Our Exceptional Hospitality to Mass Shootings

If you didn’t hear the president’s remarks about the Oregon shootings yesterday, you really need to watch this:

It has to be the most candid presidential reaction to breaking news in my memory; Obama even angrily mocked the ritualistic character of his own past reactions to gun massacres.

But the center of his argument is the one I keep making here: America is mainly exceptional among advanced democratic nations not in our personal or economic liberty, but in our strange belief that letting everyone stockpile weapons is essential to the preservation of our freedom, and in the consequences of that strange belief. That’s what the worship of the most extreme interpretation possible of the Second Amendment, fed by the gun lobby and politicians (mostly, though not exclusively, conservatives) has wrought. And yes, it’s something that can make you angry.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.