The oft chanted mantra that firearms are like viruses is patently untenable. Viruses are living organisms—they replicate and perform actions independently. To consider firearms alive, self-replicating and capable of independent action requires an absence of rationality.
Now, to the public health model. It is predicated on education about, then modification and eradication, of a problem. Study should begin with examining history, epidemiology, utility, and a cost benefit ratio.
Firearms are a tool designed to allow an organism to project power against another organism. That holds whether the tool-using organism(s) is a human against a predatory animal, or a group of people against another group of people. They are especially helpful for weaker organisms confronted by stronger ones. Firearms may be used appropriately or inappropriately, but that is based upon the user, not the tool.
Firearms are widely prevalent and that holds whether society accepts them or not. That is clear when we compare disparate regulations between cities within a country, or between countries. Some examples include Chicago and Baltimore in the United States, and criminal and terrorist use of firearms in countries with very strict anti-firearm regulations such as France, Mexico and Guatemala.
Firearms do exactly what they were designed to do, and they do it effectively and efficiently. For self-defense or anti-criminal use, firearms are the quintessential tool which allows a person, regardless of strength or physical ability, to defend against an individual or a group of criminals.
Individuals and groups who wish to see firearms removed from society frequently begin by proposing modifications. None of the modifications expounded by these groups would improve the utility and cost-benefit equation, or prevent criminals and terrorists from misusing them.
That leaves eradication. Those who propose eradication fail to understand human nature. Being human drives us to develop tools for specific purposes. Humankind went from being able to walk to using animals and then machinery to accomplish transportation. We went from charcoal scratchings on rock to print and electronics to accomplish communication. We went from running to throwing rocks to launching projectiles faster and farther to firearms.
Last but not least, the public health model has worked to some degree for automobile safety, and to reduce tobacco and alcohol use. But imperfectly, because the advocates fail to understand human nature. Compulsion goes only so far. Society continues to struggling with the failure of seat-belt laws and mechanical safety devices, and the fact that people too often will not do what other people think is in their best interest. The public health model as applied to firearms issues has also been plagued by misuse of data and fraudulent science attempting to promote a predetermined end. The American people trust the Constitution of the United States more than they trust esoteric statistics.
Ultimately, the public health model fails because the proponents are ideologists, not scientists.
Silencers are in the news, with all manner of breathless fear mongering coming from various outlets. Why? The Sportsmen’s Heritage Recreational and Enhancement Act of 2017 (SHARE) passed through committee (on a straight party-line vote, naturally) and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives. Attached to it is the Hearing Protection Act, which (if successful) will remove silencers from the National Firearms Act and treat them like regular Title I firearms. Not sure what this means? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
What’s the big deal?
If you are unfamiliar with the backstory on what silencers are & why they are restricted, David Kopel wrote an excellent article covering the history & politics of silencers. To sum up: Hiram Maxim invented the sound suppressor back in 1909 and marketed it as a “silencer.” Here in the US, they are fairly uncommon & if you don’t have the proper paperwork can send you to prison for a long time.
Wait, what? Yep, that’s right – For some reason that nobody can figure out, Congress decided to include them in the National Firearms Act of 1934, resulting in their being treated the same as machineguns, sawed off shotguns, and hand grenades. Under the NFA, a hollow tube with baffles is considered a Title II firearm & heavily restricted: owning one requires fingerprints, a background check, and a $200 tax stamp. Violations of Title II firearms laws are a federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
With all these hoops to jump through, and harsh penalties, why do people want silencers anyhow?
Despite their portray in popular media, guns are loud. A single gunshot can be up to 190dB – in comparison, thunder from a nearby storm is around 120dB. Both are enough to cause immediate, permanent hearing damage because the sound is loud enough to kill hearing tissue.
Silencers are the gun equivalent of a car’s muffler – they function by taking the exhaust gases of combustion & slowing their expansion, cooling them before they escape the muzzle. The typical silencer is not particularly complex – it can’t be, because unlike an automobile muffler, the bullet has to travel in a straight line. Crude examples can be found made from converted oil filters, or can be constructed of a simple pipe, washers & steel or copper wool, and a means to attach it to the firearms barrel. In a recent episode of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is shown with one made from a Maglite:
Silencers have many benefits besides the obvious noise reduction for the shooter:
- Increased situational awareness. By being able to hear what is going on around you, you are safer. You are able to communicate with others &
- Decreased firearms recoil, which means greater accuracy.
