Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I don't actually care about gun control, but ...

... a post responding to Chunky Jonah Goldberg is always a delight, especially when it comes from a master like Thers.

[Added] Schadenfreude of the Day, also from Thers (from last week). Allen West news! You must.


Jack said...

You know, I don't care much about gun control, either. I think it's a losing issue for the Democrats, and I don't think the small changes we could make around the margins would have any impact on the gun-related problems we have in our country. Sweeping change that might actually fix the problem is impossible.

If we *could* have a country like Japan or most of Europe, where guns *are* effectively banned and gun violence is virtually non-existent, that would be great. I'd be all in favor of it. But there's no way to turn this country into one of those countries. The right literally revolt if it was ever tried, but even if they didn't, we'd still have (a) hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, and (b) a gun-loving culture that would lead to a black market for guns. In Europe and Japan, there is no gun culture, thus no demand to sustain a black market. But in the US, gun worship is a way of life, and if we denied legal access to guns, people would still get them with the same ease they can get drugs.

bjkeefe said...

I feel similarly about it being an unwinnable issue. But I also have changed my thinking about the issue itself over the years, and I am now largely sympathetic to many of the arguments made by gun enthusiasts. Not that I think I'll ever own one, but I can appreciate that the vast majority of people who do are responsible and hate being judged by comparison to the most extreme nuts.

The thing that finally tipped me was Kidd's (John Sandford's) analogy with computers.

Jack said...

Yeah, I agree, basically. I mean, I'm not a committed partisan on either side of the issue. I'm happy to go along with whatever the public wants. If there is a strong majority in favor of gun control, I don't believe they should be held over the barrel of ultra-orthodox Constitutionalism. And if the public really wants relatively unfettered access to guns, I can live with that, too.

What offends me more than anything are the Constitutional fundamentalists who don't think we even have the right, as a society, to decide for ourselves what kind of country we want to have. But it is pretty clear that beyond the 11,000 or 12,000 gun deaths every year (no small cost), guns themselves are not the problem. I can't stand the triteness of "guns don't kill people, people kill people," but living in a rural part of Michigan, half the people I know own guns, and not because they dream of killing Democrats. Rather, they own them because they're fun: for hunting, for target practice, etc. I don't see a good argument for why they should all have their guns taken away. And, frankly, as you suggest, the argument that people should be able to defend themselves in bad situations is pretty compelling.

That said, wingnuts have been very successful at changing the subject and moving the debate to terrain more favorable to themselves. After all, *no one is suggesting we take away all guns.* Obama's proposals are very modest, and even those modest proposals stand no chance of passing the 'bagger controlled US House of Representatives. Nevertheless, we're stuck having a conversation about whether we should (a) remain a free country that loves liberty or (b) become a tyrannical dictatorship where everyone is a slave to the Kenyan usurper.

I will say this: I think Obama might be deliberately making moves designed to highly the sheer lunacy of the GOP. Did you hear when Biden mentioned to reporters that Obama was considering "executive actions?" The entire right wing immediately predicted an apocalypse. Republican Senators compared Obama to King George. Drudge posted pictures of Hitler and Stalin. The entire GOP in unison went right off the deep end with the most deranged predictions. And then? Three days later Obama proposed "executive actions" like "start a national dialogue" and "nominate a director of the ATF."

For anyone paying attention, the message was clear: Republicans are batshit crazy.

If Obama accomplishes only one thing during his 2nd term of office, I hope he succeeds at marginalizing the Republican Party.

bjkeefe said...

Great comment.

I wish, but I don't think, Obama is consciously trying to marginalize the GOP. I think he is still doing his level best to work with them, constantly trying to see where he can persuade and compromise, rather than just throwing up his hands and treating them purely as opponents. However, the current state of the GOP is such that they can't help but continue to marginalize themselves. Or, at least, continue to come off as rigid lunatics, which, one hopes, at least 50.1% of the electorate will be able to discern in 2014 and 2016..

bjkeefe said...

Regarding the last two sentences, see the link here.

Love this part:

And that sneaky, Machiavellian Obama: he made them do it. He’s trying to “just shove us into the dustbin of history,” said House Speaker John Boehner this week. No shoving was required — the Republicans climbed right into the dustbin and put the lid on to keep out the light.