AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Mass shootings are powerful for gun control activists. Very powerful.
Each news report of a mass shooting terrifies the public. It reminds them how unsafe the world is, shattering the illusion that they will be free from violence. Regardless of the astronomical odds of them being involved in such a shooting, the terror it invokes is still very real.
There’s a reason gun control anti-gunners embrace these arguments wholeheartedly. They’re banking on that that terror will move people to embrace gun control policies, even if the policies in question wouldn’t have done a damn thing.
In a recent op-ed in Time Magazine, two of the top gun control activists in the U.S. Congress continued their tired drumbeat for laws that would have no impact on the safety of our communities. U.S. Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Dianne Feinstein of California, both Democrats, once again took the easy path toward their long-standing anti-gun rhetoric. Instead of basing their arguments on evidence and facts, they take the emotional-low road.
Punish The Law-Abiding
Anyone reading their piece (assuming anyone does read op-eds in Time), would read the list of tragic shooting incidents that have happened over the past decades, and feel the pull of their emotions. Anger, frustration, sadness… no one wants these to occur. But then these elected officials pivot from tragedy to call for new laws. What they fail to do is to show that the laws would have prevented any of these tragedies. Why is that? Why do these senators with multiple offices full of staffers dedicated to conducting exactly this kind of research fail to make this connection between emotion and proposals? Well, the evidence simply does not exist. Law-abiding citizens qualified to own firearms follow the laws. Criminals and those mentally ill who seek to harm others do not. Enacting more laws will not change that.
No, it wouldn’t.
Worse, people like Sens. Murphy and Feinstein know it. They know these policies they’re trying to push wouldn’t have averted any of those mass shootings, but they’re still going to use them nonetheless.
The reason is that gangbangers shooting other gangbangers doesn’t upset people all that much. Even when they kill an innocent in their wars, those are people elsewhere. They live in a bad neighborhood or whatever. Such tragedies are common enough that they only generally make the local news, except maybe in Chicago where they’re almost as common as traffic citations.
But mass shootings are different. They’re news. They’re rare, terrifying, and people feel powerless to do anything about them.
People like Sens. Murphy and Feinstein roll out gun control proposals whenever they can to elicit those feelings. They want you to feel scared, to feel powerless to stop them, all so you’ll look to them and beg them to do something, anything.
But if you attack the claim, if you ask precisely how a piece of legislation would stop Las Vegas or Parkland, you get attacked for that. Someone will claim that it’s a “horrible question” to ask because it’s really about all the other gun-related deaths.
Well, you don’t get it both ways. It’s about mass shootings that terrify people, or it’s about the other deaths that, frankly, most people aren’t all that bent out of shape over, especially since two-thirds of those are suicides that would be better prevented through mental health treatment improvement.
That leaves about 10,000 or so deaths in a country of over 300 million people, deaths that are never going to create the sense of fear a single mass shooting can create.
So yeah, if they’re going to evoke them, they damn well better be willing to show how such a law would have prevented a given mass shooting. Otherwise, they’re showing themselves to be the opportunistic vultures we all knew they are.