- Less noise pollution in the surrounding area, which is especially important around firing ranges. In some European nations they are considered an essential way to reduce noise pollution & are available without a hassle. Glock makes a disposable model that’s around $150 that is available in various countries.
In all likelihood, if OSHA had existed when silencers were invented, they’d be mandatory equipment today.
What caused this Silencer Showdown?
It is only in recent years that use of silencers in the American firearms community has changed, largely due to three factors: inflation, military acceptance & information sharing.
Inflation: When Maxim invented the silencer, Pistol models sold for $5, rifle versions were $7, or around $125 in 2017 dollars. The National Firearms Act added $200 to that cost, effectively banning them from anyone other than the rich – $200 in 1934 is the equivalent of $4959 in 2017. Thanks to the magic of inflation, a $200 tax stamp no longer is the hurdle it once was, and in the last decade silencer, short barrel rifle, short barrel shotgun & other NFA purchases have exploded. Let’s face it, in 1934 $200 on a $5 item was a big deal; but $200 today? That’s a monthly cell phone bill.
Military use: Silencers have been in military service since WWI, where they were issued to snipers & sharpshooters. In WWII, they were found in various capacities from the Welrod Pistol to the Deslisle Destroyer Carbine to Silenced Sten. Vietnam saw a variant of the S&W M39 called the Mk 22 “Hush Puppy” that was used by SEALs for eliminating guard dogs & sentries, along with Silenced Swedish K “K Guns” used by both Special Forces & CIA personnel.
This continued into the modern era. Well aware of the advantages that silencers provided, military units made them a requirement on weapons systems solicitations; in the mid 90s the Special Operations Peculiar MODification (SOPMOD) kit had a sound suppressor for each rifle. When the Global War on Terror ramped up, Special Operations became even more important & capabilities needed to be filled. The M110 was issued as a designated marksman’s rifle, putting silencers into the hands of riflemen.
Traditional media, Social media & word of mouth: In 2010, there had been a grand total of 285,087 silencers registered since 1934. That would soon change.
The internet allowed firearms enthusiasts to communicate from around the world. As such, those with actual experience using silencers, industry representatives & potential buyers were able join together. Information sharing via sites like AR15.com (est 1997), SilencerTalk, (created in 2006), tactical industry publications, & word of mouth allowed end users to become more educated on silencer effectiveness, how to obtain their own, or in some cases make them with ATF approval. No longer was the NFA a mystery, and a niche market was even created to simplify the process by connecting firearms lawyers with clients.
Social media further spread information, from digital photos taken by service members to companies like Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), Surefire & Gemtech taking part in discussions. These companies leveraged their knowledge gained from servicing military & law enforcement customers into providing better quality products to both law enforcement & civilian buyers. Detailed specifications allowed comparison shopping. YouTube channels like Hickok45 featured silencer use & others explained the science behind them. Industry leading manufacturers formed the American Suppressor Association in 2014 to help educate & reform silencer laws at both the state & federal level; through their efforts it is now legal to hunt with a silencer equipped firearm in 42 states. Finally, large firearms manufacturers entered the market: Remington acquired AAC, SIG-Sauer created their own silencer division, and just this year S&W bought Gemtech.
By 2015, silencer ownership had exploded. CNN noted the drastic increase in silencer sales:
The number of registered silencers surged 38% from last year to 792,282 in February 2015, according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. There were 571,750 licenses in March 2014.
Even some people at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives have changed their minds on their being restricted, stating in a whitepaper that:
[T]he reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.
The Free Beacon has confirmed that silencers are rarely used in crimes, with roughly 44 instances a year.
“Consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings,” Turk wrote. “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating [National Firearms Act] classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”
Even in 2014 the ATF was having a difficult time keeping up with the ever increasing demands for NFA items. Eventually they changed to a 7 day workweek and increased NFA branch personnel nearly threefold in order to try to combat growing delays. Wait times for NFA transfers continued to increase. The existing system wasn’t working, and wasn’t helped by a new Obama-era rule change called 41f that further increased paperwork to be processed – wait times were expected to double. In anticipation of the rules changes, people rushed to get their paperwork in so their purchases would be “grandfathered” – Silencerco reportedly submitted $2,000,000 worth of NFA stamp applications in a single day. If those were all silencers or machineguns, that’s 10,000 applications.
