Upon learning of the slaughter in Vegas, I “called” for a day of respite before the “causes” kicked in. Silly moi. As horrific as it was, this was a problematic mass murder. The targets were people attending a country music festival, meaning the shooter was unlikely to fit the hoped-for narrative of racist, sexist, homophobic.
Indeed, it was quite possible, once a motive was ascertained, that the shooter was on the “good” side. Since no tragedy can go unexploited by the opportunists, and there being no easy target of their invective, the narrative plucked the low-hanging fruit: guns. The narrative, inexplicably, was “there is never a good time to talk about guns,” designed to overcome people like me who called for breathing room before the hysteria, before seizing upon death to further the cause.
It was ironic, of course, because we talk about guns all the time. But that’s not really what they mean. What they mean is that regulation hasn’t happened, making “talk about guns” a euphemism for regulating guns. After all, no real talk could end in anything other than regulation, since there is no other “correct” outcome.
While the twitters were already enraged, the first serious shot I saw came from Nick Kristof, who won the Vegas sprint. He argued that we sensibly regulate driving to save lives, and should do the same with guns. He makes a good argument on a poor premise. Driving cars is a “privilege.” Possessing a gun is a fundamental constitutional right. They’re not the same, which is why others blame the Second Amendment, Heller/McDonald and the lawyer who made that happen.
We had this talk here before** after the New York Times put its editorial about guns on Page A1. It’s buried in the editorial pages today, although it includes a survey of anti-gun commentary. Former Long Island congressman Steve Israel writes about congressional inertia on regulation, blaming it on the far-right “gun lobby” and voter’s short attention span.
Third, the problem is you, the reader. You’ve become inoculated. You’ll read this essay and others like it, and turn the page or click another link. You’ll watch or listen to the news and shake your head, then flip to another channel or another app. This horrific event will recede into our collective memory.
That’s what the gun lobbyists are counting on.
As is de rigueur, the argument is directed to appeal to the people who already believe in it. They seek to shame Second Amendment supporters as deplorable killers under the delusion that everyone desires progressive approval. There is an avoidance of questions as to whether the regulation called for would have prevented this, or any other, tragedy, particularly since this slaughter involved a fully automatic weapon.
In the alternative, there are calls to rescind the Second Amendment, which not only appears untenable, but even if it was a possibility, opens the door to a constitutional shift as to the Bill of Rights which might end with only the Third Amendment remaining unscathed.
At the same time, the shooter had a lot of guns in his hotel room. The shooter killed and wounded a great many people who should have been able to enjoy a concert and survive. Not to overemphasize the deep thoughts of a Vox kid, but German Lopez writes:
More guns mean more gun deaths. Period,
Is death the price we pay? Putting aside the gun control arguments that appeal only to gun control advocates, is there any way that Second Amendment supporters can be persuaded to agree with regulation? Is there a middle ground? Should there be?
What say you?
*Usual Tuesday Talk rules apply.
**Having already made my position clear, there’s no reason to restate it here.