Everybody knows that in today’s political climate, calls for more gun control laws will commence before the bodies have cooled. Every Democrat presidential candidate has already done so, and it will only intensify in the coming days.
Everybody knows that passing gun control is highly dependent on emotion. Gun control advocates need to act when public emotion is at its most intense, because when those emotions subside and gun control is viewed with a calm and rational eye, it fails.
Everybody knows that more laws will not end mass shootings. If you doubt this point, ask anyone proposing a gun control law if mass shootings will cease if it passes. You already know the answer. Many of the gun control laws (if not all) that you will hear in the coming days were already in place in California, but failed to stop the Gilroy murders.
Everybody knows that banning a certain type of weapon will not end mass shootings. The rifle used in the Gilroy murders was banned in California, and it stopped nothing. And if you believe that a Federal ban would be the answer, I have a bridge over the southern US border to sell you. For starters, it has been tried before, and failed. Besides, if we are unable to gain control over people coming across, we are never going to prevent guns (which are typically smaller and more portable than human beings) from coming across. If you could snap your fingers today and make every AR-15 in the country vanish, tomorrow they would begin to be replaced.
Now for some things everybody should know, but might not.
Everybody should know there are no simple answers to the problem of mass shootings. After all, if there were a simple answer, we would not spend so much time following one asking, “why?” The fact is that guns have always been prolific in this country, but even in times where gun control laws were much less strict, we did not see acts like these. In fact, gun technology has changed very little in the past century, yet prior to 1934 you could go to a hardware store and purchase a (fully automatic) Thompson submachine gun or a (fully automatic) BAR across the counter. No minimum ages, no background checks, no waiting periods and no registration (serial numbers weren’t even required until 1968). So why then, did no teenager go and Tommy gun his high school (or a garlic festival, or a Wal-Mart, or a bar) in 1932? The answer to that question is going to be much more complicated than simply looking at what gun laws were or were not in effect.
Everybody should know that YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. The police are not the first responder. YOU ARE. No matter how quickly the police respond, they will always…always…arrive at your particular emergency some time after you do. The Department of Homeland Security’s advice to “Run, Hide, Fight,” is all well and good, but only if you have actually prepared to execute it. Have a plan. Have the tools. Most importantly, have the mindset that you can and will provide for your own safety. We cannot afford to behave as if we live in a world where violence always happens to other people. While the odds of being a victim of violence in the US is still extremely low, it does happen. People do get struck by lightning, you know.
Everybody should know that the world is not as we wish. It is as it is. Violence has been a part of human history since the birth of the species, and thinking that a new set of laws is going to erase that is exceedingly foolish. Long before guns were even an idea, humans have been using any object they can pick up to stack their enemies like cord wood. As Michael Bane explains in what I think is one of his best podcasts ever (linked below), human beings got to the top of the pile by being the best killers on the planet. We can neither wish nor legislate that reality away. All we can do is accept that violence may come our way, and do our best to be prepared to ride out and meet it.