Monday, December 17

Principles, Not Principals

I TUNED in This Week yesterday morning, excited that, according to my U-verse info button, they'd coaxed the elusive John McCain out of hiding. 

He was, sadly, bumped. The Roundtable began when Georgie S. tossed to George Eff:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, George, let me begin with you. And I watched those clips from earlier this week and Friday and Saturday, and there's a depressing sameness to the conversation coming out of these tragedies.
WILL: Yes. And our response is always to think that there's some defect in the social system or some prompting in the social atmosphere that causes this and, therefore, we assume, we can tailor a law to correct the defect.
Okay, let's hit Pause right there (as I did) and regard this. Hold it up to the light and admire the patina. This was the Conservative answer fifty years ago, when George Eff was a Goldwater supporter, and it's still the answer today, thirty years since the Republican party started tailoring the laws to its own vision of social defects. It sounds like principle; in practice it acts like anything but.

That's not your take on reproductive rights, George. Not for the last forty years, anyway, forty years of social disruption based on nothing but the idea that we could tailor the law to assuage your moral qualms (in some still unspecified fashion).  

I didn't think that when I hit pause, the better to hear exactly what was said. What I thought was "Th' fuck's wrong with that?  Why wouldn't a sane people recoil from this slaughter, and want to do everything in its power to prevent another?" I'll wager that for a sizable number of our fellow citizens obeying the legal niceties was not the first thing on their minds.

Any legislation which restricts access to the tools of mass killing is going to be strenuously opposed, and subject to, you should pardon the expression, judicial review. It isn't like the Second amendment is going to be overturned tomorrow morning by a mob of angry mommies. 

Millions of Americans support sane gun laws. Every day of the year. My own feelings about the easy availability of weapons designed to slaughter, like my feelings about the facile Constitutional arguments which have brought that about, or the money which has bought legislative complacency, or the sham arguments about video games, goth fashions, and backward messages in Judas Priest songs which accompany every such occurrence, are not the product of headlines, or of fire in the blood. Maybe Sandy Hook changed some people's minds in a way that Virginia Tech or Paducah, or Columbine didn't. That's for those people to explain. 

What there is for the Right to explain--at long last, George, at long last--is why every single instance until now was accompanied by explanations that ignored the implements of mass slaughter. Let alone why the theoretical ought to trump the practical. In certain cases only, of course.


Kathy said...

Remember when MADD was started? Up till then it was not only OK to drive drunk, it was cool and funny and manly. It was a tough slog, but people -with the help I must point out of Distillers, Brewers and Winemakers, plus alcohol sellers, were able to make drunken driving and crashing NOT COOL, not something to boast of ("Man I was sooo shitfaced last night I'm amazed I made it home in one piece!")

Ten years ago a friend mentioned that a guy I was ... keen on .... had several DUIs. I lost interest right then and there.

So it isn't hopeless that owning and using firearms as if they were tennis rackets or skis will no longer be COOL. There will be a day, soon I hope, when a person of average intelligence, or even a dullard, will understand that owning an arsenal will NOT protect you from the Evil government, or the wild-eyed rioting darkies, or the fanatical Islamists. IT WON'T.

Anonymous said...

How can any "conservative" claim to be pro-life while advocating for no restrictions on the sales of tools of mass murder?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Charles Davis, re: Dave Weigel

Anonymous said...

Pol: I'm voting to outlaw semiautomatics. At least Bushmasters. My constituents are demanding it.

NRA: You don't understand. We will DESTROY you. We are rich beyond belief, and we will finance an opponent in your district to oppose you in the PRIMARY. Guns will never be discussed. You will lose. Now jump.

Pol: How high?