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Some victims of tragedy more equal than others

Amanda Collins, a young Reno woman who survived a rape attack in a University of Nevada, Reno parking garage in 2007 and has led efforts to pass a “campus carry” law in Nevada, is being attacked by liberals for daring to speak out about it.

Collins recently signed a fundraising letter describing her ordeal and criticizing Republican lieutenant governor candidate Mark Hutchison for not co-sponsoring a campus carry bill in last year’s legislative session.

In response, she’s been accused by liberal bloggers of being “duped” into writing the letter and criticized for “exploiting” her attack to raise money for Hutchison’s GOP opponent, Sue Lowden. One liberal blogger wrote that “Collins, either willingly or unwittingly, is being used by Lowden” and characterized Collins’ letter as “borderline rape-porn.”

I know Amanda Collins. And anyone who thinks you can trick her into doing something she doesn’t believe in doesn’t know Amanda Collins.

As for the condemnation made by another liberal blogger of the “sickening exploitation” of Collins’ ordeal, it is painfully clear that while all victims of tragedy are equal, some are more equal than others.

The fact is, the gun control crowd has been using James Brady’s tragic shooting in the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan to raise money for more than 30 years.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy used the tragedy of her husband’s death in a shooting on a New York commuter train to get elected to Congress and raise money for stronger gun control measures.

President Barrack Obama’s Organizing for Action sent out an email fundraiser urging more gun control just days after last September’s Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been using the Sandy Hook tragedy and other shootings to raise money for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization he co-founded that is promoting gun control measures.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly, used the Carson City IHOP tragedy last year in testimony before the Nevada Legislature in support of a controversial bill on background checks while his super political action committee has “exploited” shooting tragedies to raise more than $18 million to oppose candidates who don’t support gun control.

And here’s what the Newtown Action Alliance, a gun control group that sprang up after the Sandy Hook shooting, says on its website:

“Nobody understands the impact gun violence has on families and communities better than victims and family members, and nobody should be prevented from telling their compelling stories, or adding their powerful voices to the movement because of financial constraints. Your contribution of any amount helps to make it possible for them.”

So why is it OK for gun control advocates to tell their stories and raise money off tragedies but it’s somehow “sickening exploitation” if gun rights advocates to do the same thing?

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.

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