Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why can't we have a better press corps? Why don't our reporters have a better understanding of how our politics works? This (from Calvin Woodward of AP) is just silly:

2008 candidates on spot over gun-control

Gun control has been treated with a mix of silence and discomfort in the presidential campaign, a stance that may become insupportable once the nation finds its voice in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech mass murder.

Why would that happen? It didn't happen after the D.C. sniper shootings, and the gun used in those shootings was obtained in flagrant violation of laws the government was unwilling to enforce vigorously. It certainly isn't going to happen in this case, when it's clear that the shooter took great care to obey the law.

Woodward remembers the past correctly:

Democrats have been deliberately muted for months on an issue that, by their own reckoning, contributed to and perhaps sealed their defeat in the 2000 presidential election. That's when Al Gore's call for gun registration cost him votes in rural America and dulled the party's appetite for taking on the gun lobby.

But why doesn't he understand that that effectively settled the question of gun control for the foreseeable future? As his AP colleague David Espo reports, Democrats in Congress are shunning this issue, with Harry Reid warning against a "rush to judgment." Why wouldn't the presidential candidates do the same thing until this blows over -- not just Democrats but Rudy Giuliani, who was a fervent gun-control advocate as mayor, and Mitt Romney, former governor of a gun-control state, who endorsed the Brady Bill in 1994?

And I do mean "blow over." Does Woodward simply not understand modern news cycles? This is all we're talking about now, but in a week or so this will all be behind us, and we'll be talking about Britney or Sanjaya, some horror in Iraq or some new Bush scandal. Except as an Oprah moment, this will simply be forgotten. School and workplace shootings in this country, after all, are simply routine.


UPDATE: Well, I said he "took great care to obey the law," but, of course, we know now that he was detained for mental illness and accused of stalking, and he shouldn't have been able to buy a gun. But the background-check system didn't pick any of this up. I don't know if that gap in the system will be plugged up in the future.

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