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Journalists’ Gun Policy Arguments Bore Me to Death

Just Don't Bore MeBy now we’ve all head of the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport terminal. Joe Huffman speculates whether he picked Florida specifically because Florida banned carrying firearms in airports. Despite what many would accuse, this is not crazy talk: mass shooters often carefully plan their attacks, and consider the possibility of counter attack.

One issue I have with gun policy debates today that play out in the mainstream press is they’ve just gotten utterly boring. Take one of my favorite boring arguments: “He was a law abiding gun owner, until he wasn’t.” You don’t say? People don’t become criminals until they commit a crime? Bowl me over with a feather! This is essentially the argument of Daniel Ruth, columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, who is upset the Florida legislature is debating whether banning firearms in non-sterile areas of airports actually deters anyone intending to go on a killing spree from carrying out the deed. You’d think most of the article would be a discussion about that, but you’d be wrong.

Throughout his article you have passages like: “which would allow some 1.7 million people with concealed carry gun permits to move freely through airport terminals while armed.” Does that not imply something is wrong with 1.7 million people having Florida concealed carry permits? Of course it does, because later Ruth states that allowing firearms in non-sterile areas of airports: “assumes those 1.7 million gun-packing Floridians are Atticus Finch meets Dirty Harry — cool and calm under pressure and always blessed with perfect aim.”

So what bores me with all of this? Here’s the core issue: is society better or worse off allowing ordinary people to possess the ability to effectively apply deadly defensive force in public places. It’s not even really about guns, because if we had particle disrupters as the leading technology to apply deadly force, we’d be debating that. On the core issue at hand, the side represented by Daniel Ruth has pretty much lost the policy debate. Their current arguments on this topic are little more than channeling their anxiety at having lost by attacking the people who won.

It’s not that I have an issue, per se, with debates on the margins of a core issue: if you want to argue allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools risks a gun carelessly carried in a purse ending up in the hands of a student, I think we can have that debate. I can even think of arguments about guns in airport terminals that I might not agree with, but that wouldn’t bore me to death. But people like Daniel Ruth aren’t really interested in making actual arguments on the margins, or even rearguing the core debate with fresh arguments. They are only interested in public expressions of their anxiety at having lost. What surprises me, and is the reason I have absolutely zero respect for the media, is that anyone bothers to publish it. I am interested in sharing and debating ideas, but not so much reading or talking about the social anxiety of journalists.

2 Responses to “Journalists’ Gun Policy Arguments Bore Me to Death”

  1. dwb says:

    “What surprises me, and is the reason I have absolutely zero respect for the media, is that anyone bothers to publish it.”

    Nah, .orgs have to try every once in a while and see if they can get the ball rolling. Donors demand it. “Journalists” are hacks, and these .orgs shop a story until someone runs it. “journalists” figure if they don’t run it, someone else will, and they gotta eat.

    “Journalism” these days is not about facts or debate. It’s about giving your readers a warm, cozy feeling so they remain sticky and consume advertising. the NYT may as well advertise “stay with us, on a cold day the bubble is warm.”

  2. Michael Bane says:

    I have had the dubious “pleasure” of meeting Dan Ruth, a blustering, largely brainless blowhard riding a dying horse. When the newspaper finally goes to its well deserved grave, detritus like Dan Ruth will have a ready made position of “homeless wino” waiting for him.

    Time for the dinosaur of the MSM to go quietly into extinction…

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