Adam Gopnik is still (and uncharacteristically) really angry about the lack of gun control in the U.S., and the slaughter it engenders. He had an eloquent piece on it in The New Yorker the other day, but has decided to write again on the topic.
His empassioned new piece, “The simple truth about gun control,” is even better; it is, in fact, one of the best things I’ve seen on the topic. Here’s only one paragraph, a deft response to those who say (as a way of keeping guns), that we should go slow, examine the problem carefully, realize its complexity, and, above all, not react reflexively to this tragedy.
That’s all hokum. We don’t need so many guns in this country, and we certainly don’t need semiautomatic weapons. We need to regulate guns the way they do in England.
But I digress: here’s a section of Gopnik’s new piece:
So don’t listen to those who, seeing twenty dead six- and seven-year-olds in ten minutes, their bodies riddled with bullets designed to rip apart bone and organ, say that this is impossibly hard, or even particularly complex, problem. It’s a very easy one. Summoning the political will to make it happen may be hard. But there’s no doubt or ambiguity about what needs to be done, nor that, if it is done, it will work. One would have to believe that Americans are somehow uniquely evil or depraved to think that the same forces that work on the rest of the planet won’t work here. It’s always hard to summon up political will for change, no matter how beneficial the change may obviously be. Summoning the political will to make automobiles safe was difficult; so was summoning the political will to limit and then effectively ban cigarettes from public places. At some point, we will become a gun-safe, and then a gun-sane, and finally a gun-free society. It’s closer than you think. (I’m grateful to my colleague Jeffrey Toobin for showing so well that the idea that the Second Amendment assures individual possession of guns, so far from being deeply rooted in American law, is in truth a new and bizarre reading, one that would have shocked even Warren Burger.
And do read Toobin’s piece mentioned above. It shows how the toxic combination of the National Rifle Association and the odious Antonin Scalia changed the meaning of the Second Amendment from allowing guns for a militia to allowing guns for everyone.