Since the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was struck fifteen years ago, the United States has lived in fear of the global terrorist threat. As a result of the rise of militant extremism, former President George W. Bush launched the War on Terrorism to combat this threat. Despite this, terrorism, if anything, has grown worse. Across Europe, and even a few times in the United States, terrorists have struck.
As the threat of terrorism remains prominent, how do we tackle this issue?
The answer sometimes is hard to find, because the mainstream political discussion gets diverted by focus on the implements of terror and then hijacked by the gun control lobby. After the shooting in San Bernardino, California, many liberal partisans and members of the gun control lobby called for strengthening of gun laws. The problem there was that gun control was already strong in California, thanks to it being a strong Democratic state.
The same was said in response to the tragic Paris terrorist attack. If we ban guns and strengthen laws, it will prevent terrorism. However, like with San Bernardino, Paris already has strong gun control laws.
In both cases, strengthened gun control did not prevent terrorism. So why does gun control keep coming up?
It’s all politics. The gun control lobby either isn’t serious about stopping terrorism or doesn’t have the ability to approach the issue from a less emotional and more logical angle.
Both the San Bernardino and Paris attacks had explosives involved. In the event guns were actually universally banned successfully and nobody had them, there would still be other means for enacting terrorism. How about a little bomb control?
On September 11th, 2001, a few thousand innocent people were killed and thousands more injured using airplanes hijacked with box cutters. No guns were involved in the horrific acts.
Similarly, a truck was driven through crowds of people on Bastille Day in Nice, France this past summer. Just like in the Berlin Christmas market attack.
What’s the common theme here? Guns don’t enable terrorism. Terrorists will use whatever means necessary to cause terror and incite violence abroad. Their goal is to spread terror. Terror doesn’t even require weapons in the modern age of technology, where everything is digital. Violence doesn’t even require a gun, as shown on 9/11 or in Nice and Berlin.
We need to get serious about the actual terrorist threat. Increased gun control and airplane safety hasn’t helped stop terrorism, because targeting specific implements doesn’t stop terrorism. If you take away a gun, they’ll grab a knife or a bomb. The aim is terror, by any means necessary.
The tragic attack in Berlin is another horrific reminder that in our vigilance against terrorism, we need to be mindful of the problem. Guns don’t cause terrorism and targeting guns to prevent it is oversimplifying the problem. It’s time to set partisan politics aside and focus on the real issue at hand. The real issue isn’t any one implement of terrorist activity, it’s the terrorists and the act of terrorism itself.