Postscript to “Four Observations About Mass Shootings”
The Fifth Observation
Essays on this website are written about ten days before posting.
(Twitter this ain’t.)
As a result, the mass shooting article was written before “Red Flag Laws” became a central focus of public discourse.
Gun control may not work in general. However, red flag laws are likely to be much more effective than general all purpose gun control.
Red flag laws are policing. They involve the monitoring of particular troublemakers and the hindering of particular individuals from making further trouble.
This is actually a very effective form of policing. Police have a hard time capturing criminals who have committed particular acts. They have an easier time preventing the acts from happening in the first place.
Taking away somebody’s guns does not necessarily keep them from committing more crimes. If they are highly motivated, they may have more than one cache of weapons, or they can use clandestine means to replace their stocks. If need be, they can make mayhem using some technology other than automatic rifles.
However, being monitored and knowing one is being monitored can be discouraging. Troublemakers thrive in an environment of controlled visibility and dreams of impunity. They thrive on being able to control the agenda and the timing.
Adding personalized police surveillance means they are no longer in control of agenda and timing issues. They never know when their plans are going to be disrupted. Maybe “Plan A” will work. Or maybe the police will know everything and pre-empt.
“Well, if police surveillance is so great, how come Mafiosi continued to do terrible things even when they were known to the authorities?’
The most egregious Mafia cases often involved situations of police corruption. Someone on the inside would often be feeding the rest of the police false information or would be tipping off the Mafioso about coming police activities.
When the police play it straight, surveillance can be a serious handcuff on wannabe terrorists.
Making it harder to buy guns will just be symbolic.
Taking away specific troublemakers’ weapons before they get used is a fine plan well worthy of endorsement.
(Find the original article here)