Saturday, January 05, 2013

"I'll go back and find something productive to do with my life. As opposed to the last 18 years."

Wow, now-former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) spilled all about the GOP House Caucuse to The Atlantic. Two nuggets jumped out to me, beyond info on how dysfunctional the House GOP really is. First, there is some serious mistrust between House and Senate Republicans ("With Mitch McConnell's reputation as a deal-maker, we... knew we were going to get back something that didn't look good."). Second, the schism between Boehner and his lieutenants is growing ("He had expended a lot of political capital to get the 85 votes [on the fiscal-cliff deal], and he felt a little betrayed that the other members of the elected leadership walked on him.").

I lost most of my respect for Boehner over Plan B, but gained a lot back when he broke the Hastert rule. The Sandy crap aside, I also admire him as a person for being a deal-maker and not being a punitive individual. That said, he is a terrible politician in a tight spot. I don't know how he gets anything done at all. And as LaTourette said, "If the purpose of the place is to govern -- if your ideology is you don't believe in governing, I can't say anything to that. But if you want a smaller, more responsible government, you have to go for the achievable. Or you can say 'no' all you want, but then you can't squawk if leadership has to go across the hall to get Democrats to vote for it... Boehner can't be a leader if he doesn't have guys behind him to lead."

And the GOP caucus aside, this was a particularly blistering statement from LaTourette about Washington: "I'll go back and find something productive to do with my life. As opposed to the last 18 years."

Thursday, January 03, 2013

How Guns Are Just Like Cars

A friend posted an image with what I consider to be a ludicrous argument about guns on Facebook today (see at right), and I wanted to post here what I said in her comments:

I agree that cars and guns are a great analogy, for several reasons.

First, a drunk driver chose to get drunk and get in the car. That's why cars for folks we believe will drive drunk can have ignition locks. Background checks, waiting periods, trigger locks, mandatory training, registration, and a more robust mental health system are firearms' equivalent of ignition locks. Second, we don't allow non-roadworthy vehicles like tanks or monster trucks to drive on our freeways. That's the equivalent of an assault weapons ban. Third, stop signs and driver's licenses don't mean the government is coming for our cars, and gun safety laws don't mean they're coming for our guns. Fourth, responsible car owners don't need all the laws we have. But we have them anyway, because it's important to keep irresponsible folks in check as much as we can, for the sake of the rest of us.

Indeed, I can only think of one major difference between guns and cars. Guns were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: Injury, often to the point of death. Maybe that's a deer in the woods, an enemy soldier in war, a criminal in your house, or a thug on the street, but it's always injury. Vehicles are obviously intended for a different purpose.

Guns don't kill people - people with guns kill people. People with knives do too, but not nearly as many, as evidenced by the knife massacre in China that injured over 20 people the same day the Sandy Hook gun massacre killed over 20. We can't kid ourselves; the guns do make a difference.

For more, I recommend this Ezra Klein article, "Twelve Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States." http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/