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The impossibility of gun control

Posted: September 22, 2013 - 11:46am

The Navy Yard massacre won’t revive the gun debate in Congress for a simple reason: There is no gun-control agenda this side of a total ban and confiscation that would have stopped Aaron Alexis.

The Toomey-Manchin bill could have passed Congress unanimously. The assault-weapons ban could still be in place. Gun-controllers could have achieved their long-ago goal of barring the private purchase of handguns. And every step of his mayhem at the Washington Navy Yard would have been unimpeded.

The media rushed, based on erroneous reports from law enforcement, to place in his hands an AR-15, the popular rifle that has been used in mass shootings before and that an assault-weapons ban would prohibit.

The front page of the New York Daily News blared “Same gun, different slay.” The newspaper’s columnist Mike Lupica worked himself into lathers of dudgeon over the offending gun. “They call semiautomatics like this sports rifles,” he fumed. “You bet. Mostly for the sport of killing innocent people, and killing them fast.”

Lupica’s screed would have been absurd if an AR-15 had been the murder weapon — hundreds of thousands of them are bought annually, by people with no interest in killing innocent people — but it wasn’t. When the Newseum has a special exhibit on the journalistic history of going off half-cocked, Mike Lupica should be an honored guest.

According to law enforcement, Alexis used a shotgun in his rampage. That is a weapon, as it happens, that has been endorsed and promoted by the vice president of the United States. Joe Biden sounded like a pitchman for Remington at a Facebook town hall earlier in the year when he urged a mother concerned about safety: “Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun.”

This may be fine advice, but there should be no mistake: Shotguns are dangerous. When it comes to “the sport of killing innocent people,” almost any gun will do, especially if it is in a permissive environment where no one else is likely to be armed. This makes a hash of the conceit that the government can ban a few select guns and make shooting rampages less likely.

Other common panaceas would have had no effect, either. Alexis bought his shotgun from a duly-licensed dealer, not at a gun show. He passed a federal background check with no problem. He didn’t have a high-capacity magazine. He reportedly got the handgun or handguns he may also have used in the attack after shooting a security officer.

So the Navy Yard rampage demonstrates the essential sterility of the gun-control debate. It is true that James Holmes and Adam Lanza used AR-15s. But Seung-Hui Cho and Jared Loughner used 9 mm semiautomatic pistols. And Aaron Alexis used a shotgun.

The common theme is that they were all deeply disturbed young men whose acts of murder had a sickening aspect of utter senselessness. The Daily News got it backward. Its headline about the Navy Yard should have read “Different gun, same slay.”

Maybe this time we can have a real debate about mental illness. To this point, we’ve had a simplistically instrumental focus. It’s like seeing a madman wearing a tinfoil hat to protect himself from radio waves and thinking, “If only we could ban tinfoil ...”

When Aaron Alexis called the Rhode Island police a month ago to tell them that enemies were harassing him with a microwave machine, it was clear that he was suffering paranoid delusions and needed help. But the authorities let him go his merry way, evidently to sink deeper into the madness he mistook for reality.

If we had the same callous disregard masquerading as compassionate nonjudgmentalism for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, they would be sleeping in our streets and rotting in our jails. It needs to be easier to compel treatment for the mentally ill. There will be another Aaron Alexis. If we can’t predict what gun he’ll use, we already know his mental state.

Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail:

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JohnPeterZenger 09/22/13 - 10:41 pm
The disgraceful Rich Lowry again?

If the editors of the Clarion wanted to provide it's readers with the most unrealistic portrayal of reality, they couldn't do much better than to present Rich Lowry day after day after day.

Read enough Rich Lowry and you'll be more misinformed than Fox News viewers. (and, it's an undeniable fact that Fox News viewers are the most ill informed in the nation.)

Thanks, Clarion editors, you've consistently given us the lowest form of dogmatic delusion from maybe the most discredited wing nut pundit in the nation.

It's unfortunate to understand that 'teh crazy' is the best you've got to offer your readers.

You do them all a shameful disservice when you present the disgustingly spurious and dishonest fictions constructed by Rich Lowry.

