Guns, Vets, Feinstein and Snopes

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)… she gots ‘crazy eyes’!

Apparently back on the 7th of March 2013 during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting there was a discussion of an amendment offered by Texas Senator John Cornyn.  During this meeting Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) allegedly said something like “All vets are mentally ill in some way and government should prevent them from owning firearms.”

I recall a minor flap on Twitter at the time and over the past several months I have received three e-mail ‘forwards’ of a newspaper article with basically the same story under the title “Quote of the day by Senator Dianne Feinstein”, which goes something like this…

“Senator Feinstein insults all U.S. Veterans as she flays about in a vain attempt to save her anti-firearms bill.  Frankly, I don’t know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office.  I’m not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close.  When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we’re Number One.”

Allegedly this is from an LA Times article on the same day written by either Kurt Nimmo or Burt Prelutsky.  While there are numerous Internet search returns about this article on Google and Bing none link to the LA Times.  I searched the LA Times site extensively and found no mention of the article in question.  While Prelutsky does write for the LA Times, I cannot find any mention of Kurt (or Curt) Nimmo on their website.

(As always I encourage any of my readers to point me to additional sources; it’s the truth that matters)

So I checked Snopes.com and there it was.  Now please bear in mind that Snopes has a significant liberal slant, but it is at least one source.  For example Snopes boldly label this particular story as “False” with a graphic of a big red button.

I have found that Snopes frequently proclaims a story “True” or “False” up at the top of their coverage – very often leaning to the left on issues as I mentioned – but when you read their coverage you wonder how they came to that conclusion.

Reading Snopes’ coverage of this story you will quickly see that perhaps Feinstein wasn’t so badly quoted after all…

“If I understand this, this [amendment] adds an exemption of retired military. As I understand our bill, no issue has arose [sic] in this regard during the 10 years the expired ban was in effect and what we did in the other bill was exempt possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States. So that included active military. The problem with expanding this is that, you know, with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this. So, you know, I would be happy to sit down with you again and see if we could work something out but I think we have to — if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally don’t have access to this kind of weapon.”

This tells me that her opinion of veterans is that (1) it is likely that we have PTSD, (2) that PTSD disqualifies us from owning certain weapons, and (3) that the US Government should start from those assumptions until we can prove that they do not have PTSD.

Feinstein’s comment about PTSD being “a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War” is, of course, also absurd.  PTSD has always been with us.  In previous wars it was referred to as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.”  Further PTSD can result from any significant head injury.  Should those who have played contact sports such as high school football also be suspect?

Neither is there the slightest shred of proof that US military Veterans who are legitimately afflicted with PTSD have any higher propensity for violence – and specifically gun violence – than say young black men raised in impoverished inner cities, or young white men raised in the mountains of Tennessee.

So a couple of things seem clear to me.

The first is that, indeed, Feinstein is a moron and harbors some very strange opinions that should raise concern in any rational American.  But I suspect her opinions are not limited to her brain housing.  I suspect that a great many Americans hold similar opinions.  Making matters worse Hollywood has seized on the topic of unstable Veterans afflicted with PTSD for a great many TV series episodes, just as they did during and after the Vietnam War.  It’s shameful.

The second is that you shouldn’t believe everything you get in your e-mail inbox.  Sometimes what you get is truth.  Sometimes – as in this case – there is some truth.  In other cases it’s really just total bullshit that folks make up to support their views and they use the Internet to spread their crap around.

As always do your own research first and consider all points of view.

The full Snopes article about this story can be found here; http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/feinstein.asp

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