With one student dead and three more injured in yet another campus shooting, we need to have a national conversation about gun culture and gun violence. The conversation that needs to happen, though, is not the conversation that right-wing politicians and their NRA handlers want. They want to talk about putting even more guns out there, and about self defense, and nothing else. Some of the right-wing blogs that support this insane ideology are latching onto a piece of reporting in the Arizona Daily Sun about the tragedy at Northern Arizona University, claiming it proves Ben Carson’s nutty comments about taking down active shooters are spot-on.
The Daily Sun had this in their coverage of the shooting:
‘We had just left a party and were standing in the street getting ready to walk home when a guy walked up with a pistol and just started shooting,’ said an eyewitness, who asked that his name not be used.
‘I heard five or six shots and then my friends just tackled him. They got him really quick. We were leaving and it all happened on the sidewalk across from Mountain View.’
The shooter was tackled to the ground.
‘He didn’t get a chance to hurt himself. I saw him in handcuffs when the cops came.’
The Independent Journal Review was among the first to notice that, and published this same quote in a piece titled, “Here’s What Went Down When Students Took Ben Carson’s Advice When Shooter Hit Their College Campus.” For those who might not know, Ben Carson went on television following the campus shooting in Oregon, and said:
“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say ‘Hey guys everybody attack him! He may get me but he can’t get us all!'”
IJ Review says that it appears the shooter at NAU was stopped because of the actions of bystanders.
Rage and War called the media “hysterical” for its backlash against Carson’s clueless and insensitive statements.
Young Conservatives said that a “group of bystanders did exactly what Ben Carson suggested he would do if faced with the same predicament.” Then they praised Carson up one side and down the other, because clearly, his solution worked at NAU, and the media was just trying to discredit him. They also say that “liberals are scared of Dr. Carson and ‘controversies’ like this prove it.”
There is one huge problems with what these publications are saying. Colin Brough is still dead, and three other students are still injured. And these blogs, like Carson, are missing two gigantic things here. The first is that these shootings will continue to happen as long as we refuse to do anything except scream “moar gunz.” That includes refusing to allow, both socially and funding-wise, real research into the causes of gun violence.
The other thing is that this stemmed from a confrontation. This wasn’t a shooter that waltzed into a classroom and started picking people off. Even if this was that kind of a shooting, people would still have gotten shot and killed. These shooters don’t think rationally, so the possibility that someone will take them down does not act as a deterrent. If it did, then they wouldn’t do it, because they already don’t know who’s going to sit for it, and who’s going to try and take them down.
A long, slow, and quiet campaign from the NRA has twisted linguistics to the point that any talk of even the most sensible of gun regulations evokes images of government officials storming private citizens’ homes to take their guns and put them under the rule of an iron-fisted dictator. It’s part of why even private organizations won’t research gun violence very much. There is such a stigma that it’s a great way to kill careers and reputations.
This is the legacy of the gun nuts, and people like Ben Carson are living in a dream world if they think storming shooters will stop these shootings. This stuff isn’t just nonsense, it’s very dangerous nonsense.