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Gun control 'debate' shows America really is, foreign
15 January 2013, 7:31 AM | Source: Matt Hall, SBS
Lack of real gun control debate shows America really is a foreign
Some kind of special relationship is often touted between our three countries. The US values Australia and the UK as political and military allies and there is usually non-flinching support for whatever political path one may take in global politics (see Iraq and Afghanistan).
It’s assumed we share language (more or less), social cultural, history and, importantly, values. Except, of course, we don’t at all and that has never been more highlighted than the attempt to debate gun rights.
Piers Morgan, a former (very) British newspaper editor who now hosts a talk show on CNN in the US and internationally, has seen the gun debate as an opportunity to fly a flag and make it a righteous cause.
He has the platform to influence and good for him. Over the past few months his guests have included passionate reformers of gun laws (boring) and bat-crap crazy supporters of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms (must see).
Morgan’s campaign (and it is a campaign) angered the pro-gun crowd so much that some people launched a petition to the White House calling for Morgan to be deported. The White House has to respond to any petition that gains over 25, 000 signatures, and when it topped over 100,000 signatures gained huge publicity. The White House declined to deport Morgan.
Morgan, knowing a good fight makes for good ratings, invited Alex Jones, a co-author of the petition, to discuss the issue of gun control on his show. The interview quickly became a car crash and absolutely compelling viewing.
Jones, who runs a website called inforwars.com, appears to be a paranoid delusional conspiracy theorist but, while many of us may dismiss him as such, he is not without support. In that world, it is Morgan who is nuts and not understanding the situation. That’s what Morgan’s case may underestimate – a large significant chunk of America does not see the world as the rest of the world does. And it turns out Australia and Britain, especially, are not like the US at all. America really is a foreign country.
Morgan has taken on other pro-gun lobbyists with strong words that make for great theatre but likely does little but cement already entrenched views: guns are bad/guns are great.
Here is Morgan with Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. Pratt’s tone makes him more effective in not appearing crazy.
Here’s aged rocker Ted Nugent, a big gun advocate, using the term “Limey friend” against Morgan. “Suck on my machine gun,” Nugent says.
For all his Englishness, Morgan is now prey for those who wish to use his “foreignness” and the aspect of being “not-one-of-us” as a reason to ignore his not unreasonable perspective on guns in America.
Andrew Sullivan, a widely read blogger with a large enough audience he’s taking his work from The Daily Beast website to place behind his own paywall, sees value in attacking Morgan as a man rather than discussing the issues (considering Morgan’s track record, this is not so hard).
For all that, few have still been able to answer an important question that remains after the mass shootings of 2012.
Are the lives of the children murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, worth the right for a civilian to own a semi-automatic weapon?
We’re waiting to discuss.