Some of those that inhabit the bear pit that is Telegraph Blogs use bluster and even abuse to make their point – pace James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole – while others try a little reason, despite the venom emanating from those who drift around the comments sewer. Others try to be provocative for the sheer hell of it, and in the case of Brendan O’Neill, fall down flat doing so.
O’Neill edits the “online magazine” Spiked, which, if it is anything like his latest post at the Tel’s blog repository, certainly should have been. “It isn’t redneck ‘gun culture’ that causes mass school shootings, it’s the culture of narcissism” he proclaims, making his first false statement: nobody mentioned the word “redneck” in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre.
This might be because “redneck” is a pejorative term aimed at those in the southern states of the USA, and Connecticut is assuredly not one of those. Then O’Neill suggests that his readers “look over there” by talking about school shootings, whereas the concern right now is about mass killings period. But to distract readers suits his purpose, which is to support the conclusion he has already made.
And focusing on school killings conveniently excludes the Aurora cinema shootings, the Tucson Safeway attack, the Washington sniper spree, and many more. O’Neill knows this full well. And all of these crimes involve modern, semi-automatic weaponry that can deliver dozens of rounds in a few seconds, which takes us to his supposedly clinching argument.
O’Neill tells that guns have always been there, and to an extent he is right, but the ability for a citizen to acquire products such as those I described yesterday – like the Barrett M-82, the Bushmaster M-4, the Glock pistol, and even a civilian specification AK-47 (merely “semi-automatic”, rather than fully so), is a wholly recent phenomenon. That’s why they only feature in killings in recent years.
So that answers his question “why did such shootings only take off in the late 1970s and early 1980s”. If you can’t loose off more than one shot at a time, and the magazine only carries the six of a (for instance) Smith and Wesson pistol, then the potential for gunning down 20 children in a few seconds is next to zero. The Tuscon shooter emptied his clip of 33 rounds in less than a minute, remember.
And he was “only” using a Glock. None of this has anything to do with narcissism. It has to do with ready access to the kind of weaponry that has more to do with the ability to start a small war, rather than protect one’s property and personal freedom. That isn’t the spin of “pious critics”, but plain fact. It would be good to see Brendan O’Neill doing some research before inserting boot, but don’t expect it any time soon.
Still, keeps someone occupied, pointless though it seems. No change there, then.