Seeing as I have no children, the school shooting in Connecticut doesn’t affect me like it does most of my friends and family members who have children. This doesn’t mean that I don’t find it horrifying and saddening, but I don’t feel haunted by the thought of, “What if this was at my kid’s school?”
Still, this is a tragic situation, and if there is one thing that I dread almost as much as hearing about a situation like this, it’s the number of people who look at it and think, “Hey, here’s a wonderful opportunity to advance my political agenda!”
Ezra Klein and Piers Morgan are two of the many on the Left who didn’t even want to wait until the bodies were cold before throwing out more gun control arguments. Klein’s column in the Washington Post today (which I’ll let you find if you so choose) is especially amusing in that he would claim that the argument I have made above is tantamount to saying that we shouldn’t talk about gun control issues at all, lest we “politicize” it. No, Mr. Klein, the issue isn’t politicization, it’s tact. However, given that Ezra Klein is the journalistic equivalent of a Kardashian*, I’m not the least bit surprised by the lack of self-awareness on his part.
Anyway, let’s tackle the more important question: Would more gun control have prevented something like this from happening? The answer is “no”.
Among the facts that Klein cites in his writeup, here’s a fact he leaves out: All of these mass shootings were committed by homicidal psychopaths. The fact is that there are lots of evil people in this world. You can try to deny it, or you can decry its existence, but the truth is that evil doesn’t care if you try to deny it or ignore it, it’s still going to be there.
Thankfully for the world, many of these evil people are also rash and prone to doing stupid things where the damage is limited and they are easily caught. But some evil people act more slowly and plan big things. And those people are not going to be deterred by laws that say they aren’t allowed to have something. Gun laws do not deter evil people, or criminals in general, really. (The definition of a criminal is “someone who doesn’t obey the law”.) The penalty for having an illegal gun is far less than the penalty for killing someone (as it should be), and most of the time, it is irrelevant because the shooter takes himself out, anyway. The point is, if he wants the sort of weapon that can kill lots of people quickly, he’ll find a way.
A basic aspect of human nature is that when we see something like this happen, we feel compelled to do something to prevent it from happening again, or at least we have to do something that makes us feel like we’re doing something. Gun control laws are a perfect example of something that makes us feel like we’re doing something to combat tragedies like this, but all we really end up doing is punishing the innocent, law-abiding people, because as noted above, the evil criminals don’t really care. While I don’t own a gun and am not an NRA member, I sympathize with them, because they are largely a group of people who are tired of being blamed and/or punished for the sins of others.**
Gun control laws also happen to be a lot easier than dealing with the real problem, which is the existence of evil. That’s a harder one to fix, and why superhero comics and movies are so popular.
* — Explaining why Ezra Klein is considered “smart” basically involves the same sort of circular logic that explains why the Kardashians are “famous”. The Kardashians are famous because they have 50 reality shows, and they have all those reality shows because they’re famous, but no one can give you any logical explanation for their fame beyond that. Substitute in the words, “Klein”, “smart”, and “Washington Post column” in the appropriate places, and the point is made. Mostly, Klein is just a young guy who is really good at spouting liberal talking points, and his fame was given to him because of it, but he’s never actually, you know, done anything.
** — The same goes for Christians these days, but that’s a totally different topic.