Anti-gun Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced Tuesday morning that the 700 firearms taken in during the city’s gun buyback will be melted down and turned into plaques inscribed with messages about “gun violence” from children, according to the Seattle Times.
At the same time, The Republic is reporting that the guns will be turned into “bricks carrying messages of peace.”
Presumably, children submitting any message about mommy using a firearm to protect herself against a rapist or stalker or violent ex-husband or boyfriend might not be a winner.
But why involve children at all? This column covered the National Rifle Association convention in Houston over the weekend, where lots of children were among the record 86,228 people who attended. When some Houston school officials got wind that a program teaching real gun safety to children – the Eddie Eagle program – was a product of the NRA, they quickly cancelled it in some elementary schools there.
In a twist on words, McGinn said something about “upcycled plaques,” which might be a subliminal effort to convince reporters and the public that the firearms from which they are made were “waste materials or useless products,” which is how the term “upcycled” is defined.
This column has written previously about the Seattle gun “buyback,” another interesting term, since the city never owned the firearms to begin with and therefore could not possibly be buying them “back” from anybody. McGinn, who is running for re-election this fall, also hasn’t talked much about how the first gun purchase was conducted, in a parking lot under a freeway; the sort of scenario demonized by the gun prohibition lobby in its effort to demonize private transactions without background checks.
But there were no background checks at the Seattle buyback, either, so there was no way for the Seattle police to link the stolen guns that turned up in their post-event analysis to whoever turned them in. Why, gun rights activists might inquire, is it okay for anti-gun officials like McGinn to accept guns from total strangers, no questions asked, when it is not alright for honest citizens who may have known one another for decades to conduct a firearms transaction without a background check?
KIRO News took a revealing look at the February gun buyback and found that it may have been all for show. At the time, an interesting exchange of e-mails occurred on Feb. 7 between Robert Cruikshank, the mayor’s communications and public relations advisor; Julie McCoy, McGinn’s chief of staff, the mayor, Public Affairs Director Beth Hester and others on the mayor’s staff. There was some concern about what the report, and this column, would say, and Cruikshank suggested, “I think we should do a preemptive strike – I can talk to Goldy and see if he is willing to put something up this afternoon.”
“Goldy” is David Goldstein, a writer at The Stranger, an alternative newspaper that has become something of a Seattle institution. He does articles with eye-catching headlines like “Our Stupid, F—ing, Pointless Legislative Session” and “The Good, The Bad and The F—ing Nuts.”
McCoy texted back to Cruikshank and the others about 17 minutes later, “Don’t forget to mention sweeps,” referring to a ratings sweeps week, important to television stations. Ethan Raup, McGinn’s director of policy and operations, fired back 23 minutes after that, “And conservative dog whistles.” At least KIRO knows where it stands with Mr. Raup.
Seattle is apparently planning another gun “buyback” sometime in the summer. Between now and then, the first guns will become political mementos to be placed in parks or other places as some kind of symbol. But as the KIRO story revealed three months ago, it is not clear whether this will accomplish anything.