(UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit and Volokh Conspiracy readers.)
As long as Eugene Volokh is taking members of Congress to task for outrageous statements -- and rightly so, I'd add -- perhaps he'd like to try this one on for size. If the reports are accurate, it strikes me as much worse than Santorum's inapposite invocation of Hitler.
CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Tough words from the District's congressional delegate over efforts to repeal the city's tough gun laws [the D.C. Personal Protection Act (text not yet available on Thomas) -- ed.].
Eleanor Holmes Norton calls it an assault on home rule orchestrated by the National Rifle Association. She accuses the gun lobby of attempting to see to it that more D-C children get killed.
Here's a version in quotes, via the Washington Times:
"They're trying to see to it that more children get killed," said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat.
Please note: Delegate Norton didn't just say that it would be bad to relax the District's gun laws because more children would die violent deaths as a result. I doubt that -- and, even if it's true as to children, I suspect the net effect of such a relaxation across the entire population of the District would be to reduce crime and save lives -- but it's a sane argument.
Instead, Ms. Norton apparently said that those who wish to relax the District's gun laws want more to children die violent deaths, and are literally trying to make it happen. Damn that bloodthirsty gun lobby! Next we'll learn that Wayne LaPierre bakes the blood of Christian children into his bread.
To those who can't understand why people like me distrust proponents of so-called "reasonable gun control," I submit this statement as Exhibit A. In effect, Ms. Norton just called us all baby-killers. It's not merely a matter of taking offense to harsh words: Statements like this reveal such visceral hatred, and such a fundamental difference in worldviews, that trust is next to impossible. And such statements are not as uncommon as one might think.
(I've spent 15 minutes trying to find an exact quotation of Norton's statement in a presumptively reliable source like the Congressional Record, but it's difficult because I don't know the context. I haven't found it in the Congressional Record or on her website. She issued a press release that relies heavily on think-of-the-children rhetoric, but it doesn't go this far. If anyone has a better source, please e-mail me the link.)
(No text in extended entry.)
UPDATE: Tex the Pontificator weighs in with this, to the tune of the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby:
Ah, look at all the looney people;
Ah, look at all the looney people.
Eleanor Norton spouts off the cant of the Left,
Where ideas may have been,
Venting her spleen.
Look at her preen,
Mouthing words about which she’s given no thought,
Telling us naught.
All the looney people.
Where do they all come from?
All the looney people.
Where do they all belong?
Very nice, Tex.