Last night, in the course of his much-vaunted gun-control soliloquy, Jimmy Kimmel said the following:
I’ve been reading comments from people saying, ‘This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.’ But I disagree with that intensely, because of course there’s something we can do about it. There are a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t. Which is interesting, because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can do about that.
There’s a glaring problem with this line of reasoning, and it’s a problem that undercuts his entire spiel. That problem? That Kimmel is in fact opposed to “our” responses to those dastardly “people with beards,” and on the grounds that they don’t work. By his own admission, Kimmel is not in favor of Trump’s travel ban, and he’s not in favor of Trump’s wall. To Kimmel, in fact, these policies serve as solid and mockworthy examples of the sort of ill-advised, knee-jerk reactions that we tend to see in the aftermath of tragedy. Despite this opposition, he’s apparently for emulating that approach when the impetus is gun control, even if it means recycling all of the same hole-filled, detail-lacking talking points that we have heard year upon year, even if it means repeating falsehoods, and even if it means advocating the same old policies that have done nothing to help the problem. Frankly, that makes no sense.
One must ask, “Which is it, Jimmy?” Are our responses to being attacked so often stupid? Or are they merely an example of our “taking every possible precaution?” If the former, you’ll understand why “we can fix it!” is met with such skepticism. If the latter, you should support President Trump. Either way, you can’t use one in defense of the other.
This isn’t a competition to see who is the most sad. In no circumstance would I suggest that Kimmel were indifferent toward terrorism because he opposes Trump’s “solutions.” On the contrary, I’m aware that he may well be as upset as is everyone else, but believe simultaneously that the “fix” ain’t gonna work. I’d appreciate the same courtesy in return. Those of us who didn’t shout “gun control!” yesterday were not “fine” with what happened in Vegas. Rather, we are of the considered view that taking “every possible precaution” often achieves nothing at all. It may be indeed be the case that we react more to some things than others. But if that’s a bad thing — and it often is — we need less of it, not more.