Editor’s Note: Marc J. Randazza is a First Amendment attorney and managing partner of the Randazza Legal Group. Follow him on Twitter: @marcorandazza, and read his academic publications here. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Marc Randazza: Another mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. Many are quick to politicize it. That's a mistake
He says shooter was terrorist. His actions draw strength when we react by curtailing our freedoms. We should change nothing
I woke Monday morning, safe in my bed in Las Vegas, but quite annoyed by the pinging of the phone. And then I heard the details. Mass shooting, many dead, and many more injured. Motivation unknown.
This brought me to a familiar emotional place. When the Tsarnaev brothers attacked the Boston Marathon, they attacked my home. They did so to try and make us feel unsafe at an event that ties that great city together.
When subhuman animals attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, they attacked something dear to my heart: freedom of expression. Their intent was to try to make us afraid to use that freedom. When Dylann Roof, a white man, killed eight black parishioners and their pastor at a church in Charleston, he tried to make us feel that we could not all live together.
And while the motivations of Stephen Paddock, the now-dead suspect in the Las Vegas massacre, are unknown, they surely weren’t simply personal. Nobody fires thousands of rounds from a hotel window into a crowd of strangers without a motive.
Mass shooting at Las Vegas music festival
Terrorism has become a new normal for us. Mass shootings happen all the time in America, yet we seem to have no idea how to prevent them.
Monday morning, with the blood of the victims still wet on the ground, people jumped to politicize the event. Those whose stock in trade is racial identity politics pointed to the race of the shooter (he was white) and the different response the attack would have drawn had his skin been darker.
Some may claim that the shooter was motivated by anti-Trump animus, and that an assailant with murderous intent would find more Trump supporters at a country-western concert than elsewhere. Anti-gun activists jumped on a new bill that is advancing in the House of Representatives that would loosen the rules on buying silencers for guns, claiming that if Paddock had had a silencer, more people would be dead.
The question today is what do we do? What do we change?
I say: Change nothing.
Do nothing but mourn, care and investigate. Yes, at some point this event will inform decisions on how we govern ourselves. But not today.
I find it very difficult to believe that the alleged shooter acted alone. And if there were accomplices, I want to know who they were, and why they helped him.
But I do not want to walk through new metal detectors, or deal with other infringements upon my civil liberties as a knee-jerk reaction to this event. Far too often, in fact, every damn time, this kind of thing happens, the response is that we must rein in our freedoms.
Let us remember that those who kill innocent victims do not do so simply because they wish them dead – terrorism is about killing a few to strike fear into many. Terrorism is a form of activism coupled with narcissism.
This shooter, in a sick way, may well have thought he was making a difference—that he was changing something.
Would it be that he was ushering in a further curtailment of our freedoms? I don’t know. What I do know is that giving them away will not bring back the (at this writing) 59 dead.
For a period of time, Paddock will remain the gold medalist in mass shootings in America. But let that be his only legacy. Let us not succumb to the narcissism of this act and the desire to scare us.