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Monday, October 09, 2017


Scores of dead and wounded white people

by Tom Sullivan

"Rational" (from Best 25+ Man cave guns ideas — Pinterest)

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox got more than he bargained for when he agreed to appear on Fox News Sunday. Even Fox News isn't buying the National Rifle Association's blame shifting and subject changing.

When questioned on possible new gun regulations in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, Cox instead launched into an attack on Hillary Clinton for "hypocrisy" because she has an armed security detail. Beside hypocrisy, he tried to change the subject to "broader problems," "underlying behavior," to Michael Bloomberg and Diane Feinstein, to box cutters and bombs, Hollywood violence, video games, elites, single mothers in Chicago, and "common decency." Chris Wallace wasn't letting Cox off that easily.

Daily Beast:

After playing clips of Hillary Clinton calling out the Republicans for being “totally sold” to the gun lobby and Nancy Pelosi expressing her hopes for a “slippery slope” to more gun control, Wallace asked Cox, “I mean, here were 58 people killed, almost 500 injured, is it common decency to wait a day, two days, a week, a month. I mean, it is understandable — I know you don’t agree with their solution but what’s wrong with saying we need to address this?”

After Cox's Clinton dodge, Wallace pressed on:

“Is that a sensible way to have this conversation, to try to turn it into class warfare,” Wallace asked Cox, “where if you’re for gun control somehow you’re part of an elite?” When Cox said, it’s not “class warfare,” but rather “what the American people want, Wallace stopped him in his tracks.

“That’s not actually true,” the host said. “If you talk about background checks, if you talk about automatic weapons — there are a lot of people, in fact a majority of people according to the polls who would like to see those gun controls. I have to say that I’m put off at the argument, if you believe in gun control, you’re an elite.”

"Reasonable" (from Top 100 Best Gun Rooms)

With Roger Ailes gone, Fox must be getting soft. Then again, hundreds of dead and wounded, white, country music fans have a sobering effect even on Fox anchors.

David Frum put up an Atlantic column over the weekend laying out the structure of how the gun lobby insists any sensible discussion of gun regulations must be conducted. Rules 3 and 4 read as follows:

Rule 3. The debate must always honor the “responsible gun owners” who buy weapons for reasonable self-defense. Under Rule 1, these responsible persons are presumed to constitute the great majority of gun owners. It’s out of bounds to ask for some proof of this claimed responsibility, some form of training for example. It’s far out of bounds to propose measures that might impinge on owners: the alcohol or drug tests for example that are so often recommended for food stamp recipients or teen drivers.

Rule 4. Gun ownership is always to be discussed as a rational choice motivated by reasonable concerns for personal safety. No matter how blatantly gun advocates appeal to fears and fantasies—Sean Hannity musing aloud on national TV about how he with a gun in his hands could have saved the day in Las Vegas if only he had been there—nobody other than a lefty blogger may notice that this debate is about race and sex, not personal security. It’s out of bounds to observe that “Chicago” is shorthand for “we only have gun crime because of black people” or how often “I want to protect my family” is code for “I need to prove to my girlfriend who’s really boss.”
Josh Marshall plays off those rules, observing that mass gun ownership is in itself a public health threat regardless of how many owners the NRA believes are "responsible." The "fantasies, paranoias and need for power" are a factor in assembling personal armories, and those are off limits in discussing gun regulations:
The entirety of the gun debate is framed around the proposition that that man with a stockpile of 30 guns in his home has almost total freedom to own 3 or 30 or 300 guns while the society at large has virtually no standing to place any limits on that freedom to protect itself. That imbalance is compounded by the fact that the advocates of extreme gun ownership are allowed to make their case for what are really special rights with arguments which are seldom challenged even though they are often based on paranoia, conspiracy theories or claims that simply have no basis in fact.
It's an argument the rules will not allow.

Suppose I wanted to stockpile gunpowder for my extreme reloading hobby, or store thousands of gallons of gasoline in my backyard, or a controlled chemical like phosgene (you know, for recreational use). Their very presence becomes a threat to the neighborhood no matter how "responsible" I am. Cities and neighborhoods have knock-down, drag-out fights over much less: short-term rentals, keeping urban chicken coops, sign ordinances, apartment density, and rezoning. You just cannot have such arguments about guns. It's indecent.

Stories go around the business community I work in about a colorful character we might loosely describe as a "gun nut." I won't name him, but he's known by a nickname straight out of "The Dukes of Hazard." In one of the stories, he shoots himself in the leg while practicing his fast-draw. In another, his house catches fire. But his basement was crammed full of gunpowder. By the time firemen arrived, canisters of the stuff were exploding and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were "cooking off." The fire department backed away to a safe distance and let it burn.

Other than that, one of the NRA's responsible gun owners, not violent, and just the kind of guy you'd want living next door to your house with a basement no one knows is filled with explosives.

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