In Colorado, gun-permit applications spiked 44 percent in the wake of last Friday’s shooting at an Aurora cineplex. The public response to multiple victim public shootings isn’t gun control. It is more guns.
Colorado’s reaction to the Dark Knight Rises tragedy confuses Gothamites, who have been drawing the opposite lesson from the shooting that claimed twelve lives. Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN’s Piers Morgan, “I don’t understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say, ‘We’re going to go on strike. We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.’” Morgan, a Brit who broadcasts out of the Big Apple, had days earlier treated More Guns, Less Crime author John Lott the way Robert Blake had recently treated the host: rudely. Morgan has spent the week lecturing a country where guns outnumber adults about the idiocy of private gun ownership. Last month, Morgan’s ratings reached a primetime low for CNN’s history.
There is the parochialism of cosmopolitans at work here, in which New Yorkers mistake the opinions prevailing among their neighbors as prevailing opinion. But when Manhattanites venture from their island, they discover the presence of woods where people hunt and the absence of a policeman on every corner where most people live. People so drenched in their gunless milieu can’t understand why anyone would want or need a firearm.
The New York Times counseled in an editorial, “The most appropriate response now to the shootings early Friday in Aurora, Colo., is also the simplest: sympathy for the victims, for the injured and for their families.” The editors then discarded their own advice by sermonizing against an “out-of-control gun market” and “too readily available” semi-automatic rifles. The bodies hadn’t even been cleared from the theater and the Times had already politicized the tragedy.
The newspaper of record has over the last week released a torrent of op-eds, editorials, blog posts, and news articles advocating government restrictions on private gun ownership. In a news article this week, the Times cited an “extensive review of the scholarly literature by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center” that maintains that the proliferation of guns proliferates murder. “There is unanimous evidence that higher homicide rates lead to people getting more guns,” countered Florida State’s Gary Kleck. This is precisely what happened in Colorado.
The paper featured a debate between gun control supporter David Brooks and gun control supporter Gail Collins. “There are some parts of the gun control debate that are definitely open to, um, debate,” Collins conceded. “There are parts that aren’t, like the need to ban assault weapons.” Alas, as Nicolas Kristof pointed out Thursday in the Times, 53 percent of Americans oppose an assault-weapons ban, a position that Collins doesn’t even regard as worthy of discussion. And Brooks offered an “amen” to Collins’ intolerance, adding: “I’d support a ban on assault weapons. I’d support all the background checks you can imagine. I’d support a national registry.” Collins concluded by affirming “the importance of a civil debate.” The Times and its deferential debaters don’t seem grasp that allowing people who disagree into the discussion is a prerequisite of “civil debate.”
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