Brooks: ‘Sort of a National Frenzy on Both Sides’ in Gun Debate

On Friday’s “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that there is “sort of a national frenzy on both sides” on gun control.

Brooks stated that the relative lack of gun restrictions compared to looser gun laws since Sandy Hook is “because most legislatures are held by Republicans. And the second reason is, the gun issue is not about guns. It’s become sort of a proxy in a culture war. And a lot of people who are on the gun side feel, this isn’t really about the guns. They — it’s the elitists who want to crush our culture. And so they put a wall down and say ‘No compromise at all.’ And so, to me, the way to move forward is, let’s depressurize this, and let’s say, ‘We’re not trying to take your guns. We just want a few things.’ And that way, you can separate a lot of Republicans from the NRA and actually get some concrete things done. But, instead, we’re seeing the exact opposite. We’re seeing a rising of passion, a rising of rage, and sort of a national frenzy on both sides over this, which, to me, makes it much, much less likely we’re going to get something done.”

Later, he added, “The NRA did a horrible thing by turning to an absolutist position. They started the culture war. And then I think there has been a series of attacks, sometimes unheard by the people who are making them, but deeply heard, certainly on my Twitter feed, by people who think, ‘They’re just out to get us.'”

He continued, “So, take, for example, the CNN town hall. I was just following it on Twitter because I didn’t have access to a TV. There were two moments when the right side of my Twitter feed totally exploded. The first was when Marco Rubio was accused of being like a mass killer. And people thought that was outrageous on one side. The second, where Rubio said, it’s not like we want to take away all our guns, and the crowd applauded at that moment. And one of the valuable arguments that those of us who want to control guns have made is, no, we don’t want to take all of our guns. We just want to do these few practical things. And then the right side of my Twitter feed took a look at that applause and said, ‘See, they’re lying. They want to take all of our guns away.’ And I saw — you could see the walls shutting down and any chance of reasonable debate shutting down. And I don’t mean to say the attacks and the over-the-top passion is all on the left. That’s certainly not the case, but it has become a very roiling culture war, in a way that I don’t think is just healthy for an argument where 70 percent of the country is on one side.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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