Thursday, April 19, 2007

On the other hand

One of the curses (blessings?) of being a member of the reality-based community is that, rather than relying exclusively on a selection of truisms (of varying degrees of veracity) to filter my world view, I instead assimilate new information and, on occasion, find that I have been incorrect on some subject.

Now, were I a typical wingnut, when something happened to challenge my pre-existing beliefs I'd a)claim the new events were a fiction of the liberal media, or b)claim it's Bill Clinton's fault.

Alas, my notoriously (hey, it's in the header) firm grasp of the obvious allows me no such leeway.

Such is the case with my last post on the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

My thesis was that the actions of a lone madman do not serve as the best example of the nation's need for far more stringent gun laws, a thesis I still hold to true, at least from a logical standpoint. However, though not explicitly stated, that post was written to give a clear implication (as was, I admit, my intent) that proponents, like myself, of restrictions on firearms were wrongheaded when they use this case to propel their arguments (Tr. for Bushies: Catapult the propaganda).

That implication was flat wrong.

And what, pray tell, caused my change of mind?

Two things.

First, and a tremendous oversight for one as clear sighted as myself, but I come by it honestly, American politics is not dominated by persons as clear sighted as myself.

That is, emotions, or as Stephen Colbert would say, gut feelings, have a far greater impact on political decision making than many of us, especially on the lefty blogosphere, would care to admit.

But there you go.

That being the case, events such as this can serve as rallying cries, logical or not, for the greater cause. The right, of course, understands this viscerally. On the left, it has to be learned.

The second thing which causes me to favor a "Remember Virginia Tech!" rallying cry for gun control is the reaction of the right.

James Wolcott is, as usual, in fine fetter as he exposes the Cheetos crusted bravery of weenie right. And no, I'm not going to quote him, the fabulous Mr. W's musings should always be read in full.

I will, however, take special note of the execrable scribblings of NRO's John Derbyshire (check out Wolcott if you want a link, I refuse):

As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren't bad.

Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.

Would it be too unkind of me to express my hope that Mr. Derbyshire some time gets to test his theory?

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