Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Meme Is Born

It is seldom that we get to see the birth of myth and memes, but in the past weeks, I've been watching one as it has happened.  It all started with a radio interview on a Conservative talk show in Colorado Springs. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa announced that Colorado Congressional Democrats were blackmailing Colorado sheriffs into supporting the gun law legislation by withholding a pay raise increase bill.  It hit the news, and the meme above with an article was born on the internet.

The problem is that much of what the sheriff said was over-statement.  Even he walked back the statement a bit after it hit the press. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette on the Sunday following the Saturday radio show, the sheriff posted on his Facebook page, "“I want to make something very clear; I have not been directly threatened or coerced in any way nor would I tolerate any threat.”

In an email exchange between Maketa and Chris Olson who is the executive Director of County Sheriffs of Colorado, there was speculation about the hold on the pay raise bill, but at no time is there a specific person named or actual recorded statement from any member of the Democrats in the Colorado Congress.  It would seem that some one took the speculation and decided it was a fact.  Maketa is well-known for his anti-gun law stance.  The Sheriff Maketa then posted later on the El Paso County Sheriff's web site his own statement again naming no one to whom he had talked but clearly placing the blame on Democrat Senate President, John Morse.

One of the local TV stations, KRDO, reported that  Chris Olson stated that no such threat had been made, "There were no threats that were ever intended in that email." What Olson did say in his email is  "I have been advised by a reliable source at the Capitol that the Dems are seriously not pleased with the CSOC positions on the gun bills, and given the potential for a real salary bill to be of SB197 would put us in a more favorable light for salary bill support from the Dems. I do not believe we would be sacrificing our principles or positions on the other gun bills by supporting SB197." In other words, he as the lobbyist was telling sheriffs that it would be politically adviseable to support a bill that bans domestic abusers from owning guns.

When asked about it, the lead Democrat, Senate President John Morse (Colorado Springs Democrat) said that he had held up the bill that would raise sheriffs salaries until it received Republican co-sponsors, asking for seven co-sponsors to sign on and not enough signed on to the bill. Why such a large number of co-sponsors, Morse answered with, "Can you imagine running a bill to increase the pay of county officials in these economic times?"

Despite all the follow-ups, we have the birth of a conspiracy before our very eyes.  Where you stand on gun control is your right, but where you stand on the facts of the story is another matter.

On a side note, a Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, as well as many sherrifs across the nation have announced he will not enforce the new gun laws.  I know I sleep better knowing that elected law enforcement gets to choose what laws they enforce.