Debating the US gun madness with a true believer
Jobob says the real problem is insufficient knowledge about firearms
It’s remarkable: in a TV debate with me and former Obama official Tim Fullerton, Jobob Taeleifi of the Daily Caller seemed to genuinely believe that the problems in the United States are too few weapons and insufficient knowledge about guns.
But during this blood-soaked January, the latest shooters seemed to know plenty about guns. They carried out 39 mass shootings already – a significant increase from last year at this time. At least 11 people were killed this week at Monterey Park, CA.
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How can this go on and on? Every poll shows a majority of Americans want tighter gun laws; in the latest Pew survey only 6% said the gun situation was “not a problem.” But very few of them treat this as the determining issue in deciding how to vote – whereas for die-hard gun lovers it absolutely is.
So each time there is an upsurge in massacres, howls arise for someone to do something, anything. But the noise invariably fades in the face of obstinate reality.
And the reality is that almost every Republican in Congress opposes gun control, goaded into this position by the well-funded National Rifle Association. When they control one of the chambers, as they do the House of Representatives today, change is hopeless. But even when the Democrats have a majority, as they do now in the Senate, a handful of them from rural states join the Republicans in keeping sanity at bay.
That leaves the states, which can enact their own laws – and so some Blue states like California indeed have tighter checks in place. The comfort from this is about as cold as the steel casing of a gun: you can easily carry weapons across state lines.
Gun activists like Jobob will use tortured logic and the most convoluted arguments to convince Americans that there is no connection between having by far the highest level of gun ownership in the developed world (a third of Americans own a gun, and there are more weapons in the country than people) and having by far the highest rate of firearm deaths in the world. They will talk your ears off with their messaging: overcomplication is the last refuge of the obstructionist.
But the fight is not futile. How can I believe that, after all the repeated failures to enact anything resembling meaningful, obvious, and desperately needed change?
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