Earlier today, a 26-year-old man named Chris Mercer murdered 10 people at a community college in Oregon. At this moment, little is known about Mercer or his motives. (No doubt he had grievances.) Three handguns and a rifle reportedly were recovered at the site, but we don’t know whether he obtained those firearms legally or illegally. At this point, it is hard to say anything intelligent about the shootings except that they were a horribly evil deed.
That, of course, doesn’t stop our president from trying to make political hay. He immediately took the podium to demand that Congress pass more gun control legislation–any gun control legislation, apparently, whether it has any relationship to this crime or not.
Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws — even in the face of repeated mass killings.”
So if those laws are so common-sense, what are they? Obama offered no clue.
And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation.
What “common-sense gun legislation”? Tell me what it is, and I’ll tell you whether I oppose it.
Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they’ll argue. Fewer gun safety laws. Does anybody really believe that?
As handgun ownership has become more widespread in the U.S., the homicide and violent crime rates have declined dramatically. Is it a cause and effect relationship? That is hotly debated, but it is obviously not foolish to suggest that more guns mean fewer murders. That has, in fact, been our experience. And, by the way, Umpqua Community College reportedly is a gun-free zone. Reportedly–although all facts are uncertain at this point–the only security guard was unarmed. Maybe Umpqua should re-think that strategy.
[H]ow can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.
This is a ridiculous claim. First of all, “most gun laws” is a silly standard–what is he doing, counting the words? The content of laws obviously matters more than their number. In any event, it is precisely the places that have the most restrictive gun laws, like Chicago and Washington, D.C., which have had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the federal courts to obey the Constitution, that have the highest homicide and violent crime rates.
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.
As we wrote here, the United States has a better record of reducing homicide than either the U.K. or Australia, and the rate of violent crime in the U.K. is significantly higher than ours. It is a fact that we have more mass shootings, which represent a tiny percentage of homicides. This is true, I think, for two reasons.
One, we are a much bigger country. We have more of lots of things. Two, mass shooting has become, in the U.S., a ticket to immortality. Mass shooters are endlessly analyzed in the press, their pictures and social media musings are published, and their names are remembered. Is this the sort of immortality that you or I would want? No, but you and I are not unbalanced people who are potential mass shooters. I think it is obvious that the most effective measure we could take to reduce mass shootings (as opposed to homicides in general) is to make it illegal for any news outlet to report the name or biographical details of any mass shooter. I am confident that this would reduce the rate of such incidents.
I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations…
Stop reporting the names of mass murderers? No.
…tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports.
People aren’t killed by “gun violence,” they are killed by murderers, some of whom are terrorists. And the U.S. has succeeded in cutting the homicide rate in half since the Clinton administration. The government should avoid doing anything that might reverse that salutary trend–like, for example, making it more difficult for law-abiding people to defend themselves, or aiding and abetting anti-police campaigns.
This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.
This is deeply offensive. The idea that we could somehow make murder impossible, if only we had the political will, is ridiculous. Murder has been prohibited at least since Moses brought the tablets down from Mount Sinai. Contrary to his own protestations, Barack Obama is not guilty of the crimes that were committed today by Chris Mercer. Only Mercer is responsible.
So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.
This is classic Obama. No one–and I mean no one–argues that the Constitution “prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon.” In fact, I am pretty sure that the law of Oregon makes it a crime punishable by life imprisonment to use a deadly weapon to murder ten people. Does Obama even think about what he says, or does he just blurt out random BS?
Tonight’s speech was typical Obama, with a single exception: it included one honest sentence.
And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize.
There you have it. Obama knows nothing about the facts of the case, and he has nothing specific to propose. All he cares about is that mass murder represents an opportunity for political gain. We cannot be rid of this terrible president too soon.