The Dark Night of Arithmethic

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By Art Hyland

It’s been about 48 hours since the slaughter of so many Colorado innocents attending a midnight movie. Although most Americans are still shaking their heads in sorrowful shock, bowing their heads in silent prayer, thinking about the potential brevity of life itself, the randomness of violence, or the incredible sadness of remaining loved ones, there nevertheless has been much instantaneous progressive reactions by a media very willing to use a tragedy to help permanently shape the future of this nation. The dead hadn’t even been counted, the relatives contacted, the grieving allowed to find a silent level of reduced confusion before progressives ambulance-chased their opinions into the mix of news coverage. The relatives of those lost wouldn’t have noticed or cared, but the rest of the nation needed time to grieve as well before having to listen to I-Told-You-So’s pontificating about pipe dream prevention.

Here’s a sampling of sudden media reaction to the senseless killing event in Colorado:

1. New York Daily News: “Blood on hands of Obama, Mitt and NRA!”

They decried in this editorial: “In a vain claim of innocence, the fanatics will say Holmes is a monster and a maniac, that he fired and fired and fired as a man possessed. Each protestation clamps their fingers with his around the trigger. Because they made sure that virtually everyone, Holmes included, has unfettered legal access to heavy weaponry.”

2. NPR’s All Things Considered radio program:

They talked with E.J. Dionne from the Washington Post, who said, “What I mean by that is that the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby have such a firm hold on our political system that no one can bring up the notion, which we bring up with every other kind of tragedy, that maybe we can do better. Maybe there are laws we could pass that would prevent something like this.”

And he continued, “Let’s talk about the assault weapons ban. Let’s talk about ways in which we might reduce the chances that someone with mental problems might get a gun. And I’m just worried that we’re going to revert right back to our usual sort of giving and saying, well, the gun lobby controls Washington, so we can never do anything about things like this.”

3. Online Politico was mocking the do-nothings, implying something must be done, by saying, “Politicians: Nothing can be done”

“Mass shootings by disturbed gunmen have become so commonplace over the past generation that the response is now a virtual ritual. The initial shock of news reports is followed by words of anger and comfort by public leaders — followed by almost nothing of substance.” And,  “In the wake of the early-morning rampage Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg lamented the way emotional post-tragedy rhetoric has often become so detached from action. ‘Soothing words are nice,’ Bloomberg said on WOR-AM. ‘But maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re gonna do about it.’”

4. One of the worst reactions was the knee-jerk “breaking news” report by ABC’s Brian Ross, who couldn’t help but announce live ABC might have identified the killer named by the authorities as James Holmes who, Ross just had to point out, might be the Colorado Tea Party member he and his staff had so adroitly found by the same name. ABC updated later that this Mr. Holmes was not the killer, but spontaneous damage to both that individual and the Tea Party had been done.  All because of a visceral  bias against Tea Parties which have had nothing to do with violence, but are unconsciously remembered for their connections to the Second Amendment, and therefore somehow relevant to a shooting event.

The sad tragedy in Colorado, the lives taken, the lives of relatives and friends shattered forever, has done again what tragedies across America do: they cause obligatory, speculative reactions  leading to opinions about what should have been done to prevent these kinds of events, or blindly implicate groups who somehow should be held accountable.

Especially if the events surround the use of guns, and even more so, “assault weapons.”

According to Wikipedia, there is no legal definition of “assault weapon” other than when it emerged as a phrase in the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994. And the restriction was so technical that anyone familiar with rifles could easily purchase virtual equivalents; it was truly a meaningless law, which expired after ten years because in truth, any gun can be used in an assault. “Assault weapon” is therefore a purely political phrase.  Anointed progressives develop and assign these kinds of word-weapon phrases in an effort to impose emotion onto what’s supposed to be careful consideration when creating the laws of this nation.  In practice, it’s really just an attempt to dance around the Constitution, a document designed to restrict human emotion in favor of rational deliberation.

The Left is so remarkably emotional that they can’t acknowledge the true cause of violence right before their eyes: people. A deranged individual made violent decisions; his weapon of destruction was and is immaterial. This point is obvious, yet political progressives are as misguided in their formulas for prevention as the killer was for going wild with violence. Re-examine the title of the “preventive” law cited above: The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. No doubt politicians felt they had accomplished something when passing that, but in reality, public safety wasn’t altered at all because no matter what kinds of firearms restrictions are imposed, like for instance those in ‘peaceful’ Chicago, violent people will figure out a way to inflict violence.  A stack of “Firearms Use Protection” Acts won’t prevent it.

If apparent killer James Holmes, 24, had instead lobbed 4 home-made grenades into the theater that night, what would the progressive pundits have done then? Talked about eliminating baseball, so kids couldn’t learn to throw things? I didn’t hear them wanting to outlaw commercial jet aircraft after 9/11, yet that was the weapon of choice for that tragic event. But if the perpetrator uses an “assault weapon” as defined in their minds, right away, it’s the weapon they seize upon as the culprit, and those groups that are aligned with the right to bear arms, despite the fact that if a rifle was not available to Mr. Holmes, a PhD candidate, he would  have found an alternative.  Timothy McVeigh did.

Assault weapon is like so many emotional word-weapons among thousands in the quivers of liberal politicians and pundits. They create these fear words or phrases in order to incite emotions favorable to the culture of progressive government control. While the public is tricked into thinking their intent is to make life safer for all, the actual goal is more and more control by progressives over more and more facets of the citizens they scare.

It’s a sad commentary on the insatiable appetite for political attention at a time when our sadness ought to be restricted to the terrible loss of life, the ending of futures, and the acceptance of human fragility.

The arithmetic of random chance in a nation of 370 million people explains rare, irrational, fateful events more than feel-good attempts by emotional humans targeting the physical means. It’s a lesson that most progressives are apparently unwilling to accept.

One Response to The Dark Night of Arithmethic

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if for just once the knee-jerk right wing reaction adumbrated above would actually offer solutions rather than the continuous ranting that enflames but doesn’t enlighten. The reality is that the US has more weapons per person than any country in the world and access is a part of the problem even though the NRA and its ilk will rant on that it’s a moot issue. When Arizona has to protect its 850 licensed gun dealers who sell military style weapons that have no recreational value, its time for a discussion that protects the legitimate access to guns for hunting, target practicing, and the like, but doesn’t make it so easy to fill the pipeline to gangs, the deranged and the profiteers.

    We’ve altered the constitution how many times? A couple more wouldn’t hurt and bring some sanity into our world.