Archive - 2012

December 17th

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So. Guns.

If the Sandy Hook shooting revealed anything, it's that the national conversation about guns is completely insane, and barely a conversation.

The craziest thing about it is that every single other topic in American politics has the chattering class calling for what is, essentially, a center-right compromise position. The budget? Raise taxes a little, cut poor people spending a lot. Abortion? Keep it legal a little, restrict it a lot. Unions? We need them a little, but we hate them a lot.

But suggest that we regulate guns a little, while allowing people to keep them a lot? UNACCEPTABLE.

And this is especially cruel because guns is just about the only issue where a center-right compromise would be appropriate or helpful. Because like it or not, the 2nd Amendment is a thing, and it's a fairly straight-forward thing, and that genie's out of the bottle. So given that, banning guns, or taking guns away from people, isn't a thing that's gonna happen, as nice as it may sound.

But we can't even have a center-right gun compromise, with some reasonable regulations, or licensing, or whatever, because the NRA, which exists to sell as many guns as possible, was one of the first organizations to realize that if they can convince lawmakers that their business interests are in fact an ideological cause, they can make a shit-ton of money.

I'm not going to go into any number of common-sense reforms out there that would make a dent in the national massacre count. This isn't a fucking wonk blog and I'm betting you've seen links to one or more of them in the past few days. Read them if you enjoy fantasy but don't have time to sit through The Hobbit, because they're not going to happen.

Oh, they'd probably work. And they'd still let gun nuts keep Glocks in their nightstands to fuel their irrational fantasies of singlehandedly defending their loved ones and homes from the "urban" hordes. Sure, science shows that you're actually more likely to get shot if you try to defend yourself with a gun during an assault, but I'm not going to pretend there's a shot in hell at evidence-based gun policy.

The point is, there's stuff we could do that wouldn't infringe on anyone's Second Amendment rights while still making us generally safer from shooting rampages, and we're never going to do it because here is the state of the gun debate in America 2012. ACTUAL QUOTES TIME!

"We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability -- that we're not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment." - Mike Huckabee.

We all knew someone was gonna fucking say this. They probably had a lottery or drew straws or something. We just don't know if Huckabee lost it, or won it. So we can't do anything about guns, our only hope is to start endorsing Jesus in kindergarten again. Does someone have, perhaps, a non-supernatural solution?

"Chris, I wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids." - Louie Gohmert.

Well, there you go. Give God to the kids and a machine gun to the principal and, because Connecticut school principles are notoriously dead shots and incredibly calm under pressure, PROBLEM SOLVED.

That's where the debate is, folks. Gun control, even under the political rebranding of "gun safety", will get shouted down as politicizing a tragedy, while Huckabee and Gohmert get taken seriously for the stupidest shit on the planet and people seize on specific details to claim that since a new law might not have prevented this shooting, we should never have any new laws ever.

Maybe someday, America will take the same obsessiveness with personal safety they use to enable the War on Terror and the authoritarian police state and apply it to things that might actually make them safer, like gun control and meat inspection. But Newtown's not gonna bring that day any closer.