The New York Times unleashed a Christmas Eve “investigative” report on the use of credit cards by sick individuals who committed mass murders over the past ten years. Their lead example was Omar Mateen who attacked the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in a fit of Islamic jihad rage aimed at the gay nightclub revelers. Showing a receipt for a purchase of a handgun, the author, Andrew Ross Sorkin made the incredible discovery that people don’t use cash for purchases over a thousand dollars. True headline grabbing stuff.
Another picture shows four credit cards on a desk that had clearly been taken from an adjacent empty wallet on a counter along with a firearm that had been placed nearby by law enforcement in an attempt to correlate shooter Stephen Paddock’s possession of credit cards with the shooting. Nothing in the “story” mentions any connection between the wealthy assailant’s having credit cards and the assault on the country western concert audience. Yet, the picture was included because it told the preconceived narrative without having to rely upon any facts.
Sorkin later notes that he had urged financial institutions to stop providing services to firearm manufacturers, distributors and retailers as a way to “push for more responsible practices” in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting. Of course, the nineteen year old whose history of criminal behavior was unreported as a direct result of an Obama administration Education Department policy which discouraged such reports, is not mentioned as having used a credit card to purchase a firearm. Perhaps because the inability of the criminal database to identify him as ineligible to purchase a gun under existing law was subverted by a liberal policy designed to keep violent offenders records clean through underreporting to the detriment of public safety.
The truth is that for better or worse very few Americans do not use credit cards either directly or through services like PayPal to make purchases of all types. The New York Times however appears to be the one outlet in the world that is just waking to this fact. And in their intrepid columnist Sorkin’s shallow attempt to drag private banking entities into the gun monitoring business, they have failed their readers.
Rather than taking on the under reporting of violent crime, they choose to call out credit card companies and credit monitoring agencies for not reviewing the types of purchases made by their customers.
Rather than taking on the mental health industry which fights against the inclusion of those who are truly mentally ill into the background check database so that the current law can be applied, they hope to open up a new front for trial lawyers seeking to find deep pockets to sue through some claim of pseudo-responsibility.
Rather than expressing the real concern about the desensitization of the most mentally vulnerable of our young men to extreme violence through video games, they seek to force banking institutions to examine millions of annual purchases of firearms and ammunition red flagging law-abiding Americans.
It would be nice if the New York Times and their crusading columnist sought real solutions rather than attempting to open up legal liability theories designed to deny the exercise of Constitutional rights. But that would be too much to ask from a once respected publication fighting for relevance in the hot take blog world that they have been plunged.