Wednesday, May 2, 2018

New poll on gun control - Americans believe that killing kids is OK

If you take issue with the title, read on. And then prove me wrong.

The Huffington Post reports a new poll showing How Views On Guns Have Changed Since The Parkland Shooting. Here, in one chart, is the depressing news. The Post’s short take: Interest in new gun restrictions went up at first. That hasn’t necessarily lasted.

There is an awful sameness to the American response to the killing of its kids. Lots of media attention (bodies, crying people), thoughts, prayers, memorials, demonstrations, and then assertion of gun rights, more nonsense about good guys and their guns, and, after a month or a week, it all dies down and is replaced by some other scandal in the media. So it now goes with the Parkland shooting.

Gun control poll results
Post-Parkland gun control opinions return to normal

The school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year launched a new generation of gun control activists, inspired walkouts and marches, and sparked the most substantial ― and long-lasting ― shift in public opinion on guns in recent years. The appetite for gun control appears to have tapered off in the following weeks, but some surveys indicate that some changes in public opinion could endure.

In the more than two months since that shooting, HuffPost and YouGov have conducted five surveys tracking Americans’ views on guns. The results show a burst of support for gun reform in the two weeks after the shooting, followed by a gradual reversion to the mean. Once-heightened concerns about gun violence have tapered back to previous levels, as has a desire for stricter gun laws and a belief that gun restrictions can be passed without violating Second Amendment rights.

Last November I ventured an explanation about Why we kill so many of our fellow Americans. Here are false arguments and real facts about gun control. As part of that essay, I cited a NY Times piece What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer. One answer is culture.

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the … assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.

The main reason American regulation of gun ownership is so weak may be the fact that the trade-offs are simply given a different weight in the United States than they are anywhere else.

After Britain had a mass shooting in 1987, the country instituted strict gun control laws. So did Australia after a 1996 incident. But the United States has repeatedly faced the same calculus and determined that relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society.

That choice, more than any statistic or regulation, is what most sets the United States apart.

"In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

How many ways must this be said? When it comes to guns vs. kids, guns win. If you step back and ask about who cares about what, you (well, I) must conclude that my generation, and the next, and perhaps even the next, just does not give a sh!t.

As I proposed in another post:

“The policy of the United States shall be the acceptance of loss of life so that assault weapons are available for legal sale.” I made that up. But can you doubt, given what I and others have written about the latest mass murder, that this is the de facto policy of the United States of America.

There will be another school shooting. There always is. And America will do nothing effective, or nothing at all, to prevent it.

This is the lesson, unfortunately, that the young activists mobilized by the Parkland shooting have yet to learn.

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