2022年5月27日 星期五

The Daily: The Gun Ownership Identity Problem

What happens when gun reform feels like a personal attack.

This week on The Daily, we used a headline no one wanted to read: Another Elementary School Massacre.

It's a title that defies language conventions — and logic. "Massacre" was never meant to be juxtaposed with "elementary school." But here we are, commemorating an ugly anniversary, 10 years on from the Sandy Hook shooting that led to countless unrealized promises for reform.

So why has enacting common-sense gun control been so hard? One reason, experts say, is because of the relationship between gun ownership and identity in America. We take a closer look at that idea below.

The big idea: Why gun reform is at a stalemate


Callaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

It's a nauseating, familiar cycle.

A massacre occurs. Children die in their classrooms from a legally purchased rifle. The news spreads. And as the death count rises, horror morphs into outrage and denial simultaneously.


In a bizarre split-screen of responses, some progressives call for gun control while some conservatives insist the answer lies in arming more Americans. Finger pointing on social media ensues.

This polarization, combined with Congressional gridlock, results in a deadly political impasse. All the while, America persists in its macabre exceptionalism — occupying a league of its own for the amount of guns in circulation, frequency of mass shootings and number of people who die by gunfire annually.

"Why are we willing to live with this carnage?" President Biden said on Tuesday night after returning from a trip to Asia. "Why do we keep letting this happen?"

One answer, according to researchers, could come from understanding the power of the identity of gun ownership. Let us explain.


The identity of gun ownership

Gun owners in America have long felt a strong fidelity to their weapons, for a variety of reasons ranging from protection to sport. This dates to at least the 1930s, when attempts at federal gun regulation first began, according to Matthew Lacombe, a political science professor at Barnard College.

However, the individual identity of gun owners began to take shape as an organized social and political force in the late 1970s. In 1977, strident gun rights activists assumed control of the National Rifle Association and "brought the organization into closer alignment with conservative movement actors and then eventually the Republican Party," Mr. Lacombe said.

In doing so, the N.R.A. successfully made "the right to bear arms and opposition to gun control a pillar of conservative or American identity," said Mugambi Jouet, a professor at McGill University's law school. Now, the notion of gun rights is part of a "packaged" identity that "closely resembles what it means to be a Republican today," Mr. Lacombe added.

A majority of Republicans, even if they aren't gun owners, say gun regulations should either stay the same or become less strict. They also support allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places and allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in K-12 schools. Gun owners who identify as Democrats, however, are more likely than Republicans to support moderate gun reform.

An identity under threat

The measured linkage between gun ownership and a sense of identity and community may make starting conversations about even modest gun control measures difficult.

While progressives believe they are attempting to hold a conversation based on policy, those conversations can often feel like an identity-based threat, Mr. Lacombe said.

"It no longer is about abstract policy proposals that people would be willing to accept. Instead, it's perceived as, 'these people who I consider my enemy are proposing this initiative. And that, details aside, just seems like an attack on who I am and what I believe in,'" he added. "That's certainly how the N.R.A. frames even fairly innocuous gun control measures. And that's been pretty key to its mobilization capabilities."

Absolutist in their interpretation of the Second Amendment and open to wielding controversy for its public relations benefit, the N.R.A. is quite possibly the most powerful lobbying organization and certainly one of the most feared by conservative lawmakers for its ability to initiate a career-ending backlash. According to experts, the association's capacity to mobilize may be located in the linkage between gun ownership and conceptions of identity.

Research shows that when an identity is perceived to be under attack, it often becomes even more important to a person. And in a hyper-polarized political environment, these identity-based threats have made the issue "central to many people's worldview," Mr. Jouet said. "And people are rarely willing to abandon their sense of identity."

So what?

Those who most influence this debate view gun rights as central to their individual, social and political identity. Understanding that can help reframe the conversation around gun control, Mr. Lacombe said.

Specifically, understanding the emotional appeal of identity-based arguments can encourage the gun control movement to align itself with other deeply held identities — like that of a parent interested in protecting a child. The movement "has done a much better job" of this in recent years, he added.

He also notes that this understanding could encourage activists to communicate their perspectives without "increasing the extent to which people hate an out-group," he said. "I think there is a middle ground that can highlight why an issue is something that people, for example, who care about their kids should care about without necessarily saying, 'OK, everybody who might disagree on this issue literally wants to see children die."

Ultimately, school shootings are the result of a disastrous alchemy of elements. The ease of gun access in America. Poor mental health and limited public support for treatment. A history of mediatized tragedies and the possibility of livestreaming the act with some perverse promise of infamy.

But sitting behind all of those contributing factors is a powerful social force that has worked to make this a highly emotional, not simply rational, conversation. And understanding that, experts say, could help the country collectively move toward a different future.

The alignment of the Republican Party with gun ownership is "a peculiar conception of conservatism by both U.S. historical standards and Western standards," Mr. Jouet said. "The fact that this mind-set did not gain significant traction before recent decades suggests that other perspectives may emerge someday."

