England & Chicago: More Alike Than You’d Imagine
In England, everything from a pocket knife to “hurtful language” can land you in hot water. Now, apparently, hunting and shooting magazines are in the same class as hard-core skin magazines. “Till check” sounds innocuous enough, but being in that category when you’re being rung up at the cashier means two things: you’re buying “sensitive” material and you have to show identification that says you’re old enough to buy.
That means no one underage will be able to read about hunting or shooting – at least if they buy from WH Smith. Now, despite the fact that you can own a shotgun license, you can’t read about shotguns -if you’re under age 14. It’s explained by W.H. Smith that the “lurid, pro-violence content” of the shooting sports magazines could have a “corrosive, long-lasting effect on impressionable young minds.”
Guess who’s pushed this policy? Animal Aid, Britain’s self-described largest “animal rights organization”. Not too-tough to play connect-the-dots here, is it? It’s part of the global pattern of political correctness that leads to “commonsense, common-good” bans on anything that might be used to injure another human being. As the political correctness spreads even wider, you can look for “human” to be removed, meaning it will be illegal to injure another “being”.
The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms (IAPCAR)’s executive director Philip Watson has blasted the policy, saying W.H. Smith has allowed itself to be “governed by a fringe group.” No kidding. He also points out-correctly- there’s no legitimate proof that censorship will improve a youngster’s understanding of gun safety, or self-defense, or hunting.” Correctly, Watson says the opposite might be the result.
In case you think there are only a few who think this way in the UK, I read a note to readers in the October, 2012 edition of Gun Trade World written by our friend and colleague Sean O’Driscoll called “You are either in or out”.
The magazine cover that kicked off the controversy-and earned a direct response from Publisher Sean O’Driscoll. OWDN photo.
O’Driscoll’s commentary addressed the fact that several readers of GTW had requested to be taken off the subscriber list because the magazine had carried a cover photo of a red hartebeest taken with a Benjamin Rogue PCP air rifle. The story using the photo talked of the capabilities of air rifles. (As a sidebar, I am currently using the same rifle for hunting – and it is awesome in its capabilities. More on that in the future.)
Remember, this is a magazine entitled Gun Trade World. O’Driscoll investigated the responses, including one from a retailer who said he didn’t sell any shooting equipment. He, O’Driscoll pointed out, had a photo on his with a guy “dressed head-to-toe in camo gear and firing an AK-47.”
Others included a manufacturer of leather goods (including “gun slips” -we call them cases) and a major retailer of scopes and binoculars. A third said they only sold airguns, to they weren’t really in the shooting trade.
O’Driscoll then proceeded to point out some things that probably had his subscribers quivering- and not in anticipation: if you sell “any form of shooting equipment then you are part of the legitimate gun trade. That means all forms of shooting, including hunting.”
“I do not believe that you can profit from selling to people that might lawfully hunt, then at the first sniff of controversy distance yourself from them.” And finally, “If you think denying what your products are used for allows you to distance yourself from that use, then you are living a lie.”
O’Driscoll says- correctly- there are enough skeptics on the outside- and the last thing we need is a “bunch of retailers, suppliers and manufacturers disowning those who fund their livelihood.”
You can laugh at their nanny-state responses, but for many retailers – including major big-box retailers here in the United States- it would only take one unfortunate accident or lunatic shooting with a gun traced to one of their retail locations, to have them simply stop selling guns and ammo.
That’s political correctness- and it’s like an insidious form of cancer. Make no mistake, the United States has it, and it’s spreading.
Sometimes, it’s spread as correctness and others, it’s just a form of political gouging.