You really have to wonder what it's like to think like Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., these days.
He lives in a world where nefarious Russians seeking to sabotage America lurk around every corner — including behind law-abiding Americans exercising their constitutionally protected rights.
Recently, Rep. Schiff, who hails from the "Socialist Republic of California," speciously claimed that Russia "trumpeted" the Second Amendment on social media because they "would be thrilled if we’re doing nothing but killing each other every day, and sadly we are."
Umm . . . What? Exactly what evidentiary basis does Congressman Schiff have to make such a claim?
If he is relying upon evidence that Russia attempted to use social media to influence voters in 2016, we kindly direct him to the testimony of Facebook executive Colin Stretch given before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this past November, where he stated under oath that illegitimate ads comprise less than 0.004 percent of all content in newsfeed items. If Russia was attempting to sway views via social media, it didn't do such a bang-up job.
Maybe Mr. Schiff's "evidence" is rooted deeper than current events. After all, scholars have written historical accounts of the Russian monarchy's approval, even stating in August of 1776 "that the separation of the colonies from the mother country did not conflict with the interests of Russia and might even be advantageous to her."
Could our nation's founding be a Russian conspiracy? Of course not, but it's these kinds of illogical leaps plaguing Mr. Schiff's warped thought process.
Take the latest conspiracy du jour: that the NRA has been infiltrated by a cabal of Russian influencers posing as gun activists seeking to support President Donald Trump, complete with "questionable" donations to the NRA, who then funneled that "dark" money to then-candidate Trump. This theory falters in varying ways.
First, to believe the conspiracy exists, you have to believe that the NRA leadership sold out its members to support a candidate it was going to support anyway. It implies that the NRA's endorsement could have gone to Hillary Clinton but for these donations — not very likely given Mrs. Clinton's stated positions.
Second, to believe this conspiracy exists, you have to believe that years of the NRA's international advocacy efforts in Russia were a sham. The theory ignores that the NRA has been active in advocating for expanded gun rights in Russia for years before President Trump was on anyone's presidential radar.
Did the conspiracy start before Trump announced his candidacy? Again — not very likely.
Is it plausible that some Russian operatives saw an opportunity to gain access to Trump?
Yes, which leads to a third point: there is no evidence — nada, nothing, zilch — to suggest that Russia made such large contributions to the NRA, much less that the Trump campaign knowingly accepted such tainted funding. What the evidence does show is that no such access was entertained, let alone materialized.
But enough theory-busting. Let's deal with what we actually know.
We know that more Americans are standing up for the Second Amendment than ever before. A Pew Research poll during the presidential election season found the majority of Americans (52 percent) want to "protect the right of Americans to own guns," with 46 percent wanting more gun control measures. When Pew took the same poll in 2000, the numbers were on their head: 66 percent wanted more gun control with 29 percent wanting to protect gun rights.
We also know, and should recognize, that these two ideas are not mutually exclusive: more recent polling, especially in those polls conducted in the wake of mass shootings like the Las Vegas shooting, find that Americans are willing to put up with some restrictive gun control measures.
We also know through yet another poll in late 2017 that gun control advocacy is not as zealous as proponents would have us believe.
Notice that none of these polls of actual, bonafide Americans make mention of anything remotely related to Russia, Mr. Schiff.
How vile is it for a sitting member of Congress to connect the exercise of Second Amendment rights to killing people. There is, in fact, a negative correlation: more guns breed less crime. Criminals are killing people every day, not law-abiding gun owners. Some criminals use guns, but some use knives and others use cars or other instrumentalities.
No one is claiming a Russian conspiracy over the use of the latter. Law-abiding gun owners are an easy target for Mr. Schiff to gain liberal support because they tend to skew Republicans, who tend to support President Donald Trump. Therefore, they must have been duped by Russia into taking both of those positions. The facts be damned.
But then, again, in Mr. Schiff's Russia-obsessed world, he'll find the facts even if he has to make them up.
Gene Berardelli is a street-smart trial attorney who, through his time as the Law Chair of the Republican Party in Brooklyn, New York, has developed a solid reputation as an election attorney successfully representing conservative candidates.
Russell Gallo is a security expert and combat veteran who attained the rank of First Sergeant in the New York Army National Guard, earning a Combat Action Badge in Iraq. Together, they host Behind Enemy Lines Radio, a national award-winning radio show and podcast broadcasting out of "The People's Republic of" New York that airs weekly on AM and FM radio stations as part of the Talk America Radio network. To read more of their reports — Click Here Now.
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