NYT Columnist: I Know! Let’s Make Guns Not Cool!

NYT Columnist: I Know! Let’s Make Guns Not Cool!

NYT Columnist: I Know! Let’s Make Guns Not Cool!

Pamela Paul, a columnist at the New York Times, frets about “Americans who love their guns.” But she has a solution: Let’s make guns not cool! 


Columnist: Too Many Americans Love Guns

Paul finds it disturbing that lots of people are gun enthusiasts:

“The disquieting fact remains that a staggering number of Americans clearly want — even love — to own guns …”

And. that would be my household. Along with almost half of the homes in my adopted state of Kansas. But Kansas pales in comparison to Montana, where 2/3 of the residents own guns.

This NYT columnist would rather repeal the Second Amendment, however, and would like to see stringent gun restrictions. But that pesky Supreme Court won’t accommodate her dream:

“Unfortunately, the most needed and most effective measures — repealing the Second Amendment, getting the Supreme Court to apply its supposed strict constructionism to the phrase “well regulated militia,” state laws regulating production and sales — have been stymied.”

Oh, cry me a river.

But Paul has come up with a brilliant plan, and that’s …


Let’s Try a Public Service Campaign

Yes, an elitist New York Times columnist has a plan to dissuade Neanderthals in Flyover Country from buying guns.

NYT columnist/guns


Paul writes:

“We could counter its efforts to sell more guns with a massive public health campaign. Make guns less cool, less acceptable, less a part of the supposedly “American way of life.” Scare people. Gross them out. Even try humor.”

She points out earlier PSA campaigns such as Smokey Bear (“only you can prevent forest fires”), crash test dummies ads pushing seat belt use, and anti-smoking ads. And while PSAs may not be able to convince adults that gun ownership isn’t cool, we can aim for teenagers. After all, Paul writes, “Public education and creative P.S.A.s helped reduce teenage cigarette use significantly.”

You could run anti-gun ads during the Super Bowl, for example. Not only that, but you could hook teens on the guns-aren’t-cool message via schools and social media platforms such as TikTok.

But what about Hollywood and its love affair with guns?

Paul has a solution to that, too. Look how there are fewer onscreen cigarettes in movies these days, she notes, as studios have clamped down on smoking scenes. In 2005, Warner Brothers was the first to “reduce or eliminate depictions of smoking and tobacco products” in films with less than an R-rating.

So let’s do the same with guns, writes the clueless NYT columnist:

“But the use of firearms onscreen can certainly be more intentional. Reaching for the gun in the course of storytelling isn’t always necessary.”

Besides, she writes, the coolest weapon she has seen onscreen this year was a … fanny pack.

Fun scene, but could you see Bruce Willis wielding a fanny pack on Nakatomi Plaza? Yippee-ki-yay. 


Now Do Rap Music

Pamela Paul somehow fails to address how rap music glorifies guns and the killing of one’s opponents. Rap, in fact, has overtaken rock music as the most popular genre in the United States. Which also means that a ton of white kids are also hearing lyrics that celebrate guns.

The music website Genius.com has made a list of firearms and firearm companies mentioned in rap. And looky here: one of the guns they list is the dreaded AR-15, which 50 Cent praised in his song, “Stop Crying:”

“That first body drop, we just getting started, death come in threes
AR-15, M16, semi-automatic, murder machine”

But Glocks are the most mentioned, with Genius listing them in serial number order, from the Glock 17 to the Glock 48. One rapper named “Twista” lists every Glock he owns in a song, and it takes him two verses to name them all.

So did Pamela Paul criticize the love affair that rappers have with their weapons? Is she going full Tipper Gore on rap?

Not a chance. That would be, you know, raaaacist. 


Columnist: Umm, This Might Not Work Anyway

At the conclusion of her column, even Pamela Paul admits that her idea might not do much:

“Trying to shift the consumer mind-set and public attitudes around guns is a challenge given how hardened gun culture is. It might move the needle only incrementally.”

Whether she likes it or not, gun culture is part of Americana. They’ve always been “cool,” from the cowboy shoot-’em-up TV shows of the mid-twentieth century to James Bond and even to Top Gun: Maverick.  It’s part of our DNA, our history, and trying to make them “less cool” is a fool’s errand.


