…In Which The New Yorker Fulfills Every Liberal Stereotype In One Paragraph

by evanmcmurry

Good lord, I like the New Yorker as much as the next liberal, and I’m all for burying the NRA under a trash heap of negative press—but did we really need a New Yorker article about how the FRENCH look down on us for our gun culture? Halfway through this paragraph, I thought, jeez, throw in a San Francisco reference while you’re at it. And there it is!

In France, where I was visiting my family for an early-winter break with my four-year-old daughter, the reaction to the Newtown school shooting was one of horror and of bewilderment—“Incomprehensible,” “unbelievable,” “unthinkable,” or, more often, dingue (crazy). Disbelief altered the faces of Parisians usually known for their urban cool. In spite of the biting cold and urgent plans for Christmas shopping, they could be seen, haggard, reading the headlines in the green kiosks of the street newsstands over and over again, or staring at the news channel in cafés that normally cater to soccer fans. When they learned that I’ve lived in California for close to ten years, they’d ask me, “Why? Why?” Not why anyone would walk into an elementary school to massacre children, but how come a mother of two in a well-to-do New England community could quietly collect up to five weapons, among them a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle, a Glock, and Sig Sauer pistol (“the weapon of choice for élite units around the world” according to its maker’s online catalogue), legally, and without raising red flags. The answer, that the American Constitution appears to guarantee a right to bear arms and that no politician is ready to take on the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun lobbies, was met by an uneasy silence. And then this, whispered, looking away: “How can you put your daughter in a preschool in San Francisco and sleep at night?”

Tragedy is no excuse for suspending the rules of self-parody.