Standing Up

Standing Up

By Warren S. Hecht

It is easy to speak before a crowd that is on your side. It takes a lot of courage to go into the “lion’s den” and speak in front of a hostile crowd.

Mona Charem was selected to be part of a panel on “The Left’s Treatment of Women” at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) conference.

Ms. Charem is Jewish and the author of two books, Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (2003) and Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help (and the Rest of Us) (2005). She was invited with the expectation that she would join the crowd at the conference and bash the liberals in how they treat women. To the shock of the crowd and the fellow panelists, she said:

“I’m disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have an R [Republican] after his name, we look the other way. We don’t complain. This is a party that was ready to endorse – the Republican party endorsed – Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.”

“There was quite an interesting person who was on this stage the other day. Her name is Marion Le Pen… And the Le Pen name is a disgrace. Her grandfather is racist and a Nazi. She claims that she stands for him. And the fact that CPAC invited her is a disgrace.”

Ms. Charem was booed and then left the conference with three security guards.

The shooting at the Parkland school has galvanized public action
to support gun control more than other shootings

CNN recently had a forum because of the Parkland school shooting in Florida. The audience was packed with students, faculty, and family from the school. As expected, the crowd was pro-gun control and against the National Rifle Association. The NRA sent a representative, Dana Loesch, to answer questions and present their view. Not surprisingly, she was subject to boos and catcalls from the audience.

It was a brilliant move, having her represent the NRA. As his speech before CPAC proved, it would have been a disaster for the NRA if Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, had appeared for the organization. Ms. Loesch presented the NRA’s position the best she could. She first showed empathy to those who died, and then argued that the shooting would have been avoided if the current laws were followed. She blamed the states failing to register with the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) a list of those who because of convictions or other legal grounds are not allowed to buy a weapon. She blamed the FBI and local police for not doing anything to try to make sure that the shooter Nikolas Cruz did not have a weapon, even though they were aware of claims that he had made threats.

The most charged discussion was between Ms. Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. It showed the country that law enforcement supports gun control.

The shooting at the Parkland school has galvanized public action to support gun control more than other shootings where more people were killed. Also, in this shooting, unlike other shootings, there is an argument that if law enforcement had done its job based on the existing laws, the shooting could have been prevented or fewer people would have been killed.

The difference here is the student body. The school is made up of middle- and upper-class students who are very bright and motivated. The New York analogy would be if the shooting had happened at Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School, or Townsend Harris High School.

The students understand the power of the media, especially social media, to whip up support. They had walkouts and got CNN to have a forum. The students have put many politicians, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott, both Republicans, on the defensive.

Companies are fleeing the NRA in droves. United Airlines, Delta Airlines, National Car Rental, Hertz Car Rental, and MetLife have stopped giving discounts to NRA members. The students learned from the LGBT activists that the best way to silence your opponents is to put pressure on businesses that deal with them.

Although I do not agree with the NRA’s position on gun control, they are a legitimate organization that represents the views of millions of individuals. The claims by those who are withdrawing their discounts that it is improper to support an advocacy organization rings hollow especially since they still provide discounts to organizations such as AARP (American Association of Retired Person), which is also an advocacy group.

It is important to hear both sides of an issue. Unfortunately, in our polarized society, being presented with both sides is becoming less and less common. Therefore, we must acknowledge those who have the courage to take a contrary position before a group that has a one-sided view.

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at