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Why We Shouldn't Give Special Credence to the Political Views of Young People and Victims

Recent events such as the student walkout to promote gun control raise the issue of how much credibility we should give to the political views of the young, and victims of crime. At least as a general rule, there is no reason to give those views any special credence.

Recent events, such as the national school "walkout" to promote gun control, raise the question of how much credence we should give to the political views of young people and crime victims. If large numbers of high school or college-age people support a view and protest in favor of it, does that make it any more likely to be true? In a recent Washington Post column, Megan McArdle casts cold water on the notion that the walkout and other similar events reflect any special insight of the young, that the rest of us should defer to:

The idea that children, in their innocence, have special moral insight goes back a long way in Western culture... It has, of course, always warred with some variant of the belief that "children should be seen and not heard" — that children are not yet ready to hold up their end in adult conversations....

Kids today do know something that the rest of us don't: what it's like to be kids today. But the rest of us do remember what it was like to be kids. If children really were special repositories of virtue, then it is doubtful so many people would recall their school days as the lifetime peak of personal meanness — both receiving and giving. And while teenagers are near the peak of their ability to absorb information, they are decades from the peak of "crystallized intelligence" — their stock of knowledge about the world, or what we might call "wisdom...."

That is not to say that gun-control advocacy is stupid. But if you wouldn't be swayed by a 17-year-old's passionate advocacy for a lower drinking age — or for that matter, their ideas about Federal Reserve policy — then you should probably apply those same cautions to their other views....

What is true of children is - though to a much lesser degree - also true of many young adults in their late teens or early twenties. They too are, on average, less knowledgeable and have less developed judgment than people at later stages in the life-cycle. For many years, surveys of political knowledge have consistently found that it correlates with age. The young, as a general rule, know less about government and public policy than other age groups. For that reason, they are also less likely to have valuable insights on how to address difficult issues.

Obviously, there is enormous variation among both young people and older ones. As with most other statistical generalizations, there are numerous exceptions to the general correlation between age and political knowledge. Many older adults are deeply ignorant about public policy. Indeed, such ignorance is both widespread and, for most voters, actually rational behavior. By contrast, there clearly are young people - including some children - who know far more about policy issues than the vast majority of adults. I have long argued that, at least in principle, children with high levels of political knowledge should be given the right to vote, regardless of age.

It would be a mistake to dismiss policy proposals out of hand, merely because of the age of their adherents. But it is also a mistake to ascribe any special political wisdom to the young. The fact that large numbers of young people support a political cause adds little, if anything, to its merits.

The recent gun control protests draw moral authority not only from the age of the protesters, but from the fact that some of their leaders are survivors of school shootings, such as the one in Parkland, Florida that precipitated the current round of protest activity. Even school-age protesters who have not personally experienced gun violence may be seen as having special moral authority, because they are perceived as facing a heightened risk of suffering such horrible events in the future. In reality, school shootings are extraordinarily rare, and schools are among the safest places in American society. Schoolchildren are far more likely to be killed in accidents while walking or riding their bikes to school than in a shooting at school.

But even if students really were disproportionately likely to be victims of gun violence, that would not be a good reason to give special credence to their policy views. Personally experiencing a horrific event or being at disproportionate risk of suffering one, doesn't necessarily give you special insight into how to prevent such tragedies from occurring. A person who survives an awful plane crash does not thereby gain special insight into aviation safety. Similarly, a person who survives a mass shooting does not thereby get much in the way of useful knowledge of gun policy.

Survivor testimony does have important value in some situations. For example, the testimony of Holocaust survivors and victims of other mass murders provides powerful evidence that those atrocities actually did occur (though there is often other evidence, as well, such as the extensive records kept by the perpetrators of the Holocaust). But the experience of being a Holocaust or Gulag survivor does not, in and of itself, give much insight into how to prevent future Hitlers and Stalins from committing similar atrocities. Similarly, surviving a school shooting does not create expertise on gun control.

Often, the real reason for focusing attention on victims and survivors is not the value of their insights, but the way in which they tug at our emotional heart-strings. Opposition to policies promoted by survivors of a recent horrific event is easy to denounce as callous and unfeeling. Here, we would do well to remember that our immediate emotional reactions to tragedy are rarely a useful guide to policy. All too often, giving in to such feelings results in policies that create more harm and injustice than they prevent. Liberals are quick to point out this out when it comes to terrorist attacks. Conservatives routinely do so in the aftermath of mass shootings. Both are right, and both would do well to heed each other's warnings. As with emotional reactions to terrorist attacks, overreactions to the extremely rare phenomenon of school shootings can easily result in dangerous and unjust policies, as with the "zero tolerance" policies enacted in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine shootings.

The use of victims as spokespersons for dubious policies is a game that both sides of the political spectrum can play. The 2016 Republican convention, for example, featured speeches by relatives of people killed by undocumented immigrants. Liberals correctly recognize that these statements, however heartfelt, do not change the fact that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, actually have much lower crime rates than native-born Americans. And the family members' statements certainly don't provide any justification for Trump's cruel deportation policies, which routinely target people who have lived in the US for years without committing violence of any kind. Those who rightly denounce the use of this tactic by the GOP should also be wary of similar ploys by the other side of the political spectrum.

Ultimately, we should try, as much as possible, to base government policy on reason and evidence. That means resisting calls to give special credence to the views of the young and crime victims, except in the rare instances where they really are likely to have valuable insights on policy. Indeed, it pays to be skeptical of all emotional appeals that are more likely to short-circuit our judgment than improve it.

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  • santamonica811||

    I think (with respect) that you may be missing the main reason why there has been a lot of media attention to the recent students protests. It has less to do with their age, itself. It has more to do with the fact that this group, historically, has been relatively quiescent and has failed--generally--to vote in sufficient numbers. The fact that they are suddenly more politically active seems to be big news. And if this translates into significantly more teenage votes this November, then huge news. And if it leads to a continuing big bump in teen activism and political participation, then that would be huge news. (Personally, I doubt the second will happen. And I am very skeptical that the third will happen.)

    Here in California, this November, if it turns out that SF and Berkeley vote overwhelmingly for the conservative Republican (assume one makes it onto the ballot for the Senate seat election), then this will similarly be big news. It would not be because Bay votes count more than votes elsewhere in the state. But because it is unexpected...it flies in the face of our expectations. And does it signal an enduring change in the body politic?

    Anyway, that's my take-away. YMMV.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "It has less to do with their age, itself. It has more to do with the fact that this group, historically, has been relatively quiescent and has failed--generally--to vote in sufficient numbers. "

    The majority of this group, high school students, aren't old enough to vote.

  • santamonica811||

    True. And . . .? (I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just--genuinely--not sure how your unarguable point relates to my points. If you thought I had overlooked the fact that most high schoolers are under 18, then I did a poor job in my post.)

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "then I did a poor job in my post."

    Yes, you did,

    How else did you expect it to be taken when you say of a group, most of whom are ineligible to vote, and always have been, that "this group, historically, has been relatively quiescent and has failed--generally--to vote in sufficient numbers."

    It's utter nonsense to say that a group has "failed" to vote in sufficient numbers when only a small slice of that group has ever been eligible to vote and even that tiny slice has only had the right to vote for a relatively short time. The 26th amendment, granting the right to vote at 18, was ratified on July 1, 1971.

    There is absolutely nothing historical about high school kids "failing" to vote.

    On top of that, even today, plenty of kids (myself included), graduate from High school before their 18th birthday, so not even all high school seniors are eligible to vote.

    After that, the rest of your original comment has no point at all.

    The average age of the US population has been increasing for decades. The 18 and 19 year old group, the only "teenagers" who can vote are such a small group, that even if they all turned out to vote and all voted the same way, they would still be insignificant as a voting block.

  • santamonica811||

    My point (which I should have stated; I thought it was clear enough to be unsaid, but I was wrong about that) was that 15, 16, and 17 year olds grow up to become adults of voting age, but they *still* vote at appallingly low rates. And 18 and 19 year olds quickly become old enough to drink legally, but *also* vote at very low rates.

    We almost never see high school kids politically or socially active. And my point tried to be: Let's see if this activism translates to actual votes down-the-line.

    I'm sorry I did not make that point more clear. I'm sorry you did not see that point when it was unwritten.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Define "appallingly low rates".

    Historical US presidential voter turn out

    In the 19th century turn out as a percentage of eligible voters was higher than it is now, but for most of that period, the pool of eligible voters was much smaller than it is now.

    Over all, the low point for voter turn out in a Presidential election (the best tracking series we have at a national level) was 1924 (48%).

    Total voter turn out for 2016(55.5%) was actually up over 2012(54.9%) and was only marginally below the 20th century average of 56.8%.

    "I'm sorry I did not make that point more clear. I'm sorry you did not see that point when it was unwritten."

    Even explicitly stated, I consider your point to be weak at best.

  • NToJ||

    "The fact that they are suddenly more politically active seems to be big news."

    But this isn't a fact.

  • ||

    I think (with respect) that you may be missing the main reason why there has been a lot of media attention to the recent students protests. It has less to do with their age, itself. It has more to do with the fact that this group, historically, has been relatively quiescent and has failed--generally--to vote in sufficient numbers.

    No, it has to do with the fact that it fits the media narrative.

  • Bill Harshaw||

    "The fact that large numbers of young people support a political cause adds little, if anything, to its merits."

    Really? Replace "young" with "old"--is the statement still good? I don't think age has much to do with merits. I may, or may not, have accumulated wisdom in 77 years but my remaining years are few, so my skin in the game is small, and my knowledge is a depreciating asset.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Bill Harshaw: "Replace "young" with "old"--is the statement still good?"

    I think that the information (provided via Somin's links) that young people are less knowledgeable about and less interested in political issues, probably would tilt the statement towards "not as good." Your knowledge may be a depreciating asset, and you realize that you (as I) have less time left in the game, but you have much greater lifetime experience and information to draw on. That's at least something.

    I don't want to push that position too far, because I'm very critical of the positions of many college professors on political matters, though they may have actually studied them and are typically cognizant of many things that are known only haphazardly by the kids.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Your knowledge may be a depreciating asset, and you realize that you (as I) have less time left in the game, but you have much greater lifetime experience and information to draw on. That's at least something.

    That point is readily countered by the stale thinking that afflicts many older Americans. Plenty went to school decades ago and have not maintained familiarity with modern information. Older voters also tend to be more bigoted and backward, and more impervious to inconvenient information.

    Our young adults are, in many respects, better than their predecessors. That doesn't mean old-timers should not vote or be heard, but it seems silly to dismiss or discount younger voices.

    So long as many ostensible adults report that Pres. Obama was a Muslim born in Kenya; that evolution is inferior to a fairy tale; that Earth was formed a few thousand years ago; that Muslims are quietly imposing Sharia law in America; that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring operating from a D.C. pizzeria; and that the crowd at the Trump inauguration exceeded that of the Obama inauguration, older Americans -- or, at least, a particular element of older Americans -- are in no position to claim superiority with respect to just about anything.

  • damikesc||

    That point is readily countered by the stale thinking that afflicts many older Americans. Plenty went to school decades ago and have not maintained familiarity with modern information. Older voters also tend to be more bigoted and backward, and more impervious to inconvenient information.

