After Newtown, Rightbloggers Agree: Guns Don't Kill People, Everything Except Guns Kills People

tomt200.jpgAfter the gruesome murders of children and teachers by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut, apparently mostly performed with a Bushmaster AR-15 ("the civilian version of the military's M-16 and M-4," says the New York Times, "a logical choice for anyone whose goal is to kill a lot of people in a short time because of their ability to rapidly fire multiple high-velocity rounds"), rightbloggers were clear and united in their response: There are a lot of things that may have been the root cause of this tragedy -- a lack of God, mental illness, public schools, liberals -- but one thing that definitely had nothing at all to do with it was guns.

Robert VerBruggen of National Review scoffed that the AR-15 can't do much damage, really. "An 'assault weapon' fires at the same rate as an ordinary semiautomatic rifle," he wrote, "and the .223-caliber ammo in Lanza's rifle is banned for deer hunting in some states on the grounds that it's too weak." Maybe Lanza's pathetic weapon only killed those people because they had poor immune systems, vitiated by the stress of being murdered.

More to the point was VerBruggen's colleague, Charles C.W. Cooke, who wrote, "what is causing this is not yet known and probably underinvestigated, but it is certainly not guns... Something is awry, to be sure; to blame guns is a mistake."

What then can we get rid of besides easy general access to lethal weapons, which is of course sacrosanct, to prevent other Newtowns? Oh, just about anything else.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit explained in a USA Today op-ed that guns don't kill people, gun-free zones do. "One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc.," said Reynolds. (He offered in support of his argument a quote from William Burroughs, who shot his wife to death while playing William Tell.)

Reynolds' thinking was mirrored in what became a popular theme among the brethren (and at least one Republican Congressman): that schools should be not gun-free, but fully armed, and that a picture from Israel of an armed teacher among schoolchildren proved that American schoolchildren would be safer if we only did things the way they do them in a hotly-contested desert frontier where armed factions are constantly at each other's throats -- a theory perhaps aspirational in in nature, and bred by long exposure to Westerns.

"Here's the meaningful action we should all be taking, were we truly serious about reducing the likelihood of such tragedies taking place going forward," explained Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom. "On a personal level, get a concealed carry permit, and ignore signs telling you to leave your guns in the car. If it's concealed, and they don't have metal detectors, then you aren't carrying. Until you need to defend yourself."

Well, not guns, that's for sure! Now stop asking questions!
Goldstein then started screaming at President Obama: "Michele is not the dietitian to the collective and you are not its avuncular guardian. Give up your own security detail and we can maybe have a talk about restricting gun ownership... you and your regulatory henchmen had better not try to stand between me and my ability to protect my family.. ['Progressives'] want a helpless and compliant pool to manage, the 'masses,' they like to call it, and it's a wet dream of theirs to secure not only all political power in their own hands, but all the policing power as well." Last summer Goldstein held a fundraiser "to raise the capital for at least one very good and reliable all-purpose rifle, one that I can use for defense, close quarter combat, hunting, and maybe even as a melee weapon." Guns don't kill people, but maybe to be on the safe side you should try not to live too near Jeff Goldstein.

"Gun free zones invite mad mass-murderers, say law officers," reported Jim Kouri at the Examiner. He found two law officers who expressed these sentiments in actual words: a "former Graham County, Ariz., sheriff" and a "former NYPD detective" who thought "if the school's principal had been armed and trained, she might have saved many lives." We would be interested to know if the former detective aired these opinions while on the job, as the NYPD spent many years under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani confiscating every gun they could get hold of, coinciding with a massive drop in crime. Why Giuliani didn't just distribute handguns to schoolteachers instead we can only guess.

Ace of Spades argued -- just to get it out of the way, it seems -- that liberals want to take away everybody's guns. He talked also about the nature of Evil, and said the press could help stop mass murderers, not by taking away their Second Amendment rights, but by making fun of them. "If I were the media," fantasized Spades, "I'd allow myself to get very personal in publishing accounts of these guys. Personal, and nasty." Which makes sense if you think newspapers are too nice to people who shoot up schools.

Robert Stacy McCain agreed. "Psycho, loony, bonkers, daft, zany, berserk and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs," he rhapsodized. "Advocates for the mentally ill discourage such colloquial terms as tending to stigmatize psychiatric patients. But we might ask whether stigma -- and the consequent damage to the fragile self-esteem of kooks -- is really worse than turning loose a homicidal schizo who kills 27 people." Guns don't kill people, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest kills people. (McCain added, "You'll excuse me if I sound somewhat bitter about it... Our culture has lost all sense of perspective, of reasonable balance, so that we are unable to make common-sense judgments about risks." See, gun nuts can take the Moral High Ground too.)

When a news story appeared about a school attacker in China who used only a knife and thus killed significantly fewer children than Lanza, Spades actually said, "It's very odd timing that this story shows up now -- and I don't mean to suggest a conspiracy theory, or suggest it's a false story, or anything like that. It's just that the timing is in fact odd." (Then he parenthesized, in this week's Lack of Self-Awareness Award Winner, "It's strange that no one can say anything without a series of jam-packed implications automatically flowing from it any more.")

In a burst of scholarship, Spades also noted that there've been school shootings in namby-pamby Germany, too. "They had tough gun laws; they had a school shooting," Spades said. "They tightened those tough gun laws; they had another school shooting." Therefore, "Strict gun laws, loose gun laws: An intensely motivated lunatic is going to find a way to make his fantasy real."

Spades did not mention that the two German shootings were seven years apart, whereas in the U.S. we only have to wait months for a grisly mass-murder; nor did he mention that Germany has, in a given year, 1.1 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, while the United States has 9.

Similarly, Glenn Reynolds wrote, "British Culture of violence: Gun crime goes up by 89% in a decade. Despite draconian gun-control laws." The UK gun-related death number per 100,000 is 0.25*. Guns don't kill people, math kills people. Later, Reynolds became so worked up by the situation that he was driven to attack Rupert Murdoch, the Darth Vader of the rightwing media Death Star, for expressing gun-control sympathies. He claimed "Murdoch keeps deleting my replies to his tweets. Tacky." Later, Reynolds extended his tweet vigilance to Michael Bloomberg. Guns don't kill people, and I will not be ignored!

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