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Scariest Thing Ever

FDR Said It:  “The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is…Fear, Itself”

Shelby Murdoc

There are plenty of things to demonize when it comes to the gun control discussion. The perennial favorite, of course, is the so-called “assault weapon.” These terrifying death machines, despite being used in only a small fraction of crimes involving guns, are the scariest things ever dreamed up, more horrifying than any monster in a Stephen King story while being less real than the monsters in Stephen King stories. But the parade of vilified monsters doesn’t stop with these military-grade weapons of war that are not used by the military in war.

After Las Vegas, the bump stock was the scariest thing ever dreamed up, capable of turning a normal old rifle into a machine gun. The scaremongers, of course, hoped no one noticed that they were trying to scare people over bump stocks for creating machine guns out of guns they’d already been spending three decades trying to scare people about for already being machine guns. Simultaneously, they hoped no one noticed that only one criminal ever appears to have actually used a bump stock during a crime.

Then there’s the so-called “high capacity magazine.” These ultra-devastating devices allow a would-be killer to—get this—carry bullets. Magazine are boxes with bullets in them, but more than 5 bullets or 7 bullets or 10 bullets or whatever the local politicians can manage to get away with banning somehow turns a regular old rifle into an unstoppable death machine. They hope no one is aware of the fact that many gun crimes are committed by shooters without so-called “high-capacity” magazines and that the exceptions would not have had significantly different outcomes had the evil super-sized bullet boxes been absent.

Most recently, the so-called “silencer” is in the crosshairs (if you’ll forgive my scary turn of phrase) and even President Trump has tweeted that he’s wondering about them. Generations of people raised on Hollywood movies think that so-called “silencers” actually, you know, silence the gun. We watch as the assassin in the latest thriller takes out the target with a whisper. People ten feet away are blissfully unaware that unspeakable gun violence has just been committed because the mega-frightening suppressor—the scariest thing ever dreamed up—has reduced the report of gunfire to a micro-sized click. Journalists and pundits claim that a shooter in Virginia Beach got away with his rampage because no one realized he was rampaging due to the so-called “silencer.”

The list of villainous and demonic items goes on and on. Pistol grips. Adjustable stocks. Bayonet lugs. Barrel shrouds. Shoulder things that go up. You name it, it is to blame for mass shootings. There are so many scariest things ever dreamed up that you can’t even keep track of them all.

One scary thing that someone dreamed up, though, rarely gets mentioned when mass shootings get non-stop around-the-clock coverage from breathless reporters and pundits just trying to do their job and scare the living daylights out of you: the so-called “gun-free zone.” These are never listed as one of the things that need to be banned in order to stop mass-murderers. So-called “assault weapons”? Used sometimes in mass shootings, but handguns are used far more often. So-called “high-capacity” magazines? Used sometimes in mass shootings, but often not and rarely does the magazine capacity appear to have made any significant difference. So-called “silencers”? Used in one recent high-profile mass shooting, but otherwise used in as many gun crimes as bump stocks.

So-called “gun-free zones,” however, are used in virtually every mass shooting in America on record. And in most of those overseas, as well. Almost every single one. There is a higher correlation of so-called “gun free zones” to mass shootings than there is for any of the other scariest things ever dreamed up. Yet no one talks about banning so-called “gun free zones.” In fact, many people try to expand them.

That’s a proposed solution to mass shootings: Take the places where mass shootings always occur and MAKE MORE OF THEM.

If that’s not the scariest thing ever dreamed up, I don’t know what is.

One of the victims in the Virginia Beach shooting which left twelve people murdered reportedly was so scared of the killer that she seriously considered taking a gun to work for protection. Despite her workplace’s strict no-gun policy.

Kate Nixon spoke of her concerns to her husband and about her plan to carry a gun just in case things went bad. In the end, she decided to comply with the no-guns policy. The next day, the exact co-worker she was worried about decided not to comply with the no-guns policy and killed her and eleven others.

The immediate reaction in the press and on social media was that so-called “silencers” need to be banned.

Virtually all so-called “gun-free zones” work on the honor system. A few, like airplanes and sports stadiums, sometimes have security screening measures to try to ensure that people in that zone are, in fact, free of guns. But even those measures often fall far short when it comes to certainty. Most so-called “gun-free zones” are not secured at all and depend on people in the zone all being good citizens and complying.

As we saw in Virginia Beach, criminals bent on murder are not the sort to honor the honor system. If so-called “gun free zones” aren’t actively controlled, no one can ever be sure that they are actually gun-free. And would-be mass shooters can count on the honorable among us to play nice while he or she walks in unhindered but not unarmed.

Mass murderers don’t require military-grade weapons of war, magazines that hold 30 rounds, suppressors, bump stocks, or any of the other things gun controllers try to make sound so terrifying. They just need a target-rich environment likely to be free of OTHER guns. Thankfully for mass shooters around the world, there are plenty of these places available.

Scary.

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