No, Atlanta Doesn't "Prove" Gun Control Is Answer To Terrorism

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

What happened in Atlanta the other evening was awful. There’s absolutely no other way to put it. Such a rampage is insane and now people have died because of one man’s mania. Really, awful is an understatement.

It was an atrocity.

Yet what’s almost as bad is how anti-gunners will latch onto such occasions to push their agenda. Even when the facts are still in question, they’ll push forward. They’ll even claim gun control is the answer to terrorism.

here’s still much that’s unknown about the shootings in Atlanta on Tuesday night. The suspect, 21-year-old [Name redacted], appears to have been targeting massage parlors. Eight people have been killed, including six Asian-American women. Early reports from the sheriff’s office indicate that the shooter targeted the victims because he blamed them for his supposed “sex addiction.” While the sheriff pointed to such comments to deny any alleged racist motivation, it’s rare that such misogynistic motives don’t come with a heavy dose of racism as well.

In other words, “We don’t have any evidence of racism, so we’re just going to say that it must be there because reasons.” Good to know.

Then again, this is Salon. You shouldn’t expect better of them.

The attack happened at a time of heightened national concerns over domestic right-wing terrorism, and for good reason. In Donald Trump’s America, hate groups exploded in number, and hate crimes hit record levels. In the past year, hate crimes against Asian-Americans, in particular, have spiked, fueled by Trump and his allies trying to pin the blame of the coronavirus on East Asians. And, of course, there was the Capitol insurrection Trump incited on January 6, which most Republicans refused to hold him accountable for. All of this is after Republicans blocked anti-lynching legislation last summer.

So there’s a great deal of talk now about what can be done to stem the rising tide of pro-terrorism sentiment in the country, from individuals trying to “deprogram” QAnon family members to the Department of Justice, under newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland, prioritizing anti-terrorism initiatives. But this Atlanta shooting, which so far has all the hallmarks of a self-radicalized “lone wolf” attack, is a reminder that the single best way to combat domestic terrorism is with a policy that’s both mundane and yet politically loaded: gun control.

This is a guy who blamed the women he apparently hired for his sexual addiction. Yes, it’s insane. It’s like blaming a bartender for alcoholics. They don’t provide anything someone wasn’t willing to pay for.

But to categorize this attack as terrorism is bizarre.

Yet, further is the idea that somehow, such people–terrorists–would be dissuaded by gun control. I mean, I don’t expect deep critical thinking from Salon writers, but to quote President Biden, “Come on, man!”

If someone is inclined to commit such an atrocity, do you really think they wouldn’t go outside the law to obtain firearms? Further, just what gun control policy would stop such an attack.

Of course, the author does try to make the case that it’ll work by invoking the taking o the Capitol.

To be clear, some rioters did have guns, but surprisingly few, considering how much the insurrectionist crowd is enamored with firearms. Instead, the crowd largely attacked law enforcement with weapons like chemical sprays, crowbars, and improvised weapons like fire extinguishers and flagpoles. But the reason that most of the rioters didn’t bring guns to D.C. is because they knew doing so risked being arrested on weapons charges — which is exactly what happened in some cases — before they even had a chance to storm the Capitol.

And what about the others?

Well, for starters, no one really went there expecting to storm the Capitol. They went there to protest. Yes, some brought guns, but did they bring them because they expected an insurrection? Or because they just expected some general kind of trouble?

Most didn’t bring their guns because they intended to be law-abiding protestors. Plain and simple. It wasn’t until the mob mentality hit that anyone decided storming the Capitol would be a good idea.

Had that been their plan all along, do you really think they’d have stopped from bringing guns? Seriously, what kind of an insurrection would ever consider not being armed?

So yeah, the claim that gun control would actually stop someone who intended harm to others is just as asinine now as it’s always been. It’s idiotic.

Yet what if someone at those spas in Atlanta had been armed? How might this have changed?

Instead, we’d have a dead perp and a story most folks never would have heard of and would soon forget. The answer to terrorism isn’t to disarm the law-abiding. It’s to empower them to act in their own defense should they be faced with such a situation. It always has been.