Salon columnist almost gets a clue on guns

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

On Tuesday, I wrote about a Salon columnist and her vile rhetoric. Her comments were completely and totally disgusting, but pretty on-brand for Salon as a whole.


Folks there don’t think you should have guns and if you don’t agree with gun control, you’re a horrible person.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a different Salon columnist making a case that almost shows getting a clue, but then going off the deep end.

In the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, the GOP has doubled down on its often-repeated gun mantras: “guns aren’t the problem, people are” and “gun control isn’t the answer to gun violence.” They’re right, albeit not in the way they mean. To effectively address violence in the most dangerous nation among industrialized countries, we must confront the fact that guns are a symptom of a deeper, underlying disease in the American public.

What is this disease? Public distrust.

One of the reasons that so many Americans cling to guns, police, and prisons as the centerpieces of public safety policy is that they do not trust the state or their neighbors.

Now, look at that last bit. It’s not entirely wrong.

Of course, it’s not my literal neighbors I distrust necessarily, but the broader term that simply means “people who live near me but otherwise may not have a damn thing in common with me or mine.”

I don’t trust random strangers, which is all “neighbors” mean in this context. Why should I? We’ve all seen way too many stories of trust being betrayed by people and we’ve seen that betrayal lead to awful consequences.

So the writer is sort of getting a clue, right?


No, he didn’t. You see, I snipped the paragraph. Here it is in its entirety.

One of the reasons that so many Americans cling to guns, police, and prisons as the centerpieces of public safety policy is that they do not trust the state or their neighbors. This is in part because the GOP has spent decades deliberately promoting institutional distrust and racial paranoia as cardinal virtues. Republicans have crafted their identity by telling us that individual citizens must take responsibility for their own safety and welfare. Not only is the government not responsible for protecting the welfare and safety of its citizens, the story goes, but the government is a direct threat to our ability to protect ourselves—both from the state and from one another. “Small government,” then, and doomsday individualism in which citizens are armed to the teeth are the perversely desired ideal.

There are still nuggets of true hidden in there amid that anti-anything but leftist rhetoric, but you see exactly what the author thinks of you.

However, pro-gun folks have told people they’re responsible for their own safety and that the government isn’t responsible for protecting the safety of its citizens. However, this appears to imply that we made that up or something, which is ridiculous. Numerous court cases have found so. Look up Castle Rock v. Gonzales as an example.

And that’s merely one example out of many.

You see, the state cannot protect everyone. If they have a duty to protect, though, then that means every person who isn’t protected can sue the government for their failures. That would create a logjam in the court system and our taxes would have to skyrocket to pay for all the lost cases.


That’s simply not going to happen.

So yeah, we believe that people should protect themselves.

And the author almost stumbles onto the truth. We don’t trust institutions or the government. We don’t trust people we don’t even know simply because they live within some proximity of us. We don’t trust any of this because history has shown us that such trust is tragically misplaced far too often.

Trust is earned, not granted, and so far I’ve seen nothing from our government in my nearly five decades on this planet to warrant granting to them. I was born during Watergate and grew up watching Iran-Contra play out on the evening news. More recently, I saw my own government lie to me and tell me that I didn’t need an N95 mask early in a pandemic just to keep me from buying them so healthcare systems could buy them instead.

Why would I ever trust the government?

So yeah, I hold onto my guns because I don’t trust the government. Then again, every politician who listens to Salon makes me that much less likely to ever trust them.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member