In a tweet that he says he now regrets, a professor stated that it’s only “rational” to believe that “the GOP and NRA must, in fact, want mass shootings” because “it serves their interests.” The tweet was initially noticed by Campus Reform, which redacted the professor’s name and university affiliation. A quick search of Twitter, however, suggested that it was Bruce Lambert, a communications professor at Northwestern University:
One of Campus Reform’s correspondents, Adam Sabes, contacted Lambert to ask him to explain. In his reply, Lambert explained that the tweet had been posted “in a moment of supreme frustration and sorrow,” when he was wondering “why the GOP and NRA would not support some more aggressive efforts at gun control to stop these increasingly frequent mass shootings.”
“Upon reflection, now that my emotions have cooled somewhat, I do not actually believe the GOP or NRA wants mass shootings,” Lambert continued.
Honestly, the fact that Lambert actually used the word “rational” in his initial tweet just might be the most ridiculous thing about it. Yes, Lambert. It’s only “rational” to believe that the millions upon millions of Americans who call themselves Republicans and/or NRA members are actually just tricking us into thinking that they’re normal members of society — when really, they’re evil sociopaths whose every move is motivated by the desire to see mass carnage. That makes total sense! In fact, when someone says, “I am a Republican,” what they really mean is, “I want a mass shooting!” Not to mention the fact that a mass shooting certainly “serves the interests” of the NRA. After all, it always results in an angry Internet army telling all of its members that it was all of their fault, and who doesn’t think that that sounds like a party?
I have never understood what good the Left thinks is going to come from vilifying law-abiding gun owners.
As for Lambert’s call for gun-control laws that could have stopped this shooting, there already was one on the books that could have prevented this one. As I’m sure you’ve heard, the shooter had previously been convicted of domestic violence, meaning that current laws would have prohibited him from buying a firearm had the Air Force actually entered this conviction into a federal database. What’s more, Senators Martin Heinrich and Jeff Flake have announced that they’re introducing legislation that would require the military to enter domestic-violence misdemeanors into the database that’s used for firearm background checks, in the hopes of preventing a similar tragedy from happening again. Personally, I find this very confusing — after all, Senator Jeff Flake is a Republican, and it’s only “rational” to believe that he makes all of his decisions on a pro-murder platform, right?
I have never understood what good the Left thinks is going to come from vilifying law-abiding gun owners. Gems like “Blood on your hands, NRA!” and “Are you happy now, [Insert name of Republican senator here]?” always flood Twitter after a tragedy like this, and I just don’t see what it accomplishes. For one thing, it’s disingenuous. After all, any actually rational person understands that no one wants these things to happen; we just all have different ideas about how to prevent them — and about what kinds of regulations our Constitution does and does not permit in doing so. For another thing, it seems obvious how this kind of rhetoric actually hurts gun-control advocacy more than it helps it.
Think about it: If someone tells you that you’re responsible for mass murder, just because you like to go to the shooting range with your friends, then you’re going to be a lot less likely to stop and listen to what he has to say. In fact, you’ll probably just cling to your gun tighter. I certainly understand that this is an emotional issue, and that that can make it difficult to be measured in our responses. But the truth is, we all have to do our best to do just that if we want to figure out the best way to stop this from happening.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.