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?
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