We live in troubling times. Whether they are actually more dangerous or violent than previous eras is debatable, but the availability of guns probably isn’t. So alienated, angry or just plain crazy people may be choosing random or targeted shootings more than they once would have.
Whether there are more loonies out there is also debatable. There have obviously always been people out at the margins who choose violence as a way of expressing themselves. Take May of 1968, for example. On the front page of the May 24 Edmonton Journal was a story about a ‘mad bomber’ in Toronto, who had set off explosions in washrooms of bus and train stations in that city. The perpetrator was apparently trying to extort money out of the authorities.
Student anarchists in Paris (and elsewhere) were also in the headlines that week, battling with police in the streets in an apparent effort to overthrow the established authority.
Meanwhile, a bomb went off outside the U.S. consulate in Quebec City. A month earlier, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated; two weeks later, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was shot dead.
Weird and unsettling stuff is always going on. One of the weirdest is the morally ambiguous position that gun advocates put themselves in. More guns and fewer restrictions on them as the answer to gun violence. There has to be a better way.
It’s true that more laws won’t keep criminals from committing crimes. But it’s also true that the more guns there are in circulation, the more they will be used.