America finds itself once again mourning another mass shooting. Just before midnight Saturday, a “22-year-old gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing at least five people and injuring 25 others.”
There were two immediate reactions from the Left as soon as the news broke. First, the media and activists immediately blamed MAGA Republicans and their supposed hatred of the LGBTQ+ community. Second, predictably: we need more gun control. Both conclusions were reached before any evidence had been made public.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed, “whether spouting dangerous rhetoric from cable news desks or openly bullying schoolchildren from the halls of power, MAGA Republicans are currently undermining the safety and well-being of our transgender community.”
Meantime, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) attacked Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for tweeting her prayers for the victims of the shooting. “You have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common-sense gun safety laws,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “You don’t get to ‘thoughts and prayers’ your way out of this. Look inward and change.”
We do not currently know the political leanings of the shooter or his stance on the LGBTQ+ community. Regardless, one person’s actions do not damn an entire political party or a political movement. Just as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is not to blame for one of his supporters shooting Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) during a Republican baseball practice and President Obama was not to blame for a Black Lives Matter terrorist ambushing police officers in Texas, MAGA Republicans are not to blame for any individual’s actions—unless, of course, a MAGA Republican specifically called for violence. Which did not happen.
As Ronald Reagan famously admonished, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
Sadly, the Colorado Springs mass shooting followed a disturbing pattern of the shooter being someone who was on the radar of law enforcement while nothing was done to stop him. The Parkland, Florida shooter was also known to police, as was the shooter in Buffalo. The authorities did nothing.
The shooter in Colorado was “known to law enforcement . . . He was arrested in June 2021 after his mother reported to authorities that he had threatened to detonate a bomb and harm her with multiple weapons.” He was booked into county jail on two counts of “felony menacing” and three counts of “first-degree kidnapping.”
Colorado has “red flag” laws, which allow people to petition the court to remove firearms from an individual the court deems a risk to the public. I personally believe these laws are unconstitutional, but if they are on the books, they should be enforced. Gun control advocates say the shooter’s threats to his mother are an “example of a red flag ignored.”
Predictably, Joe Biden called for more gun control, especially a ban on so-called assault weapons. The trouble is, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Assault weapons are not the weapon of choice for gun violence, per the FBI. In 2020, handguns were involved in 59 percent of gun murders and nonnegligent manslaughters. “Rifles—the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as ‘assault weapons’—were involved in 3% of firearm murders. Shotguns were involved in1%.” This means that approximately 408 people were killed by “assault weapons” in 2020. For comparison, more than 500 people are killed by hippopotamuses each year and more people die falling out of bed or from volcanic explosions each year than are killed by assault weapons.
Mass shootings are a national catastrophe. In response to them, we need to act as a serious country. Let’s start by not blaming political parties for shootings. Let’s start by enforcing the laws that have already been passed by local, state, and federal governments. Let’s start by not attacking legal gun owners and passing more restrictive gun laws that only impact those who follow the law, but by punishing criminals for using guns while committing crimes.
In addition, let’s not simply focus on the “mass shootings” that garner media coverage. Let’s look at all the shootings. In response to the Colorado Springs shooting, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted “I’m sick of this shit. How many people need to be murdered? How many lives torn apart?” This on a weekend during her city saw at least 20 people shot and three people killed in gang-related shootings.
Let’s focus on solving problems, not looking for headlines.