Liberty for none

Last week, waiting to board a flight, I found myself sitting next to a young man. He was watching as a TV replayed segments of Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy’s June 15 filibuster, staged to force a vote on two gun control measures.

After a moment, he turned to his friend. “You can take my guns away, but it’s going to end in a bloody battle; that’s my right,” he declared.

It’s common, this angry belief that gun control measures proposed to prevent the kinds of massacre that happened in Orlando on June 12 are a threat to liberty.

It’s a belief echoed in emails I received after writing about how the Orlando shooting (See “Sorrow and rage” by Rachel Leibrock, SN&R Editor’s Note, June 16) must lead to political change.

For such critics, it’s an “us vs. them” mentality. For them, gun control efforts are delusional.

“Let’s propose all your fantasies come true and The Government somehow bans the sale of rifles with detachable mags tomorrow,” one reader wrote. “Wow, that feels good!, but what do you propose to do about the millions of now banned rifles that are in the homes of citizens?”

On Monday, the Senate rejected four gun control measures, including two Murphy had pushed for: expanded background checks and tougher controls on the federal terrorist watch list.

Heartbreakingly, even in the wake of 49 killed, there’s little room for political nuance, empathy for lives lost or reasonable change.

Us vs. them, indeed—is that really liberty?