Stop the presses! The New York Times ran its first front page editorial since 1920 during the weekend, and it was on gun control.
As Jonah Goldberg points out, New York Times must think this is a very important matter, given that they have not given such treatment to some very important historical events:
The Peace of Versailles, Buck v. Bell, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor,* the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Ukrainian famine, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Tuskegee experiments, the Holocaust, McCarthyism, the Marshall Plan, Jim Crow, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy Assassination, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Kent State, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Watergate, withdrawal from Vietnam, the Killing Fields, the Iran hostage crisis, the Contras, AIDS, gay marriage, the Iran nuclear deal: These are just a few of the things the New York Times chose not to run front page editorials on. But, the “Gun Epidemic” in America? That deserves a front-page editorial.
Glenn Reynolds has a USA Today column in which he suggests an ignoble reason for the Times' first front-page editorial in nearly a century: President Obama and the Democrats are in trouble and the public needs a distraction. Cynical but not a hundred percent implausible:
So is the Times editorializing now because gun control is more important than Pearl Harbor? Or because Obama is in trouble? Because when people are talking about gun control, they’re not talking about Obama’s many failures, ranging from the failures of vetting and counterterrorism that may have led to the San Bernardino attacks themselves, to Obama’s foreign policy debacles in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to how the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag campaign against Boko Haram accomplished nothing, to how Putin is running wild in Eastern Europe, to Obama’s plans to import more poorly-vetted refugees from Muslim countries that foment terror or the still-anemic economy that has left far too many Americans unemployed or underemployed despite years of “recovery.”
Cynical but not a hundred percent implaussible.
I think there is another reason: Liberals are fixated on gun control. Rather than becoming an epidemic, gun deaths actually are going down, but liberals still see it as a touchstone issue. Gun control has almost become a class issue–if you are against it, you are some kind of hick. Maybe the Times is just standing in solidarity with other members of the elite, though Reynolds' theory is getting a lot of traction.