Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Morning Comin' Down - UPDATE

"The Rural Juror"*  Edition.

Today, Acela-Corridor ramblin', New York Times op-ed page writin', NPR/PBS opinin', upscale mansion dwellin' David "Joe Bob" Brooks took a few more minutes away from his vast spaces for entertaining to try to derail a conversation about gun control into another prissy fucking lecture about how we Birkenstock-wearing urbanites are being mean to the heartland-virtue-kissed residents of Real Murrica:
MR. BROOKS:  Can-- can I just say one thing about the-- the debate we need to have?  This has become-- one of the problems for this debate is it’s become a values war.  It’s perceived as urban versus rural ... And frankly, it’s perceived as an attack on the lifestyle of rural people by urban people.  And I admire Mayor Bloomberg enormously--there’s probably no politician I agree with more but it’s counterproductive to have him as the spokesperson for the gun law movement.  There has to be more respect and more people frankly from rural and Red America who are-- who are participants in this."
Yeah.  Because the real problem when it comes to coping with the carnage generated by a violent culture drowning in an ocean of guns is that the imaginary scowl from one of David Brooks' most overused straw men -- the imaginary dirty fucking hippie -- might hurt the delicate, imaginary fee-fees of some gun-owner who Mr. Brooks has never actually met but over whose farm Mr. Brooks once flew on his way to the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Pity that none of the senior elected representatives these poor, disrespected gun-lovers had the balls to go on national teevee to defend their position.

I guess without a gun in hand or a plausible lie on their lips, they really have nothing else but their cowardice and avarice and contempt for the real needs of our country.


Mr. Charles P. Pierce takes apart steam-powered automaton George Will like a Tinkertoy tree house:
Over on ABC, on This Week With The Clinton Guy Shocked By Blowjobs, the experts were just as far at sea. George Effing Will, so sure was he once that global warming was a big hoax, was all fluttery about whither goest the nation.
Yes. And our response is always to think that there's some defect in the social system or some prompting in the social atmosphere that causes this and, therefore, we assume, we can tailor a law to correct the defect. The problem is, the law can do three things. It can deter with severe punishments. Of course, we already have lots of deterrents against murder. They can impede the access to public spaces or to weapons. Or, third, the law can monitor and, in some cases, confine people who meet the profile of these people. The problem with this is, these people are determined, psychotic, and often suicidal. It's very difficult to deter someone like that or impede. And then when you come to the question of monitoring or confining, you look at the profile. These are often men, young men, young, unmarried men, young men who are socially awkward, and sometimes young, unmarried, socially awkward men who have been diagnosed or even prescribed some kind of psychotropic medicine. The civil liberties and privacy issues involved in trying to monitor people in this not insignificant cohort who fit that profile are insuperable.

Well, hell, then, let's all get a beer. Nonetheless, you could see that the perfectly legitimate mental-health aspect of this case is going nonetheless be used merely as the main dodge — even more than video games and the evil inherent in the heart of sinful man — for the people who don't want to discuss this country's idiotic fetish for deadly firearms. 
Meanwhile. David Frum (former George W. Bush boot-black and current op-ed columnist for CNN and "The Daily Beast") advises President Obama to do exactly nothing:
Why Obama shouldn't lead fight against gun violence

(CNN) -- Monday will be a day of mourning for the slain schoolchildren of Newtown, Connecticut. Then what? Some are urging President Barack Obama to lead a national campaign for tighter control of firearms.

Bad idea. If the president -- any president -- inserts himself into the gun debate, he will inevitably polarize it. Supporters of the president will rally, but opponents of the president will become more obdurate. Because the president has many items on his agenda, and often needs the votes of Democrats from districts where pro-gun feeling runs strong, his opponents will probably outlast him.

Mr. Frum says Americas must wait for a grassroots movement to rise up, organize itself and get this job done precisely because the Conservative Movement has lost its damn mind:
Presidential leadership on guns will most likely fail for another reason, one that comes from a darker and grimmer place in American culture.

I've written before at CNN about the paradoxes of American gun ownership.

Here's one more such paradox: Obama has done literally nothing to restrict the (large and growing) rights of gun owners. President Bill Clinton signed two important pieces of gun control legislation and issued many restrictive executive orders; Obama has not so much as introduced even one.

Yet the election of Obama has triggered an angry reaction among gun owners fiercer than anything seen under Clinton. Between 1960 and the late 1990s, there occurred a gradual decline in the percentage of American homes that contain a gun, from about one-half to about one-third. 
In 2009, however, that trend away from guns abruptly went into reverse. Gun buying spiked in the Obama administration, pushing the share of households with a gun all the way back up to 47%, near the 1960 peak, even as crime rates tumbled to the lowest levels ever recorded, making guns less necessary than ever to self-defense. Black Friday 2012 set a one-day record for gun sales.

What's going on?

What's going on, Mr. Frum, is that you and your fellow Conservative travelers have spent the last few decades busily herding the bigoted, angry, deluded dregs of American society into the Republican party.  What is going on, Mr. Frum, is that after decades of feeding their rage and paranoia and whipping them into one electorally-advantageous frenzy after another, they have run amok.

