Monday, October 05, 2015

OPINION - Brooks and Dionne 10/2/2015

"Brooks and Dionne on mass shooting frustration, Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi comments" PBS NewsHour 10/2/2015


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the national reaction to a mass shooting in Oregon, a speaking gaffe by the potential next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and impressive fundraising by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  President Obama expresses frustration and anger in the wake of yesterday’s mass shooting in Oregon.  But is there anything he or anyone can do?  Will there be a battle among House Republicans to replace Speaker Boehner?  And what does Russia’s involvement in Syria mean for the U.S.?

We turn to the analysis of New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.

Mark Shields is away tonight.

And welcome, gentlemen.

E.J. DIONNE, Washington Post:  Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So here we are yet again, another mass shooting.  They seem to be happening every few weeks.

David, the President said yesterday at his news conference that he thinks the country’s grown numb, that these are happening so often.  Is he right?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  I actually don’t think so.

The reaction certainly among the people I have spoken to is one of impatience and growing frustration.  And so I don’t think we have grown numb to them.  I don’t think we have taken a practical and a pragmatic approach to trying to prevent them.

Obviously, as we heard earlier, they’re phenomenally hard to prevent.  I’m for gun control laws, as I have said so many times.  We have gone through a ritual on this program.


DAVID BROOKS:  And I don’t think they will do much good.  They might do a little good, just because there are 250 million guns in this country.  I think it’s just very hard to control the ones, but they might erect a barrier.

There’s obviously problematics with getting a list of people who have had mental health issues to run against a registry.  That’s obviously a problematic thing to do.  I have emphasized the make-believe function, that the profile of these guys who do it is very similar, and it is in this case, alienated young guy with loneliness issues and self-worth issues.

And if we looked around for young men like that in our society, maybe we could do something there.  I guess I would invite people to de-ideologize it, if that’s a word and to think pragmatically about the many steps we could do to hopefully make some dent, but it’s going to be hard to make a dent in this, I think.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  It is hard, E.J., and yet, as the president said, something has to happen, something has to happen.  What is the something to change?

E.J. DIONNE:  I must say, I loved seeing his anger about this, because I think he reflected the anger of a lot of people.

And I actually liked it when he said this is something we should politicize, because the barriers to de-ideologizing it, as David said, are political barriers.  And I was so struck by some of the responses of the Republican candidates to this.  Ben Carson, you’re not going to handle it with more gun control because gun control only works for normal — the normal law-abiding citizens.

Well, all laws only work for normal law-abiding citizens.  Only with guns do we hear these arguments.  Same with Marco Rubio, gun crime is committed by criminals.  Criminals ignore the law.  Well, yes.  But, again, that’s an argument against all law.  We have to try some things.

There are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have our rate of gun violence.  You know, David is quite right that we have to worry about loners and alienated people.  We have to do better on mental health.  But we’re not the only country in the world with loners and alienated people.

And I think we have to be willing to take some steps on guns.  And I don’t know what’s going to shake us to get there, but I think the President is saying we can’t just sit here anymore.  I think there is an anger that’s growing out there that may at some point get conservatives in particular, who ought to be in a different position than they are on this issue.

Here is the piece discussed in above article.

"Why the U.S. has done almost nothing to stop mass shootings" PBS NewsHour 10/2/2015


SUMMARY:  The violence in Oregon is one of nearly a thousand mass shootings to have taken place since the Newtown shooting in 2009.  For all of the discussion of what can be done to prevent future tragedies, little has changed.  What can be done to stop the violence?  Judy Woodruff talks with Todd Clear of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice and Jeffrey Swanson of Duke University.

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