Mass shootings in the United States have at least one thing in common: they all happen in in gun free zones. Yesterday economist and author of More Guns Less Crime John Lott went on CNN with anchor Soledad O'Brien to discuss why mass shootings occur in gun free zones. O'Brien as usual, wasn't interested in factual data Lott was presenting and continually cut him off as he was making his points.
John Lott, the gun advocate who recently had a heated encounter with Piers Morgan, spoke to Soledad O'Brien on Monday morning — continuing to make his pro-gun argument. O'Brien had a hard time stomaching Lott's perspective, telling him she simply does not understand it.
The common feature across such attacks, Lott said, is that, with few exceptions, they've occurred where guns have been banned. "But there's more than one thing in common, right?" O'Brien asked, adding that they're armed, often with semi-automatic weapons.
The point, Lott underlined, is that these "gun-free" pockets are the ones that are targeted. Specifically, he spoke about the gunman who chose the movie theater in Aurora, as opposed to other nearby theaters. O'Brien countered that Lott hasn't spoken to him and has no way of knowing the gunman's thought process. "How do you know that?" she asked. "You don't know that."
"Why is your takeaway from all of this to get rid of gun laws — and your takeaway is not to say, 'There are people who should not have access to certain types of weapons,'" O'Brien questioned.In this instance, she said, we know the gunman used a semi-automatic rifle to breaking into the building, rendering their security useless. "Why would you not say that's exactly the kind of weapon that someone should not be able to easily get their hands on?"
Lott said that Germany had three of the five worst public shootings in the world. And Germany has extremely strict gun control laws. "Yet they've had a worse record," Lott said.
"I don't argue Second Amendment, I argue crime," Lott said.
Like most liberal media personalities, O'Brien is ignorant about how guns actually work. It is also clear throughout the interview she doesn't understand the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
O’Brien’s further ignorance of this topic is revealed when, after dismissing Lott’s citation of Germany, which has essentially banned semi-automatic weapons but has a terrible record of school shootings, she again claims that “a rational person could say that having access to a high-powered, semi-automatic rifle is inappropriate, that there’s no reason to go deer-hunting with that.” The “assault weapon” used in Newtown, however, as in Colorado, was actually not a legal deer rifle because it is actually not “high powered,” it’s too weak to safely kill a deer.
O'Brien, who is supposed to be an objective news anchor, not only exposed her own agenda yesterday but the agenda of mainstream media outlets everywhere. After all, CNN's Don Lemon said yesterday that "it doesn't matter" gun crime is down all over the country, incorrectly stated that automatic weapons are roaming the streets and implied anyone who owns a semi-automatic weapon wants to hunt kids. Both O'Brien and Lemon work in a building in New York City protected by security guards armed with semi-automatic weapons.
During her interview with Lott, O'Brien said his positions on the issue "boggled her mind," and yet as Megan McArdle points out today, there really isn't much we could have done to prevent the horrific massacre last week.
What Lanza shows us is the limits of the obvious policy responses. He had all the mental health resources he needed--and he did it anyway. The law stopped him from buying a gun--and he did it anyway. The school had an intercom system aimed at stopping unauthorized entry--and he did it anyway. Any practical, easy-to-implement solution to school shootings that you could propose, along with several that were not at all easy to implement, was already in place. Somehow, Lanza blew through them all.
In the end, none of this will comfort the families of those whose children were killed last week however, moving forward it is important to keep factual and logical arguments in mind to prevent turning even more people into "gun free zone" victims.