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On Bubbles

May 19, 2015

Allow us to amend some of what we said in our previous post. Words like stupid and dumb offend people, and when people are offended, there’s no real dialogue. So we apologize to Bob S., who took umbrage, and to anyone else similarly off-put. Our bad.

Now let us jump back into the same topic, the SAFE Act, and try to argue more thoughtfully and diplomatically. And as we do, let us appropriate Bob’s metaphor of the bubble, which, to us, means a situation in which an individual or group is self-absorbed and not seeing the big picture.

We think there are at least three sets of bubbles here. The first affected gun owners just after the SAFE Act came into being. They got really worked up by the legislation. In fact, they “panicked.”  That’s not a pejorative on our part. It’s a word used repeatedly in news articles from 2013. Here’s a typical article from that period:

Take a moment to read it. It’s fascinating. It describes a run on gun stores akin to the run on banks during the Great Depression. People rushed to buy firearms and people rushed to buy ammunition in large quantities.

The price of ammo skyrocketed during this period, but people kept buying all they could get. Some people, including those in lower income groups for whom this really wasn’t advisable, spent thousands of dollars on ammunition. They were hoarding.

We were wrong to ridicule those who did this. We don’t want to do that again, but we do have to say that in the strict economic sense, this wasn’t rational behavior. There was nothing in the SAFE Act itself that should have resulted in a panic like this. It was an overreaction by New York gun owners and they only hurt themselves by paying way too much for ammo.

The second bubble involves the same group of people. They are convinced that the SAFE Act is an awful thing, an egregious breach of their constitutional rights.  Those who believe this should not be referred to as “gun nuts” or any other derogatory term. Indeed, you can hold this view and be an intelligent, decent, honorable person. But two things must be said of such people.  The first is that they have an expansive view of the 2nd Amendment, and the second is that they are in the minority in New York right now.

On the first point – there are a lot of people who believe wholeheartedly “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people to bear arms.” The problem with that is logic and precedent. Of course, we restrict the right of people to bear arms. We don’t allow people to possess all types of weapons. For example, you can’t have a machine gun or a bazooka. And when laser guns and electromagnetic pulse guns are perfected – it will be a totally reasonable thing to restrict access to them.

“Reasonable restriction” is the key. Reasonable people all agree with that.

On the second point, the polls are clear. Almost 70 percent of New Yorkers support the SAFE Act.  Almost 60 percent support it upstate.

What’s our point here? It’s simple. Gun owners – good, decent, honorable people that they are – are in a bubble if they think the SAFE Act is going to be repealed. There isn’t support in the public to do that, and certainly not support in the Assembly and Governor’s office to do that.

And this brings us to the last bubble, which involves Senate Republicans and their new leader, John Flanagan. We’re fans of this guy. We think he has a chance of bringing back Republicanism in New York – but only if he sees the big picture and positions his conference accordingly – in a moderate way that broadens the party’s appeal, especially to young people.

We think it’s a mistake for him to allow himself and the conference to be defined by opposition to the SAFE Act, as well as efforts to stop global warming and the Dream Act. That’s what he’s doing right now. Yes, there’s a reason. He’s trying to consolidate support with his upstate members, but it’s a short-sighted, counterproductive strategy. That’s because, again, statewide, 70 percent of New Yorkers support the SAFE Act, and 80 percent are concerned about global warming and its consequences, and 90 percent of Hispanics, soon to be the largest minority group, feel strongly in favor of the Dream Act. (We’re going to write a separate, longer post about how the Dream Act is being distorted ridiculously. In a nutshell now, it’s this: It’s not free tuition for immigrant kids. It’s allowing children of immigrants who are citizens the same access to tuition assistance and college loans that everyone else receives. The whole construct of  “We are working hard and they, those people are getting free tuition” is not stupid – we’ve sworn off the use of that word – but it’s badly misinformed.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Victoria Clark permalink
    May 19, 2015 12:19 PM

    Another insightful column!

  2. Bill Conners permalink
    May 19, 2015 12:53 PM

    I re-visited the Flanagan piece and was hard pressed to feel offended. Sure, people get offended at much of what is said today, it’s the very nature of the world we live in. It was just a few days ago that a California Congresswoman got everyone’s thong in a twist when she used a war whoop to make reference to Native Americans. She was attempting to contrast them to the rice and curry variety of Indian. I suppose I could cry foul every time FLOTUS gets on her soapbox about obesity. It’s none of her business what I weigh. I pay for my own health insurance (unlike much of her constituency she caters to, and I don’t think it is at all appropriate for her to be poking her busy-body nose into my eating habits (I also buy my own food(without benefit of Food Stamps, I might add)). Every time we turn around someone is either offering an apology for something they said, or someone is demanding an apology for something someone else said. Maybe it’s about time a few of our elected officials started apologizing for the mess they’ve made of things – including the SAFE Act. Or better yet, don’t apologize, just start doing a better job. We the People would do well to develop a thicker skin and stop taking offense every time we hear something that was most times intended to get a rise out of us in the first place. “Mommy he’s teasing me,” Mommy, he’s poking me,” Mommy he’s making fun of me.” We act like a bunch sniveling little brats, always looking for something to be offended by, always looking for an apology. Grown up,,, that forced apology means nothing,,,,,,,,,, more often than not it isn’t sincere anyway.

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