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Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Left gives up on guns, moves on to mental health

By Jennifer Rubin

I must say I was surprised that so many on the left, in the wake of the Arizona shootings, went all in on the "conservatives are responsible" meme. What ever happened to the days when the instantaneous response would be "guns are responsible"?

It is fair to say that many liberals have become unenthusiastic about pursuing the gun issue. Yes, there are still advocacy groups and certain lawmakers who push for gun control, but, as a party, the Democrats have essentially thrown in the towel. Maybe it was the shock of the Heller decision, which confirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right. But, more likely, reality has dawned that this is simply a loser politically for them. Bill Clinton famously mused that it was the gun issue that cost Democrats the House in 1994 and Al Gore the presidency in 2000.

You therefore have Jamelle Bouie, at the prominent left-leaning American Prospect, recommending:

I, for one, would rather see Obama push for improved mental-health services -- and maybe a little gun control -- rather than indulge in another pedantic call for "civility" and "bipartisanship." Civility won't change anything, but better mental health care will save lives and families.

Well, I for one, appreciate jettisoning the whole "heated political rhetoric is responsible" theme. (I do sense that having engaged in a crass and distasteful exercise in blaming their political enemies, sheepish liberals are beginning to recognize they have overreached and generally are dropping any political explanation for the lunatic's crime.) What is more, Bouie cites with some enthusiasm, this from conservative gadfly David Frum:

Go all in on mental health. Liberals will want the president to address gun control. Unsmart. Stokes your opposition, leads to a political contest you cannot win, and even if you do win, what really do you accomplish? A ban on extended magazines? Next time the killer will bring two guns.

But more resources for mental health services? Democrats say yay. Enhancement of power to commit the dangerously mentally ill? Will appeal to the center and right. Bonus point: such a discussion inherently favors the president by stimulating a discussion about what government can and should do, rather than the preferred Republican topic of what government can't and shouldn't.

Well gosh, if the left is going to be that clear-eyed and practical, there might be something doable on the topic. And, thank goodness, we are finally on to something that has something to do with the Arizona murders, rather than babbling on about something that has nothing to do with the incident.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Arizona shooting  
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Comments

defining "mentally unstable" is too difficult these days.

might want to add how to deal with rejection - 65 job application rejections in a row, and apparently no dates with women, being asked to leave college - clearly the parents should be locked up for failing to produce a functioning citizen. do not omit the need to regulate online video gaming.

Give us all a break and focus on the impact of allowing the 1994 assault weapons ban to lapse in 2004, and Arizona's very permissive, actual absence of gun control.

Owning a gun should be just as difficult as owning an automobile: written test, proficiency test, and insurance.


Posted by: K2K2 | January 12, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The guy that said "timing is everything" really got it right. Imagine what all these screaming rabid bleeding hearts could do to butcher the 2nd ammendment had it not been for the voter induced impeachment of their party last Nov.
I am stunned by the way some want to hide behind ridiculous law. They appear to be intelligent,resonable people one minute then like a pack of dogs with the sent of blood they try to turn a senseless, sickning killing into a platform for more usless ridiculous laws that will not help anything. The whole gun control idea is just legal masterbation. So you change the clip law, next nut brings more guns and clips. So you make guns illegal,my son made a homemade bomb and blew up my barn years ago with information he got off the internet. So we get rid of the internet... Blaming the right for a young man's obvious Paranoid Schizophrenia Disorder makes them appear to be suffering from Downs Syndrome.

Posted by: donaldcox43 | January 12, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people.

Posted by: danw1 | January 12, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

That's true, Dan, but more specifically, criminal people with guns kill people. But they also save a lot of lives as well. Just because the media buries the stories of how guns save lives doesn't mean it does not happen.

Posted by: jmpickett | January 12, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I think we should gather up all the people who asserted that Mr. Loughner was incited by Right wing talk radio and have them committed, with loss of rights to weapons loss of the vote, and loss of any office of trust.

Such people are obviously dangerous.

Posted by: DonM2 | January 12, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

If you have a steak knife in your kitchen, you must be in danger of stabbing your husband. If you have a rock in your garden, you must be intending to bash in your wife's head. If you have a car, you must be intending to run over children.

That is the mindset of people who intend to restrict access of honest sane people to guns.

It tells you much about their mental health or lack of same.

Posted by: DonM2 | January 12, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

This symbolizes the intellectual surrender of the Left on guns.

Liberal TN congressman to get carry permit
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/silence/archives/2011/01/liberal_tn_cong.shtml

Posted by: Bobo4 | January 12, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"Owning a gun should be just as difficult as owning an automobile: written test, proficiency test, and insurance. "

Err, in every state in the union, *anyone*, including the mentally ill, minors, foreign aliens, corporations, etc., can *own* a car, by the simple act of showing up with enough money to make the purchase.

*Using* a car on public streets, on the other hand, requires testing and licensing of the driver, and registration of the vehicle.

In all states, however, if you restrain the use of the vehicle to private property (say, a farm), it is not necessary for the operator to be tested or licensed, or for the (fully owned) vehicle to be insured.

It is already more difficult to own a gun than to own a car.

Please familiarize yourself with the actual restrictions before pontificating on the need for more restrictions.

Posted by: khays2 | January 13, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Jennifer, I bet no one at the WaPo will even speak to you. That's o.k.; take it as a compliment.

Posted by: trebor0012 | January 13, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

None of this is hard to comprehend. The left's aim isn't actually to improve the lot of the American citizen in any organized way. It's to spin any issue in whatever way will score the most points against their political opponents, and let them achieve one of the stock agenda items that have been on their list for years.

If the gun angle won't score you any points, try the right-winger angle. If the right-winger angle proves to be off-target, switch quickly to mental health issues. But whatever you choose, BLAME SOMEONE ELSE and claim to have the very fix YOU claim the country needs (whether or not the voters really see that as the problem).

Consistency is irrelevant, and whenever you are asked to demonstrate actual results, just scream "Are you serious?", deflect the question with an all-purpose epithet ("racist," "truther," "birther"), and continue to plow straight ahead.

Next question.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 14, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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