The liberal imperative to ‘do something’

by Sonny Bunch on December 17, 2012

You’re going to hear from a lot of liberals that We have to do something in the wake of Newtown. Complacency is not an option and We can’t just shrug and do nothing and The fierce urgency of now and other such slogans will be bandied about. We’re going to be told that We need to have a national discussion about guns even as one side shouts the other down as child-murdering dilettantes who just want moar gunz.

And then—as it becomes clear that little will happen in the realm of firearms because the NRA is a powerful bloc with a huge number of voters that Democrats in red states really, really don’t want to cross—the attention will turn. There’s so much violence in the media, we’ll hear. Television shows glorify mass murderers and Movies are just so violent these days! we will be told. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has basically shut down efforts to regulate TV, movies, and other forms of mass media. But what about other avenues?  All of these video games, do they really need to be so violent? is the question that will come next. Studies show that video games lead to murder! ideologues will shout. Why are we teaching our kids to kill? Don’t believe me?

My point? Just this: Gamers should be extremely, extremely wary about the liberal impulse to “do something” in the wake of a tragedy. Guns aren’t going anywhere. Video games about war marketed to easily impressed teens and young adults (the demographic that tends to commit mass murder)? Well, they’re slightly less secure.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Peterson December 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’ll give up my XBox controller when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.


Bobby Charette December 17, 2012 at 9:52 am

The “violent videos train teen boys to murder” meme gets me fired up more each time it’s brought up when these tragedies occur.

It’s lazy parenting. Plain and simple. It’s parents not looking into what their children are consuming on television and the internet. It’s parents not doing their due diligence and asking what their kids what they do when they go to their friend’s house. And if their kid is unbalanced, it calls for an even greater effort to look out for their best interests.

Liberals call for more action when the most effective is to have a concerted interest in their kid’s lives.


Sonny Bunch December 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

How dare you blame the parents for failing to raise their children well? Monster.


Joe December 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

Some people will go after the inanimate objects as a solution because they believe all people are victims, but others will do so because they know that industries like games, guns, etc can be legislated and regulated in ways that individuals can’t be. It’s the same reason Israel catches hell while the Palestinians get a pass, or police precincts get picketed because gangs kill each other. There is no Crappy Parents clubhouse to march on.


Rob Crawford December 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Not just the left. I’m hearing some of that from people I otherwise respect on the right, as well.


tgt December 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Seconded. This isn’t a left-right issue. It’s a scared/sane issue.


Ilpalazzo December 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Right.. remember when they blamed DOOM for Columbine? ‘Conflict’ is part of human nature, much less nature alone. Evolution is spurred by conflict. Darwinism is based on conflict. Seriously, they’re such hypocritical dunces that they don’t realize they’ll have to ban EVERYTHING – including Fraggle Rock (don’t forget that dog is at conflict with the Fraggles!) Sheesh!


Jar-Jar Binks December 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Pfft, we liberals don’t care about video games. If video games caused violence, school shootings would be the norm, and not the anomaly they are.

The fact is, those deaths in Newtown were caused not by a video game controller, but by a gun.


Fraggle88 December 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

No – the shootings were caused by a seriously disturbed person.


Jar-Jar Binks December 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

With a gun, not a video game controller.


rjligier December 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Guns protect us from borderline psychotic individuals and tyrannical government.


Jar-Jar Binks December 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

None of the ones used in Newtown did.

Brendan December 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Guns don’t pull their own triggers doofus.


Ewoks December 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Timothy McVeigh killed 19 kids using a Ryder truck. Should we ban Ryder trucks?


tgt December 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

No, but we should keep them out of the hands of insane people.


Nahanni December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

The increasingly common theme for these whackjob mass murderers are:

1. Parent, not Parents. The parent that is the one left holding the kid generally turns a blind eye to the psycho nature of their child. They know in their heart that their child ‘just ain’t right’ but are unwilling to have them commited to a mental institution. The parent in question is not some poor ghetto mother, either. She is generally well off and works for the government in some capacity.

1. 40 years ago these parents would not have a say in the matter. The state would have institutionalized these shooters as a menace to themselves and others. In the cases of Jared Loughner and Adam Lanza it seems that everyone knew that they were deranged and dangerous-school employees and classmates, police, neighbors, family, etc. and nothing was done. Why? Because the only ones who had the ability to do anything about it could not because it is exceptionally difficult to have someone committed to an institution legally BEFORE they actually do something like shoot up a school. You can thank liberal, “do gooder” lawyers and activists for that one.

