Young children are understandably fearful of things they don't understand. They are small, timid and powerless creatures, and the world is large, loud and scary.
It is the natural inclination of responsible adults to try to calm those fears with a soothing word: Mommy's here; Daddy's here; we'll chase away those monsters in the closet.
It's a species of child abuse, therefore, for an adult to come along and prey upon those fears.
On Wednesday, the nation was treated to the inglorious and shabby spectacle of our president doing just that.
Obsessed with his quest for more power, President Obama shamelessly surrounded himself with a group of sheepish children and relatives of the Newtown victims as he announced his proposals for limiting Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Using the excuse of "protecting" children, and with children looking over his shoulder, the president signed 23 executive actions to increase the amount of information Big Brother will gather on gun owners and share among its agencies, ramp up programs to increase the number of children labeled as having mental health issues, encourage doctors to become spies for the government by reporting on patients with guns, promote gun locks and other "safety" devices that only hinder legal owners from using their guns when needed, and require states to share information about their residents with the federal government.
The executive actions are all worded vaguely enough that they might sound innocuous on first reading, but they plainly open the gateway to all manner of abuse. In addition to the orders, Obama called for Congress to reinstate and expand the federal assault weapons ban and restrict ammunition magazines to 10-round clips. (Congress is also working on a slate of its own draconian gun regulations, including banning ammo sales on the Internet.)
All of this leftist blather about protecting children by restricting guns might be a touch more believable if anything being proposed would have actually done anything to prevent the shootings in Newtown. Or if it wasn't coming from someone with 24-hour armed security for himself. Or if Obama hadn't overseen the Fast and Furious program that gave weapons to drug dealers then used executive privilege to block the congressional investigation of the resulting murders. Or if his Administration weren't funneling arms to Syrian rebels. Or if his policies hadn't armed al-Qaida terrorists in Mali. Or if Obama hadn't voted for an infanticide bill when he was still a legislator in Illinois. Or ...
Obama read letters written to him by children as part of his dog and pony show. Kids don't often spontaneously write letters to the president about issues like gun control. It's usually at the prompting of some adult, or more likely a class project. So somewhere there is a teacher or teachers encouraging entire classrooms full of kids to be afraid of the evil guns and to look toward the president, not their own parents, to act as Big Daddy and keep bad guys at bay.
I hope the children had a fun visit to the White House, and I hope it's many years before they become cynical enough to realize how they've been used.
But those of us who actually care about the safety of children will be keeping our guns so that we can fight off the real bad guys when it becomes necessary, even if the bad guys turn out to live in famous houses in Washington, D.C.