The LA Times published an incredibly reasonable, well balanced, and thoughtful article on the issue of post mass shooting politics.
It is, by now, a horrifyingly familiar story. Indeed, the familiarity is what should horrify us the most: A school shooting with a bunch of people dead, many of them children, the rest teachers. This time, it’s a high school in Parkland, Fla., 17 dead, the shooter a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school. The assailant, armed with a popular rifle and loaded up with ammunition, was injured at the scene.
What can we do? What should we do?
The answers are not easy, and they inevitably involve a trade-off: accepting the unacceptable, or restricting our freedoms. The three big ones are freedom of the press (publicity gives oxygen to these kinds of acts, so restricting coverage will reduce copycats); the right to bear arms (guns don’t cause human evil, but of course they make it easier to carry out); and due process (targeting potential mass shooters, or mentally ill people in general, is possible, but requires us to curtail Americans’ civil rights before they have actually committed a crime).
The knee-jerk reaction is to go after firearms, but there’s a bait-and-switch element to gun-control arguments in these situations. Activists focus on small restrictions that are palatable to many. If anyone points out that small restrictions won’t do much to stop shootings, the activists argue that larger restrictions, unpalatable to many, would do the trick.
Gun owners are used to hearing, almost in the same breath, “we’ll stop shootings by banning all guns” and “nobody’s trying to take your guns away.”
There are only easy answers if you are willing to sacrifice rights you don’t care about, and that other people do. That’s never been a solution Americans could pursue without embarrassment and regret. Unless and until we can find a better, more reliable way to identify potential mass shooters early, we have to acknowledge the nature of the choice before us: Punish many innocent people or remain mostly defenseless against the malicious few.
Nobody wants to make one side of that trade. But nobody wants to face the other side either.
I am honestly shocked that the LA times would publish something like that.
In a clear case, Dan McLaughlin, explains why reactionary “just do something” is unfeasible – both politically and in practice. Since we can’t reactionarily “just do something,” it is incumbent on us to try think through proposed changes carefully to come up with potential solutions that would be both effective and politically viable.
This was the most rational response I read in any news outlet to the Parkland shooting.
Never read the comments. If this article was a call to act rationally and think clearly, the LA Times readership responded with the intellectual depth of savages.
“Our country continually puts unfettered capitalism above the rights of its citizens. The gun industry has more protection than school children. The health insurance companies have more clout than their prisoner patients, and food industries and pharmaceutical companies are free to push toxic ingredients to unsuspecting Americans with misleading advertising and labels. Even organized religion can usurp the rights of women and remove safeguards out in place by the state. The health insurance lobby, the NRA, big business, and even the church is granted more protections than the men, women,and children who make up our country. I am ashamed of America.”
That’s right, it’s capitalism that makes guns kill people and pharmaceuticals poison people, and the NRA and health insurance lobby get up every morning as ask themselves “how can I cause mass casualties for profit today?”
On the other side of America (literally and figuratively) the New York Review of Books decided to opine on guns and (washed up) actor John Cusack decided to broadcast it.
Go ahead one gop member prove ur not in a death cult ⬇️ we know awnser – so we must destroy gop & remind it every moment of it’s hideous life of collective blood on its hands- fuck ur talking points – fuck nra – you want assault rifles join military https://t.co/HiCg7IaoUd https://t.co/HDOx5N98lN
— John Cusack (@johncusack) February 15, 2018
Moloch was the name of a Canaanite god, worshiped by those who fought the Israelites, that demanded child sacrifice. According to Garry Wills, guns our our child sacrificing gods.
He said that.
The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?
The fact that the gun is a reverenced god can be seen in its manifold and apparently resistless powers. How do we worship it? Let us count the ways:
1. It has the power to destroy the reasoning process. It forbids making logical connections. We are required to deny that there is any connection between the fact that we have the greatest number of guns in private hands and the greatest number of deaths from them. Denial on this scale always comes from or is protected by religious fundamentalism. Thus do we deny global warming, or evolution, or biblical errancy. Reason is helpless before such abject faith.
2. It has the power to turn all our politicians as a class into invertebrate and mute attendants at the shrine. None dare suggest that Moloch can in any way be reined in without being denounced by the pope of this religion, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, as trying to destroy Moloch, to take away all guns. They whimper and say they never entertained such heresy. Many flourish their guns while campaigning, or boast that they have themselves hunted “varmints.” Better that the children die or their lives be blasted than that a politician should risk an election against the dread sentence of NRA excommunication.
3. It has the power to distort our constitutional thinking. It says that the right to “bear arms,” a military term, gives anyone, anywhere in our country, the power to mow down civilians with military weapons. Even the Supreme Court has been cowed, reversing its own long history of recognizing that the Second Amendment applied to militias. Now the court feels bound to guarantee that any every madman can indulge his “religion” of slaughter. Moloch brooks no dissent, even from the highest court in the land.
Though LaPierre is the pope of this religion, its most successful Peter the Hermit, preaching the crusade for Moloch, was Charlton Heston, a symbol of the Americanism of loving guns. I have often thought that we should raise a statue of Heston at each of the many sites of multiple murders around our land. We would soon have armies of statues, whole droves of Heston acolytes standing sentry at the shrines of Moloch dotting the landscape. Molochism is the one religion that can never be separated from the state. The state itself bows down to Moloch, and protects the sacrifices made to him. So let us celebrate the falling bodies and rising statues as a demonstration of our fealty, our bondage, to the great god Gun.
That is unhinged. The type of grandiose poetry of and angry, narcissistic liberal arts major, and completely devoid of reality.
This is so ridiculous that there I can’t even begin to counter it rationally. It’s like trying to convince the paranoid schizophrenic that the CIA didn’t put bugs in his fillings to listen to his dreams.
If you believe that gun owners wake up and love their guns more than they love their children, that we see Wayne LaPierre as the Pope, and that guns have some sort of mystical power, there is nothing logical I can say against that.
Except maybe that if there is a “death cult” in DC that does have nigh on religious zeal to murder children, it’s Planned Parenthood and transmutation of abortion from a “safe, legal, and rare” medical procedure into a sacrament and pillar of faith of modern feminism. Wherein the gun industry doesn’t like to see children be killed by madmen with guns, Planned Parenthood profits from the casual murder of unborn children. But tell me again how guns are Moloch.
Once you have decided that people who like guns are child sacrificing devil worshipers, there is no way to have a political debate on the topic. This is the antithesis of the McLaughlin OpEd, this is not thought provoking but thought terminating. It forces gun haters to run to their ideological corner to bask in the feeling of moral superiority because they hate gun owners.
The problem is that it is that celebrities with their massive armies of Twitter followers are spreading the Moloch article and not the McLaughlin one, which only makes the debate worse.
It is why we can’t have nice things.