Today I want to borrow something particularly interesting from No More Mister Nice Blog. Much of our work here, as we head into our ninth year, involves pointing out the flaws in people’s arguments. I still think that’s an important job after all the years. But here, thanks to NMMNB, is an instance in which David Brooks, once a favorite target of ours (and kind of an inspiration for this blog with all of his hackery) actually changes his mind on account of an argument. Here it is:
Obama spoke about Stand Your Ground laws — and, again, I don’t think he was “sympathetic to all sides” (nor should he have been):
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
Hearing this made David Brooks reconsider his position on these laws:
And I have to say, the point on the Stand Your Ground law was actually clarifying for me. I had some sympathy for the laws because as, you know, as Americans, we should be independent, we should be able to defend ourselves, be strong. But the argument he made about, you know, do we really want all sorts of people, do we really want what happened here, people walking around with guns feeling free to shoot off without legal protections, without the normal legal process — now, that’s a compelling argument, which he put very well.
Yes, Brooks actually said he’d never quite thought about the possibility of extending Stand Your Ground to “all sorts of people.” Yes, even those sorts. When you put it that way, Stand Your Ground is kinda scary, hunh, David?
Nice work, Professor Obama.
I’m relieved that Obama was able to penetrate the fog of this guy’s mind. That’s something, I guess.