One cause of the Republican's shellacking in last month's elections was the inability (or unwillingness) of numerous conservative neanderthals to understand that rape is a crime, and that a pregnancy conceived as a result of this crime might be considered something other than a divine blessing. That's what happens, though, when people hold an absolutist worldview: Abortion is only and always wrong, so any logically consistent argument supporting this worldview, no matter how repugnant, must be right. One can almost admire folks like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for their steadfastness and see something almost tragic (though hardly unwelcome) in their self-inflicted political deathblows.
One wishes some similarly logically-consistent gun-rights advocate would make the obvious comment in the wake of today's Connecticut elementary-school massacre: Those bullets that killed twenty children? God-given early-Christmas gifts for kids lucky enough to live (briefly) in a country that protects the right to bear arms! Imagine the backlash!
Of course, no NRA spokesman or (presumably) member would so blatantly blame the innocent victims of this horrific assault. And yet, within hours of this morning's shootings, many gun-apologists predictably engaged in something only slightly less offensive, opining defensively that if only--If only!--teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary had been armed, this tragedy would have been prevented (or at least minimized).
See, everybody? It's not the fault of Adam Lanza, the obviously deranged young man who apparently killed all these children, as well as some school personnel, his own mother, and, ultimately, himself. The fault lies with those irresponsibile schoolteachers who failed to take full advantage of their constitutional freedoms and thereby failed in their duty to protect their young charges! Why, they're practically as guilty as Lanza! They ought to be arrested! Well, the ones who survived anyway.
What gets me about this particular knee-jerk reaction to gun violence is its fundamental illogic. The argument seems to be that, if we strengthen gun-control laws, we will effectively be unilaterally disarming--that law-abiding people will no longer be able to arm themselves against lunatics with guns. The problem, of course, is that law-abiding people are NOT consistently arming themselves now. So unless the NRA is advocating a law requiring gun ownership--they're not, are they?--this argument rings hollow at best, heartless at worst.
I keep waiting, though so far in vain, for the event that will trigger the backlash. Maybe Sandy Hook will be it. Maybe this will finally convince people that the NRA should not have a stranglehold on our politics. I'm not optimistic.