    You will not find a group more resistant to "inconvenient information" than high school and college kids.

  • VinniUSMC||

    You will not find an individual more impervious than the "Reverend" Artie himself.

  • vek||

    Being hip, cool, trendy, and in tune with whatever the political winds of the day are does not make somebody intelligent, or better than anybody else. The fact is that all the social issues the Rev. always rambles about are a very small slice of the political pie. They're basically unimportant wedge issues the 2 party system uses to corral people in. What bathroom a tranny uses is NOT an important political issue in any real sense. (For the record I'm for businesses deciding this on their property, and perhaps a more conservative approach in public buildings, although I think the line should be more like locker rooms more than bathrooms!) But young people definitely have far less accumulated knowledge about the other 95% of things that are important.

    That said, if you want to accept his flawed premise, I would argue people in their 30s/40s (and maybe even 50s) are probably at the best point between the two extremes. They have enough life experience to have learned something about how tax policy effects economic growth, while still not being so far removed from whatever more current issues may be going on so as to be irrelevant and out of touch. This may be why the big movers and shakers of any era tend to be in this age group most of the time!

    I may be biased since I am in this age group ;)

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    RALK: "So long as many ostensible adults report that Pres. Obama was a Muslim born in Kenya, etc. etc."

    Yeah, some political flacks /said/ that, but how many people /actually/ believed any of that stuff? The first one on the list certainly didn't hurt Barack Obama's presidential election vote totals, and he was running against decent opponents.

  • Kazinski||

    No one is advocating we weight votes by age. Nor should the media advocate that some voices should be heard louder than others, but when that is what the media advocates, then you can bet the voices they think should be heard louder are generally saying what the media thinks too, or attacking the media's enemies.

    If your knowledge is a depreciating asset, you may want to reallocate your intellectual capital, mine's compounding interest at an incredible rate, in fact I'm starting to worry it's a ponzi scheme.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Kaz: "No one is ..."

    I understand your point. But I always feel a chill when anyone says "no one is saying..." or "no one is trying to..."

    Because SOME ones usually are. And sometimes the someones are influential in numbers or power.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    A well constructed strawman. I don't hear kids claiming any special innocence-begotten insight, I hear them expressing frustration with the cycle of shootings followed by collective shrugs and the gun lobby's insistence on taking no practical action. They deserve to be heard because they feel theirs are the lives put at risk to serve other people's agendas. This post, full of excuses for dismissing their concerns and containing not a single constructive suggestion, is an excellent example of what makes them feel that way.

  • Eidde||

    Perhaps we could have a law against convicted felons possessing firearms.

    Of course, such a law wouldn't work if young felons were not prosecuted because the schools tried to shield them from the results of their own crimes.

    But of course there's no suggestion that there was any problem of this kind in Broward County schools.

  • Careless||

    I don't hear kids claiming any special innocence-begotten insight,

    I've certainly seen a number of people claim that about them, but don't recall seeing/hearing it from the kids themselves

    They deserve to be heard because they feel theirs are the lives put at risk to serve other people's agendas.

    Why should we privilege their irrational beliefs?

  • Eidde||

    The studious and law-abiding kids are certainly getting their safety put at risk for the sake of disruptive, criminally-inclined students, as seen in the link above.

  • KevinP||

    Yep, another good article on the subject:

    Behind Cruz's Rampage: Obama's School-Leniency Policy


    Quotes (but read the whole article):
    Despite committing a string of arrestable offenses on campus before the Florida school shooting, Nikolas Cruz was able to escape the attention of law enforcement, pass a background check and purchase the weapon he used to slaughter three school staff members and 14 fellow students because of Obama administration efforts to make school discipline more lenient.

    ...
    A repeat offender, Cruz benefited from the lax discipline policy, if not the counseling. Although he was disciplined for a string of offenses -- including assault, threatening teachers and carrying bullets in his backpack -- he was never taken into custody or even expelled. Instead, school authorities referred him to mandatory counseling or transferred him to alternative schools.

    By avoiding a criminal record, Cruz passed a federal background check in February 2017 before purchasing the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle investigators say was used in the mass shooting.

  • Nige||

    There is no doubt in my mind that before you will even contemplate a scrap of gun control you'd rather see more and more kids sent straight to prison for increasingly milder infractions.

  • Jerry B.||

    There's a name for drawing conclusions from little or no data, as in this case. It's called "guessing".

  • bernard11||

    Some guess are well-justified, like this one.

  • Xanthro||

    Yes, like rational people, I'd rather see people punished for something they have done to endanger another person or property, rather than punish those who have not endangered another person or property.

    I don't advocate punishing those who have not endangered others, why do you support such as position?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Then maybe those kids should not commit those infractions.

  • Drew3104||

    That came out of nowhere.

    Nothing about what he said gives any indication that he wants more good people, of any age, to go to prison.

    Assault, threatening, (and carrying bullets on campus) are all felonies, that no one, of any age, should be "allowed" to commit.

    @KevinP does not seem to be advocating for "increasingly milder infractions" in any way. If anything, he wants accountability. The consequences of breaking our laws are supposed to be what deter people from breaking those laws. Laws that keep someone's injustices off the record could be seen as hurting society, by withholding information (in our case, information that should have stopped him from being able to purchase a gun). With "more perfect" information, we would all have been better off.

    Nothing @KevinP said even remotely hinted at him being wholly against gun control.
    You put your twisted perceptions of society on him.
    What makes you think that he is so unreasonable? He just quoted over some facts.

  • Nige||

    Yes, this is literally the only comment this person has ever made about anything.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Voyze: "A well constructed strawman. I don't hear kids claiming any special innocence-begotten insight,"

    I agree. However, the news media (yes the so-called "MSM") are playing cheerleader and are breathlessly counting the number of schools doing walkouts, rushing about to get this and that student to expound, and so forth. So (from my perspective) one might just as well do another (tired) analysis of biases in reporting.

  • KevinP||

    Correct.

    Parkland Survivor: Media Using Tragedy To Push Gun Control


    Quotes:
    Brandon Minoff, an 18-year-old survivor of the Florida school shooting, slammed the media for politicizing the aftermath of the deadly incident.

    Minoff, who was previously interviewed by CNN and MSNBC, told Fox News Tuesday that too many media outlets are focusing on gun control rather than the 17 people who died in last Wednesday's shooting.

    "I wholeheartedly believe that the media is politicizing this tragedy," Minoff said. "It seems that gun control laws is the major topic of conversation rather than focusing on the bigger issue of 17 innocent lives being taken at the hands of another human."

    "I know many people who are pro-gun and others who support gun control but it seems that the media is specifically targeting those in support of gun control to make it seem as if they are the majority, and the liberal news outlets are the ones that seem to make the bigger effort to speak to these people, and I'm talking from experience," Minoff explained.

    "And all day Thursday, CNN was interviewing gun experts and specialists to brainwash the audience that gun control is a necessity," he told Fox. "They even have an army of my classmates trying to persuade other students that guns are unnecessary and should be illegal."
  • santamonica811||

    True. But the MSM did exactly the same thing with the Tea Party protests. Why? Because it was new! (And, therefore, news) So, there were tons of breathless reporting (from both liberal MSM and conservative MSM), all speculating, "What does this mean? Is it sustainable? etc etc etc"

    When old age home residents get organized about some subject near-and-dear to their hearts (Wheel of Fortune being cancelled???), you'll see the exact same sorts of media responses.

  • FlameCCT||

    I would note that they derided, ridiculed, and lied about the TEA Party protests yet supported the violent, crime ridden #Occupy.

  • damikesc||

    I have not seen the media accuse the kids of being racists and hyper violent. So, no, it's not the same.

    And, quite bluntly, most of the loud group of "survivors" are just fucking tedious shits. "Oh, I don't blame the sheriff, whose department utterly fucked up at every turn. Let's blame...THE NRA!! It's all their fault. Because...reasons!"

  • vek||

    Yeah. Most people are easily manipulated... Just look at the world we live in! But kids are especially easy to control. These kids are just being worked over by anti gun people.

    I was in school when Columbine happened, and mostly we all just made jokes about it, especially with one of my buddies in metal shop who was all gothy, worse a trench coat and a bit of a loner type. We weren't freaked out, and everybody wasn't screaming for guns back then... But that was before the leftists decided to use the children.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    WHAT? They're going to cancel "Wheel of Fortune"???!!!

  • ||

    The only "practical" action the left has proposed is a complete ban and confiscation of all privately owned firearms. That's why we take no action.

  • santamonica811||

    What's the purpose of lying about this? No one is idiotic enough to believe you. In fact, almost no one on the left has made this proposal, and they've spent, literally hours of news time talking about universal background checks, eliminating or reducing access to a very limited type of weapon, opposing arming teachers, and so on. Many different suggestions, and none of them being a complete ban.

    If you're gonna lie about something; my suggestion is to lie about things that are tough to look up with a 30 second Google search. Or, post on Breitbart or be a guest on Hannity, where the reader/viewer IQ is a few standard deviations lower than here at the VC.

    But, if you insist on destroying your credibility on something dopey like this; well, go ahead, I guess.

  • ||

    The only liars are on the left. First, spouting off about so-called universal background checks when not a SINGLE one of the mass shooters has acquired his firearm in a private sale without an NICS check is dishonest. Second, "assault weapons" are not a very limited type of weapon. Since all of the previous bans (and most of the current proposals) are to ban semi-automatic handguns and rifles based on cosmetic features, many gun grabbers have said, "The manufacturers have skirted the law by making similar guns that are just as deadly." Uhh, of course they are. What makes a weapon useful for defense (being able to rapidly reload and rapidly fire) also makes it useful for mass murder. And in any case, applies to nearly every gun out there.

    So no, it isn't about "universal background checks" or banning "assault weapons" (or as you describe it, a "very limited type of weapon."

  • DavidTaylor||

    Your original point hinges on what counts as "practical", but by your own criterion the proposal to ban all firearms strikes me as no more "practical" than universal background checks or selective bans. Better to say simply that opponents of gun ownership have offered no practical proposals. Period.

    Perhaps the more interesting issue is "practical action" for what? School shootings are dramatic and tragic, but pale in severity compared to traffic fatalities, where we are happy to tolerate a certain rate of injury and death to drive at -- or close to -- the speed we want. I recognize that the trade-off is that cars are used for practical purposes daily, while my guns sit in a locked cabinet until I'm at the shooting range -- and somehow I can't eat the targets -- but we have also decided that the occasional accident or intentional shooting is worth that cost. End of story.

  • ||

    You're right; I didn't word my point as well as I should have. What I was trying to get at is that the only proposal that could have an effect on these types of shootings is to repeal the 2nd Amendment, treat gun ownership as a tightly regulated privilege instead of a right, and to ban and confiscate most civilian owned firearms out there. The left likes to pretend that there are a few minor adjustments we can make that would solve the problem, but everyone educated on the topic knows that this is not true. It's worth stating over and over that proposing a ban on "assault weapons" is neither practical nor intellectually honest.

  • DavidTaylor||

    Exactly. And the irony is that many of these incidents could have been avoided by adhering to the laws and procedures already in place, but instead we have to have a whole boatload of additional restrictions on my rights??? I don't think so.

