A Bridge From Nowhere

I’ll admit it; I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut when dealing with the left and media (pardon the redundancy).

Especially when they talk about “reaching across divides”.  Whenever people on the left talk about “Reaching” across one “divide” or another (let’s leave aside the fact that divides are always of their making), the best one can hope for is that they’ll act like Jane Goodall – ideological anthropologists, here to furrow their brows and write about the Conservatives in the Mist.   At worst, they come to mug for their fans and exude their self-perceived superiority and laugh at the locals.

Both efforts pretty generally backfire when the subject is firearms and the Second Amendment.  The mugging and smugging usually gets undercut by a lot of unforced errors.  And once in a while, the lefty has a Road to Damascus moment and sees the light.  Yes, it happens.

The New York Times, wrapped as its endeavors are with pretentions to serious journalism, tries to stick with the anthropological route; a little of the mug and smug leaks through, as it often will; their piece earlier this week, “Reading Across The Aisle on Guns“, by Lawrence Downes, is reminiscent of Jane Goodall, if she was really ambivalent about and afraid of gorillas.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — “A gun is a tool,” said the instructor to his class on a snowy Saturday morning in downtown Manchester. He was teaching 24 women how to safely carry, clean, load and aim a handgun. Later they were going to a range to learn to shoot.

No, I thought. A gun is a weapon. A screwdriver is a tool. You can kill with it, but mostly you open paint cans.

Tomayto, Tomahto.

It actually does get better:

I could tell you the guy was wrong, but I’d rather just say: I disagreed. Because to me he is not an abstraction or an adversary — he’s Bob. Robert Boilard, an N.R.A.-certified instructor at the Londonderry Fish and Game Club. He and fellow club members opened their doors to me and a colleague, and over two long days, in the clubhouse, in the classroom and on the range, we talked, shot some and got to know one another.

We’ll come back to this.

Downes relates what is a fairly typical story in these sorts of discussions:

Our back-and-forth was a game of hypotheticals. No serve went unreturned. What about the danger to children with guns in the house? Well, what about the danger from a burglar? New Hampshire is heroin country, and robberies and violence are serious threats. Yes, but crime is so low in your state! Hah, point proved: New Hampshire is safe because of guns.

And they never really can answer that.

But we finally get to the part where “reaching across the aisle” gets complicated; the part where you have to start dealing with fundamentally different worldviews:

The men could not have been friendlier, or more serious and sincere, or less moved by my case for gun restrictions. Laws that strike me as common sense they see as ominous. At some point in the second hour the tone shifted — in my view — from prudence toward paranoia. The unanswerable hypotheticals this time involved government tyranny. Registering gun owners, the men said, simply makes it easier to round us up. Think of Japanese-Americans in 1942.

Mr. Obama, Hillary Clinton, San Bernardino, Newtown, ISIS — to me these are abstract, empty reasons to buy a gun. To my new friends, and so many of their friends, they are concrete and immediate reasons.

And that, right there, is one reason that it’s not so much “reaching across an aisle” as it is “scaling an intellectual and philosophical Berlin Wall”.    Mr. Downes and the cultural left are like an army of Leslie Knopes; they see government as friendly, incorruptible, an expression of the highest and most noble human endeavor, government.

Of course, conservatives see government as a necessary evil, to be kept on a tight, merciless leash – by means that include the direct power of veto implied in the Second Amendment.

The left thinks conservatives are paranoid.  The right thinks the left are naive pollyannas.  You know where my money is.

That’s why attempts to reach “across the aisle” are doomed if all they involve is taking a liberal to a pistol range (fun as that can be).  It’s not just understanding the guns (more below), but understanding and having some empathy for the motivations.

Although understanding the technology would go a long way toward giving the left some of the credibility they lack on the issue – including Downes:

These were the law-abiding gun owners you always hear about, those who are — or want to be — at ease with guns. That’s not the feeling I had when I first held the 9-millimeter revolver, or fired the fully automatic rifle with a drum magazine.

It may be possible – if unlikely – that Downes fired a machine gun.  But a 9mm revolver?

It isn’t necessarily constructive to chortle at lefty newbies’ technical illiteracy.  But then, who says I must always be constructive?

Oh, OK.  I should.

But honestly, the difference in overall worldview are so daunting, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start:

Or when I watched Mr. Boilard explain where to shoot, using a poster showing ribs, heart, lungs and spinal column. Right there in the kill zone, he said, not lower. Otherwise “you’re just punching holes in intestines.”

