American Elephants

Please Let a Crisis Go To Waste. Act Slowly and Thoughtfully Instead. by The Elephant's Child

A Memorial Service was held yesterday for the victims of the Navy Yard shooting. The president gave an emotional speech, sharing the sorrow of the victims families, friends and co-workers.  He is good at that, and his words are usually well-received.

Mindful of his training in Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, and Lenin’s rules, however, the president is loath to allow any crisis to go to waste. When emotions are high, it’s the best time to push people to get involved in banning guns. And it’s true. An emotional event can get people to want to — do something.

The midst of a crisis is the worst possible time to attempt to decide what to do to stop the next one. Laws made in the throes of emotion usually turn out to be bad laws. Aaron Alexis, the shooter, was apparently emotionally disturbed. People instantly want to make laws to put crazy people somewhere were they can’t hurt anyone. Well, of course. But mental health is not a cut-and-dried situation. We don’t know very much about how to fix people.

The Left always assumes that the answer to any problem is another government program or a new law. And the government seldom does anything well, except for increasing the power of the administrative state. Aaron Alexis passed a background check for purchasing a gun with no problem. Washington D.C. has draconian gun laws. Alexis passed through the special security arrangements at the Navy Yard. The Navy Yard is, as are all Military bases and facilities — a gun free zone. In 1993, one of Bill Clinton’s first actions on taking office was to ban guns at all military installations.

Aaron Alexis had a special secret security clearance that allowed him access to the Navy Yard. He had lied on his enlistment form about prior arrests, and nobody checked. He had quite a number of run-ins with police, but received an honorable discharge and was hired as a defense contractor in 2012. A D.C. Rapid Response team was told to stand down. Is there a pattern of governmental success here?

When an American ambassador and his technology chief were being killed in Benghazi, the workers at the consulate under fire, and the two former SEALS trying to rescue them, another Rapid Response Team was told to stand down. And the rescued workers have been ordered to speak to no one about what happened.

President Obama wants to fix all this by banning guns for everyone — except the government, of course. He could immediately lift the order banning guns at all military bases. That would remedy the situation at the Navy Yard, and at Fort Hood. Oddly enough, gun-free zones seem to create an incentive for shooters. They are inclined to avoid places where people are armed. I am not suggesting that nothing should be done, and clearly when people are a danger to society, they should be removed from society — but did anyone beg that the recent shooters be locked up before they did their shooting? Did anyone know that they were dangerous? Does anyone have sensible suggestions on what to do and how it could be accomplished?

Bureaucrats and demagogues are always ready to do something, but they have way more faith in government’s abilities than I do.

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