The horrific events in Las Vegas this past week have us, as a nation, wondering why and how we can stop evil this deep. What can be done to stop this madness? Are we safe? How can we ensure our safety at public events? The answers to these questions are incredibly complex as they deal with human behavior. We are complicated creatures, to be sure. This particular evil-doer does not fit the typical profile in any way. What causes a retired accountant with no apparent financial issues, no criminal history or history of mental illness to attack a concert full of innocent people? I doubt we’ll ever know. How can we predict who will commit this sort of crime? I don’t know if we can.
What is predictable, however, is the reaction from the gun control crowd. The blood wasn’t dry before social media and the airwaves were filled with shrill cries for more gun control. It continues to amaze me when people are calling for drastic action in reaction to an event when almost nothing is known about what actually happened. They don’t stop to ask the most basic questions: who? what? where? when? why? Of course, the answers to those questions don’t really matter. They know what they’re going to say before it even happens. Remember, this is the “never let a tragedy go to waste” crowd.
The interactions that I’ve seen and participated in this week show a remarkable level of ignorance among those most strident for new gun regulations. My intention when I started this post was to list the more common statements which are factually incorrect and clearly demonstrate, using facts and statistics, how they were incorrect. But what good would it do? The people who are most ignorant of how guns work, what the laws actually say, how guns are purchased, which guns are used in crimes most often, and who is using them, would not read this post. They believe there is an “epidemic of mass shootings” and “this type of thing doesn’t happen in the more civilized European countries. They have chosen to believe what they’re told by the media and the leftist leaders who champion their cause. They are willfully ignorant, the most dangerous kind of ignorance. Their arguments are based solely on emotional response, the need to DO SOMETHING which I’ve often mentioned.
I have yet to see any of these folks offer a realistic solution which would actually DO SOMETHING. I asked one person directly what new laws would stop an event like what happened in Las Vegas. Her response was to end sales of accessories which enable a semi-automatic weapon to fire at an automatic rate and to increase funding for mental health. I really don’t have an issue with either idea, but even she conceded neither was likely to prevent it. What they really want is for the government to determine what weapons who should be allowed to own. They want the government to know exactly who owns what weapon. There’s only one reason for that. Even though most of them lack the courage to admit it, they really don’t want anyone to own any firearms, period. They are perfectly willing to accept the loss of freedom for the illusion of security. When faced with this argument, I always point out the number of firearms owned by US citizens right now. Are they willing to have the police or military go into private homes to confiscate those weapons? So far, I haven’t had anyone admit they’re willing to let it go that far, but its just a matter of time.
I understand the emotional response to a tragedy like this. I know it upsets me, as a husband and father as much as a gun owner, and I’d hate to meet anyone who wasn’t upset by it. I understand having an opinion about things you don’t completely understand. We all do. But if you’re going to argue about something, you’d have a better response if you were knowledgeable about the subject. The voting public has clearly rejected their argument, mostly because it has no basis in fact. I, for one, am not willing to trade my freedom for a false sense of security, knowing it will do nothing to curb violent crime. They can deny the statistics all they want, it doesn’t change the fact armed citizens are less likely to be the victims of violent crime.
The problem lies with the human heart. How do we determine who has that level of hate in their heart? How do we control what goes on in the human brain? How can we look at a person and decide they’re dangerous? Maybe there are signs we don’t yet know. We should certainly work toward identifying what those signs might be. But how do you do it without violating civil liberties or the inalienable rights of millions who commit no crime? That’s the hard part, and so far no one has an answer.