The world they inhabit, where good people strive to be as lethal as the bad ones, is not one I want to live in.

So Mr. Downs prefers a world where the bad guys have a monopoly on lethality?  Where the good guys exist by the good nature and will of the bad ones?

Their response: You already do.

I don’t share all their fears. When I hear a noise downstairs at night, I assume it’s the cat. You could say that’s because of the lucky circumstances of my life in a quiet place.

Mr. Boilard approaches the noise-in-the-night differently.

“Dad goes downstairs, Dad’s probably going to die,” he told the class.

He went further: “What happens to the people upstairs?”

“They’re going to die, too,” the women said. The logic was pretty clear.

I give Mr. Downes a C on the facts, and an A for effort.

Which puts me in a mind to try to find some Metro liberal – a politician, a journo, whatever – to do the same.

27 thoughts on “A Bridge From Nowhere

  1. MBerg wroe:
    “But a 9mm revolver?”
    Oh yeah? Well, some people can’t afford a fancy 10mm revolver, or even an Albanian army surplus 9.5mm revolver.
    Gun snob.

  2. Lunchbox, every libturd subscribes to the following axiom:

    handgun = revolver = pistol = bad

  3. BTW, I am the proud owner of an old Albanian army 9.33mm zhurmëm revolver. It was the predecessor to the famed 9.5mm shkelqenm.
    It’s hard to get ammo, I generally make the rounds myself out of bottle caps, and use ground up alka-seltzer tablets as a propellant. I follow Albanian tradition by carving the form of a cross on every bullet in case I run across a pack of wurdulak.

  4. Gosh Justplain, given I own a semi-automatic, a 9mm Taurus, hmm.. I guess your prejudiced, bigoted meme’ just might be oh, I don’t know, wrong.

    Second, given I’ve NEVER, not once, taken a dime of any form of welfare, from unemployment insurance to food stamps to Medicare or Social Security (yet), again, who is reaching into who’s pocket? How many of you conservatives can make that same statement? Can you for that matter, Justplain? Ever take an unemployment check? Disability? Hmmm?

    Last, Mergie, sure am glad you gun-loonz are such non-bigoted folks.. I mean, like Ted Nugent… sure am glad you’re not anti-semites and that instead it’s the “libturds”, nice adult discussion, as always.


  5. Pen,

    Well, that’s great – but you have to admit “9mm Revolver” is kind of a rookie flub.

    Last, Mergie,

    No, my name ain’t “Mergie”. It’s Mitch. Mister Berg if you’re nasty.

    sure am glad you gun-loonz are such non-bigoted folks.. I mean, like Ted Nugent…

    Why does Ted Nugent have anything to do with either all gun owners or, for that matter, me?

    And you might want to see to the rampant anti-semitism on the left before nattering about has-been former rock and rollers on “my side”.

    sure am glad you’re not anti-semites

    Where have I ever been an anti-semite? Please be specific.

    Fun trivia fact: both of my carry permit instructors were Jewish.

    nice adult discussion, as always.


  6. ***** justplainangry: I responded to your stupid, worthless comment from two days ago on the other post.***

  7. Milbank has decided that Cruz is an anti-semite because he used the word ‘chutzpah’.
    I sense some ground prep is being made by the liberal commentariat in case their nominee is Bernie and not Hillary. In Krugman’s latest column he states that the John Birch Society is control of the GOP. It’s a typically incoherent column by the Krugster. The Bircher mention occurs just after he claims the GOP wants to invade everywhere in the world, when the Birchers (or what remains of them) are notoriously against sending American troops overseas.

  8. Milbank has decided that Cruz is an anti-semite because he used the word ‘chutzpah’.

    What a schmuck. Honestly, the word makes complete sense (both Cruz’s and mine) in the context. Don’t we have enough real bigotry in the world so that we don’t have to dig up schmutz like this? Oy weh!

  9. No one wants to cheerlead Hillary. What Milbank and some other liberals journalists want is Cruz vs Sanders, so they can make the narrative Christian bigot capitalist against secular socialist Jew.

  10. Mitch, I do hate sounding like a smug know-it-all, but Charter Arms makes revolvers in 9mm and .40 cal., and in past ages so did Smith & Wesson and Ruger.

