Erick Erickson just couldn't help himself. The conservative talk radio host and editor of RedState.com apparently disagreed so strongly with the New York Times' front-page gun safety editorial Saturday that he opened fire on a copy of the newspaper and posted the evidence on social media.
Dec. 5, 201500:39
Some on the right apparently disagreed with the piece, with varying degrees of intensity.
Just so we're clear, when the Huffington Post said Erickson "opened fire" on the editorial, it's not a metaphorical expression or a euphemism for fierce criticism. The Republican pundit read the piece and felt compelled to shoot bullets -- seven, to be precise -- at the editorial as a way of registering his disapproval.
As a political blogger myself, I can relate to the feeling of reading an argument I disagree with, and wanting to poke holes in it. But I'll confess, it never occurred to me the phrase "poke holes in an argument" should be taken literally.
But there's also a broader point to consider. There's something unsettling about the state of our discourse when high-profile media figures and candidates for public office effectively declare, "I find myself confronted with ideas I disagree with. Where's my gun?"
Literally shooting at inanimate objects as a form of political protest has become surprisingly common in recent years. Perhaps the most memorable example came in 2010, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) aired a television commercial showing him literally firing a rifle at a cap-and-trade bill.
But he's hardly alone. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) ran a commercial in which he shot a television. Matt Rosendale (R), an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Montana, had an ad in which he shot a drone. In 2014, Will Brooke, an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Alabama, had a commercial in which he shot the Affordable Care Act -- with several different guns. Ron Gould, a Republican candidate in Arizona, did the same thing two years earlier.
There is, to be sure, more than one way to win an argument, but in the marketplace of ideas, those with confidence in their convictions probably shouldn't turn to firearms to make their case.