From the Audio team: This week in narrated articles

Every week we curate a list of five narrated articles from the team. Sometimes these stories — read aloud by the journalists that wrote them — are newsy, often they are beautifully wacky and almost always they're touching. Here's what is on our playlist this week:

Guy Fieri, Elder Statesman of Flavortown: He is television's spike-haired rhapsodist of roadside eats. But Guy Fieri is now also winning the food world's respect as a sort of graying eminence. "If you only hear Metallica as a heavy-metal band, then you are not hearing Metallica," Mr. Fieri said in this profile. "Now maybe you don't like that style. But they're real musicians."

Baby Formula Shortage Reveals Gaps in Regulation and Reporting: The government has ordered more safeguards at an Abbott Nutrition plant. But the lack of reporting requirements and limited testing make it hard to monitor the deadly bacterium that led to a recall.

A Boxed Set for the Birds Hopes to Save Them, Too: A star-studded, 242-track trove of songs and poems inspired by birdsong is the latest project in a series of releases raising awareness about its own threatened sources.

In Minneapolis, Overhaul Efforts Stall as Police Resist Change: Since the murder of George Floyd by a veteran police officer, the city's mayor has ordered a host of policy changes to rein in the police, including banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants and traffic stops and stepping up discipline for misconduct. But the department has repeatedly been caught violating the mayor's edicts.

Your Dog Is Not Ready for You to Return to the Office: Many New Yorkers have returned to their workplaces, or never stopped going to them. But for those contemplating the transition now, and for their dogs, a day of reckoning has arrived. More than 23 million American households added a cat or dog during the pandemic, according to the A.S.P.C.A., and many of those animals have never known what it is like to be left alone all day.

On The Daily this week

Monday: It was a tactical disaster for Russia's military, a failed crossing of the Donets River in eastern Ukraine led to heavy losses for Russian troops and rare criticism of the Kremlin's war efforts.

Tuesday: Lessons learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine seem to be responsible, in part, for an apparent shift in American policy toward Taiwan.

Wednesday: What can the experience of some of the Sandy Hook parents tell us about what now awaits those who lost children in Uvalde, Texas?

Thursday: The Republican primaries in Georgia and Pennsylvania tested the lingering influence of false claims about 2020 election fraud.

Friday: The recent shutdown of one of the largest baby formula production plants in the United States has sent families scrambling to find essential food for their children.

That's it for the Daily newsletter. See you next week.

Have thoughts about the show? Tell us what you think at thedaily@nytimes.com.

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2022年5月25日 星期三

The T List: Five things we recommend this week

A dim sum restaurant in Paris, vibrant geometric pillows — and more.

Welcome to the T List, a newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. Each week, we share things we're eating, wearing, listening to or coveting now. Sign up here to find us in your inbox every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at tlist@nytimes.com.


A Striking Dim Sum Restaurant in Paris

At Bleu Bao, designed by Atelieramo, a riff on traditional Chinese tea houses. Left: the ground-floor dining room, featuring an oversize reproduction of a Ming painting and sparkly tabletops. Right: the boudoirlike room upstairs, with vintage furnishings and lamps sourced at Selency. Carole Cheung

By Lindsey Tramuta

T Contributor


After traveling across China as a college student — from Shanghai to Yunnan, Guangzhou and Beijing — to reconnect with her roots, Céline Cheung returned home to her native France with a dream to one day disrupt classic Chinese canteens with restaurants that would emphasize style as wells as the diversity of the cuisine. "I'm French Chinese and inspired by my family's heritage, but also by Paris — its sense of design and its gastronomic scene," says Cheung. Bleu Bao is the restaurateur's third and most recent spot: Designed by Atelieramo, the Paris-based interiors studio known for its work on prestige salons at the department store Samaritaine, the bao and dim sum restaurant nods to traditional Chinese teahouses and incorporates bold materials and colors, particularly the blue and white of traditional porcelain. The ground floor features velvet banquettes and an oversize reproduction of a Ming painting offset by neon yellow trim, while the upper level has more of a boudoir feel. Armchairs and daybeds replace tables and chairs, and Maison Martin Morel floral wallpaper inspired by Wong Kar-wai's film "In the Mood for Love" sets a romantic scene for throwing back char siu bao, Dongpo pork and ginger milk pudding. "I wanted to show a different side of Chinese dining," Cheung says, "without the clichés." 8 Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris, baofamily.co.


Pillows That Pack a Punch

Thatcher's new collection of Form pillows, available in six different shapes.Leah Verwey

By Aileen Kwun

T Contributor

Avery Thatcher has developed a range of techniques over the course of her creative life, as evidenced by her Portland, Ore.-based wallpaper line Juju Papers — the designs of which feature paper cutouts, sponge paintings and screen prints — and her namesake pigmented concrete tile company. This month, she celebrates the merging of these two businesses into one design studio, Thatcher, with a collection of geometric Form pillows. The release reflects yet more past endeavors, including her training in sculpture and a formative stint in theatrical puppetry. "I never had a traditional career path, and I notoriously always had so many jobs at all times," says Thatcher, "but I really learned about craft and how to construct things working there." Several colleagues from that gig helped to construct and develop the playful set of six, available in colors like bottle green, dandelion and port wine. Upholstered with responsibly sourced New Zealand lambs' wool, the pillows are filled with CertiPUR-US foam, in keeping with Thatcher's climate-neutral status. Each one might (somewhat literally) punctuate a space with a jolt of energetic color, and can be tossed around for wear. "My two kids destroy them on the daily, and they've been keeping their sculptural shape," Thatcher says. From $200, thatcherstudio.com.



