How the gun-loving South dominates these United States

How the gun-loving South dominates these United States
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Call me old-school, but I love reading print. So every morning, I head for the stoop to pick up USA Today. Wednesday’s frontpage had a headline that reminded me that I should remind you that these United States are not one country, and we do ourselves a disservice by continuing to think otherwise.

The hed: “Majority support Tenn. protests.”

The dek: “Republicans are at risk with gun control stance.”

READ MORE: 'We have to talk about guns': Fox News contributor delivers torching rebuke of firearms in the US

It was a polling story. A new public opinion survey by Ipsos Poll found that three-fourths of Americans, including six in 10 Republicans, believe that state legislators have the right to peacefully protest at state capitols.

The poll was taken last weekend shortly after the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to expel two Democratic lawmakers who protested on the chamber floor in support of tighter gun laws after a shooting massacre in Nashville left three children and three adults shot to pieces.

In the wake of school shootings, USA Today correspondent Susan Page wrote, two-thirds say state lawmakers “should enact stricter controls on gun purchases. Tightened laws were backed by 40 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents as well as 92 percent of Democrats.”

OK, that’s good to know.

But it’s not good, actually bad, to presume what Page presumes, which is this: “The findings underscore the political risks for Republicans at odds with broader public opinion on the response to a spate of mass shootings.”

READ MORE: 'Kids are still in body bags': students protest Tennessee House GOP for refusing to address gun violence

Does anyone think Republicans really face “political risks” for being at odds with broader public opinion, on the issue of gun control and shooting massacres, or any other issue of interest to the public? Does anyone?

If so, they have been thinking that for a very long time, since, you know, 2012 – when Adam Lanza blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut (down the road from where I’m writing this), and murdered 20 6-year-old babies, with their teachers and teacher’s aides, using a semiautomatic rifle that literally shot them all to pieces.

If so, they were and have been thinking that before, during and after every school shooting massacre since 2012, totaling scores and scores of mass death events, with thousands dead and maimed, according to NBC News.

It’s been more than a decade since then and during that time, “broader public opinion” has been remarkably steady and constant, with clear majorities of Americans favoring gun-law reforms, including universal background checks. Yet despite “broader public opinion” favoring life over death, the earth has been soaked, at regular intervals, with the blood of innocents.

Given how long some people have apparently been thinking that the GOP faces political risks for being at odds with the broader public, I’m guessing the GOP does not face any risk for being at odds with the broader public.

It’s good to know what people are thinking. The Ipsos poll provides useful information. But it’s not good – it’s distorting to the point of disinformation – to say “the findings underscore” any such claim. Clearly, they do not.

But that’s not the only thing getting distorted. By no means is Susan Page alone in this regard. Virtually every member of the Washington press corps has in their mind an image of America. That image is of one country, united by law, custom, history and Constitution. That image is pure makebelieve.

The truth is that America is not divided into 50 states so much as a couple handfuls of regions (perhaps 10) that have, throughout history, formed alliances to compete with other regions and their allies. The most powerful and dominant of these regions in the American South, the ex-slaver states, which has, since the republic’s founding, projected its power onto the other regions for the purpose of bending all these United States to its desires.

It’s still happening.

Which states have the loosest, most irresponsible gun laws? Southern states. Which are most dominated by the Republicans? Ditto. Which are most resistant to “broader public opinion” favoring greater restrictions on firearms. Same. Which states send the greatest number of lawmakers to the US Congress to block any chance of national gun-law reforms. You got it.

Southern states with loose, irresponsible gun laws do not feel the effects of tight, responsible gun-control laws. But states with tight, responsible gun-control laws do feel the effects of loose, irresponsible gun laws in southern states. This is how they bend these United States to its will.

There are scores and scores of dead kids as proof.

To be sure, other regions feature similarly loose, irresponsible gun laws. But this doesn’t detract from my point. It adds to it. In the context of shooting massacres, Appalachian states, plains states, Rocky Mountain states have allied with southern states to project their power onto coastal states that outnumber them in population and economic power. They can’t dominate them with democracy. They can with the lethal effects of their gun laws.

You might not know this by believing, as most of the Washington press corps does, that these United States are one country in which one region’s lawmakers give a rat’s ass about America’s “broader public opinion.” Things would be better if journalists dropped the idea. It’s because they won’t drop it that so many Americans don’t understand the truth about America.

READ MORE: Students across the country walk out of school to protest gun violence

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