The Corner


Mass Shootings and Our National Obsession with Non-Sequiturs

After every mass shooting, there has to be some ready politically convenient reason for the shooting or some ready politically convenient solution or both. Sometimes, the reason is sexism. Oftentimes, the solution is gun control.

After Charleston, we’ve heard a fair amount about guns, even though gun control makes no sense as a response. But mostly we’ve heard about the Confederate flag, both as a cause and as a kind of remedy, if it is taken down from the memorial on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol and elsewhere.

You don’t have to agree with David French, who wrote very eloquently the other day in defense of letting the Confederate battle flag still fly, to realize that this is complete nonsense — the Confederate flag doesn’t cause anyone to commit mass murders or justify mass murders, and if it were banned from the United States tomorrow, it wouldn’t stop a sick racist like Dylann Roof bent on mass homicide.

It is perhaps natural to want to believe that there is some quick fix for the mass shootings that have now become an engrained part of our culture. But in the aftermath of these events, we mostly talk about complete non-sequiturs, even if they are invested with great drama and importance.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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