Whenever high-profile bullets start flying, calls for new gun control measures are never far behind. In what has become our new national pastime, the tragedy in Dallas was immediately politicized, with the Left demanding more firearm regulations as the simple and “obvious” solution to the far more complicated problems of an overly-militarized police force with ineffective accountability and the violent tribalism of the “Black Lives Matter” crowd forged by the Left’s own virulent identity politics. One would think that when five police officers are murdered in apparent retaliation for the growing number of wrongful deaths at the hands of law enforcement, the types of weapons used would be irrelevant compared to defusing an escalating cycle of violence that corrodes civil society.
It was even worse a month ago in Orlando, when Internet, radio, and television were all inundated with nonsense soon after the mass shooting there. Here the reaction was even more stilted, with the U.S. Justice Department redacting the shooter’s ISIS connection and the mainstream media frantically reaching for its customary scapegoats no matter how poorly they fit the facts.
If one were to judge solely by media reports and liberals on social media, one would think an ambulatory AR-15 rifle walked into a club and killed dozens of LGBT people because it was home-schooled by conservative Christians.
These are bizarre and unreasonable responses flung about before the facts come in and people have a chance to mourn. They also set the tone for demands for “common-sense” gun regulation to prevent more untimely deaths. Progressives quickly become exasperated that anyone would resist such measures. It perplexes them that anyone could be so cruel, uncaring, and blinded by ideology to the suffering of others to refuse some simple and practical rules about who can acquire guns.
Liberals Keep Demonstrating Incompetence
So, liberals and progressives, let me lay it out plainly and clearly: One’s invocation of common sense invariably falls on deaf ears when one is uncommonly senseless. The Left’s reactions to Dallas and Orlando do not exhibit the kind of good judgment necessary for making sensible decisions about who is allowed to own which weapons.
Some want to ban what they call “assault” weapons. Now, that’s a rhetorical label rather than a meaningful term, but behind it is the wish to outlaw weapons whose design and purpose is primarily to kill large numbers of people at once. On its face, that sounds like a sensible reaction to someone killing a large number of innocent people at once. While I consider it misguided, there is a straightforward logic to the broader sentiment. That is, until the Left demonstrates the kind of gross ignorance and hyperventilating fear that makes one incapable of the sound judgment required to transform broader sentiments into practical actions.
Progressives are among the first to note that people fear the unfamiliar—the things they do not understand. That’s why they work so hard to promote understanding for those minorities the Left says are unduly feared. It’s why they have developed so many labels ending in “phobia” for those who disagree with them. Unfortunately, they’re also the first to forget that this maxim applies to themselves as well. Contrary to how they try to present themselves, progressives are not enlightened beyond the reach of such human foibles.
More often than any other subject, we probably notice liberal incompetence on matters with which they have little experience such as religion. Liberal reporters tend to report on the pious as though they were discovering a remote tribe of hunters and gatherers for the first time. But while that may be the most frequently exposed inexperience, it’s not the only one.
I’m no gun aficionado, but I understand the same is true about firearms. When reporters, politicians, and other decision- and opinion-makers get basic facts wrong like what gun was used, whether fully automatic and “military grade” weapons are readily available for civilian purchase, and so forth on a regular basis, they merely demonstrate an ignorance that should disqualify them from making sweeping decisions on which weapons should be available for everyone.
Liberal Fear Doesn’t Inspire Confidence, Either
As for the kind of overwhelming fear and terror that drive out rational thought, Gersh Kuntzman provided the quintessential example after the Orlando shooting.
I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).
The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.
These are not the words of someone making a sober assessment. They are the words of someone who, as Kuntzman admits, “was just terrified.” He actually thinks firing a gun a few times gave him PTSD. Stephen Green put it well at Instapundit: “Other than the fact that Gersh Kuntzman was apparently holding the rifle incorrectly, firing it incorrectly, made an incorrect (and shameful) claim about having PTSD, was incorrect that Mateen used an AR-15 in the Orlando terror attack, and was incorrect about being able to purchase a fully automatic ‘tactical machine gun,’ this is a totally accurate piece he’s written for the Daily News.”
How are folks who practically wet themselves at a firing range going to make sensible decisions about which weapons are too dangerous to own? The more people want to pass gun laws because they got scared at the sound of popping tires, the less likely anyone is to actually trust them to do that.
Somehow You Keep Using Your Power to Target Normal People
But banning a particular set of weapons is only one side of the issue. The Left also wants to keep any dangerous weapon out of the hands of dangerous people. That also sounds very sensible at first blush—it’s why we have a fairly rigorous system of background checks in place already.
However, it seems much less reasonable once we begin to see whom the Left often deems most dangerous. When they conspicuously ignore actual motivations that don’t fit their narrative, such as the Dallas shooter’s desire to kill white people or the Orlando shooter’s pledge of loyalty to ISIS, they invariably cast blame elsewhere, and in the end, the whole prospect of letting the Left keep weapons away from dangerous people makes much less sense.
When a gunman seemingly motivated by Black Nationalism (not well-known for being a conservative ideology) targets white police officers, it’s still Republicans who are really to blame because they hold the wrong political positions. Likewise, every time a terrorist slaughters a bunch of people, liberals fall all over themselves to assure everyone that a religion characterized throughout its history by violent expansion is really a religion of peace.
Instead, liberals try to find a host of bizarre ways to somehow blame the murderous actions of a Muslim Democrat on conservatives, Christians, Second Amendment supporters, or supporters of the North Carolina bathroom bill. In light of this, it is perhaps understandable that Christians, conservative gun-owners, and Republicans think that when liberals want to take guns away from dangerous crazies, they really mean us—the law-abiding gun-owners who aren’t out shooting people, but nevertheless disagree with liberals on other issues.
Failing to Protect Us Also Doesn’t Inspire Confidence
It’s no better when we move beyond popular rhetoric into the realm of official acts. Orlando provoked many into asking why we shouldn’t use the no-fly list or the terror watch list or some other official list to enumerate who may not own a gun. Well, in addition to such lists being notorious for lacking due process because they’re the products of unaccountable bureaucrats, too many of those bureaucrats bear the same typically liberal prejudices.
The FBI was watching Omar Mateen, but decided he wasn’t a threat. The State Department shut down an investigation into his mosque because it “unfairly singled out Muslims.” This fails to inspire much confidence that public service will somehow improve on the Left’s typical ability to make good judgment calls. From liberal office holders down to the rank-and-file, the Left includes folks who think a boy’s declaration that he’s a girl really makes him a girl, yet that a boy’s repeated declarations that he’s killing people on behalf of ISIS has nothing to do with why he’s killing people. Quite frankly, we would have to be insane to let people like that decide which of us should be armed.
Our right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution precisely because our founders wanted to put decisions about who is empowered to defend themselves and their liberties outside the purview of mobs, politicians, and bureaucrats whose interests in the matter run contrary to the interests of the American people. Every time a mass shooting happens, the knee-jerk reactions of the Left only prove the wisdom of that decision. If you really want to pursue reasonable gun regulations, you need to start by being reasonable in the first place.