In a comment to a post below, a friend to this blog had these words to say about Obama's gun control proposals:
This is all smoke and mirrors to distract the Left while Social Security and Medicare are "reformed".
This assessment seems more or less correct, although I doubt that the situation fell out this way by intent.
The proposal to require background checks for 100 percent of gun buyers makes sense to most Americans, as it does to me. An assault weapons ban simply won't happen, even though many people think it ought. When even someone like Al Franken says that he can support Obama's proposals only in part
, you know that we are in for a long, long, long
What bothers me is the obvious fact that this controversy will drain the left while energizing the right
. The timing is all wrong: Right now, the real
fight concerns the debt ceiling.
Perhaps I should take this opportunity to say just a bit more about the infamous Alex Jones/Piers Morgan "debate." Amusingly, Jones made lots of Piers Morgan haters into Piers Morgan sympathizers. AJ acted the way he did because nobody told him that an approach which works well for his usual audience fails miserably when normal people are watching.
Earlier today, I heard a Canadian broadcaster discuss that very "debate." The broadcaster, who seemed a reasonable fellow, indicated that he had a wary attitude toward gun control legislation, yet he didn't want to be classified alongside Alex Jones.
My thoughts went back to the time I spent in British Columbia, on the gorgeous island of Vancouver. Many people on that island owned rifles, and I was fine with that. Everyone there seemed so rational and low-key and just plain nice
that I probably wouldn't have minded if they possessed C4 or grenade launchers or tactical nukes.
By contrast, my visits to Texas have brought me face to face with...well, with some guys who act an awful lot like Alex Jones. You know the kind: Hyper-macho blowhards who suffer from testosterone poisoning mixed with extreme paranoia, plus an inability to sit still and shut up for twenty consecutive seconds.
Those freakazoid Texas blatherskites did not seem rational or low-key or just plain nice
. In fact, some of them gave me the feeling that they should be held in place with duct tape and ropes while those nice young men in their clean white coats come to take them away. In one of the great paradoxes of American politics, these
are the citizens most concerned about their right to bear arms, even though they probably shouldn't even bear non-plastic butter knives.
So the real problem is not one that gun control legislation can remedy. The problem is cultural.
And I don't know what the solution is.
Josh Marshall has published a remarkable piece
from one of his readers, someone he identifies only as PH. The bulk of what he has to say is a sad story which you should discover for yourself. Toward the end, PH offers an observation which mirrors the argument presented above: The people who tend to be most fanatical about gun rights are guys who shouldn't even be allowed to hold non-rounded scissors.
Many of the loudest, baddest, sharpshot, ninja, gun-owners (and part-time Constitutional Scholars) I know are the biggest knuckleheads of my past:
* There is the Facebook “friend” from high school who huffed a lot of gas and never got higher than a C in any class (especially history/social studies)? Yep, he is now an (unofficial) sniper in the anti-fascist militia and a legal expert. He changed his avatar to an AR-15. Now watch this Sandy Hook Truther video he just posted!
* There is the uncle who has held like 80 different jobs, thought that removing lead from gasoline was Communism, and used to send me every paranoid conspiracy theory chain-email ever made until my mocking responses finally made him stop? Yep, finally got an (unpaid) job as Constitutional Scholar, varmit-destroyer, and protector of free society.
* There is the cousin-in-law who got a job as a cop and then was quietly let go like two weeks later for reasons no one will tell me, and who now plays shoot-em up video games all day. His new milita-member duty is mocking people who call a “magazine” a “clip” and informing them that if they can’t name all the parts of weapon correctly, they have no business having opinions about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in small town Rocky Mountains. Everyone had guns, and they weren’t all like the characters above. Some people have a rifle they only pull out of a safe in hunting season. The problem is the characters above are the ones that have the 10 gun arsenals.
So: If the people shrieking against gun regulation are scary motormouthed mofos, is that a good thing or a bad thing? There's much to be said for the theory that liberalism can only benefit when Alex Jonesian nutcases make the conservative argument. But we need a serious dialog on gun regulation, and that means we need to hear from responsible spokespersons -- representing all
points of view.