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“God Forbid That We Question Even A Single Tenet Of The Theology Of Firearms”

July 22, 2012

A tremendously important column from E.J. Dionne.

In part…

Nobody who points to the inadequacy of our flood-control policies or mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers is accused of “exploiting” the victims of a deluge. Nobody who criticizes a botched response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a natural disaster is accused of “exploiting” the victims of a hurricane or a tornado. Nobody who lays part of the blame for an accident on insufficient regulation of, say, the airlines or coal mining is accused of “exploiting” the accident’s victims. 

No, it’s only where a gun massacre is concerned that an absolute and total gag rule is imposed on any thinking beyond the immediate circumstances of the catastrophe. God forbid that we question even a single tenet of the theology of firearms.

The lobby then goes to its backup moves. The problem, it insists, lies in the failure to enforce existing laws—conveniently ignoring that the NRA’s whole purpose is to weaken the gun statutes we already have.

The worshipers of weapons also lay heavy stress on the psychological disabilities of the killer in a particular incident to create a sense of futility and resignation. Crazy people, they say, will do crazy things, and there is nothing we can do about this. Never mind that more rational laws would help keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of mental illness. Never mind that it’s harder to get a license to drive a car than it is to own a gun. Never mind that even a Supreme Court ruling that gave an expansive reading of the Second Amendment nonetheless acknowledged the right of the people through their legislatures and Congress to enact sensible gun regulations.

Oh, yes, and then there is their trump card: We’d all be safer, says the gun lobby, if every last one of us owned a gun.

Why is there so little pushback against assertions that are so transparently designed to prevent rather than promote dialogue? The answer lies in a profound timidity on the part of politicians in both parties. The Republicans are allied with the gun lobby and the Democrats are intimidated.

  1. elliot permalink
    July 23, 2012 6:33 PM

    I am a democrat, but I can’t help but think that if there had been just a few people with concealed, carry permits in that audience that maybe less people would have been injured and killed.

  2. Patrick permalink
    July 22, 2012 4:01 PM

    Let me bigin by stating my sympathy for the victims.

    But this, in the end, boils down to special interest groups and individual priority. It does point to a certain disfunction in our national discourse. That much is true. One could as easily say: “god forbid we challenge even a single tenet of the theology of Abortion.” Sadly, there are just somethings which we can’t talk about in any reasonable way.

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