Thursday, March 14, 2013

PBS newshour series on gun violence (4)

PBS Newshour recently ran a series of reports focusing on gun violence, collected at their page on The Gun Debate. These are their reports from 02/20/2013:

Simone Pathe's Loaded Words: How Both Sides Are Using Persuasive Rhetoric About Guns is a text-only article:

The traditional "gun control" side has zeroed in on the negative effects of guns, namely violence. Meanwhile, as Republican operative Ron Bonjean points out, the traditional "gun rights" side is talking less about guns and more about how they are misused, shifting the focus to mental health and tougher enforcement of current laws.

While the shift in language on the left has garnered greater attention since the Dec. 14 shooting, it's an evolution 20 years in the making. The Atlantic's Molly Ball traces the concerted efforts behind this shift in messaging in her article titled, "How the Gun-Control Movement Got Smart." Perhaps most illustrative, she recounts how the National Council to Control Handguns rebranded itself as the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Pathe also quotes linguisht George Lakoff:

The task for liberals, Lakoff explained, has been to find a language that appeals to that overlap -- the liberal hunter, if you will. The language of gun "control" automatically alienates the individual liberty moral system. Gun "safety," however, appeals to the same person's sense of personal responsibility.

Lakoff sees the control frame beginning to recede in favor of the safety frame. In announcing his 23 executive actions on the issue, for example, President Obama did not use the word "control" in his remarks. And in his most impassioned call to action on the gun issue, at the conclusion of his State of the Union address last week, he targeted violence, not guns.
This is fine as far as it goes. But without taking on some of the fanatical rhetoric from the NRA and other gun proliferation groups, it's hard to see how opposition to gun regulation from both Republicans and some Democrats can be overcome to an extent sufficient to ban assault rifles. Which I doubt Obama intends to push seriously, in any case. We'll see how serious he is about other major issues on the gun regulation agenda, like universal background checks.

Miles O'Brien, Sins of the Sons, which discusses the reactions of parents to their children's violent acts in the case of mass shootings. It includes this video with an excerpt of a NOVA documentary, A Conversation with a Rampage Killer:

This is a YouTube video of the full documentary, Mind of a Rampage Killer, which first aired 02/20/2013:

The official video is available online but may be US-only viewing access:

Watch Mind of a Rampage Killer on PBS. See more from NOVA.

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