Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Ron Tussing saga -- part 3

Yesterday, Montana Headlines resisted the urge to comment on the front page Billings Gazette article on the mayor our our fair city and his anti-gun stance, as evidenced by his association with Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and his making one of the NRA's "bad lists."

It turns out to have been the most commented on story of the day on the Gazette online edition. So we seem to have missed all of the excitement while spending time writing a thoughtful piece on rural America's relationship to military service and wars.

After all, a self-proclaimed Gazette watchdog should have pointed out the oddity of running a big front-page spread on a public official who has largely ceremonial duties while we are in the midst of a legislative session -- a rather major and consequential event that happens for a mere 90 days every 2 years.

And as a website that pointed out the Gazette's seeming promotion of Ron Tussing's political career in one of our earliest posts, and again when the Gazette splashed him on the front page in January, it certainly was hard to resist.

Let's just say that Democrats in this state have figured out that in order to win state-wide races, they can't be perceived as anti-gun. They, unlike Republicans, have to be photographed with guns or on horseback. As our governor said in one of his more famous descriptions of the new campaign strategy, ""So, I started doing my ads while I was sitting on a horse or holding a gun. I spoke to men visually and showed them I am like them. Hell, I can be on a horse and talk about health care."

So, there is the huge front-page photo of Mayor Tussing with no fewer than 12 guns -- with a long-barelled pistol so far in the foreground that it's length appears three times bigger than the width of Tussing's head. Looks a bit like a campaign ad.

We know nothing of his personal life, and that is his own private business. In his public life, however, Tussing has been a dishonest man. No-one with a shred of integrity would have taken a healthy 6-figure payout from the city that stipulated that he not work for the city again -- and then turn around and run for mayor of that very city.

Consider: What if during the negotiations in which the city insisted that he not seek further employment with the city (in other words, "get out of our hair") he had asked the city "well, can I run for mayor or the city council?" -- does anyone actually think the city would have said, "sure, go ahead?" Of course not. That's why we learned about Tussing's plans only after he had pocketed the money.

So don't expect Montana Headlines to believe Tussing's protestations that he is really a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, or trust anything else he says, for that matter.


Anonymous said...

Check out this story about Ron Tussing

and check out this story:


Billings Montana., Feb 21, 2007--/mna press/--Billings Mayor Ron Tussing has joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a liberal gun-control group masquerading as a group that only wants to protect law-abiding citizens from harm. In keeping with most of Ron Tussing’s own public rhetoric, the group actually is founded on a faulty “public” premise. At the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, New York Mayor, and coalition founder, Michael Bloomberg writes, “We respect the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns, and we recognize that the vast majority of gun dealers carefully follow the law. Our only interest is in fighting crime -- and we are determined to win. The polarizing rhetoric of gun politics on all sides only obscures the tragic reality we see every day on our streets: violent criminals with easy access to firearms.”

One of the stated goals of the group is to “target and hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.” (A straw purchase is a situation in which a buyer uses an intermediary - a "straw purchaser" - through which to acquire one or more firearms from a licensed firearms dealer. The purpose is to hide the identity of the true purchaser or ultimate possessor of the firearm.)

Michael Bloomberg, and Ron Tussing by affiliation, has put forth a false premise as though it were true. The lie: Irresponsible gun dealers are the source of the majority of illegally held guns in the United States. The truth: The vast majority of illegally held guns are acquired through illegal means.

In a Billings Gazette article, written by Tom Howard, published on February 20, 2007, Ron Tussing is quoted as having joined a group he considers to be “anti-criminal”, not “anti-gun.” Yet, the founder of the group, Michael Bloomberg, is famously anti-gun. Bloomberg is a proponent of gun control, to the point of making it nearly impossible for regular citizens to own a gun and of supporting lawsuits that will bankrupt the gun sale industry out of existence.

