Sunday, December 23, 2012
An Interesting Supportive Conservative Take on the LaPierre Statement...
That title may be a bit misleading. Actually, what I find interesting is that an interesting, supportive take on the LaPierre statement has been difficult to find. As I said in my last post, I already know what my liberal/pro-gun-control friends thought about the statement, and found it mostly uninteresting (and somewhat unpersuasive). But I had hoped to get out of my own epistemic bubble to find an upside take on LaPierre's statement from my usual go-to sites for those towing a more pro-gun, anti-gun-regulation, or conservative take on these and other issues. I suppose my own views on the issue are clear, but it's nice to look for challenges to those views.
But the usual sites I go to have either been silent or strategic (or both) in their reactions. The VC is the first place I go to for such things. Eugene Volokh had a post yesterday on a press release by Senator Feinstein proposing an assault weapons ban, but that post didn't mention the LaPierre statement. David Kopel, who can generally be relied on to be vocal on such issues on the VC, oddly hasn't put anything up on that site since December 11. The Corner, the National Review blog, had one more or less substantive post on the proposal, one purely descriptive piece, and a couple of posts detailing news show appearances by LaPierre or David Keene (but without discussing Friday's proposal). But mostly, it focused on criticizing reactions to the NRA's statement. (By comparison, it's had four posts on Chuck Hagel in the last three days.) For my sins, and so you, dear readers, wouldn't have to, I visited Instapundit. I don't expect substance from that site, but was still surprised by what I found, which basically was the same "the enemy of my friend is my enemy" approach that the NRO took, criticizing reactions to the statement rather than addressing the statement itself--i.e., "Well, he had journalists seething, which is probably a good sign."
I should add two points, but also two counterpoints. 1) Although this was the only major statement or proposal since Newtown by the leading pro-gun interest group, and one might expect to find something meaningful about it on these sites, it is of course possible that substantive commentators might be more interested in serious ideas than in evaluating every picayune press release or statement that comes down the pike. On the other hand, one would think that if Eugene had time to write about a press release from Senator Feinstein's office, he might have something to say about this. 2) People have lives, of course--even bloggers. They don't have always have time to write about everything. On the other hand, Kopel has published two op-eds and one NYT Room for Debate piece, and done six media appearances, since Newtown, but has written not one word on the VC since the 11th, let alone anything on what the NRA described as an urgent and necessary proposal to address mass murders of children in schools.
I think this is fair evidence that the usual suspects either found LaPierre and the NRA's proposal beneath discussion, or thought it politic, for some reason, to simply not mention it. I'm sure there are more charitable conclusions that could be drawn, or that one could draw no conclusions at all. I still found it downright bizarre, though, and frankly disappointing. I did not search very far outside my usual sources, to be sure, and perhaps there were good defenses of the proposal out there. But I didn't see them where I would expect to see them. My own view, as I said in my earlier post, is not that the proposal was horrifying or morally monstrous as such; just that, unless the NRA actually devotes resources to getting a bill on the floor and scores that vote, then we can quite fairly treat it as cynical political theater.
On a marginally cheerier note, check out the very interesting discussions of the gun/gun-control issue from a Catholic point of view, including a couple post-LaPierre statement, at Mirror of Justice--especially, with all due respect to the other posters there, the posts from Rob Vischer and Patrick Brennan. The comments to those posts offer some slightly interesting natural law perspectives, although what is startlingly absent from those comments is even the slightest hint of the imitation of Christ or the emulation of the saints. (When a commenter there writes about the possibility of a Katrina-like disaster, "Unfortunately, in cases like this, you may have little choice but to either fire a weapon against someone...or be killed for your food," I wonder whether he even considered the option of simply giving away his food to those who hunger--which is, you know, what Christ would have done.) I particularly admired the posts by Prof. Brennan, who is what outsiders would call a conservative Catholic (although I think he would reject that term), but who offers a powerful reminder, on the eve of Christmas, that committed Christianity may call for a radical peace that demands much more than hobbyists, or lovers of the bourgeois American lifestyle, may find comfortable.
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"the leading pro-gun interest group"
I believe you mean "the leading pro-gun industry group." It's a common typo.
Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Dec 24, 2012 9:54:41 AM
Lawrence O'Donnell noted that the "4mil" (to quote LaPierre) is a small number vis-a-vis other groups that would not get such press attention for a press conference, such as if the head of the AARP had one. Cf. the number of gun owners in this country, many who don't support the NRA.
As to being non-responsive, as noted, at VC Mr. Kopel has not had a post (though he made public comments elsewhere) at all since the shooting. Mighty curious. Prof. Volokh first responded with a curious post that came off as some absented minded professor sort of thing (in effect, "some people have asked me in the past if any shooter was stopped in these shootings in the act ... well, here's some possible examples") that did not specifically address the act itself.
Seemed in bad form to me and others.
Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2012 3:52:19 PM