In the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown most people are still trying to get to grips with the enormity of this crime. Twenty young children killed and six teaching staff.
It is hard to take in.
However, certain types of politicians and politicos, who are not given to reflection, are trotting out their particular agendas with indecent haste.
Gawker draws attention to Oregon State representative, Dennis Richardson’s crass comments:
“If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide. “
Incredibly, Mike Huckabee blames the killings on the separation of Church and State.
According to Pink News, Westboro Baptist Church blames Gays for the shooting.
Astonishingly, someone with a particular affliction uses the killings in Newtown to attack Jews.
[Warning: links to racist material, as a matter of public record.]
“On his December 14 radio show, American anti-Semitic activist Mark Glenn reveals that the villains responsible for the Sandy Hook school massacre are…wait for it…the Jews. “When you see these kinds of things happening,” Glenn says, “you see these kids basically acting out this program that has been installed on their hard drives since they were born, you have to go to the source. Who programmed them? Who taught them that it was OK to do things like this? And again, for me the bottom line is that it’s the Jewish mainstream media….” Glenn is a longtime anti-Semite who is a commentator for Press TV, a semi-official Iranian broadcast network. In recent months he has also founded an internet radio network featuring a roster of anti-Semitic hosts, based on the blogtalkradio.com broadcasting platform.”
The dire, Brendan O’Neill at the Torygraph poses a question without a moment’s intellectual engagement:
“There is one question that the pious critics of America’s so-called gun culture cannot answer. If mass school shootings like that in Connecticut really are a product of the apparently mad Second Amendment, of the fact that guns are widely available in the US, then why did such shootings only take off in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Guns have been available in the US for more than two centuries, but multiple-victim shootings in schools, of the sort that rocked Connecticut and Columbine before it, are a very modern phenomenon. It cannot be simply the availability of guns that leads people to massacre children or their fellow students, or else there would have been horrors like this throughout American history. “
Obviously, the difference was the availability of assault rifles, a product of modern technology. That is part of the reason, all of which eluded the contrarian O’Neill.
“On the occasions when reasoned argument replaces dirty tricks, gun enthusiasts claim that the Second Amendment to the Constitution affirms their almost sacred right to gun ownership. But that is still highly debatable. The wording is as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As long ago as 1939, the Supreme Court declared that this Amendment meant that people could only carry guns for military use in a militia, not for personal use at home. That much should be clear anyway, for the subsidiary clause “being necessary to the security of a free State” indicates that the militia is for the protection of the State, not the individual.
The NRA might assume the manners and attitudes of a John Wayne, but the world which inhabits its imagination disappeared well over a century ago. Justice Breyer, with rare eloquence and clarity, has pointed out the differences between an “18th-century, primarily rural America, where frontier life demanded guns, and the present, primarily urban America, where gun possession presents a greater risk of taking innocent lives”. This obvious truth, grounded in nothing more complex than common sense, eludes everyone at the NRA. Breyer goes on to say: “Today’s Court should not base an answer to a question about an issue such as gun control on the facts and circumstances of 18th-century society.” Quite. “
Update 1: Jonathan Chait looks at the absurdities of a libertarian remedy:
“Are you kidding me? You think gun control is impractical, so your plan is to turn the entire national population, including young children, into a standby suicide squad? Through private initiative, of course. It’s way more feasible than gun control!
McArdle does allow that such behavior runs contrary to instinct. Well, yes. Teaching even fairly aggressive young boys who are learning football to avoid their self-preservation instinct and crash into their opponent full speed rather than shying away from contact usually takes rigorous, lengthy training. This is when they’re wearing a helmet and full-body padding and going up against a kid their age. Trying to get them to fling their bodies into danger in a situation where they’re in shock, have no protection, and are facing an adult with a gun rather than a kid with a football is beyond impossible.
Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication. Newsweek, I award this essay no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. “
Update 2: The Beast looks at the NRA leadership.