Professor Gary Kleck and Shun-Yung Kevin Wang of the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice wrote the following in their article, entitled “The Myth of Big-Time Gun Trafficking” (November 22, 2006):

“New York City (NYC) is commonly regarded as a place where gun traffickers are especially important as suppliers of criminals’ guns, since there are virtually no sales of handguns to the general public by licensed dealers in the city (Vizzard 2000, p. 31). If the ATF view of TTC [Time to Crime] were accurate, one would expect to find that a large share of NYC crime guns move quickly from retailers to recovery by NYC law enforcement. In fact, among NYC guns traced in 2000, only 11 percent had a TTC under one year (U.S. BATF 2002b, New York section, p. 5), compared to almost 15 percent nationally (p. ix). That is, only about 11% of the city’s traced guns moved quickly enough into criminals’ possession to look like a trafficked gun, even with respect to just one trait that a trafficked gun is supposed to have. Even fewer guns have multiple indicators.

What, then, is responsible for guns turning up quickly in the hands of criminals? Many guns move quickly into criminal hands because they were stolen from their owners shortly after retail purchase.” (p.21)

Mayor Bloomberg’s supposition that targeting and punishing gun traffickers for supplementing the illegal gun trade will have any effect on illegally held guns is desperately flawed. In Professor Kleck’s article, law enforcement evidence was reviewed and indicated that high-volume trafficking is extremely unusual, and average “traffickers” handle fewer than a dozen guns. The aggregate volume of guns moved by known traffickers is minute in comparison with even conservative estimates of the number of guns stolen. As such, “gun laws regulating the purchase of guns, including one-gun-a-month laws specifically aimed at trafficking, had no effect on trafficking activity. Trafficking levels show no measurable effect on gun possession among criminals, measured as the share of homicides committed with guns, and generally show no effect on violent crime rates.” (p.2)

Kleck’s research found that within a given year, about 16.8 million U.S. adults carry a gun, 7.1 million who carry do so on the person and 12.4 million do so in a vehicle. On an average day, 2.7 million U.S. adults carry a gun for protection on their person and 5.0 million carry one in a vehicle. Less than one in a thousand instances of gun carrying involves a violent gun crime.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center states that “when juvenile offenders in detention centers were interviewed about how they acquired their first gun, 42% indicated that they were given their first gun by a peer, an older youth, or a relative, while 38% purposefully acquired their first gun by borrowing (17%), buying (11%), or stealing (10%). 84% of those who possessed guns said that they had obtained them before they were 15 years old.” Once again, the true empirical data show that gun traffickers’ contribution to the problem of illegal gun ownership is minuscule.

Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition is nothing less than another exercise typical of gun-control groups. These groups operate on the fulcrum of political feasibility. The general pattern is to use propagandist language, push for whatever they can get whenever it becomes politically possible, and get greater restrictions whenever they can. Bloomberg (and Ron Tussing) claim not to be pushing gun control. Yet, there is a vast difference between not pushing for something (at the moment) and not supporting it.

As a dirty police chief, Ron Tussing supported – and pushed for – covering up excessive force used by his officers in the Billings Police Department. Ron Tussing supported – and pushed for – putting down his female officers, calling them “whiners” and “bitches” in response to their requests for materials to study for promotion opportunities. Ron Tussing supported – and pushed for – insubordination on the part of his officers, against Tussing’s own supervisor, Kristoff Bauer.

Mayor Ron Tussing is an elitist, arrogant, egotistical bigot, consumed with advancing his own agenda and foisting it upon the people of Billings. Why would anyone be surprised that Ron Tussing is aligning himself with Michael Bloomberg, a more powerful version of what he esteems most? People are known by the company they keep. Ron Tussing wants to appear to be a “straight shooter”, but in reality, his actions declare otherwise.

Montana Headlines said...

We at Montana Headlines don't care for Tussing -- but it seems as though there are some around who dislike him even more than we do.

Let's not give this kind of guy too much credit or attention, though. It only encourages them.