We all do The Morning News a little differently. My shtick is to prepend some snarky bit of bolded commentary onto a fairly straightforward teaser. But it's a style that failed me this morning on the story about that tragic limousine fire, not because snarky comments didn't pop into my head, but because they all seemed terribly inappropriate. So I simply wrote: "Too sad for commentary."
Ok, so let me get this straight, people die in a car fire, and it is too sad for commentary, but people die in gunfire, and that is totally cool to use to support your own political position?
Well, yes, you do have that straight, Joe, because guns and limos are different in that limo fires are exceedingly rare compared to our nation's stunning epidemic of gun deaths. I mean, if stretch limos were constantly bursting into flames—if every morning we awoke to news of yet another wedding party or gaggle of prom dates horribly roasted to death in a burning limo—I'm guessing we might attempt to do something about it. Like make limos less flammable. And if we refused to do something obvious about it because LIBERTY! you can be sure I'd be politicizing our nation's flammable limo crisis too.
Yeah, I know, a comparable number of Americans die each year from automobiles as die from firearms. But those numbers have been moving in opposite directions, largely because of a concerted regulatory effort to make cars (and their operation) safer. Seat belts weren't even standard equipment until the 1960s. Now mandatory seat belt laws are the norm. No, nothing will eliminate auto-related deaths altogether, but minimum federal safety standards save thousands of lives a year.
So yeah, Joe, while they both are tragic, gun deaths are a legitimate object for politicization whereas limo fire deaths are not, because gun deaths represent exactly the sort of public health crisis that is the responsibility of government to address. And politics is the means through which we push effective public policy.