Ho-Hum, Another Mass Shooting

jonathanschmock.com
Oh look, another mass shooting, this one at Umpqua College in Oregon. Let me see if I know the script:

"I'm offering my thoughts and prayers."

"More people are killed in automobile accidents. Or by cancer."

"Criminals don't follow the law."

"2nd Amendment."

"Background checks (or some other regulation) wouldn't have stopped this incident."

"Now is not the time."





So one at a time:

I'm offering my thoughts and prayers.
That's wonderful. Mass shootings still seem to be happening though. I don't think your thoughts and prayers are doing anything.

More people are killed in automobile accidents. Or by cancer.
I've got a ton of thoughts to this. First of all, as a nation we seem to be more than willing to work at improving automobile safety. And we also are willing to fund cancer research. But we're totally unwilling to tackle anything to do with firearms.

I've heard the argument that the number killed in mass shootings (or any kind of shooting) is relatively low. Certainly compared to cancer deaths. But compared to other nations...
Washington Post 2012
That's awful. And demonstrably preventable. Moreover, beyond ending individual lives and devastating families, if the United States can be said to have a soul, this is making our soul rot.

Criminals don't follow the law.
Of course they don't. And yet we're willing to make other things illegal.


2nd Amendment.
The interpretation that the 2nd Amendment gives an individual right to bear arms is relatively new And to be honest, in my opinion, a bunch of jiggery pokery, argle bargle applesauce. At the time the Bill of Rights was ratified people were worried that standing armies would be used to replace the militias of the several states.

Beyond that, we're clearly willing to apply some limits to the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Speech exists but it is nevertheless regulated. Your freedom of religion does not permit human sacrifice. Very few believe there should be a right to own a nuclear warhead. And Congress seems ok with banning guns from the US Capitol.

Background checks (or some other regulation) wouldn't have stopped this incident.
Automobile safety standards came incrementally. Unless the US were to perform an outright ban on personal ownership of firearms and enforce it, changes to the law to reduce gun violence will come incrementally as well. It is possible to create a suite of laws which, together, reduce gun violence. I've heard a number of good ideas. These include requiring insurance on firearms, holding sellers criminally liable if they sell without following procedure, and mandating background checks.

Also, these would need to be at the Federal level. I keep hearing how Chicago has restrictive gun laws yet high levels of gun violence. Apparently criminals know how to leave the city to get guns.

Now is not the time.
I know. I mean we did nothing after a bunch of kids were slaughtered.


I don't imagine we'll ever be like a European country with low levels of individual gun ownership. But one would hope we'd at least try to find ways to reduce massacres.


Image credits

http://jonathanschmock.com/dear-congress/



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