“I remember ickhe hours and days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting,” Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy opines at newstimes.com (excerpted from recent Senate testimony). “I remember feeling like I needed to be restrained about talking about the obvious policy issues that tumbled out of the facts surrounding that tragedy.” Huh? You’d kinda expect a rabid anti-gunner like Senator Murphy to stick to the playbook. Wave the bloody shirt. Talk about your feelings. Call for gun control. In this op ed, Murphy skips the whole touchy feely thing. Right there we get insight into the man’s mentality . . .
It seems to me that Murphy is disassociated from his own emotions. This is a bit of surprise, given his liberal credentials. Modern liberals/progressive usually wear their hearts on their sleeves, appealing to their constituents’ hearts rather than their heads. You know; the right to “feel” safe should balance the natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Like that.
But I held back because it felt like the mourning and the grieving should take precedence over action. It took me only up to the first wake that I attended to realize I was wrong.
A wake-up call (no less) from a man who claims that he was reluctant to politicize the Sandy Hook slaughter. If true, and let’s not forget that he’s a politician whose lips are moving, the Constitution State Senator overcame his reticence in a big way.
In the years since, these mass shootings have become as commonplace as rain storms. Since 2011, the number of mass shootings in the United States has tripled — tripled. After each one, the forces of the status quo — the defenders of the gun industry — tell us we can’t talk about policy reform in the days after a shooting. How convenient that, at the moment when the world is watching, when the country is asking itself what we can do to make sure another mass slaughter doesn’t happen again, the rules say that we can’t say a word.
Again, the Senator misses an opportunity to talk about his own feelings after the massacre. And presents an interesting analogy: mass shootings and rain storms. For one thing, rain storms aren’t particularly horrifying. Nor are they preventable. The fact that he lies about their frequency is neither here not there. The clear implication: Murphy has accepted the reality, the inevitability of mass shootings.
Murphy’s reference to the “status quo” is boilerplate politician speak: I am an outsider! He adds to that entirely incredible assertion by stating that he was muzzled – muzzled! – by “the rules.” Murphy’s implying that his failure to even talk about gun control was not his fault. Strangely, he doesn’t play the “NRA as Satan” card. He blames the very system that gives him a platform and power for rendering him mute and powerless. I reckon he actually believes that.
Of course, Senator Murphy did talk about gun control. A great deal. On the national stage. To suggest otherwise is beyond delusional, beyond lying. It’s pathological. But the mantle of faux persecution is key to Murphy’s self-image. He sees himself as a victim. More precisely, he wants his supporters to see him as a victim. I find it astounding that statists like Murphy even attempt to position their “brand” that way, but then I’m not a low-information voter. Nor was I elected to the U.S. Senate.
If we can’t talk about anti-gun violence policy the day after a large number of Americans are shot, then you will never talk about anti-gun violence policy. But even if you accept that there is never a bad time to talk about how we can end this carnage, then we also have to have the courage to take on all of the other ridiculous arguments about why we can’t act.
Here Murphy’s mask slips. By labelling anti-gun control arguments as “ridiculous” – an inadvisable adjective for anyone trying to appear open-minded – he reveals himself as a condescending elitist. The switch in pronouns at the top – “you will never talk about anti-gun violence police” – betrays frustration at his supporters inactivity on gun control. Again, he’s signaling perceived superiority.
Now, the first one is familiar because it comes right after the mass shooting happens. A former NRA board member trotted this one out within hours of Charleston: He said that the solution was to just arm more pastors and parishioners in churches so that they can defend themselves. The more people that have guns, the less people will die from guns — goes this logic.
The problem with that is — it is a boldfaced lie. Study after study show that the more guns there are in a community, the more crime there is. The more guns, the more gun homicides.
I’m always amused when anti-gunners do such a great job at representing the pro-gun position. Notice that Senator Murphy does so without citing statistics. Notice also that he relies on unattributed statistics to make the counter-argument. The bold-faced lie accusation raises the question: why? Why would someone say that arming pastors and parishioners was the answer when it isn’t? Normally, antis suggest that they do so to increase gun sales. Murphy ain’t got time for that. He’s busy blaming the electorate.