    I like the idea of a ban on "assault" weapons, so long as that includes every object that has ever been used to assault someone.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "so long as that includes every object that has ever been used to assault someone."

    That would outright end several of the most popular professional sports as well as severely hampering the construction industry.

  • DavidTaylor||

    Not to mention toasters and cars and right hands and left hands. That's kinda my point.

  • damikesc||

    universal background checks

    And when those fail due to ineptitude by officials? Mind you, Rubio --- who those shitty kids said was no better than the shooter --- specifically tried to address that.

    eliminating or reducing access to a very limited type of weapon

    Really? Because I've mainly heard for calls to ban the most widely-bought rifle in the country.

    opposing arming teachers

    With no reason why a teacher who wishes to be armed and is trained to be armed cannot be armed. We saw that relying on police is a fool's errand when the shit hits the fan.

    Or, post on Breitbart or be a guest on Hannity, where the reader/viewer IQ is a few standard deviations lower than here at the VC.

    Are YOU really in a position to make that type of comment?

  • ||

    In fact, almost no one on the left has made this proposal

    Except for the many people on the left who has made that proposal. It literally was on vox.com the other day.

    But let's deal with your "suggestions"

    universal background checks


    Nearly every mass shooter passed a background check, and because of the fact that background checks don't actually stop the overwhelming amount of crime (most guns are already illegal), its even more dubious to claim that "universal" background checks would do so, since they are extremely hard to enforce.

    eliminating or reducing access to a very limited type of weapon


    One of the biggest mass shootings was done with two handguns. There is no evidence that eliminating or reducing access to scary looking guns would actually stop mass shootings, or even crime in general (which are mostly committed with handguns)

    opposing arming teachers


    Nobody wants to arm teachers. They just want to allow teachers to carry, which works exceedingly well in the general population (concealed carry holders commit less crimes than cops, and crime is reduced where concealed carry is allowed).

  • vek||

    It is totally correct that only a ban on almost all common guns would do anything, and even then that would fail. You can buy guns illegally in every country where they're illegal already, and if in the USA they didn't do confiscations, but allowed already sold guns to be grandfathered in... Then nothing would change at all.

    If they did do confiscation that would be what started the 2nd American civil war.

    The fact is that our gun problem in the USA isn't a gun problem. It's a black/hispanic gang problem in general terms. As for mass shootings, I put the blame 95% on the media. We didn't have mass shootings in the past, when even higher percentages of the population owned guns, AND you could have guns at school! My dad brought his gun to school as a kid, and had to check it with the PE coach during the day. They then did gun related stuff as after school stuff. He said he was like 13/14 when he did this!

    Yet no shootings. Gun control is yet another leftist argument that has no logical basis in reality as they argue it. If we were wanting to pass an unconstitutional law to reduce school shootings, I'm quite sure banning the media from covering any school shooting would be far more effective than any form of gun control.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    There were school shootings in, say, the 60s (for example: http://www.columbine-angels.co.....s_high.htm). There were even some mass school shootings at college campuses, the iconic event being the University of Texas shooting that started it all in 1966. The spread of mass shootings to high schools and elementary schools happened gradually through the 70s and 80s, culminating in the 1989 Stockton shooting when Patrick Purdy killed 5 and wounded 32 with a Chinese-made AK-47 he had bought a few months earlier despite a long criminal record and history of depression and attempted suicide.

    I think it's hard to say how much the media contributed to this growth. Clearly it doesn't cause the attacks or we would all be committing them, but it may magnify them. Purdy's story received a lot of coverage, clippings of which were found in the effects of Joseph Wesbecker who, several months later, also bought a Chinese-made AK-47 and killed 7 and wounded 13 at the printing plant where he had worked. But the root cause seems to be more about grudges, compounded by psychiatric problems and low intelligence. Wesbecker had talked about "getting even" with the company long before Purdy hit the news.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    ... None of this is sufficient to draw conclusions, I am no advocate of "policy by anecdote", but it illustrates that this is a complicated phenomenon. That, I believe, is why many gun control advocates advocate gun control, though it is also the reddest of red flags to the gun rights people: That the incidence of shootings, mass shootings, and school shootings has many contributing factors but the one thing they all share, the one common control point available, is guns.

  • vek||

    Well, I didn't mean they literally never happened. Rather that they happened less often, which I believe is a proper real life fact, not something cooked up by the left.

    If they happened less when the country overall had a higher murder rate (which it did), then clearly something else is causing the mass shooting thing.

    I can see no more logical conclusion than it is encouraging crazy people to do it because they know they will get their 15 minutes of fame/and or they are so dumb they wouldn't have thought up the idea on their own, even if they had a grudge. Sure SOME people would have done it in absence of the media attention, but these stories are literally some of the biggest in the WHOLE WORLD every time they happen.

    Copy cat killers have been a known thing for a LONG time. It used to be mainly serial killer types, but I would almost say the general concept has moved into the mass shooter realm.

    As such, I don't think any gun control will do shit. It's just more "but we have to do sooomething!!!" theater.

  • KevinP||

    This is what their frustration sounds like.

    CNN Crowd Boos Pro-2A Rape Survivor

    The crowd seemed to prefer that she be disarmed and raped instead of owning a gun.


    Quote:
    The crowd at a Wednesday CNN town hall on the Parkland shooting booed when NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch brought up a rape survivor who supports the Second Amendment.

    Kimberly Corban was raped when she was under 21 years old and is an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment, saying she wishes she could have tried to fight off her attacker with a firearm.

    Loesch referenced Corban's case as a reason why the NRA is reluctant to support a measure that raises the minimum age at which people can buy guns to 21.
  • Nige||

    So they didn't boo the rape survivor, they booed Loesch for being a cynical gun-selling NRA shill.

  • FlameCCT||

    Does it hurt being that ignorant?
    Or is it just normal for a Progressive serf?

  • Nige||

    Is it hurtful that when the wind is north-northwest we can tell a hawk from a gun--selling NRA shill?

  • damikesc||

    "How dare you mention a rape survivor? Don't you know that we...watched other people die? No, WE weren't actually harmed and the rape survivor was...but fuck her? AMIRITE!?!?"

  • Nige||

    I'm sure you think you speak for all gun-owners, but I'm sure most of them would find you disgusting.

  • ||

    No, we actually find you disgusting preferring a rape victim be unarmed, because reasons.

  • David Nieporent||

    A well constructed strawman. I don't hear kids claiming any special innocence-begotten insight, I hear them expressing frustration with the cycle of shootings followed by collective shrugs and the gun lobby's insistence on taking no practical action. They deserve to be heard because they feel theirs are the lives put at risk to serve other people's agendas.

    So it's not innocent-begotten insight; it's feelz-begotten insight?

    post, full of excuses for dismissing their concerns and containing not a single constructive suggestion,

    Their concerns deserve to be dismissed, as they are completely misplaced. The constructive suggestion is to stop panicking. They're entitled to grieve; they're not entitled to control the political agenda.

  • Nige||

    They're entitled to have a say and they definitely have a stake. Opposition to gun control is the most feelz-and-panic fueled political movement there is.

  • damikesc||

    Opposition to gun control is the most feelz-and-panic fueled political movement there is.

    If it makes you happier, these same cunts will likely be the ones in college who also hate speech they disagree with.

    I mean, they called out Dana for being a bad mom for daring to disagree with them. There isn't enough curbs in the world to cover the curb stomping deserved.

  • vek||

    Remember we can always build more curbs! The infrastructure in the USA does need some revamping!

  • Nige||

    Haha a new generation of engaged voters whose formative political experience will be that when they objected to being gunned down in schools, the right called them 'cunts.'

  • vek||

    I was in school during columbine. I got it then. I heard a kid discussing this with some of his friends, and he was defending gun rights. This is a kid in Seattle. I chimed in and helped him crush his unknowledgeable friends incorrect positions. Not everybody, even as a kid, has the incorrect position.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    A guy unable to determine whether he is a conservative or a libertarian feels entitled to dismiss the claims of younger, and often better, Americans?

    Carry on, clingers. See you at the polls next year.

  • FlameCCT||

    Will we see you after the polls when your predictive ability once again proves inadequate for the task?

  • Voize of Reazon||

    "Feelz" plays the same role here it does in every agitation for change. Feelz is what inspires us to call for an end to complacency, the country was founded because Americans feelzed they were getting a raw deal from Britain. What would you replace it with, to know when a societal problem needs fixing?

    You might disagree with the fixes they propose, the students themselves are not unanimous, but they show a consensus that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Your response denies the legitimacy of their concern, presumably contending that the status quo is OK and some dead and injured students every once in a while is an acceptable price for them to pay for my unrestricted access to firearms. That response is what deserves to be denounced.

  • Absaroka||

    "Your response denies the legitimacy of their concern, presumably contending that the status quo is OK and some dead and injured students every once in a while is an acceptable price for them to pay for my unrestricted access to firearms. That response is what deserves to be denounced."

    I have a concern about the 3000 to 4000 Americans killed each year as a result of people texting while driving or other kinds of misuse. We could easily prevent this by mandating simple software changes to cell phones, e.g. at speeds greater than 5 MPH they can only communicate with 911. To be sure, this would inconvenience people who don't misuse their cell phones - passengers, for example.

    Are you content with that status quo costing thousands of lives a year? Is that a price acceptable for us to pay so you can have unrestricted access to facebook 24 hours a day?

  • Nige||

    You can be concerned about more than one thing. I remember when the standard go-to for gun-rights-extremists was drownings associated with swimming pools. Then someone redesigned intake filters and drownings decreased in pools that were federally mandated to have the new design, and it doesn't seem as popular a shibboleth no more.

  • ||

    It still is, you just stopped listening because it doesn't fit your narrative.

  • damikesc||

    but they show a consensus that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    No, progressive groups have paid them and the media ignores all dissenting views. Let's be real.

  • vek||

    The fact is that you are correct... Some number of deaths every year, whether kids or otherwise, IS the price we pay for freedom. As illustrated by the texting post, it is exactly the same in every other area of life.

    Life is dangerous. People die all the time in many myriad of ways. We cannot create a totally safe world, and half of the destruction of our freedom already is related to trying to achieve an impossible goal. Obviously there are some areas where trade offs are reasonable... But we basically covered most of those many decades ago. All the stuff the crazy progressives fight for now are basically nonsensical.

    Should we limit cars to 30 MPH since almost nobody in a car would ever die again? Or 10 MPH so that even most pedestrians will survive being hit? Should we mandate every bathroom in the country be remodeled with 6" thick foam on all surfaces so people don't slip and break their neck getting out of the shower?

    Lines must be drawn somewhere. Mass shootings are a non issue statistically. Other shootings are almost exclusively black/Hispanic gang violence. Gun control will achieve nothing but disarming law abiding citizens... Which is exactly what the left is ACTUALLY after. Tyrants don't like armed citizens.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    Unless SCOTUS reverses its determination in Heller that the militia clause is surplusage, it won't be able to support a 2A right to resist tyranny without finding that it is an individual right. I predict that cannot happen, because "I have an individual right to resist tyranny by arms" is only a small step away from "I have an individual right to shoot a cop".

  • vek||

    Anybody who has read what the founding fathers said themselves outside of the constitution and other legal documents knows full and well that the right to resist a tyrannical government was something they intended to be protected. People who say otherwise are ignoring all of their writings, as they do with plenty of other rights and intentions of the founders all the time.