Featured image: Johan Oomen/flickr/cropped/CC BY-SA 2.o. 


Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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  • It’s foolish to expect anything resembling wisdom or perspective from a Times columnist. The Smokey Bear pitches didn’t seek to ban matches, did they? But more to the point, the U.S. citizenry has been heavily armed since its inception. Only recently have atrocities such as Uvalde and Parkland been in the news. The right question to ask is “What’s changed recently?” Pamela Paul probably knows this, but to ponder it even fleetingly would undermine her agenda. And thus it shall forever be, for the would-be totalitarians who know that their goals cannot be achieved in the face of an armed populace.

    • GWB says:

      the U.S. citizenry has been heavily armed since its inception
      Heck, it had its inception because it was heavily armed.

      The right question to ask is “What’s changed recently?”
      Exactly right. And it’s not the presence or capability of firearms.

  • GWB says:

    state laws regulating production and sales
    Ummmm, that would be unconstitutional even if the 2d Amendment were repealed. Not that that has stopped Congress, or even slowed them down.
    (BTW, there actually are state laws regulating production and sales, on top of the federal ones. There are all kinds of safety regulations – mostly on ammunition – warranty regulations, fraud regulations, transport regulations [did you know you can’t ship ammo to a post office box?], limits on how many guns you can buy in 30 days, limits as to who can purchase a gun, limits on where you can purchase a gun….)

    Scare people
    Well, they were well along with that one, until some idiots on their team started burning down cities and killing people in the streets because some bad guy was killed by da popo. All of a sudden, that “scared of guns” turned into “well, I better get one, then.”

    “Public education and creative P.S.A.s helped reduce teenage cigarette use significantly.”
    Actually, vaping did that.

    Reaching for the gun in the course of storytelling isn’t always necessary.
    Well, true. Blind squirrel and all that. Of course, there are loads of stories already without the presence of a gun. But some stories actually require a realistic depiction of someone doing bad things or defending themselves from someone doing bad things. (I wonder if she liked the Denzel Washington Equalizer movie? After all, he reached for a nail driver in the ultimate scene, not a gun.)

    the coolest weapon she has seen onscreen this year was a … fanny pack
    Wow. What a stupid scene. I mean, rent-a-cops are bad. But they all closed to melee distance with a pistol in their hand? And what did that guy have in the fanny pack, lead ingots? His one kick didn’t even connect with the powerful part of his leg (the foot) and yet the rent-a-cop goes sailing backward. (Also, that whole grab-the-gun scene is a good argument for carrying a backup.)

    Now Do Rap Music
    Dat’s Racissss!

    the consumer mind-set
    No, honey, it’s not the “consumer” mind-set. We’re not buying them like people buy Barbie dolls. OK, some people do buy AR-15s to “accessorize” them. But primarily we buy them because of a “Liberty mindset“. As in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We buy them because we’re not little peasants ruled over by their masters – instead, we’re masters of our own fates, including whether or not we die today. We buy them because the cops stand around when a mass shooting happens, or they arrive in “just minutes”. Those minutes are people getting shot or stabbed and dying. A single nurse or resident carrying concealed in that medical center in Tulsa possibly could have stopped the body count at 1, maybe even have stopped it at 0. A firearm is a fantastic equalizer. And, barring a moron carrying it, it will beat a fanny pack Every Damn Time.

    • GWB says:

      Let me re-word one bit:
      we’re masters of our own fates, including whether or not we die today.
      Should be:
      we’re masters of our own fates, including whether or not we die today at the hands of another.

      I never want to imply you’re totally in control of your life. But being able to defend yourself means that someone else has a much harder time being your master.

  • Larry Brasfield says:

    The most amusing aspects of the cited NYT article are the notions that people who value guns might look to source such as the NYT for guidance as to what is cool and that coolness rather than utility is the operative factor in choice of tools.

    The “we” terminology is telling; it tells me that Ms. Paul and her ilk have no clue as to how Americans think.

  • Cameron says:

    “Scare people. Gross them out. Even try humor.”

    1. We aren’t scared of you.
    2. Grossing out is not possible.
    3. The left has no sense of humor and they can’t meme.

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