Handcrafted Handbags From Celine

The two styles offered for Celine's Haute Maroquinerie collection. From left: the 16; the Triomphe.Courtesy of Celine

By Jameson Montgomery

In his four years since taking the helm at Celine, the creative director Hedi Slimane has made it a priority to resurrect the precision of haute couture, as well as the intimacy — the multiple fittings required for each commission ensured a close relationship between couturier and client. After re-establishing a couture salon at the French fashion house in 2018, and reintroducing Celine's perfumery in 2019, Slimane now turns his attention to leather goods with the Haute Maroquinerie collection. Each made-to-order handbag is crafted from start to finish by a single artisan at the brand's leatherwork facility in Tuscany, with two shapes on offer. The 16, a top-handle satchel, is named for the address of Celine's atelier, at 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris, while the Triomphe, a smaller shoulder bag, has a clasp that resembles the wrought-iron chain circling its namesake arch. Both bags are rendered in the finest materials, with an array of customization options: clasps and hardware in 18-carat yellow or white gold, possible diamond detailing, goat leather interior and crocodile exterior in 14 shades, from inky patent black to a lovely lilac. Leave it to one of the Frenchiest of houses to redefine luxury. Price upon request, celine.com.


Phaan Howng's Neon Dystopia

An installation view of Phaan Howng's "I'll Be Back" at Dinner Gallery.Photo: Ethan Browning. Courtesy of Dinner Gallery

By Aileen Kwun

T Contributor


In the Taiwanese American painter Phaan Howng's imagined landscapes, flora have evolved to take on a riot of Day-Glo hues as a survival tactic against years of toxic industrial waste in a post-Anthropocene future. It's a theme the artist has explored since the late aughts, when she held down a particularly wearying day job at an electronics manufacturing company in South Florida and gained a mounting awareness of the industry's environmental impact. "I did not want my ghost to live in that cubicle forever," she recalls. This month, Howng, now based in Baltimore, presents her first solo show in New York, "I'll Be Back," a meditation on domesticity, feminism and the extractive history of house plants. The practice of taming and commodifying nature within the home dates to the Victorian era, and the artist's research included Kate Chopin's novel "The Awakening" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," as well as the sci-fi flick "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." Among the works is an immersive installation, staged as an interior overrun with acid yellow, orange and fluorescent green plants and patterns, a dizzying array of paintings, sculptures, wallpaper, furniture and more. It elicits a sort of despairing joy — an end-of-days, rave-party aplomb. "I've always been interested in how humans attempt to control and manipulate nature to fit their vision," Howng says. "Why do we do that?" "I'll Be Back" is on view through June 25 at Dinner Gallery, New York, dinnergallery.com.


Wine Classes Accompanied by Spaghetti

Each guest will go home with a copy of Alessio de Sensi's book, "Uncork Your Senses."Giada Paoloni

"I am naturally thirsty to understand the endless mystery of wine," says Alessio de Sensi, the general manager of the New York Italian restaurant Scarpetta. This week, he begins sharing that oenophilia and vast knowledge — he experienced his first harvest at age six in Maremma, Italy, and received a formal education through the Italian Sommelier Association — with VinVivo, a series of in-person wine classes. The first sessions, called "World of Wine," will explain terminology, discuss tasting techniques and explore the history of winemaking while students enjoy a three-course meal (and leave with a copy of de Sensi's book, "Uncork Your Senses"). They are lessons he first provided to his colleagues as the wine director at Minetta Tavern a decade ago and continued once he joined Scarpetta in 2019, and which the LDV Hospitality founder John Meadow wanted to make accessible to the public. "Our biggest hope of our attendees is that they are empowered to find and drink what they truly love," says Meadow. $150 per ticket, exploretock.com.


The Mullet Makes Its Way Back

The model Arina Besedina, photographed by the hairstylist Guido Palau in a look from Alexander McQueen's spring 2022 runway show.Courtesy of Guido Palau

In much of the Western world, mullets have largely been seen as a thwarting, whether one celebrated or feared, of convention. Take David Bowie, who wore chalky white makeup, psychedelic jumpsuits and a coiffed orange mullet to debut his otherworldly alter ego Ziggy Stardust in 1972. Not long after this glamorous alien emerged came a more working-class punk subculture for which rebellion was a raison d'être. And as much as torn clothes, safety pins, chains and piercings — the stuff of "confrontation dressing," as the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood called it — the mullet played a large part in the aesthetics of the movement. For one, the ragged style was purposefully ugly. "It was meant to be a shock to society," says the hairstylist Guido Palau, who was a mullet-wearing member of the punk scene of 1970s Dorset, England. "You'd walk down the road and people would cross over to avoid you." Read more at tmagazine.com, and follow us on Instagram.

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