By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
The City of Las Vegas and the whole United States is reeling today three days after the horrible shooting in which 58 people died and over 500 were injured. As investigators try to piece together why this happened politicians are quick to jump to the default conclusion to blame the gun and not the idiot with the gun.
Hours after the shooting was reported, former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for increased gun control legislation. The evening comedians likewise jumped on the band wagon to call for something, anything to be done and vilifying anyone who would oppose it.
But really, what, if anything, can more gun laws do to prevent something like this from happening in the future? As has been pointed out previously, terrorists who want to cause destruction have wreaked havoc without using a gun. Timothy LaVeigh comes to mind, who used a box truck and fertilizer to kill hundreds.
Early reports say that the shooter used two bump fire stocks on his gun that convert semi-auto weapons into firing full auto. There is speculation that that device will now be under scrutiny for banning in the future due to the damage it caused. Reason Magazine published a great article yesterday describing what a bump fire stock looks like and how it functions. You can look at the full article here, including a video demonstration.
Jacob Sullum of Reason explains that the bump stock seems to sacrifice accuracy for speed, vastly increasing the number of bullets sprayed from the gun. It makes the gun hard to control and is considered a novelty used by gun enthusiasts rather than really increasing the lethality of the firearm.
Sullum writes, “Assuming that (Stephan) Paddock (the shooter) used the bump stocks police found, did they make the number of deaths higher than it otherwise would have been? Not necessarily, since bump stocks sacrifice accuracy for speed; the jostling required by the technique makes the rifle harder to aim, especially at long distances. According to the Wikipedia entry on bump stocks, they “greatly degrade the accuracy of the firearm, due to the necessary jerking of the weapon, which makes viable aiming impossible,” and “the inaccuracy renders the practice uncommon.”
Sullum eloquently points out that other shootings that did not use this feature have proven extremely deadly as well, while not as deadly as the Las Vegas shooting. But in Vegas, the lethality was most likely aided by the shooters tactical position on the 32nd floor rather than any accessory he may have used.
At the end of the day, this tragedy was caused by a madman with an axe to grind. An evil heart made this happen, not an inanimate object. Those guns didn’t jump off the shelves into this man’s hands. He methodically planned this atrocity, collecting guns and ammo over a long period of time. He reconned his target and chose his firing position with care. This coward was perfectly fine with killing innocent people who were unable to fight back, but when a fire team of officers came knocking on his door, he decided to check out rather than face them.
So instead of blaming the gun, we should blame the idiot. And then we should forget him. We should all be ready to help the victims and their families as they deal with the tragedy. It will be a long time before they get back to a sense of normalcy, indeed, they may never fully be the same. Americans should not be punished by a reduction of their rights because of the evil acts of one idiot.
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