I noted on Friday the incredible speed with which gun grabbers pounced on the Aurora shooting to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. The usual suspects have now piled on or, in Nanny Bloomberg’s case, doubled down.
Michael Bloomberg, who first falsely claimed that violence is getting worse in America, predictably responded to Piers Morgan’s anti-gun pestering by taking his initial stance a step further and declaring that cops should illegally go on strike until politicians are forced to seize guns from law-abiding Americans. Roger Ebert chastised America for being “one of few developed nations that accepts that notion of firearms in public hands.” Piers Morgan chimed in on twitter to note that “now is that time” for America to “do something about its gun laws.” And some guy at the Washington Post wants to require that another party co-sign for someone’s sanity before they can buy a gun, while is despicably pestering shooting victim relatives to endorse gun control.
But what exactly are the knee-jerkers proposing that could have prevented the Aurora shooting? Holmes had no criminal record nor documented evidence of mental illness. The one actual specific proposal offered above wouldn’t work either, as we’ve seen numerous people who knew Holmes state how they couldn’t have imagined him doing anything violent, so it’s no stretch to say one would have co-signed a hypothetical gun application.
The simple reality is that the only way to theoretically keep guns away from the likes of the Aurora shooter is by keeping guns away from everyone – in other words by eviscerating the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights. And I say “theoretically” because even if every gun was outlawed, we know criminals would still get them.
The lack of a practical and realistic solution isn’t the only problem with these reflexive, knee jerk calls to “do something.” The truth of the matter is there just may not be a problem here to solve. I know it’s tempting to react emotionally to any horrific incident, but when it comes to setting policy we need to be logical. Sadly, when it comes to risk management through public policy, logic is often lacking (see TSA).
The shooting in Aurora was horrible, to be sure, but for a little perspective, the equivalent of one Aurora massacre occurs every ten days in Chicago, otherwise known as the gun-control capital of the United States, according to Doug Ross. For even more perspective, 7,630 people died in traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2012, or approximately 7 Aurora massacres per day, or one every three and a half hours.
So we’re essentially talking about shredding our Constitutional rights to prevent another incident whose death toll is matched every three and a half hours on our roads, where nobody cares. Makes perfect sense. And never mind the number of additional crimes that would be occurring or made worse, like this one, once people lose the ability to protect themselves.
The truth is that sometimes bad things happen. It’s part of life, and that you might not always be able to prevent them from happening is part of the price of living in a free society. Sometimes it seems like a high price to pay, but it’s still much better than the alternative.