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Paul Waldman

The Question Gun Advocates Should Have to Answer

AP Photo/John Locher
AP Photo/John Locher Handguns are on display at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, in Las Vegas. A s we have yet another round of our repeated and possibly fruitless arguments about the role of guns in American society, there's one thing I desperately want to hear gun advocates say. It's not complicated, it would have the benefit of honesty, and it might enable us to move this debate to ground where we could actually make choices about what kind of society we want to have. What I want to hear gun advocates say is, "This is the price America has to pay for the right some of us cherish." The reason I want to hear this is that on no other basic debate over constitutional rights that I can think of does one side argue that there are no tradeoffs, that exercising a particular right, even in the most extreme way, doesn't actually involve any cost whatsoever. Only gun advocates say that. When somebody shoots 49 people in a...

What's Still True in the Wake of the Orlando Massacre

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, June 12, 2016. W henever there's a terrorist attack in a Western country, no matter the size or scope, there's an impulse to conclude that things are, or will be, different now. The attack has demonstrated that what we thought was true no longer is, or it will fundamentally change what will happen from this point forward. That conclusion is usually wrong. While we're trying to understand what happened and why, we should remind ourselves of what's still true when it comes to terrorism, guns, and our safety: ISIS can still inspire people anywhere in the world, despite its setbacks on the battlefield . While the U.S.-led coalition is unquestionably making progress against ISIS—taking back territory the group had won, disrupting their financing, and so on—the group will be able to create propaganda and recruit sympathizers almost...

Why There Will Be More Violence During This Campaign

AP Photo/Noah Berger
AP Photo/Noah Berger A man leaving a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump squares off against protesters following him on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Jose, California. A group of protesters attacked Trump supporters who were leaving the presidential candidate's rally in San Jose on Thursday night. A dozen or more people were punched, at least one person was pelted with an egg and Trump hats grabbed from supporters were set on fire on the ground. T he 2016 election may not quite be turning into a repeat of 1968, but the tension is certainly rising. Just as the violence around Donald Trump's rallies seemed to abate, it has now returned, in a widening circle of chaos. And now people outraged by Trump are getting in on the action; last Thursday outside a Trump rally in San Jose, Trump supporters were hit with eggs and fists, leading to some blood being spilled and people being arrested. Prominent Democrats everywhere condemned the incident, including...