3. “Gun free zone” is just another way of saying “target rich environment” and the way we handle these things is stupid. Lockdowns are little more than penning up people in convenient groups to be conveniently slaughtered. The common theme with all of these mass murderers is that they are cowards who want to make a name for themselves in their own twisted way. They don’t get to make a name for themselves if they are riddled with bullets after they try firing their first shot. In almost all of these cases they occur in ‘blue’ states or blue enclaves in red states (Tucson and Aurora). Not trying to make a political statement with this description, just trying to save alot of words trying to express an idea. If Adam Lanza would have tried something like this in a place like Houston he would have been Swiss cheese within 5 minutes because someone would have gotten their gun and put two in the chest and one in the head in him and added a couple more just to make sure he was never, ever going to get up again. One of my friends wives is a school teacher in Houston. She is a Blackwater trained sharpshooter who packs a 1911 and/or a Judge and would have had NO problems in dropping that vapid waste of inedible flesh named Adam Lanza .


B Free December 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Couldn’t have said it better!


tgt December 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

1 is just, well, random. There’s no trend.

1 (part 2) is mostly on the mark

3 is just random as well.

Well, 1 out of 3 ain’t too bad.


Joe December 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Jar Jar,

Maybe the debate we should be having ought to include all our rights, including freedom of speech and freedom to be armed. Maybe the core question ought to be: Is American society too important, and too frail, to be left to empowered individuals?

Not to diminish the grief of a victim of gun violence, but we lose tens of thousands of lives every year to auto crashes. Cars that took some freedom away from drivers (in the form of 55 mph speed governing) would start saving lives immediately. Speed is the primary factor that determines lethality of a collision, so 45 mph would mean more lives saved. And so on. The trade off is simply the convenience of making trips 15 minutes shorter.

If that proposal sounds unreasonable, or even offensive, when set aside a gun massacre, it probably just means you value your freedom to drive as much as I value my freedom to own guns. I imagine someone who lives in a big city with no car, and no need of one, might be more willing to sign off on that most of us.


Jar-Jar Binks December 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

How come you’re against the right to marry then? Preeetty sure marriage equality leads to less deaths than the easy access to guns.


Joe December 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

Aaaahhhh, I think we’ve arrived, Jar Jar. Perhaps it was silly of me to suppose that you came here looking to argue the points. They are, admittedly, complex and filled with competition of interests. You’re not here to debate with little old me, but with Right-Wingers.

I’m a libertarian who doesn’t believe the government has any business in the “marriage” department. That’s the church’s role. The government should be offering civil unions. Gay marriage, or civil unions, don’t bother me at all. Off the top of my head I can think of three lesbian couples I consider friends. (I’m in law enforcement and there are lots of gay women.)

If you come up with anything relevant to the Second Ammendment discussion, be sure to hurry back.


KenInIL December 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm

All the “shoot ’em up” video games should be made to continue to put up applications for the US Army every time they start up or move to a new level. This would be a great recruiting tool OR then parents would make the connection and ban their kid from playing the game in fear s/he might be recruited to do it for a living!!


Bob December 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Those who are mentally ill are unquestionably susceptible to the violent imagery in media including video games. At the same time we know that violent video games desensitize everybody to violence directed at other people, which is why the military services use these games to increase the effectiveness of ground troops. In a short while these games will be fully immersive and photorealistic, completely indistinguishable from reality.

Ultimately we are either going to need to regulate violence in our ‘entertainment’ (is it ‘free speech’ really?), control it so effectively that we are able to prevent it from being disseminated to those who are mentally ill, or we are going to end up giving up our 2nd amendment rights.

That is just the writing on the wall and it saddens me deeply that this is the choice that hinders us. It is perverse that one would choose to wallow in graphic sadistic violence than protect rights we have declared are given to us by God.

The first amendment was put in place so that we could criticize our government to prevent tyranny, and the second amendment was put in place so that if tyranny arose it would not be a final destination. Any other purpose for these rights is secondary, regardless of how desirable they may be.


Hatfield December 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm

The whole “guns protect us from tyrannical government” thing is really absurd. What you are saying is you need to have the right to shoot cops. Cause “government” does not show up on your door step, cops do. Are you seriously buying guns to shoot cops? If you kill enough cops, I guess then you graduate to killing the grunts.


Dkhilly December 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
– Isoruku Yamamoto (admiral of Japanese Military circa WW2)

When a tyranical government threat came from another country, the 2nd amendment protected us from a mainland invasion…simply by them knowing it was there. No one said the “the Tyranical government threat” had to come from DC.


Hatfield December 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Well, that and Chester Nimitz.


