When horrific crimes hit the headlines, many people quickly demand that government "do something." Blunt instruments that they are, politicians act in really only one way: by writing and rewriting laws. "That'll be the end of that," they say, as the ink dries on their latest legislative brainstorm.
In the case of the Isla Vista murders, we've seen calls for tighter gun control (even though California already has more restrictive laws than most states), mental health screening, and implications that misogynistic websites should somehow be reined-in. And something about Seth Rogen movies. Maybe a waiting period?
But as J.D. Tuccille explains, the truth is that law is a pretty ineffective way to prevent people from doing what you don't want them to do.