On Today’s Shootings In Washington [Updated]

Whenever a mass shooting incident occurs, some are quick to try to gain political advantage. Many liberals hope that the murderer will–finally!–turn out to be a conservative activist. Others perhaps take satisfaction when the shooter, like John Muhammad or Nidal Hasan, is a Muslim. Gun control advocates immediately call for more gun legislation; but what legislation, in particular, seems to be a minor point.

Much is not yet known about today’s shootings. It is still not clear whether they were committed by a single gunman, or whether he had accomplices. An hour or two ago, there were reports of gunfire at the White House, but those seem not to have panned out. By tomorrow the incident may look quite different, especially if there were others involved, but so far, today’s shootings don’t appear to provide much grist for political mills.

The murderer, Aaron Alexis, was African-American. No one will want to make much of that. He was a Buddhist, not a Muslim, and apparently spent a lot of time at a temple. As best we can guess thus far, his grievance was personal rather than political–he was kicked out of the Navy in 2011. Like most mass shooters, Alexis didn’t have much of a criminal record, certainly nothing that would label him a potential murderer, but was regarded as a powder keg by those who knew him. Unless it turns out that he had accomplices and that the group had some sort of political mission, it will be hard for anyone to make much hay out of Alexis’s suicide-by-cop.

Except, of course, for the gun grabbers. Dianne Feinstein has already weighed in:

“When will enough be enough?” Feinstein said in a statement Monday evening.

“Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country,” she said. “We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”

Some would respond that there has been no lack of debate about guns. Feinstein says we must do “more,” but what? Actually, the homicide rate in the U.S. has been cut nearly in half since the Clinton administration. Perhaps we are already doing something right; perhaps the decline relates, in part, to liberalized gun laws, in particular the fact that more people are now carrying legally. But that isn’t a possibility that Feinstein wants to entertain as part of a “thoughtful debate.”

“There are reports the killer was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol when he stormed an American military installation in the nation’s capital and took at least 12 innocent lives,” she said.

This illustrates the futility of liberals’ efforts to ban standard-capacity magazines. No one sets out to go down in history as a mass killer with a single weapon or a single magazine.

On Monday, she reiterated a call for new legislation in light of the Navy Yard shootings.

“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein singles out the murderer’s AR-15, but in fact rifles are the least common murder weapon. Many more people are killed with knives, blunt objects and bare hands than with rifles–all rifles, not just “black rifles.” No one can explain the liberals’ obsession with AR-15s.

Note, too, Feinstein’s emphasis on the fact that Alexis was “able to obtain multiple weapons.” How can that possibly relate to any potential legislation? Does Feinstein want to limit the number of guns a person can legally own? To what? Alexis used three (or carried three, anyway). And, of course, limiting gun ownership to one or two per household (even if such a thing were constitutional) would be an unenforceable absurdity that wouldn’t prevent a single crime. It would, however, guarantee that no Democrat could get elected across most of the United States.

Still, like the dead frog that kicks if you apply current to its leg, liberals can’t resist trying to turn every tragic murder into another argument for gun control.

UPDATE: Via InstaPundit, NBC is reporting that Alexis obtained the “assault rifle” “from a gun safe on the naval base.” Which may also be where he got the handgun. WTH? No idea what this means. It is hard to understand how someone with a forged or stolen ID, or no ID at all, can get access not only to the Navy Yard, but to a gun safe on the base as well. Maybe there is more to this story than we have heard so far.


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