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Friday, August 28, 2015

Roanoke Times Has A Great Editorial Worth the Time to Read

Today's Roanoke Times has a very good editorial on the shooting of two WDBJ employees that asked the question "What Would Have Prevented This?" The Times notes:
Yet the notion that we need more gun control — what kind of gun control, exactly, would have prevented this? McAuliffe, in that radio interview with WTOP in Washington, said: “We need tougher gun laws in the commonwealth. Everyone who purchases a firearm in Virginia should have to go through a background check.”
While the Times dredges up the so-called "gun show loophole", they correctly note that the shooter passed a background check before he purchased his pistol. He was not a convicted felon, he had no protective orders against him, and did not have a history of psychiatric treatment.  They also point out that a waiting period would not have stopped him because he bought the handgun two months before using it.  With this background presented, the Times rightly asks:
What, short of repealing the Second Amendment and prohibiting the sale of any firearms, would have prevented Flanagan from patronizing a gun store?
The Times then points out the conversations that do need to be held, one about mental health, which they say is surely underfunded and underappreciated.  The second conversation is about the nature of American culture itself:
The other, perhaps even more difficult, conversation is about the nature of American culture in general. President Obama was correct when he said “the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.” What if the deepest problem here, though, is not in our laws or our mental health system but in ourselves? Other countries suffer horrendous crimes, too, but not the way we do. Why is that?
And that's the real question.  When I was a kid, we could take our shotguns to school in our trucks or cars to go hunting at the end of the day.  No one shot up the school with them.  People in New York that were on rifle teams took their guns to school on the subway.  All of this before background checks and magazine bans and such that have been passed since that time.  What has changed about people in the last 30 years?  The Times closes with this which could explain the change:
The British journalist Tim Stanley, writing in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, put it this way: “I love America, I sincerely do. But it has an anger problem. Flanagan was a classic example of a man who sought conflict and when he found it, escalated it into hysteria and — crucially — politicised it. In reality, he was probably just a mediocre journalist. But he imagined that he was the victim of a conspiracy and that he had to fight back. This tendency to erupt when reason should have prevailed is behind so much of the social chaos in America
Well worth the time to read the entire editorial.  Hat tip to Cam Edwards and NRANews.

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