After every incident of mass murder with a gun, I can reliably count on my FB page filling up with some variation on “No law can remove evil from the human heart” (from which we are apparently to conclude that any attempt to limit the access of lunatics to the technology of mass murder is a waste of time).
It’s only after mass murders with guns that I hear this rhetoric. Nobody says that the mystery of evil makes it futile to try to limit North Korea’s access to the technology of mass death. Nobody talks as though having cops arrest criminals is starry-eyed utopianism. Nobody says “Stealers gonna steal” and concludes that attempts to limit shoplifting with various technological fixes like cameras or mall cops is a refusal to address the fact that sin begins in the heart.
But whenever gun violence breaks out, this beloved trope is right behind, talking as though the very idea of pursuing–among other remedies such as healing families, not inducing pharmacological psychosis, healthier communities, less violent games and media–some sensible way of making it much harder for lunatics to have easy access to the technology of mass death… well, that’s just utopian crazy talk. All we can do is simply roll over and utter pieties about the mystery of evil. This sounds, to the untrained ear, uncommonly like a particularly ridiculous form of special pleading that nobody believes when it comes to any other form of crime.