Oh Gail Collins… you are so, so smart. In her latest op-ed about the Tucson tragedy, Collins calls out, as others have, the issue of gun control. We can spin rhetorical webs all day long about the nature of political discourse, and the consequences of such public and frequent partisan vitriol, but the practical question remains: how did Jared Lee Loughner have a 9-millimeter Glock? And what do we want to do about that very immediate question? From Collins:
If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was a sane idea to put her Congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet.
But we might not have lost a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Giffords’s 30-year-old constituent services director and a 9-year-old girl who had recently been elected to the student council at her school and went to the event because she wanted to see how democracy worked.
I don’t like guns. I’ve never fired one. I’ve never even held one. They scare me. And while I generally don’t believe that civilians should own guns, I can recognize that there are a lot of smart, rational people with smart, rational (constitutional) arguments on the other side. Personal safety, the right to hunt (not my bag… but okay), fine. But I have yet to see a rational argument for a semiautomatic weapon that carries a 30-bullet clip and is designed specifically for rapid-fire delivery. You know… unless you’re a soldier.