There have been a lot of responses to the NRA's response to the Newtown shootings, and it's been interesting to see both liberal and conservative cartoonists reject the group's reasoning.
Predictably, some on the left are in the "Guns Are Inherently Bad" camp, and their semi-hysterical response really only feeds the fear of an already-paranoid segment of the gun-owning community.
And some on the far right, those who normally stick to illustrating Fox News and Rush Limbaugh talking points, may simply be choosing to ignore the topic rather than depart from the approved script.
But there have been some insightful cartoons from both sides of the aisle and it may be that we really are on the verge of an intelligent conversation.
This in a country where, just four years ago, the right wing was able to stir up rage by quoting a presidential candidate who said that, in hard economic times, both religion and the Second Amendment become very important to a lot of bluecollar people.
It's as bad as if he had suggested that some people were going to want lower taxes and less government spending. How could you vote for anyone who believed that?
And, of course, the far right has boiled down his call for a discussion by both sides seeking a variety of solutions that we can all live with to "He's a-gonna take yer guns away!"
But their frantic spinning and skewing appear not to be gaining much traction, as cooler heads take up the topic.
A couple off the top of the heap:
My only quibble with Rogers is that I don't see the NRA position mirroring the 1950s, when the science was still new and open, if not to doubt, at least to debate. I think it's more like the 1970s, when the Tobacco Institute went full-throttle on not just creating its own nonsensical "studies" to actively confuse the debate, but on pursuing a more wide-based smoke-and-mirrors campaign.
LaPierre's interview reminded me of one of those insufferable authors on talk shows who, regardless of what he is asked, artlessly inserts another plug for his book. He was not simply relentlessly "on message" but actively resisted answering Gregory's questions.
And now the topic has shifted away from LaPierre's non-interview-interview to an investigation of how Gregory was permitted to show the audience the difference between the ammunition clip that could be banned and the one that most people agree is reasonable for responsible gun use.
I'm sure that is a conversation that "just happened."
Meanwhile, the traditional chasm between supporters of the Second Amendment and supporters of the First Amendment has opened up yet again, with some cartoons suggesting that the Second Amendment was drawn up with muzzle-loaders in mind.
None of these cartoons, as far as I have been able to tell, were painstakingly carved on wooden blocks and printed out on hand-cranked flatbed printing presses.
However, there have been some less tone-deaf attacks, particularly on the NRA's fanciful notion that the real problem is violent video games.
As I wrote the other day, we've created a paranoid, toxic status quo. But it's silly to focus in on video games as a root cause of mass killings.
My friends and I may not have had video games as kids, but we played endless, endless games of "War" in the woods with our toy guns. Result? A decade later, half of us had volunteered to serve in Vietnam and the other half were protesting the war.
The correlation, as Drew Sheneman points out, simply isn't there:
But Ben Sargent digs deeper, with what I think is the best overall cartoon on the subject, in which he wrap up both Rogers' attack on the NRA's heartless lobbying with Sheneman's doubts about the declared problem in a concise panel neatly illustrating the lobbying group's toxic illogic:
No further comment. Just a standing O.