The second argument is one that I have heard from my Republican colleagues in the Senate just in the last few days — that these laws can’t stop a madman like Dylann Roof or Adam Lanza from perpetrating violence. Some of my colleagues say that our only recourse is to close our eyes and pray that this doesn’t happen again.
But again, these stubborn facts betray that argument. Now that we have states that have loose gun laws and states that have tougher gun laws, we can see what happens. Over and over research shows us that jurisdictions that make it a little bit harder for bad guys to get guns have less gun deaths.
Murphy sets-up what’s called a false dilemma. The only choices he presents are not being able to do anything to stop mass murders or making it a “little bit” harder for bad guys to get guns. “Allowing” Americans to arm themselves in their own defense isn’t an option. By relying on this technique, Murphy shows us that he’s no better than a car salesman. As someone who was in that business, I can tell you that the cynicism required eats away at your soul. If indeed you have one.
There is evidence that a different set of laws could have — not would have — could have stopped Dylann Roof without having any effect on law-abiding gun owners in South Carolina.
Rhetorically, this statement is the dictionary definition of weak sauce. People don’t want to know what could have stopped the carnage in Charleston. They want to know what would have. Or, if you prefer, what action would have had the greatest chance of stopping the slaughter? What law or laws would have stopped Dylann Roof from getting a gun? Murphy doesn’t – can’t – go there. Those laws don’t exist.
Separate and aside from the specific case-by-case impact of any law is the collective moral and psychological effect of non-action.
No matter how maligned Congress becomes, we still set the moral tone for the nation. When we declare something to be morally out of bounds, especially when we do it in a bipartisan or nonpartisan manner, Americans listen.
That is why, in my heart of hearts, I believe that our silence has made us complicit in these murders. When we do nothing year after year, our silence sends a silent message of endorsement to the killers.
Murphy is flat-out admitting that laws wouldn’t have stopped Roof and calling for entirely symbolic action. He bases his justification for this move with the wildly erroneous assertion that America listens to Congress; Americans recently gave Congress a 16 percent approval rating, continuing a dramatic 15-year downward trend.
This inane argument reveals Murphy’s exaggerated not-to-say-delusional feelings of self-importance. At the same time, the last sentence in that paragraph highlights the Senator’s sense of guilt at his own powerlessness, which he invites his readers to share. Can both things existent at the same time? They do here. More evidence:
Those hanging on the edge of reason, those contemplating the unthinkable take a cue that we don’t really mean it when we condemn mass violence, because if we did, we would try to do something — anything — to stop it and we don’t.
Does Murphy really think that “those hanging on the edge of reason” give a damn about society’s [supposedly non-genuine] condemnation of mass violence? Is he saying that he and his supporters didn’t try and do something to stop it? (Not to mention the fact that calling for people to do “anything” to stop mass violence contradicts his own argument; opening the door to arming potential victims.) Again, it’s a combination of delusional thinking, exaggerated self-importance and guilt.
So we need real action, a real debate. We need real, honest policy to happen here. And no, it’s not all about guns. It’s about mental health, it’s about law enforcement, and it’s about a culture of violence and hate that we have just become immune to.
The U.S. gun homicide rate is 20 times higher than that of our 22 peer nations. Since Sandy Hook, there has been a school shooting, on average, every week.
How on Earth can we live with ourselves if we do nothing, or worse, if we don’t even try?
Never mind the mind-bogglingly high firearms-related homicide rate in countries with strict gun control. Murphy uses a Euro-centric, heavily-massaged stat designed to bolster his argument. Why wouldn’t he? Common sense and proper scientific data reveals his desire for gun control as an inherently impotent course of action.
The real question raised by his final entreaty: how can Murphy live with himself given his own failure to embrace the simple, elegant, effective answer of armed self-defense? Answer: not easily.