Sunday, December 23, 2012


In general, I share Andrew Cuomo's pro-gun-control agenda. But I regret that he used the word "confiscation" in a radio interview yesterday in response to a question on guns, because it rallies the opposition while getting us no closer to more intelligent gun regulation:
... Cuomo told Albany's WGDJ-AM that while gun control hasn't been on the docket recently, he plans to reach out to state legislators and eventually submit a proposal for new laws. One of his stated goals is to change state laws regarding the possession of so-called "assault" weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines....

The governor then laid out several ideas for how the state would enforce stricter laws on those so-called "assault" weapons: "Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option -- keep your gun but permit it," he said.
Cuomo's blowing smoke. Cuomo knows he's blowing smoke because the mostly rural state Republican Party has control of the state Senate, thanks to a handful of rogue Democrats (a coup Cuomo has done nothing to prevent).

I suppose Cuomo sees this as a negotiating tactic -- it's an opening bid that's far to the left of what he'll gladly accept -- but, as President Obama learns in every time he negotiates with Republicans on anything, that tactic only works if the people you're negotiating with fear the consequences of not arriving at a compromise with you. If the people you're negotiating with are absolutists and/or nihilists, and if you don't have an angry mob that can and will punish those people at the polls if they don't yield on their extreme positions, then they have no reason to budge. That's why D.C. Republicans never yield, and it's why Republicans in the New York state legislature won't yield either. (The only punishment they fear is from their own angry mob, which is real, and which will punish them if they go wobbly. For comparison, look at the gay marriage fight: four Republicans in the state Senate voted to put marriage equality over the top, and three of those four didn't survive to serve another term.)

So Cuomo mouthed off -- and now his use of a red-flag-to-a-bull word is going to be waved at gun-control advocates every single time we ever try to advocate for any change in any law in any way, however small or incremental, even if it's far from New York State. We are now all Andrew Cuomo, forever. All of us now want to take all their guns, and anything we ever want to do is a smokescreen for that agenda. Just ask Jazz Shaw, writing at Hot Air about Cuomo's remarks:
It's one of the most common refrains coming from the "reasonable discussion" crew as they pave the way for upcoming gun control legislation. Whether we hear it from the clucking tongues of guests on Morning Joe or from their legions of supporters on the web, the patter is the same. "No one is coming for your guns." You're all just being paranoid, disingenuous or worse. All we're talking about is making little children safer. There’s not going to be anybody kicking down your doors.

(Of course, some very high profiles voices on the Left don't seem to be able to stay on message.)
Shaw goes on to quote Cuomo, but, as backup, he gives us that extra link, the one on the phrase "don't seem to be able to stay on message." Did you click on it? It's a post by a Daily Kos diarist titled "Yes Conservatives, We Want to Take Away Your Guns..." But here's what the diarist means by that:
We liberals really do want to take away your guns and never let you have them back.


If your gun is an UZI
If you are using a gun with an extended clip...we want to take your gun
If you are concealing a high powered automatic weapon designed to best law enforcement...we want to take your gun away from you.
If you are a mentally unstable student or postal worker...we want your gun right now!
If you are currently intoxicated with alchohol or some other drug...give us your gun, right now.
If you have a criminal may not have a gun, hand it over and never ask for it back
If you are angry at your spouse and it's a hot summer night and you just stumbled into a gun shop...You may not buy a gun today, you must wait 72 hours from today to buy your gun so go to a hotel/motel and think about what we just saved you from...we don't want you to have a gun!!
That's the horrible, unreasonable, jackbooted-fascist secret liberal gun-grabbing agenda.

Oh, and did I mention that what Cuomo is proposing pretty much what Australia has done with semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns, with great success, under conservative prime minister John Howard, a policy that Rupert Murdoch has praised?


The gun fetishists are are arguing that gun-control supporters are the only extremists in the debate -- an argument that will sound reasonable to much of the country. Meanwhile, some in the "liberal media" are determined to get the gun issue safely back into "Both sides do it!" territory.

