I used to have a friend who grew up on a farm in South Africa, and the most shocking sentences would come out of her mouth, e.g., “My dog was eaten by lions.” To have a pet eaten by lions is shocking, for an American, because it is unfamiliar, though I suppose it’s just another Tuesday in rural South Africa. The unusual things stand out.
One of the favorite Democratic accusations is that conservatives have no policy prescriptions for preventing dramatic crimes such as the mass murder that was just committed in Las Vegas. That’s mostly true: Better mental-health care might have prevented the massacre in Sandy Hook, and better surveillance of jihadists might have prevented the one in Orlando, but the killer in Las Vegas had no known history of mental illness and no criminal record. He doesn’t seem to have been a jihadist or a conventional terrorist. No manifesto has been made public. There wasn’t any indication, and nothing could have been done.
“Oh, yes there is!” our anti-gun friends will say. They want to ban firearms. Which firearms? Whichever one was just used in some dramatic crime — that one for now, until the next spectacular crime, at which time they’ll seek to ban whatever was used in that one, too. (The more honest among them are increasingly open about their desire to prohibit all private firearm ownership.) And that’s a useful piece of rhetoric — “You oppose our gun-control efforts, but offer no solutions!” — inasmuch as it masks an essentially empty position.