstream and social media are reporting today that the National Basketball Association is teaming with anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s gun control lobbying group, Everytown for Gun Safety, to foul Christmas Day games with “public service announcements” to “raise awareness about the issue of personal safety in our communities.”
It’s a tactic straight out of the gun control playbook, first exposed by this column on Aug. 1, 2013. The document, “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” advises users to “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.”
Heavens, no, why boor the public with the fact that, as revealed by Pew Research, the firearm homicide rate has declined dramatically since 1993? When that report appeared in 2013, the gun murder rate had dropped 49 percent, and that happened during a period when gun sales skyrocketed, and concealed carry began its stratospheric rise that continues today.
Indeed, according to Fox News, guns sales are soaring this holiday season. This sales boom was discussed yesterday on “The Five” with some puns and also a few barbs. The terror threat combined with reports that President Barack Obama is about to announce some executive orders relating to firearms regulation has jammed gun shops.
But while the NBA is sticking its toes into the boiling hot water of the gun debate, reportedly airing five ads during tomorrow’s basketball games, it must be noted that it took a British company to cut through all the holiday hype to deliver a message more grounded in what Christmas should be all about. It was an ad that aired last year from Sainsbury’s, a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, and was based on an actual incident on the European battlefield in 1914.
The advertisement may be viewed here. One cannot watch it without choking up or feeling teary-eyed. Whatever else this company’s holiday message conveyed, it underscored the fact that even in the worst of times – and trench warfare during WWI was horrific – we should all be capable of human kindness and dignity, even toward our enemies.
Soldiers from both opposing armies ceased fire all too briefly. The video shows how one British kid gave one German kid a chocolate bar, an act of humanity that transcends battlefield and political differences.
Why bring this up now? It’s because Christmas is supposed to be a day to set aside differences, rather than launch an effort that will likely infuriate tens of millions of honest citizens who have harmed nobody. Christmas also happens to be a birthday for many people on both sides of the Second Amendment debate, as it most certainly was for people on both sides of the line during the Great War a century ago, sharing the most important birthday of all.
On a personal note, back in early November, this columnist was on an all-too-short Wyoming deer hunt with veteran outdoorsman Jim Zumbo. While chatting, he observed that every morning “you’re immediately at war with somebody.” Two days later, after I had departed with a nasty flu bug, Zumbo suffered what he described as “a massive heart attack.” Ten days ago, he underwent triple bypass surgery and is now at home recovering, and this correspondent is going to get a flu shot next fall.
Back on the battlefield of 1914, British and German troops in some spots along the front line somehow managed to set aside their differences for a little while. The Sainsbury’s ad from last year, marking the centennial observance of that Christmas miracle, reminds us all that sometimes enemies can call a truce rather than spend one more day trying to rub the other side’s nose in it.
In an ideal world, all rights, including those secured by the Second Amendment, would be sacrosanct, and wars would be fought only with soccer balls and chocolate bars (watch the Sainsbury’s video). Have a Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.
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