Friday, October 2, 2015

The Few and the Many: Guns and More Guns

Yet another mass murder.  Obama's statement last night was moving and painfully accurate.  I loved that Obama was putting the US in a comparative context.  Alas, that does not fly too well.  His call for stats comparing terrorism to gun crime was met quickly by folks on the internet

And the facts are likely to be ... irrelevant.  Dan Drezner has an excellent post discussing the limits of Obama's anger.  Obama is not going to stop the rest of government for this one issue.  And I understand that.  I would like to see one of these speeches (alas, there will be more opportunities) to actually contain some real proposals of what sensible gun regulation would look like.  Provide a clear alternative between doing nothing and taking all the guns away.

Of course, even that will not matter much.  The social science on this is pretty clear.  It goes to basic politics that despite the rhetoric of democracy, the small almost always have more power than the large.  What is true about dairy in Canada is also true for sugar in the US and is also true for ethnic politics/diaspora influence (draft in pdf).  It is far easier to get a small group of enthusiastic people who are directly affected to organize and mobilize than the large mass of society to focus on a single issue. And politicians care about who shows up, not those who stay at home or who are focused on other stuff.  The President was right to point out that many gun owners do not support the stances of the National Rifle Association, but those that do are the ones that write letters, show up at protests, and all the rest.

So even the most left wing of politicians in the U.S. would take pro-gun, anti-regulation stances: Bernie Sanders.  Running in Vermont, chock full of hunters and liberal ice cream purveyors, Sanders pandered to the NRA folks.  This is not a left/right thing, but a who mobilizes thing.  Some progress was made in the 1980s after the shooting of Reagan and those around him (James Brady most notably).  Mostly regression since then.

But as folks note, if we can do nothing in the aftermath of the mass murder of small kids, then it is not likely that anything will happen when other folk are killed.  Yes, I am profoundly frustrated and profoundly cynical about this issue.  A very sad Spew after yet another sad day of avoidable tragedy. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sir: I am not sure what it is like in Canada, but in the US the economic downturn of the past years has created an atmosphere of gun ownership.
In 2000 I didn't own a firearm. I lived in a nice area, mostly working people. I witnessed factory after factory close. I witnessed good people losing their homes and belongings set out on the streets. The people whom filled back in after the workers left for where ever were a lot of Mexicans and drug dealers. Now these Mexicans were good hard working people. They were also not welcome by the local law enforcement. If the police were called they would be arrested and sent back to Mexico so the criminal...drug dealers.... or worse moved in. That is when the shooting started. People claiming streets, people breaking into houses. In 2010 I left the city. I had lived there for almost 30 years. When I left the last three months in the city there was 28 shootings. I myself had purchased a pistol and rifle to protect my family and myself.
Sir, so you see the problem is more than just firearms. It is economic, political, and mental. It is not as easy as passing more gun laws. In Detroit after they repealed some of the gun laws, shootings and crime went down. In Chicago, a city with restrictive gun laws shootings keep going up.
I think, until we as Americans kick out office the people have got us into this mess. I think: until we begin to welcome the Mexicans and others here and allow them the same protection under the law, Until we limit what companies can spent to buy our elected officials, that no amount of gun control is going to work.
I also think if your going to take away guns take them away from the criminal first before you come for those of us that sleep better at night know we are armed.