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August 26, 2013 08:26 AM UTC

We're Sick of Debunking the "Sickness On Our Souls"

  • by: Colorado Pols

FOX 31's Eli Stokolsseriously? This again?

[The Independence Institute’s Jon] Caldara blasted Morse, who faces a recall election next month for his support of gun control legislation, for a speech he gave on the Senate floor back in March when he attempted to quote a Robert F. Kennedy speech about violence given just weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This much is clear, violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls,” Morse said back in March.

He was talking about the scourge of violence — gun violence, specifically; but, in Caldara’s telling, Morse was “saying we gun owners, we have a sickness in our souls.”

Last month, media critic Jason Salzman called out Jon Caldara's blatant misquote of Senate President John Morse, completely distorting Morse's use of the words "a sickness on our souls" in a speech about the struggle to pass thus year's gun safety legislation. Morse was quoting a speech made by Robert Kennedy a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King. In May, we debuted our irregular series "Today in BS" by exploring the twisting of this same quote into some kind of ad hominem remark against gun owners. There's just no truth to it.

So naturally, as Stokols continues, the fictional version is now being used in a TV spot attacking Morse.

The folks at Free Colorado, the group that staged a rally earlier this summer drawing more than 5,000 gun owners to Glendale for a magazine giveaway, aren’t too concerned with that context.

In a new minute-long ad set to hit the airwaves in Colorado Springs Sunday, a narrator uses snippets of Morse’s floor speech and then informs the audience that the lawmaker was saying that gun owners have the “sickness [in their] souls” — and that when he referred to the “toxicity” of gun violence he was actually talking about gun owners.

Of course, this isn't the first brazenly, even knowingly false claim that's ever been used in a political TV spot. But we and others in this space have spent enough time thoroughly debunking this particular claim that we're more than a little piqued to see it recycled yet again so close to the election. If this ad really is on the air in Colorado Springs, the grounds for demanding it be pulled are so clear it shouldn't even be necessary to ask.

And at this point, we're not accepting claims of ignorance. The people who made this ad know they are lying.

But we've reposted the original video of Sen. Morse's quote after the jump, just in case anybody is still "confused." 


14 thoughts on “We’re Sick of Debunking the “Sickness On Our Souls”

  1.  "Free Colorado", which is running the ads, is a newly formed nonprofit, based in Denver at a LoDo office/condo space at 23rd & Curtis. It was formed as a "charitable organization" with a one time funding source of $150,000.

    It doesn't have to reveal any tax information or financial transactions until if files a 990 report in 2014.

    Yeah, such a "grassroots" effort by real down home citizens sick of all of the city boys legislating away their gun rights. When I called the number listed on their filing certificate, 719-369-2266, I reached a message number for someone named "Katie".  The registration document was signed by Katherine "Katie" Kennedy. Kennedy is a registered agent for the well-funded Republican operative group "Senate Majority Fund".

    So that's where this "grassroots charity" comes from.



      1. If this is a deliberate editing of Morse, then does that Colorado law about prohibiting knowlingly using false statements in political ads apply?  WTF are the bright young lawyers of yesteryear…there were always on top of what the repubs were doing and would not let them get away with anything????

      1. As a non-lawyer, I do know that "issues" i.e. recalls, bills, etc, are not supposed to mix their $$ with candidate $$. It seems to me that sharing a phone, office space, and a CEO mixes the recall issue and the candidate issues unlawfully.

        The Senate Majority Fund's mission is: EDUCATING THE PUBLIC CONCERNING CANDIDATES FOR THE STATE SENATE . The group's website states:

        Thank you for your interest in the Senate Majority Fund. We hope you will join our efforts to regain the Republican majority in the Colorado Senate.

        SMF is a 527 organization. They've had three ethics complaints filed against them. Also, the Pueblo Republican Party chairwoman, Becky Mizel's husband, a local construction millionaire, has donated $35,000 to the SMF.

        At the least, Senate Majority Fund should be declaring "in kind" donations to Free Colorado. LoDo office space isn't cheap.And Free Colorado's charity, non-profit, social welfare status is dubious. I don't think that lying to the public constitutes "educating" them. Currently, Free Colorado is featuring the same old video showing a Giron supporter handing cash to other supporters. This was investigated and debunked back in June.


  2. The sickness in Caldara's soul has nothing to do with his gun ownership . . . but everything to do with how often he has regularly prostituted it.  John has never learned the importance of practicing safe soul . . .

    1. But no surprise as they demonstrate consistent disdain for fact based reality going back decades now. How dare Pols point out what the quote actually says when everybody knows that fact based reality has such an obvious liberal bias?

  3. Morse wasn't saying it, but I will.  

    People who live in fear of violence, such that they define their experience of the unique poiltical experiment that is the United States in the unrestricted right to own methods of raining violence on their fellow man, do have a sickness in their souls.

    Cliches about an eye for an eye leaving the whole world blind seem trite, but the gun fetishist world view is where fear is the greatest motivator, and community has been reduced to the individual family homestead.  We have no obligation to society at large, except to kill those who threaten us.  Building communitites where mental health, substance abuse, poverty, hopelessness and deprivation are addressed in such a way that violence is reduced is branded as some kind of 'ism" to be feared (note correlations between NRA and Bircher ideology.)

    This world view is one where might makes right, and the answer to violence is more violence.  I would prefer less violence.

  4. Ok fine, Pols, then what was the "sickness on our souls" Morse was referring to? The sickness that makes us want to own guns?

    That's just as bad if you ask me.

  5. Morse quoted RFK after MLK's assassination:

    • Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.


    I don't actually see anything about gun owners or gun ownership in there, but if the shoe fits…

    Morse used the quote to say that SB196 would save lives from being taken by gun violence. He then allowed the bill to "lay over", ie stay stuck in committee. 196 would have allowed  liability charges against weapons manufacturers, for victims. It is not now law in CO.

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