Monday, January 13, 2014

Gun Writer Banished For Mild Comment; Discourse Deteriorates More

This is how bad our national discourse has gotten:
Seems we can't have a rational political discussion
of guns, or anything else for that matter.

A guy named Dick Metcalf was until recently one of the nation's top gun journalists in the nation, has gone missing because he dared suggest, however gently, that there could be some minor restrictions on gun purchases, according to the New York Times. 

Metcalf suggested in a column he wrote for Guns & Ammo that maybe, just maybe, there could be minor restrictions on gun ownerships. Nothing major, mind you. Just a little.

After all, all rights enshrined in the Constitution have some restrictions. Take freedom of speech: "You cannot falsely and deliberately shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theater....the question is when, does regulation become infringement?," Metcalf wrote in his column.

He gave a for instance for gun restrictions He argued that 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry license is not an infringement.

Judging from the reaction from gun enthusiasts, or at least their leaders, you'd think Metcalf has suggested overthrowing the U.S. government and replace it with a Scientology dictatorship or something.

And therein lies the problem. You can't make it in politics or advocacy unless you're a hard core Internet  troll.

It would have been one thing to argue Metcalf was wrong in his suggestion and that there is no need for training before obtaining a conceal carry license. People disagree all the time, who cares?

It was how people reacted to Metcalf's pretty mild suggestion.  Here's how the New York Times described it:

"The backlash was swift, and fierce. Readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Death threats poured in by email. His television program was pulled from the air.

Just days after the column appeared, Mr. Metcalf said, his editor called to tell hi that two major gun manufacturers had said 'in no uncertain terms' that they could no long do business with InterMedia Outdoors, the company publishes Guns & Ammon and co-produces his TV show if he continued to work there. He was let go immediately."

So, apparently, the way to handle anyone who doesn't exactly adhere to the exact party line, and an extreme one at that, is to silence them completely.

This one incident involving gun journalist Metcalf seems to define how Washington works. You have to have an extreme position, and anyone who suggests a teeny, tiny bit of compromise, or a little nuance becomes a pariah.

So everyone is afraid to suggest anything constructive, for fear they'd lose their job. So no ideas get generated, nothing gets done and the nation stagnates.

I get it what happened to Metcalf won't end Western Civilization As We Know It. It's bad for him of course.

But if every idea is shot down because it doesn't exactly adhere to some sort of wacko party line, then things are really going to go off the rails.

Actually, they kind of have, really.

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