    Some people just hate the entirety of everything America was founded to be.

    Whether our modern bloated, out of control, half taken over by tyrants government accepts this is irrelevant.

    There are only a few things I can think of that would 100% start a civil war in this country, and mass gun confiscations are one of them. If they don't do that, then people can always take up arms whether the government thinks it is legitimate or not.

    So either way we're good.

    People have shown they will put up with small infringements, but be very angry even about those. If they ever banned all semi automatic weapons, it's civil war time! I've known too many people in my life, who I think were deadly serious when they said it, who have said that is their line in the sand. So if the progressives ever try to cross that line, make sure you have enough food and ammo stored for the duration!

  • Nige||

    In this case it's the price you pay for gun-profits.

  • ||

    Nope. Its the price we pay to ensure more people don't die.

  • NToJ||

    "They deserve to be heard because they feel theirs are the lives put at risk to serve other people's agendas."

    First of all, the overall rate of death by firearm for high school students is low. And most people killed by guns in that age group, aren't killed in mass shooting events. The idea that there's a serious public health safety risk from mass shootings is preposterous. Students are far more likely to be killed in car accidents.

    Second, every policy decision involves a weighing of interests, and except for the most anodyne decisions (like whether to celebrate Columbus Day) there's usually a quantifiable loss in human lives--or liberty, or whatever word you want to use for something people care about. Being on the losing end of that calculus doesn't make you more deserving of a voice. They deserve to be heard not because it's important to them, but because they're human beings (just like the people who think that 6,500 deaths per year in the 15-24 demographic is an acceptable sacrifice for the right to carry arms).

  • Devastator||

    I agree isasmuch as voters educating themselves is a good thing. They will be voting for President in 2020, so the younger they start the better. Although their "facts" about gun control can easily be found wanting at least they are thinking about it and hopefully will think deeper than their parents are telling them or the liberal news media tell them that guns are bad, full stop. It's good to get the gears churning.

  • bgarst||

    The issue isn't that they are claiming special insight, but that they are being treated and covered as if they have it.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The students at my local high school are registering to vote in an organized manner. Each of their votes will offset the vote of a cranky, old, half-educated, intolerant, backward Republican.

    Tough luck, clingers.

    I hope you guys are working on that machine that mass-produces bigoted, elderly, superstitious, downscale white males. That may be the only hope for right-wing authoritarians as America continues to improve.

  • Paladin_44||

    Well said, Rev. I'd almost given up wondering when the 18 - 21 year olds would make their voices known. Damn bad it takes another school shooting to bring this out. Slainte.

  • DJK||

    Be careful what you wish for. There are an estimated (depending on source) 100,000 to 2,000,000 defensive uses of guns each year. If we assume a normal distribution across the population, that means that 18-21 year olds defensively use guns 5,000 to 100,000 times per year (it's probably higher, since the young are involved in violent situations at far greater rates than the old). Compare that with the 300-500 people killed in mass shootings. Why would a young person want to put themselves at greater risk of violence in response to something (mass shootings) that is extremely rare and the incidence of which is not likely to be affected by any proposed restrictions to gun ownership?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    I think there are 116, or 861, or 29 million defensive gun uses every year—and that's just in Florida and Texas.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    They themselves are half-educated, superstitious, intoleramt, and backward.

    If anything, they will add to those votes.

  • Eidde||

    Nonsense - they're highly educated, products of the finest schooling available, and the effect of their excellent education hasn't yet been erased by a bunch of so-called "experience."

    /sarc

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I do not understand this disparagement of younger Americans.

    Which group -- younger or older -- is likely to have a modern understanding of our universe (black holes, relativity, the history of our universe) or computer science?

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to reject evolution for nonsense?

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to fall for birtherism?

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to be racist? Homophobic? Misogynistic? Xenophobic?

  • Eidde||

    'The S-word': how young Americans fell in love with socialism

    Those who live by the s-word will perish by the s-word.

  • MJBinAL||

    My experience with students, as someone who teaches science to them as a guest instructor occasionally, is that our education system, in particular the public schools, teach them such that they have knowledge 5 miles wide and one angstrom thick.

    They have learned what to think, but nearly nothing of how to evaluate information or reach informed conclusions. They learn evolution, but not as science so much as just another religion to be accepted on faith. They have no "modern understanding of our universe" but can regurgitate canned "facts" to pass examinations. I attempt to teach them the logical thinking required for science to make sense.

    Based on the number of racially based groups and in particular gangs in our schools, and the fights that break out between them even in our "good" schools, there would appear to be more racism in these young people that I would ever have imagined. You clearly do not overhear them talking to each other much.

    So in general Rev. (just what kind of Rev are you anyway?), I have to graciously assume your lack of understanding in due to lack of exposure. (The other possibility that one might draw from the totality of your posts, is that you lack understanding on a broader basis.)

  • mad_kalak||

    I lurked for years on the only VC site and on the WaPO where it was housed. He's not really a Reverend, that started as him making a point about the Hobby Lobby case and the ability to discriminate legally based on religious beliefs on a limited basis (in that case I believe it was paying for the morning after pill) Since he is now a Reverend, he was making the point that he should be able to legally discriminate however he wants against whomever he wants now that he is the head of a cult. Am I getting that right Rev?

  • damikesc||

    Which group -- younger or older -- is likely to have a modern understanding of our universe (black holes, relativity, the history of our universe) or computer science?

    The older.

    Have you seen what qualifies for scholarship?

    The elderly will also have the wisdom to know when they do not know something.

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to reject evolution for nonsense?

    Younger. The young don't get it in the first place.

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to fall for birtherism?

    The Younger. They really are stupid.

    Which group -- younger or older -- is more likely to be racist? Homophobic? Misogynistic? Xenophobic?

    Oh God, the younger. Are you fucking serious? The older expect women to take care of themselves, to have something to learn from other cultures, and do not really care who you fuck.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    RALK: "The students at my local high school are registering to vote in an organized manner."

    I hope so. Their usual political participation is pitiful. That let's us geezers control things.

  • Eidde||

    They better hurry up and vote before they get OLD.

  • Eidde||

    BABY BOOMER: "As you are, so once was I. As I am, so will you be."

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Rev.,
    Why do you expect younger voters to be more favorable to larger, more intrusive, more centralized, more expensive government than older voters? And why do you continue to insist that your own politics are less authoritarian than those of the people you disagree with?

  • Eidde||

    If being the victim of a crime inspires someone to research criminal-justice policy, to network with victims-rights groups, and so forth, then they might be said to have some expertise, not simply because they got robbed, raped, or what have you, but because the experience prompted them to educate themselves.

    Which is why so many kids, after these shootings, began researching crime, particularly school shootings, and engaging in informed lobbying efforts based on...ha ha, just kidding, they got themselves a break from school and marched around the streets.

  • Joe_JP||

    Sounded like you were being reasonable ... ha ha ...

    The teens here did research, lobby et. al. They didn't merely peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

  • Eidde||

    What research did they do?

  • Joe_JP||

    I don't know specifically what research they did, but repeatedly it was reported that they examined the question, researching the issue just like loads of people who speak out do. Different teens would do different things there. Other than your say-so, it's unclear what you have to refute that they did this.

  • Devastator||

    I'm guessing they didn't do much research or they would point out that mental illness is at the core of gun violence, not gun ownership. It's not a hard concept to get, yet so many liberals still seem to not get it.

  • Joe_JP||

    I'm unsure here -- e.g., people research badly all the time.

    Some sort of mental illness is a major factor (though gun violence is also often a result of other things) but the gun is still pretty important.

  • FlameCCT||

    Some of them even committed more assaults, battery, property damage, etc. in support of gun control or was that commemorate the Parkland victims?

  • Martinned||

    I generally agree, but I wonder about this one:

    But even if students really were disproportionately likely to be victims of gun violence, that would not be a good reason to give special credence to their policy views

    Where does that leave - to borrow Nassim Nicholas Taleb's phrase - the idea that we should pay particular attention to people who have skin in the game?

  • ||

    If that's the standard, most liberal Democrats wouldn't be allowed to vote at all, as they don't pay any taxes.

  • Devastator||

    Lies.

  • ||

    Truths.

  • MJBinAL||

    Not lies, in fact, a substantial portion of Democratic voters get "Earned Income Tax Credits" so rather than pay income taxes, they pay no income tax AND get still get a refund.

    Many do pay Social Security taxes, but as a group, and unlike most taxpayers, they collect more from the system than they pay in.

  • KevinP||

    Gun owners who have been vilified by the left and the media for the last 30 years understand that they have their own skin in the game, which is why they turn out and vote, and also educate their friends and neighbors on the subject. And it is working:

    Gallup Poll: More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer


    Quote:
    The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be (63%) has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this.

    Although there is a gender gap in the results for this question, majorities of both men (67%) and women (58%) believe having a gun improves home safety.

    About two-thirds of whites and Southerners endorse having a gun to improve home safety, as do majorities of nonwhites (56%) and residents of the other three regions.
  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Antique data.

  • NToJ||

    Well I don't think we should weight Exxon's preferred policies for responding to global warming.

  • FlameCCT||

    Perhaps we should treat schools like we treat other gov't facilities especially those that have high value targets. Unlike Parkland ISD & Broward County that refused to report crime at schools so they could get more $$$; and failing to implement the Active Shooter program & training which was developed as a result of Columbine.

    Threat & vulnerability assessment followed by practical abatement procedures instead of teaching students that they can get away with crime only to be hammered after they leave school & continue their activities.

  • FlameCCT||

    Perhaps we should treat schools like we treat other gov't facilities especially those that have high value targets. Unlike Parkland ISD & Broward County that refused to report crime at schools so they could get more $$$; and failing to implement the Active Shooter program & training which was developed as a result of Columbine.

    Threat & vulnerability assessment followed by practical abatement procedures instead of teaching students that they can get away with crime only to be hammered after they leave school & continue their activities.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    I wish they'd give much less coverage to protests in general. Listening to whoever is yelling loudest in the streets is a horrible way to set policy. It's not like, when a bunch of kids block traffic to demand, say, a $15 minimum wage, we're all, "wow, those guys must really know a lot about price elasticity in the labor market.

  • JoeGoins||

    Tide pods — those two words should tell everyone not to take teenagers seriously.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    The people who shouldn't be taken seriously are those raising alarm over the "Tide pod challenge." There is very little evidence that the "challenge" is anything more than a hoax.

  • JoeGoins||

    >"There is very little evidence that the "challenge" is anything more than a hoax."

    Really? I personally know of three teenagers who hospitalized because they ate the product.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Really? You can cite news reports on this?

    When it first came up, I tried to Google it and couldn't find a single story on the subject that could point to even one confirmed incident.

  • NToJ||

    It's unlikely that JoeGoins knows ~10% of nationwide tide pod injured people, but it's a real thing, per Snopes.

  • MJBinAL||

    I am actually finding it hard to get upset about the Tide Pod thing. I am just imagining exactly how STUPID a teenager has to be, to swallow a Tide Pod, and can't help thinking this is mother nature taking the stupid ones out of the gene pool.

    Harsh I know, but holey shit Batman, how seriously stupid do you have to be?

