The New York Times decided that the San Bernardino shooting was so outrageous that they decided to vent their spleen by publishing their first Front Page Editorial in Forever… and it was on Gun Control.
Specifically we should End the Gun Epidemic in America
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Now if someone tells you that there is a “gun epidemic” I won’t fault you for scratching your head. Gun crime is down 49% since 1993, though the public is unaware.
And those “barely modified” guns that are “weapons of war” are semi automatic rifles that aren’t even firing bullets big enough to hunt deer with in most states. The New York Times wants them banned though, despite not knowing what they are. In this display of stunning ignorance, they are joined by the President of the United States
There were plenty of reactions to this, from Christie’s dismissal of the OpEd as “liberal claptrap” and Colion Noir’s analysis dissecting the issue & response to WaPo’s hamfisted defense that lambasted those attacking the NYT
We will always self-correct as time goes on and sooner or later, America gets what America wants. However, the founders set an intentionally high bar on altering the rights they fought to secure. A simple majority won’t get it done, but a morally outraged nation can make it happen quite quickly. Yes, the founders perhaps didn’t foresee the advancement of modern weapons of war, but they didn’t foresee women getting the right to vote either. It was a moral outrage and national disgrace that women couldn’t vote at one point in our nation’s history, but when America woke up to realize that, they changed the constitution to reflect it. For that reason, I am not ashamed of America.
However, I would be ashamed of an America that allowed women to vote, but said they had to complete 20 pull-ups to do so. I would be ashamed of an America that prohibited a poll tax, but charged $500 for parking outside a polling station. I would be ashamed of an America who says we have the right to free speech, but makes words that could be offensive or hurt someone’s feelings criminal as apparently 40% of millennials would preference. I would be ashamed of an America that said 18-year-olds had the right to vote, but they had to prove they weren’t an absolute idiot first. Now wait, that last one is actually not a bad idea. But the point is, if it was indeed a moral outrage as you called it, then America would respond as we always have in kind. It is called the 2nd Amendment because it is literally the 2nd one on the list, not an afterthought. To alter it with anything less than the constitution itself would in fact be, a moral outrage and national disgrace.
The response goes on to point out that the NYT recently published an article dismissing the danger of so called “assault weapons” –
Do you know how many people have been killed in America by assault weapons? I’m sure you have fact checkers out there, but wouldn’t that be an interesting number to publish so that we can determine the scope of this moral outrage. Actually, you already did that last September in another editorial you titled, The Assault Weapon Myth. I attached a link so you can refresh your memory.
In my opinion, the most important paragraph is the one compares these strident screams to “do something” to other political hot topics:
You know that feeling you get when states pass Voter ID laws and you believe it to be an infringement on a person’s right to vote? Despite the fact that anyone can easily get an ID, you believe the hurdle put in place to be much more nefarious that it seems. That is kind what supporters of the 2ndAmendment are feeling right now. I support voter ID laws in the same manner I am ok with background checks and some basic mental health component for a gun purchase. Both can be very dangerous and lead to an infringement of a basic constitutional right, but if done well and aggressively kept in check, harmless.
Edit: David at Gun Culture 2.0 wrote a very good fact based response to the NY Times editorial to compliment his earlier “opinion” based one: https://gunculture2point0.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/a-fact-driven-response-to-the-new-york-times-gun-epidemic-editorial/