The ATF whitepaper gives an insider’s view:
The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing.
Put it another way: by keeping silencers restricted, it’s having a negative effect on law enforcement, because administration is draining resources. That is money spent on personnel & paperwork and is not spent on criminal investigations.
Things come to a head
Enter the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, which had the objective of changing silencers from Title II weapons, to Title I & treated the same as regular firearms The HPA eventually picked up 82 cosponsors, but was not passed in the 2015-16 session. With the 2016 election under way, it was tabled; Clinton had campaigned on increasing firearms restrictions across the board, and was favored to win.
With Trump’s surprise victory & Republican control of both the Senate & House, there was an opportunity. Donald Trump Jr, an avid hunter, spearheaded efforts to reduce silencer regulations. The Hearing Protection Act was dusted off, reintroduced to the house as HPA 2017. It was then referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, followed by the House Judiciary, where it languished until June, when it was attached to the SHARE Act. SHARE already had strong bipartisan approval and incorporated a number of changes that the firearms community had been seeking for decades.
So let’s talk about the “gun safety” movement & their objections to this bill.
Naturally the possibility of silencer restrictions being eased has caused a panic in the anti-gun movement & media allies. Everytown produced a litany of fear mongering nonsense. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank panicked and vomited forth a massive amount of hyperbole including talk of howitzers & Stinger missiles (which the NRA quickly debunked). The Huffington Post claims deregulation is a ploy of the gun industry in order to combat the “Trump Slump” (which doesn’t exist, but I’ll address that in another article).
Rather than address each article, let’s talk about…
Common Myths Surrounding Silencers
Myth #1: Silencers completely eliminate the sound of a gunshot!
Despite their portrayal in movies & television, silencers do not reduce a gunshot to a kitten sneezing. In fact:
- a rifle with a silencer is still as loud as the operations deck of an aircraft carrier;
- a pistol with a silencer is as loud as a jackhammer.
Even the CEO of ShotSpotter, a system used to detect gunfire in several cities, states that the Shotspotter system can still detect firearms equipped with silencers.
“In regard to gun silencers, it is more accurate to call them suppressors, as they suppress the impulsive sound of gunfire, not wholly eliminate it,” said Ralph Clark, the chief executive of ShotSpotter. “We have successfully if not inadvertently detected confirmed suppressed gunfire within our existing deployments. Although we have not formally tested the theoretical impact to our system, we intend to do some targeted testing in the near future. We believe we will have various options ranging from increasing our sensor array density to developing software/firmware to address the detection of suppressed gunfire if it were to become a widespread issue.”
Despite what some may claim, a silencer will not make a mass shooter more deadly, or hunter less safe.
Myth #2: Restricting them has kept them out of the hands of criminals!
This is a great example of correlation not equaling causation, or the Simpsons example of the tiger-repellent rock. Strict silencer laws have not, in fact, kept them out of the hands of criminals; rather their use is just not given much media play because criminals breaking the law with heavily restricted items goes against the narrative. Examples:
- Ohio machinist arrested with 199 illegal silencers
- Kansas man arrested for advertising, possessing, manufacturing & selling silencers
- Maryland man pleads guilty to possessing unregistered silencer
- Connecticut man arrested with multiple silencers
- California men arrested for manufacturing silencers & short barreled rifles
- Another California man arrested with multiple silencers
- A homeless convicted felon in California arrested with multiple machineguns & silencers
Over a half dozen examples in the last two years, with many more probably not even reported on.
So why aren’t criminals using silencers? Probably because most criminals use small, concealable handguns and adding 9-12″ to the barrel makes them much more difficult to tuck into a belt.
Myth #3: People don’t need silencers, they can just wear earplugs!
First, let’s start with the research: The CDC did a study in 2011 titled, “Noise and Lead Exposures at an Outdoor Firing Range ─ California”. In it, they stated:
The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students’ or instructors’ noise exposure from gunfire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel.
The common sense approach to a loud noise is to muffle the item causing it, not to expect everyone in the area to be equipped with ear protection. It’s only when that is not possible that additional hearing protection is suggested, which is why cars have mufflers instead of expecting drivers & passengers to wear ear plugs.
