I awoke this morning to see that Michael Moore had a recommended diary on the gun discussion. I was excited to think that someone I have respected for years was going to help bring some leadership to this critical struggle that lies ahead of us to enact appropriate gun legislation.
Unfortunately I found a missive from Michael that I believe would be cheered by Wayne LaPierre and all of the pro-gun forces that are waiting for the left to lose their focus and attention to the looming gun regulation battle.
Michael made a number of points that I feel must be addressed as they are incredibly dangerous to the need for unity in the difficult task ahead:
1. The NRA’s world is ending – their power to set gun policy is over.
I never believed I would ever hear such a naive statement from the likes of Michael Moore. The NRA is weakened to be sure and the time for applying pressure is now. But there is nothing the NRA would like more than for leaders of the left to declare them dead and finished. This is all far from over and I would wager the NRA is still the favorite to survive and prevail in the coming days as national attention turns away from the latest massacre.
2. Gun regulation won’t end slayings and won’t address the core problem.
The NRA could not have said it better. NOTHING will end slayings and the contributing problems are many and complex. But the core contributor to gun slayings is guns -- too many, too readily available, too powerful. This is a rathole that has only one proximate effect and that is to slow down and weaken the focus required to effect meaningful legal change that will significantly contribute to lessening the likelihood and lethality of these events.
3. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country.
This is like saying "He's one of the shortest starting centers in the NBA." The shortest starting center in the NBA is still pretty damn tall and the strongest gun laws in this country are still woefully inadequate. The fact that Connecticut's assault weapons ban did not cover this obviously military-style rifle is only an indication that we have to work harder to get stronger laws. It should not be put forth as evidence that gun laws won't have any effect. To say so is only to do the NRA's work once again.
4. The Sandy Hook killer was stopped by guns (guns sometimes work).
There are many problems with this so-called "dirty little fact". The first problem being that it isn't -- a fact, that is. Nobody knows why the Sandy Hill shooter stopped shooting. There are no eye witnesses to these events and certainly no one who knows his thought processes at this time.
There are any number of reasons why he might have stopped. We certainly know that he did not stop because he feared a bullet. In fact, other mass shootings have appeared to have happened because the shooter was seeking men with guns -- cowards who could not end it themselves and so were seeking "suicide by cop".
To suggest that sometimes policemen with guns can be effective in stopping civilians with military-style weapons is the worst kind of confusing distraction -- it has no effect except to serve the interests of the pro-gun forces who cheer its repetition.
5. We should be focused on broader social problems like poverty, racisim and narcissism.
While I support social advances on these fronts, I must say to Michael, No, I decline your request when you "respectfully ask that we STOP and take a look at" these other issues. We should not stop -- even if we consider these other important issues.
This is, I believe, a site about politics. Politics is the art of the possible and about tactics as much as anything. What we need now is focus and determination to see through the needed changes in the obscene gun laws in this country.
So I ask my brother Michael not to ask us to stop until we have accomplished that objective. Michael, you can help to lead that effort (even as we discuss other important aspects of our violence problems) but you can also help dilute it if you are not careful.
And Merry Christmas, Michael!