Comment of the Day: “Unethical Quote of the Month: The Washington Post”


I don’t agree with everything in Michael’s  take-down of a comment by Eric R. to my post, “Unethical Quote of the Month: The Washington Post,” but as an example of the genre ( mastered on Ethics Alarms by the 2011 Commenter of the Year tgt and others), it’s a gem. The main point, that the Second Amendment has significant symbolic value as a right that reminds the government that the citizens of a democracy will not bare their throats to central power, is a crucial one, which I touched on in an earlier Ethics Alarms post. An armed insurrection against the government would be a catastrophe, of course. Still, while those Americans who believe that arming citizens against possible government tyranny trust too little, the citizens who argue that the government should be able to disarm the populace in the name of safety trust far too much.

I did remove one small non-substantive part of the post, because I really dislike mockery as a device on Ethics Alarms (the unedited comment is still under the original post.) I particularly think Michael’s identification of the reasons underlying the recent spate of mad dog killings is seriously off the mark. My own list, in order of influence would be…

  1. The difficulty of getting seriously disturbed individuals institutionalized, and the lack of places to keep and treat them.
  2. The availability of assault-type weapons to such disturbed individuals.
  3. The failure to enforce existing gun regulations
  4. The increasing difficulty and complexity of life generally, making it harder for those who are poor, poorly trained, not especially bright, or emotionally fragile to compete and succeed.
  5. The pervasive media, which creates false norms of success and happiness that are unachievable for most Americans.
  6. The culture of guns and violence, which is intensified by the entertainment media, but which is also a core American characteristic that isn’t going away.
  7. The publicity given to mass murderers by the news media.

But I digress.

Here is Michael’s tough Comment of the Day, to the post “Unethical Quote of the Month: The Washington Post”. The bold sections below are quotes from Eric’s comment: Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Month: The Washington Post

“When will America choose to protect children instead of guns?”

—- The headline writer for the Washington Post, introducing columnist Petula Dvorak’s column this morning on the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting, which took the lives of 26, including 20 children.

Newtown shooting

Presumably the Post’s headline writer was inspired to come up with that headline by the similar statement from Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, who was quoted in Dvorak’s essay. Edelman said,

“This latest terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is no fluke. It is a result of the senseless, immoral neglect of all of us as a nation to fail to protect children instead of guns and to speak out against the pervasive culture of violence. It is up to us to stop these preventable tragedies.”

This is not quite as irresponsible and dangerous as the Post’s headline, but it is close. The suggestion that greater safety and security compels and justifies abandoning the core rights that make the United States unique and free is the ticket to tyranny, benevolent or otherwise. Continue reading