Thursday, December 20, 2012
As we begin the needed debate on our gun culture, keep this in mind:
The Uses and Limits of Knowledge About Guns
DECEMBER 18, 2012
"Some details are important, but people who know a lot about guns have no more moral claim to a voice in this debate.
We're about to start the portion of this debate where we begin discussing specific actions the government might take to address gun violence. And as we do, particularly when it comes to those measures that concern the guns themselves (as opposed to measures focused on the people who can get them or the conditions of their purchase), it's likely that gun advocates will start complaining that there's a problem with all these effete urban northeastern liberals making laws governing guns they know nothing about. This isn't new; for instance, gun advocates have long hated the term "assault weapon," since it doesn't mean anything in particular (after all, every gun is a weapon designed for assault).
We should be very wary of the argument that people who have a lot of experience with guns have some kind of greater moral claim to a voice in this debate (and we should also be wary, as Elsbeth Reeve writes, of coastal urbanite conservatives claiming to speak for "real America" about guns). Yes, having everyone get their facts straight is important. But every one of us is potentially affected by guns, whether we ever bother to pick one up or not. That's kind of the whole point.
You don't have to know how to disassemble and clean a Glock to want your kid not to be shot by one."
And the madness in Florida and its "Stand Your Ground" idiocy continues.
Meanwhile, the GOP is losing ground with Americans. A majority says the Republican Party is too extremist.
"For the first time, a majority of Americans now say the Republican Party is too extreme, according to a poll released Thursday by CNN/ORC.
Fifty-three percent of people, including 22 percent of Republicans, said the GOP's views and policies have pushed them beyond the mainstream.
The number is up dramatically from previous years. In 2010, fewer than 40 percent thought the party was too extreme.
Democrats were considered to be a "generally mainstream" party by 57 percent in the new poll.
"That's due in part to the fact that the Republican brand is not doing all that well," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.
Americans also say that they have far more confidence in President Barack Obama than in congressional Republicans, and that Republicans should compromise more in finding bipartisan solutions."