It’s About The Guns
By Jess Coleman
With the steam now settled from Wednesday’s attack in Alexandria, the explanations are starting to roll in. Unsurprisingly, the consensus has nothing to do with the fact that the U.S. is home to more privately owned guns per capita than any country in the world.
Rather, the culprit—so the story goes—is a toxic political atmosphere, bolstered by the revelation that the attacker, James Hodgkinson, was a fervid opponent of President Trump. The New York Times, hardly a fringe commentator like Newt Gingrich or Donald Trump, Jr., features two pieces on the topic this morning: one posits that the attack poses an “unexpected test” for the left-wing, while another places the attack in the context of “rage and blame.”
Let’s back up for a moment. While we do not know all of the details behind Hodgkinson’s attack, we do know that every year in the U.S., around 30,000 people are killed by guns. Many more are wounded. This was a fact before Donald Trump was president. Absent any action, it will persist once he is gone. When Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011—a relatively utopian time in American politics—the Congressional approval rating was the same is it is now, 20 percent.
If Wednesday’s attack proved anything, it’s that the debate surrounding gun violence will always settle around something other than the weapon itself. After Sandy Hook and Aurora, we were told the problem was mental health, not guns. After Newtown, it was violent video games. Now we’re told it’s about too many people having strong feelings about politics. But as we keep re-diagnosing the problem, the most predictable thing in American life continues to […]