... we shouldn’t play the shooters’ game. These acts are dramatic because they are unusual (not as unusual as we’d prefer), extraordinary because they are unrepresentative of the contemporary experience rather than representative of it.... We are not, in fact, a polity dissolving into chaos. Our streets aren’t filled with blood -- they’re filled with mediocrity. Politicians sell you emergency when they want to take something away from you. Terrorists are not the only people who know that a scared population is a compliant population.So don't worry your silly little head about the fact that we have one mass shooting a day in America.
Surprisingly, Williamson sees the tendency to succumb to fear across the political spectrum:
We insulated moderns are not very good at ranking risks.... we love stories. We love them more than we love reality: The Republican party is not run by a secret cabal of warmongering billionaires; Barack Obama is a cookie-cutter Ivy League lefty, not a Kenya-born al-Qaeda plant; you’re going to die from emphysema or from being fat rather than from Ebola or a resurgent Islamic caliphate; the people who commit the murders are for the most part going to be ordinary criminals going about ordinary criminal business, and a fair number of the people they kill are the same thing.But, of course, it's only the liberal side of this that gets his back up in the case of guns:
Even our dramatic crimes are mostly rooted in ordinary failures: those failed families, again, failed mental-health practices, etc. A scary-looking rifle is visually arresting, a fact that tells us something about the weapon, and maybe something about us. It doesn’t tell us anything useful about the actual challenges facing the United States in 2015.And it's hilarious that Williamson sees Americans as susceptible to unreasonable fears about, say, Ebola or jihadist violence. Hmmm, why would that be? Could i be because people such as ... oh, Kevin D. Williamson write about Ebola this way?
It is impossible to tell what will happen with Ebola here or abroad, and the flapping of this viral butterfly’s wings represents one of those high-stakes rolls of history’s dice, the outcome of which cannot be anticipated. Consider such human, economic, and cultural catastrophes as the Great War, HIV, or Communism: None of those was the obvious outcome of a foreseeable chain of events. Neither Karl Marx nor Gavrilo Princip, to say nothing of that unknown chimpanzee hunter, could have imagined where the currents of history in which they were wading would end up taking us.Or about terrorism in the U.S. this way?
Just as denunciations of the “Red Scare” were used to draw attention away from the crimes of American individuals and institutions undertaken in service of the Soviet Union, now cries of “Islamophobia!” are being used to muddy the waters in the matter of the participation of American and Western people and institutions in the worldwide Islamic jihad against the West.... Here in the United States, the Council on American Islamic Relations operates openly and with the full protection of the law, in spite of its being identified by the Department of Justice as an unindicted coconspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, in which a phony charity was used to channel money to Hamas. (My colleague Andrew C. McCarthy, who knows a little something about Islamic terrorism, has done a great deal of work on CAIR, e.g., here.) Another group with Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood links holds the titles to hundreds of American mosques. Odd? Worrisome? “Islamophobia!”If there's gun paranoia, I'd say it's overwhelmingly on the right, as Charles Blow notes today:
Prediction: In 30 years, [they'll be] renaming Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan “Osama bin Laden Plaza” ...
... as I have mentioned before, my oldest brother is a gun collector. He is a regular at the gun shows, buying and selling, but even he talks about a sense of unease at those shows as people engage in what can only be described as panic buying and ammunition hoarding.What does Mr. Williamson tell us about the completely illusory need for ammunition hoarding?
These people are afraid. They are afraid of a time conservative media and the gun industry has convinced them is coming when sales of weapons, particularly some types of weapons, will be restricted or forbidden. They are afraid of growing populations of people they don’t trust. Some are even afraid that a time will come when they will have to defend themselves against the government itself.
As it wanes, the Obama administration grows bold, and even reckless, on matters that send a thrill up the leg of its most leftward supporters. Its new attack on so-called armor-piercing ammunition -- which is, in reality, a very broad attack on ammunition across the board -- is a dangerous and destructive example of the administration’s late-days slide into rule-by-decree....So Kevin D. Williamson clearly thinks that you shouldn't believe scare stories -- unless he's telling them.
What gun-rights advocates fear -- not without reason -- is that this is the beginning of a pincer movement, with the ATF banning non-lead ammunition as a threat to armor-wearing police officers and the EPA banning lead ammunition as a toxin....
In a sense, the gun-grabbers were telling the truth when they said that they had no designs on our sporting rifles. But the ammunition for those rifles is another story.