Thom Hartmann hosts what he claims to be America’s #1 progressive talk show. As boasts go, that’s kinda like claiming that you make America’s most delicious brussels sprout and kale smoothie. In this clip Mr. Hartman interviews Howard Epstein, author of Guns, Trauma, and Exceptionalism: American in the Twenty First Century.
To save you the time and more than a little aggravation, Mr. Epstein’s thesis is that while gun control is wonderful — he’s from the UK, after all — it’s insufficient to address what ails the good old U.S. of A.
In his view, we have a cultural problem over here. Mr. Epstein calls America a traumatized society which suffers from a form of PTSD, owing to our history, our addiction and infatuation with firearms. As he sees it, “America has a unique propensity to use guns and inflict large-scale violence.”
To address the problem of “gun violence,” Mr. Epstein’s recommends creating committees at the state and local levels tasked with examining anonymized records of children — all children, apparently.
The committees would try to ID any budding Dylan Klebolds and Adam Lanzas (I’m not sure I want to know how). The records of the targeted individuals would then be de-anonymized and “benign intervention” (that gave me a chill, too) would then be applied to steer the tyke off the path of violence.
Just who would intervene and how benign the intervention would be isn’t clear, short of reading the book. I already took one for the team by listening to the interview. I won’t be reading his opus.
The fact that Mr. Epstein considers his Big Idea for fixing what he thinks ails us to be “politically anodyne” reveals how little he really understands about Americans or our culture.
But set aside the Orwellian prescriptions for now. Consider instead the question of whether our love for and use of guns is baked into our culture. Hartmann sees the American experience — from manifest destiny to slavery and beyond — as evidence that we’re hard-wired to resort to ballistic responses. More so, at least, than those in other industrialized countries. True story?