Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Hypocrisy reigns among the gun hysterics

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Sorry, Bob Mosier, the hysterical don't get to judge what is or isn't outrageous.

Mosier is a spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland. Back in March, school honchos in the county qualified for their 2013 Hysteria Award when 8-year-old Josh Welch was suspended.

What was the boy's offense? He was eating some breakfast pastry and -- 8-year-olds are creative as the dickens, aren't they? -- managed to munch the treat into the shape of a gun.

This was far too much for those driven to near hysteria at the mere mention of guns, much less those guns made from breakfast pastry. Welch was suspended.

Some Maryland Republicans rightly recognized the reaction for what it was: hysteria driven by fear of guns in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Said Republicans decided their reaction would be to give little Josh a gift: a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association.

Maryland state Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke announced Josh's gift at a recent fundraiser. And Kipke, the minority leader in the House of Delegates, used the occasion to chide the hysteria lobby.

Wielding a pastry that was shaped like a gun, Kipke said, "Obviously, only Democrats in Maryland would think this is dangerous. Always remember safe handling of your Pop-Tarts. The Democrats will be outraged by this, but too bad."

That prompted this response from Mosier:

"It's outrageous that elected officials in our state who don't have anywhere near all the facts of this situation would choose to exploit an 8-year-old child for political purposes in a stunt like this."

So now Josh Welch is an "8-year-old child"? So now he needs the protection and concern of Anne Arundel County school officials?

Sorry, Mosier, but the stench of the hypocrisy of Anne Arundel school officials on this matter can be detected as far away as Beijing.

Just three short months ago, Anne Arundel school officials didn't think of Josh Welch as "an 8-year-old child."

They thought of the boy as a public menace who needed to be made an example of. And they treated him accordingly.

If I were Josh's parents, I'd tell Mosier just where to cram his sudden concern for my child's welfare. Back in March, Mosier and his bunch in Anne Arundel County Public Schools had a choice to react reasonably to what Josh did or to react hysterically.

They chose the hysteria route, and they aren't alone.

Fear-of-gun hysteria struck recently in Calvert County down in southern Maryland. There, a 5-year-old boy was suspended after he brought a cap gun on a school bus to show to a friend.

Neither the boy nor his parents have been identified. But the parents have hired a lawyer - there's a passel of attorneys making a bundle of money off this fear-of-gun hysteria - named Robin Ficker, who's on a campaign to have the suspension removed from the tyke's permanent record.

The boy should never have been suspended in the first place. Neither should Josh Welch. Isn't it curious that this plethora of suspensions of little boys for a variety of offenses - showing off toy guns, forming pastry into guns, pretending to shoot guns with their fingers - has occurred when some in the liberal circle are whining about how there are too many suspensions in schools?

Isn't it equally curious that not one of those liberal groups or activists waging the current anti-suspension campaign has uttered so much as a mumbling syllable in support of Josh Welch or any of the other little boys suspended in the current fear-of-gun hysteria?

There is a plethora of viable alternatives to suspending boys as young as 5 or 8 years old. But you can bet the fear-of-guns hysteria crowd can't think of any.

Washington Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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