One of the ways we can test the truth of a theory is by observing its “predictive power.”
For example, if I throw a ball in the air, it will surely fall to the ground unless acted upon by some other force. The fact that we can predict this is a good sign that our theories about physics and gravity are true.
With about as much certainty as Newton’s laws, we can predict that a high-profile news story about a deranged murderer will result in frenzied calls for more “common sense restrictions,” “gun safety legislation,” or whatever euphemisms test best with Bloomberg’s focus groups this week. Of course, it’s especially true if the victims are white, attractive, and (gasp) affluent. Thirty-nine (39!!) people were shot in Chicago over the May 19 weekend with barely a mention. Three people were shot in Santa Barbara and the media lost its collective mind. Yes, that pattern is predictable.
It’s also predictable that the mainstream news media [mis]represents the facts of the Elliot Rodger crime in order to support its anti-gun policy preferences. A scan of several headlines from major news sources strongly imply that the Santa Barbara tragedy was a “gun crime.” This, despite the fact that half of those murdered were stabbed to death and twice as many people were run over with a vehicle than killed by gunfire. More than one news organization failed to mention the stabbings altogether, leaving (or leading?) the reader to conclude that only guns were used.
Predictably, we already see those like Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut dancing on graves in a new push for “universal” background checks, magazine capacity restrictions, and a ban on so-called “assault weapons” (even though no “assault weapons” were used by Rodgers). Score one for predicting the reaction of anti-gun politicians and their astroturf shills.
Predictably, many in the mindless mainstream media are blaming the NRA and the “gun lobby” (i.e., millions of law-abiding gun owners) as a whipping boy for their latest exercise in 15-minutes-of-hate. But it doesn’t make sense: in spite of the “gun lobby,” the gun control proposals being shoved down our collective throats were already California law for years or decades prior to the Santa Barbara tragedy. Score two for predicting the reaction of the news media.
Predictably, those kinds of laws will not prevent bad people from doing bad things. Why? Because we have seen over the course of history that they do not. This latest incident in Santa Barbara offers a prime example. Score three for predicting that gun control laws just don’t work.
Speaking of gun control laws that just don’t work:
“Universal” background checks: we’ve got them in California. Rodger submitted to, and passed, a separate federal and state background check in order to acquire each and every firearm he bought.
Waiting periods: Rodger waited at least 10 days between the day he purchased each gun and the date he took possession of it.
Purchase limits: California has a “one handgun per month” rule as well. It took Rodger several months to amass his 3 gun collection.
Magazine limits: Since January 1, 2000, California has criminalized the manufacture, importation, sale, giving, lending, buying, and receiving magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Rodger didn’t buy any so-called “high capacity” magazines with his handguns.
Predictably, not one of those laws prevented an entitled, upper-crust Hollywood madman from acting out his horrific screenplay.
In an environment where the news media distorts the facts, the wrong parties are blamed, and politicians call for laws which demonstrably do not work, tragedies like the one perpetrated by Elliot Rodger will continue to occur. It’s all too predictable.
Allen Scheer is a certified firearms instructor, gun rights advocate, and political commentator residing in the Sacramento, California area.