The Red Dawn Fantasy

January 20, 2013 7:01 a.m.

I agree with TPM Reader AK that the Red Dawn fantasy is what keeps both sides of the gun debate from coming up with sensible approaches to dealing with gun violence …

I’ve been a regular TPM reader for almost 10 years. I consider myself a progressive Democrat. I’m also a gun owner and an army veteran. And I’m rapidly creeping up on Social Security age.

In considering SS’s question, “… in precisely which “tactical” scenarios do all of these lunatics imagine that they’re going to use their matte-black, suppressor-fitted, flashlight-ready tactical weapons?” I think we have to talk about what I call the Red Dawn fantasy.

Red Dawn of course refers to the very entertaining film in which The Wolverines, a bunch of kids from a rural western community, heroically engage a division of Cuban paratroopers and their Soviet advisors who invade the United States at the start of World War III.

If you ask those who insist they must own one or more assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols with high capacity magazines, the answer you’ll hear over and over again is: I want to be ready to defend America against the Commies, the terrorists, the immigrant invaders, the United Nations, and yes, even the government of the United States of America. That’s the Red Dawn fantasy.

It’s time we saw it for the paranoid delusion it is, and stop giving craziness the legitimacy of the Second Amendment. The gun debate shouldn’t be about whether we need armed guards in every school, movie theater, and place of worship. I shouldn’t be about hunting rifles or weapons for home or personal defense. Take the Red Dawn fantasy out of the equation, and we’ll have no problem coming up with a sensible gun policy in America. But as long as it persists, and as long as we let a delusional minority dictate the terms of the debate, we’re accepting more mass shootings as the price we have to pay.

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