By Tom Quiner
Another mass murder, this time in Parkland, Florida.
The culture has responded quickly and fairly typically, pretty much along these lines:
THE LEFT: Guns are the root cause of the problem. We need more gun control, if not an outright gun ban.
THE RIGHT: People are the problem. We need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
In other words, is the smoking gun the smoking gun … or not?
It seems to be impossible to have an actual conversation on guns
We’ll look at some practical solutions in a minute. In the meantime, there is little actual conversation, only shouting, posturing, and derision. Perhaps the most ludicrous reaction is to blame President Trump who can’t legislate gun laws.
The role of mental illness
What is frustrating with this tragedy is the common knowledge that the shooter was mentally ill, and everyone knew he was going to do something like this one day. In fact, he even proclaimed it in a Youtube video.
The police were called to his home some 39 times.
The FBI was notified last September.
And here we are.
Why can’t we prevent a mentally ill person who has such an obvious disposition for violence from hurting others and potentially himself? In the old days, we could commit people like this. Today, it’s really hard to do.
Back in the 70s, liberal groups like the ACLU worked hard to make it difficult to commit the mentally ill to facilities where they could receive treatment. As a result, our homeless population swelled as the mentally ill were expelled from mental health facilities. Thousands of the mentally ill ended up on the streets.
This is not an indictment of the ACLU, but rather an acknowledgement of the challenge we face keeping weapons out of the hands of people who may hurt themselves and others.
Democrats are insincere in their political rhetoric. They call for more gun control, but did nothing when they controlled every lever of power from 2009 to 2011. Nothing.
Even more, gun laws in a variety of forms already exist in most jurisdictions where mass gun violence has occurred. Democrats need to be specific. What do they propose? More stringent background checks? Ban semi-automatic rifles? Implement a gun buy-back program like Australia did? Eliminate the Second Amendment and go door-to-door and confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens?
And if this is what you propose, why didn’t you do it in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Why?
For Republicans, what do you propose other than thoughts and prayers? I’m reacting somewhat to Democrats’ increasing tendency to sneer at any reference to prayers. But is it possible that we should take a look at semi-automatic rifles that can fire off 45 rounds per minute?
Semi-automatic rifles were used in the following mass shootings:
√ Las Vegas –> 59 dead
√ Orlando nightclub shooting –> 50 dead
√ Sandy Hook Elementary School –> 28 dead
√ Sutherland Springs Church –> 27 dead
√ Stoneman Douglas High School –> 17 dead
√ San Bernadino –> 16 dead
√ Wilkes-Barre –> 13 dead
√ GMAC –> 10 dead
Should we look at slowing these weapons down, reducing clip loads, or even banning them?
Or should we reinstate the ban on assault rifles, something this blog has argued against?
Surprising data from an expert
Here is some food for thought from Grant Duwe, author of “Mass Murder in the United States: A History.” Duwe said data should be analyzed as a percentage of the entire population. Of course the U.S. will have more mass killings than smaller nations. The real indicator is the number of deaths per 100 million of population.
Since 1982, the incidence of deaths attributed to mass public shootings was 1.52 per 100 million people in the U.S.
However, there was a ten year dip in the middle (1996 through 2006) when the rate dipped to 1.0. Why? Duwe can only speculate:
“The late-1990s and early-2000s coincided with a bustling economy, the ban on assault weapons, a rising prison population, increases in the number of police, a fading crack epidemic, and the aging of the baby boomers beyond their peak crime years. It’s currently unknown whether these factors (or any others) were responsible for the decline in mass public shootings. Still, determining why the mass public shooting rate dropped, which is much easier said than done, may shed light on whether it’s possible to curb this type of violence in the future.”
Was the ban on assault weapons the key? Don’t know, but we certainly shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.
7 practical solutions
In the meantime, what should we do? I offer a number of very practical suggestions:
- Make it easier to institutionalize the violently insane.
- Ban pornography which turns people into objects and dehumanizes our society. Multiple studies show that repeat exposure to non-violent and violent porn increases the chance of someone committing violent assaults. Get rid of it. It’s poisoning our kids.
- Ban violent video games which turn people into objects and dehumanize our society. The Columbine killers were addicted to violent video games. The Daily News reported that “Iowa State researcher Douglas Gentile and surveyors from the Gallup Poll found that fully 8.5% of youthful video gamers show classic signs of addiction.”
- Arm teachers in public schools. This idea comes from Newt Gingrich. Every school should have a number of teachers who carry concealed weapons. No one knows which teachers are packing a weapon, just as no one knows who the (armed) air marshal is on an airplane. The deterrent effect alone makes this an idea worthy of debate. Any shooter would have to think twice knowing that he will be met by armed resistance, and not knowing from which direction.
- Ban assault rifles.
- Ban human abortion. The Roe V Wade generation has been taught that human life is disposable if it is unwanted. No single act in American history has been more dehumanizing, not even slavery, than human abortion.
- Put the Ten Commandments back into the schools. Let’s reintroduce our kids to the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” Liberals will sneer, of course. But let me ask you: were kids getting massacred in our schools when the Ten Commandments were posted? How about before Roe V Wade? The answer is no. Then again, maybe it’s just a coincidence.
For now, our thoughts and prayers go out to the bleeding souls in Florida. I am so very sorry for your loss. You do not suffer alone, for you are a part of our American family.