It simply seemed like a nice gesture this week when Tim McGraw said he would donate 100 percent of the proceeds from his performance July 17 in Hartford to Sandy Hook Promise. It’s a group founded by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown with the intent of protecting children from gun violence.
Yet in the minds of some Second Amendment absolutists, protecting children from gun violence is somehow synonymous with banning gun ownership. The right-wing website Breitbart News Network posted an item with the headline “Tim McGraw, Billy Currington Headlining Gun Control Fundraiser,” and though that’s a misrepresentation of what’s actually happening — the concert is part of McGraw’s “Shotgun Rider” summer tour with Currington and Chase Bryant — there’s been enough of an outcry that Currington dropped off the Hartford date.
“I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues — I’m a singer,” reads a post on Currington’s Facebook page. “I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the Sandy Hook community and will be making a donation to a local organization.”
In other words, he bowed out under pressure from people whose fervor for unfettered access to guns is so unwavering that the idea of taking steps to prevent further Sandy Hook-style incidents with what Sandy Hook Promise describes as “targeted prevention programs in the areas of mental wellness early-identification and intervention, social and emotional development and firearm safety and security” is tantamount to, in the words of Breitbart News, “open[ing] the door to legalized firearm confiscation.”
Put yet another way, even after a 20-year-old man with mental illness used unsecured guns that his mother legally purchased to murder her, 20 elementary school students and six staff members, our culture’s approach to gun ownership looks A-OK, so no need to change a thing. Is it cynicism that’s winning, or stupidity?