Gun homicides are down, but mass shootings seem worse

In the wake of another mass shooting, the country is again looking at itself and deciding what needs to be done. Can a law be passed that would have prevented this? Should we get more seriously restrictive of gun ownership, or, as some high profile people have suggested, repeal and replace the Second Amendment?

I’ll look at some of the pat explanations being offered, and I’ll show how none of the really fit this situation.

Or maybe there’s a moral component to this that so many people would rather ignore. The gun homicide rate has been falling since 1993, but mass shootings seem to be on the rise. Perhaps it’s not a matter for Congress, because they can’t pass a law against the existence of evil. Where do we turn?

Mentioned links:

Attack strikes country music, bastion of US traditionalism

Automatic Gun Laws

Did Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock Use a Fully Automatic Rifle?

France Says Truck Attacker Was Tunisia Native With Record of Petty Crime

GUN CONTROL? The Las Vegas Death Toll Happens Every MONTH In Chicago

Bump-Stock Device Received ATF Green Light During Obama Administration

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Show transcript

On the night of Sunday, October 1st, 59 people were killed and over 500 injured as an evil man shot up an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time I prepared this episode, no motive was known for the shooting.

I use the word “evil” specifically. I liked Ben Shapiro’s take on this. He said that an earthquake or a hurricane causing devastation is a tragedy, but a person who has free will doing that is simply evil. The deaths are tragic in both cases, but the act itself, when perpetrated by a person, is evil.

And before we decide how to act based on the event, we absolutely need to understand that. It’s in the heart of every man and woman, and has been since the beginning. Some would suggest that people are born good and they learn evil. Well, if that’s true, I have to ask why it’s so easy to learn, and why there are so many teachers. If it was so innate in us, you’d think that history would look very different than it does.

The musician Yanni said this at the end of his live concert at the Acropolis, “[E]verything great that has ever happened to humanity since the beginning, has begun as a single thought in someone’s mind and if anyone of us is capable of such a great thought then all of us have the same capacity, capability, because we are all the same.” He got a big applause for that, but I have to observe that, if we’re all the same, then every evil thing that has ever happened to humanity can be described the same way. If we can all be a Martin Luther King, then we can all be a Joseph Stalin. It seems that these feel-good philosophies have a tough time with mankind as it has been shown to be. History is not forgiving of that sort of thinking.

So then, what of this shooter? To hear his brother tell it, he had no religious or political axe to grind, in spite of ISIS trying to claim credit for this. There was no history of mental illness, nor were there run-ins with the police to speak of. As far as we can tell at this moment in time, there’s very little to lump him in with the “usual suspects”. Before you blame the NRA or pro-gun Republicans, or Texans, or mental illness, or whoever your usual suspects are, please consider this.

But here’s the thing. If this is just evil, and there’s nothing beside human nature to blame this shooting on, how do you legislate to stop this. The Left has jumped on this incident, as they often do, by asking for legislation. Automatic weapons are already banned for civilian use, and sales to law enforcement or the military are heavily regulated and recorded.

Shall we further restrict civilian use or possession of guns? If so, you need to consider what sort of law would have stopped this. Passing a law against handguns because of a guy who used a semi-automatic one doesn’t change anything. It’s like banning pickup trucks because the terrorist in Nice, France last year used a 19-ton delivery truck. There’s no connection.

Perhaps we should follow Chicago’s lead and pass some very restrictive gun laws. Will that help? If you’ve been listening to this podcast for just about any length of time, you know the answer already. In September, the number of homicides was 59. And it was higher in previous months. Yes, not all of them were due to guns, but generally speaking, it is true that you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight; you bring guns. Chicago’s laws are only keeping law-abiding citizens from defending themselves. Instead of Chicago being the beacon to follow on gun control, it’s instead the poster child for how it fails. I would ask that before we take a failing program nationwide, we first…well, we first not do it. Because only in government can they think that failing at something small means we should spread the fail all around.

As an aside, there’s another situation where 59 people die in 26 minutes. Every 26 minutes, every day of the year, just in the United States. I’m speaking of abortion. If I’m going to be lectured about not caring about the dead, this must figure into that.

Anyway, the gun homicide rate has been generally dropping since about 1993, even as more guns are owned by Americans. It’s not about the guns; it’s about the hearts of the people. 3,000 people died on 9/11. No guns were involved; evil men were. But should any politician dare say something about morality, and all of a sudden those who think guns are a black and white issue will immediately go all gray. So many people would rather not consider that we need outside help, perhaps from a God who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. They’d rather get all warm and fuzzy from a Yanni quote than admit there is something wrong with humanity, that humanity by itself has not been able to fix in thousands and thousands of years. No, just pass a law, even if that law would have done nothing to prevent the problem, feel good about yourself, and everything will be OK.

And remember, passing laws in an emotional state makes for bad law. Most Democrats don’t seem to realize this until you remind them of the bipartisan Patriot Act, passed in the heat of the moment post-9/11. If someone’s suggesting gun control now, just tell them to consider this.

Are there laws that could be passed to both keep our Constitutional rights intact and yet would have stopped the Las Vegas shooting? If there are, I would love to hear them. And I don’t mean passing the poorly-defined concept of “common sense gun laws”. What laws, specifically?

What the Las Vegas shooter used is a semi-automatic rifle, one shot per trigger pull, and what is called a “bump stock”, which allows the weapon to bounce against the shoulder as a shot is taken, and when it comes forward again, pushes the trigger against the trigger finger to take another shot. This device was given the green light for manufacturing in 2010 by the Obama administration Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Yes, that Obama administration, clearly bought and paid for by the gun lobby. Senator Diane Feinstein is considering a bill to ban those devices, and some Republicans have indicated that they’d be open to that. That’s something specific, although the effectiveness of banning something that you can simply create on your own with a 3D printer is not clear.

Filed under: Gun Control