Detroit loves nothing better than hosting a huge sporting event. The city is really at its rowdy, friendly best when thousands of out-of-towners drop in for a Super Bowl, or an All-Star Game, or a Final Four.
Eh, I guess it could be worse. The forecasts called for anywhere from one to 10 inches — talk about hedging your bets — and it seems we fell well into the short end of that zone. It won’t last, but it’ll leave a lot of North Carolinians convinced they made the right call in moving south. I suppose I’m backing the home team, although truth be told I have no interest. No one in the house does. Guess what my husband said Saturday night: “Until I saw it spelled out, I thought Michigan State was playing a team from Alaska.” UConn, Yukon — what’s the difference, really?
OK, so: On to today.
Let’s start with a stipulation: Everyone is blind to their own side’s faults. And so the argument that starts “If (my guy, whom you hate) and done the same thing as (your guy), you’d be screaming bloody murder” just isn’t worth having.
Or if it is worth having, at some point someone is going to say, “Well, he started it.”
So there’s the stipulation. Ideas have consequences, the right lectured the left for, oh, years and years and years. The inventor of the birth-control pill envisioned it being used by married women in their 40s who wanted no more children, and whoops, he touched off the sexual revolution. And so on. To this day, you can still find conservatives trying to link whatever they disapprove of to a “culture” that encourages it, everything from sexy Bratz dolls to gay marriage to whatever has a bug up their butt at any given moment.
Only here’s something they’re strangely silent on: Our current trend of mass murders and shootings. Guy bursts into a Unitarian church, says he wants to kill liberals. Silence. Guy kills three cops, friends say he fears “the coming Obama gun ban.” Crickets, also caviling. Who, us? Encourage an atmosphere of fear and suspicion? I don’t know who you’re talking about. Certainly not us.
I knew the cold-dead-fingers contingent had passed a milestone when, after one of these slaughters, the talking points became “well, if only one of the potential victims had been packing, s/he could have expertly returned fire and taken the maniac out.” (This isn’t something you heard after the guy shot up the nursing home last week, I noted.) Not so much soul-searching, however.
Of course, if there was, it would be easy to miss. I recommend Eric Boehlert’s excellent column for Media Matters, “Rampage Nation,” about the steadily declining interest in the steadily increasing number of massacres nationwide:
Killing sprees, especially the ones that have erupted since the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, just don’t hold journalists’ attention like they used to.
Even more telling was the way the press avoided addressing the issue of gun control in connection with the Alabama rampage. There was a virtual media ban on the topic last week. And that’s become the media’s trademark pattern when covering the mass murders that stain the country — they’re treated as though they’re isolated incidents and as though there is no larger public policy issue that ties them together. The press has pretty much embraced the old NRA mantra: Guns don’t kill people. People do.
That I would disagree with. Rather, I think gun control doesn’t come up because gun control is absolutely a lost cause in this country. As I have been cynically telling people for years, America has made its bloody bed, and now it has to lie in it. What’s more, any talk of gun control, no matter how reasonable or incremental, only serves to make things worse, as we saw in Pittsburgh this weekend. There’s nothing like a tentative policy statement made by some C-list legislator somewhere for firing up the troops, and before you know it some lunatic is taking out cops because the president is coming for his guns.
How good is this sort of talk for the gun business? Very, very good.
Meanwhile, Dave Cullen has produced what sounds like an excellent book on Columbine, 10 years later. Seems a long time ago, doesn’t it?
OK, so the week begins with snow, but somewhere in here we have baseball and, by week’s end, spring again. So fingers crossed.