When Griffin joined GRTL, the group's previous legislative director, Kevin Harris, left to become GOP chairman for the 9th congressional district, where Becker had run for Congress. In a message to fellow Republicans, Harris celebrated Sarah Palin's selection as the party's vice-presidential nominee: "She is proudly pro-second amendment, pro-life, pro-military, pro-spending cuts, pro-tax cuts, pro-drilling for oil, pro-family, and pro-religion." Abortion got a mention, but guns got top billing.
I could go on, but you get the point. Finding gun lovers in the pro-life movement is like shooting fish in a barrel with a semiautomatic weapon. That includes the people behind the "endangered species" ads. That doesn't mean their opposition to abortion or gun control is insincere. It's totally sincere. What's insincere is their rhetoric about higher fatality rates among blacks. If they really cared about that, you'd see it in the way they talk and think about gun control. Instead, they've talked and thought about gun control exactly as you'd expect from white politicians in rural north Georgia. The contrary opinions of black people, the black fatality rate from firearms, and the carnage of gun violence in Atlanta have made no difference.
Now they're all worked up about racism in the early birth-control movement. Please. People who live in glass hoods shouldn't throw stones. Go check out Ku Klux Klan sites around the Web. "We believe in the right to bear arms against all that threaten our home and family," says one. "We have first and second amendment rights," says another. "The so-called gun control bills enacted by the government are nothing but anti-self defense laws designed to disarm law abiding White citizens," says another. Klan marches, Klan rallies, Klan interviews—the boys in the hoods do love their weapons. Just two weeks ago, they spoke out against gun control at a rally in Georgia. If the sympathy of racists makes abortion a conspiracy against blacks, the same is doubly true of guns.
You could protest that gun control isn't that simple. You could argue that although the right to firearms is often abused, it can be exercised responsibly, and it's dangerous to let the government take it away. You could point out that gun control has been used in the past to subjugate blacks. And you could challenge attempts to take away black homeowners' guns, in the name of their safety, as insidious paternalism.
That's exactly what conservatives have said about the Violence Policy Center's report on black gun deaths. "The VPC and the left-wing foundations that bankroll it have decided that black-on-black crime is unacceptably high, and they believe the best way to handle that is to make it more difficult for African-Americans to legally obtain handguns," scoffs Bob Owens, a right-wing blogger whose article has circulated on pro-gun Web sites. "The goal of [VPC] in this report is the goal of the group in every report it has ever issued: an erosion of gun rights for all Americans."
But you could say the same about the "endangered species" campaign: that it exploits racial data and racial anxiety to advance an agenda that would take away everyone's rights. And you'd find evidence for that suspicion on its Web site, which criticizes not just abortion but "sex education," "our modern-day Birth Control culture," and "the false liberty of 'reproductive freedom.' "
Yes, there are too many aborted. But there are also too many shot. And when you read what the people behind the billboards have said about gun control, it's hard to take seriously what they say about abortion.