Saturday, July 09, 2016

Which Side Are You On?

"Once again, the difference in policy views is clear, and can be coolly stated: those who insist on the right to concealed weapons, to the open carrying of firearms, to the availability of military weapons—to the essentially unlimited dissemination of guns—guarantee that the murders will continue. They have no plan to end them, except to return fire, with results we know. The people who don’t want the regulations that we know will help curb (not end) violent acts and help make them rare (not non-existent) have reconciled themselves to the mass murder of police officers, as well as of innocent men and women during traffic stops and of long, ghostly rows of harmless civilians and helpless children. The country is now clearly divided among those who want the killings and violence to stop and those who don’t. In the words of the old activist song, which side are you on?"

- Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, July 8, 2016, "The Horrific, Predictable Result of a Widely Armed Citzenry"


Victor Venema said...

Which side are you on does not sound like a productive framing. America is not as divided on this issue as this suggests.

Nearly everyone wants universal background checks. This is only opposed by a small (vocal) minority. That this common sense legislation is not passed in Congress is because the USA is no longer a democracy.

David Appell said...

Victor, it's opposed by a minority WHO HAVE GUNS.

They are not going to give up those guns. Serious guns. Lots of them.

Pass all the laws on whatever, and they will only cling to their guns that much harder.

There is now about one gun/American in this society. That number isn't going to decrease.

Harry Twinotter said...

It does appear that US citizens have decided that the current body count is an acceptable price to pay for the right to bear arms.

David in Cal said...

Gopnik simply asserts something that needs to be proved, when he writes, "The people who don’t want the regulations that we know will help curb (not end) violent acts and help make them rare (not non-existent)..."

I don't think we know the impact of any particular gun regulation. Research on this point is all over the place. Cause and effect are really hard to prove in this case.

David Appell said...

Harry, I saw someone write that if Americans did nothing about guns after first graders were gunned down in their school, it's decided it won't do anything.

I can't even imagine a number N that would lead to meaningful reform after a mass shooting event with N deaths.

I can't even guess at its order of magnitude.

David Appell said...

David, one big reason we don't know the potential effects of gun regulation is

"The NRA has blocked gun violence research for 20 years. Let's end its stranglehold on science," Michael Hiltzik, LA Times 6/14/16.

But it's hardly a coincidence that the US has so many guns and so many gun homicides and suicides.

David in Cal said...

That headline is way exaggerated. It should say, "The NRA has substantially blocked funding for gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control." IMHO the CDC is ill-equipped to be involved in this kind of research. It's an agency with medical expertise. It's not especially equipped to balance sociological/Constitutional/political/policy questions. As I recall, when the CDC was involved in gun research, their product turned out to be pretty much anti-gun propaganda.

Of course, CDC is hardly the only source of support for gun research. All kinds of research can and is being done without CDC funding. E.g., look at the wikipedia entry for "defensive use of guns." It says,
Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly, depending on the study's definition of a defensive gun use, survey design, population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Low-end estimates are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year, while high end estimates reach of 4.7 million incidents per year.

I don't know which, if any, of these estimates is correct. My point is that such research is being done, regardless of the CDC not funding it.

David Appell said...

"IMHO the CDC is ill-equipped to be involved in this kind of research. It's an agency with medical expertise...."

It includes epidemeology, tracing disease outbreaks, and statistical analysis. I'm sure the CDC has plenty of experts in these area.

The issue isn't that the research can be done somewhere else. It's that the NRA is evil in stopping this important government research. They are heartless people who don't give a damn about the gun violence in this country. Selfish greedy immoral bastards.