Actually, Let's Politicize Mass Shootings

October 2, 2015

My colleague Stephen Gutowski was critical of some journalists who immediately took to Twitter after yesterday's mass shooting to plea for "doing something." Steve thinks it's inappropriate to "politicize" these tragedies. I can't say I agree. I think it's actually a great idea.

First off, it's a handy reminder for those of us on the right that Twitter is a self-contained bubble consisting of people who are, generally speaking, not like America as a whole. Fewer than a quarter of adults who are online use Twitter and those who do use Twitter tend to skew younger; additionally, the service is disproportionately favored by minority users. These two factors help explain why Twitter is generally considered to be more "liberal," as younger, minority populations tend to be more liberal. I imagine journo-Twitter is the same but more, given that journalists are almost uniformly creatures of the left.* So when we see an outpouring of demands for confiscatory gun laws on Twitter (more on that in a bit), we are reminded that Twitter is not America, where more than 100 million law abiding people live in a home with a firearm.

Secondly, when people take to Twitter to voice their anger it keeps them from doing something that would actually be harmful, like trying to amend the Constitution (which, ladies and gents, is the only way you're going to remove enough guns from America to limit these events). I am totally fine with people getting on Twitter to express their outrage in this instance—but only because it allows them to feel as though they've accomplished something without actually, you know, accomplishing anything. Screaming into the void can be a rather useful form of therapy but it is almost always a rather useless form of activism.

Thirdly, on the slight off-chance all this screaming into the void by a bubble of liberals actually convinces leftwing politicians who also inhabit the bubble to attempt to overreach on the gun issue, I'm not too worried. Indeed, as someone who would like to see a Republican president in 2016, I kind of hope the Democratic Party decides to support an Australian-style confiscatory gun policy. Not only will it never pass constitutional muster, it will enrage the base of the Republican Party and convince them to set aside their worries about whichever establishment RINO the party elders pick in secret (and then, you know, convince the base to vote for in the primaries) and back the team wholeheartedly. If you want to guarantee that Hillary Clinton loses, liberals, press her to call for stricter gun laws and hint that you want to take their Glocks from them. That's about the only way you're going to blow 2016.

So please, by all means, politicize mass shootings and jabber on about how you think we should take away guns from gunowners who have done nothing wrong. I think it's a great use of your time and doesn't at all make Twitter an insufferable place on days of tragedy.

*All I'll say is that there's a reason the media asks how high when the president says "Jump!" on gun control. Could you imagine how the press would react if, say, Vice President Carly Fiorina told the media to play the Planned Parenthood tapes in order to let the people decide if she was "lying" about what was on them? There would be weeks of think pieces about the importance of the free press and how politicians aren't assignment editors and how dare she try to subjugate the media to her political agenda and blah blah blah. A BuzzFeed reporter liking the Pope merits a takedown by the self-appointed arbiters of journalistic ethics at Gawker because objective reporting is kewl; I am curious to see if we'll be treated the same sort of angst after members of the media literally take orders from the sitting president. I'm guessing we probably won't since Gawker writers, like most others in the media, would support expansive new anti-gun laws.