  • Devastator||

    Weak argument. So a few dozen viral videos are all it takes to convince you that all teenagers are eating tide pods. I would look inward for lack of logic, not transpose it on the next generation.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    12-inch: " those guys must really know a lot about price elasticity in the labor market."

    Reporter on the street: "What does the phrase "price elasticity in the labor market" refer to?"

    Millennial: "Uh. Y'know. It's because old people are so fat. Y'know. And it costs a lot to add, y'know, the extra -- waddaya call it? -- waistband to their pants. Y'know. Relaxed-fit pants."

    [So I'm showing my age bias. I think this should count extra because I'm, y'know, old and generally well-informed. And I like my relaxed-fit pants.]

  • AmosArch||

    Since Democrats and progs think children are so good at setting policy since you can barely go a day without seeing one being planted in front of a camera extolling their policies or hear a heartwarming story from Buzzfeed or Yahoo of one penning a letter in favor of transgender bathrooms or a little boy going to school in a dress. Maybe its time they give up their seats and positions and let these kids actually take over for real. Couldn't do the job much worse after all.

  • Nige||

    I dunno, that might be a step too far. We can see how it's working out since the Republicans put an overgrown infant in charge.

  • AmosArch||

    Actually If you're talking about Trump almost nobody did more to try to stop him than establishment republicans both in the primary and during the election. Alot of the big 'revelations' were dug up and released by them. Even now half the time they're sulking away throwing a fit along with the Dems on another cable talk show over Trump's latest tweet or doing something silly like releasing favorable ads helping Dems win elections since a lot of them seem to enjoy losing so much.

  • MJBinAL||

    And, the "overgrown infant" has generally cut regulatory burdens, pushed tax reductions, and we are finally making a dent in not only the "unemployed" but seeing the long term unemployed that exited the labor market returning to the labor market and getting jobs.

    I don't much like the tweets, and don't agree with him on all his policies, but over all things economically are better than they have been in over a decade and improving. You might remember that not only that Obama not deliver on significant economic growth, he told us that we should not expect it as it was not possible for the US to experience that any more.

    Even the DACA shit is a mess made by Obama. He started it illegally after admitting in a speech that he had no legal authority to do so. Trump extended it with a deadline and told congress to fix it since it was an illegal program. The Democrats under Obama could have passed nearly anything they wanted at the beginning of his term and chose not to implement this, or any other immigration legislation.

    Once again, not agreeing with Trump on everything, but when you are looking who to blame for much of the stuff you don't like, you might look first to Obama and Congress.

  • Nige||

    Yeah, he inherited a strengthening economy from Obama. Let's see if he can beat the last Republican president for bequeathing a fucking catastrophic one.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Opposition to policies promoted by survivors of a recent horrific event is easy to denounce as callous and unfeeling. Here, we would do well to remember that our immediate emotional reactions to tragedy are rarely a useful guide to policy.

    Three words for Somin: Logos; Ethos; Pathos.

    Argue the superiority of any of those methods of demonstration over the others, and pay the price. Effective persuasion needs all three, in balance. So does effective policy making.

    The OP's advocacy is anything but balanced. So sorely lacking—in pathos, in a case where pathos is key to credibility, and lack of pathos is disqualifying—that Somin's remarks should have been withheld. Far from persuading his intended audience, Somin blunders ahead to horrify them.

  • Perseus`||

    Pathos is, well, pathetic. It is vastly inferior to logos. Pathos is necessary in political rhetoric mainly because philosophers do not rule, and its proper use is after you have used your logos to decide what is best to do in order to convince your audience, not as a guide to decision. What's more, young people lack phronesis and therefore have no business being involved in politics. It is a reflection of our corrupt demos that the policy views of children are taken so seriously.

  • Nige||

    The Republicans elected Donald Trump as president of the United States. You have no business in the world telling anyone else of any age that they are deficient in the elements necessary to be involved in politics. A thin crust of logos over a pulsing sac of pathos and you devoured your own ethos.

  • GILMORE™||

    "you're wrong because bad people, also greek words"

  • Perseus`||

    The demos elected a demagogue (Trump) and the younger members of the demos almost nominated another demagogue (Sanders), which confirms Aristotle's skepticism of young people and democracy.

  • damikesc||

    The Republicans elected Donald Trump as president of the United States.

    The Democrats ran Hillary, who is worse in every conceivable way.
  • Nige||

    I love that all three replies here are themselves ridiculously childish.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    And of course, Somin, like so many others, again hoists the shield of recency—suggesting as always that it's better to let emotions die, before reason can take over. There is no better response to that than fury. Has history ceased? Do we have no memory? Has it been long enough since Sandy Hook?

    Sandy Hook. Let's talk about that, using reason and evidence. The first evidence we need is the evidence of what happened. Publish the crime scene photos. Publish the autopsy reports. Why are those suppressed? In the service of reason, the evidence of what happened must be withheld?

    We experience mass murder, yet again. Followed by demands for dispassionate response, time after time. Words fail.

  • KevinP||

    I'm sure you would insist on publishing the crime scene photos and autopsy reports of this incident:

    In Nice, France, a terrorist rented a cargo truck and murdered 84 people by driving over them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Nice_attack

  • David Nieporent||

    Sandy Hook. Let's talk about that, using reason and evidence. The first evidence we need is the evidence of what happened. Publish the crime scene photos. Publish the autopsy reports. Why are those suppressed? In the service of reason, the evidence of what happened must be withheld?

    Not sure what you're talking about. And by that, I mean you're not sure what you're talking about. Who suppressed anything? I mean, they didn't realize autopsy reports of people's children saying that the kids were shot, because understandably that wouldn't really add anything to the public knowledge while being rather upsetting to those people. But they released over ten thousand pages of information, including photos, videos, 911 calls, witness reports, and the like.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Here is what I'm talking about:

    "Police Release Full Newtown Massacre Report, with Photos, Video" — NBC News headline

    A massive new report from the Connecticut State Police released online Friday reveals new details about the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting that took 26 lives at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

    The 11,000-plus page report includes investigative files, 911 call transcripts, crime scene reports and thousands of photos, among them images of the aftermath of the shooting that show weapons, bloodstains, and bullet-riddled hallways, and the clothes shooter Adam Lanza wore . . . State law prevents the release of crime scene photos that show the bodies of the victims. — NBC News text

    See. Everything but what the shooter did to his victims. The state "prevents" that.

    Result? Heedless gun advocates—armed and innocent—who mostly never killed or injured anything, or anyone—who advocate for policies which would sicken them if they ever saw what results their advocacy supports.

    How about you Nieporent? Ever kill an animal with a gun? An enemy in combat? A child in a school? Do you suppose if you had, seeing what results you created would have no effect on what you consider reasonable gun policy?

    To all you innocents, I say, try a gun for an intended purpose. Go out and kill animals. Then we can talk about gun policy, after you know what you are talking about.

  • Bruce Hayden||

    Not sure of your point there. Wanting to be safe from violent crime doesn't require that you have actually been a victim of it, or seen it first hand.

  • Joe_JP||

    I'm not totally sure how much clarity will come from going out and killing a deer or something myself.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Joe, far, far more clarity than you can ever get on a gun range.

    One clarifying difference between those two experiences is to see how much more variable are the results with living targets, compared to paper ones. With paper targets, you get neat holes punched in paper, pretty much every time—like using a paper punch in an office. Nice reliable process. Very reassuring.

    With live animals (or people, of course), anything can happen. Sometimes, neat little hole, and the creature dies instantly, like in a Hollywood script. Sometimes, mayhem, gore, suffering—a running animal with God-knows-what protruding and dragging from a gaping exit wound.

    Of course, you might turn out to be the kind of hunter who passes up everything but perfect shots, and never misses the vitals when he shoots. Clean kills almost every time. Congratulations. But for gun policy experience, we aren't interested in that. You need to go out with a nice policy-relevant cross-section of feckless gun owners for hunting buddies, and see what they do. Spend time doing that, and, I promise, clarity will dawn.

  • Joe_JP||

    Thanks -- I realize there is some real life experience here including given the blood and guts of real life shooting but figure there are other ways to learn something here than killing of an animal.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""We experience mass murder, yet again. Followed by demands for dispassionate response, time after time. Words fail.""

    (cue violin)

    the idea that this means people should submit to any/all demands of the bereaved is insanely stupid

  • KevinP||

    In this case, there is another particularly good reason: The five Parkland gun control activists have been successfully astroturfed by the Left.

    Why Did It Take Two Weeks To Discover Parkland Students' Astroturfing?


    Quotes:
    "Can you believe these kids?" It's been a recurring theme: the remarkable effectiveness of the high school students who created a gun control organization. In seemingly no time, the magical kids had organized events ranging from a national march to a mass school walkout.

    On February 28, BuzzFeed came out with the actual story: Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz aiding in the lobbying in Tallahassee, a teacher's union organizing the buses that got the kids there, Michael Bloomberg's groups and the Women's March working on the upcoming March For Our Lives, MoveOn.org doing social media promotion and (potentially) march logistics, and training for student activists provided by federally funded Planned Parenthood.

    What's striking about all this isn't the organization. If you start reading books about organizing, it's clear how it all works. But no journalist covering the story wrote about this stuff for two weeks. Instead, every story was about the Parkland kids being magically effective.
  • aluchko||

    The media hasn't talked about the astroturfing because there was no astroturfing.

    Astroturfing is a fake grass roots movement, as would be the case if the adults were instructing the students in what to say or if actors had been used, as has been alleged by conspiracy theorists.

    What the Federalist Papers are "discovering" is the obvious fact that organizations with experience in large scale protests are helping the students organize their large scale protests.

    Astroturfing is providing a fake voice, this is simply helping students use the voice they have.

  • Brendan||

    I can only imagine the reaction if the NRA, Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation, etc. were working together to help a bunch of students spread a pro-gun message similar to what was done in Florida.

  • Nige||

    That would be so cynical and vile that nobody would be surprised.

  • Bruce Hayden||

    Pretty weak response there. The astroturfing was having the infrastructure in place beforehand, and rapidly putting together what wasn't, to capitalize on putting out the message that those funding the bussing, plane flights, etc, want to get out for their own political purposes. The kids involved were just convenient props, to be rapidly discarded when their novelty wears out. Those providing the avenue of amplifying the voices that they want to be heard have no more personal empathy for those kids than most of the rest of the country, and, indeed, those at the top of the funding like Blumburg, inevitably have armed security, so don't have to live with the results of the policies that they are pushing through exploiting these kids.

  • MJBinAL||

    BS

    It IS astroturf, because without external organization and agitation, the students would not have been sufficiently motivated to form a "movement".

    A grassroots movement organizes from within. An Astroturf movement is organized by outsiders.
    A grassroots movement arises on it's own, due to motivations reached independently. As Astroturf movment is incited externally, funded externally to market the "movement".

    These student protests are ASTROTURF.

  • aluchko||

    It IS astroturf, because without external organization and agitation, the students would not have been sufficiently motivated to form a "movement".

    You have no evidence for this, you're just assuming this out of ideological convenience. The students have been willingly putting themselves in the media spotlight to speak out since the beginning. Adults and existing organizations may be advising them, they'd be irresponsible to do otherwise, but the students are the ones pushing it forward.

