Watching the gun control debate roar to life again in the wake of the horrific Florida school shootings, journalist H.L. Mencken’s sage admonition comes to mind: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false front for the urge to rule.”
There are those using the senseless tragedy to force upon us their vision of “reasonable” or “common-sense” gun control to rid this nation of what they view as the latest iteration of an “evil” gun, the AR-15.It is not discussion they seek. They want to rage about the National Rifle Association and gush over the 1994 “assault weapons” ban — in effect, by the way, during the Columbine shootings that left 13 dead — and politically weaponize this latest tragedy.
In the hours after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took an Uber to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and opened fire with an AR-15, killing 17, the gun control battle reached fever pitch. President Donald Trump was blamed, the NRA was castigated and police and the FBI were condemned for failing to check worried reports about the shooter’s behavior and threats. There were immediate calls for an AR-15 ban.