Political activists are more entrenched on this issue than any other issue in American life.
Somebody might say that legalized abortion would be the top candidate. I don’t think that’s the case. Opponents of abortion are not going to change, but the degree of commitment has faded over the last two decades. The futility of trying to stop abortion has generally placed the issue on the back burners of the conservative movement, and also the back burners of most anti-abortionists. They would certainly vote against the extension of abortion, but they’re not going to get actively involved in picketing or other anti-abortion activities that were common in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The original Operation Rescue is long gone. The fire has gone out of the anti-abortionist movement. It slogs along.
The fire has not gone out of the gun-control fight.
Every time there is a mass shooting, people who oppose gun control send lots of money to the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America. Some also register to buy another gun.
The recent knee-jerk reaction of the President of the United States to insist on some kind of gun-control legislation, which he knows there is not a prayer of getting through Congress, took place within hours. Barack Obama responds faster to a mass shooting than Al Sharpton responds to a race riot.
On no other issue in American life is the knee-jerk reaction on each side of the battle lines so automatic. There is nothing semiautomatic about it.
We all know the arguments never change on either side. I could reproduce a flyer on either side that was printed in 1975, and you would figure these are up-to-date arguments.
I was involved with this back in the late 1960’s, when I worked with state Senator Bill Richardson of California. He was the founder of Gun Owners of America in 1975, and he is still actively involved. I can think of no other issue that I actively support that I have actively supported for half a century.
Why is this? What is it about this issue that gets the troops on both sides of the barricades to mobilize?
I think it really is a knee-jerk reaction. Both sides feel that they have to do something to make noise. Neither side believes that any major change is about to take place, and major changes never take place. It is really all at the margins, and in this case, the gun controllers always lose.
Here is the dirty little secret of the Second Amendment movement: we love to see the Left lose.
THE THRILL OF VICTORY. THE AGONY OF DEFEAT