It’s the Guns

The outrage after Parkland set off a moral reckoning and awakening—there’s a simple explanation for school shootings.

.. Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world.

This stark discrepancy is often treated as a baffling fact, requiring some counterintuitive explanation. After today’s massacre in Texas, the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, suggested that the problem may be that high schools have too many doors. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe [the shooter] would have been stopped.”

.. At other moments, we’re told that the problem is that we need to do a better job guessing which troubled teens may prove murderous at some point in the future, or dealing with the excesses of masculinity, or possibly the crisis of meaning and identity in the secularizing modern world. As always, though, there is a simpler and more powerful explanation of why there has been no similar school shooting in Germany since 2009; or in Canada since 2007; none in the United Kingdom since 1996—while conversely, more young Americans have died in school shootings in 2018 than in all the nation’s combat operations all over the world.  

.. Back in 2012, Nate Silver observed: “Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South, or a number of other demographic characteristics.”
.. More than 70 percent of Trump voters in 2016 described guns as “very important” to their vote, versus only 40 percent who described abortion as “very important” to their vote and only 25 percent who felt that way about gay rights.
.. Only 30 percent of Americans own guns.
.. The most important success of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for example, was not to change laws (although they changed some), but to change hearts: to persuade Americans that drunk driving was not funny, not charming, and not acceptable.American gun culture in the 2010s is as blithely irresponsible as American alcohol culture in the 1960s.

.. Only 66 percent of gun owners think it essential to keep guns locked up when not in use. (Ninety percent of non-gun-owners think so.) Only 45 percent of them actually do it.

 

Marco Rubio Must Be Destroyed

Since the Parkland shootings in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio has done many of the things liberals say they are desperate, desperate for decent Republicans to do. He has changed his position on gun control, expressing support for new restrictions: age limits on gun purchases, new background check rules, possibly magazine restrictions. He has co-sponsored legislation encouraging states to issue restraining orders that temporarily would strip people deemed dangerous of their guns.

.. March for Our Lives the students wore price tagsaround their neck, $1.05 each — the amount of money Rubio’s campaigns have received from the N.R.A. divided by the number of students in Florida schools. David Hogg, one of their leaders, began his speech with the price tag line, and told a CNN interviewer that if anything he feels that their attacks on the Florida senator haven’t been provocative enough.

.. Republican majorities were forged by anger and a kind of smash-mouth politics, it’s incumbent upon liberals to give no quarter in return, and to treat any sudden conciliation from a prominent figure like the Florida senator not as an opportunity for deal making but as a welcome sign of weakness that should inspire further fierce attack.

.. The problem, then, is relying on the bipartisan impulses of few Republican politicians when what you need is a broader climate change. The path to that change requires first putting the fear of God (or, if you prefer, the fear of the Arc of History) into vulnerable Republican lawmakers, and then making them unpopular enough that you can simply beat them.

.. he’s precisely the kind of Republican who needs to be defeated to build a Democratic supermajority.

.. the chance to make him the face of G.O.P. intransigence on gun control

.. The deeper logic here is that the only plausible mission for Democrats after the Trumpian takeover of the G.O.P. is a kind of Carthaginian peaceDelenda

.. it seems to me that once conservatism surrendered to Donald Trump, arguments about corrosion became a bit irrelevant.

.. the president that the Florida senator endorsed is as consistently ad hominem as the young school shooting survivors with rather less excuse.

.. one reason that the Dreamer amnesty was an executive decision that Donald Trump could simply reverse, landing us in our current immigration stalemate, was that the Obama White House deliberately chose to make it one, pre-empting an effort by, yes, Marco Rubio to craft bipartisan legislation.

.. Don’t let Republicans disguise their anti-immigrant views with modest bipartisan maneuvers, create a clear contrast so that voters will reward you even if doing so requires pushing certain constitutional limits on your power.

.. if anything Obama’s executive action contributed to Trump’s victory by helping to radicalize conservative voters

.. Marco Rubio who made an extended effort to move the bill in a more middle-class-friendly direction by adding and then enlarging a child tax credit. The push was opposed by many of his Republican colleagues, but for a time Rubio thought that he could get an amendment in with Senate Democrat support.

.. having watched the Trump G.O.P. hold power with a largely negative agenda and an ugly rhetorical style, I can certainly believe that a no-quarter liberalism will gain power eventually in its turn.

Why We Should Lower the Voting Age to 16

challenging the tiresome stereotype of American kids as indolent narcissists whose brains have been addled by smartphones. They offer an inspiring example of thoughtful, eloquent protest.

.. when it comes to electing lawmakers whose decisions about gun control and other issues affect their lives, these high schoolers lack any real power.

.. The federal voting age in the United States should be lowered from 18 to 16.

.. it is important to distinguish between what psychologists call “cold” and “hot” cognition.

.. Cold cognitive abilities are those we use when we are in a calm situation, when we are by ourselves and have time to deliberate and when the most important skill is the ability to reason logically with facts. Voting is a good example of this sort of situation.

.. Studies of cold cognition have shown that the skills necessary to make informed decisions are firmly in place by 16.

.. Hot cognitive abilities are those we rely on to make good decisions when we are emotionally aroused, in groups or in a hurry.

.. self-regulation, which enables you to control your emotions, withstand pressure from others, resist temptation and check your impulses.

.. cold cognitive abilities, self-regulation does not mature until about age 22

..  Consider the dozen or so countries like Argentina, Austria, Brazil and Nicaragua that allow people to vote at 16 in national, state or local elections. In such countries, voter turnout among 16- and 17-year-olds is significantly higher than it is among older young adults.

.. people between 18 and 24 have the lowest voter turnout of any age group in the United States

.. the United States lowered the federal voting age was in 1971, when it went from 21 to 18. In that instance, the main motivating force was outrage over the fact that 18-year-olds could be sent to fight in Vietnam but could not vote.

.. The proposal to lower the voting age to 16 is motivated by today’s outrage that those most vulnerable to school shootings have no say in how such atrocities are best prevented.