The article is long, but this quote really tells you all you need to know -- there is nothing in the article that really relates to this quote ... for example "civilian life" is never defined.
When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left.In this article, a world is presented in which nobody in the US believed in anyone's right to use a gun in self defense until the NRA created the idea out of thin air in the '70s. The 2nd amendment is purely about a militia, and any other thought is "a fraud" created by lawyers paid for by the NRA. Must be the only case in history where lawyers working for money create documents in support of some view -- clearly a sinister concept. The alternative being? Well, he doesn't say ... something other than an adversarial legal system where all points are entitled to paid legal representation.
I'm certain there is not a single anti-gun, environmental or labor organization that has EVER paid a single lawyer to write documents advocating their positions! How can the NRA think they can get away with such a thing??
The author does a "good" ... or "sinister" job depending on your views of the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership, job of weaving a story that includes his personal trip to a gun shop, a lot of selected snippets of history supporting the "right of the militia to have guns" view of the 2nd Amendment, school shootings, Trayvon Martin and smearing the NRA. He shows his colors just a bit in this quote ...
The walls are painted police blue up to the wainscoting, and then white to the ceiling, which is painted black. It feels like a clubhouse, except, if you’ve never been to a gun shop before, that part feels not quite licit, like a porn shop.Having grown up in rural WI prior to "the gun wars" the "like a porn shop" is mind blowing -- although likely indicative of the Red - Blue State gap. In my youth, it was not uncommon at all for kids to take guns in to school shop class to work on, nor to have them in the car at HS age to go hunting in the afternoon. Nobody in the US had ever heard of a school shooting -- and it CERTAINLY wasn't due to a shortage of guns. I bought my first gun at a hardware store. All manner of stores loaded with guns were common -- if I had known what a "porn shop" was in those days, the idea that it would in any way be related to anything about guns in any sense would have been bark at the moon crazy. In fact, it still is -- and shows why the "Red/Blue" divide is so stark -- we live in the same country in different mental model universes.
I would have thought that school shootings were a phenomenon of the late '90s ... Paducah, Jonesboro, Littleton, but Wikipedia at least manages to make it seem like "they have always been happening" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting/ a quick glance through their history shows a lot of the targets as being teachers or administrators -- targeted due to some sort of romantic issues by mostly adults, and occasionally by students. In general, prior to the late '90s it isn't just "go in and kill students indiscriminately" ... although I'm not going to claim that the quick scan was definitive research.
It would appear though that "school shootings" have very little to do with the prevalence of guns -- bolstered by the incidence in places like Finland, France, and Norway of similar phenomenon. All those lack an NRA and a "Right to Bear Arms", but folks bent on violence still get guns ... or bombs, etc and kill others. The problem is as old as Cain and Able. If one wanted to tie the "post late '90s" to something, violent video games, Quentin Tarantino, internet isolation, family breakup, massive prescriptions of anti-ADD, anti-depressants, etc to youth ... etc etc might all be more likely causes due to the historical timeline than devices that have been around for over 200 years.
What does the author hope to achieve with this article? More liberal outrage against the NRA? Against the SCOTUS? Is it just "phooey on the other side" for the loyal liberal readers of the New Yorker? Probably the old "dominant view" in action -- when you write for a conservative rag, you MUST address "the other side" -- because all of your readers live their lives steeped in the MSM dominant left culture. When you write for the New Yorker, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of your readers share your world view -- isn't it the ONLY reasonable view?