And Here Was A Good Guy With A Gun. Now What?Comments
Now that I’ve returned alive (*) from my three-week multiple city jaunt through the United States, and emerged from a jet lag induced haze, I was planning on writing about something also depressing, albeit in a different way. However, as Rob discusses below, we have this.
An equally fascinating and frustrating aspect of the gun issue is the sheer fatuousness of the pro gun-lobby argumentation. It comes across as random seat-of-the-pants theorizing, with all the internal consistency such post-hoc rationalization affords. That said, there is a pattern to it. The first response is to arm everybody and their teachers. That solves everything. When it is clear that this argument won’t fly, then individualise the issue. It’s not a cultural problem, or something that society is responsible for or can possibly address, but rather it’s the result of a deranged individual, and there’s nothing we can do about that.
I haven’t found anything on the right wing blogosphere on it yet, but that’s not surprising; it’s difficult to organise a pro gun-lobby defence for this one. “All we needed was a good guy with a gun” doesn’t quite work when the alleged shooter was a pissed off “good guy” himself, which is what I imagine a well trained former police officer represents to gun nuts. Also, given it was a dark movie theater, it would be a stretch for those in favor of an armed society to attempt a variant of this by suggesting we needed more good guys with guns to take out the good guy gone bad with a gun. It might look something like this, to liberally quote a good friend of mine:
But if everyone were armed, than another good guy could have taken out the good guy who went bad. Then another good guy could have taken out that good guy because he isn’t sure who the good guy is, but he knows people are shooting each other. And then another good guy could have taken out the confused good guy, because, well, somebody needs to take out the guy shooting people in the theater.
Call it the fog of self-defense.
I like to believe that even the gun lobby might see the problem with this line of reasoning. (Incidentally, “the fog of self-defense” is my new favorite phrase).
So, it must be individualised. To quote a different fb friend rushing in to defend the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment (because clearly it’s besieged):
And most of the anti-gun laws being pushed would not have prevented this, as in most states there are special exceptions for retired police officers, who can take weapons into places the rest of us who can carry can not take weapons. Any senseless death is a shame, but making this one part of your anti-gun argument just doesn’t work, as none of the proposed laws would prevent this one.
This is a variant of the “lone crazy” defense. Not only can we not do anything about the lone crazy, since this particular lone crazy has “special exceptions” as a retired police officer (also known as one of those good guys we so desperately need) we really can’t do anything about it. These mythical proposed laws aren’t capable of dealing with the extant laws already on the books. Or something.
Oh, and senseless death is bad, and by implication, my politicising aforementioned senseless death is likewise bad.
(*) During a 36 hour window in New Orleans, the NOPD might have shown up in a neighborhood dive bar five minutes after my arrival at the same bar (great bar btw), I might have been cordially invited to spend some time in an ER, and I might have been out all night drinking with SEK. I assure you that these three events were completely unrelated.