Turning inner space into outer space

December 5, 2015

Terrorists take advantage of weak gun laws in U.S.

It was only a matter of time before terrorists figured out how to use the gaping hole in U.S. security. The pair of Islamic State supporters who killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino took advantage of lax gun control laws to amass thousands of rounds of high-powered ammo and bomb-making equipment in their home.

In the midst of its latest tragedy, America appears to be searching for answers. Data from Google shows that normally searches for “gun shop” easily outpace those for “gun control” in most states. But after a mass shooting, there is a spike for searches on “gun control” in almost every state.

My hunch is that most Americans would be in favour of at least some kind of better regulation of gun sales, but they’re up against powerful forces.

For example, a day after the massacre, the U.S. Senate voted down broader background checks for people buying guns despite widespread support for the measure. It might have something to do with the fact that there’s a lot of money in gun sales, with the industry privately crowing about how mass shootings are good for business.

Here’s how it works. Following a mass shooting, there is talk of gun control, which the National Rifle Association and other gun advocates attack as an assault on the Second Amendment. Notably, gun and ammunition manufacturers often donate, either directly or as a portion of each sale, to the NRA. The fear of losing gun rights leads to panic buying, which brings greater profits to gun retailers, gun companies and their investors.

The enemies of America see this as an opening. If you want ammunition to attack the United States, why not get it from one of the most wide-open markets in the world — the U.S. itself.

In case you were wondering, yes there is an app for that. Terrorists are using the encrypted messaging app Telegram for crowdfunding guns. The owners of the app have cracked down, but one campaign apparently remains active.

And just to rub it in, one of the San Bernardino terrorists pledged allegiance to Islamic State on one of the most American of modern institutions, Facebook.

The post has been removed, of course. But I’m wondering if we’re reaching a point where mass shootings have become as American as apple pie.