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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers


jimf said...

What fire? Don't be insensitive!

jimf said...
Guns and the Soul of America
David Brooks
OCT. 6, 2017

The pattern is by now numbingly familiar. A lone lunatic
murders a mass of innocent people in some public location.
There is a heartfelt cry for tighter control on gun ownership.
Then state legislatures swing into action. They pass a series
of laws **loosening** controls on gun ownership.

As David Frum points out in _The Atlantic_, the five years
since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School “have seen
one of the most intense bursts of gun legislation in U.S. history.”
More than two dozen states have passed new gun laws. And in
almost all cases these laws have made it easier to buy or carry guns.

Wisconsin eliminated its 48-hour waiting period to buy handguns.
Ohio allowed concealed-carry weapons to be brought into day care
facilities and airports. Florida changed its “stand your ground”
law to make it harder to prosecute gun owners. . .

[A]a single mass shooting leads to a 15 percent increase in
firearm bills introduced in the same state’s legislature within a year.

In Republican states,. . .a mass killing “increases the number
of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75 percent.”
In Democratic states, mass shootings have no significant effect
on laws passed. . .

So why are lawmakers responding to mass killings by loosening gun
laws? The wrong answer is that the N.R.A. is this maliciously powerful
force that controls legislators through campaign dollars. . .

The reality is that in some places people want these laws. . .
[O]ver all, the gun rights people are winning
the hearts and minds of America. In 2000, according to a Pew survey,
only 29 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and 67 percent
supported more gun control. By 2016, 52 percent of Americans supported
more gun rights and only 46 percent supported more control.

This gigantic shift in public opinion hasn’t come about because the
facts support the gun rights position. The research doesn’t overwhelmingly
support either side. Gun control proposals don’t seriously impinge freedom;
on the other hand, there’s not much evidence that they would prevent
many attacks.

Besides, better facts tend to be counterproductive on hot-button issues like
gun control. As Tali Sharot notes in her book “The Influential Mind,”
when you present people with evidence that goes against their deeply held
beliefs, the evidence doesn’t sway them. . . The smarter a person is,
the greater his or her ability to rationalize and reinterpret discordant
information, and the greater the polarizing boomerang effect is likely to be.

The real reason the gun rights side is winning is postindustrialization.
The gun issue has become an epiphenomenon of a much larger conflict over
values and identity.

A century ago, the forces of industrialization swept over agricultural
America. . . Today, people in agricultural and industrial America legitimately feel
that their way of life is being threatened by postindustrial society.
The members of this resistance have seized on issues like guns,
immigration, the flag as places to mobilize their counterassault.
Guns are a proxy for larger issues. . .

jimf said...
Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: David Friend on ‘The Naughty Nineties’
OCT. 3, 2017

. . .

I was writing a book about the Clinton years during the Obama years.
I was convinced, when I sat down to my interviews and began my writing,
that the left had won; that America, red states and blue, in its
cultural attitudes, had shifted left of center. . .

I thought the left had triumphed. I was wrong. The more research I did, I
realized how huge the advances on the conservative side were, and how
the ’90s were extremely important for the triumphs of the right we’re
seeing today. We had what I call the four horsemen of the hard right:
In print, David Brock. Now he’s on the left, but he was formidable in
the books he wrote and the supporters who funded him, in taking down
Anita Hill’s reputation, in smearing Hillary Clinton. Then you had
Rush Limbaugh on radio. He went national in ’88, and by the ’90s he
was a mouthpiece pushing back on these demon Clintons and everything
they represented. The third was Roger Ailes, with Rupert Murdoch.
In ’96, he creates Fox News. The fourth was this then-kid in a fedora
in a trinket shop in Hollywood, Matt Drudge. He would mix up people’s
opinions with news, with fake news. Headlines were cheek by jowl with rumors.

I was surprised by how many of the seeds of what we have today were so
firmly in the soil. I still buy the idea of the culture war being won by
the young and the left, in the main, but we’re still fighting these battles. . .