Lawrence Martine writes: Noteworthy among the responses to the movie theatre massacre in Colorado was that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong advocate of gun control. He was reacting to the words of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Both gentlemen expressed deep sorrow. Neither advocated measures to address their country’s sick gun culture.
“Soothing words are nice,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it.”
He had a point. of course. It would have been good if one of the contenders had mentioned that the country does have a bit of a problem on its hands: 30,000 gun deaths a year from about 300,000 gun-related assaults; a gun in 47 per cent of American households; assault weapons available at every pop stand; Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and so on.
But really, who was Mr. Bloomberg trying to kid? Did the mayor, who doesn’t have to worry about rural votes, really think Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney would risk the wrath of the National Rifle Association just months before election day. If Mr. Bloomberg were running for president, does anyone think he would be standing up to the gun lobby?
Here is the trendline: In 1959, Gallup asked Americans whether there should be a law banning the possession of handguns except by police and other authorized persons; 60 per cent said yes. In 2011, 26 per cent replied in the affirmative.
Instructive about the reaction to the latest slaughter is just how firmly the pro-gun forces are in control. The attitude is not suggestive of urgency, but resignation. There is every sign that the battle has been lost – that the country has surrendered to the power of the NRA. [Continue reading…]