PostScript: Newtown parents and changing the debate

January 30, 2013
Families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School
The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School (Adrees Latif/Reuters).

Mark and Jackie Barden of Newtown, Conn., wrote an op-ed gently asking for increased honesty and civility in the gun rights debate in honor of their fallen kindergartener, Daniel. Soulless media automaton that she is, PostScript was bewildered to find that this perfectly normal set of words prompted some sort of liquid to leak from her eye sockets. Particularly when she thought of the social media group What Would Daniel Do combined with his parents guessing what Daniel would do — what Daniel would have done, had he had more life. He would have been, conditional tense, a firefighter.

Leaking again, with mouth twitch. Facial malfunctions are interfering with PostScript’s work here. But the Bardens ask for a change in the debate, so she has collected here comments and threads and ideas that she hadn’t seen before in the arguments that have already happened in Post Opinions comments — essentially, some changes in the debate.

She hadn’t seen coverage of one of the children’s open-coffin funeral either, so it is here and here.
jwerbock

At first I was under the impression that there were two ‘camps’, the pro gun camp and the anti gun camp. There is in reality a much more profound divide, at least as represented by the people who post on these forums. There are those who feel that our government is a relatively benign if imperfect form of government. Then there are those who feel our government is a malignancy, ready to invade our homes with overwhelming force, impose laws stripping everyone of their basic rights and oppressing us all with tyranny.

The anti gun camp has lumped together all pro gun folks into the anti-government camp. This is a big mistake on the part of those who don’t like guns and feel threatened by those who do like guns.

You ought to be making every effort to garner support from every sector of American society, including pro gun folks, to isolate and marginalize the anti-government far out fringe fanatics.

noondayowl

But skepticism about government, wariness of the tendency of all governments to encroach on the individual and grow turgid bureaucracies, is a great thing, and central to America’s success. The linking of that to the sort of weaponry you’d need to overthrow the gov’t by force, instead of change it via debate and democracy, is the problem.

HeadleyFixx

For the sake of clarity, there are three basic kinds of gun owners in this country. The first group is made up of hunters, sportsmen, collectors, target shooters, and those whose wisdom tells them that having easy access to a gun might deter home invasions.

The second group is made up of criminals and gang bangers whose business necessitates the use of guns. No more description is necessary here.

The third group is made up of Americans who live in fear that the government will become tyrannical and subject them and their families to a total loss of freedom. These are the survivalists who live in daily fear that someone either is, or will be, coming after them. These are the ilk of the potential … [Timothy McVeighs and David Koreshes].

Two of these groups are dangerous; not just for what they do, but what they might do. These two groups threaten all American citizens because of their irrationality in moral conviction or the paranoid fear that may set them off at the approach of a mythical government bogeyman. Sadly, America has allowed these undesirable two groups to hide behind the rights of the first group.

modeleste

Hunters and ranchers are often different than those who think that guns make them safer. I have guns but don’t fear attack; I am well aware that they make me and my family less safe. I don’t feel much in common with those who keep guns for protection.

chipjoyce

I think our government is declining into an unchecked statist dictatorship. But my firearms or anyone else’s won’t do a thing to change that. That’s not why I am armed.

Navy_CTT 

I’m a monster … an absolutely heartless excuse for a human being who couldn’t give a rip about anyone’s pain … when it come to making laws. Laws are — or, more correctly, should be — about punishing harms, not preventing them. Well, if that’s the rule we’re going to follow, let’s bloody well follow it: outlaw alcohol, outlaw cars, outlaw knives and cutting tools, outlaw drugs, outlaw … well, pretty much everything. I can’t think of anything that can’t be used improperly enough that it can’t hurt someone else.

billwilson18041

Society has the right to defend itself. From poisons in our food to defective products. Individuals are not free to buy and use anything they so choose.

fzdybel

You can argue until you’re blue in the face, but this stuff all comes down to our system of laws, and you [gun-control supporters] cannot get what you want without changing the Constitution. There is no argument you can construct that can make it so that you can get what you want without changing the Constitution. No matter how many dead kids you throw on the pyre.

whetstonept


A stock answer given in objection to gun control efforts is that we need to ‘enforce the laws on the books’ — but this is the only answer I have ever gotten to the questions “which ones?”

So, what laws should we be better enforcing?

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Jonathan Bernstein | January 30, 2013