What does that conversation look like? Like, what kind of firearm regulation is going to be feasible and low-cost and effective? Are we talking about mandatory safety exams, or outright bans on assault weapons, or prohibition of gun resales, or what? The Second Amendment isn’t going away (or getting drastically reinterpreted) any time soon, so you’re going to have to work within that framework.
The part of the assault weapons ban that banned high capacity magazines seems feasible and effective. Recall that Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner had a 31-round magazine that would have been illegal had the assault weapons ban been extended. He was tackled when he stopped to reload. Had he been forced to pause earlier, maybe fewer people would have died.
We don’t know what kind of clip the Newtown shooter was using, but it’s possible there would have been fewer fatalities if he was limited to 10 rounds.
I think the best argument for a ban on high capacity ammunition is that there are almost no arguments against it. You don’t need a 30-round clip for hunting. Nor for self-defense. I know where are people who think individual citizens should have an arsenal that can challenge the firepower of the government, but boy the ship has sailed on challenging the authority of democratic government through armed combat. We shouldn’t let people buy assault rifles and the 30+ round clips that go with them for the same reason we don’t individuals purchase Apache helicopters.
Politics itself is not the problem, but there are reasons we react with revulsion to the thought of “politicizing” tragedies. What repells us is the rush to collective blame, the lightning impulse to assign responsibility to one’s political adversaries. There is nothing like an actual monstrous act to demonstrate the silliness of our tendency to reduce one another to caricature. […]
To look at the the frightened eyes of the survivors in Aurora, and see only our own intrinsic goodness, and our political enemies’ implacable evil, is the most impenetrable vanity. It’s not politics, it’s just tribalism. And it’s grotesque. But we shouldn’t mistake this kind of pettiness for politics itself, which is far too important an arena to cede to those who are incapable of seeing a tragedy and wondering, above all, what it says about themselves. We should be talking about why this happened, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it from happening again.
National tragedies are political. They’re too important not to be.
This photograph shows 88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamation in 1947.
She would have been 3 years old when Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1862. The document was in Philadelphia that day on the first stop on the Freedom Train tour. The Freedom Train carried the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights across America. During the 413-day tour, 3.5 million people in 322 cities in 48 states viewed these records
Due to its fragile condition—it was printed on both sides of poor-quality 19th-century paper, unlike the Constitution, which is written on more durable parchment—the Emancipation Proclamation can only be displayed for 30 hours each year.
Now you have a chance to see this invaluable document on the 150th anniversary of its signing! We will have extended viewing hours, dramatic readings, music, and family activities, all for free at the National Archives from December 30, 2012, to January 1, 2013. Details here: http://go.usa.gov/gWbA
“The end of a lame duck legislative session is always a harried time for state lawmakers as they scramble to pass bills before their terms expire. It’s a lot like Cinderella, except instead of dancing with a prince, legislators pass abortion bans. And at term’s end, instead of carriages turning back into pumpkins, politicians turn into lobbyists.”
It’s the bizarro Lake Wobegon effect. Seems that every time NBC has asked the question, “Compared with other years, do you think [this year] was one of the best years for the United States, above average, about average, below average, or one of the worst years for the United States?” many more people say “below average” or “one of the worst” than “above average” or “one of the best.”
“I understand that many people want Klitschko to launch an offensive but I would like to remind (them) that, for example, in the United States a boxer’s fists are considered weapons and the fists of a world champion are considered nuclear weapons. We will not use these weapons for now.”
— Vitaly Klitschko, member of the Ukrainian parliament and world heavyweight boxing champion, explaining why he didn’t participate in the brawl that always seems to accompany the opening of Ukraine’s parliament.
According to Dani Rodrick, the economist Albert Hirschman has died. He was 97.
Lots of people are going to have a better handle on his contributions to social science. I just want to marvel at Hirschman’s life story, which should enter him into a Most Interesting Man in the World contest.
Born in Berlin, he fled to Paris by himself at the age 18, and spent time in England, Spain (volunteering for the Republican side in the Civil War) and Italy before joining the French Army in 1939. In ‘41, he fled to the United States, only to join the US Army in ‘43. He fought in Italy. Then it was back to the US to work on the Marshall Plan. Then off to Latin America as a government consultant during the Kennedy administration. Academic life took to Yale, Colombia, Harvard and Princeton. He wrote more books than many people have read.
“And at a certain point (let’s say that point was when Time released photos of Paul Ryan dressed like Poochie, the “cool dog” character from the “Simpsons”) the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” routine subsumed the other part of campaign coverage, where you explain the state of the race and the issues involved to normal people.” - Alex Pareene.
I hold in my hand a copy of Jeff Miller’s The Bubble Gum Thief, newly arrived in my mailbox!
Jeff’s a good writer even when he’s being an asspain about politics, so I suspect he’s an able storyteller too. I’ll report my thoughts as soon I’ve read it, but for now I’m just happy to see a fellow tumblr-er done good.