Joe December 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

People posting here aren’t saying that they habitually shoot cops. They don’t have to, because our government is structured such that they are guaranteed the opportunity to seek redress. I think they are suggesting that that structure is more likely to remain in place when the citizenry is armed. At one time (think pre-Obama) the hysterical left was foreseeing the arrival of totalitarianism in America. Well, as an infantryman (four years) and a cop (nine years), I can tell you this: if I was so hard up for work that I stayed on after a fascist takeover, I’d request a transfer into the unarmed city. The country would be way too dangerous.


Hatfield December 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

That is bit speculative. How about this. The most powerful and significant effort to overcome tyranny was the Civil Rights Movement. It challenged entrenched state-mandated discrimination. Successfully. Its greatest success was not the result of guns or violence. More generally, the armed populace was on the other side, using violence, bombs and guns to protect tyranny. Guns and the threat of violence do not preserve liberty very effectively. They are mighty effective ways of imposing tyranny. The Ku Klux Klan, the SA, and the squadristi are excellent examples.


Joe December 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

I am invoking the rule that states that the first person to accuse the other of racism loses.


Hatfield December 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I am not accusing anyone of racism. Really I am not. I am suggesting that violence works well to impose oppressive systems. I suppose my examples are drawn from racially motivated groups, but the point remains the same. Would Il Cosa Nostra and the FARC work better for you? Non-state actors who enjoy access to the tools of violence and use them to control the social systems around them. Alternatively, is the pro-life movement more effective in its January rallies on the Mall or when gun-men shoot abortion doctors. Non-violence in a democratic system is far more effective than the threat of, or actual use of, violence.
This is becoming a little arcane. Essentially I object to the idea that the guys I grew up with shooting deer were protecting my liberty. Voting, laws, cops, and soldiers do that. If the folks I elect are more afraid of a heavily armed minority than they are of the voters, our democratic project has already broken down. And the civil war that is implicit in the vision of guns protecting liberty may be coming anyway.

Joe December 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Don’t be disingenuous. Your reply was as true-to-form as it gets. You dismissed my idea with your opening sentence, then from the myriad possible examples, you chose the one that allowed you to align your idea with the civil rights movement and mine with violent racists. Had I wanted to satire modern liberalism, I would have come up with something remarkably similar.

Good day, I leave you to your faith in the eternal benevolence of government.


Hatfield December 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

One last note then before I return to my idolatrous faith. I was trying to make a point about how I think freedom is secured, how injustice/tyranny is effectively challenged. Rather than discuss that argument, you decided that I was making accusations of racism. When I responded by seeking alternative arguments, you simply reiterated your accusation that I was calling you a racist. You are shutting down discussion with someone you apparently disagree with by shouting “RACISM!”
You are correct, my initial examples aligned my own views with the civil rights movement (because my ideas are in part informed by that social movement) and I aligned yours with lots of violent racists. That is in part because the Ku Klux Klan is the seminal American example of what I was trying to suggest, and I chose the SA because I have a sort of professional interest in them. The squadristi I used because a friend is doing work on them. I apologize for the offense. I tried to correct that, and you simply returned to the “RACISM!!” defense.
By the way, I am not and have never argued that guns are an intrinsic evil and should be abolished. I was arguing that we should not assign them some privileged position in American culture.
I came to this site because simply talking with people who agree with me can be tiresome and I was hoping to find a place where I could discuss things with conservatives. Apparently that was folly.


Joe December 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

Or perhaps your folly was failing to perceive that after a long campaign season in which Democrats broke out race as a blunt instrument with which to deal with any disagreement whatsoever conservatives might have grown tired of the schtick to the point that they would be unwilling to let it slide anymore. It seems overwrought to call it compulsive behavior, yet it’s hard not to note that in the specific instance of this blog entry both people I have engaged, yourself and JarJar above, quickly turned to accusations of bigotry only tenuously related to the topic. Notwithstanding your protestations that you didn’t mean aligning yourself with MLK and me with a Grand Wizard to be loaded.

Do I sound irritated? I voted for Obama in 2008, but came to regret it deeply. I have minority friends over when we have parties. I’ve been married twice, neither time to a white woman. None of my kids are more than half-white. My wife works and excels in a male-dominated field. And yet, living in a very liberal city, among liberal white men married to liberal white women who stay at home with the kids and have nice parties at which my wife is the only minority, it is a foregone conclusion that our political views are racist and misogynistic.

If you truly cannot see how you went amiss and why I consider you intellectually dishonest, then perhaps you would be better off amongst all those who agree with you that us conservatives are just trying to drag the country back to the glory days of the Confederacy.


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