  11. Taurus makes a 9mm revolver as well, but that is not the point. They are very obscure and do not detract from fact 99.99% of libturds, including Penny who does not know that AR is a platform that comes in many different calibers, choose to showcase their utter ignorance every time they open their maws to opine on the subject of guns.

  12. No Penny, I have not drawn unemployment nor disability yet (never say never). But in case you don’t know – and you probably don’t since you are a model libturd who is illiterate on economics and thinks money grows on trees – and JD pointed out, those are insurance funds that I AM paying into with every check, whether I want to or not. That is MY money and I have no illusions that even though I am paying into SC (another insurance fund) I will likely not collect a penny of it. Do you understand the concept!? I did not think so. So, no, I have not reached into anyone’s pocket, you dimwitted imbecil.

  13. And, I can’t resist:

    Second, given I’ve NEVER, not once, taken a dime of any form of welfare, from unemployment insurance to food stamps to Medicare or Social Security (yet), again, who is reaching into who’s pocket? How many of you conservatives can make that same statement?

    So, to follow Penny’s logic here, since he/she him/herself, individually, never been on the dole, no libturd ever have. But because a conservative, somewhere, anywhere, fallen on bad luck and had to dig into the insurance funds they paid into through paycheck deductions and taxes, every conservative is “reaching in”.

    Besides, Penny, it appears you too dense to understand the plain concept of reaching into pockets of taxpayers to redistribute wealth vs collecting on insurance. You are the poster child for failures of public education. Or are you an intended consequence?

  14. fed, sometimes you are as dense and one tracked as Penny. You are so narrow minded you don’t even realize when somebody agrees with you.

  15. LMork,

    Abstruse technical trivia about firearms seems to act on you like the Batsignal on Batman 😀

    Yep, I *am* aware of revolvers for straight-sided cartridges – 9mm, .40S’nW, .45ACP, and .30 Carbine.

    But they’re rare, they require all sorts of adaptations (halfmoon clips), and let’s be honest, they’re not what Mr. Downes was shooting.

    But yes, you’re correct.

    Speaking of revolvers – that .455 Webley of yours has been the standard by which I compare all other revolvers in terms of “Fun to shoot”.

  16. Pingback: In The Mailbox, 02.11.16 : The Other McCain

  17. Last, Mergie, sure am glad you gun-loonz are such non-bigoted folks.. I mean, like Ted Nugent… sure am glad you’re not anti-semites and that instead it’s the “libturds”, nice adult discussion, as always.

    If Ted Nugent speaks for all gun owning conservatives, then Bernie Sanders speaks for all democrats. Nice to see you all are fully supportive of using the big black jackbooted government to drive this country into poverty. And that having the choice of 13 brands of deodorant is a horrible thing. Best that you just use Motherland Approved Deodorant.

    Too bad it smells like dead fish.

  18. Who can tell how many brands of deodorant Americans need?
    No, no, a thousand times no!
    Bernie Sanders knows just how many brands of deodorant Americans need. Exactly. He went to college, you know.

  19. Sanders said 23, I think. That said, I looked up Walgreen’s, and they list 292 types of men’s deodorant and antiperspirant, and 242 for women. May I suggest that Sanders’ obvious unfamiliarity with the deodorant aisle tells us why hippies smell?

  20. You can draw a direct cause and effect relationship between Walgreens’ 434 brands of deodorant and poor kids starving in the ghetto. That’s what a degree in poli-sci teaches you, man. If we all were bald like Bernard, we wouldn’t have to by combs or shampoo and the money could be spent on womyn’s collectives, and maybe our public schools wouldn’t be a shambles.

    What do you think of someone who calls himself a Democratic Socialist and says the following:
    “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”
    There are two glaring errors here:
    1) Although he calls himself a Democratic Socialist, Sanders has no confidence in the people to choose their political destiny. The people chose poorly, and the result was the Holocaust and global war.
    2) He thinks Hitler would have been stymied by a lost election in 1932.

  21. I’m working in California this week; one of the few states that deny me my right to self defense. It is an unsettling feeling to be disarmed when I know so many around me are armed, especially since this is the only place I’ve ever had a gun drawn me.

    What a fucking pit; can’t wait to get out of here.

  22. Not much of the ol’ frontier spirit left in Cali, eh, Swiftee? I work with a lot of native Californians out here on the Big Island. They tell me how nice it used to be.

  23. We kid about California, but it’s really not funny. These people are living an alternative reality.

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