    Just look at the cited articles, they're talking about assistance with permits and stuff, The Federalist then extrapolates this to professional organizers being responsible for everything, while throwing in weird asides like "Federally Funded Planned Parenthood".

  • Nige||

    A whole generation whose first experience of politics is being attacked by the right after objecting to being attacked by mass murderers.

  • Smartacus||

    My problem with these student protests is that they're absolutely devoid of any substantive content.

    They want to stop school shootings? Great! I don't know anybody who's pro-school shooting. But how do they plan to do that?

    They want legislation? Great! But we already have tons of gun legislation, much of it put into place after previous notorious shootings. What legislation do they want?

    If they had a concrete proposal, we could discuss it, but they don't. They're just having an infantile tantrum.

  • Bruce Hayden||

    Of course, they don't want to actually address the core problems behind this sort of tragedy, such as raising children without their fathers in the household to civilize the boys and teach the girls self respect. Rarely mentioned in the press was that this shooter, too, didn't have his father in his household. As is the case for almost all school mass shootings of this type.

    More mentioned was that the best laws, unless enforced, do nothing. Here, the shooter shouldn't have been able to purchase the firearm, but could because the school district and the sheriff's department had intentionally not enforced criminal laws against school aged kids. Started out that they weren't enforcing the law for petty misdemeanors, then more major ones, and ultimately felonies. All to keep the grant money coming in from Obama Administration programs that attempted to reduce the number of kids on the school to jail to prison train. At least partially, I think, a response to BLM. In any case, the counties discovered that they could get more and more money by enforcing the law less and less against school aged criminals. Statistics looked better, but names of those, like this shooter, who shouldn't have access to firearms, due to their known violent criminality, never ended up in the NICS database.

  • Joe_JP||

    They have concrete proposals. They discussed and discuss them.

    Not only do the protests come with statements of proposals, protests are partially about an expressive of discontent and general demand for change. That is what protests are about all.the.time.

    My problem is your lack of knowledge of the situation.

  • ||

    What proposals? "Universal background checks?" We hear this nonsense a lot, but not a single mass shooter bought his gun in a private sale. Not ONE. A ban on "assault weapons?" What's an assault weapon? A black rifle with a bayonet lug and a collapsible stock?

  • Nige||

    Good outreach. Nice job.

  • Joe_JP||

    So, there are concrete proposals, let's move on to another issue?

    I looked at a Rand research analysis recently & its summary determined that there are a lot of questions are the value of certain policies. But, one of the few that showed some moderate positive effects were background checks. Repeatedly, as well, some failure in the process -- the NRA spokeswoman as I recall even here claimed this -- has been flagged as well. I don't see that much "nonsense" in arguing that at least somewhat improvements can be made here.

    What is a "dangerous and unusual" weapon? Scalia in Heller says traditionally that is the sort of weapon that can be constitutionally banned. As with regulations in a range of areas, carefully defining terms might be useful, but this doesn't mean that the terms are w/o use.

    This beyond the true value of such a ban, which research suggests might be useful at least in respect to mass shootings. I'm open to discussion on the best policies here, many gun owners offering various possible sound regulations.

  • aluchko||

    I agree in general, but I think the dynamics here are different.

    A lower drinking age or views on the federal reserve are policy arguments, and there's no reason to think students have special knowledge about them.

    Similarly if students argue for a specific type of gun restriction that's not very useful.

    But students aren't advocating for specific policy as much as they're arguing that gun violence is a major problem that needs to be dealt with, and that's a critical difference

    As a sort of metaphor consider that you're living with a bunch of friends in a rented house, you argue over the cleaning but nothing ever gets done about it. At some point a new person moves in and they're instantly horrified by the state of the place and start freaking out about the mould and piles of garbage. The significance isn't that they're an expert at cleaning, it's that they're both an outsider who forces you to acknowledge the issue and someone who now has to deal with the consequences of your problem

    That's one of the roles of the kids. They're the outsider who comes in and says "why haven't you done anything about gun violence?" and the successor who now has to deal with the consequences of your problem.

  • Perseus`||

    Who are they to know what constitutes a major problem that needs to be dealt with? More students die from car accidents, the flu, etc. each year than school shootings. And, of course, they don't just want government but the big brother federal government to do something to make it all better.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    They also do not acknowledge the fact that criminal homicide rates are half of ahat they were in the early 1990's.

  • Robert||

    The car accidents & the flu are accidental. With deliberate shootings they can at least tell people not to shoot people. They can't tell them not to drive or breathe.

  • aluchko||

    People are already trying to deal with car accidents and the flu, there's no reason for kids to step up and demand action when action is already underway.

    The problem with gun violence (not just school shootings) is there are solutions that work, have broad public support, but don't get implemented because of the strength of the gun lobby.

    The CDC isn't even allowed to fund research into gun violence because it might suggest gun control.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    What are these solutions?

  • ||

    What solution would work? Be specific.

    And repeating the lie that the CDC is banned from doing gun research doesn't make it a truth.

  • ||

    What solution would work? Be specific.

    And repeating the lie that the CDC is banned from doing gun research doesn't make it a truth.

  • Perseus`||

    They can tell people to get flu shots, which is what the CDC should be doing, not behaving like a politicized bureaucracy that is constantly whining about being underfunded and yet wants money to study something that other people already study.

    People are working on reducing murders, just not in ways that the gun control lobby wants. Student advocacy adds nothing of substance to that political debate.

  • aluchko||

    The CDC isn't allowed to fund research that promotes gun control, this effectively bans it from a ton of research on gun violence because gun control is one of the obvious solutions.

    Realistically almost anything that reduces the number of guns in circulation, particularly hand guns, is going to reduce gun fatalities. These include mandatory background checks, licensing, mandatory safety training, bans on certain classes of guns, etc.

    Which of these policies are the most effective at saving lives while respecting freedoms is something we could better answer if funding was available for research.

  • damikesc||

    Using this logic, the location most at risk for mass shootings are gun ranges and gun stores.

    They don't seem to be victimized ever.

    Odd.

  • aluchko||

    What logic? Did you think I claimed something like "the rate of gun injuries in a building is directly correlated to the number of guns per square meter"?

    That's your strawman, not my logic.

    On the other hand, look what happens when gun enthusiasts take a break from playing with guns.

  • damikesc||

    I'm sorry, you didn't write "Realistically almost anything that reduces the number of guns in circulation, particularly hand guns, is going to reduce gun fatalities."

    Good luck finding a higher concentration of guns than a gun shop or shooting range.

    Yet, gun fatalities in both locales are hovering around zero still.

    On the other hand, look what happens when gun enthusiasts take a break from playing with guns.

    How would a convention where less than 1% of gun owners attend cause a 20% drop in fatalities? The study, honestly, seems like bullshit. But keep on hoping.

  • aluchko||

    I'm sorry, you didn't write "Realistically almost anything that reduces the number of guns in circulation, particularly hand guns, is going to reduce gun fatalities."

    Good luck finding a higher concentration of guns than a gun shop or shooting range.

    I did write that, and guns is circulation is a community level concept and is a very different concept than gun concentration at a particular venue.

    You might as well argue that alcoholism can't cause deaths because so few people die of it inside the Coors plant.

    How would a convention where less than 1% of gun owners attend cause a 20% drop in fatalities? The study, honestly, seems like bullshit. But keep on hoping.

    They're just looking at hospital records, the analysis seems pretty straightforward and reproducible.

    I agree the ratio does sound high, and it's quite likely the true number is toward the lower bounds of their margin of error.

    But it's also the case that NRA convention attendees are hardly typical gun owners. The most enthusiastic users of a product being the most prone to getting injured by it is hardly surprising.

    Come to think of it, I don't even think it really proves my point, NRA attendees being unusually prone to getting injured by guns is more a weird fact than proof of anything.

  • Perseus`||

    The issue is murder. The gun control lobby has created the narrative of "gun violence," which is already studied by plenty of researchers.

    The restrictions on CDC funding of research is a tired talking point. The CDC should be focusing on real diseases, not murderers who happen to use guns.

  • Robert||

    AFAICT they're saying, "Don't shoot people in school!" Or, "If you're already shooting people in school, stop! Or at least cut down."

  • epsilon given||

    I also can't help but observe that there's only one type of victim, or potential victim, that the Media generally amplifies the voice of: the victims who support more gun control. The voices of victims who support gun rights are generally ignored.

    This isn't always the case, to be sure -- after all, Suzanna Hupp managed to become a member of the Texas legislature, so she could pass a bill to establish concealed carry permits, after she lost her parents in a mass shooting (one she could have ended, had she been able to legally carry her revolver) -- but in general, the Media is only going to give moral weight to toe victims they agree with.

  • Kazinski||

    Even though mass shootings are no higher than what they've been in the past, and kids are safer than they have ever been before, the media will always hype things for two reasons: 1) they same reason they hype anything, more eyeballs = more money. That's the same reason they hyped Trump during the campaign too, and the same reasons they are hyping his unprecedented danger to the republic now. Yawn.

    2) You need an unprecedented emergency to get people to acquiesce to throwing out the constitution by redefining the plain meaning, because they'll never have the votes to do it legitimately. Plus the fact that people realize, even people that don't own guns, that there has been an huge liberalization of gun laws in the last 30 years, and at every step forward, the media has screamed about bodies stacked in the streets and every year the toll from gun violence goes down.

    National institute of Justice:
    Homicides committed with firearms peaked in 1993 at 17,075, before falling to 10,869 in 2008.

    So gun violence dropped by more a third in actual victims the same time that population was going up by 17%, and to really make the point, almost all that population increase was going to the South and West, the areas leading the way on gun law liberalization. Here are the population % increases by region from 2000-2010:

    Northeast 3.2
    Midwest 3.9
    South 14.3
    West 13.8

    The kids are just the media's latest hook in hyping their latest moral panic.

  • Dave W.||

    The reason to give young people deference is that young people go to places (eg, schools, nightclubs) where gun control is needed for safety. Older people stay home in their suburban homes and secured workplaces where they feel safer having a gun in the nightstand.

    Also, while old people may remember what it was like to take risks in order to live life to the fullest, they sometimes, hypocritically, fail to remember this form of laudable bravery sympathetically once they are past their prime.

    Also, things probably are different since Columbine. There are, statistically, not many students who have experienced a school or nightclub shooting, but there probably are many students these days who experience the credible threat (specific and/or diffuse) of a school shooting in a way their curmudgeonly parents did not.

    This isn't academic, scholarly type knowledge, and it is not dispositive, in and of itself, in the gun control debate, but it is politically relevant in a way McArdle seems to not get.

  • NToJ||

    "...but there probably are many students these days who experience the credible threat (specific and/or diffuse) of a school shooting in a way their curmudgeonly parents did not."

    This seems unlikely since the gun homicide rate went from 7 in 1993 to 3.4 in 2014.

  • Dave W.||

    Not talking about drug warfare related shootings here. Talking about fear of being shot by a random crazy.

  • GILMORE™||

    " it is politically relevant"

    no, its pathetic-appeal gibberish masked as sober-debate

  • Sarcastr0||

    The headline is sorta an anti-ad-hominem (don't listen to a group based just on who they are), but the post is ad-hominem (don't listen to this group - look who they are!).
    Listen to the arguments and let them stand on their own merits.

