by Chris Buskirk
Democrats have complained about police brutality for years. The police, they assure us, are out of control. And, the story goes, they have it in for anyone whose skin is not lily white. You can’t trust the racist cops, they tell us. Remember Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and others.
But these same Democrats also tell us that the police are the only ones who should have guns, which is to say that the police we’re not supposed to trust, who are guilty—in their view—of unspeakable crimes against Americans, should be given a monopoly on physical force and that private citizens should be deprived of their most effective means of defending themselves. That’s a headscratcher, but I’ll come back to that later.
For now, I want to focus on faithless Republicans who are being stampeded by an activist-driven, media-empowered hysteria into passing ill-advised gun control legislation that is bad on its surface and is rife for abuse. Not only are congressional Republicans making noise about gun control laws that Obama could never get passed but the New York Times reported that President Trump is looking for ways to enact gun control through executive action.
Allow me to propose a radical thought: Rushing important legislation that affects people’s most fundamental rights based on what’s trending on Twitter is not the best way to run a serious country.
So why the hysteria? The proximate cause, of course, is three mass-shootings that occurred within 10 days of each other: Gilroy, Calfornia, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio. If you believe the media—and sadly this applies to much of the conservative media, too—the country is experiencing an epidemic of mass shootings driven by “white supremacy.” Of course, “white supremacy” is not so much a defined political or cultural movement as it is an all-purpose slur used to shut down debate and dehumanize your opponents.
Labeling someone a “white supremacist” means not only that you don’t have to listen to them anymore, it also means that they are legitimate targets for all kinds of aggression. That’s what the shooter in Dayton, Ohio thought. He described himself as a leftist and he supported Elizabeth Warren, Antifa, and, ironically, gun control. His Twitter feed included statements like, “Vote Blue, for god’s sake” and “I want socialism and I’ll not wait for the idiots to come round to understanding,” and “Kill every fascist.”
In case you’re wondering who fit his definition of a fascist, you won’t have to look too far. It probably includes you and many of your friends and family. It certainly includes the 63 million Trump voters.
But how big is the problem? Do you know? If you watch our media you would think there was an epidemic of psycho mass-shooters, that you couldn’t go to a movie or out to lunch without dodging bullets. It’s not true.
In fact, most of what we’re being told about mass shootings and mass shooters is not true and it’s offered on an endless loop in order to manipulate public opinion and to pursue a political agenda that demonizes white people.
“Everyone I don’t like is a white supremacist!” is the rallying cry and it’s meant to cow weak-kneed Republicans into submission and, at a minimum, get them to pass dangerous gun control legislation. Remember, as just one example, that Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) recently said, “Our country should be more fearful of white men . . . ” It’s become an article of faith that white men are responsible for most mass shootings, but that’s not true either.
What are the facts?
Fact: There were 387 deaths from mass shootings in the United States in 2018 (defined as four or more shot—not necessarily killed—at one time). Of those, most were regular criminals as we expect to see in gang-related drive-bys, bar fights, and a strangely large number of shootings at parties (like this one). About 100 deaths were the result of the random, psycho-killer shootings that dominated news coverage for days and weeks at a time. Mercifully, those are quite rare. But that’s not the impression we are given by the news coverage.
Fact: There are more privately owned guns in the United States than ever before and the number of murders has been declining for decades and has been at or near a multigenerational low for several years. More guns, less crime.
Fact: There were 660 murders in Chicago in 2017. That’s nearly twice the number from mass shootings in the whole country and six or seven times the number murdered by random psychos mass-shooters. Chicago has some of the strictest gun control in the country. Maybe it’s not the guns.
Fact: There are between 1.2 million and 1.5 million defensive uses of guns per year in the United States. How many more murders, rapes, thefts, and assaults would there be without armed citizens?
Fact: There were more than 70,000 opioid deaths last year. That’s 4.5 times the total number of murders and 700 times the number of people killed by psycho mass-shooters. Yet, liberals want to enact far-reaching gun control laws and prevent Americans from defending themselves.
Maybe there’s another agenda. Well, not maybe. There is.
Power-hungry ideologues are playing on people’s emotions, using terrible, tragic—but also quite rare—incidents to push a false narrative about America and to enact dangerous gun control legislation that would leave millions of Americans subject to abuse.
Do you want the people who dox conservatives and get them banned from social media deciding who is allowed to own a gun? “Red flag” laws don’t stop crazy people and will empower bad actors to harass American conservatives, depriving them of their ability to defend themselves.
Republicans politicians seeking to doctor our Second Amendment with gun control legislation should stop. Then they should take a breath and remember the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm.
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Chris is the Publisher and Editor of American Greatness and the host of The Seth & Chris Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. and received a Fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR’s Morning Edition. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Connect with Chris on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk.
Photo “Mass Shooting Protest Sign” by Paul Sableman. CC BY 2.0.