Carl Bogus

Recent Articles

How Gun Control Got Murdered

In Gun Fight, Adam Winkler misses the point that the only way to reduce homicides is to reduce the number of handguns.

Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America By Adam Winkler, W.W. Norton, 362 pages, $27.95 The nation was horrified in January when Jared Loughner shot 20 people in Tucson, Arizona, killing 6 and wounding 14. But as horrified as we may be, we are also inured to this kind of carnage. Other armed-to-the-teeth madmen shot 48 people at the University of Texas in 1966; 35 schoolchildren at an elementary school in Stockton, California, in 1989; 43 people at a cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, in 1991; 38 people at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999; 49 students and faculty at Virginia Tech in 2007; and 43 people at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009. These events are only the biggest and most widely reported massacres on a long list. Most gun violence does not make page one. In 2009, the last year for which the FBI Uniform Crime Reports provide complete data, guns were used in 9,146 homicides, 149,335 robberies, and 146,773 aggravated assaults. On a typical day in America, about...

What's Killing Conservatism?

Self-destruction is inevitable when a rigid ideology of disdain for government fully comes to power.

Edmund Burke reflects upon the French Revolution in a sublime and beautiful fashion. (Library of Congress)
The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus, Random House, 123 pages, $17.00 Four days after Barack Obama's decisive victory in November 2008, I attended a conference at Yale University titled "The Next American Conservatism?" The conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute organized the conference in advance of the election -- in the face of oncoming doom, as it were -- to try to figure out what sort of conservatism might rise from the ashes. But although the intellectuals on the program seemed to take for granted that conservatism as we know it is dead, none of them ventured an opinion as to why it died, whether it deserved to die, or what was, or should be, next. Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The New York Times Book Review and Week in Review as well as the author of an acclaimed biography of Whittaker Chambers, offers his postmortem in an elegant little volume. Tanenhaus would not have been surprised that the participants at Yale did not even attempt meaningful speculation. "Today...

Learning to Love the Gun

Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture , Michael A. Bellesiles. Alfred A. Knopf, 603 pages, $30.00. It is as if Michael A. Bellesiles has overturned a table on which rested everything we thought we knew about guns in early America. The image of the rifle hanging over every American mantel, of settlers depending upon their guns to hunt and feed themselves and protect their communities against Indian attack, of frontier Americans becoming skilled marksmen on farms and in the backwoods, of the colonial militiamen rushing from their homes with muskets in hand to face the Redcoats, of the American founders believing in an individual's right to keep and bear arms, of a Wild West inhabited by gun-toting cowboys--all of this turns out to be myth. Bellesiles, a history professor at Emory University, explores the development of an American gun culture by following the hardware. He relentlessly focuses on the guns themselves: how many there were, who...

The Contract and the Consumer

The conservatives haven't made "tort reform" a crusade to stop a flood of products liability litigation. There is no such flood. This is a straight payoff to their benefactors.

I n the Contract with America, all but one of the ten legislative proposals deal with traditional matters of popular interest such as taxes, social security, welfare, and crime. Then there is proposal number nine, the so-called Common Sense Legal Reforms Act, which is, among other things, purportedly designed "to create 'loser pays' laws--reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of products liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation." It may seem strange to place a subject as arcane as tort reform so high on the national agenda. When Americans are asked about problems facing the nation, they cite such issues as crime, declining morals, and the deficit; they don't mention the tort system. But the Republicans are not pushing tort reform to please the public. The tort system, and products liability in particular, is a bone stuck in the throat of big business. The tort system is one place where the average citizen can battle the powerful on nearly equal terms. The...