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Opening Arguments

Guns and borders

The Boston manhunt and the mainstream media's gun control blind spot:

We wrote about the MSM’s inability to grasp the politics that caused the gun control bill to fail in the Senate this week. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing illustrates the divide.

Millions of Americans listening to the bulletins on the developing manhunt were either glad they had guns in their homes or thought seriously about getting them. Yet for many professional journalists, and maybe especially those in the Acela corridor in the Northeast, this reaction is incomprehensible.

Put simply, millions of Americans don’t want to depend only on the police for protection. They think about the inevitable interval between calling 911 and the arrival of the cops, and they don’t want to wait helplessly for the good guys to arrive. Events like this one reinforce deeply held public beliefs about the dangerous world we live in and the limits of the state’s ability to protect the people from the bad guys.

This may not strike enlightened and well credentialed Acela liberals as sensible or rational, but that’s not the point. Without understanding the visceral belief that many Americans have, that their “right to bear arms” is about self defense and the right to take care of your own when the State fails you, it’s impossible to understand the politics of gun control in the United States.

It's surely some of the worst timing in political history that the Boston massacre came as Washington was obsessed with gun control and immigration reform as the two supposed greatest problems facing America. A Gallup poll that came out last Monday showed only 4 percent of Americans consider gun control as the biggest problem facing the country, and the same percentage thinks that about immigration reform. I suspect the percentage will become even lower as people think about the implications of the marathon explosions.

Yes, it's unfair to link Boston to our immigration problems since both brothers were legal residents and one of them even became a U.S. citizen last year. But I think people's feelings about illegal immigration are as visceral as their feelings about the right to bear arms. It's not a completely illogical leap to link radicalized -- self- or otherwise -- foreign-born terrorists with the obvious fact that our borders aren't secure enough and that some people are fighting hard to make them even more open than they already are.