America Goes Back to Sleep on Gun Control, NRA Wide Awake

My Thursday column:

I spend a considerable amount of time and energy writing about political reality in an attempt to not necessarily become satisfied with it and complacent about it, but to use political reality as a means of changing the system from within. Ignoring reality and plowing ahead with a political agenda is sort of like trying to write a new and interesting song without knowing how to play a musical instrument. You can’t change music without knowing and embracing the basic vocabulary of music, and so it is with politics.

However, there’s one aspect of political and, in this case, social reality that continuously confounds me. Americans, including the most vocal liberal activists in social media and the blogs, have an excruciatingly short attention span.

Yesterday, David Frum linked to several statistics showing that the conversation about gun control has reverted back to December 13, 2012 levels — the day before the Sandy Hook massacre. [continue reading]

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  • zirgar

    It’s not an excuse, but I’m sure the holidays siphoned off a lot of the focus. Why let something like a national tragedy get in the way of our celebratin’? Couple that with our nation’s collective short attention span and voila! What were we talking about? Oh, yeah. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

    PS–I see that you mentioned this in the full essay. I guess I shouldn’t comment until I’ve read it all instead of just commenting after reading these snippets you post here.

  • gescove

    I’m hopeful that President Obama is now committed. I think it will take his leadership on the issue. No mention of gun control in the SOTU address in 2011 (after Tucson when Giffords was so grievously wounded), nor in 2010 (after Ft. Hood). But now VP Biden is heading a commission tasked with making legislative recommendations this month. I try to keep up, but for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus! Filibuster reform, climate change, jobs & the economy, GWOT & civil liberties, voting rights & election reform, Citizens United, immigration reform, health care reform, Social Security, education, Medicare, GMO’s and pesticides, Medicaid… and on, and on, and on. EVERYTHING is a goddam existential crisis and our institutions, political and otherwise, are FUBAR.

  • muselet

    The reason for the difference in continuing coverage between the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Sandy Hook massacre is that the 2001 attacks were carried out by people not from the US.

    I’m not being flippant. It’s a lot easier to sustain outrage at The Other than at Some Of Us. That’s why all of us seem to have lost interest after Newtown.

    I almost said it’s also why the NRA can always stay focused—because as far as the organization is concerned, anyone who doesn’t use a firearm responsibly is The Other—but that’s not true, or at least it’s only partly true. To the extent the NRA represents individuals and not the firearms manufacturers, it represents individuals who only care about the one, solitary issue of gun rights. Only the fetus fetishists come close to being as single-issue as the gun fetishists.

    I fear it will take a mass shooting in the halls of Congress or at one of our glorious news media’s outlets to cause the opinion makers to take note of the ongoing, slow-motion slaughter of innocents.