Good Friday Morning! And happy Opening Week of baseball for you all. The fans and security in Dodgers stadium are already in mid-season form. A fan ran out into the center field to propose, and one of the security guards put a form tackle on him so hard, I think they’d flag the guard for targeting in college football. Seriously, this is a hit on a defenseless receiver if I ever saw it.
This week, I’m going to relay a few thoughts I had in the wake of the mass shooting in Nashville, and how the gun debate has changed since the pandemic. Links to follow.
Where you can find me this week
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[03/27/2023] The DeSantis path is similar to Reagan ’76/Obama ’08 – Conservative Institute
[03/31/2023] The eye of the economic storm – Conservative Institute
The America of 2019 is not the America of 2023.
Over the years, I’ve made many points on gun control and the second amendment. I have no plans on rehashing those points here. Instead, I want to give an observation on this topic I had from back in 2020. I wrote a Tweet about this that sums everything up:
The direction of the gun control debate changed dramatically after 2020.
Few understand this.
I realized this early in 2020. A viral picture floating around showed a line of people around the block waiting in line to get into a gun store. The state of California was talking about shutting down all stores at the time, including gun stores. Shortages were appearing everywhere. Riots followed over the summer, where major cities, including Washington DC, were on fire.
During the commotion, I saw my liberal friends move out of major cities like Nashville. First, they moved because of the schools, and then it was because of the dangers they perceived. Then I started seeing my liberal friends buy guns too. Technically, this trend started before the pandemic.
There’s a hilarious story in the BBC from 2016 about how liberals started buying guns after Trump’s election:
Gun ownership has traditionally been associated with the right wing in America but the election of Donald Trump has prompted some left-wingers to join gun clubs – and even start preparing for the collapse of society.
“I really didn’t expect to be thinking about purchasing a gun. It was something that my father did and I rolled my eyes at him.”
Clara, a 28-year-old nursing student, grew up in the Mid-West, where “the folks that had guns were seen as hicks” or were just “culturally different”, she says.
But since the election of Donald Trump in November she has started going to a gun range for the first time and is shopping around for a semi-automatic pistol.
But new gun owners and gun purchases overall exploded from 2020 – 2022. It wasn’t one thing that drove sales; it was a multitude of factors.
The pandemic shutdowns, COVID mandates, grocery store shortages, riots, police not responding, police inaction in places like Uvalde / Florida, and more. Throw all that together, and you get a cultural stew of people buying more firearms.
And with that, the gun control debate changed. Correction, it ended. If you’re buying a gun, you no longer support general confiscation. Because I have eyes, and I’ve been to a few sporting goods stores, I know that AR-15s continue to sell like hotcakes. Those same liberals are buying those guns too.
I’ve had a few conversations this week with people arguing about the Nashville shooting being a gun control issue. On Thursday, protestors packed the Capital Building to push for more restrictions and various bans. But what my liberal friends who attend these events and make the same arguments don’t realize is that the ground dramatically shifted out from underneath them after 2020.
The America that argued about mass shootings in 2019 is not the same one that talks about them now. We are a different country, and those who own weapons are much more diverse. Furthermore, we’ve learned that the left has no new policies that could change anything.
I’ve discussed this with several people this week about whether this is a gun control issue. My response is straightforward: what do you mean by “responsible gun control?” Sure, Americans support that phrase uniformly, but you can’t pass a “responsible gun control” law and move on. It has to have words attached to it.
Do you mean enhanced background checks? There’s no evidence those would have stopped the Nashville shooter. A ban on AR-15s? That wouldn’t have prevented the shooter from using a pistol or one of the rifles. And a ban on any weapon won’t float anymore.
Why do we need to have another gun control debate?
To fix the problem, hardening schools is something that has to happen. Will it fix other events out in public? No. It won’t. But that’s always been true. The OKC truck bombing didn’t rely on guns, the Boston Marathon bombers used a makeshift bomb, Shinzo Abe’s assassination used a makeshift weapon, and so on.
I thought Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Randy McNally proposed decent ideas for hardening schools:
- Securing windows and glass in school buildings — “As you know, the perpetrator in the most recent school shooting shot out the glass of the school’s doors to gain entry. My understanding is that there is a film that can be affixed to the windows and doors in schools that would be bulletproof or resistant.”
- Magnetic locks on doors — “Keyed locks can cause delays in police response in an emergency. Magnetic locks, however, can be critical in keeping shooters out while allowing police and first responders speedier access in a crisis.”
- Centralized and modernized camera systems — “Outfitting schools with the latest security camera systems can also assist in response to these incidents. If police can get immediate access to these systems, they can quickly identify the location of the perpetrator and can work even faster to eliminate the threat and keep children safe.”
- Armed guards — “While we have made great progress in making sure our public schools have access to school resource officers, I believe we can do more. Reports indicate that the shooter at Covenant chose the school because of its minimal security. If we can ensure that all schools, public and private, have armed guards, we may be able to cut down on these events significantly.”
These are real solutions that focus on the problem of schools. They don’t solve other soft target locations, but that’s, unfortunately, where we’re trending. I’m not too fond of the TSA, but I know why they exist and never go away.
The world changed after 2020. We’re not going back to that mindset for quite some time. It wouldn’t shock me if this were a generational change for a while. If you live in unprecedented times long enough, you must consider whether your core beliefs on an issue are right or wrong. And I know gun control as it existed circa 2019 is dead because too many liberals got mugged by reality for more than three years.
In the meantime, the Metro Nashville Police Department must release the whole manifesto of this shooter. Releasing the video was an excellent way to show the lack of glory in this death. Releasing the manifesto ensures that there will be fewer conspiracy theories around this event, which is a good thing.
We will eventually get the manifesto and a clearer picture of the motive. We got the manifesto after the Christmas bombing in Nashville; the same will happen here.
Links of the week
For the First Time, the Fed Is Losing Money: Thanks to interest-rate risk exposure, the central bank will soon have negative equity capital. – Paul H. Kupiec and Alex J. Pollock, WSJ
Why Alvin Bragg’s case against Trump is falling apart – Jonathan Turley, NYPost
One Bank, Indivisible: Government decisions are making America into a nation of big banks, and only big banks. – Nicole Gelinas, City Journal
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Thanks for reading!