Most conservatives (including this one) view nationwide disarmament as impracticable, and a violation of long-established rights. Through some combination of effective policing and a responsible gun culture, we should be able to honor the terms of our Constitution without tolerating wanton violence. That solution can only work, however, if police are capable of handling the extra risk that comes with a well-armed populace.

Because they are instinctively sympathetic to law enforcement, law-and-order conservatives sometimes worsen the situation by defending the police actions more or less indiscriminately. After each controversial shooting, we immediately see discussions of what the victim should have done differently to reassure police that he was not a threat. Stephon Clark shouldn’t have run into his backyard when police called out to him. Philando Castile didn’t react quickly enough when the officer told him to “stop.” Who let Tamir Rice play with such a realistic-looking pistol? There’s always some plausible way that a police victim could more successfully have made the case that he didn’t need to be killed.