April 28, 2013

Left, Right False Equivalence: Newtown vs. Boston

A false equivalence narrative has crept into the conversation after the Boston Marathon bombing. It goes something like this: The Left reacted to the mass-shooting in Newtown, Connecticut by saying “we have to do something,” and the Right reacted to the bombing at the Boston Marathon by saying exactly the same thing. On Newtown, liberals want a ban on assault weapons and expanded background checks. On Boston, conservatives want the surviving suspect classified an enemy combatant, suspending his rights as an American citizen, among other similar police state responses.

The two situations are more similar than we care to admit, but we only consider one a terrorist act. I don’t even need to say which one, because you already know. But why? I wrote about this last week, and I posited the weapon of choice may play a large role in that determination. Would a violent act committed with firearms ever be called a terrorist act?

But here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if the two events are similar, or if the two events are terrorist acts, the response to these events from both sides of the political spectrum are not equal, and¬†should not be given equal consideration. The Boston Marathon bombing was a rare event committed using a rare act of violence. We DO NOT have a problem of mass-bombings every day in America. The Newtown school shooting was also a rare event, but unfortunately it was committed using an all-too-common act of violence.

We DON’T have a bombing problem in this country but we DO have a gun problem, with an average of over 80 gun deaths per day. The reason 80 gun deaths per day does not garner more attention is that it doesn’t happen in a singular location. These gun deaths are spread across many states.

So while the Right may want to suspend our constitutional rights to deal with a rare problem, the Left wants sensible gun safety legislation to deal with a common problem.

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