Second, when carrying a firearm for self defense, it is not possible or practical to wear ear plugs or muffs at all times. There are over 16 million people with concealed carry permits in the United States, and unknown numbers of people who concealed carry in the 13 states with Constitutional Carry. Each one runs the risk of permanent hearing loss should they be forced to defend themselves.
In addition, wearing ear plugs or muffs reduces safety, not increases it. With hearing protection on, all sound is reduced, not just the gunshot, resulting in a loss of situational awareness:
- Hunters cannot hear other people in the woods.
- A homeowner inside their house will not be able to effectively hear an intruder’s movements – or police commands if they make entry.
- Students receiving instruction have to learn to overcome the blast & recoil, rather than concentrating on form & control.
- The areas surrounding firing ranges have increased levels of noise pollution.
Myth #4: If silencers are easier to get, there will be more criminals using silencers!
While I already addressed this partially with Myth #1 & how guns are still loud even with a silencer attached, this argument really requires a leap in logic to believe.
First, seized firearms figures show that most criminals use small & inexpensive handguns for crime. The Trace was kind enough to provide data from Chicago PD which had inexpensive models from Ruger, Hi-Point, & other manufacturers dominating. A stickup artist is not going to add 9-12″ of suppressor to the barrel of their firearm making it harder to conceal… not to mention doubling or tripling the price.
Second, there were also huge numbers of revolvers present, which cannot be effectively silenced due to the gap between the cylinder & the barrel. This throws additional cold water on potential criminal silencer use.
Silencers are a Public Health issue
Obviously the medical community must have something to say about this, right?
Surprise! They’ve been refusing to comment at all. The silence of medical groups is something that has not gone unnoticed by the firearms community. You’d think that decriminalizing a device that will prevent medical injury would be a no-brainer for medical professionals, but:
[T]he American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics not only refuse to support doing away with the outdated restrictions. They won’t even promote the use of suppressors as a valuable public health solution.
Even the group representing ear doctors, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has decided officially to refuse their support of both this hearing-saving tool and the legislation that would make it widely available to their patients.
Usually eager to try to force further gun control under the guise of “Public Health” the medical community has been strangely quiet. There are no shortage of articles in medical journals advocating for stricter firearms laws, from background checks to “safe storage” to banning assault weapons, none of which have a proven track record of success at effecting, never mind reducing harm. Yet when it comes to easing access to something that has empirically measurable, demonstrated effectiveness at preventing injury, they have nothing to say.
This, right here, reveals just how bankrupt the “gun safety” movement is.
Spotted on The Firearm Blog, a hobbyist machinist fabricated his own AR-15 lower receiver. Big deal, some people will scoff, “80% lower builds are nothing new.”
Well, this actually is a big deal, because this guy took around 250 aluminum cans, melted them down in a backyard forge, poured them into ingots, and then created his own billet of aluminum stock:
With milling machines & lathes available off Amazon, technology is increasingly available to the end user; there is no longer a giant barrier to entry in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment in machinery.
Cody Wilson’s Ghost Gunner is merely a simplified version of what the above youtuber did. You can’t stop the signal.
David Yamane is a sociologist who runs a blog called Gun Culture 2.0; he tackles various topics that arise concerning the 2nd Amendment. I stumbled across his blog a few years back and was delighted to discover that he regularly puts out good information & has his students do studies on 2nd Amendment related topics.
He recently has been addressing the topic “How Many Households in America Today Have Guns?” and wrote:
Legault and Lizotte estimated the U.S. civilian gun stock to be just over 216 million as of 2006. And the 2015 National Firearms Survey (NFS) pegs the current stock of firearms at somewhere between 245 million and 285 million.
I know some will argue that the NFS estimate is low, and that there are over 300 million firearms in the United States today. But for me, Wright’s “give or take a few tens of millions” is right on. The heart of Wright’s observation is that there are ALOT of guns in America. Even though no one knows exactly how many, these estimates all support the idea that there are ALOT. Far more than any other country, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Whether it is 285 million or 315 million is inconsequential.
Commentators responded that these estimates may be low by pointing a Weaponsman blog posting referring to ATF manufacturer figures showing 250 million serial numbered firearms manufactured since 1999.
