Chris Wallace, the boss would like to see you now.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klzZxOat3mc]

Every once in awhile, someone on FOX News starts feeling a little dangerous and decides to actually do the news, just to see what it feels like to be a real reporter:

In an unexpectedly lively exchange on Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace took on NRA head Wayne LaPierre for his group’s tasteless ad calling Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for having Secret Service protection for his daughters while opposing the placement of armed guards in every American school. “It wasn’t picking on the president’s kids,” LaPierre argued, somewhat futilely. “The president’s kids are safe and we’re all thankful for it.” When Wallace pointed out that “[Malia and Sasha] also face a threat that most people do not face,” LaPierre shot back: “Tell that to the people in Newtown!” But Wallace wasn’t buying the indignation. “Do you really think that the President’s children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America?” Wallace asked LaPierre, adding, “I think that’s ridiculous, and you know it, sir.”

Did the NRA just jump the shark?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r02rh34CXmI]

I’d like to think it did, but my instincts tell me almost nothing is strong enough to break the spell that’s been cast on gun rights advocates in this country. Transcript below:

Meanwhile, a shooting in central Pennsylvania this morning has left four dead and three injured.

Guns and the Sandy Hook shooting

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the shooter as Ryan Lanza. In fact, it was his brother, Adam.

 

Following today’s massacre of at least 27 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, by a man in his twenties identified as Adam Lanza of New Jersey, the Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein mounts a necessary prebuttal to the predictable responses from gun-rights advocates (includes facts/data about guns in the United States):

When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”

Let’s be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It’s just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.

Since then, there have been more horrible, high-profile shootings. Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, took his girlfriend’s life and then his own. In Oregon, Jacob Tyler Roberts entered a mall holding a semi-automatic rifle and yelling “I am the shooter.” And, in Connecticut, at least 27 are dead — including 18 children — after a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that’s unacceptable.

For another useful resource on gun violence with recent data and statistics, see Mother Jones‘ “Guide to Mass Shootings in America.”

Meanwhile, for today’s news, the New York Times is posting updates on its “Lede” blog. President Obama is expected to make a statement right now.