Here's Ross Douthat:
FOR a week after the Newtown shooting, the conversation was dominated by the self-righteous certainties of the American center-left. In print and on the airwaves, the chorus was nearly universal: the only possible response to Adam Lanza's rampage was an immediate crusade for gun control, the necessary firearm restrictions were all self-evident, and anyone who doubted their efficacy had the blood of children on his hands.

The leading gun control chorister was Michael Bloomberg, and this was fitting, because on a range of issues New York's mayor has become the de facto spokesman for the self-consciously centrist liberalism of the Acela Corridor elite.... [Bloomberg's] bedrock assumption is that the liberal paternalism with which New York is governed can and should be a model for the nation as a whole.

It's an assumption that cries out to be challenged by a thoughtful center-right....

But instead of a kind of skepticism and sifting from conservatives, after a week of liberal self-righteousness the spotlight passed instead to ... Wayne LaPierre. And no Stephen Colbert parody of conservatism could match the National Rifle Association spokesman's performance on Friday morning.
Yes, Bloomberg and LaPierre are equally extreme, according to Douthat.

And Craig R. Whitney, a former Timesman and self-described liberal, would apparently agree -- or certainly agree that Cuomo and LaPierre are equally extreme -- judging from this review of his new book, Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment:
In [Whitney's] estimation, that stalemated debate is the fault of uncompromising extremists on both sides. "Gun confiscation is a shibboleth that brings together everybody on the gun-rights side," he says, "just as it is a chimera dreamed of by all on the gun-control side." But this is a false equivalence. Not only does the gun-rights side, in the form of the National Rifle Association, have exponentially more political power than the gun-control side, the gun-rights side is also much more radical. After all, the shibboleth of gun confiscation that the N.R.A. uses to such great effect in stoking the fears of its members is a shibboleth precisely because most gun-control advocates don't seek it, instead favoring far more modest regulations, like increased background checks and better data collection.
Even this reviewer, who is skeptical of Whitney's arguments, seems to agree that it certainly would be extreme to talk about confiscation. That seems to be true even for strictly limited classes of weapons or weapon owners, never mind the fact that such a plan would meet with the approval of Rupert Murdoch and John Howard. You just can't say such things in public.

And that's where we stand now: LaPierre and his army, extremist in everything they say or do, vs. Cuomo, who made one provocative proposal, and Bloomberg, who's made none. The conclusion we're trending toward: both sides are equally extreme.


Victor said...

The Liberals are far, far, worse!!!

Liberals, who like to GIVE all sorts of goodies to children, the poor, women, the old, the sick, the gay, and the "Blah's" and browns, now want to TAKE somthings way - the patriot's only method of defense from Liberal government gone wild!

And we'll never forget how you treasonous traitors compared George W. Bush to Hitler for a few minutes on some website!

What photo-shopped pictures of Obama?
Oh, THOSE pictures?
You mean those funny ones with him as a Witchdoctor, and he had a bone running through his nose? HA! And the one of Michelle with the basket full of fried chicken and watermelo...

(Clearing throat).
Well, those were a joke!
Jeez, you Libtard's have no sense of humor!!!

Unknown said...

Shorter Ross Douthat: Wayne LaPierre is a dangerous lunatic. Which is exactly why we should give him what he wants.

Jim said...

This is analogous to the abortion debate where any third trimester restrictions, no matter how popular, are viewed as the first step down the slippery slope to total prohibition.

Steve M. said...

I would agree with that, Jim, if it weren't for the fact that we actually are well on our way to total abortion prohibition in a number of states.

aimai said...

What does the popularity of third trimester restrictions have to do with the right of individual women to have their health choices respected? Its not up for popular vote. Restrictions on abortion, because they are generated by people opposed to abortion entirely, aren't merely "slippery slope" they are an actual barrier to abortion availability entirely. By the way the anti abortion crowd admits that entirely--calling something a "slippery slope" is pejorative when it comes to a philosophical argument but it can actually be quite accurate when talking about a legislative act.


