The New York Times is tired of the bizarro logic driving gun legislation over the last two decades.
Over the years, states have made it increasingly possible for almost any adult to carry a concealed handgun in public, including on college campuses, in churches and in state parks — places where people tend to congregate in large numbers and where, in a rational world, guns should be strictly prohibited.
Whatever the reason, the regulatory landscape has changed enormously in the last few decades. In 1981, 19 states prohibited individuals from carrying a concealed gun in public, and 28 states plus the District of Columbia gave law enforcement agencies discretion to issue permits only to people who had a real need to carry a hidden gun. All but a few states took this cautious approach.
Nowadays, however, there are four states that require no permit at all to carry a gun, and 35 states have permissive “shall issue” or “right-to-carry” laws that effectively take the decision of who should carry a weapon out of law enforcement’s hands.
And since more is better, that's led to perfect harmony and safety. If you think the answer is "yes," read the rest of the editorial.
Maureen Dowd is also done with the wait, forget, repeat tactics in DC.
For decades, when the public has grown more sympathetic to gun control after an attempted assassination or a spike in gun murders or a harrowing school shooting, Wayne LaPierre and his fellow N.R.A. officials have hunkered down to wait for the “emotional period” or “hysteria,” as they call it, to pass.
They rule in the back rooms on Capitol Hill and rein in panicked senators and congressmen who fret that they should support some measly legislation to pretend they are not pawns of the gun lobby.
The press conference, where the press was not allowed to ask questions, played like an insane parody: a tightly wound lobbyist who earns a million or so a year by refusing to make the slightest concession on gun safety, despite repeated slaughters by deranged shooters with jaw-droppingly easy access to firearms.
See, Maureen, you talk about something other than lazy back-room gossip, and you get back on the front page.
Ross Douthat provides the defense. Such as it is.
For a week after the Newtown shooting, the conversation was dominated by the self-righteous certainties of the American center-left. In print and on the airwaves, the chorus was nearly universal: the only possible response to Adam Lanza’s rampage was an immediate crusade for gun control, the necessary firearm restrictions were all self-evident, and anyone who doubted their efficacy had the blood of children on his hands.
It’s an assumption that cries out to be challenged by a thoughtful center-right. ...
But instead of a kind of skepticism and sifting from conservatives, after a week of liberal self-righteousness the spotlight passed instead to ... Wayne LaPierre. And no Stephen Colbert parody of conservatism could match the National Rifle Association spokesman’s performance on Friday morning.
Buddy, when even Douthat can't cough up the standard line in praise of your right wing nuttery, you're in trouble. In fact, in the NRA statement, Douthat admits the true state of our politics more clearly than... maybe ever.
Unfortunately for our country, the Bloomberg versus LaPierre contrast is basically all of American politics today. Our society is divided between an ascendant center-left that’s far too confident in its own rigor and righteousness and a conservatism that’s marched into an ideological cul-de-sac and is currently battering its head against the wall.
So why do you spend most weeks rallying the head-butting?
Phillip Caputo says that before we look at the motivations behind gun violence, we might do well to look at the instruments, based on his experience investigating Patrick Purdy, the man behind the 1989 mass shooting at a Stockton, CA elementary school.
If you look into the backgrounds of mass murderers, you’ll find very few who gave signs that they were capable of a heinous crime. Many of them were “grievance killers” — the laid-off employee who is to all appearances normal, up to the moment he barges into the office with guns blazing.
Since the Newtown, Conn., massacre, there has been a good deal of vague chatter suggesting that people like Purdy or Lanza or Jared Loughner can be identified before they act on their monstrous fantasies and can be prohibited from purchasing firearms. A kind of early-warning radar will detect a disturbed personality on a trajectory toward slaughter.
How would this be accomplished? Are disgruntled workers, loners or anyone who says or does bizarre things going to be examined by psychiatric boards? If it’s determined that they are potential dangers to themselves or others, would they be placed on some sort of national watch list? Compelled to undergo treatment? Locked up?
Even if such a system had been in place, it would not have stopped Lanza, who, as we all know, obtained his weapons by stealing them from the collection of his gun-enthusiast mother.
Libertarians and gun-rights lobbyists say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That is, they assert that the problem isn’t the proliferation of ever more lethal weapons, the elimination or gutting of gun-control laws, the passage of concealed-carry regulations that exceed the ridiculous (in eight states, it is permissible to pack heat in a bar, something that was illegal even in Wild West towns like Dodge City). No, these advocates say, the problem is that the guns end up in the wrong hands.
Come, then. Let us weep for the 20 children shot to pieces by the young man who invaded their elementary school wielding semiautomatic weapons. Let us mourn for the six adults who could not save the children, could not save themselves, who died as the children died, shot multiple times at close range. Let us whisper our sorrows and shed our tears. Let us stagger against one another in our mountainous grief. Let us light our candles and leave them at makeshift shrines to be cared for by the uncaring sun and rain.
But let us also understand these as acts of moral masturbation, in that they satisfy some need, yet have no chance of producing anything of lasting consequence. Let us not pretend our sorrow in this moment means a damn thing or changes a damn thing, because it doesn’t and won’t. Not until or unless the American nation is finally willing to confront its unholy gun love.
looks as the fine week the Republicans had in the House, and even then...
As Thursday night’s vote approached, Republican leaders, realizing they didn’t have the votes, shut down the chamber, canceled plans to be in session Friday and sent members home until after Christmas. In a private meeting, Boehner bid them good riddance with a prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
A beaten Boehner stood before the cameras Friday morning to give a postmortem. “It’s not the outcome that I wanted,” he said, but “that was the will of the House.”
Thursday night’s rebellion, by shifting responsibility to the White House and the Senate, actually increases the likelihood of tax hikes, but the rampaging Republicans weren’t contrite on Friday morning. “The speaker has been talking about tax increases — that’s all he’s been talking about,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said on MSNBC. “That’s been the frustration.”
As if to demonstrate just how unreasonable he could be, Huelskamp added a gratuitous opinion that those seeking stricter gun control after the Newtown shooting are “politicizing the issue.”
... finds that no matter where you start, you can't get away from how badly the right has played gun issues in the wake of Sandy Hook.
Chris Cillizza does manage to stay on topic, but doesn't exactly surprise anyone with his "worst week in Washington"
When you make a public threat, you’d better be able to back it up.
John Boehner learned that lesson the hardest way possible this past week. ...
As the vote went down before it even came up, one message came through loud and clear: Boehner doesn’t have control of his conference. Politically speaking, that’s a tough reality to recover from.
makes a rare appearance on this page.
The political obsessions of the Republican base — from denying global warming to defending assault weapons to opposing any tax increases under any conditions, to resisting any immigration reform — are making it impossible to be a Republican moderate, said Carville. And without more Republican moderates, there is no way to strike the kind of centrist bargains that have been at the heart of American progress — that got us where we are and are essential for where we need to go.
Republican politicians today have a choice: either change your base by educating and leading G.O.P. voters back to the center-right from the far right, or start a new party that is more inclusive, focused on smaller but smarter government and market-based, fact-based solutions to our biggest problems.
In other words, even the most deeply embedded inside the beltway pundits are having an increasingly hard time pretending that the current Republican Party is anything other than a gathering of kooks. Won't someone at least provide a little cover?
New Scientist looks at stem cells that aren't exactly embryonic. In fact, they're kind of the opposite.
Dead bodies can provide organs for transplants, now they might become a source of stem cells too. Huge numbers of stem cells can still be mined from bone marrow five days after death to be potentially used in a variety of life-saving treatments.
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