Our response to this needs to be broad-based and honest. Gun control should be on the table but so should mental health and fundamental cultural issues.
Some long-standing assumptions need to be re-examined. For example, should the president change the policy of not directly addressing the crazed gun culture? Will he only help the standing of Wayne LaPierre, or Alex Jones for that matter, by calling them liars in public? Will it really only increase their credibility and the size of their audience? I really think this assumption should be re-examined. Our objective is not to keep these creeps as obscure as possible, it should be to shine the light on them like the cockroaches they are. As it is, few outside their immediate constituencies and their active opponents know about them. Yet they have real influence, they and swarms of kooks like them are a major reason we can’t have real action on some important issues.
To take another example, for years I have heard that exposing the John Birch Society will only help them by making more people aware of them. This somehow assumes that awareness is more likely than not to equate to agreement. I reject that. If more people knew about JBS, there would be more recognition of their termite like influence on things like local school boards and GOP affiliates.
The kooks are here, they have millions of followers. They won’t go away if “real” leaders and thinkers just continue to ignore and dismiss them.