Tuesday, January 2, 2024

December 31, 2023
A dangerous situation
    Republicans refuse to support gun-control laws, pretending with the confused and doctrinaire Supreme Court that the Second Amendment is a blanket license to be armed and arguing that letting everyone carry a gun somehow improves safety.  One evasive response to mass shootings is that the problem is mental health, not guns.  An example is the comment by newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).
    In an interview
[46] a day after eighteen people were killed in a mass shooting in Maine, he said guns aren’t the problem: “At the end of the day, the problem is the human heart. It’s not guns. It’s not the weapons. At the end of the day, we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves, and that’s the Second Amendment, and that’s why our party stands so strongly for that . . . This is not the time to be talking about legislation.“  That time never seems to come, even at the end of the day.
    Johnson said the House should focus on mental health legislation. “I believe we have to address the root problems of these things. And mental health, obviously, as in this case, is a big issue, and we have got to seriously address that as a society and as a government.”
    That, it seems to me, is an excuse for inaction rather than a practical solution to the problem of gun-related violence.  However, In one sense, Johnson is right: violent, antisocial behavior is so common that it is appropriate to say that there is a behavioral issue.  However, the problem is only in small part one of the mental health of some individuals; there is a widespread condition of alienation, tribalism and the rejection of authority and of standards of behavior.  The cause and the cure are not medical but political, not the need for mental health counseling but for a new and responsible public attitude.  The tendency of some on the right to fabricate issues, stir resentment, encourage divisiveness, claim that the government is the enemy, and that liberals want to destroy the American way of life encourages antisocial behavior.  Arming the angry and disaffected completes the destructive circle.

46.  https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/mike-johnson-gives-first-interview-after -being-elected-house-speaker-transcript;

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