Sunday, February 18, 2018

How should individuals take action on "narrow" but compelling issues, as now with gun control?



Ohio governor John Kasich (Republican and a primary candidate in 2016) excoriated Congress for its inability to get anything done about guns (possession of Ar-15’s by civilians), as well as DACA. The CNN link is here.  He spoke to Brian Stelter.
  

And Donald Trump put out a self-serving tweet his morning, about the FBI’s dropping the ball on earlier reports on the suspect.  Here is one energetic response to Trump’s tweet. 
  
Let me give a little personal reaction.  Of course, it’s “easiest” for everyone if Congress bans the AR15 and similar military weapons from civilian ownership in most circumstances.  Ohio’s John Kasich says that states may be more responsive than Congress.   Fine.  I wish Clinton’s assault weapons ban had renewed so it wouldn’t be a controversy now.  

But then, people plead, even with me, to join them on one issue.  The problem from my perspective, is that fixing just one issue won’t really fix the problem.  That’s true here.  As offensive as it sounds, some people on the Right don’t have enough confidence in the stability of civilization to think they can do without these weapons.  Call them the doomsday prepper crowd if you like.  Some are friends on Facebook. 
  
So, I generally won’t join single-issue campaigns under my own name on anything, because I’ve lost my turn for later.  Others may say this is an indirect sign of complacence to elected officials:  you either join us or you’re the enemy.  I come back and say, let’s make sure we don’t have a nuclear war on our soil in the next two years or an EMP attack.  I’ve spent a lot of “speech capital” on those.  Guns alone are far from our only personal and national security issue. How about missile defense that actually works and deters? 
  
I agree that with too many uncommitted “Me’s” around, it is harder to organize people around any one specific issue in reaction to a specific tragedy or urgent need.  It may be harder to get volunteers when it’s all “you’re on your own” and “suck up” and remain stoic, pay your dues and run your gauntlet when you have to. Remember how the Vietnam era draft used to work? .
  
But on this gun issue, it’s clear that Congress is intimidated by the NRA lobby – and the NRA museum is maybe 15 miles from where I live, it’s right at 66 and US50.  So you can talk about campaign finance reform – but we say that back in the early 2000’s, with the threat even to blogging, and now it comes full circle with the Russians.

A former Republican congressman David Jolly from Florida offers this warning
  
Finally, an AR-15 ban just by itself, if reinstalled now, won’t fix a lot. But I wish it hadn’t lapsed.

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