Political (In)correctness Stymies Efforts to Prevent Mass Shootings


The term “political correctness” is being used—legitimately—to criticize any effort that combines ideology with language to restrict the boundaries of debate over any particular issue

There may be no greater example of it than the way people are forced to parse their words whenever the subject of gun control or regulation comes up. 

The seeming obligatory preamble to any such discussion goes something like this:  “I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms…” followed by whatever else the person wants to say

Why is this rote recitation deemed necessary to establish one’s bona fides to even broach the subject?  Political correctness–one is made to feel unqualified to start a conversation without genuflecting to some nebulous fealty to the Second Amendment

It’s the reason those who are supposed to be representing us in government seem so befuddled and conflicted over what to do about these school shootings even though poll after poll shows that a clear majority of us favor more stringent restrictions on gun ownership and use.

It’s the reason those same government representatives will do everything possible and try any harebrained scheme imaginable—from deputizing teachers or stationing in our schools an army of retired police and armed forces personnel to effectively attempting to bribe the students trying to get their legislators to see reason with exam cancellations, as the Florida legislature voted to do last week – all to avoid confronting the elephant in the room that is the insane proliferation of weaponry in our civilian homes and streets.

It’s also the reason that – incredibly even in the face of what’s just been experienced – that some are pushing a federal law that would eviscerate local regulations and protections that have proven effective in states like New York in favor of the sadly and demonstrably inadequate ones in places like Florida.

Fewer and Narrower Than You Think

The percentage of Americans who own firearms ranges from only 32 to 43 percent depending on survey.  But either way there has been long-term downward trend in gun ownership that remains consistent across all the national polls, dropping it to its lowest level in 40 years.

Paradoxically, sales overall are up meaning that those that the clear minority that are purchasing guns are only building bigger personal arsenals.

DC vs. Heller’s narrow 5-4 decision changed the Court’s centuries long reluctance to sever the Second Amendment’s connection between service in a militia and an individual’s right to possess a firearm.  Even at that, the majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia was sharply limited in its scope. It only found a right for an individual to have a handgun in his or her home for personal protection.

The idea that a firearm could or should be–or that the Constitution actually guarantees– anything more is merely speculation and fantasy.

The argument in favor of that “more” envisions some sort of maximally armed ersatz impromptu popularly inspired citizen militia raised to forestall and defeat some perceived government tyranny.

This is nothing more than a paranoid’s dream.  

And while the notion that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun” is true at its most elemental level, the idea that that good guy can be you – any you – is a dangerous delusion.

Yet it’s that delusion that misinforms the facially ridiculous suggestions that armed, conceal carry teachers will somehow be able to stop or discourage a marauder with an AR-15, that police should have to tolerate powerful weapons in mass circulation while doing their already dangerous jobs and that an arms race among individuals within a society is the only way to ensure personal and public safety.

The rapid-fire nature—in more ways than one—of these awful events is telling us loudly and insistently that we have it wrong.  No other civilized country on earth has such a laissez faire attitude toward such powerful and lethal weapons because the hazards and negatives so demonstrably and completely outweigh any positives.  

It is only a woefully misinformed form of political correctness that is blinding us from honestly acknowledging this and preventing us from responding and redressing it with readily reasoned and logical solutions.

If we can’t or won’t stride over that self-made hurdle, we’ll only be condemning ourselves to more festivals of carnage like Las Vegas and Parklands.  

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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