New York Times columnist Joe Nocera refuses to consider the possibility that the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment means “shall not be infringed.” More to the point, Joe can’t understand why anyone would believe that government regulation of private firearms ownership is a bad thing, not a good thing—excluding the fact that they lack his intellectual firepower and bleeding heart empathy.
So Joe’s taken to labeling gun owners who oppose civilian disarmament as “absolutists.” That’s a kindler, gentler and more condescending way of calling them “extremists.” Well here’s one thing that’s absolutely true: Joe Nocera is a clever bastard.
Nocera knows how to shape the narrative by combining journalistic sins of omission and commission. In other words, Nocera is the Mayor of Spin City. To wit, today’s “Gun Report” . . .
The new meme among gun absolutists appears to be hammers. “Why did you elect to report on guns as a choice of weapon, when according to current F.B.I. stats, bear claw hammers and baseball bats are the number 1 and number 2 choice of weapon?” wrote a pro-gun reader: “Guns are 3rd.” When I was interviewing Second Amendment absolutists for Saturday’s column, I heard the same thing. So of course, Jennifer Mascia and I looked into it. Guess what? It doesn’t appear to be true as Slate reported in February . . .
Just for fun, let’s cede Joe the statistical argument (at least until Bruce Kraft sees the bat signal). Do you see what he’s doing?
Instead of debating whether or not keeping a running tally of “gun violence” is inherently biased in favor of (not to mention inspired by) civilian disarmament, instead of balancing “gun violence” against defensive gun use, Joe’s focused his readers’ attention on baseball bats and hammers.
Still, in the interest of fair inquiry, Jennifer and I will be searching this week for incidents of hammer violence as well as gun violence. We will run The Hammer Report directly below The Gun Report, so readers can see for themselves how much hammer violence there is compared to gun violence. Should be illuminating, don’t you think?
You gotta give Joe credit. At the same time that he’s ridiculing his “absolutist” detractors by simplifying and mischaracterizing their argument, he’s added information which backs up the underlying precept of civilian disarmament: America is a cesspool of violence.
Truth be told, we are a law-abiding and peaceful nation whose violent crime rate has been dropping for more than two decades. The majority of the reports in Joe’s daily tabulation of firearms-related homicides are gang/drug-related deaths and suicides, restricted to a small population, both geographically and demographically.
Not that you’d know it from reading This Day in Gun Violence. Joe’s supposedly objective diary gives an intentionally distorted view of our society. Context is the argument killer, and Joe knows it.
Thankfully, his “something must be done” alarmism is doomed to failure. For one thing, it’s monotonous. Not even Joe’s snarky sniping can save the feature from inevitable ballistic boredom. For another, Americans still believe in their Constitution and the rights it protects. Absolutely, positively.