David did a followup article and addresses this:
The author, who writes under the pseudonym “Hognose,” reports on a BAFTE data system called “Access 2000 (A2K)” (see Appendix II here for a brief overview). As Hognose describes it, “This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.”
I’m going to quote from the Weaponsman article here to give some context:
The typical estimate of the total number of firearms in the USA is about 300 million, depending on whom is queried. […]
We believe that the correct number is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million. You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.
What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms, and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?
ATF maintains a system, introduced in 1999, called Access 2000 or A2K (GAO report; details are in the .pdfs linked at that .html link). This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.
The relevance of the A2K database to the question of how many guns is this: “As of 2 October, 2015,** the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.”** […]
None of the current academic media and academic estimates were developed with A2K data, even though this data has been made publicly available. You’re probably reading about it here for the first time.
**The participants in A2K include, as of fall, 2015, 35 firms representing 66 FFLs total.**
**As of 2 October, 2015, the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.** That means that at least those 250 million firearms have been manufactured, or imported, or sold at wholesale in approximately 15 years. (Duplicate records, say from a manufacturer or importer in 2000 a jobber as a used gun in 2007, don’t increment the count; the unique serial number ties those data points together as a single “record”).
For the total count of firearms in the USA to be 300 million, the following must be true:
(A2K + all firearms made and sold by non-A2K FFLs from 1999-2015 + all firearms made by everyone 1899-1999 + all firearms imported 1899-1999 + all firearms made or imported since October, 2015) – firearms exported = 300M.
It seems unlikely that 5/6 of all firearms were made or imported in the last 17 years. […]
They address numerous things and conclude with:
At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms. […]
Absent a better idea, we can say that** the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million**, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.
This also doesn’t count the number of firearms made from “80%” receivers, AK flats, and the like.
One of the oft-repeated trope of the gun control movement is that gun ownership is decreasing. And yet…
A new poll published on Thursday found more Americans report having a gun in their home than ever before.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey of 1,200 adults found 48 percent of Americans said they or somebody else in their household owned a gun. That’s 3 percentage points higher than when the same question was asked last year. It’s 9 percentage points higher than when the question was asked in 2011, the low point of the poll’s findings for self-reported gun ownership.
This topic deserves a longer post, so I’ll address this in greater detail later.
I came across a blog post that I felt was worth sharing:
I’ve seen this image going around again, often accompanied by comments on how expecting women to learn self-defense is unreasonable and ineffective anyway, because men are bigger and stronger than us.
I get the original post’s sentiment. We can’t put the entire onus of preventing sexual assault on the victims (or potential victims), and things will not get better without widespread social change that addresses perpetrators (and potential perpetrators), and the cultural attitudes that make this shit so much more widespread and easy to get away with.
But as we build a better world that is safer for all of us, we need to live in this one. We need to survive day-to-day, and deal with the threats that exist now, and not the reduced ones that may exist decades down the road. And right now, knowing how to defend yourself won’t prevent all rape, but it might prevent yours.
It’s not a zero-sum game. Keeping yourself safe doesn’t put another in danger, and learning self-defense isn’t some betrayal of the sisterhood because another woman may not have access to the same training. If we really want to keep all women safer, then we lobby for cultural, legislative, and legal change on the one hand, and we make sure as many women as possible have access to good self-defense training on the other. There’s no earthly reason to choose between the two.
It’s hard enough for many women to step into a self-defense class. There’s already stigma attached to women fighting, fear of being hurt or – worse – of hurting someone else, and uncertainty about how safe you’ll be in a given school or with a given instructor. I’ve had women show up to my classes that spent a year working up to coming in, because it was that fucking daunting. Let’s not make it even worse by suggesting that wanting to protect yourself undermines the social progress of your entire gender.
Adding onto this, Swimming in Deep Water posted:
Additional points raised from the resulting discussion:
- I don’t believe there are any statistics as to how many assaults are prevented by capable, willing women stepping in to other women’s aid. From anecdotal evidence, it happens. I’ve done it. I’ve seen other women do it. Learning self-defence skills is like learning first-aid in one respect: maybe you’ll need it for yourself or your loved ones, but maybe you’ll end up using it to save a perfect stranger.
- A self defense scenario doesn’t always end with a predator sneaking off to assault someone else. It can end with an arrest or investigation which can actively prevent another assault.
