Eric Holder in 1995: We "really need to brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Breitbart.tv has dug up 1995 C-SPAN footage of Attorney General Eric Holder, then a U.S. attorney, talking about strategies to reduce gun-related violence. The headline of the piece, "Holder 1995: We must 'brainwash' people on guns," underscores the gotcha dimension of Breitbart's scoop. Here's the Holder quote, which comes after he urges a media campaign, akin to the one focused on smoking, that would make guns and gun violence uncool (really):

"We just have to be repetitive about this. It's not enough to have a catchy ad on a Monday and then only do it every Monday. We have to do this every day of the week and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Breitbart.tv's Joel Pollak further notes that

Despite strict gun control efforts, Washington, DC was and remains one of the nation's most dangerous cities for gun violence, though crime has abated somewhat since the 1990s.

Whole thing, including video, here. Click below to watch the vid alone:

This release is part of the Breitbart empire's "vetting" process of the Obama administration - what they consider a belated attempt to reveal to the American people the causes and beliefs of a crew they feel got a free pass in 2008.

What I find most interesting about this clip is the simplicity of Holder's conception that media or fantasy violence creates the real thing. This was a stock issue not just of the Clinton administration but of GOP congressional leaders as well, as readers of Reason will well remember. Holder would eventually be appointed as a deputy to Attorney General Janet Reno, whose ardent belief in threatening censorship to Hollywood types and videogame makers shouldn't be quickly forgotten. Despite the utter lack of relevant data, we wasted way too much time in the 1990s debating whether certain forms of expression should be restricted to comply with the aesthetic tastes of Washington's power elite.

To me, it's less important that Holder said what he said in 1995. However misguided he was, he was swimming with the tide. That sort of uncritical groupthink isn't what you look for in an attorney general, but let's let that slide for now.

The real question is what does he think NOW about the relationship between violence in movies and videogames and the real world? Movies, TV, music, games - all of these things have gotten more explicit over the past 40 years (at least) and yet violent crime rates have declined at rates that "baffle experts" (as the NY Times puts it). Have Holder's views changed at all on the topic? 

And what does Eric Holder think about gun control policy too? Since 1995, gun laws of all sorts have been liberalized throughout the country, always against the wishes of gun-control boosters. How does Holder square his beliefs in the mid-1990s with reality since then? Sadly, I think we know the answer at least with regard to private ownership of guns.

Holder may not be in the habit of answering questions, especially in front on Congress, but that shouldn't stop us from asking them.

Hat tip: Instapundit, who knows a thing or two about guns.

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  • Comcast Sucks (Coxswain Hardy)||

    The real question is what does he think NOW about the relationship between violence in movies and videogames and the real world?

    You honestly think he believed that crap back then instead of just using it as an excuse for more govt, or that Mr Fast-and-Furious has moderated his position on guns?

  • invisible furry hand||

    Why wouldn't he sincerely believe it? Most statists sincerely believe that things would be so great if the messiness of life could just be controlled, preferably by them. It makes them scarier than the cynics

  • Suki||

    Is there a graph that shows his mind change in relation to financial support from Hollywood for the Maobama regime?

  • Pro Gress||

    Well, as the killing of that black kid in Florida shows, we can't trust the public with guns.

    Only trained professional law enforcement officers should possess guns. Their training insures that they won't use their racism except to protect me.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Excellent snarkage, Pro Gress.

  • ||

    Yawn. I would be more surprised if Holder was pro-gun rights during that era. If this was a few months ago, I'd be more interested. As for now, meh. A lot of people involved in politics for years have said dumb things.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I think that a government official advocating the brainwashing of people against a constitutional right is outside the sphere of "dumb."

  • Eric Holder||

    Gee, I never thought about it like that.

    ** turns away, laughs up sleeve **

  • Paul||

    A lot of people involved in politics for years have said dumb things.

    And when those politicians have the power to affect real change in real people's lives, the dumb things they say should be plastered across the public sphere early and often.

  • RoboCain||

    I disagree that "media or fantasy violence creates the real thing", but it they wanted to make guns seem "uncool", then maybe they shouldn't have promoted all of these foreign wars, and militarized police hardware. Not only has there been a massive increase in the popularity of "assault weapons" such as the AR-15, but there also has been an increase in "tacticool". There are way more guns painted in the sandbox colors (eg. coyote, dark earth) or camouflage patterns used in Iraq in Afghanistan. Sure, there has also been an increase in television, movies, and video games, based on the war on terror, but it seems silly to ignore the influence of the actual real-life war.

  • Tim||

    Guns are bad, it's in the liberal DNA.

  • ||

    This man is the Attorney General of the United States.

    Murder me now.

  • Socialistic Individual Sparky||

    With those words, a drone has been dispatched. If you wish to save your property from harm, please exit your home and stand on your front/back lawn.

