The Gathering
August 02, 2012

IT'S JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT on a warm Friday near the Town Center mall in Aurora, Colorado, a sprawling suburban city east of Denver that seems upon first acquaintance to lack a center, and the instinct is to gather. Less than 24 hours ago, at the neighboring Century 16 Theater—its trash-strewn, popcorn-covered parking lot cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape—James Holmes, 24, allegedly lobbed tear-gas canisters into the aisles and opened fire with three different weapons at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing twelve people and wounding 58 others.

In Praise of Our Small and Dull Campaign
August 01, 2012

If there’s one thing politicos across the spectrum can agree on these days, it’s that the 2012 campaign is awfully “small.” In today’s Washington Times, Charlie Hurt slapped the s-word on President Obama, who has “become like an old, washed-up rock star, playing to small and smaller crowds but never quite able to get that old magic back.” We had Obama himself, in his comments on the Aurora, Colo. shootings, making what was surely a thinly veiled reference to the tit-for-tats of the campaign: “What matters at the end of the day is not the small things.

Do NRA Members Support More Gun Restrictions Than Members of Congress Do?
July 25, 2012

Greg Sargent reported yesterday that only ten members of Congress have signed their names to a statement the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence distributed several weeks ago (i.e., before the Aurora gun massacre). The statement doesn’t ask senators or representatives to pledge their support for banning assault weapons or for regulating the purchase of high-capacity magazines.

Yes, Really, Ban All the Guns
July 24, 2012

I went on a bit of a rant yesterday wondering why, even in ostensibly enlightened circles, it’s only respectable talk about banning assault weapons after a tragedy like Aurora, not, you know, all guns. It turns out that a friend of TNR made the same point on The Washington Post op-ed page about five years earlier—and he made it far better than I did. An excerpt: Guns are good because they provide the ultimate self-defense? While I’m sure some people believe that having a gun at their bedside will make them safer, they are wrong.

The Real Reason Assault Weapons Won’t Be Banned? The Market For Them Is Booming
July 24, 2012

 In the wake of the shooting in Aurora, it’s unsurprising that the demands have grown louder for restrictions to be placed on the purchase of the types of assault weapons that James Holmes allegedly used. But one thing that commentators have failed to note is just how much the pro-gun lobby’s resistance to such restrictions isn’t just a matter of ideology or cultural attachment, but a calculation of dollars and cents.

July 24, 2012

My friend Charles Lane, a former New Republic editor with whom I've tangled in the past over income inequality, has a Washington Post column up today (“Europe's Role In U.S. Gun Culture”) that everyone should read.

July 24, 2012

My friend Charles Lane, a former New Republic editor with whom I've tangled in the past over income inequality, has a Washington Post column up today ("Europe's Role In U.S. Gun Culture") that everyone should read.

Aurora and Batman
July 24, 2012

How startling to see the speed with which the film business can respond to audience taste. Within hours of the massacre at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, (far quicker than the removal of the Joe Paterno statue), Warner Brothers were in action. Premieres in Paris and Tokyo were cancelled. Most of the players in the movie—writer-director Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, and Anne Hathaway—issued statements of sorrow.

Why Obama Didn't Push The Assault Weapons Ban
July 23, 2012

Yesterday, the White House made it clear that they did not intend to pursue additional gun control measures in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Although this insulates the president from accusations of politicizing a national tragedy, the decision was probably motivated by political considerations. While a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons is potentially quite popular—popular enough that on Friday I argued that the President could safely pursue an assault gun ban—decision-makers in Washington and Chicago saw things differently. The likely reason?

Can We Please Have an Honest Debate About Guns Now?
July 20, 2012

The deadly shooting in Aurora, Colorado is a tragedy. So why don’t we want anything good to come out of it? That’s the consequence, after all, of insisting that we avoid “politicizing” a horrible event like this. Instead we’re supposed to sorrowfully shake our heads, proclaim it an act of senseless violence, and pretend that comforting words are all we have to offer in its wake. Garance Franke-Ruta wrote this morning about the “template of grief” that is so heartbreakingly familiar now when something like this takes place.