Obama’s advisers have calculated that the longer they wait, the more distance there is from the Newtown massacre and the greater the risk that the bipartisan political will to tackle gun violence will dissipate.
At the White House meeting, Stanek said, “the vice president indicated that there was a very short timeline for him to get back to the president with his recommendations because the American public has a short memory.
Washington Post, White House weighs broad gun-control agenda in wake of Newtown shootings.
In other words, “they’re probably not going to go for this if we give them a chance to think about it, so pass a law now before they sober up.” Screw you, Joe Biden.
Even if you, reader, think more gun regulations are needed, this ought to give you pause. Making laws in a hurry based on transitory passions is a Bad Idea. Remember the “Patriot” Act?
You might not, because “the American public has a short memory.” It’s truly a curse. If we had a longer memory, we would not trust our government as much; the government would not keep getting away with the same crap every time our passions were inflamed; and our passions would not be so often inflamed, because we would remember the last media circus, and the one before that, and maybe even the one before that.
We might remember that we all are mortal.
It might be nice if all of us could to see our children grow up, hold our grandchildren, and die quietly in our sleep. But every day lots of people die, and many of them leave behind parents who mourn. Making ourselves and our children safer is a good. But a good is not an absolute.
Despite the cries, in the heat of emotion from a tragedy like Newtown, of “if it saves one life…,” when we have a chance to cool down and reflect we realize that there are hidden costs and opportunity costs to any action we might take, and (barring mental illness) we never choose when sober to make our children safer at any cost.
We do well to hold our mortality comfortably in our minds. Some day you will die, and I will too. When we remember that, we might hold our children a little closer, reflect on the sort of world we want to leave them and their children, and work to make it so.
If the world you wish to leave your progeny is “a world without guns,” get to it. If it is “a world without government,” you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. (If it is “a world without danger,” please give it a little more thought.) But bear in mind that the clock is running down; a freer world is, by definition, less free; a freer world is less safe; and every minute you spend trying to solve one problem all of the others are getting ahead of you.