Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Mark Bittman writes a sensible column on gun control

with 3 comments

At least the topic seems to be open for discussion now. Bittman in the NY Times:

Back in the administration of W., we looked for the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That was the wrong place; they’re here at home. Normally the W.M.D. I write about is the Standard American Diet (yes: SAD); occasionally I talk about food safety, orclimate change, or related topics. But no matter what you look at, the basic problem remains so-called leadership that cannot stand up to big ag, big food, big energy, Wall Street …or the N.R.A.

Since 9/11, 33 Americans have been killed by “terrorists”; roughly 150,000 Americans have been killed by non-terrorists: that is, your run-of-the-mill murderers. Murder, like the leading cause of death — heart disease — is often preventable, through regulations, education and medical intervention.

We don’t know why Jared Loughner — had you, too, forgotten his name before he reappeared in the news on Tuesday? — shot Gabby Giffords, but we do know that he told his shrink that he wished he’d taken the antidepressants he’d been prescribed before the shooting. We don’t know why James Holmes allegedly shot up the Batman crowd, but we do know he was acting in a weird manner, and though his analyst told the police he was troubled, there was no one to help him. We gather that the suicidal Wade M. Page was a racist so ignorant he didn’t know a Sikh from a Muslim.

In any event, none of them seem to have been capable of distinguishing right from wrong. The easy solution to that is to make gun purchases more difficult, especially for disturbed people who appear to think they’re part of some “solution” to a series of “problems” identified by hatemongers. (Remember Bill O’Reilly all but calling for the death of the “baby killer,” the obstetrician George Tiller?)

We already have laws and regulations to protect us from murderers, at least when we call them terrorists. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2012 at 10:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

3 Responses

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  1. Bottom line – Bittman wants gun control. Fine, that is his right. Too bad there were no specific proposals, just a generality. Just to throw out an idea, how about banning ALL automatic weapons (except police). In California we have twiddled around with definitions that can be circumvented by changing specs, and we have twiddled around with regulations which supposedly specify what the law intended. Really, folks? We have the expertise to craft a solid and all-encompassing definition — that’s what lawyers/politicians do, or at least CAN do if they want to. And regulations need to be consistent with the law, not “interpretations” of the law. We can do better, if we really want to.


    10 August 2012 at 11:51 am

  2. Bittman, let’s remember, is not a lawyer or legislator, but primarily a writer on food and health matters. I’m encouraged simply by the public discussion. Your proposal—no semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons sold to civilians—would be an interesting start. Perhaps if mass shootings become more frequent, we’ll be impelled to act. We certainly responded swiftly to threats on airplanes, so it’s possible.


    10 August 2012 at 12:22 pm

  3. They (mass shootings) are far too frequent as it is. See this useful map:

    One trembles to think of how frequent they would have to become to impinge on the national consciousness enough to make people act. I agree that what was good about Bittman’s column were the comparisons to other dangers and how we act in response to them. His aim was to highlight the peculiar irrationality that surrounds gun death in this country.


    10 August 2012 at 6:02 pm

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