Posted by Jay Livingston
The response of the pro-gun people to the massacre in Binghamton was predictable. The problem isn’t that the killer had guns. The problem is that other people did not. Fox’s commentator on the issue, John Lott (a researcher whose integrity has been much questioned) claims that more guns would deter these shooters.
Every multiple-victim public shooting that I have studied, where more than three people have been killed, has taken place where guns are banned.Is McDonald’s a gun-free zone? Or Luby’s cafeteria in Kileen, Texas ? A private home in Seattle? It’s possible that the lab in Sunnyvale and the office building in San Francisco and the mall in Omaha had gun-free rules, but I doubt it. There are several other civilian workplace and home massacres I have not bothered to check.*
The other favorite NRA fantasy is that if only people had been carrying guns, someone would have taken out the shooter as soon as he opened fire. (I suspect that the gun-lovers picture themselves in the key savior role.)
On the other side, we have Charles Blow at the New York Times. In his column today, Blow warns that the far right is arming itself. The gun-lovers have put out the word that Obama is going to repeal the Second Amendment and take their guns away. Revolution has become a favorite word on the right. When the left talks about revolution, they usually mean an economic transformation. But the right wingers are talking about guns.
Guns are, for lack of a better word, good. Guns are right.And they’re not just talking, they’re buying. Blow cites FBI data showing that since Obama was elected, there has been a large increase in requests for background checks for gun ownership.
Guns work. Guns clarify, cut through, and capture the essence of the revolutionary spirit.
Guns in all their forms have marked the upward surge of mankind.
And guns -- you mark my words -- will save the USA.**
Talk of revolution followed by more people wanting guns.
Coincidence? Maybe. Just posturing? Hopefully. But it all gives me a really bad feeling.Blow wrote these words just before the killings in Pittsburgh occurred. But these shootings help to answer his questions.
And according to the John Lotts of the world, that’s a good thing.
The Pittsburgh slayings also illustrate the weakness of the “gun-free zones are killing zones” idea. The killer’s house was anything but a gun-free zone, and he selected as his victims people who he knew would be carrying guns – police officers.
*Lott seems to be fairly obsessive about finding references to himself no matter how insiginificant and unnoticed the venue, so if I’m wrong about any of these, he will probably post a comment.
** O.K., nobody really said this, not in these exact words. But close. In case you didn’t recognize it, it’s a riff on Gordon Gecko’s “greed is good” speech in Wall Street.