- It is considered not only acceptable but desirable for parents to educate their young children about “stranger danger”. No suggestion is made that this causes someone else’s kid to be molested or kidnapped. So at which age does this change? Is it for a 12 yr old girl to learn self-defense, but not for a 15 yr old? 16? Where is that line drawn, by whom, and based on what theory?
- While any individual learning to defend themselves doesn’t solve any social problems, a critical mass of women and others with the skills and willingness to defend against predators could shift the social balance as well.
- Do women’s responsibility to others always overrides personal concerns, and if so, why?
Both of these are great responses, but leave out something.
Every time I hear the mantra, “Teach men not to rape” I like to point out that dead rapists don’t have to be taught again. I have absolutely zero problems making a sexual assault as painful & debilitating as possible for the attacker. If the lesson proves fatal to the aggressor, oh fucking well.
If a “mass shooting” occurs, and no talking heads are angry about it, will people make a sound? The answer is: no.
This weekend, there was a concert event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in Louisville’s West End – specifically in Portland. For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, Tim Faulkner’s is a 26,000 square foot mixed-use facility near the Ohio River, that is home to both artist space, McQuixote Books & Coffee, and a 10,000 square foot performance area that hosts various events. It is surrounded by warehouses, manufacturing, and a lower income homes that are slowly being gentrified by hipsters, trendy restaurants & businesses encroaching into the area. Kentucky Kustom Cycles is across the street, Louisville & Indiana Railroad is two buildings east, and Habitat for Humanity’s Louisville office is two streets south.
When 5 people are shot at 1AM, you’d think that people would be upset by this. One woman, a student at University of Louisville, died. 5 were wounded and expected to recover. After the outrage of the Orlando Nightclub shooting, all of the usual suspects were up in arms. They quickly blamed everyone from the NRA, to the firearms industry, to the GOP for enabling the killer to murder all of those innocent people.
Imagine my surprise when I saw absolutely zero mention of this weekend’s horror in my social media feeds. The same people who would wail and rend their clothes in a morbid kabuki display of virtue signaling; the social justice warriors who proudly declare that anyone who opposes gun control is a psychopath, and that the NRA is evil… why, they were silent.
24 hours later, there are no calls for gun control. No screaming about the easy availability of firearms. No talk about innocent lives lost or the societal cost of gun ownership, or how Something. Must. Be. Done.
Why on earth would that be? Simple. Here’s the event where the shooting occured:
The victims? No elementary school children. No casualties from the LGBTQ community. A distinct lack of media friendly corpses to be used as macabre props, because this is the wrong demographic. No possible hate crime, and if the shooter is caught, he will probably already have a long criminal record. It’s not as easy for the gun control movement to dance in the blood of the victims when this sort of thing happens.
It’s difficult to manufacture outrage when it’s a people being shot at a rap concert. Because of this, the personalities that generate talking points have nothing to say because their audience is just going to shrug their shoulders and go “what did you expect” when they see the event & the victims.
You see, this type of “mass shooting” doesn’t fit the narrative. Louisville’s West End is known as the bad part of town, with the city’s poverty, crime rates, shootings & drug issues all congregate to become that area middle-class mothers warn their kids to avoid.
No Facebook profile pictures will be changed to say “We stand with Portland.” The people shot will only be mentioned again as a statistic: they will be lumped in with other similar “mass shootings” to paint firearms ownership as a stain upon society.
Thus, the truth is laid bare: those who scream the loudest about gun control aren’t really invested in it. It’s not a cause they actually care about, because if it was they would be marching for the victims of Saturday’s shooting. No, gun control is merely a tool in the arsenal; a facet of tribal politics & a way for them to lash out against their political opponents. It’s something that is only mentioned when they can puff themselves up in righteous anger, and preen in their cloaks of moral righteousness; because their opinions are right and those who disagree are clearly evil. If something cannot be used as a weapon against your enemies, it is ignored.
Their silence makes it all too obvious how this is not a battle for what’s right, or to reduce “gun violence” whatsoever, but to score points off their opponents. Because, let’s face it: If these people were truly passionate about their beliefs, if they truly felt that Black Lives Matter, or that every life is precious, then they would be screaming about this sort of thing happening. Instead, we hear crickets.
The political winds do not favor gun control, thus the faithful do not need to be rallied. Better to save their outrage for whatever other convenient controversy can be manipulated.