Although Hillary Clinton has chutzpah, it takes a special kind of intellectual dishonesty to say of the Roanoke shootings, “… if we had universal background checks ... maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage” when, in fact, Vester Flanagan underwent exactly the computerized background check gun control advocates claim will protect us.
So what restrictions might have stopped Flanagan? Waiting periods? Nope. He bought it weeks beforehand. So-called “assault weapon” bans? Sorry. He used a common Glock pistol, variants of which have existed for 33 years and, by some estimates, number 10 million worldwide.
Restrictions on ownership? Try again. Despite some of the world’s strictest gun laws, France just had four recent mass shootings with fully automatic AK-47s (not just the semi-automatic versions available here). In Mexico, where possessing a single bullet gets you prison, narco-terrorists have murdered 120,000.
See if this sounds familiar: Socially disaffected loner with grudge, feared by acquaintances for violent propensities, seeks infamy through media. Where sociopaths might once have been institutionalized in places like the shuttered Dorothea Dix Hospital, now they not only roam free, but use mainstream and social media to gain the notoriety their delusions convince them they deserve.
We should bar media from reporting names or faces of mass killers. Recount crimes and honor victims, but ignore perpetrators. Beyond terminating their Twitter and Facebook accounts, prohibit posting screen captures of them on the Internet. Doubtless, newspapers will wail about perceived restrictions to freedom of speech, but as they so often admonish us about the right to bear arms, no right is absolute.
Meanwhile, we’d better be less concerned with gun control than with enabling citizens to provide a credible deterrent to mass murder. Sociopaths seek soft targets because they might not fear death, but they do fear failure. As Crime Prevention Research Center director John Lott notes, with only two exceptions, all of the mass shootings in the U.S. since 1958 have occurred in the ostensibly “gun-free” victim disarmament zones Grass Roots North Carolina seeks to eliminate.
Valone is president of Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun-ownership advocacy group. Email: president@GRNC.org