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Lots of words to say absolutely nothing

By Scott Tibbs, January 21, 2013

In listening to some folks from the "No Labels" crowd address gun control on ABC This Week, it is amazing how people can speak a lot of words and then say absolutely nothing of substance.

What is the ultimate goal of "No Labels" in dealing with gun control and public safety? "You've got to get problem solvers around the table." We have to have a discussion where everything is on the table. Right. And then what are we going to do? Who are the problem solvers? What differing perspectives will they bring to the table for the discussion?

Even when you bring people to the table, you are not going to solve the basic impasse - that there are people who believe that we should ban "assault weapons" while others believe it would be a violation of our natural and legal rights to ban those weapons. Simply bringing people to the table is not going to bring a solution that both sides will be happy with, because the two sides have fundamentally different views. This is to say nothing about the concerns the video game industry has about being scapegoated by an institution that knows nothing about gaming.

This is the problem with the simple-minded discussion of controversial public policy issues in the news media, and, frankly, by former elected officials and candidates for elective office who really ought to know better. In fact, they do know better. This business of bringing people to the table is meaningless nonsense, meant to make the person proposing the discussion look wise and prudent while accomplishing nothing.

What was the one concrete solution proposed? Legislation "which basically puts a commission about mass violence together." Well whoop de diddly do. Another commission. Yay! Not concrete solutions or specific proposals for lessening gun violence, protecting innocent people, or dealing with the cultural factors that lead to the devaluation of human life. No, we're going to talk about it. Have we not been talking about these issues for generations? What exactly is another commission going to accomplish?

In this debate, there is going to be a winner and a loser - as it should be. My hope is that the gun-rights argument wins the day. Perhaps it will, and perhaps it will not. Let's lay the policy discussion on the table and debate the merits of the proposed solution. In doing so, we need to recognize that doing nothing is and should be an option. After all, doing nothing is better than doing something ineffective, counterproductive or destructive. We should not rush to get a bill passed simply so say we have done something.