  • Rectal||

    After a hard weekend impersonating Wide Idiot I like to relax by touching my bagina while choosing esoteric and pretentious vocabulary word to use over at my blog.

    You should check it out.

    pleez!

  • Brandon||

    Is it really "impersonating" if you just made up the identity in the first place?

  • Paul||

    It's all very meta.

  • Humbel Pye||

    A better way to "brainwash" kids about guns is to have them witness a shotgun washing the brains out of a animal carcass.

  • Mainer||

    Good point. Since I got into the shooting sports in middle age, I now cringe at the gun handling I see in movies and TV. For example, a cocked S&W revolver is virtually on a hair trigger, yet people on TV and movies are always pointing them in someone's face for dramatic effect.

  • ||

    All this vetting is great, but if it had been done in 2008 would it really have changed the vote of people like Tim Cavanaugh? After all, Obama was black regardless.

  • Killazontherun||

    Good point.

  • Paul||

    LEAVE CAVANAUGH ALONE!

    *Runs out of room crying*

    By the way, sage, I still miss my fashion links.

  • ||

    This is the standard "progressive" method to innoculate an idea into the public consciousness. It was described by Gramsci in the 1930s. It is used extensively with the environmental movement, by social "scientists", in the nanny state attempts to control what we eat, and in every other attempt to control what we do or otherwise "nudge" us to behave better. It has been relatively successful in dealing with tobacco, a miserable failure during prohibition and in the war on drugs, and extremely successful in the development of political correctness and racial/class guilt.

    The mainstream media is part of it, because it gives them lots of great stories on issues where they have sympathies.

    Progressives cherry pick data, take quotes out of context, misuse analytical and statistical methods, spin, and just plain LIE, in order to "be more effective" in pushing their vision of the future.

  • Paul||

    Progressives cherry pick data, take quotes out of context, misuse analytical and statistical methods, spin, and just plain LIE, in order to "be more effective" in pushing their vision of the future.

    The planet is getting hotter. It is!!!

  • ||

    I would add that they are lying a LOT more, or at least they are getting caught at it much more than they used to. Unfortunately, the MSM never talks about progressive lies - "nothing to see here, just move along".

  • Realist||

    None of this Breitbart revelation makes any difference. There are enough fucking idiots in this country to reelect the sack of shit with big ears.

  • ||

    In addition to "vetting" Eric Holder's insane comments regarding gun control, I would like to hope that the Breitbart Assn. would also "vet" Obama's right to hold the office of president. There are so much that Obama and his wife have said that has not been exposed about his place of birth, his religion, his past. The "lame-stream media" has given Obama a pass from day one. We know virtually nothing about the man. I would like to see every aspect of his life honestly exposed.

  • matt||

    How does "reason" have such a disconnect between this and the Fast and Furious scandal??? Its like this article was written with no knowledge of the scandal! Are the editors and writers really that misinformed or are they towing the leftist line now for the regime??? I havent seen something this bad from Reason in a long time.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow... usually, Reason is accused of being in the pocket of Team Red - at least, by the left. Freepers accuse Reason of being a leftist rag.

  • RZR||

    Reason tends to antagonize the party in power, or at least in the White House.

    When Little Boots was around, its coverage was much more focused on civil liberties than most FOX News "libertarians" bothered to be.

    It's more reflexively NOBAMA now, which invites a lot of really shitty comments from Freepers, but it's always hit both "sides" of the libertarian struggle.

    Also, dude, Reason has hammered away at the Fast and Furious story. We're all well informed about your pet cause.

  • Paul||

    How does "reason"

    Drink!

    misinformed or are they towing the leftist line

    Drink!

    Shit I'm wasted and it's not even 10am.

  • ||

    If we re-illegalize abortion with the next election, watch the violent crime rate explode in roughly 18 years. Personally, I find abortion beyond a certain point to be fairly hideous, but is it any more hideous than compelling people who do not want a kid and are not fit to raise a kid and who will likely hate their kid to have a kid?

  • Don Jose||

    Abortion was illegal in the 1950s and the crime rate then was lower than it is today. The relationship of abortion to crime is tenuous.

  • Paul||

    TV, music, games - all of these things have gotten more explicit over the past 40 years (at least) and yet violent crime rates have declined at rates that "baffle experts" (as the NY Times puts it).

    If there's an "expert" who should be baffled, it's Dave Grossman, author of On Killing, a book that was recommended to me as "insightful" but I found it hard to read through the first 1/4 due to his persistent hand-wringing over violent video games and increasing teen violence.

    Grossman:

    The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young.
  • ||

    violent crime rates have declined at rates that "baffle experts"

    Shouldn't "experts" being baffled make one question whether their expertise?

  • Baffled Expert||

    He's a glorified dog catcher...which is precisely what libertarians should want in a prez.

    Huh? Sorry, can't talk, I'm on my way to testify before Congress.

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