We have our issues with The Atlantic’s senior editor but his column today in his favorite magazine introduces a 10 lb. hammer to the nail’s head.
Frum begins by making the salient point that American teens are 82 times more like to die of gun homicide than 15-19 year olds in the rest of the 1st World, then introduces us to the profundity of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who opined earlier today that the problem is that Santa Fe High just has too many doors.
Frum begs to differ.
“It’s the guns.
The Parkland shooting earlier this year seemed at last to ignite a public movement in response to these terrible crimes. Yet even the cumulative impact of slaughter after slaughter has not softened the harsh divide of the American gun impasse. Back in 2012, Nate Silver observed: “Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South, or a number of other demographic characteristics.”
More than 70 percent of Trump voters in 2016 described guns as “very important” to their vote, versus only 40 percent who described abortion as “very important” to their vote and only 25 percent who felt that way about gay rights. With the slow fading of battles over same-sex marriage and abortion, and the rapid collapse of other aspects of conservative ideology, guns may now rank as the single most important political dividing line in 21st century America.
Only 30 percent of Americans own guns. Thus far, that minority has sufficed to block substantial federal action on guns. But a one-third minority—and especially a non-urban one-third minority—may no longer suffice to shape American culture.”
And, of course it is that 70% of 30%, the hardest of the hard core Trump supporters who are doubtless also responsible for the existence of Fox News, the oppression of women, the expulsion brown mothers and fathers, the necropolitical, extrajudicial murder of African Americans, and the God awful television legacy of Duck Dynasty.
Yet against all evidence Frum has hope:
“According to a Pew survey, only about one-quarter of gun owners think it essential to alert visitors with children that guns may be present in the home. (Twice as many non-gun-owners think so.) Only 66 percent of gun owners think it essential to keep guns locked up when not in use. (Ninety percent of non-gun-owners think so.) Only 45 percent of them actually do it.
This carelessness and disregard is taking lives and breaking families. The first step toward correcting a social wrong is opening people’s eyes to see that wrong. America has now tallied still more victims and broken the hearts of still more mourners. It’s a horrible price to pay for a moral reckoning and awakening—but the history of the nation promises that while the awakening may often come tragically slow, it does come in time, with all the power of justice delayed but not denied.”
I hope you are right, David.