Another Day, Another Shooting. Boring!

Another Day, Another Shooting. Boring!

You didn’t read about it? Probably not. That’s because it happened in Chicago.
Daniel Oliver
By

Another day. Another shooting. So what? Pass the sugar, please.

You didn’t read about it? Probably not. That’s because it happened in Chicago.

You don’t read about Chicago shootings for two reasons: One, because they’re like automobile accidents: they happen all the time. The other reason is that the Chicago shooting death toll is embarrassing to the liberal establishment, which runs Chicago today and has since the memory of man runneth back not to the contrary. Tougher policing in Chicago might help, but if you’re a liberal you can’t go there. So people in Chicago—well, in parts of Chicago, but not the parts you are likely to frequent—die all the time, sacrificed to the liberal zeitgeist which sees cops as bad guys.

But, every now and then, we have a “mass shooting,” and a holy war cry goes up for . . . GUN CONTROL!

Last year 561 people were shot and killed in Chicago. So far this year, 330. In 2018 the death toll from mass shootings was 80; so far in 2019, the number is 57.

Two points need to be made about the numbers: first, they vary slightly depending on the source. But second, the number of mass shooting deaths is way below the shooting deaths in Chicago.

So here’s the question: why are liberals so much more concerned about mass shootings than they are about Chicago shootings? The answer is because they don’t actually care about the shootings: what they want is power—the power to take guns away from law-abiding people.

The liberals demand one or more of several “solutions” to the mass shooting problem. One is to outlaw “assault weapons.” “Assault weapons” is a category invented by liberals. It has no particular meaning. One aspect of “assault weapons” is that they hold multiple bullets (as do, of course, most handguns, which they don’t classify as “assault weapons”). Former Vice President (and current contender for the Democratic nomination for president) Joe Biden has said no weapon should be able to hold more than one round. He may really believe that (a “Biden truth”), or he may simply have plagiarized the position from someone else.

A problem for liberals is that a ban on “assault weapons” has been tried (1994–2004). It failed. Even the Washington Post has said the results were, at best, inconclusive

Another liberal chestnut is stringent background checks. The problem with that is that people who can’t buy guns legally will simply get them illegally. (The Washington Post estimates that there are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States.) And many of the mass shooters have in fact gotten their guns legally. Liberals really just want to harass ordinary people who want to own guns—and they want a list of gun owners, the better to confiscate their guns some future day.

A third is a national “red flag” law. But fifteen states already have red flag laws, and there’s no indication that a national red flag law would work any better than the state laws have. In theory, states could seek restraining orders against people who are considered an imminent risk to commit gun violence. Hmm. How much power would that give the police in San Francisco to harass members of the National Rifle Association, which San Francisco has just declared a domestic terror organization? And what happens if Smith doesn’t like his neighbor Jones: he can sic the police on him under a red flag law, and then what happens to Jones’s Second Amendment rights?

That’s three strikes. The liberals are out.

But here’s an idea for limiting mass shootings that liberals haven’t considered yet: restrict news coverage of them. There is some evidence (and it seems plausible) that the media attention given to mass shooters makes them role models for impressionable individuals who then commit mass shootings of their own. Many media outlets routinely omit the names of sexual victims. If the media don’t stop covering mass shootings voluntarily, perhaps they should be urged, by legislation, not to cover them.

“Oooh,” you say, “What about their First Amendment rights?”

Oooh, okay. Then what about the Second Amendment rights of gun owners and prospective gun owners? Nothing in the Constitution indicates that First Amendment rights are less susceptible to restriction than Second Amendment rights.

Of course, the media would howl—that alone makes suggesting the restriction worthwhile. A congressman who doubles as a constitutional scholar should propose the idea.

Meanwhile, mass shootings will continue, and we will have to get used to the existence of evil and original sin, which progressive liberals, clinging to their Darwin and Nietzchse, still think can be bred out. (In the old days, they pushed eugenics as the solution.)

Mass shootings may be here to stay. But that’s no reason not to have better policing of the streets of Chicago.

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Email Daniel Oliver at [email protected]

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