People are asking what I think of Leah Libresco-Sargeant’s piece

People are asking what I think of Leah Libresco-Sargeant’s piece October 5, 2017

on gun control.  She writes:

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

She then goes on to make a very well-reasoned case, as is her custom, because she is a good and honest person.

One reader, typically not grasping my point in addressing gun violence as a prolife issue, thinks I must therefore consign her to “Outer Darkness presumably, as with any who fail to embrace the New Truly True Manichaeism with sufficient gusto!”

Wrong. What he does not get is that my point, all along, has been about will, not means. The lies I have critiqued here and elsewhere are told by people whose entire will is directed toward making sure the status quo is maintained, no matter how many people die, because their gun fetish means more than human life.

In contrast, Leah’s research was undertaken, not in order to maintain the status quo, but in order to get at reality and see what can be done. In short, she is honest and the Gun Cult is not. The Gun Cult tells lies constantly for one purpose: to maintain the status quo. It is a lie to say that the shooter in Vegas could just as easily have harmed 600 with rocks.  It is a lie to say that all laws are futile since criminals break the law.  It is a lie to say that only prayer will defeat evil and action is pointless.  It is a lie to say the second amendment exists so that we can make war on the Constitutional order of which it is a part. These, and many other lies exist for one reason: to make sure that the status quo is maintained and the arms industry is enriched no matter how many innocents die.

Both Leah and I, unlike the Gun Cult that trades in these lies, would like to see our bought-and-paid-for pols finally authorize the CDC to undertake a methodical study of gun violence and what we can do to curb it. The Gun Cult, hating light, has fought that for years, because the goal is not to save lives but to keep lining the pockets of the arms industry. I (and Leah) want truth to enlighten action in order to save lives. The Gun Cult wants money and power and does not give a shit about truth or human life. That’s the difference.

So I commend Leah for trying to do an honest look and I respect her results. I hope a more thorough study of the problem–and of what we can do about it–is done. The Gun Cult hopes for one thing: obstruction of all thought and action that will in any way change the status quo.

That said, and because I know Leah respects a good argument, VOX has offered a rebuttal to her piece that is also worth noting.

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