Or, as I wrote in September in response to another of Mr. Frum's bouts of faux  Shock!Shock! over the fact that the Right was full of incurable crazies:
These emotions come from the Base of the movement for which Mr. Frum has worked and relentlessly pimped for the past 30 years.   A Base that has been the margin of victory in every Republican election in  Mr. Frum's lifetime.  A Base whose "hatred, fear, and contempt" has been cultivated like hothouse roses by people who used to pay  Mr. Frum's salary. 
The call is coming from inside your house, Mr. Frum, and it always has been. 
Of course, since the Right obdurately opposes President Obama on every front and on every issue, the logic of Mr. Frum's argument is that he should simply wait passively for well-organized social movements to coalesce around every problem.  Wait until they single-handedly overcome the intractable, well-funded fortresses of opposition that crackpot right-wing billionaires and interest groups will invariably build in their paths.  Wait until they turn their ideals into legislative language.  Wait until that legislation is shepherded through a Congress full of bought-and-paid-for Conservative obstructionists.  Wait until a bill arrives at his desk, at which time he should  sign it (quietly and without fanfare lest he make Grover Norquist or Wayne La Pierre cranky) and then sink back into a posture of passive waiting until the next movement bears fruit.

In other words, the logic of Mr. Frum's argument is that POTUS should say nothing and do nothing.  

About anything.  


Which, the careful reader will notice, has the Republican plan all along.

* (For the handful of readers who aren't "30 Rock" dorks)


Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

1. What has this country come to when a gun-loving a**hole doesn't feel safe enough to go on Meet the Press?

2. For a guy who can't understand insanity when it comes to the Right, Mr. Brooks sure seems to have no problem psychologically profiling gun-toting mass murderers.

3. Mr. Brooks doesn't want a values-war? But isn't that what he usually points to as the reason why things go wrong in this country?

4. What do you feel is behind this country's gun-fetishism? It can't be hunting or target practice, because the US Constitution has more important things to do than protect people's hobbies (drinking excluded, since Prohibition was a dismal failure).

It's not conventional self-defense, because there's nobody that the average civilian needs to defend itself against that requires more than ten bullets, fully automatic firing, and a long-distance scope. Cops and soldiers, I get. But you or I don't need these weapons.

So are they planning to take on the US military at some point? Are they trying to intimidate the rest of us? Is it some sort of Klingon "heart of the warrior" thing?

5. Finally, best of wishes to you and your family. I'd hate to have to be a parent in this country right now.

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

If the dementos who go berserk with automatic rifles every other week (or so it seems) quit shooting their families and neighbors and co-workers, and started shooting the 1% instead--how little time would it take for the 1% to shove the strictest gun laws on the planet Earth down Bubba Shoutycracker's throat?

One Fly said...

Isn't that's part of the dilemma Hamfast. They're buddies and since the 1% told the "dementos" that they were making sure they would get what they all have if you just wait a bit ya see.

Phil said...

Another comment about Brooks and his ilk is that they work and live in places where guns cannot be brought. Whether it is the offices of the New York Times or the gated community they live in, guns are prohibited. The only guns are the ones carried by the armed security at the gates. Would are betters such as Brooks, Will, and the cabal at Fox be more concerned about guns if it were as easy to get in 30 Rock or even the Supreme Court with a gun as it is to get in a school, mall, or movie theater?

Anonymous said...

By focusing on this latest massacre, the knighted journalists of the village are ignoring the daily carnage caused by guns in our neighborhoods. It's sad that little kids were murdered in that lily-white community, but where is the outrage about the rest of it?

We can't expect the likes of Frum and Will to give a shit.

And where the fuck is La Pierre hiding? Coward!

ScarabusRedivivus said...

“Brooks … was born in Toronto, Canada … and grew up in New York City in Stuyvesant Town. He graduated from Grace Church School in New York City, Radnor High School (located in a Main Line suburb of Philadelphia) in 1979 and from the University of Chicago, with a degree in history, in 1983. …

He and his wife live in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest Washington, DC.”

This from Wikipedia, so caveat emptor! But assuming it’s accurate, this is not the resume of a guy who’s qualified to pontificate about rural and small town Ammurcans.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Will: “These are often men, young men, young, unmarried men, young men who are socially awkward, and sometimes young, unmarried, socially awkward men….”

Yeah, George. Young men like the guy who shot up the Unitarian church in Tennessee, the one who murdered a guard at the Holocaust Museum, the one who murdered George Tiller, the one who shot up the Sikh temple…. Men? Yes. But the rest? Nope.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Let’s see. Bloomberg can’t be a leader here, because he’s a big city guy and a Jew. Obama can’t be a leader here because he’s a Democrat and a black guy. The leader must rise up from the roots of the grass, vested with… With what authority?

Fritz Strand said...

You know you are dealing with lunatics when you give them reductio an ad adsurdum agrument and they agree with it. Moreover, you realize they are totally batshit, when you come to understand this is how they now state their case.

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal, Bobo: I'll give the "rural people" more "respect" right after my tax dollars stop subsidizing their lifestyle, paying for their wars, and cleaning up after THEIR mass shootings.

Bonus points if they can go a whole year without somebody suggesting secession.

Anonymous said...

Re Brooks's horseshit urban-rural dichotomy: I think there's a faint but discernible echo in that of Mr. Bell Curve's latest racist rationalization, ``Coming Apart.''