Public-spirited pair run low on guidelines for guns: In this morning’s New York Times, a bipartisan pair offer one of the silliest op-ed columns ever.
The famous centrists offer their thoughts about possible ways to curb gun violence. As they start, they declare their good intentions:
BAKER AND DINGELL (1/30/13): We are as different as North and South. One of us, John Dingell, is a liberal Michigan Democrat and the other, Jim Baker, is a conservative Texas Republican. We met during the Reagan administration and have often found ourselves on opposite sides of political battles. We have the bruises to show for them.In Serious circles, Dingell and Baker are famous players—and despite belonging to different parties, they say they're hunting pals! Having displayed their good intentions, they eventually state the goal of their column:
“With the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled today to hold the first congressional hearings on gun violence since the Newtown tragedy, we offer four general guidelines for a national dialogue on sensible solutions to this deadly malady.”
Finally! Someone is going to offer some guidelines for our national dialogue!
The bipartisan pair said they'd offer four guidelines. But they seemed to struggle as they attempted to meet their goal.
Four guidelines doesn’t sound like a lot! But this was their third general guideline:
“Third, common sense should prevail.”
It’s about time somebody said that! And this was their fourth and final guideline: “Finally, each of us should look into our own heart to consider what type of nation we want to be.”
Who else would ever have thought of a general guideline like that!
In our view, the bipartisan pair ran out of guidelines rather quickly. But the real fatuity of this piece lay elsewhere, along with its reason for being.
As the pals discussed their general guidelines, they listed a wide array of topics which might be part of our common-sense dialogue. Truth to tell, they basically listed every proposal you’ve already heard a thousand times by now.
Except for one proposal: Nowhere do the pals discuss the possibility of a ban on so-called assault rifles! Whatever you think of that proposal, it doesn’t seem to be present in this column. Nor do we get any explanation for its absence.
Go ahead—read the column. The boys say we should “consider strengthening background checks.” They also say we should “assess whether armor-piercing bullets should be legal.”
Using stronger language, they say we “must examine the long-term effects on our children of violent movies, television shows and video games.” Beyond that, we “must address gaps in our mental health system.”
We also “must strive to make our schools and public gathering places safer, perhaps through federal financing so local police forces can hire additional officers.”
But nowhere do these hunters say that we should even consider banning those so-called assault rifles. And they aren’t especially strong on the subject of ammunition clips or drums. They only say we should “determin[e] if there is any reason for weapons to have magazines that hold 30 rounds or more.”
Within the context of recent discussions, thirty rounds is a lot.
We’re always amazed when major newspapers publish worthless twaddle like this because its authors are famous and powerful. The list of guidelines is utterly fatuous—and one high-profile proposal is AWOL.
There’s no explanation for why it’s not there. As we begin our common-sense dialogue, the Times didn’t notice or care.