One of the most common nightmare scenarios posited by popular radio/Internet personality Alex Jones is that the U.S. Federal Government, having been co-opted by a vast constellation of evil forces collectively known as the “New World Order,” will someday attempt to seize citizens’ firearms. This could occur imminently, Jones often warns; like legions of God-fearing, patriotic Americans, he’d view any such forcible confiscation as tantamount to an act of war — and quite possibly cause for open revolt.
In the wake of yesterday’s unthinkable elementary school shooting, these folks have renewed reason for concern. Everyone now has a recommendation, some drastic, about how to curb spree killing. And sure enough, I’ve noticed several tweets suggesting that the Federal Government ought to “round up” legally-owned guns.
Not only is this ill-considered proposal highly unlikely to ever be acted upon, it gives needless fodder to the conspiratorially-minded: Christian “Patriots,” Alex Jones listeners, Constitutionalists, and myriad other right-wing firebrand types. Whether the scenario is actually likely matters little in the far right-wing psyche. Frequently, even the slightest rumors and innuendos are enough to spur feverish proclamations about impending tyranny.
Understandably, many people are still in a state of shock after yesterday’s massacre. But it is during times of strife that humility, prudence, and mindfulness are most called for. Blithely tossing around fantastical ideas like mass gun confiscation only leads to paranoia and hysterics, which distracts from rational discussions of policy.