(CNN) Authorities this weekend announced they had foiled three potential mass shootings after arresting three men in different states who expressed interest in or threatened to carry them out.
All three cases were brought to authorities' attention thanks to tips from the public.
This is a good thing. Let's stop more shootings. In the story we learn about how members of the public went to the police with what the men allegedly said on social media and in text messages. In the story we learn more details about their cache of weapons and ammo. Each was arrested based on slightly different charges.
Read the article. LINK You will see that there are some questions left unanswered, but what is answered is that all of them had the guns and ammo to carry out a threat.
Knowing the media and the gun lobby as I do, instead of focusing on the rock solid underlying connection between these three--THE GUNS--the focus will shift to the novel.
"What exactly was said? Is this a free speech issue? What if they were "just blowing off steam? What role did social media play? Are they involved with white supremacists? Anti-semites ? Are they Trump supporters? Is this a 'pre-crime'?"
If you see any follow up on this story it will be about the government arresting people on the basis of their speech. "What's to stop someone from taking a joke comment on Facebook seriously and taking away my gun? This is a slippery slope!" (What's the opposite of a slippery slope? Grippy floor?)
If these guys were in another country and making these same threats the police response would be different. They could have the exact same motive and opportunity, but they likely wouldn't have the means. It's about the guns!
All three suspects had guns. Lots of them. The gun lobby wants us to see military weapons and high capacity magazines as normal.
The President wants to talk about a mental health problem and deny any racist, white supremacy connections found.
The lawyers for these men will want their case to turn on what they didn't do vs what they said in their threats. "They didn't shoot anyone! It was a joke! They didn't mean to scare anyone!" There will be discussions about threats, true threats and the meaning of each word.
The NRA doesn't really care about protecting these men's 1st Amendment rights, but they will get others to argue about protecting them on their behalf so they don't have to acknowledge that what makes the difference when these men make a threat are the guns they have.
We could be reading about their victims today. The good news is we are reading about their arrests.