Josh Marshall writes:

But a huge amount of the current gun debate, the argument for the gun-owning tribe, amounts to the gun culture invading my area, my culture, my part of the country.

That is where I think that Marshall goes wrong in his whole essay. No part of the country belongs to his “tribe” any more that it does to the “gun owning tribe.” I’m no more part of the gun culture than Marshall (I think), but the Supreme Court has ruled gun ownership (subject to numerous restrictions both potential and actual), a constitutional right. For the whole country. People owning and carrying guns (subject to the rules of a given jurisdiction) are no more “invading” his part of the country than would be people organizing a legal protest in favor of a political cause Marshall strenuously opposes. Marshall’s consciousness might be raised by attending a gun pride parade. Or maybe not, as Marshall writes:
But it captured a mentality that does seem pervasive among many more determined gun rights advocates — basically that us non-gun people need to be held down as it were and made to learn that it’s okay being around people carrying loaded weapons.

Actually attending a gun pride parade (or just watching one go by) might be an opportunity for Marshall to learn something. No, that something isn’t that “non-gun people need to be held down as it were.” The “as it were” does all the work since Marshall never wrote that anyone has suggested to touch a hair on his head. Marshall could learn that public spaces are not designed to suit only his particular preferences and, as a result, he will sometimes see things that that will make him uncomfortable. He could learn that his expectation that attitudes and actions that he finds unpleasant (though legal) cannot not be confined to only those regions of the country he chooses to avoid. He could learn that his comfort zone is not the extent of pluralism, and that his fellow citizens engaged in legal behavior do not need a license from him to engage in legal and peaceful behaviors in those public places Marshall mistakenly believes to be his own.

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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