Obama's Hypocrisy on Gun Control
As far as we know, Dylann Roof acted for just one person: Dylann Roof.
But his crime has gotten enormous attention for a host of reasons. It is a demonstration of the evil one person can do. It arouses strong emotions of horror and grief for victims whose extremely productive lives were cut down so cruelly. It engenders talk about the Second Amendment right to bear arms and how much it can or should be restricted. It raises questions about our mental health system and how a person can fall through the cracks. It brings up the issue of prevention, because Roof appears to have given quite a bit of warning (at least to friends, if not to family) that he was contemplating violence. It makes us wonder how often drug abuse might be a factor in violent crimes. It shows that some people continue to hate members of another race. It is an example of how the media covers such crimes, and the rush to publish facts that are not necessarily true.
But -- as with many violent crimes -- it also gives people ample opportunity to ride their pet political hobbyhorses. And among them are the pious declarations that somehow Roof represents white people or America in general.
He does not.
That doesn't stop the MSM from reporting on how people around the world think that the Charleston murders are a symptom of American racism as well an indictment of our puzzling American devotion to guns. Right on cue, President Obama has used the incident to indicate that this sort of thing doesn't happen much in other countries, and to imply that stricter gun control in the United States would help:
We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun...
But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.
And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it'd be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it's going to important for the American to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
Obama's statement that this doesn't happen in other "advanced" countries is preposterous, a lie so transparent on the face of it that anyone with a memory can refute it instantly (Anders Breivik; Charlie Hebdo) if they care to, although many don't care to. As far as the relative frequency of such mass murder attacks compared to the population in various countries goes, that's something about which it isn't that easy to get reliable statistics. But just a glance at this list of Canadian and European school shootings should disabuse anyone of the notion that such mass killings don't happen in other countries with a fair amount of frequency.