Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Civics 101

Apparently E.J. Dionne needs a refresher course on how the government works.
Opponents of even modest gun regulation win the upper hand rhetorically by invoking two words: freedom and elitism. None of us is really free, the argument goes, unless all of us have essentially unfettered access to weapons, and any new gun laws are seen as leading down a slippery slope to a total ban on gun ownership. Supporters of gun regulations are always cast as metropolitan highbrows lacking in respect for the way of life of law-abiding country folks.

At a structural level, Congress has a deep bias in favor of the rural point of view because the Senate is stacked in favor of rural states. Idaho, Wyoming and Montana have two senators each, and so do California, New York and Illinois.

According to the latest Census Bureau estimates, the six senators from those three rural states represent 2,874,060 people. The six from the three states that include big urban and suburban populations represent 68,150,148 people. By these figures, you might calculate the rough odds against gun regulations at 24 to 1.

Maybe someone is missing why the Senate was established. Recall that the senate was a lever to ensure that the rights of the small states and rural states aren't eliminated by the large population states.

Then there is this brilliant statement:
"There are neighborhoods where if you say 'duck,' people get out of the way because they're worried they'll be shot," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in an interview. "But there are other parts of the country where if you say 'duck,' people will grab their rifles to go duck hunting."
When was the last time you saw someone hunting ducks with a rifle? Milwaukee's finest.
We desperately need a new politics of gun regulation in which law-abiding gun owners see the fight for tougher laws not as a form of disrespect for their culture but as an acknowledgment that if our gun rules are an unenforceable hodgepodge, illegal guns will inevitably get into the hands of kids and criminals in the cities and suburbs.

"I'm fighting for freedom, too," said Barrett. "I'm fighting for the freedom of a grandma to sit on her front porch and not get hit when there's a drive-by shooting. I'm fighting for the freedom of kids to play in the park without being caught in a crossfire."

If the laws are so very helter skelter (or higgly piggly if that is your style), then maybe they should be stripped back to the beginning and recast. With the present environment, I'm thinking that may be a good thing.

Barrett doesn't wants granny to be free to sit on her porch in the city. I want the freedom to defend myself in the country. Less Police over more area makes reaction times poor. But then, the enforcement in the cities isn't so great either. But this isn't about self-defense, it's about those evil guns.

As usual another editorial by someone that hasn't bothered to look at all the problems and possibilities of a situation.

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