The Associated Press is running this story today that has been widely circulated in national newspapers. The upshot of the story is that the Texas Legislature, with the backing of Texas Governor Rick Perry, is considering a law that would explicitly make it legal to carry firearms on a college campus. The idea, of course, is that crazed mass murderers like the Virginia Tech shooter are not going to be sticklers for gun laws during the course of going on their murderous rampages, so it might be a good idea to let the law abiding citizens to have something to shoot back with.
Showing all the finesse and subtlety of LBJ’s “mushroom cloud” anti-Goldwater ad, the stock photo the AP is including with this story is this:
This picture, in case you are wondering, is not a picture of Rick Perry giving a stump speech in support of the new bill. It is a picture of Rick Perry firing a gun loaded with blanks at a NASCAR event last April. Many of the newspapers include captions indicating this fact, but this sort of thing tends to get lost in the shuffle of folks who are breezing over stories. The clear impression left by the picture, in connection with the incredulous story, is “look at this crazy Texan governor who is clearly insane and may well shoot you if you come into close contact with him. And he is crazy. With guns.”
My guess would be that this is a pretty good indication that Perry is emerging as someone the left fears, even if the indications are that he will not run in 2012. The only problem is, the people who run newspapers in this country have been perilously slow to realize that they have lost the war on guns. Even Democrat presidential candidates now have to at least pretend to be pro-gun. Although portraying a candidate as a gun nut may harm Perry in certain locations that would never vote for him for President anyway, it’s not exactly a winning strategy with the exurban voters in the rust belt and southwest who increasingly decide Presidential elections in this country.
I don’t know if Rick Perry is going to run for President in 2012 or ever. But if he does, he could do substantially worse than to end up on the receiving end of attack journalism of this quality.