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Refugees and guns

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the nuge

I have a piece on the GOP’s somewhat different analysis of the risk posed by Syrian refugees, and the risks posed by having 250 million mostly unregulated guns floating around:

Republicans are willing to let an apparently unlimited number of children drown to avoid the minuscule risk that letting a few of them and their parents into this country might conceivably lead to “another Paris,” when in fact another Paris is taking place in America this very day, and another will happen tomorrow, and another the day after that, into perpetuity.

And what do the leaders of the GOP propose to do about our daily Paris-level gun massacre? The answer, perversely enough, is the same one they give to the refugee crisis: Absolutely nothing. Indeed, it’s practically an article of faith for Republican politicians that any effort, no matter how modest, to decrease the number of Americans getting slaughtered by guns on every single day of the year is too much.

Any restrictions on assault weapons are too much, and any waiting periods are too much, and even barring suspected terrorists who are on no-fly lists from buying guns is too much.

According to this peculiar moral calculus, it is better, on the one hand, to let a thousand, or ten thousand, or one hundred thousand innocent refugees die horrible deaths, than to take the risk that one American might conceivably be harmed as a consequence of engaging in the slightest gesture of humanity toward the desperate victims of ISIS. On the other, it’s also better to let another Paris happen, right here in America, on this day and every other day, than it is to try to do anything to save the life of even one of the many dozens of Americans who will be killed on this very day by gun violence.

People who can believe both of these things at the same time are not going to be troubled by any level of cognitive dissonance. Apparently, another name for this state of mind is “the contemporary Republican party.”

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