Guest columnist Joseph Blumenthal: The party of law and order?

  • U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, left, waves during a campaign appearance with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in Huntsville, Ala., on Monday. AP

Published: 5/25/2022 4:18:55 PM
Modified: 5/25/2022 4:16:58 PM

Here’s a question: If someone consistently espouses policies which lead to a certain result, can it be inferred that this result was desired by the proponent of those policies?

Just about every Republican politician in the United States favors less regulation of firearms. The Supreme Court is probably about to rule that American citizens have a right to carry concealed weapons almost anywhere. The arms industry is geared up to increase the already enormous supply of guns in our country (including military assault weapons), and vigorously lobbies to preserve its right to do so with minimal restrictions. The National Rifle Association is relentless in its defense of our right to bear arms. And many of our politicians, led by our 45th president, use their bully pulpit to demonize large groups of people, effectively giving permission to sick individuals to act out their violent and racist fantasies.

I don’t mean to suggest that any one Republican politician advocates a crime such as the May 14 murder in a Buffalo supermarket or Wednesday’s slaughter of children in Texas. But their promotion of guns and gun culture increases the accessibility of weapons of all types, and therefore increases the possibility that they will be used for their intended purpose, which is to kill people.

I know that there are legitimate uses for weapons. But I believe that rifles designed for sport hunting and guns used in target practice or self-defense during crimes are responsible for a relatively small number of our gun deaths.

Our Constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms, and Republican politicians (and their Supreme Court) act as if there must be no limits on this right. We’re all in favor of free speech, but recognize that we can’t falsely yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater. Can’t it be argued that the promotion of assault rifles and concealed carrying of guns is analogous to that? Thus violent young men are given the means to inflict mass murder.

Arguments in bars that might lead to fisticuffs instead lead to murder investigations, as do incidents of road rage. Bouts of depression too often lead to suicide. Well-armed right wing militias are encouraged to bring about their dream of overthrowing the corrupt government in Washington, as they tried to do (albeit without guns) on Jan. 6, 2020.

Over the years dozens of suggestions for sensible gun regulation have been made, but all have been rejected because they might threaten our Second Amendment rights. Even research about the nature and extent of gun violence and what regulation might work can’t surmount steadfast Republican opposition to anything that could even lead to gun regulation. Republicans argue that we already have gun regulations, but does anyone believe that they’re working to keep gun violence under control?

The result of gun proliferation can rightly be called “American Carnage” (I use Trump’s term deliberately). I believe that Republican politicians and the gun makers hope that the increase in violence will also lead to an increase in fear among the general population that will result in an increase in gun sales and encourage people to vote for politicians who claim to promote “law and order.”

How does a political party whose policies result in ever more gun violence get away with calling itself the party of law and order? Every time there is a mass shooting they should be called out and named as those who would cause an increase in chaos, violence and human suffering.

Joseph Blumenthal lives in Northampton.
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