In the aftermath of the horrific Newtown, Conn., school massacre, Americans from all parts of the political spectrum agree that we need to pay more attention to mental health issues. Public death threats and incitements to violence must be taken seriously. The incendiary witch hunt against law-abiding, peaceful gun owners is neither noble nor effective. It's just plain insane.
Over the past week, I've witnessed a disturbing outbreak of off-the-rails hatred toward gun owners and Second Amendment groups. Whatever your views on guns, we can all agree: The Newtown gunman was a monster who slaughtered his own mother, five heroic educators and 20 angel-faced schoolchildren. He ignored laws against murder. He bypassed Connecticut's strict gun control regulations, and he circumvented the Sandy Hook Elementary School's security measures. Every decent American is horrified and heartsick by this outbreak of pure evil.
But tens of millions of law-abiding men and women own and use guns responsibly in this country. The cynical campaign to demonize all armed men and women as monsters must not go unanswered. What's most disturbing is that the incitements are coming from purportedly respectable, prominent and influential public figures.
Consider the rhetoric of University of Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis. He teaches "U.S. environmental history, the Civil War, late 19th and early 20th century America, labor history, and the American West" in the university's history department. Online, however, Loomis is a militantly unhinged foe of all things conservative.
This week, the nutty professor took to Twitter to rail against law-abiding gun owners and the National Rifle Association. "Looks like the National Rifle Association has murdered some more children," Loomis fumed. "Now I want Wayne LaPierre's head on a stick," he added. (LaPierre is executive vice president and CEO of the NRA.) Loomis was just warming up.