Classy: NYT invokes suicide of Rep. Stupak's son to make point about gun control 

The New York Times has a profile of Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who's pro-life stance has made him a thorn in his party's side throughout the health care debate. Incredibly, here's the second paragraph of the story:

After his younger son committed suicide in 2000, using the congressman’s gun, Mr. Stupak soon resumed his predawn commute to Washington and his solid voting record with the National Rifle Association.

What is the point here? Is it that Rep. Stupak is contradictory? That he's stubborn? Unreflective? Let's try a thought experiment here:

After his younger son died driving recklessly in 2000, using the congressman’s car, Mr. Stupak soon resumed his predawn commute to Washington and his solid voting record in support of Michigan's auto manufacturers.

Yes, that paragraph would be pretty stupid -- but logically it's no different than the paragraph the Times included about guns. It's too much for the Times to accept that Stupak's stance on guns is consistent with U.S. Constitution, but they should at least accept that Stupak represents a huge rural district in Northern Michigan, a place where owning guns is often a matter of survival and is deeply embedded in the culture there. Further, Stupak is a former state trooper. His son's suicide aside, I imagine he posesses a wealth of first-hand experience about the dangers of guns and that has most certainly informed his thinking as a legislator.

I don't know whether the Times reporter is just oblivious or very petty. But the suggestion Stupak's stance on guns is contradictory in light of his son's suicide is beyond the pale.

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Mark Hemingway

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