Before the Smoke Even had the Chance to Clear, the Jacksonville Shooting was Politicized
Politicizing disasters that claim the lives of innocent people is a tragic thing, yet it has become something of a go-to response anytime there is a mass shooting in the United States. It’s something that both gun control activists and gun rights activists are guilty of, yet it must be said the gun rights crowd are always the ones reacting to the accusations of their opposition rather than the ones instantly trying to leverage a tragedy for political gain. Nevertheless, it’s a disservice to those who are affected by these shootings and one of the sadder realities of our current political climate.
When the shooter—name intentionally withheld to prevent making him famous—opened fire at a video game competition at The Landing in Jacksonville last Sunday, killing two young men and injuring eleven others, there was barely even enough time for the smoke to clear before activists on both sides were politicizing the shooting.
Alyssa Milano, who led an anti-gun rally outside the NRA’s annual convention in Dallas, published a Tweet that urged Florida voters to vote “for candidates that reject the NRA.” Meanwhile, Dana Loesch, the spokesperson for the NRA, was just as quick to take to social media, saying, “If you’re going to create gun free zones then have security present. Value and protect innocent life. This isn’t a controversial belief. The Landing has had security concerns for some time.”
Soon, countless other activists were piling on, either proclaiming the need for more gun control laws or decrying the senselessness of gun-free zones. In the end, though, the arguments made were the same ones that we’ve seen rolled out after every mass shooting in recent history.
There’s nothing wrong with seeing a tragedy and searching for solutions. While we would vehemently disagree with the effectiveness of the solutions put forth by the gun control crowd, there’s little doubt that most of them are sincere in their desire to prevent these disasters.
Meanwhile, questioning the logic of gun-free zones is something that certainly should be done seeing as most every mass shooting over the past few decades has taken place at a gun-free zone. This simply cannot be coincidence, and it should be obvious by now that gun-free zones are a magnet to shooters rather than a deterrent. When Dana Loesch brings up this point, she is certainly every bit as sincere about protecting lives as her opponents who are calling for increased gun control.
The problem is that the sincerity of these proposed solutions takes a hit when tragic mass shootings are demoted to nothing more than a flashpoint for yet another nationwide political debate. Anytime there is a mass shooting in the United States, gun control activists are quick to pounce on the opportunity, using the pain and sadness that Americans are feeling as emotional leverage to push for policies that are not able to stand on logic alone.
In the face of a reenergized opposition that receives round the clock media attention, gun rights activists are forced to respond as well. While such a response is understandable and perhaps entirely necessary, it only goes to further create a downhill spiral where mass shootings are turned into political events rather than heartbreaking tragedies.
Aside from coming up with a solution that will actually stop these shootings, there is little that can be done to prevent them from instantly being politicized. The fervor over the Jacksonville shooting will likely calm down soon enough seeing as the death count was low and the story doesn’t completely fit the gun control narrative.
However, the next time there is a mass shooting in the United States, you can guarantee that it will kickstart the same, tired old arguments from the gun control crowd once again, which will in-turn necessitate a response from Second Amendment supporters and the debate will be on.
Before we get too caught up in these arguments, though, let’s remember that there are real people whose lives have been ended or forever altered by this shooting and all of the shootings that came before it. Major tragedies such as this should be a time when Americans come together and lean on each other for support.
In the case of mass shootings, though, the aftermath becomes a time where the nation is torn apart into two sides. There may not be a simple solution to prevent this from happening, and there might not even be one side that is 100% to blame, but it is a sad reality nonetheless.
~ National Gun Network