It's not just about guns; it's about the helplessness of dealing with mental illness in America. This heartbreaking anonymous piece tells of one mom's struggle:
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”"Most likely outcome of all this is crackdown on mentally ill, rather than on guns," writes Garance Franke-Ruta. "Human tendency to punish the weak, fear the strong." Autism and Asperger advocates are already worrying about the stereotypes and backlash, especially after a New York Times profile of the shooter based on far too few facts.
Media mistakes are a significant issue in this case. "The media can do many things; one thing they cannot do is on-the-spot fact-checking of the cops," writes Erik Wemple.
Also: a previous study shows that bullying and homophobia has been a factor in many past school shooting cases.
But why am I saying "many past school shooting cases"? "Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens," writes Gail Collins. "We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god."
So a lot of it IS about guns, and this time the talk feels different. As I said Friday, "On no other issue is America's urban-rural divide as big as it is on guns." And urban American just won an election: a solid presidential win, seats gained in the Senate, and only gerrymandering keeping the House red. This is an issue where urban America has long been stymied by white male cultural mythology. It's significant that the highest ranking politician making serious noise about gun control before this latest tragedy was the mayor of New York.
"The voters who Dems worry about on gun issues are pretty much the people the Obama coalition gave up on," Ben Smith wisely notes. "TN, WV, etc. Matter for House tho." The Blue Dogs are near extinction and the opportunites, few as they are, are in suburban areas that may be fiscally conservative but would be open to dealing with gun issues. At least that's the argument.
Two similar but separate pieces by Max Fisher in the Washington Post and Atlantic on the other extreme on guns: Japan. "What is perhaps most revealing about looking at Japan’s gun laws, and seeing what makes them the most extreme gun restrictions in the developed world, is that it gives you a sense, for better or worse, of what American gun laws look like to everyone else."
But, of course, conservatives have long twisted the Second Amendment into an absolutist right. The smarter ones are staying quiet; the dumb ones are trolling in anonymity. Yes, I get called a Nazi for my birthday.