Today in the dastardly Washington Post, a long-term Gallup poll on the public’s attitude towards gun control showed that the public’s mood over the last 25 years or so has inverted, with a majority now opposing gun control 54-44 where in 1990 it stood at 78-19 the other way down.
This doesn’t track with the increase of mass shooting Columbine like events. It tracks with the reduction in crime.
I speculate that the difference is that while Americans won’t tolerate crime, they simply force themselves to believe that incidents like Aurora, Tucson, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. etc. are random events, beyond anyone’s control to prevent or avoid, much like a plane crash.
This doesn’t make the absurd argument that such events would be avoided if everyone carried a gun, but it doesn’t help the pro control argument either, since it’s hard to see how as long as there are any guns available you can prevent these things.
This is because people are terrible at—almost incapable of—stochastic thinking. This handicap in our minds has allowed the persistence of global warming denial, an inability to understand race and poverty, and many other problems. Everything is a direct cause-and-effect morality play about individuals and what you would do in a certain situation.
It’s hugely ironic that in a country that has heightened security requirements on just about everything, we leave weapons that can harm lots of people so relatively untraced.
But this is not the day for this issue. Using it at all will only cost opportunities in other more universal and fundamental areas. It is a losing issue because as long as crime is down, people won’t care and the intense opposition and funding of the NRA will make quick work of any attempt to do otherwise.
Is it worth enduring a President Romney? No.