When an editorial’s url doesn’t match the headline, it’s a sure sign that the publisher is playing silly buggers. For example, the title of Francis Wilkinson’s editorial at Bloomberg View is When Gun Logic Leads to Death. Here’s the url: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-22/gun-logic-kills-kids. The change reflects the antis’ desire to sugarcoat their civilian disarmament agenda. They want to lure in the fence straddlers without scaring the horses. Here’s a taste of Mr. Wilkinson’s attempt to appear fair and balanced . . .
A five-year-old in Missouri shot his baby brother earlier this week. Yesterday, a two-year-old shot himself. These are familiar acts, especially in regions of the nation where guns are most prevalent. Perhaps such tragedies are an acceptable price paid for maximalist gun laws and a laissez faire gun culture. But before accepting that conclusion, let’s ponder some of the logic that leads there.
The Rolling Stone contributor and “political strategist” immediately appeals to raw emotion in a piece [ostensibly] written to discuss logic. He links gun ownership rates to increased levels of firearms-related infanticide without providing any proof or context. [According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2014 Edition of Firearms-Related Injury Statistics, firearms are involved in fewer than 1⁄2-percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States.]
And then Wilkinson goes all straw man. “Perhaps such tragedies are an acceptable price paid for maximalist gun laws and a laissez faire gun culture.” Simply put, Wilkinson is implying that gun rights advocates don’t give a shit about dead kids.
It’s a nasty insinuation, but not unknown to students of anti-gun agitprop. In fact, there’s a strong undercurrent of hatred and condescension running through all anti-gun rants. When their writers try to be “reasonable” it just doesn’t work.
Raised around guns is never cited as an official cause of death, but it surely is. Of course, plenty of people are raised around guns responsibly, with due respect for their destructive power and precautions taken to assure that power doesn’t explode. And the gun industry is not uniformly reckless, as an August 2014 Guns & Ammo article promoting “bedside gun safes” makes clear. The point of the product, the article stated, is to keep guns out of the wrong hands — whether of a “hardened criminal or a small child.” Amen.
But as guns have become a more potent cultural signifier, the better to defy the “jackboot of authoritarianism” or some other resented target, raised around guns has become an ideological disposition, and reckless endangerment has become a political stance and badge of cultural authenticity.
So it’s OK to have guns – except when it isn’t. When firearms ownership becomes ideological rather than practical. Because the Second Amendment wasn’t a “cultural signifier” designed to “defy the jackboot of authoritarianism” representing a “political stance” that created “cultural authenticity” (whatever that is). Oh wait . . .
Wilkinson’s dietribe [sic] quickly slips into a bout of LaPierre bashing. I’ll spare you the anti-NRA bile. Here’s the writer’s final salvo:
Everywhere, at every hour, good guys with guns are under siege, according to the NRA. In such a world, how can you afford to use a trigger lock or store a gun in a gun locker? You will waste precious seconds while “gamers, rapers, haters” and other demons are breaking down your door. Better to have a gun always at the ready.
Until your five-year-old picks it up and shoots your infant.
Car salesman use this technique all the time. It’s called a false paradigm. Do you want your old car to break down and leave your wife stranded by the side of the road or do you want to buy a reliable automobile like this car here? Do you want a law forcing gun owners to lock up their guns or do you want dead children?
Truth be told, Wilkinson wants all gun owners to lock away their guns, and only bring them out as needed. For the children! Hang on. Why keep guns if you can only bear them to shoot animals and perforate paper? Why indeed. By separating “keep” from “bear” Wilkinson would move America closer to his ultimate, unexpressed goal: civilian disarmament.
Wilkinson – and his employers – have to hide their true intentions behind a thin veneer of reasonableness. They have to lie to maintain the fiction. And keep lying. As Kim Edwards wrote in The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, “It seemed there was no end at all to the lies a person could tell, once she got started.” Further bulletins as events warrant, as Hobbes said to Calvin.