Egan Exploits Gun Massacres to Call for Gun Control
Timothy Egan, liberal reporter turned nytimes.com blogger, "The Guns of Spring," tried to use his Western rootsas street cred to argue for stricter gun control and to stop the worship of the Second Amendment, in a Wednesday night posting on gun violence.
Bam, bam, bam. Three dead in Pittsburgh, cops, all of them, murdered by a man with an AK-47 who thought President Obama was going to take away his guns.
Bam, bam, bam, bam. Four dead in Oakland, also police officers, their lives ended by a convict with an assault rifle.
Egan repeats themanipulative exercise (with a few more "bams" thrown in for effect) to describe the killings in Washington State and Binghamton, N.Y., before concluding:
American life in the spring of 2009 is full of hope, peril, and then this: the cancer at the core of our democracy.
In a month of violence gruesome even by our own standards, 57 people have lost their lives in eight mass shootings. The killing grounds include a nursing home, a center for new immigrants, a child's bedroom. Before that it was a church, a college, a daycare center.
We hear about these sketches of carnage between market updates and basketball scores - and shrug. We're the frogs slow-boiling in the pot, taking it all in incrementally until we can't feel a thing. We shrug because that's the deal, right? That's the pact we made, the price of Amendment number two to the Constitution, right after freedom of speech....In the aftermath of one of these atrocities, nothing is more chilling than a gun advocate racing before a camera to embrace a lunatic's right to carry and kill.
Egan's flat statement about Mexican drug cartels is highly dubious.
The recent twists involveMexican drug cartels, who get their firepower from American retailers, and the mass killings this spring by shooters who appear to have acquired their weapons legally. Assault rifles figured prominently in the murders of seven police officers.
Yet a Fox News investigation found that most guns aren't sent for tracing, because it's obvious that they don't come from the United States. In fact, only a fraction of guns found at crime scenes in Mexico, around 17%, have actually been traced back to the U.S.
It is impossible to view last week's killing of 13 people in Binghamton, N.Y., in isolation. It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School and the second anniversary of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech. In the last month, multiple shootings have claimed the lives of more than 50 Americans.
In this historical context, Binghamton is yet another reminder of America's terrible gun problem and a summons to lawmakers to insist on common-sense gun laws. Yet Congress responds with a collective shrug.
There was a moment, after Columbine, when the nation engaged in a promising conversation about gun violence, and it briefly seemed as though Congress might rise above the extremists at the National Rifle Association. In May 1999, the N.R.A. lost a showdown in the Senate over closing the loophole that allows unqualified buyers to purchase weapons at gun shows without a background check.