Roger L. Simon

'Rolling Stone' and the Second Amendment 'Suicide Pact'

Rolling Stone—the aging rock publication whose struggle to stay relevant misfired badly with a salacious story about a campus rape that, it turned out, never happened—has now taken on gun control in an article (“Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment“) by Drexel University law professor David S. Cohen. After Orlando, the topic is so current that it made Drudge.

The most obvious intention of this sudden welter of gun control articles and speeches by Obama, Clinton and others is to distract from discussion of the real problem—radical Islam—or, in the words of Rahm Emanuel, to “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  (Irony in quoting the mayor of Chicago, where gun control is stringent but murders proliferate is deliberate.)

Cohen begins his article by reminding his historically ignorant RS audience—he’s probably right there—of the “astonishing” fact that the Founders weren’t perfect and even countenanced slavery.  Thus it would follow as the night the day that they were wrong about the Second Amendment as well.  He writes, “The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact.”

A suicide pact?  Them’s fightin’ words.  But how so?

Finally, if we take the gun-rights lobby at their word, the Second Amendment is a suicide pact. As they say over and over, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. In other words, please the gun manufacturers by arming even the vast majority of Americans who do not own a gun.

Just think of what would have happened in the Orlando night-club Saturday night if there had been many others armed. In a crowded, dark, loud dance club, after the shooter began firing, imagine if others took out their guns and started firing back. Yes, maybe they would have killed the shooter, but how would anyone else have known what exactly was going on? How would it not have devolved into mass confusion and fear followed by a large-scale shootout without anyone knowing who was the good guy with a gun, who was the bad guy with a gun, and who was just caught in the middle? The death toll could have been much higher if more people were armed.

Well, does the professor have a point?  Let’s study the reality for a moment.  Most—though not all—people who carry guns are trained in their use and we would assume they would know not to fire wildly, but would they? Errors will occur, but the question is, on balance, will lives be saved?

The Paris terror attack of November 2015, which was even worse than Orlando and left 89 dead in the Bataclan theatre and 130 mortalities overall, is a revealing case. France, as most know, has vastly more severe gun ownership restrictions than the United States or most countries.  None of the concert-goers at the Bataclan that night were armed.  Here’s how the BBC described the scene when the terrorists entered the theatre at 21:40:

The gunmen entered the building through the main entrance about 30-45 minutes after rock group the Eagles of Death Metal had begun their performance. Witnesses reported seeing bodies on the pavement near the doorway.

Once in the building, they fired into the crowd. Their first move was to shoot everybody standing at the bar, witnesses Gregoire, Thomas and Nicolas told Liberation newspaper.

The trio had been watching the concert from the balcony, and recalled seeing a movement in the crowd below “like a gust of wind through wheat” as people began to realise what was happening and scrambled away from the killers.

Another spectator, Fahmi, was in the crowd on the lower level when he heard a noise he took to be firecrackers. “First of all I thought it was part of the show, but then I turned around and saw someone who had just taken a bullet in the eye,” he told Liberation.

Many people dropped to the ground, but there was little cover in the concert hall. The gunmen shot at random into the mass of people lying down.

It seems that at least one of the gunmen climbed the stairs and killed more spectators on the balcony, possibly using this as a vantage point to take shots at others below.

In other words, people knew where the gunmen were almost immediately.  If even a few of these audience members had had guns, I’d wager that half of those 89 lives or more might have been saved.

This may not mean much to David S. Cohen, locked in as he is to the [self-promotion alert] moral narcissism pervasive in the academy, but it has real ramifications to those victims, their relatives and friends.

Here’s another telling line from that BBC account:  “After what Ms Cede said felt like an eternity, the police arrived.”

I’m afraid Professor Cohen has it exactly backwards.  The real suicide would be to repeal the Second Amendment, not to keep it.

Remember the old days when it used to be coveted to be “on the cover of Rolling Stone”? Maybe next time it should be ISIS.

Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – is just published by Encounter Books June 14, 2016.  You can read an excerpt here. You can see a brief interview about the book with the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal here. You can order the book here.