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A London-based freelance journalist has moved quickly to blame the Second Amendment and “America’s gun policy” for Tuesday’s shooting at the YouTube campus in San Bruno.
Writing for the Independent, Sirena Bergman overlooked the fact that California has among the strictest gun laws in the nation, including mandatory background checks for all firearm transactions. There is not a word about whether the YouTube campus is a “gun free zone,” or whether the dead suspect, identified as 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam, had a permit to carry a gun.
Instead, Bergman writes:
“America’s gun policy is an abhorration, and its blind dedication to capitalism breeds a toxic culture of both entitlement and extreme disenfranchisement which leads people to commit these senseless acts with shocking frequency.”
In the same paragraph, Bergman tried to perpetuate a myth about the odds of being killed with a gun in the U.S. are higher than dying in a traffic accident and to support that argument, she linked to a recent story in Business Insider that refutes the claim with a detailed chart.
“To argue over shooters’ politics in these cases is not just pointless,” Bergman asserts, “it feeds straight into the American right’s agenda to distract us all from the reasons why in the US you’re more likely to die in a gun attack than a traffic accident.”
But according to Business Insider’s chart, the odds of dying in “any motor vehicle accident” are 1 in 108. The odds of being killed in an “assault by gun” are 1 in 315. And what about the odds of being killed in a mass shooting? You’ve got 1 chance in 11,125 against that ever happening, the magazine chart revealed.
Bergman isn’t alone in trying to capitalize on the California incident to attack American gun rights. The Seattle-based “Trump resistance” group Seattle Indivisible was quick on the trigger to post this message on its website:
“Yesterday, there was yet another mass shooting. This time it was the outdoor dining area at a YouTube office. Next time it could be your office, or your children’s school. Let your State and Federal Representatives know that this issue is not going away on its own, and neither are we. Insist that they introduce and pass gun regulations in their next session.”—Seattle Indivisible
But what did they recommend? They want to ban “assault-style weapons” when the YouTube suspect used a handgun. They want to raise the legal minimum age of gun ownership to 21, when Aghdam was 39. They want “comprehensive background checks” when California already requires that, and has a waiting period. They want a ban on bump stocks or any devices that modify semi-automatic weapons, which is irrelevant to the San Bruno attack.
The suspected would-be killer, whose only fatal bullet was fired into her own body, violated several existing laws. She reportedly drove about 500 miles north from her home in San Diego to launch the attack. Authorities will likely release more information about Aghdam, the gun, the motive and the wounded victims as details become available.