Obama v. Jeb Bush on Guns: Not so Much
October 4, 2015
The other day, the NY Times ran an article that made it seem that Obama and Jeb Bush had significant differences regarding guns and the mass shootings that have taken place. Obama called for more gun control while Bush said, “Stuff happens,” foregoing the need for more gun control. So, yes, they do have their differences.
However, these differences mask the way that Obama and Bush agree, in that both speak in a way that makes these events seem like aberrations. According to Obama, “we” or the government have to do something or something more about them. This implies, as calls for government actions often imply, that the phenomenon to be addressed, such as drug use or crime, is not endemic to our society. These shooters are not “us;” they are “apart” from “us,” perhaps even “foreign” to “us.” “We” don’t have to change; “we” just need the government to control “them.” It is a comfortable way of thinking.
And Bush, when he says that “stuff happens,” implies that these events occur out of the blue, as it were, that there is no connection between this “stuff” and who “we” are or what American has become. These events are accidents or aberrations, as are the perpetrators of them. There is then not only no need to press for more gun control; there is also no reason to think about ourselves or our society in relation to these shootings. Clean up the blood, bring in some counselors, bury the dead, heal the wounded, punish the guilty and move on.
So for both Obama and Bush, these shootings have very little to do with our society, with how we are in the world. And, of course, this is delusional. And it is especially delusional in a society that turns its warriors into heroes but “disses” its teachers.