After a month of media attention-grabbing shootings in Isla Vista, California, Las Vegas, and now at an Oregon high school, President Obama devoted some time in a Tuesday Q&A session on Tumblr.com to these sad incidents, saying that we should “be ashamed” to have failed to address these tragedies.
Now, failing to solve the real problem of gun violence means one thing only to executive power – that there have been no gun control measures passed for private citizens. Considering the blood on the hands of Obama – who is “really good at killing” and all – it feels repellent to see him mourning people who lost their lives to their fellow Americans.
More to the point, though, with that answer Obama was simply perpetuating – sincerely or cynically, it hardly matters – the cultural myth that a few more laws will stop people from committing murder. And more to the point still, the myth that violence is only wrong when it’s committed by private citizens sans an official uniform. Homicide, rape, assault, and every other type of crime has plunged in the last two decades. Between 1993 and 2010, the gun homicide rate was halved. (The reason for the dramatic decline in national crime since the 1990s is still being debated by criminologists and sociologists.) That’s not something you see stressed in terrified, post-Columbine, post-Virginia Tech, Post-Sandy Hook media narratives. (Certainly not when the perpetrators of any shootings can be tied to the right in any fashion.) Instead, we must do something about school, workplace shootings – anywhere there’s violence where it shouldn’t be. But the offered solution is invariably disarm people, or add more laws, or further restrictions on the rights to bear arms. Restrictions on police or government actions are not even considered for a moment.
Like their president, the “left” are dead-convinced that more laws will fix myriad social problems, including mass shootings. And the more moderate of them, such as Gawker’s Adam Weinstein, will even brush over the alarming state of police in this country while they are busy advocating for further gun control for private citizens. Gawker constantly covers police misconduct and brutality, yet after the Isla Vista shooting, Weinstein’s laundry list of “never again” suggestions includes “More cops. Not armed private citizens, cops.” You know, “a guy whom we as a society have decided is good. Don’t trust cops? Then work to create better-trained, savvier cops. Don’t complain about the evils of policing like it means something.”
After every police shooting – just or otherwise – the clichés roll out from the PR flaks: “officer safety is paramount”, “split-second decision”, “reached for waistband” and “our officers felt threatened.” To question whether an individual tasked with legal lethal force should have waited to make sure the old woman concerned over a potential break-in, the teenage graffiti artist running away, or the peaceful protester was a real threat is to not care whether these brave officers live or die…