The story of a gunman who killedfour people at two churches on Sunday is demonstrating our capacity to take away from news events whatever we bring to them.
As the story unfolded today, the usual suspects of the blogosphere had comment sections brimming with speculation that the gunman must be Muslim. Not so much; he's a homeschooled former member of the missionary center that was the site of one of the attacks. Other usual suspects are full of speculation that this is the sort of behavior we should expect from religious extremists — defined, apparently, as someone who is homeschooled, or attends something the media insists on calling a "megachurch," or is part of a missionary movement.
And the guns. Everybody sees what they want with the guns. Anti-gun forces see the shooting as proof that guns should not be so widely available — never mind that we're not enforcing the laws we already have. Pro-gun forces see the brave volunteer who shot the gunman as a hero (rightly) and as proof that freedom to carry concealed weapons will make us all safer. Never mind that she's a church security volunteer with law enforcement training, which might be a little more responsible and trustworthy than the average person who thinks he needs to carry a piece in case bad shit goes down. Now, sure, that's me carrying my bias to the story. But I don't want all the whackjobs up in the last paragraph who reacted to this story with OMG IT MUST BE ISLAMIC TERROR to be carrying weapons, because it scares me to think what's going to happen when they think the Sicilian in line at Disneyland looks shifty.
Maybe, just maybe, this is an awful, shitty chain of events involving a crazy guy and a brave woman, not some sort of parable.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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