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Is American Democracy Really Under Threat?

Now that Joe has signed the first federal gun-control law passed by Congress in more than 25 years, what are the advocates for gun control going to do? Of course, they can keep advocating for more gun control but hey, we need to take a little break, right?

So, what the gun-control gang can always do is take what we know about guns and use this information to run another argument up the flagpole which will attract attention and keep us in the middle of the current debate, whatever the debate happens to be.

What do we know about guns that we didn’t know two years ago? We know that more people have bought guns, and we know that more people have been shot with guns. Do we know if these two facts are actually related to one another? No, we don’t.

But not knowing anything about guns has never stopped a gun-control expert like Garen Wintemute from getting media attention every time this ‘renowned’ Director of the UC/Davis Violence Prevention Research Program shoots his mouth off about guns.

His latest effort is a public opinion poll which is ‘very concerning,’ indeed, ‘very alarming’ because the results indicate that some Americans are not only losing faith in democratic institutions but are willing to use violence to prevent other Americans from voting and expressing different political views.

And the elections are only four months away, Wintemute reminds us, and let’s not forget that so many (more) Americans now own guns. Apocalypse Now – Here we come!

This is nothing but pure crap. And if Wintemute can’t find something better to do with his time, I suggest that he go back to the ER at his hospital and try sewing up some kid who fell off his bike or maybe fell out of a tree. If he even knows how to do that. He certainly doesn’t know anything about political culture or how political narratives are presented by the media today.

And by the way, I knew it was just a matter of time until some of my friends on the liberal side of the spectrum would stop trying to convince us that they were right, and the other side was wrong, and would begin competing with the alt-right noisemakers for who can say the most outrageous and most fearsome things.

So, for example, Wintemute’s poll shows that “current conditions in the United States put at risk the future of the country as a free and democratic society. Among these are support by substantial minorities of the population for violence, including lethal violence, to obtain political objectives.”

Well, at least a majority of Americans don’t support lethal violence to obtain political objectives. Whew! Thank God for that!

But exactly how large is the ‘substantial minority’ which supports the use of violence? And let’s not forget, of course, that so many Americans now own guns.

If you take the trouble to read this stupid survey, you will learn that the ‘substantial’ minority of Americans who are willing right now to use violence to achieve political ends is a whole, big eight percent. That’s the percentage of respondents who said they would be willing to ‘use force’ against someone who doesn’t share their political beliefs (Table 7, Question 9).

As for all those gun nuts out there, respondents were asked if they would be carrying a gun in a situation where they needed to use force to achieve a political objective and 80% said it ‘wasn’t likely.’ So where are all those people who have been streaming into gun stores to buy guns? Maybe they don’t have computers so they couldn’t participate in the poll.

Incidentally, Wintemute goes out of his way to assure us that the people who responded to this survey represent a ‘population-representative’ sample, but that’s not really true. In fact, 40% of the respondents were 55 y/o or older (Table 1) whereas these age cohorts actually represent 30% of the current American population as a whole. This is a significant difference when you consider that older people tend to be more conservative, more pissed off, and have nothing better to do than sit around and complain about how ‘bad’ things have become.

I can just see it now. Sooner or later guys like Wintemute who thirst for media exposure will come up with some kind of a QAnon-type of grouping that exists on the Left. Antifa didn’t work because that so-called movement was an invention of the alt-right. We need something with more oomph. We need something that academic hucksters like Garen Wintemute can use to keep the Fake News media focused on them.

Maybe we should revive the Weathermen. Bob Dylan’s only 80 years old.

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