by Henry Oliner
Another shooting and another blame fest. More memes, virtue signaling, intolerance, “please unfriend me if you believe…..”,
Yes, we have too many guns that are too easily available. Yes, we have a culture of violence that enriches Hollywood and their actors who make fortunes glorifying weapons they want banned. Yes, we have a weak system to handle dangerous mental health problems. Yes, too many of these faceless shooters have a common profile that includes psychotropic medications to be an irrelevant correlation.
And particularly in the Lakeland tragedy we had inconceivable and unconscionable failures in law enforcement from the FBI down to the cowardly behavior of the armed guards at the scene.
Solving gun violence is more complicated in one sense and easier in another. We are quick to blame the villain that aligns most readily with our political narrative. If you think that the NRA is the problem, then you are only making the solution harder. What about the 90% of the gun owners who are not affiliated with the NRA. If you think the second amendment is the source of our problem, you may win a few accolades on Facebook and Mother Jones, but you will not be doing much to protect your children.
Comprehensive solutions distinguish terrorism from gang activity, simple assault from faceless mass shooters. But comprehensive solutions take time and a level of unity that does not exist is our hyper partisan world.
In The FBI’s Parkland Fail Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal, focused the problem on a simple observation:
“Why do these public-agency mistakes continue to happen? The reasons are complex, so an appeal to Occam’s Razor is in order. The simple answer is that the federal government has become too big to succeed. Its vastness ensures mistakes, and its public-safety responsibilities ensure that some of those mistakes will be fatal.”
We have come to expect central solutions to local and even personal problems. We could discuss the evolution of this from the increasing centralization of our government before and certainly since the Progressive revolution, but that would distract from the topic, even if it is a worthy discussion central to our political arguments.
If we want to secure our children from the mentally deranged, then address it locally. Require your local councilmen and commissioners to beef up school security. Hire the needed security personnel (including plain clothed), install the necessary surveillance equipment, provide the checkpoints and metal detectors. Add it to the budget and raise your taxes. When you own the problem, you can solve it.
Israel stopped the carnage from the Intifada quickly and decisively. You saw armed guards at McDonalds and fancy restaurants. They still debated the issue of settlements on the West Bank, the Oslo Accords, Palestinian rights, and other causes, but their first task was to stop the carnage.
We may complain about the security procedures at the airports, but we comply, and they have largely succeeded.
Take responsibility rather than seek demons and assign blame.
We can still debate gun regulations, the second amendment, the NRA, help for mental conditions, cultural violence in movies and video games, and failures in law enforcement.
If you want to restrict bump stocks, evil looking weapons, or even high capacity clips, go ahead. If you want to boycott the NRA be my guest; it is a free country. But you should expect a counter and do not be surprised if their membership grows as a result. You will find that Second Amendment supporters are not limited to the NRA.
I recommend that you become acquainted with the gun laws that exist and the nature of the weapons you wish to regulate. Ignorance is not excused by passion. It is ignored by the already converted but subverts your ability to persuade others. Kevin Williams in Another Misfire at the New York Times charges :
And that’s why the Times remains unembarrassed by routinely displaying on this subject a level of ignorance that would cause its editors to blush in shame if the subject were, say, Shia–Sunni relations or the geography of Togo. This has many unhappy consequences, one of which is that the Times is distorting public discourse about this important subject when it should be enriching it.
This leaves me with two questions.
If those who propose “reasonable gun regulations” succeed in banning bump stocks, closing gun show loop holes, raising the age to buy a gun, requiring a wait list, restricting evil looking weapons, registering all firearm exchanges (private sales), then what will they propose after the next school shooting when these are in effect? Columbine happened when “assault weapons” were banned under the Brady Bill.
Secondly, if they contend the need to own a firearm is unnecessary because of our advanced law enforcement why do they not hold the law enforcement failures at Parkland more accountable for the tragedy than the NRA?