For his weekly radio address April 13, President Barack Obama turned the microphone over to Francine Wheeler, mother of Ben, 6, one of 20 children murdered at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14.
Her eyes moist with tears, Ms. Wheeler pleaded with listeners to pressure the Senate to pass new gun control laws "before our tragedy becomes your tragedy."
Ms. Wheeler didn't explain how the legislation she supports would have prevented the murder of Ben and so many others. She couldn't, because it wouldn't.
"There is nothing in this legislation that addresses the fact pattern at Sandy Hook," a "senior Senate aide" told the Weekly Standard. If all the measures currently before the Senate had been law on Dec. 14, they'd have done nothing to impede Adam Lanza's murder spree.
This fact hasn't prevented sponsors of the gun control measures from claiming their bills should be passed to prevent a repetition of such killings.
After he made a speech in Hartford April 8, President Obama invited Ms. Wheeler and 11 other family members to fly back to Washington with him on Air Force One to lobby the Senate to pass measures he claimed would "make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down."
Much of the news media -- beginning with a feature on CBS's "60 Minutes" program -- showered sympathetic attention on them and their lobbying efforts.
"The families are well educated, and many are well off," said Politico. "With access to money and media, they're using persistence, visibility -- and, most of all, their unique moral authority -- to help prod Senate action."
To remind lawmakers of their victim status, they left behind a color photo of their relatives who were slain, Politico noted approvingly.
For liberals -- liberal journalists especially -- the trump card in any political debate is the "unique moral authority" of victims. Their feelings must be assuaged, even if doing what they advocate won't advance the goals they seek.
That's essentially what 15,000 law enforcement officers said in responding to an Internet questionnaire posted last month by PoliceOne.com. A ban on "high capacity" magazines won't reduce violent crime, said 95.7 percent of respondents. Banning so-called "assault rifles" would have no effect on crime, said 71 percent. Such a ban would make crime worse, said 20.5 percent. If all the gun control measures President Obama advocates became law, it would have no effect on their safety, said 60.6 percent.
All sympathize with parents who have suffered so terrible a loss. But in judging the efficacy of particular gun control measures, the opinion of police officers should carry more weight. So why haven't the bigfoot media reported the results of this survey?
That was a rhetorical question. Even if they were sincere, we should reject emotional appeals to "do something" in the wake of a tragedy, because laws should be based on facts and logic. But for liberals -- liberal journalists especially -- only those victims with the proper opinions have "unique moral authority."
• Mark Mattioli's son James, 6, was killed at Sandy Hook, but most journalists who've lavished attention on Ms. Wheeler have ignored Mr. Mattioli because he doesn't think more gun control laws will help.
• Patricia Smith is a grieving mother, too. But most journalists pay little attention to her quest for answers about her son's death because he was killed at the consulate in Benghazi on 9/11/2012.
• More kids are getting gunned down in Chicago than anywhere else; Chicago has strict gun control laws but this is infrequently pointed out by the media.
• Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is accused of beheading babies born alive. Most in the mainstream national media have paid scant attention to the fate of his innocent victims.
Now we're onto continuing coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. And as Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine has noted, "So many of the people who are so insistent that Boston should not lead to a disproportionate government response to terrorism are often the same ones who have been asking to use Newtown as an excuse to enact far-reaching gun legislation."
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476).