The best analysis I’ve seen so far of the horrific killings in Las Vegas is from Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker, who notes:
If the author of the at least fifty dead and more wounded—the word “wounded,” of course, fails to capture the extent of the maiming, just as the blank word “dead” fails to capture the dawning of grief for so many families—was someone who had, even once, communicated with or been radicalized by Isis, no matter how remote or long-distance that radicalization, or if he was merely a Muslim from a Muslim country, then a massive act of terrorism would have been committed and a militant response, including travel bans and broad suspensions of rights, would be essential. If it was just one more American “psycho,” then all we can do is shrug and, as the occupant of the Oval Office put it, send “warmest condolences and sympathies…”
Oh, that, and set up a crowdfunding program to pay the huge medical bills of the survivors, since we don’t have universal health insurance in this country.
Local politicians are issuing statements. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is calling for a Select Committee on Gun Violence.
But as President Obama has said, repeatedly: We have been here before. Mass shootings of school kids aren’t enough. A mass shooting in a church isn’t enough. A mass shooting in a nightclub isn’t enough. A man shooting of members of Congress isn’t enough.
And now the worst mass shooting in modern US history won’t be enough.
Instead, Congress wants to legalize silencers.
The idea that “the best response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” never made much sense, but less so today: Among the dead were two off-duty cops. Even team of military snipers who happened to be ready wouldn’t have been able to stop someone shooting, at random, with no warming, from a high position above a large crowd, before a lot of people were dead.
As far as we know, the shooter had no history of violence, crime, or mental illness. Tougher prison sentences wouldn’t have stopped him because he wasn’t in prison.
What would have stopped him? Gun control laws that kept such powerful, rapid-firing weapons out of his hands.
The crazy thing is, we know how to stop mass shootings. We’ve known for years. And yet, thanks to the gun lobby, we can’t get it done.
At some point, the NRA is going to become for national politics what the SF Police Officers Association is becoming for local politics: An embarrassment, an endorsement you want to avoid.
Until then, I’m afraid this is going to keep happening.