Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gun grabbing in Chicago: Should I care?

The mayor of Chicago now wants all gun purchases in Chicago to be videotaped, calling gun violence the city's "most urgent problem". It certainly is, and has been at least since the late 1960's when the hundreds of thousands of dollars in block grants were given to the Vice Lords gang in some Great Society experiment to turn thugs respectable (the VL's used the veneer of respectability and the funds to arm themselves and grow).  Sure, it's another creeping check on the second amendment, just like the supposed micromanaging of peoples soft drink choices in New York offends the liberty of many.

But what is to be done in Chicago, and should I care?  You can hardly blame the sentiment behind it.  Shootings are what one thinks about when one considers Chicago.  The problem is that there is currently a cultural/cognitive dissonance going on with regard to guns.  You can't go a week in the NYT/Salon/Slate/WaPo media complex without some kind of identity politicking about macho redneck gun culture. Unfortunately, the cities don't have too many Bubba's shooting up the place, but rather race-based gangs, and the suburbs and progressive towns don't either: they get nerdy, passive-aggressive dweebs from liberal backgrounds who've lost the thread between video games and real life and decide to go postal.

I live in a somewhat liberal outpost in a red state.  It's pretty doubtful that such levels of statism is coming to my town soon. Libertarians and gun rights advocate are vigilant against slippery slopes, and in the past, I shared the slippery slope outlook. For example I counted myself as being pretty close to a free speech absolutist.   I had that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty view, and that meant that folks like the ACLU were there to make sure that Pfoofer's Corners, Wyoming had the same rights as the Lower East Side. But lately I've begun to accept more of the idea of  states and towns as democracy laboratories.  Local initiatives on topics like fracking and weed seem to be stronger than ever. Granted, Chicago my not be my idea of democracy, but let's face it:  Chicago and New York attract fairly statist people, and in Chicago, there's a lot of people calling for the state to be their patriarch.  If they feel like they need more adult supervision, well, let them have it.