On the evening of December 14, when the horror of Sandy Hook Elementary School was quite rightly the only subject on everyone’s minds and lips, I was in my car listening to talk radio. I tuned to one station and then another before choosing Dennis Miller’s program. I was eager to hear Mr. Miller’s take on the day’s sorrows, but I was astonished to hear him and his guest (I’ve forgotten who) discussing … the fiscal cliff. How could this be? It was as if the massacre hadn’t happened.
It took me a few seconds, but then I remembered that Mr. Miller broadcasts live from Santa Barbara, CA, in the morning, but here in Los Angeles his show airs on tape delay in the evening. And so for those fleeting moments I was taken back, in a way, to the time before I or Dennis Miller or his guest or anyone else outside of Newtown, CT, had heard of Sandy Hook Elementary School. How pleasant it all seemed that morning, how trivial were my own worries, and how horribly, horribly different the day would turn out to be.
That fiscal cliff seems not to be such a big deal after all, does it? And now we have all but abandoned talk of fiscal cliffs and begun our “conversation on guns.” Or have we?
Based on what we’ve heard so far, this “conversation” amounts to little more than an attempt by one side to shame the other into silence and acquiescence. If you refuse to admit that you, the gun owner, are part of the problem; if you dare to suggest that the public at large would not be less safe but safer if more law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry concealed handguns; if you refuse to acknowledge what is so patently obvious to your enlightened betters living in colonies along both coasts — which is that firearms are inherently evil and have no place in a civilized society — then you are an abettor in the slaughter of children and deserving of public scorn if not imprisonment and even death.
Indeed, this “conversation” has been marked by ignorance and emotionalism on the part of those who would see Americans surrender their guns in advancement of the utopia envisioned in such places as the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Manifesting this ignorance and emotionalism for all to see was CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who, while engaging in what was purported to be a “conversation on guns” with economist John Lott, seemed gobsmacked when Mr. Lott presented an argument in favor of fewer restrictions on citizens carrying concealed weapons — an argument based on his own extensive research. “I have to say,” stammered Ms. O’Brien, “your position, your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it.”
That she did not understand Mr. Lott’s position was obvious, as she was so completely boggled that she failed to address even a single one of the points he made, instead veering off on tangents that did little more than reveal her own lack of knowledge on the subject at hand.