January 14, 2011

The Economist Cover and the Giffords Shooting: All About Guns

The Economist Cover

(I)t is a big (and so far unjustified) leap to blame the woeful state of American political discourse for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman, and the killing of six people in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8th (see article). Worse, by focusing on this issue, America is ignoring the real culprit: its gun laws. — From: The Blame Game. (The Economist)

KAL’s take, on the cover of The Economist, points to a single culprit in the Giffords shooting. It’s guns. The Brits obviously make a good point, calling out the large elephant in America’s room where the NRA otherwise rules the day. But is it all that simple?

A few questions about the drawing: Are there really two equivalent sides?  Are there other threads running through the issue that undermine the illustration, such as the threat of class warfare (and “white-on-white” violence) in the face of a gross and widening economic gap.  Does the difference in color and type between the two firearms tell us anything? And then, how much does the drawing actually contradict the Economist’s point — that harsh political discourse had nothing to do with the Gifford’s shooting — if guns can really replace tongues?

(illustration: KAL)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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