David Katz, the man behind the horrific Madden video game tournament shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, which claimed two lives and sent 10 others to the hospital, reportedly purchased his guns legally in Baltimore, Maryland, prior to the event. He was also known to have experienced a “psychiatric crisis” in the past and had been prescribed several psychiatric medications, including an antipsychotic.
After the killer fatally shot 28-year-old Taylor Robertson and 22-year-old Elijah Clayton, he took his own life. Leaving law enforcement puzzled as to what the motive may have been. Still, it is clear that Katz had struggled with mental health issues his entire life, and that despite his history, he was legally allowed to purchase guns in Maryland, a state with some of the most strict gun control laws in the books.
It was also clear that he targeted the two gamers, although we still don’t know why. And yet, the usual suspects have waited no longer than a few hours to report that what led to this shooting was America’s “gun problem.”
Vox published an extensive piece claiming, among other things, that America has a “unique gun violence problem” by using the country’s overall statistics on gun-related incidents to make a point, completely ignoring that each state has its own gun laws, therefore very, very different gun-related violence statistics.
As Leah Libresco explains, even researchers on the political left like herself admit that restricting gun ownership would do nothing to address the issues actually driving gun violence up in certain states. After all, these researchers found, mental illness, suicide, domestic, and gang violence are all important factors that, conveniently, Vox quickly dismissed while discussing mass shootings. Why? Well, because it helps them to push their agenda.
Mass Shootings Are Often Politicized, But So Is Everything Else
The Jacksonville shooting may not fit the mold currently used by pro-gun control activists. After all, this wasn’t a school shooting and it didn’t involve a rifle. But it did give proponents of gun ownership restrictions an opportunity to repeat their arguments in the open.
And while conservatives and often libertarians are in the right to criticize them for politicizing yet another shooting, people on the right are too often guilty of politicizing crimes so they can push particular political agendas.
That’s what happened with Mollie Tibbetts’ death.
After reports surfaced that an immigrant who had been in the country illegally was the main suspect in her death, President Donald Trump and his supporters were quick to blame the entire immigrant population for this murder. This prompted a pushback from the Tibbetts’ family.
Much like left-wing activists using any shooting as an excuse to cry for more restrictions on our civil rights, right-wing activists often use crimes committed by immigrants to instill anti-immigration sentiment.
While both reactions are expected, they are both based on the idea that complex, serious, and often unique problems can be easily solved with simple, one-size-fits-all “solutions.” Unfortunately, that is far from the case.