After the tragic shooting that took place in El Paso, TX, that left 20 dead and many more injured, are we about to witness a curtailing of rights by the US government? Already, the seeds of regulation are being planted in the public mind and watered by the media; before long, there may be weeds growing in the garden of liberty.
Just a few short hours after the Texas attack, another shooting has taken place in Dayton, Ohio. Early reports suggest that nine people are dead and 16 injured.
According to police reports, the El Paso shooter began his spree in the parking lot before moving inside a Walmart store, where he continued his attack. That this was motivated by hate is not a question. That this should not happen in a civilized society is also beyond question. But how the nation reacts at this crucial juncture is very much a matter that should be debated, measured, and carefully considered. It is all too easy in the wake of tragedy to make decisions the country may regret further down the line.
Gun Control Trends
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “#GunControlNow” soon began trending on Twitter, and the battle lines were drawn. Calls to repeal the Second Amendment have been coming in fast and furious. With emotions running so high, many are arguing that some element of gun control should be instituted, and quickly. But this ignores the reality of the situation in favor of emotionally charged reactions.
That the El Paso shooter was motivated by his hatred of immigrants appears verified, based on a “manifesto” released on internet forums 4Chan and 8Chan. You can’t legislate against hate. This was a man who was determined to kill as many innocent people as he could in the hopes of creating an uprising; if legal guns were not available, would he have balked at buying an illegal weapon?
That this tragedy will become the next political football is not in doubt. It will be used by both sides of the aisle to push an agenda, with little thought for the actual victims and their families.
Hot on the heels of the calls for gun control are also demands for social media platforms such as 4Chan and 8Chan to be shut down. This is dangerous ground to be tilling. A platform is not a publisher – as we are so often reminded. If the Chans were not available, the killer could have simply posted to another website; would that also be shut down? The illogical extension of this idea is that all posts made on any internet platform should be monitored and censored, effectively limiting the First Amendment. To entertain these ideas in the wake of an emotionally charged tragedy is folly, to say the least.
Lives have been lost, and families have been destroyed in two horrendous events. Let’s not compound the situation by taking a flamethrower to the fundamental rights that govern America.