Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown shootings: if not now, when is the time to talk about gun control?

Over at the Guardian, Gary Younge recycles an older column to highlight yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut:

It is simply not plausible to understand events in Connecticut this Friday wouthout having a conversation about guns in a country where more than 84 people a day are killed with guns, and more than twice that number are injured with them. 
Amid all the column inches and airtime now being devoted to these horrific slahyings, though, that elephant in the room will remain affectionately patted, discreetly fed and politely indulged. To claim that "this is not the time" ignores the reality that America has found itself incapable of finding any appropriate time to have this urgent conversation. The victims in Newton, Connecticut deserve at least that. And these tragedies take place everyday, albeit on a smaller scale.  
America's President, Barack Obama, understands this. The number of homicide victims in his home town of Chicago this hear has outnumbered the fatalities among US troops serving in Kabul." 

As an aside---and I'm surprised Younge didn't realize this---Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and yet its murder rate is devastating.

Anyways, yet again we have a left-leaning pundit calling for yet another "conversation." I don't think Younge is out of place wanting to talk about gun control right after the shooting---I don't buy that "Now is not the time to discuss politics" business.

I do, however, find Yongue's call for more "conversation" to be tiresome and superfluous. As my man Bart Hinkle put it:
"As should be laughably obvious by this point, gun control is something Americans almost never stop talking about. The trouble—from the liberal perspective—is that the discussion keeps going the wrong way. Despite the horror at Virginia Tech, in Tucson and Aurora and too many other places to list, Americans consistently decline to adopt sweeping gun-control measures. Just a week after the Tucson shooting, 69 percent of survey respondents still told CNN the episode had not changed their views on gun control."
I'm not opposed to gun control---that is to say, I'm not opposed to things like background checks, and I don't believe people should be allowed to own AT4s or the like. I'd be interested to know if there is a type of gun control that could have prevented yesterday's massacre (some people say it's impossible; I probably disagree with that), but in any case, such a commitment to a ground level of gun control is never enough for the gun control crowd, who always want to have a "national conversation" or an "honest conversation" or a "dialogue" about guns, even though Americans are always talking about guns.

Also, Younge ends with this line:

"If America can twice elect a black president, it can [enact gun control]."

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware the two things were related. At all.

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