Would-be gun-grabbers like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and CNN’s Piers Morgan don’t just hate and fear all guns. They fear some scary-looking guns more than others, and keep bringing them up even when not appropriate.
Take America’s most popular rifle. After every horrific mass shooting Feinstein and Morgan call for banning (or at least heavily regulating) these “assault weapons.”
Following the naval yard shooting the other day, Feinstein pronounced, “There are reports the killer was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol when he stormed an American military installation in the nation’s capital and took at least 12 innocent lives. This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?”
It turned out that the killer brought only a shotgun to the massacre — a weapon endorsed by our current Vice President, as Jacob Sullum reminds us — and used two handguns acquired during the spree. No AR-15 in evidence.
Sullum also notes that CNN justified Morgan’s post-naval-yard-shooting anti-AR-15 diatribe in an off-hand way, as if facts didn’t matter.
So, what matters?
The taboo. The anti-fetish, the magical thing reviled — the obsession with the scary look of an evil gun, over its actual use.
For lots of politically-centered people, policy is more about symbolism than anything else. For such folks, talk of principles or about overall crime statistics or unintended effects means nothing. To understand their notions, bring in the anthropologists.
Or the shamans.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.