Guns and the Soul of America – by David Brooks – NYT

“The reality is that in some places people want these laws. It’s true that individual gun control measures, like banning bump stocks, have popular support, but, over all, the gun rights people are winning the hearts and minds of America. In 2000, according to a Pew survey, only 29 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and 67 percent supported more gun control. By 2016, 52 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and only 46 percent supported more control.”

“The real reason the gun rights side is winning is postindustrialization. The gun issue has become an epiphenomenon of a much larger conflict over values and identity.

A century ago, the forces of industrialization swept over agricultural America, and monetary policy became the proxy fight in that larger conflict. Today, people in agricultural and industrial America legitimately feel that their way of life is being threatened by postindustrial society. The members of this resistance have seized on issues like guns, immigration, the flag as places to mobilize their counterassault. Guns are a proxy for larger issues.”

David Lindsay:  The strengths of this op-ed way outweigh its weaknesses. Brooks is brilliant at looking for answers deeper than what is being discussed, and revealing truths, that add to our understanding of the enormous frustration of our political polarization.

Here are some top comments that are helpful, though none of them acknowledge that Brooks has just made an important point.

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Verona NJ October 6, 2017

A 2017 Pew survey indicated 51% said it’s more important to control gun ownership, while 47% said it’s more important to protect the rights of gun owners.

The 2017 Pew survey revealed Americans want more gun control:

89% of Americans want to restrict people with mental illnesses from buying guns.

84% think there should be background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows.

83% percent want to ban sales of guns to people on no-fly or watch lists.

But Republicans have fought these common sense ideas like Communism

Why ?

Because stoking fear, ‘free-dumb’, spite and paranoia is more politically profitable to them than selling common sense, unity, thoughtfulness and public safety.

And shameless right-wing stoking of that fear and paranoia led to a surge in deranged consumer demand of ‘bump stocks’ this week by Americans who were ‘impressed’ with the Las Vegas massacre and deranged murderer.

Several ‘bump stock’ customers suggested that demand for bump stocks was because of fear that the products could soon be outlawed, presumably limiting their abilities – and ‘freedom’ – to haul around automatic murder weapons.

The truth is that Republicans have been working against the public’s safety interests for decades while stoking America’s deranged and violent gun culture that is an international disgrace.

Instead of protecting living Americans, Republicans protect guns and ‘pray’ for dead Americans.

2nd Amendment Derangement Syndrome is no way to run a country.

NYT Pick

Lisa Murphy

Orcas Island October 6, 2017

I’m really tired of hearing that stupid phrase”this is not who we are”, to counteract all the cruel, thickheaded, destructive and bigoted ways of thinking and acting taking place in this country everyday. America this is exactly who you are. A country that thinks owning guns( to prove you’re tough) is worth the slaughter of your public officials, innocent people in movie theaters, concerts and shopping malls, and most disgusting of all the murder of little children. America you are a blight on the landscape, not a “shining city on the hill”. Tawdry, mendacious, ill educated and cowardly.

James

New Hampshire October 6, 2017

One way that might help solve this issue is to require insurance of every gun owner. Not insurance on the value of the gun, but insurance against what that gun might do to others. When the families of victims start going after the insurance companies, things would change.

NYT Pick

Virginia Fowler

Bali, Indonesia October 6, 2017

Why does everyone keep saying that gun control wouldn’t affect mass shootings? This goes against not only logic, but the facts. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since they severely cut back on gun ownership. Countries in which it’s very difficult to buy guns, like Japan and Indonesia, don’t have mass shootings. Remember earlier this year when a guy in China went crazy and attacked a bunch of kids in a kindergarten? All he had was a knife, so no one was killed. Anyway, mass shootings are the tip of the iceberg of gun deaths. The statistics are overwhelmingly clear; less guns equals less gun deaths. Pretty simple.

NYT Pick

Joshua

Konstantin October 6, 2017

You are wrong about the NRA, their spending and their political influence.

This is the second article to minimize that influence by citing the amount they have spent on political campaigns. This is a well designed talking point that has effectively made in to what might otherwise be considered a moderate perspective on gun control.

Fact: the NRA is a top ten spender in outside activities. These activities are often election related and unambiguously intended to influence politicians even when carefully designed to not to be classified as political contributions.

The NRA also spends at least 3 times as much on lobbying as they do on political contributions. Since of this money goes to salaries to hire ex government employees to staff approximately half of the lobbying operation. Is anyone naive enough to believe that this money is not spent too influence our political system?

How did the myth that the NRA is a minor political player as measured by political contributions suddenly become a popular cause of otherwise thoughtful people? I don’t think the answer is obvious, but I am certain it’s part of their budget.

NYT Pick

David Paquette

Cerritos, CA October 6, 2017

It makes me shudder, but there is a vast amount of truth in this article. The unfortunate fact is that it makes no difference what people say they are in favor of, what makes a difference is what people do. People are in fact electing representatives that pass laws that support guns. They are buying guns in record numbers. I’m terrified, but that is the facts.

Even in California, with the some of the strongest gun control laws in the country it is illegal to buy high capacity gun magazines, but it is not illegal to own them. Thus one can just hop over the border to Nevada and buy what you want an bring it on in. No problem.

That interstate gun transport problem is the probable reason that gun control states are not as free from gun problems as one might expect.

The scariest statement in this article is this: “Gun rights are about living in a country where families are tough enough and responsible enough to stand up for themselves in a dangerous world.” There is virtually no support for this statement in facts. There are close to zero cases where one can point to the case of a gun owner successfully terminating a mass killing. In the Pulse night club shooting, the armed guard was hiding in the rest room with the rest of the patrons. In Nevada, it is simply inconceivable how any reasonable amount of armament among the concert goers could have had even the slightest effect on the number of deaths. Yet the “self protection” myth reigns.

 

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