Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Do Gun Safety Measures Push People Towards Impeachment Rage?

Bloomberg's Jared Keller graciously did me the favor of pointing me towards Topsy Analytics, which I used to examine how angry people have been about President Obama over the last month. As you can see, there's a tremendous spike in impeachment mentions as we approached today's announcement gun safety proposals. The tenfold jump in impeachment mentions is not matched by a similar jump in overall mentions of the President, which merely tripled on the day of the press conference.

This is really just astounding to me. There are roughly 4 million NRA members, and tens of millions of gun owners in America. A few thousand tweets, then, is something like 1 in 1,000 NRA members (who are more conservative than the typical gun owner) and 1 in 10,000 gun owners. Still, there's no similar level of impeachment outcry when the President proposes raising taxes, or supports gay marriage, or grants some form of citizenship or relief to illegal immigrants.

So what is it that makes guns so special? Why are the most zealous defenders of gun ownership so much more zealous than the most zealous defenders of gay rights, to the point of demanding the impeachment of a President who proposes a series of measures to reduce gun violence, none of which confiscate existing firearms nor impede the ability of law-abiding citizens to acquire more firearms?

1 comment:

An Incomplete Education said...

Much of people's understanding of the Second Amendment is founded in ignorance, some of it willful. For instance, above the entrance to the NRA HQ, it quotes the Second Amendment as:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Which leaves out the "Well regulated" and "Militia" and State freedom parts, of course, because they don't want to hear any of those.

Also, we've had a pretty strict cultural policy of not touching the Second Amendment. Folks have come up with their own ideas. And so, guns is power. You can hold it in your hand; feel the cold weight of it. You can imagine how it works, or spend time modifying it yourself.

You can't do that with a "3% tax hike on the income of individuals making $200,000 or families making $250,000."

Add in that the GOP's game since 1994 has been to "generate angry white guys" (Senator Graham), as opposed to coalition building, calling for impeachment is an easy way rally the base.