In the wake of shootings in Pittsburgh and Binghamton, NY (and Graham, WA and Charlotte, NC), Dahlia Lithwick wonders pointedly when Americans will stop treating gun violence like a force of nature and start thinking about the weapons that make it possible and the unbelievable right-wing vitriol that, in the wake of Barack Obama’s election as President, may be helping to fuel it.
Nobody claims that Glenn Beck is responsible for killing people. Nobody thinks guns are inherently evil. But how can there be an honest national debate over gun violence if we cannot even acknowledge the connections between people who admonish us to become “armed and dangerous” and a citizen’s decision to arm himself and kill?
The guns, and the anger, are symptoms of a sick culture. Certainly, you can treat alcoholism by banning booze, but you haven’t cured it until the alcoholic knows why he cannot — must not — have a drink, and has the spiritual and mental resources to enforce that decision.
(Also on Slate: excerpts of a new book about the Columbine killings.)