[update below] [2nd update below] [3rd update below] [4th update below]
I posted a commentary by Adam Gopnik several hours ago, on Obama, Romney, and Adam Smith. Here’s another, this one on the Aurora massacre. Gopnik is angry at America’s insane gun culture and rightly so. Money quote
The truth is made worse by the reality that no one—really no one—anywhere on the political spectrum has the courage to speak out about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life. That includes the President, whose consoling message managed to avoid the issue of why these killings take place. Of course, we don’t know, and perhaps never will, what exactly “made him” do what he did; but we know how he did it. Those who fight for the right of every madman and every criminal to have as many people-killing weapons as they want share moral responsibility for what happened last night—as they will when it happens again. And it will happen again.
The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country—Canada, Norway, Britain—has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do—as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue. Does anyone even remember any longer last July’s gun massacre, those birthday-party killings in Texas, when an estranged husband murdered his wife and most of her family, leaving six dead?
But nothing changes: the blood lobby still blares out its certainties, including the pretense that the Second Amendment—despite the clear grammar of its first sentence—is designed not to protect citizen militias but to make sure that no lunatic goes unarmed. (Jill Lepore wrote about the history of the Second Amendment in The New Yorker recently.) Make sure that guns designed for no reason save to kill people are freely available to anyone who wants one—and that is, and remains, the essential American condition—and then be shocked when children are killed.
Only in America, Gopnik says, in the Western world at least. American exceptionalism at its least admirable.
UPDATE: James Fallows in The Atlantic writes about “the certainty of more shootings.”
2nd UPDATE: Rick Schmitt in Mother Jones describes how the Blood Lobby, a.k.a. the NRA, “pushed the right to pack heat anywhere.”
3rd UPDATE: David Weigel in Slate asks if “a brave citizen with a concealed weapon [could] have prevented the Aurora shootings.” Answer: no.
4th UPDATE: Bill Moyers and Michael Winship have an excellent piece in Salon, where they observe that “the NRA has America living under the gun” and that “the arsenal of democracy has been transformed into the arsenal of death.”