I must be getting old and cranky, but the truth is that I really just don’t find some of the GVP blogging worthwhile or even remotely based on facts. And I know that everyone deserves a chance to say whatever they want to say and write whatever they want to write, but the shabbiness of some of the arguments leaves me feeling dismayed at best, really pissed-off at worst.
And as regards a piece that just appeared in Salon, I’m really pissed off for two reasons. First, Salon has a good track record for publishing and republishing solid commentary on gun violence. Which means they have a pretty good idea about how the gun violence argument should be framed. And this takes me to the second reason, namely, that last week’s editorial entitled ‘The Gun Industry Won,’ is an unmitigated piece of journalistic junk which bears no relationship to reality at all. It’s not only wrong – it’s completely and totally wrong and I wouldn’t respond if it had been published by the NRA or the NSSF. But it was published by our friends at Salon, and like I say in my title, with friends like that the GVP community doesn’t need enemies.
The author, Amanda Marcotte, begins her piece by noting that news coverage of mass shootings is “paltry, the opinion pieces will be even thinner.” That’s something new? Let me break the news to you gently, Amanda. The reason that Sandy Hook was a front-page story for weeks was because it took place within a quick back-and-forth ride to New York. Six months’ earlier, James Holmes killed and wounded 82 people in a Colorado movie theater, Obama and Romney cancelled their campaign events that evening, the next day the President made some televised remarks, and that was that. Wonderful.
In 2014, the Ebola epidemic claimed 11,000 people in Central Africa. When two Ebola cases were discovered in the US, the resultant hysteria, largely promoted by uninformed media channels, went far beyond any fears that erupted after the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy during the financial meltdown in 2008. Meanwhile, gun homicides alone kill more than 11,000 Americans every year, never mind the 20,000+ gun suicides, the 1,000+ unintentional gun deaths, etc. Does this situation ever get reported by the media? Not before Sandy Hook, and not after Sandy Hook. What Amanda Marcotte calls the “learned helplessness” of the media has characterized the media response to gun violence long before she ever wrote anything about guns, or about anything else, for that matter.
Of course her real ‘proof’ of the NRA victory is the slavish support for the 2nd Amendment on the part of every Republican running for the party’s Presidential nomination. But in the entire paragraph which bemoans the red-meat, pro-gun rhetoric of the GOP, Amanda conveniently forgets to mention that this year’s election may turn out to be a national referendum on gun violence, thanks to the uncompromising stand of Hillary, who has departed from her husband’s oft-stated warning that the Democrats better not try to take on the NRA.
Don’t get me wrong. The fact that someone’s sympathies lie with the GVP doesn’t mean that honest concerns about the shape and direction of GVP activities shouldn’t be raised. But the GVP movement is light years ahead of where it was five years ago. And ten years ago, with the exception of several inside-the-beltway lobbying groups, to all intents and purposes the GVP community didn’t exist. Amanda says the problem lies in the fact that Gun Nation uses the same political rhetoric and strategies employed to weaken concern about other social issues like climate change and reproductive rights.
To which my answer is: So what? If one-third of all households still own guns, why should we be surprised that Americans believe that a gun can protect you from crime? But remember this Amanda: After seven years of gun-buying mania, the number of Americans owning guns continue to go down. And you consider this to be a victory for the NRA?