Saturday, February 02, 2013

Obama the skeet shooting 2nd Amendment advocate


Honestly when I first heard that President Obama does "skeet shooting all the time" up at Camp David it took me a little by surprise. But I'm used to being mildly taken aback by what this Commander in Chief does. Just when I think I have him pegged, he confounds my expectations and preconceived notions. Mind you it wasn't so surprising to learn that the President knows how to use a shotgun, just that he does so on a regular basis with male visitors (womenfolk playing tennis or reading novels) when he's at the retreat. Not my idea of weekend fun, but I have no issue with it. For the record, I have fired a few guns in my time. At summer camp I earned a number of sharpshooter badges at the target practice range. And I fired a pistol once on a HS overnight trip to a farm. Hunting and using guns for recreation is fine, so long as in controlled situations. Skeet shooting -- trying to destroy clay disks flung into the air -- is one thing; owning a battlefield grade assault weapon to defend your home or a concealed handgun ready to fire at someone on Main Street is something radically different. That is the main thing worth bearing in mind as we complete this debate on the Hill and hopefully pass some new laws.

Obama's confession in this month's New Republic is timely and relevant to the issue of what we should to do about the plague of gun violence in America. I think the President has a good point, similar to the one I've just made, but seems to be taking the low road for compromise when the times call for taking the high one to get effective legislation passed. And more profoundly he asks the wrong people to be better listeners. 

Read what Obama said in TNR:
"... I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations, and I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. 
Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that. 
So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes."
Here's Obama the skeet shooting 2nd Amendment advocate. But with with a big caveat. The President seems to want to draw a line between what should go on in "the country" vs "the city". Practically considered I have no idea where that line might be drawn. When you get off Route 1 and onto the Interstate? Or what kind of line it is or whether such a thing can be enforced. (We need laws that govern all people in all parts of our land.) He speaks of the old gun using habits of men rooted at the heart of our nation's little rural tradition, as if that is sacred and ultimately more important than the ongoing, ever-increasing carnage of scores of innocents. And finally he encourages electrified gun control advocates to listen up and absorb that narrative. As if the parents of the slain children in Newtown haven't done enough listening already. 

I mean who among us really needs to become better listeners?