The New York Times today for the first time in 95 years ran an editorial on the front page.
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. Americaâ€™s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Letâ€™s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.
But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically â€” eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.
Jonah Goldberg was moved to note some of the major news events which failed to provoke an equivalent emotional response.
The Peace of Versailles, Buck v. Bell, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Ukrainian famine, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Tuskegee experiments, the Holocaust, McCarthyism, the Marshall Plan, Jim Crow, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy Assassination, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Kent State, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Watergate, withdrawal from Vietnam, the Killing Fields, the Iran hostage crisis, the Contras, AIDS, gay marriage, the Iran nuclear deal: These are just a few of the things the New York Times chose not to run front page editorials on. But, the â€œGun Epidemicâ€ in America? That deserves a front-page editorial.
I myself find it interesting to reflect that not one single member of that New York Times editorial board could properly define an assault weapon, nor if challenged justify placing ugly-looking semi-automatic rifles chambered in a slightly modified version of a cartridge introduced in 1950 for the purpose of shooting groundhogs in a special category supposedly more “designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency” than any repeating firearm which appeared on the market later than the Henry Rifle of 1862 or even the Colt Patterson Revolver of 1836.
The really important distinguishing category to which the editorial board of the New York Times belongs is the class of limitlessly self-important, limitless self-entitled holier-than-thous, the category of persons The Godfather referred to as “pezzonovantes” (90 caliber individuals) who get to hand down regulations and edicts, even if they do not actually produce the desired result, because “at least [they] are trying.”
The New York Times Editorial Board is composed entirely of fanatic liberal devotees of the cult of the Leviathan State, and their personal religion demands a symbolic regulatory response, a sacrifice of somebody’s rights, liberties, and property, as a means of addressing any perceived PROBLEM. When something bad happens, you must immediately invoke Nobodaddy, the administrative state, and make that sacrificial gesture. Then, and only then, is “la patrie” no longer “en danger.” It doesn’t matter if the ceremony of Statism has any practical effect. It doesn’t matter if what the priests of Leviathan do is actually counter-productive. The point of all this has nothing to do with reality or practical results. The point is the emotional satisfaction of the assembled congregation of the worshippers of the State through the performance of the proper ceremony.
If we don’t respond to every shooting which makes a major headline by banning something, by passing some brave new law, the urban-based cult of Leviathan will shriek at us in pain until we do.