Stop Gun Violence: Get Married

During tonight's second presidential debate, when asked what he would do to limit the availability of assault rifles and stem gun violence, Mitt Romney said he would “change the culture of violence.” How would he do that, you wonder?

We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that's not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that's a great idea because if there's a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.  So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.

Of course, gun violence does not correlate with marriage rates. Via Andrew Seaman at Reuters, Matthew Herper at Forbes points to this study that shows the number of one-parent households in a community does not correlate with levels of gun violence. What does correlate with the increase in gun violence? Er, gun ownership. Big surprise: If their families, whatever the makeup, own a gun, kids are more likely to die of gun violence. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

To be fair, I think Governor Romney must have been tired after the shellshacking he was enduring and maybe forgot the question. But the fact is that conservatives like marriage (well, straight marriage) and hate gun control. They have also long argued that because single-parent households are more likely to be poor, marriage must be a cure for poverty—because conservatives would rather increase the number of marriages than increase wages.

Let’s see it not as a colossal gaffe on Mitt Romney's part that reveals his utter disconnect from most voters and flagrant willingness to pander to the Republican right. No, let’s see this as an opportunity for envisioning other policy solutions untethered to reason. Mitt Romney, you visionary you, here are some other ideas you might want to adopt as marriage officiate Crime Fighter-in-Chief:

  • Eunuchs for Peace: Since most murders in the United States are committed by men, and as long as the Romney campaign wants to deny contraceptive access to women, let’s give those birth control pills to men and hormonally alter their violent instincts.
  • Angry White Male Self-Deportation: Since most mass shootings are committed not just by men but by white men, Romney could apply his strategy for immigrants to the violence problem and make life so uncomfortable for angry white men that they simply want to leave the United States. The downside is that if this strategy is too successful, there will be no one left to vote for him. ...
  • Neighborhood Fabulification: Since gay people are for some reason jonesing to get married, let’s let ‘em—and then relocate these clearly less-gun-violence-inclined married couples into the toughest inner-city neighborhoods, where at the very least the gay folks can help redecorate.

These ideas would certainly get Mitt Romney some attention. Of course, what they wouldn’t do is solve out-of-control gun violence in America. Neither does marriage.

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