Thursday, February 11, 2010

Overheard in a bar . . .

. . . . down the street from the Illinois Capitol in Springfield:

Veteran Politico: "Okay, tell me how you win Mcdonald. How do you lay out the argument that wins Mcdonald for you?"
Chicago City Attorney: "Honestly? I don't see any way."

Hearing a Chicago attorney admit they're likely to lose McDonald v. Chicago in a big way is like hearing your wife say she loves you. Sure, it's nothing new, and maybe she thinks it should go without saying, but it's still nice to hear it out loud.


mikeb302000 said...

With the Court essentially the same as it was a couple years ago, it's practically a given that you'll win.

My question is how long will the pendulum continue to swing in your direction.

Anonymous said...

Hey mikeb302000 - how long did the pendulum swing your way? Since the sixties? Maybe earlier, depending on one's outlook. By my reckoning, 50 yrs. Ha Ha - enjoy the pasta in Italy.


mikeb302000 said...

Thanks I will.

Don said...

Much longer than that; it depends on when you consider the pendulum to have begun "swinging" toward anti-gun sentiments. You could say it was in the first half of the 19th century, as a combination of fears of dueling young men and armed negro insurrections led to specific controls, especially on concealed weapons.
Then in the second half of the 19th century, you had the rush to disarm black Americans running up against the best intentions of Reconstruction, which led to the first wide, general gun controls (which were often not enforced generally, but only against blacks and other minorities . . . at first.
Then there was the early part of the 20th century, when large cities began passing messes like New York's "Sullivan Law." The authors of that law understood that they were creating an excuse to disarm minorities like Irish and Southern European Catholics . . . but many voters thought they were disarming everyone in general in the interest of safety. Same deal for the 1920s and 1930s hysteria over gangsters, which led to the 1934 Gun Control Act . . . and that brings us to the 1960s and the second Gun Control Act in 1968, pushed by public fears of anarchy, riot and assassinations.

To the extent that there is a "pendulum," its history goes like this in America:

There was a widespread culture of going armed and maintaining as much self-sufficiency and independence as possible.

Then, people began to attempt to bring Americans under more control in the interest of harmonious, urban living . . . and later, to organize and push for disarmament in a more organized way. That spans from about 1865 to 2010.

Much more recently, and after many telling blows had been landed against the "gun culture," gun owners got fed up and began to organize politically. This didn't really happen in a way that we would recognize today until the late 1970s, as Knox and others of like mind essentially took over the NRA and forced the formation of a political lobbying wing.

The "pendulum" swing you see today is the result of 30-40 years of serious, organized effort by pro-gun activists . . . undoing well over 100 years of concerted (if sporadic) effort by anti-gun activists.

In terms of your pendulum swing analogy, we've got a lot of arc left to get through . . . the pendulum has not actually, in the long view, even passed the midpoint yet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Don, I stand corrected.