YouTube Shooting

Video Shows YouTube Shooter Was Clearly 'Nuts.' What Happens Next Is Very Scary.

Get ready for ever-more-intrusive mental-health measures.


Here's a video by YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdam. In it, the vegan mocks meat eaters and puts on a display that, in light of yesterday's violence, shifts quickly from just cringy to downright disturbing:

As Brian Doherty has noted, there's virtually nothing that Congress—or the State of California, for that matter—could have done to prevent Aghdam's spree. "California," he writes, "already has a set of gun control laws that are seen by most pro–gun control types as something the nation should aspire to. YouTube's offices had armed security." The Golden State also allows family members and police to easily get a restraining order barring an individual from carrying a gun (more on that in a moment).

All of the most-salient arguments against gun control—mass shootings aren't in fact getting more common, violent crime (including with guns) is down, etc.—will be voiced, and so will the counterarguments. The fact that the shooter was born in Iran will probably not enter the discussion much (most Iranians in America are emphatically against religious fundamentalism). The fact that the shooter is a woman will be used first to undermine the notion that "toxic masculinity" is to blame for shootings until declinists realize they have a more apocalyptic point to make: America's culture is so toxic that even women are starting to shoot the place up.

What will be left will be more and more calls for stepping up "mental health awareness," both by medical professionals and by the rest of us. That's a rare point of agreement between the National Rifle Association and gun-control supporters. It also fits smoothly with the rise in depression and the use of prescription antidepressants, stimulants, painkillers, and mood-alterers. And with the growing consensus that social media are making everything worse for all of us. For the sake of our civilization, we'll be told, we will need to police each other's mental health much more aggressively than ever before. If you see something, say something has forever been on the verge of becoming If you suspect something, say something.

The supposed benefits of more intrusive measures will be touted while the costs will be ignored. Yet those costs are substantial. Proposed measures to restrict gun purchases or ownership by people with "mental illness," reports Jacob Sullum, could easily cover about one-quarter of the population, especially if one widely discussed response to the Florida school shooting, "gun violence restraining orders," is widely adopted.* These laws allow family members, police, and others temporarily to bar individuals from legally buying guns if the petitioner believes an individual is a threat to him- or herself or to others. However well-intentioned, the potential for overuse is plain. The wrongly accused will have a hell of a time purging the relevant records and the stigma that came with them. But in discussions following mass shootings, costs are rarely discussed.

*CORRECTION: I originally wrote that "existing measures to restrict gun purchases to people with psychological problems…already cover about one-quarter of the population," which is incorrect. Only people whom have been declared incompetent or ordered to receive treatment by a court are currently effected, which is a small fraction of those seeking psychological counseling. Proposals by Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to restrict ownership by anyone with a diagnosable "mental illness" would yield the higher percentage.