CONSIDER a country that allows the slaughter of so many innocent lives by the mass-murder weapon of choice in that country. Stricter laws would surely reduce the bloodshed that's taken nearly 400 lives and injured nearly 1,000.
We're not describing America and its gun culture or the debate over restrictions on firearms. The death and injury toll listed above describes Pakistan and bombs. And it covers just the first six months of this year.
A man who could enter a “secure” U.S. military facility with a loaded gun could surely have entered it with a strap-on bomb, potentially taking even more lives than the 12 that Aaron Alexis took on Sept. 16. This mass murder, like so many before it, unleashed the vitriol of anti-gun advocates who focus on the weapon more than they do the killer.
Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. exploited the Washington Navy Yard tragedy, to ask this: “Is America crazy?” As in crazy to allow so many guns in so many hands and to become known as the mass shooting capital of the world. In this view, American exceptionalism, a term much on the mind because of Syria, means American “acceptionalism” — accepting the status quo of gun violence and clinging to quaint notions about the Second Amendment.
Ask folks in Syria or Iraq or Pakistan if they fear the local weapon of choice. They do. And that weapon is the bomb, not the gun.
We're not making the case that restricting guns will lead to an outbreak of bomb slayings here. It certainly could, but this might also happen even if we don't restrict gun ownership. While Pitts and others are quick to cite American exceptionalism on the list of mass shootings worldwide, a list of attacks in which multiple deaths occurred by bombings from January through June has only one listing for the United States: Boston.
The Boston bombers, motivated by hatred, exploited the accessibility to the marathon course. Alexis, motivated by whatever, exploited the accessibility of the Navy Yard. The goal was to take lives. The weapon of choice was different but not the outcome.
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