If youâd lost the capacity to be appalled by those opposing reform of Americaâs gun laws, their latest effort should fix that.
Photo Credit: Spinetta/Shutterstock
June 13, 2014
The drumbeat of news about gun violence in the United States is so
steady and rhythmic these days that itâs starting to fade into the
background. Another week, another school shooting.
One of the biggest risks now is of a population-wide numbness, eroding
the will to tackle the crisis. So perhaps we should be grimly grateful
whenever the gun lobby demonstrates that it retains the power to
Case in point: this sequence of tweets by the conservative journalist Charles C Johnson, featured on Glenn Beckâs website The Blaze and onHot Air, and being forwarded enthusiastically everywhere among pro-gun tweeters and bloggers. (I found it via Quinn Norton.)
Johnson takes it upon himself to debunk the claim, made by the gun reform group Everytown for Gun Safety, backed by Michael Bloomberg, that there have been 74 school shootings since
Adam Lanza killed 20 children, six adults and himself at Sandy Hook
elementary School 18 months ago. In fact, Johnson concludes, there have only been seven.
How does he manage this feat of mathematical magic? Simple: by
narrowing the definition of âschool shootingâ so far that almost none of
Letâs be fastidiously fair to Johnson and his
supporters by acknowledging that a handful of the incidents he
identifies do seem misclassified. Most people, for example, would surely
agree that a shooting that doesn't happen on a school campus isnât
a school shooting. But the rest of his alleged debunkings offer a truly
depressing glimpse of how pro-gun argumentation works these days.
doesnât count, for example, if youâre a student shot at school by a
gunman who wasnât originally planning to shoot up a school that day:
It doesnât count if the bullet youâre injured by, on school grounds, was discharged accidentally:
It certainly doesnât count if youâre the one who shoots yourself to death at school:
It isnât a school shooting even if itâs a shooting, at school, so long
as the victim, on this occasion, is an adult rather than a child:
on Jun. 15, 2014 at 1:30 AM