Ask around the shop, there must be someone at the Clarion that still knows what it means to abide by a journalistic ethic.

Rich Lowry sure hasn't ever had a clue.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/23/13 - 12:00 pm
I don't watch or read much of

I don't watch or read much of anything about Rich Lowry but I seem to agree with his rational of what's happening at almost every minute of every day concerning our Governmental leaders. Chicago is one of the deadliest cities in America in regard to Blacks killing Blacks and the silence is deafening from those supposed Black leaders against these actions. Who knows any or all of those folks could look like our Presidents family members like Travon Martin supposedly would have. Yet these killed were done so by same colored people and the race card can't be used to divide America and cause nationwide troubles. Those that did the killings probably did not realize that it was against the law to do so, or more than likely could careless about the laws.
So what is the agenda here other than to lump all people into a disarmament program forcing every one to be totally dependent on law officers who can't protect anyone, anywhere, anytime, let alone all the time. Law enforcement usually only shows up after the acts to do the paper work and help with the clean up walking around in circles for countless hours acting like their doing something to protect? Please don't misunderstand me here as I appreciate law enforcement most generally that do their best to serve & protect, but the vast majority of their work is after the criminals have already done their deeds and escaped unless they have a death wish and remain on sight until law forces arrive. A well armed citizenry would put an end to many of these attacks and in fact history shows our armed citizens as the reason for America's safety from foreign attackers, it's just our government that seems to not understand these very simple facts of thwarting evil intentions, while supported by it's minions of ill informed supporters that seek total governmental control of all and total dependence there of.
Thanks Clarion for printing these articles and keep them coming as a means to sound that 'Clarion Call' trying to warn the Alaska citizenry of criminal acts committed by criminals, acts which could happen here as well at any time no matter the race, color or religion if we are not all prepared and ready to stand and fight it's evil spread of hate and death.

JohnPeterZenger 09/23/13 - 09:55 pm
You're going to have problems from the start.

Rich Lowry isn't rational.

So if you find you want to 'agree' with Rich Lowry's 'rationale', you're agreeing to something that exists, for the most part, only in Rich Lowry's unsprung mind.

If you want to read the ravings of irrational, and deluded souls, I would suggest a subscription to the National Review.

Over at that dream factory, they call Rich Lowry an 'editor'.

('s highly doubtful he knows what the word means, let alone actually be capable of acting as a responsible editor.)

Take a deep breath and step away from the manic paranoia.

Norseman 09/24/13 - 06:48 am
Our very own peninsula has

Our very own peninsula has quite a few whackjobs. Scary to think they are allowed to own weapons. One day, the nine out of 11 voices in their head will tell them to stay home and clean their guns.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/24/13 - 07:48 am
Speaking of whack job, I mean

Speaking of whack job, I mean other highly opinionated controler people who own guns, which voice is telling you to type this hate of yours this morning? This is funny coming from someone that usually only copies others opinions along with only spouting their hate for all most everyone and prints their hate list repeatedly for others to view while at the same time is calling others whack jobs merely due to different opinions. If I was the locals of the Peninsula I would certainly be more worried about locals like this than Rich Lowry, especially those that continuously print their hate lists.
If I was locals I would also be prepared for these very same people that express their hate while also proclaiming their stock pile of weapons that they plan to use on others locally.
So who is the whack job and who is not here? Just expressing my opinion of what I read and the truthfulness of it pertaining to reality of what's going on as some call it. Oh, I already know you hate me and all Christians according to your list so there is no need to tell me again.
Have a GR8 hate filled day and remember who loves you.
Please remember the words of THIS Government about never allowing a crisis, especially gun killings to go to waste for furthering their agenda of total dependence, as well as total control of all Peoples by imposing Gun Regulations against Non-Criminal Americans who are lumped into an all encompassing lump with Criminals who could careless about laws.
Sounds kind of like a Neo-Socialist Abomination to me, but I'm not really sure if this is the case, or I'm being a whack job.

JohnPeterZenger 09/24/13 - 11:38 am
You're not sure?

Pretty much everyone else is sure, you've left no room for doubt.

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