Some look at mass shootings of the kind we've recently witnessed in Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas, mass killings we see all too frequently in this country, and judge that such occurrences are absolutely unacceptable. Consequently, they are willing to do virtually anything (up to and including giving up constitutional liberties!) to prevent more of the same from happening. On the other hand, others look at the same mass shootings, form a similar judgment and may even say that they are willing to consent to policy changes that will prevent more of the same from happening. However, though they may genuinely hate these occurrences, they view gun rights as fundamental and irrevocable. Consequently, shootings are problematic, but they are not viewed as totally unacceptable events, unfortunate and prevention-worthy though they may be.

If one truly thinks mass shootings are unacceptable, she or he should be willing to support policies and enforcement changes that are designed to prevent them. We shouldn’t think that this comes without a cost, because it does. But if we’re not willing to make sacrifices or alter our behavior, let’s at least be honest about what that means: mass shootings are an acceptable outcome to us, at least insofar as (a) we are not willing to try to take steps to prevent them, and (b) we prefer the reality where they occur to the one in which they may not. To suggest otherwise is simply to obfuscate.

Christopher Healow

Billings

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