Using "Contact Tracing" For Gun Control

One of the many buzzwords that took over the media amid the COVID-19 story was the term “contact tracing.” The idea was that by seeing who infected people had contact with, we could slow the spread of the disease. After all, if they had contact with someone infected, there was a strong possibility they were infected and should self-quarantine and/or be tested themselves.

However, some are considering using contact tracing for something else.

It did not take the gun control crowd long to find ways to piggy-back onto the COVID-19 pandemic scare and press their extremist agenda. A recently-published article by a college professor, suggesting that COVID-19 contact tracing should be studied seriously as a solution to the problem of gun violence in America, reveals the partisan political agenda underlying much of the ongoing debate about the pandemic.

In the midst of all this, COVID contact tracing, using the power of ubiquitous “smart” phones to map patterns of contacts by individuals known to have or suspected of having contracted the virus, surfaced as a way to slow the spread of the virus.

The glaringly-obvious privacy problems inherent in contact tracing have to some extent tempered the rush to implement such programs (or perhaps simply caused officials to do so less publicly). Its emergence as a means of more broadly controlling people, however, has been seized by Nanny State advocates as a way to pursue government control of non-medical issues including, of course, gun control.

recently-published article by Northwestern University sociology professor Andrew Papachristos is illustrative of this movement to employ invasive contact tracing to address other problems, such as gun violence. In this particular proposal, however, there is no substance whatsoever. Not once does the professor actually say how contact tracing data would solve gun violence, only that “research” of it – as some deus ex machina device – would magically solve the problem.

That nonsense, such as the kind promoted by Papachristos, would be taken seriously even to the extent of publication demonstrates the degree to which the Left will seize on virtually any occurrence, whether a viral pandemic, a police shooting, and especially the never-ending crusade to undermine the Second Amendment, as a vehicle with which to further their political agenda.

This is part of the problem with thinking of violence as a public health issue. It makes people start thinking of it as some kind of disease, which leads some to claim that contact tracing may be useful.

It’s not, though.

You see, violence isn’t contagious. Someone doesn’t shoot their neighbor because they caught an infection from someone who shot the guy down the street. Acts of violence, regardless of the weapon, are far more complicated than any disease vectors. There are numerous factors that determine whether someone is likely to become a violent criminal or not.

It doesn’t take things like economics, family life, or anything else into account. That’s because all of that is, as noted earlier, complicated. It’s not a simple problem and simple solutions won’t fix it.

Yet that’s about all the left has to offer, especially when it comes to guns.