Some listen to Reagan. Others Rush. But when I want get fired up, my go-to choice is public radio.

Something about their never-ending sanctimony is like sweet music. Their smugness? Red Bull infused with catnip.

My latest encounter came over the weekend at the end of a five-mile hike, courtesy of iHeart radio on my iPhone. The show of choice was “The Takeaway” on WNYC, the public radio affiliate in New York.

The promo promised a new kind of discussion on guns: We were going to break out of “stalled and stilted” boxes and hear from “two men who have completely reversed their positions on guns in very different ways. Chauncey Hollingsworth is a freelance writer for the Atlantic and Playboy, and Laurence Budd is a water efficiency consultant and gun owner in Fort Collins, Colorado.”

Whoa: NPR promising to interview a real gun person? No way I was missing that car crash.

First up, Chauncey Hollingsworth. Chauncey says he really used to like guns, but after the latest episode in Colorado, and remembering Columbine and Fort Hood, well, that was about all he could stand.

Fort Hood? Listen and learn: I had been under the impression that the Fort Hood gunman was a Muslim extremist, in touch with other extremists around the world. Another loser bent on jihad. Shouting Allah Akbar was the clue.

But according to Chauncey, the Fort Hood guy was just another crazy dude with a high-powered weapon. All he needed was some orange hair.

Chauncey writes for the Atlantic magazine, used to be an editor at Playboy and teaches at DePaul University. Ethics in Computer Games and Cinema, if you have to know.

After a couple of decades of thinking about gun control, Chauncey decided it was a pretty good idea after all.

So far, this is dog bites man: Academic/reporter type wants to grab your guns. So what?

I wanted the main attraction: A liberal who, all of a sudden, came to believe in the Second Amendment, John Lott, self-defense, all that crazy stuff.

Maybe we would even hear him say that if someone else had been carrying a gun in Colorado, a roomful of people would still be alive and unhurt. I would pay to hear an NPR audience assaulted with that kind of high-powered truth.

This was going to be good. Alas, ’twas not to be. They pulled a bait and switch. Laurence Budd bought a gun in the early ’70s after he returned from a stint in the Peace Corps.

And that was about it: Soon he was talking about how we needed to start regulating guns and ammo. Talking about gun violence, Mr. Budd admitted, “It does worry me immensely.” He never got around to mentioning anything about why people think the Second Amendment is important.

By now the host, John Hockenberry, was ecstatic: He had pulled off the seemingly impossible. Starting out with two people of opposite views, they had both “completely reversed their positions” but ended up in the same place: Against guns!


“Why isn’t this part of the debate?” the host wanted to know. He and his doppelganger Chauncey soon had it figured out: People on the “extremes” were to blame.

As a semi-frequent NPR guest and a long-time listener, I know he did not mean that. On NRR there is always only one extreme.

That was “their takeaway” at the largest public radio station in America.

I love those guys.

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