“My family has experienced its own measure of gun death,” former crime reporter Trymaine Lee [above] confesses at nytimes.com. “In the mid-1970s, a couple of years before I was born, a disgruntled prospective tenant murdered my grandfather over a $160 security deposit. Decades later a young woman put a bullet in the back of my stepbrother’s head. Years later, two cousins, brothers, would be touched by the plague: One was shot down and the other is serving a long prison sentence for a separate incident, a botched robbery turned murder.” Now you might think that someone who’s experienced that much murdereous mayhem would . . .
examine the possibility of arming oneself against aggression, and consider the lifestyle choices made by the people who ended-up on the wrong end of a gun. But then you’re probably someone who uses rational thought when weighing the pros and cons of America’s firearms freedom.
If you were an educated black journalist, you might even take the time to research the racist history of gun control before arguing for its implementation. And begin to appreciate firearms’ role in protecting civil rights-seeking African Americans from racist “gun violence.”
That’s not how Mr. Lee rolls. If he did, the end result of his intellectual exploration would be very different. Then again, his rational examination wouldn’t be published in the New York Times Sunday Review, aiding and abetting his publisher’s jihad against firearms freedom. Spreading this kind of hand-wringing, self-pitying, anti-gun agitprop that is their stock-in-trade.
I like to tell myself that I’ve served as a conduit for the last whispers of lives lost too soon. That I am capturing, in a crucial way, the sad mundanity of American gun violence. But sometimes, it seems I’m little more than a peddler of pain. A cog in a much broader story that seems to give short shrift to black death and too little scrutiny to a gun industry that profits while so many perish.
What kind of scrutiny does Mr. Lee suggest? None. He’s too busy crying the beloved country (a.k.a., waving the bloody shirt) to take a good hard look at the causes of firearms-related injury and homicide. And why is that?
Mr. Lee has bought into the profitable myth of black victimization. Not only is Mr. Lee suggesting that those who pull the trigger are simply gun industry pawns, he’s also asserting that he’s powerless to affect change. By his own admission, he’s just a small cog in a media machine.
That much is true, by his own choice (I might add). But more than that, Lee’s blood-soaked frustration reveals that he doesn’t know what to do.
Like the vast majority of people supporting civilian disarmament, Mr. Lee knows that gun control doesn’t work. Some maybe most believe it doesn’t work because there isn’t enough of it. But some admit this failure — at least to themselves — and continue the crusade to assuage their feelings of guilt.
It’s understandable that a crime reporter who’s seen so many bloody corpses would feel that guilty for his own powerlessness in the face of violent death. But public policy should not be based on feelings. It should be based on hard evidence, followed by hard choices.
Mr. Lee chose his line of work. He has to live with its consequences. One of which is his abject inability to accept the importance of personal responsibility. “The burden of their weight [people killed in firearms-related violence] belongs to all of us” he concludes. Not true.
The truth about guns is that the person holding a firearm bears full responsibility for its use. Until and unless Mr. Lee and his enablers can see this sometimes sad fact, they will be blinded by their guilt, and try to make us pay the price. Unaware that they are guilty of far more than they will ever know. [h/t mister3d]