On April 10, 2023, Brynn Tannehill tagged the following New Republic article with the “hopeless” tagline:
The Grim Truth: The War on Guns is Lost
I commend her for the most honest headline in the history of The New Republic’s publication history, but as I browsed the piece, I was struck by how tone deaf its content was. Brynn, surely a devout blue triber, seemed to have no idea that her tribe’s loss in the war was their fault. Her fault, even. And I find that omission fascinating. Let’s pick through this.
Most of her article is a rehashing of the usual “red tribers are evil” banality, built on the presumption that guns are the problem and that blue tribe measures would fix the problem without a true look at mathematics or policy efficacy, but certain sections of the article pop purely because of how truly brutally honest they are about the situation they find themselves in.
The war is lost. There is no conceivable way for things to change for the better within the next 20 to 30 years, short of a national divorce. There is no way to change hearts and minds of Republicans or the courts. There is no way to change who is in office in most states. There is no way to replace who sits on the courts quickly or change conservative disdain for stare decisis.
We’re seeing permitless concealed carry, open carry, allowances to carry in more places, ending gun-free zones, laws banning red-flag laws; all the while, the number of guns in circulation keeps rising by the millions, year after year after year. Republicans keep insisting that the solution to gun violence is more guns, and they’re going to keep going with that theory no matter what the results are.
This is a one-way ratchet: The path going forward has only one possible outcome. More guns, less regulation of their lethality, and less government authority over who owns them.
Short of a national divorce, there is nothing that can be done at this point.
Brynn Tannehill is a Naval Academy graduate, former naval aviator, author, and senior defense analyst. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her wife and three children.
Tribe confirmed. And nothing is wrong with that.
Is she correct that the only way to move the national needle towards gun control is secession? Yes. Are the red tribers scared of that? No. Does Brynn realize that if a national divorce happens as she hopes it does, she will in fact very likely need to own a battle rifle of her own instead of relying on getting one from the Virginia National Guard depot? Unclear at this time. At the very minimum, her wife would probably need one.
But the biggest blind spot in the entire piece, antigun rhetoric aside, is the unwillingness to acknowledge why gun control lost. It wasn’t due to gerrymandering or political trickery. It was because so many people bought so many guns. The laws no longer matter. There are too many guns to seize. And the reason there are too many guns is because of the actions her own tribe took.
Their Fault (2020 edition)
They locked down the economy, and everyone bought guns.
They killed everyone’s jobs, and everyone bought guns.
They closed the schools, and everyone bought guns.
They created supply shortages of simple things like toilet paper, and everyone bought guns.
They tried to crash the meat supply by shutting down central meat packing facilities and not allowing locals to bypass FDA regulations, and everyone bought guns.
They rioted, and everyone bought guns.
They burned police stations, and everyone bought guns.
They said the police were systemically racist, and everyone bought guns.
They said they were going to defund the police, and everyone bought guns.
They said not to trust any vaccine developed by Trump, and everyone bought guns.
They set up autonomous zones where no police were allowed to go, and everyone bought guns.
They besieged federal buildings, and everyone bought guns.
They said Trump was Literally Hitler, and everyone bought guns.
They said the same vaccine which we weren’t supposed to trust a month before would be mandatory or you’d lose your job, and everyone bought guns.
2020 was one giant gun commercial. And by the time they were done, 2020 was the greatest gun buying spree in the history of a nation who already has more guns than God Himself, driven largely by first time owners, minorities, and women.
Liberals bought the guns.
And even three years later, no one single blue triber has ever yet apologized for any of their behavior in 2020. They have never admitted they were wrong about vaccine efficacy, wrong about Covid lethality, wrong about lockdown policy, wrong about masks, wrong to burn police stations, wrong to burn people’s homes and businesses, wrong to set up anarchy zones, wrong to defund police, wrong about the origins of the virus, or wrong to close schools needlessly when every other country in the world opened schools first. By refusing to apologize or acknowledge fault, they are saying loudly and proudly that they’d do it again.
And we all continue to buy even more guns because of that. The next 2020 could start tomorrow. Buy another gun.
Brynn’s Fault (2020 edition)
Brynn’s website is a very interesting window into the blue tribe blogosphere. Let’s focus specifically on her material from 2020.
She said the United States was headed for single party rule, and everyone bought guns.
She said Republicans were all fascist, and everyone bought guns.
She said Trump was building an authoritarian regime that would destroy democracy, and everyone bought guns.
She said Trump was single handedly responsible for the government bungling the Covid-19 response, and everyone bought guns.
She said that Trump would force the country into violent civil war, and everyone bought guns.
She said that QAnon was going to destroy LGBTQ rights, and everyone bought guns.
She said that American democracy is dying and that votes don’t matter, and everyone bought guns.
She literally actually said that following the constitutional rules for an electoral tie in the 2020 election would destroy democracy, and everyone bought guns.
She literally actually said that if Trump were to win, his win would be stolen, and the only recourse would be to revolt by setting up autonomous zones across the country, including multiple states seceding. And anyone, by which I mean anyone at all, who took that idea seriously did one and only one thing after reading that article. They bought guns. Not just any gun. They bought AR-15s and dozens of boxes of 556 to run through them. Brynn may have done so herself.
After spending a couple of hours on Brynn’s website, it would boggle my mind if Brynn didn’t own an AR-15 and two thousand rounds of ammo, particularly given her history as a military aviator. Why on earth would she go to such lengths to promulgate secessionist opinions from the blue side and not at least own a rifle? It’s hard to say.
I’m pro-gun for reasons that lay far outside the modern culture wars. I think the modern culture wars are ordinary and largely uninteresting window dressing on what’s to come once AI becomes ubiquitous and the transhumanists invent immortality for the rich. My opinions on that are weird and speculative. That’s fine.
But for a culture warrior like Brynn Tannehill to bemoan the proliferation of tactical gun ownership while she promulgates every reason she can think of to buy a tactical rifle, seems not only disingenuous to me, it seems ignorant. And as a one-cause writer, I almost feel obligated to mail her a fruit basket for her overall efforts to increase gun ownership in the United States. Perhaps she can share the fruit basket with all the rest of the blues who made 2020 such a success for gun culture.
Or maybe I’ll mail her a can of ammo.
I went shooting for the first time with some buddies back in July 2019. I remember wondering how people could get so passionate about such a stupid redneck activity that was rendered totally obsolete by the benevolent power of policemen and governments.
What a difference 8 months can make.
Acta non verba, I suppose. When one's actions are in direct opposition to one's words, I take both the actions and words less seriously.
My guess is that Brynn doesn't really believe much of her catastrophizing. In true egregore node fashion, she's just repeating the catastrophic screeching from other Twitter drones, for that sweet sweet social media clout.