In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings people are asking “what could have been done?”. The answer might be unsettling.
The solution to a problem, of course, depends on the root cause of that problem. If your transmission is having a problem, fixing the brakes won’t help. To find a potential solution in this case, we need to understand the root causes of the event.
Some people are suggesting that background checks on gun purchases are the answer. But, the shooter passed background check after background check. So that’s not the solution.
Perhaps he was, as ISIS claims, a radicalized Muslim. If that’s the case, then better surveillance of fringe Muslim groups might be the answer. But there’s no evidence that he converted to Islam, so that’s not the answer.
He had a lot of guns. Could limiting purchases to one per month have stopped this? He seems to have purchased the guns over a long period of time. So that’s not the answer either.
Magazine size limits? He had dozens of guns. He could have, and did, switched guns as easily as magazines. No answer there.
Better monitoring of the mentally ill? There’s nothing to suggest that he was diagnosed with mental illness. Was he a member of an extremist group like Antifa? Nope. Past episodes of suicidal behavior? None. Anything in his online presence? Not a thing.
In short, there was nothing in the guy’s background that provided a clue as to what he was very carefully planning. No law, either currently on the books or proposed, could have stopped him. So says California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Even she says that there is no legislative solution that would have prevented this killer from doing what he wanted. (But don’t think that’s stopping her from proposing more gun laws!)
The unsettling answer is that there are no right answers here.