Monday, 13 June 2016

Let's focus on the gun.

Marco Rubio was asked about the shooting in Orlando on the radio this morning, and sounded genuinely kind and concerned - up to the point where he was asked about gun control. And then it was like someone had opened a little door in the back of Rubio's head and carefully removed his brain.
Rubio said "It wouldn't have prevented this attack... he could have bought it from the black market, he could have done like Boston and detonated a bomb, he could have loaded his truck up with explosives and driven it in through the building...So I think we should focus less on the weapon he used and more on the motivation behind it..."
Well no. Let's focus a bit more on the weapon: a big, rotten thing, good only for killing. But one which only became illegal when Omar Mateen raised it and started shooting at innocent people.
Let's assume for a moment that the US was a country where it was illegal to own an assault rifle, and that law was enforced with reasonable success. If Mateen had not been able to legally and easily buy an assault rifle, then all of the other ways that Mateen might have tried to act out whatever horror was in his head would have bettered the odds of preventing his attack.
Buying an assault rifle on the black market would have involved him in committing a crime. Researching bomb making and buying the materials would have involved him in a pattern of behaviour, which could have been detected. Mateen would have had to plan, research and delay. All of this would have given law enforcement agencies a better chance of realising that an attack was being planned, and of gathering the evidence required to convict.
Rubio admitted that the "lone wolf" - that idiot phrase used to refer to someone acting on his or her own, but with the intention of causing mass casualties - is the hardest to detect. If that's true, then why defend a state of affairs that allows murder to be committed on a whim?
There's no easy way to determine why Mateen chose to act as he did. But putting weapons like the one Mateen used out of easy reach could have resulted in an outcome similar to that which followed Muhaydin Mire's attempted knife attack in a London underground station in December 2015: the perpetrator tasered and under arrest, being called out on his stupidity by one of the bystanders.

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