    The heat vs. light of this thread reflects that of the post. It's not a good ratio.

    At least there are no crisis actor crazies on the thread. Yet.

  • jph12||

    How could you possibly miss this passage?

    "It would be a mistake to dismiss policy proposals out of hand, merely because of the age of their adherents. But it is also a mistake to ascribe any special political wisdom to the young. The fact that large numbers of young people support a political cause adds little, if anything, to its merits."

    Try reading for understanding sometime.

  • Sarcastr0||

    What is true of children is - though to a much lesser degree - also true of many young adults in their late teens or early twenties. They too are, on average, less knowledgeable and have less developed judgment than people at later stages in the life-cycle. For many years, surveys of political knowledge have consistently found that it correlates with age. The young, as a general rule, know less about government and public policy than other age groups. For that reason, they are also less likely to have valuable insights on how to address difficult issues.

    He argues both. But the key is that the post dwells at length at the identities of the kids. The comments reflect that alignment of focus in their level of substance.

  • jph12||

    No he doesn't. You simply can't, or won't, understand his argument. Nothing the passage you quote here suggests that arguments from younger people should be dismissed out of hand. And you are completely ignoring what the headline, the sub-headline, the lead, the bulk of the article, and the conclusion all make clear.

  • Sarcastr0||

    This is not a useful post.

    It is not a post about gun control.

    It is a post about the people talking about gun control. It both argues their identities shouldn't matter and that they do.

    It is not very coherent, and more importantly is focusing on a dumb place to focus.

    Is that simple enough for you to understand what I am saying?

  • DJK||

    Gotta love how the thread starts with Sarcastr0 calling out supposed ad hominems and ends with Sarcastr0 using ad hominems. Pretty par for the course.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Um, do you know what an ad hominem is?

  • jph12||

    "This is not a useful post."

    Yes it is.

    "It is not a post about gun control."

    And it doesn't pretend to be. Not everything has to be about gun control.

    "It is a post about the people talking about gun control.

    And one group in particular, as is made repeatedly and abundantly clear.

    "It both argues their identities shouldn't matter and that they do."

    No it doesn't.

    "It is not very coherent, and more importantly is focusing on a dumb place to focus."

    It's perfectly coherent. Perhaps if you actually understood what the article was about, and what kind of claims it is responding to, your analysis of the focus might change.

    "Is that simple enough for you to understand what I am saying?"

    I've understood what you've said in every post. The problem is you are wrong, not that I haven't understood you.

    And again, nothing in the passage you quoted to demonstrate Ilya Somin's supposed malfeasance suggests that arguments from younger people should be dismissed out of hand.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The way I know this post is not useful is the comments. It's all tearing apart of attacking people for tearing apart these kids.

    This is what is caused by going after the messenger not the message.

    The problem is you are wrong
    No, you keep telling me what my thesis is, and then explaining how that is not just wrong but dumb. Except that what you put forth is rarely my thesis.

  • jph12||

    "The way I know this post is not useful is the comments. It's all tearing apart of attacking people for tearing apart these kids."

    That's not actually how you tell whether a post is useful or not. And your characterization of the comments is wrong as well.

    "This is what is caused by going after the messenger not the message."

    This post is not going after the messenger or the message.

    "No, you keep telling me what my thesis is, and then explaining how that is not just wrong but dumb. Except that what you put forth is rarely my thesis."

    This is what you said in your initial comment: "but the post is ad-hominem." That's what I responded to. If that's not your thesis, or at least one of them, then that's still on you for being such a terrible writer.

    And again, nothing in the passage you quoted to demonstrate Ilya Somin's supposed malfeasance suggests that arguments from younger people should be dismissed out of hand.

  • Sam Gompers||

    These school kids are just foriegn funded agitprop.

  • Sarcastr0||

    When in doubt, just blame SOROS and keep on keeping on!

  • ||

    Kind of the equivalent of accusing every conservative commenter of being a "Russian bot" or "Ivan," which seems to be all the rage among liberals these days.

  • Sam Gompers||

    Whose blaming SOROS? We saw how China, among others, are funding Democrat activists like ShareBlue.

    It's like all of America's foreign adversaries some how find the way to give money to Democrats.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I'd heard the kids were SOROS plants. Glad to hear you've chosen a less dog-whistley shadowy villain to conspiracy theory about.

  • jph12||

    What an odd way to say "I was wrong."

  • Nige||

    t the end of the day, this is why the kids are getting attention, not just because of their cause and the massive failures in governance, policing and gun control it represents, but the appalling ugliness extremists right wingers are willing to indulge in when they feel threatened. Sandy Hook truthism becoming increasingly right-wing mainstream, and the horror this inspires increasingly in anyone with a shred of decency.

  • Sam Gompers||

    You can't sincerely believe all of this is some organic uprising organized by those students, do you?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Mary Beth Tinker was a Commie plant!!!!!!

  • Nige||

    Your appeal to incredulity is entirely convincing.

  • ||

    Yeah, we don't look fondly upon people advocating to take away our rights. Imagine that!

  • PaulZrt||

    Good article. A related issue is also the tendency to treat civic engagement and voting as a virtue in and of itself.

  • AJ_Liberty||

    The biggest problem with these protests is that little that these teenagers say survives even minimal reasoned scrutiny.

    I would respect them more if they just said we want to ban the sale of ALL semi-automatic weapons and attempt to confiscate all of the ones the public holds. Yes, this statement would be lunacy....neither would ever happen.....but at least it's honest. Mass shootings would be more difficult if the public could only access revolvers, shotguns, and bolt-action rifles....magazine fed weapons are much quicker to use....and carry more bullets. I could at least look at that proposition and say that it is a logical conclusion....unlike the current "ban only the scary-looking semi-automatic rifle" nonsense. But as we all know, you will not be able to confiscate millions of semiautomatic pistols and rifles, and even banning high-capacity magazines is becoming less relevant in the evolving era of 3D printing. One might ask, does someone NEED an AR-15 for self or home defense? Realistically, probably not (and this comes from colleagues that I know who own them). But no one wants an unfair fight....unless it's unfair in the self-defender's advantage. As long as bad guys have magazine-fed weapons, good guys want them too.....and in terms of stopping power, the semi-automatic rifles remain a weapon of choice.

  • AJ_Liberty||

    (cont)
    So, yes let the kids talk...but until they start cutting to the nub....instead of merely emoting....I'm not going to take anything they do or say too seriously....they want TV time and to feel important...that's great....but especially for people who live in tough neighborhoods....where armed break-ins are common....and the police already over-committed....they want to feel secure....those citizens want to make their own choices of what is reasonable for home and self defense...I say we ought to try and respect that more.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You don't take people who "merely emote" serious, AJ?

    What about people who reject science and evolution for fiction and creationism? Are they relying on emotion or on reason?

    What about birthers? Should they be taken seriously? Would you vote for a birther running for president?

    What about people who expected Donald Trump to rework economic fundamentals to enable unskilled, poorly educated, rural whites to prosper -- indeed, to do so at the expense of degree-holding, marketably skilled residents of modern, successful communities. Were those Americans doing anything more than "merely emoting?" Do you take those people seriously?

  • Kazinski||

    At some point in time we will find out that the assault weapons ban was engineered by assault weapons manufacturers. It's been the greatest marketing ploy ever. Its a cool looking gun, but there are at least 10 states where you aren't allowed to hunt deer with because it doesn't have the killing power to reliably kill dear humanely. And a shotgun or a handgun makes a lot more sense for home protection.

    If it had never been banned it wouldn't be near as popular, and though only 20 of the 143 weapons used in mass shootings from 1982 -2012 were assault rifles, I'm guessing that number would be a lot lower if the people promoting assault weapons bans didn't spend half there time pontificating that assault weapons are the gun of choice for mass shootings. Losers that want to kill a lot of people but don't know much about guns are more likely to pick an assault weapon because of the relentless marketing of the anti-assault weapons lobby.

    If it wasn't a covert marketing effort by gun manufactures then they should fire their marketing departments because its been a lot more effective than any actual marketing effort would have been. It was probably code named "Banned in Boston"

  • DjDiverDan||

    Why on EARTH would anyone think that the National School Walkout was an expression of the opinions of the students? This was a government-sponsored, government-organized publicity stunt to promote the idea that government should take away individual freedoms. Students were actively encouraged to play hookey for a day, some were even punished for not going along, all in service to the anti-gun orthodoxy of the idiot left. When was the last time you saw a spontaneous protest demanding that the government give the protesters less freedom? Anyone who takes seriously the notion that the National School Walkout was an honest expression of student opinion is delusional.

  • Sarcastr0||

    This was a government-sponsored, government-organized publicity stunt to promote the idea that government should take away individual freedoms.

    Why do you have to jump to crazy? Sometimes people sincerely disagree with you. I think the kids deserve and have received a unique platform, due to their special relationship to the issue. I also think they're wrong.

    Policy entrepreneurs are always pushing their ideas any way they can. These kids caught fire. Doesn't mean there's a government conspiracy.
    Sheesh.

  • Joe_JP||

    "Ultimately, we should try, as much as possible, to base government policy on reason and evidence. That means resisting calls to give special credence to the views of the young and crime victims, except in the rare instances where they really are likely to have valuable insights on policy. Indeed, it pays to be skeptical of all emotional appeals that are more likely to short-circuit our judgment than improve it."

    Government policy based on reason and evidence would entail input from those directly involved and affected -- they would have certain insights and data points that would be helpful to reach good policy. When the issue is violence at school, as well as other school related matters (drug policy, education etc.), voices of those actually involved would be of particular interest. Also, students are our future. Finally, violence in general often is a young person's game. Again, the voices of the young here would be of particular interest.

    We should be careful about voices of the young to the extent they are less educated and prone to the limits of youth etc., which is also cited when supporting less harsh criminal punishment for this group. But, it is a strawman to think people are just going to listen to the teens without nuance. Anyway, there are plenty of adults that leave something to be desired in this respect to make this more of a wash then one might think. [cont]

  • Joe_JP||

    [cont]

    Victims are going to bring emotion with everything else so it's perfectly fine to be concerned about that too but yet again that is something that isn't just with victims. Plus, those against them also claim to be victims of a sort (from "gun grabbers" or "progressives" or whatever) so look in the mirror in that respect.

    Anyway, emotion is part of humanity. It has good and bad aspects. Some complete attempt at pushing aside appeals to our humanity is pretty hopeless. Some general caution to let reason be our guide is fairly mundane. Pretty sure all the checks in place will serve as a check there though.

  • GILMORE™||

    violence in general often is a young person's game. Again, the voices of the young here would be of particular interest.

    "also, the stupid and irrational commit the most violence. clearly this means that we should allow stupid and irrational arguments to take special precedence in debates about violence"

    Sorry bud, but everything you say is so much "pathetic appeal + handwaving"

    victims may provide useful testimony about the incidents they experience. this does not make their experience significant in any reasoned, after-the-fact policy debates.

  • Joe_JP||

    You yourself here suppose that it is quite possible that the victims would provide "useful testimony," which reaffirms the quoted portion -- they would be of "particular interest." They would be "significant."

