One of the most worthless Times columns ever!


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.


  1. It's not there because "everybody knows" the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to "arms."

    Not even "guns" -- "arms."

    It's only through tradition that we don't allow ourselves as citizens EVERY type of weaponry available. But that tradition's obviously unconstitutional. We ought to be able to have surface-to-air missiles.

    Why shouldn't we be allowed to own functional landmines -- It's right there in the constitution "shall not be infringed!"

    What court is it that's telling us we can't own and use (for the defense of our homes and property) atomic and biological weapons? The founders wanted us to have them!

    "Assault weapons?"

    That's just thinking too small.

    1. I have been trying to stick a cannon in my front yard for years. I want to aim it at my neighbors because they seem a little hinkey and I don't want to have rely on my bazooka and flame thrower alone for defending the oild homestead.

  2. Maybe magazines with 30 bullets should be banned, but there's supposedly no reason for them.

    First of all, the question should be whether there's sufficient reason to ban them. Given the Second Amendment, weapons should be legal unless there's a reason to ban them. IMHO the case for banning them is weak. It's quick for a mass murderer to change clips, so it's not clear that banning high capacity magazines would help appreciably.

    OTOH there are are various advantages to larger clips:

    1. Convenience, for people doing target shooting.

    2. Lower cost (I would guess) One 30-bullet clip problably costs less than 2 15-bullet clips.

    3. Risk of being attacked by a group of dangerous criminals. A homeowner might need 30 bullets to defend herself against a group of intruders, especially because she's apt to miss with some of her shots.

    1. Your 1, 2 and 3 are all reasons you should support the insanity of the first post in this thread.

      Also, since there's a risk the group attacking you will be really large, you probably should consider arming yourself (defensively, of course) with one of those sonic crowd-control weapons.

      But are you wimping out, though, David? "Weapons should be legal unless there's a reason to ban them?"

      "A reason?"

      You know, all those wussy liberals are just looking for a chance to take away your personal nukes, etc.

      "A reason" is a pretty low threshold.

      Someone might even say, the real chance of innocent people getting killed is a pretty damn good "reason" to limit your rights to own any weapon under the sun.

      But you and I know your self-defense fantasies are much more "reasonable," right?

    2. Perfectly valid points.

      Not to mention 4., that at some point when governments or societies weaken economically or culturally, there is opportunity for oppressors to conduct violent forceful takeovers.

      Liberals never acknowledge this very real, very well-established likelihood. Since it will not happen next week, it won't happen.

      They want themselves and the people they know to feel safer in the near future while they don't much care what happens beyond that.

      If anyone points out there is a real trade-off they will dismiss any perception of such a risk as crazy even though t's happened over and over again all over the world in recent decades.

  3. Correction. The first sentence should read

    Maybe magazines with 30 bullets should be banned, but not because there's (supposedly) no reason for them.


  4. Right up there with "let's not have any laws because bad guys don't obey laws anyway."

    1. Suppose you're a Mom, you're home alone with your 6-year old child, and your home is invaded by three masked men carrying guns, like this woman yesterday. How many bullets do you want in your magazine? Will you be content with 6?

    2. I am a mom (children grown now) in a rural area, and I found myself home alone with my children many times. I live in a state where you go through hoops to buy guns, the criminally inclined have to get them in other states, and legal gun-owners are mostly hunters with simple shot-guns, so I really never had to worry about armed creeps invading my home. Could have happened, I guess. There probably have been some home invasions in Massachusetts, but there is much less danger of those than of gun violence in (certain) city streets from gangs, or of shooting-range or hunting accidents, or of legal gun-owners killing family members or themselves out of temporary mental impairment.

      Someone can always find some situation or other where access to a gun with a large magazine would have saved the day. So what? Statistically, that's not the larger picture.

      Why do gun-crazy advocates worry about the "slippery slope" of limiting guns and not about the slippery slope of filling the world with guns?

    3. "Why do gun-crazy advocates worry about the "slippery slope" of limiting guns and not about the slippery slope of filling the world with guns?"

      C'mon, we know the answer to that, don't we?

      Answers itself, really.

    4. I live in a state where you go through hoops to buy guns, the criminally inclined have to get them in other states, and legal gun-owners are mostly hunters with simple shot-guns, so I really never had to worry about armed creeps invading my home.

      I think the place where you raised your children was safe because of the people, rather than the gun laws, mch.

      In Chicago it's almost impossible to legally buy a gun. Yet, Chicago has a huge number or armed criminals and gun murders. I'm sure you heard about the tragedy of the girl who performed at Obama's inauguration was shot to death in Chicago.

    5. In Chicago it's almost impossible to buy a gun. In the United States it is so darn easy. Maybe maybe a federal law might make sense. Also Bob is correct about it being a stupid article.

    6. "Why do gun-crazy advocates worry about the "slippery slope" of limiting guns and not about the slippery slope of filling the world with guns?"

      Why do gun control advocates worry about the world filling with guns and not about the slippery slope of the government or otherwise powerful becoming the only humans in possession of efficient arms?

    7. Oldguy, even a federal law won't take guns out of the hands of criminals. Maybef a law that banned all guns would reduce the use of guns by criminals, eventually. But, such a law couldn't be passed. There's too much oppostion and it's unconstitutional.

    8. Hey, David? There are also federal and state laws against kidnapping and murder. Criminals still kidnap and murder.

      I suppose by your logic, those laws should be repealed.

    9. "the slippery slope of the government or otherwise powerful becoming the only humans in possession of efficient arms"

      This is always the final stage of the fantasy.

      The sad emasculated white boy imagines himself and his equally unloved wimp buddies as the last stand against a rogue government.

      They sometimes like to even pretend that's what Amendment 2 was about.

      No, dumb ass, the well-regulated militia is necessary to the defense of the government, not your pathetic wuss fantasy of overturning it.

    10. I also wish that the people who read only half of the Second Amendment would also read Article 1, Section 8 of the constititution and discover what these sainted Founding Fathers believe the need of a "well-regulated militia was.

      To wit:

      "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;"

      Just in case they missed it "to . . . suppress insurrections." Not to foment them.

      And that was written right after Shays' Rebellion. They ought to look that up as well.

  5. Why does the NYT run such inanity? Big names and all. (Though they have been know to refuse such, or to demand some rewriting.)

    On the other hand: the obvious inanity of this piece is educational, no?

    1. Here's a thought that might not have occurred to Bob.

      Perhaps instead of proposing the final ultimate solution to a very complicated problem, Baker and Dingell were trying to model how dialogue might begin that could lead to common ground.

      Or is Bob saying that any article that doesn't propose the solution HE sees fit is stupid?

  6. Just for the record: most of the violent crimes that occur in my rural area are instances of domestic violence or bar fights and the like. Almost entirely among people of European descent whose skin is "white." Thank goodness more of them don't have guns (or if they own a gun, it's probably a shot gun for hunting that is kept locked away and out of easy reach). Instead, they rely on fists, knives, and the infamous (to those familiar with the phrases of MA law) "shod foot."

    In Massachusetts cities, there is also gang crime, most of it associated with illegal drug trade. To the extent that guns are used in these violent crimes (or in general to intimidate people), these guns have been obtained illegally, originally IN OTHER STATES. (Virginia is the main source, I understand, for illegal guns in northeastern states.) Or, possibly, legally (even in MA) at gun shows. (Gun shows are a major source of guns that end up in the hands of people who possess them illegally.) That's Chicago's problem: it's an oasis of relatively sane gun laws in a state that doesn't match Chicago's laws, and in a sea of states that don't match Illinois' laws.