The horrible-ness of the deaths of fifty-nine American citizens cannot be diminished. They can, however, be appropriated for political purposes. In order to find meaning in the meaningless void of last weekend's mass murder in Las Vegas, sides are once again being drawn in that great debate we call "gun control." Many of the arguments for the law-abiding gun owner center on the notion that one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl. One "lone wolf" shouldn't be the reason to impinge on the rights of all those law-abiding wolves. Just because a number of high-powered semi-automatic rifles were used in the commission of this awfulness doesn't mean that the Constitution does not protect all those wolves who would like to have their own arsenal. "The bad guys all have guns," we are told. "Why shouldn't we?"
If all the bad guys jumped off the roof of the Mandalay Bay hotel, would you want to follow them?
Two years ago, columnist Dan Hodges tweeted, "In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over." That thought has received a lot of replay over the past week as we try once again to unravel this bloody web of sorrow and regret.
Of course there are those who have already made up their minds. Like our friend Alex Jones, who has made a career of staring down all kinds of reality and coming back with the realization that dark forces other than the obvious were at work. Jones fabricated a customarily lurid and complex tale involving the Islamic State group, former Vice President Albert Gore and former CIA official Philip Mudd, among other suspects. Jones also alluded to “the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik Revolution out of New York and London,” an elaborate allusion to Jews that none of his devoted fans could have missed. Add to this the assertion that there was a second shooter involved, just like there was in Dallas all those years ago, and you've got a great big conspiracy pie with nothing but air an paranoia for its main ingredients.
Who wants to talk about gun control when the Bolsheviks are at the door? You want to talk gun control? Use both hands!
Meanwhile the winners in all of this are the gun manufacturers whose stock and products continue to sell like hotcakes. Deadly, semi-automatic, armor-piercing large capacity magazine hotcakes. With silencers. How could any voice of reason be hears over that din? Not bloody likely.
Emphasis on the bloody.