    Then, you cite some group that might be victims who really lack perspective (the limitations of teens here was noted by me -- maybe you "handwaved" past that part -- ha ha). But, it isn't shown that teens generally lack perspective to that extent. Many teens are quite intelligent and their input is repeatedly particularly sought out when they are specifically involved.

    The 'pathetic appeal' stuff particularly seems like a mere assertion & nothing more. Not helpful to me really. Sorry bud.

  • bernard11||

    I think Ilya misses the point here. The post is far too abstract.

    The idea, mine at least, is not that high school students have special expertise in policy analysis. It is that they are strongly affected by school shootings.

    I think it is worthwhile to listen to people who are affected by events. you can do this without ascribing any special knowledge to those individuals, though their reaction to their experience is certainly worthy of note.

  • Absaroka||

    I agree. It's certainly worthwhile to listen to the terrible experiences of defenseless victims; we sure as heck want to minimize any of that we can. And on the other hand, it's also worthwhile to listen to the experiences of people who weren't victims (more precisely, suffered a lower level of victimization) because they weren't defenseless.

    Or, to cover both sides of the equation, people should think about Suzanna Hupp's story, mentioned upthread. Whatever solutions people envision need to be measured against her experience as well.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    We should also listen to the experience of people imprisoned for victimless crimes.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    No. Nothing needs to be measured against Suzanna Hupp's story. If it's the story reported by Wikipedia, it's a story about imaginary self-defense that didn't happen, despite Hupp's gun ownership. It could perhaps be used as a data point to illustrate the contrast between imaginary self-defense efficiency from gun carrying (near perfect efficiency in every imaginary case), and reality (in which gun carriers who find themselves at mass shooting scenes sometimes stop the killers, and sometimes run away and never say anything (not Hupp), and nobody knows with what relative frequency for either outcome).

    How many reliably reported cases do you know of where a concealed-carrier at a shooting scene attempted to use his gun to stop the killer, but was shot and defeated in the attempt? It happens to cops all the time. Or worse, cases where the would-be defender shoots the wrong person. That happens to cops too. If concealed-carrier self-defense aspirations have any basis in reality, what happens to cops should not infrequently happen to concealed-carriers too. If we don't have those reports, or very few of them, it suggests the reports of gun carrier self-defense we do have are unreliable.

    Of course there is also the alternative, gun fantasy explanation, where concealed-carriers come equipped with superhero prowess denied to ordinary police officers. I concede we hear that explanation too.

  • Absaroka||

    You can hear her story in her own words, to get that special insight survivors have. Just before the
    two minute mark "He was maybe 12 feet away". I believe I've heard her say elsewhere the killer's back was turned. As she acknowledged, Maybe she would have missed - but maybe she wouldn't have. CPR works what - 5% of the time? We still do it.

    Suzanna Hupp Testimony

    You remind me of the folks you'd hear, years ago, who didn't want to wear seat belts because they didn't want to be trapped in a wrecked car if it burned. Almost anything, from seat belts to guns, has costs and benefits. We have someone deliberately shooting the innocents near him, and you're worried that a defender interfering with that might accidentally shoot one of the nearby innocents in the process... so better the killer just gets to keep killing unimpeded. Better in your view that a dozen are deliberately killed than even a chance that one be accidentally killed, I guess. That seems really weird to me, but then I've never thought the trolley problem was much of a dilemma either.

  • less lean eel son||

    I agree re: the trolly problem. I'd save more lives, but your calculus on putting more guns in school requires too many assumptions. First, you are ignoring the odds that someone gets hold of a teacher's gun and kills, when they wouldn't have otherwise. You also assume that in the case where a shooter has taken 12 lives, and a potential defender (PD) shoots one innocent, PD would surely stops the killing. They may kill one bystander but fail to stop the shooter, merely raising the count of innocent dead by one. Nobody knows these odds, but it's not right to assume that for every bystander shot by a potential defender at least one life will be saved...

  • Michael Ejercito||

    So leaving schools defenseless is a better option?

  • Nige||

    Examining why you seem to have developed a society where schools need armed guards and is pushing for armed teachers would be the best option.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    We are under threat. We deployed federal trops to secure a high school in Little Rock six decades ago.

    We should deploy troops to secure our schools.

    How many more people have to die before we deploy the mightiest military machine in the history of humanity to protect the most vulnerable?

  • BadLib||

    Almost none of the students participating in the "walkouts" _have_ experienced a school shooting. Almost certainly far more of them know someone who has been killed or severely injured in a car accident involving alcohol consumption than someone who has been killed or severely injured in a school shooting.

    One then wonders why they are not instead devoting their efforts to ending drunk driving. The fact that they are not suggests that their judgement is not very good and therefore probably the have little to add to a debate about something they actually _haven't_ experienced.

  • Eidde||

    I was assured above that they did research - so they *must* be well-informed.

  • MaverickNH||

    NTSA says: "From 2006 to 2015, there were 301 school-age children who died in school-transportation-related crashes: 54 were occupants of school transportation vehicles, 137 were occupants of other vehicles, 102 were pedestrians, and 8 were pedalcyclists."

    It would seem lives lost in getting to/from school is a greater danger than the risk of school shooting deaths.

  • Sharon Presley||

    I'm not entirely sure who is giving "special credence" to young people's opinions on this matter but I do think you are fairly insulting to those young people. As a college professor, I found that many young people were quite sensible. Whether or not we choose to agree with what they have to say is, of course, another matter but to insult them by assuming they don't know whzt they are talking about [which is what I got out of this, right or wrong] is neither appropriate nor helpful.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    From my experience, the anti-gun cult does not know what it is talking about.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Has anyone noticed nobody is taking a knee to protest police violence anymore?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Maverick, compared to the base your comment establishes, you have just made the point that school shootings increased the overall risk of school-related deaths by a notable percentage.

    Plugging school shooting deaths since 2015 (Wikipedia, excluding post-secondary), into annual rates established by your baseline, delivers comparisons which look like this:

    40 School Shooting Deaths over 27 Months,
    ~ 18 per year.

    School Transportation Vehicles
    5.4 per year

    Occupants of Other Vehicles
    13.7 per year

    Pedestrians
    10.2 per year

    Pedalcyclists
    0.8 per year

    So, compared to dis-aggregated causes of school related deaths associated with transportation (surly the most dangerous factor in school attendance), school shooting deaths notably exceed every sub-category.

    After being grouped among the aggregate deaths from all transportation categories—the peculiar method your comment suggests—school shooting deaths during the last 27 months increased the overall rate by ~ 60%.

    Does that seem normal and acceptable to you?

  • Eidde||

    There ought to be a law against killing schoolchildren.

  • Eidde||

    And there definitely need to be laws against anyone, no matter how so-called "responsible" they are, carrying a gun in school. Someone could get hurt!

    There would be exceptions for police, of course, so that the cops can rush in to the scene of danger the moment a school shooting starts.

  • Absaroka||

    From WISQARS, the 1999-2016 fatalities for 'Unintentional Overall Motor Vehicle Deaths, Ages 6 to 18' are:

    1999 5,506
    2000 5,482
    2001 5,386
    2002 5,667
    2003 5,405
    2004 5,440
    2005 4,969
    2006 4,819
    2007 4,597
    2008 3,694
    2009 3,246
    2010 2,950
    2011 2,805
    2012 2,620
    2013 2,419
    2014 2,461
    2015 2,569
    2016 2,749

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Interesting trend. Do you have a point to make by noting it?

  • David Nieporent||

    Does that seem normal and acceptable to you?

    Yes. I mean, what would you prefer kill more kids at school? Heart disease? Exploding pencil sharpeners? Bee stings?

  • vek||

    You ignore that MOST school shooting events are gang bangers, and NOT anything like the few mass shootings. You're not going to stop that without turning every single school into a prison. Gang bangers in Europe can buy illegal guns as easily as people can buy them here legally or illegally.

    What some people want to do is make the world perfectly safe. Anybody who thinks that is possible is insane. It never will be. It can't be. Some problems are technical problems, like inventing air bags to reduce car deaths. Others are people problems. Guns are a people problem, so until we "fix" people, these problems will not go away.

  • captcrisis||

    The VC'ers -- white, male, conservative, affluent, well-connected -- are personally remote from just about every societal problem (or the associated legal issues) they post about, so it's not surprising so see one of them explicitly saying, "People who are directly impacted by a problem don't have anything special to teach us."

  • vek||

    So should we only listen to white, male, conservative, affluent, well-connected people with respect to tax laws? I mean, we're the ones who pay almost the entirety of taxes in the country, so that means our opinions should carry special weight right???

    All those deadbeats on welfare surely shouldn't get a say when it comes to how to collect and what to spend taxpayer money on right, since they don't have any skin in the game, and aren't directly impacted by the problem of excessive taxation???

  • Nige||

    Isn't that how you've been working to arrange things all along?

  • vek||

    I was making a point that just because somebody is theoretically disproportionately effected, that doesn't mean their voice is the ONLY voice that should be paid attention to. MAYBE it should be considered more, but it's not the only one.

    But if you really believe that, I suggest you look at the numbers. Nearly half the country doesn't really even cover themselves. You have to get well into the middle class before you even cover your own government spending. It's around $50-60K a year or so to be break even, depending on particulars. So that middle chunk is more or less covering themselves.

    But people like me who make a decent chunk more than the national average pay for everything for the lower classes. This is white blow it cases, of which there are many (although smallish in terms of percentages of the white population), and all minority groups. No large minority groups are tax self sufficient, except Asians and Jews. In other words statistically speaking whites/Asians/Jews literally cover all government services for blacks and Hispanics.

    That's a pretty bad deal if we're the ones supposedly manipulating everything to be in our favor, don't cha think???

  • FlameCCT||

    Simply put:
    Progressives "never let a good crisis go to waste"!

  • VinniUSMC||

    This wasn't so much a rising up of high schoolers as it was a rising up of teachers and school administrators using high schoolers because "for the children" is the best argument they can come up with.

  • Nige||

    Imagine! Concern about the welfare and safety of the children in their care! Pfft!

  • Naaman Brown||

    Three observations:

    1. The Zogby Polls are good measures of public opinion (predicted elections right when other polls called them wrong). Zogby Poll (Mar 2018) of a national sample of voting age Americans:
    56% of the general population support the 2nd Amendment, 28% oppose, 16% no opinion.
    65% of millennials (age 18-29) support, 23% oppose, 12% no opinion.

    2. As the sunset of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban approached, both CDC and NAS/NRC did reviews of refereed academic research on gun laws and found no measurable impact on crime from the various gun laws. Gun control advocates have hypotheticals on how they think their laws work, just no proof that they do work.

    3. Bureau of Justice Statistics surveys on Firearms Use by Offenders (prison inmates who possessed or used a gun):
    1991 21% acquired guns from retail sources (gun shops, pawnshops, flea markets, gunshows).
    2004 12% acquired guns from retail sources.
    In 1999 background checks were instituted for retail gun sales. Non-retail sources of crime guns (friend or family of felon, thief, burglar, fence, drug dealer, street dealer, black market, etc.) have gone from 79% to 88% in response to dealer BCs.

    The media may make heroes of the walkout students who denounce NRA, call for AWBs and universal background checks (echos of the media campaigns for the 1968 Gun Control Act and the 1994 AWB).

    Doesn't mean the crusaders represent all youth or that their demands should accepted unquestioned.

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