NYT Conservative: Post-Florida Shooting Feels Like A #MeToo Moment. Also, The NRA Is An Unwitting Agent Of Russia

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 3:04 PM

I don’t know where to go with this. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens, who has made repeated calls for the gutting of our Second Amendment, now thinks we have another “#MeToo” movement brewing on guns after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last Wednesday. He’s also supposed to be the conservative voice for the newspaper. Oh, and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president for the National Rifle Association, is an unwitting agent for the Kremlin (via RCP) [emphasis mine]:

BRET STEPHENS, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, there doesn't seem to be even a moment of silence and compassion and thoughtfulness on the part of gun advocates for what has happened. There is something kind of aggressively and inhumanly repetitive about this line that guns are essential to American liberties, hard one to stomach when so many thousands of people are dying every year for this so-called liberty. 

There is also -- other than saying no, you don't hear a lot -- maybe banning bump stocks, you don't hear a lot from the gun lobby that says what exactly do you have to say to the parents and the families of these children? And the truth is they have nothing to say. They have an ideological dogma to offer them. And I think that also is galvanizing this moment. It really is I think. We agree entirely. This doesn't feel like after Columbine or after Sandy Hook, this feels like another #MeToo movement, that something has changed, people simply say that is enough...

Part of the failure of efforts so far is that there hasn't been a great goal toward which to work. I've been saying in the pages of the Times, we should repeal the Second Amendment. And I say this for a variety of reasons, but one of them is often piecemeal gun control efforts don't work because if you can buy one kind of gun in Indiana, you can bring it into Illinois. 

But the other thing is it's going to be very difficult to get at the root of the problem, which is about 300 million guns swimming around in the United States, unless you say, no, in fact, you do not have an automatic constitutional right to buy these kinds of weapons often in unlimited quantities. 

Now, I know that that right now when I say that, people say it's a pipe dream, it's never going to happen but 25 years ago if you had said marriage equality -- you set out the goal and then you work toward it. 


It also tells you how far the Republican Party and the conservative movement have fallen because I remember ten years ago, five years ago, certainly 20 years ago if conservatives stood for anything, they were on the side of law enforcement, right? That was the standard Republican position, trust the cops, trust the Bureau, trust the institutions. Now, civil libertarians might have complained for legitimate or illegitimate reasons.

What you now see is this decisive shift at the heart of the conservative movement, which is an attack on the core functions of government. I get if you're a conservative and you're saying, I don't know, government shouldn't be mandating what's taught in classrooms, or government is too intrusive in our economic life, well that's standard conservatism. 

When you're going after what a core function of government is, which is public safety, right, a core constitutional function, then you're talking about a very different kind of Republican party and what you're saying is exactly right. 

This plays into the Russian agenda because what Russia really wants to do is sow profound distrust among Americans at basic federal and state institutions. That is, that is their goal. It is essentially operation chaos from the Kremlin, and they now have an agent, an unwitting agent, I hope, in the name of Wayne LaPierre.


The NRA is not buying politicians. It's representing a broad segment of opinion which means that it falls to opinion makers and shapers to change those views. I mean, here we are in New York City. New York City has registered some of the most historic drops in crime in the last two decades, accounting for a large -- which is a large reason why crime nationwide has fallen so much. Talk to Bill Bratton, talk to Ray Kelly, talk to anyone who has been in charge of security. They will tell you that aggressive enforcement of gun laws has been a huge reason why this city went from north of 2000 homicides a year to whatever it is, I think under 400, historic lows, not seen since the 1940s or '50s. 

So, if conservatives are supposed to believe in the empirical evidence, here is the empirical evidence. I don't think it is impossible to make the case to sensible Americans that far greater restrictions on their so-called gun rights is imperative for public safety. It is an argument we can win. That being said, one of the reasons they succeed is the view like we're here to take your guns.

I'm not here to take people's guns. I'm simply here to say guns should be owned by responsible people and there should be high tests and a high bar to prove your responsibility.

First, let’s cool it with the MeToo comparisons. The two are completely different issues and just because New York, LA, and San Francisco—liberal media hubs—want gun control doesn’t mean the rest of the country agrees. Yes, CNN’s town hall in Sunrise Florida was intense, and had a lot of energy. It was also in one of the most liberal parts of the state. One town hall does not make for a final ruling on a national consensus on gun rights. Second, trust the institutions, yes—but there’s legitimate criticism, both local and federal. There were red flags on the shooter, Mr. Stephens. They were ignored. The FBI received a tip on the shooter on January 5. They did nothing. Director Chris Wray had to apologize, admitting protocols were not followed. Local law enforcement visited the shooter’s home 39 times over a 7-year period. He had threatened people with a gun before. So, government, at all levels, failed to protect us, yet you want them to set the “high bar” to prove one’s responsibility and aptitude for gun ownership? No way. Also, the NRA is an agent of Russia. That’s just insane. That’s not even worthy of a comment. But speaking of Russia and the FBI, there seems to be evidence of bias among key players who were involved in the probe looking into collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. There’s still no evidence on that front. And it seems they used a piece of political opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign—the dossier—to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on former Trump adviser, Carter Page. Obama’s DOJ secured a spy warrant for someone who had worked on the opposing candidate’s campaign. So, yeah—excuse us if we’re a bit skeptical of the FBI, especially after this Florida shooter tip fiasco. And it’s all their doing. 

As long as Republicans control enough seats to prevent passage of such a proposal in Congress and maintain their unprecedented strength in the state legislatures to block ratification, this Second Amendment repeal initiative is just a pipe dream. Also, gay marriage and gun ownership are two different issues, especially when it comes to intensity. Marriage equality doesn’t bring people to the polls - politicians proposing gun bans, confiscation, and Second Amendment repeal definitely will.