The horrific shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon has jump-started another discussion about gun control. A visibly angry President Obama issued remarks about the shooting last night, where he said we should “politicize” gun violence and human tragedies to affect change in Washington. Yet, not a single gun control policy initiative Obama put forward post-Newtown would have stopped this tragedy. So, what’s next? We can talk about expanding background checks all you want, most criminals don’t obtain their guns legally, let alone walk into a federally licensed gun shop to purchase firearms in the likes of the law-abiding public.
National Review’s Charles Cooke aptly noted earlier today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that no one has solutions to stopping mass shootings, and that this isn’t a competition regarding who can come off as more “vexed.”
“It’s far more complicated than that,” added Cooke, who noted that it’s disingenuous to say that there are these intransigent forces in government preventing these (dubious) gun control policies from working. We have 300-350 million guns in America, and almost every instance where there has been a mass shooting; the perpetrator had either obtained them illegally–or should have been prevented from owning firearms due to mental illness.
Joe Scarborough said he supports background checks, like most of the public, but added that Oregon has background checks, and this awful event still took place. Connecticut passed more gun laws post-Sandy Hook, but they would not have prevented Adam Lanza from killing 26 people, 20 of them children, at the elementary school if they had been in place at the time.
Needless to say, Mika Brzezinski and Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin had an issue with Cooke’s analysis regarding the issue of gun violence being too complicated and current progressive gun policies being ineffective, to which Cooke asked both of them what should we do, what policies do they have in mind. Neither of them could give him an answer, which is exactly the point. There is no answer as of yet–and we need to have a long, tedious, and, at times, frustrating debate that doesn’t drift off into fantasyland. And by that, I mean the gun control supporter’s ultimate goal: confiscation.
Anytime someone loses their life to gun violence is a tragedy; anytime a mass shooting happens, especially on school grounds, is abysmal. We all agree on that; we differ regarding how much constitutional rights we should erode to prevent it. Conservatives (rightfully) aren’t willing to go there, whereas liberals issue knee-jerk reactions, like the one exhibited by our president last night, before all the facts are out.
Right now, Chris Harper Mercer, the shooter, and his motives remain unknown. He did have social media posts that showed him sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist group, though he claimed not to be religious (via NBC News):
The gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon college left a hate-filled note at the scene of his rampage and "felt the world was against him," law enforcement officials confirmed Friday.
Two officials familiar with the contents of the note say 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, who was killed in a firefight with police at Umpqua Community College, wrote that he would be "welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil."
He wrote that he was "in a bad way," one official said. "He was depressed, sullen."
The officials said Mercer lamented the fact that he did not have a girlfriend. "He said he had no life," another official said.
Mercer reportedly targeted Christians during his senseless rampage, which getting back to the knee-jerk reaction point, could place the Obama administration in a rather embarrassing light if this turns out to be a terrorist attack–something that Charles Krauthammer mentioned last night. Over at Hot Air, Ed mentioned that the president slipped up by mentioning the Tucson shooting, which was painted as a Tea Party attack that was inspired by Sarah Palin. It turned out that Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, was just mentally ill.
All the firearms recovered at the scene of the shooting in Oregon were purchased legally. So, if Mercer was mentally unstable, which isn’t outside the realm of possibility, we must have the long debate about how to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms. That point is agreed upon on both sides. The problem is getting progressives to come to the table.