Examinator said...

Folks the problem with this argument (and it is that) is that the conservatives (sic) are arguing by non existent extremes or absolutes.
e.g. I challenge ANY conservative to give me ANY right (sic) that is ABSOLUTE !
We all drive vehicles but we must comply with rules and be licensed and If I'm drunk high I'm not allowed to drive and what's more my right (sic) to drive can be taken from me.
As for freedom of speech that two is controlled e.g. if I were to write and publish a book that describes a incestuous relationship between Mary (the Mary and JC ) what are the bets I'd be allowed to sell it, even if it was attached to a good story and well written Hmmm?
We don't even have the right to die (euthanasia) much less help a suffering terminally ill loved one to. Yet the conservatives want the unrestricted right to bear arms and to kill someone who we think is up to no good
(Travon Martin come to mind.) with impunity no less... can anyone see the problem here.

Examinator said...

Part 2
As for abortions same deal.
What the conservatives really mean is we want to impose our (inconsistent/ hypocritical) views on others who aren't like them. The same goes for wars of commercial interest (sorry self defence(sic) i.e. Iraq, Haiti et al) . It's been a long time since I left the seminary but I don't remember the Christian dictum that says 'love thy neighbor/enemy then kill them, appropriate their resources and ensure their poverty. But I digress.
In truth there are no absolute rights they are all modified by virtue of living in an ordered/ civilised society.
So let's stop with the BS about my rights to absolute anything and get real. Lets try to figure out the most appropriate place to draw the line (for the good of the country) .

Neither side is saying take ALL fire arms nor is any side saying no more vehicles so stop with the BS about slippery slope (domino effect the justifying argument for Vietnam). I've lived in Australia and only an ignorant fool would say it's a socialist country and the citizens don't have fire arms or 'hunters'. Absolute rubbish just certain 'types' of weapons the latter still exist. What's the difference between the need for semi automatic weapons and having a formula 1 race vehicle for my daily drive and at its optimum speed e.g brakes don't work properly until near full power. ...none Both are ridiculous in most citizen situations .
While we're on Australia let's revisit the stats in the article. What they don't show is how and what was collected they all use official stats. BUT the data collected doesn't differentiate between accidental shooting merely fire arm deaths nor does it go into who is shooting who ...(for example figures collected other than police or hospital stats) indicate that 80% of criminal murders are actually criminal against criminal. Likewise bystander deaths can be counted on one hand over the last 15 years. Drive by shooting deaths are rare and innocents from them rarer still!

What the bald stats don't show is that MASS shootings of INNOCENTS take your pick be it a theatre, school , McDonalds etc haven't happened since John Howard a “Liberal Party” PM (read essentially conservative side ...supposedly Republican lite) brought in the firearm control and buy back. (note the conservative American tactic of misappropriation of the term Liberal and how this excludes a whole set of language and options ).
In short it all depends on what you want to achieve ...Australia just wanted to preclude mass shooting of innocents and REDUCE the availability of weapons to those most likely to do harm. The drop in gun related suicides is a bonus. Whether it on it's own reduced suicides I DON'T KNOW. What I as a volunteer crisis intervention counsellor it does give time to activate appropriate help.

What WASN'T on the agenda was total weapons ban or to absolutely stop violence. Neither was/is ever going to happen by one magic bullet (excuse the pun) . Those are too complex.
My point as stated comes down to this: which would you (as a parent) rather hear in the news.
1. Young man goes nuts and stabs mother or
2. some young man has gone nuts at your child's school and killed perhaps 20 children end 8 adults?
BTW Australian schools don't have and don't need lock ins, metal detectors, or armed anything no need. These events are as rare as kangaroo rodeos. There hasn't been one yet.
Aust. has its problems violence murder et al but in 99% of the time having weapons wouldn't stop them AND the the real nasties i.e. mass shootings of innocents just is not a factor there.