Guns and Race

A Response to Rod Dreher

Earlier today, I posted a link to a reply by Rod Dreher to a column that cited him. Rod felt I'd mischaracterized his views. Scroll down to read Rod's statement; here's the link to Rod in full.

Three thoughts in answer:

1) As I said in the column, I'm an admirer of Rod's work and writing, and I'm chagrined to hear that he thinks I've been obtuse and unfair.

2) In self-explanation, I'll say: I was not attributing to Rod any indifference or callousness to human life, black or white. I hope that was clear in my column, and if not, then I sincerely regret it. I understood Rod to be saying that the variable predicting the incidence of homicide in a community was the proportion of young black men there. That is in fact a plausible way to look at things.

3) As I said in the column itself, I objected to this way of looking at things because it leads us away from the hope of finding better answers.

"If you look at the world that way, gun control must seem a pointless diversion from the real problem: not guns, but one particular group of gun owners."


"Those young men in Baton Rouge who are killing each other in such horrific numbers do not manufacture their own guns. They did not organize the gun trade that brings the guns to their town. They did not write the laws that prevent their town government from acting against guns. They carry guns -- and misuse guns -- thanks to a national system of gun regulation that makes guns easily accessible to those least likely to use guns responsibly."

WIth the result,

"The price of redefining gun violence as an issue pertaining only to "those people" -- of casting and recasting the gun statistics to make them less grisly if only 'those people' are toted under some different heading in some different ledger -- the price of that redefinition is to lose our ability to think about the problem at all."

Again - I have posted Rod's objection at length below, and for any mischaracterization, I wholeheartedly apologize.