THE HEADLINE was to draw you in. I learned that back during my newspaper “career.”
There is no solution to mass shootings in the United States. None, zip, zilch, nada. It is an American cultural cancer without a cure. No radiation. No chemo.
Gun control certainly will not do it. Gun sales could be brought to an immediate, complete halt, and it would not solve the problem because America is floating in firearms already. It would be shutting the barn door after the horse has skedaddled.
Blaming Trump won’t do it either. Ain’t his fault anyway.
No one is to blame. It’s just something Americans do now and then. Mexicans don’t do it even though we have plenty of guns floating around down here too, which proves, by the way, the futility of gun control. We’re highly gun-controlled.
Bullet-riddled, bloody, gun-controlled Chicago proves the same point.
And the shooters span the political spectrum. The El Paso gunman was a right-wing nut. The Dayton killer was a lefty, a fan of Fauxcahontas and Antifa, which the media have tried to keep quiet. But not that of the El Paso gunman, of course. White supremacist!
And it was a Bernie bro’ who shot Rep. Steve Scalise in 2017.
Why were there no mass shootings above the border, say, a century ago? To a large degree, because there was no rapid communication, no internet. High tech has made it very easy for maniacs to get wild ideas about manifesting their fantasies and communicating them all over the place, which makes them feel so very good. And important.
Rapid communication, internet, social media exist in Mexico too, of course, so why don’t we do mass shootings? The culture is different.
I cannot imagine it would ever enter a Mexican’s mind in his wildest drunken dreams to go into a mall and start killing random strangers. It would be unfathomable.
Wipe out a rival narco gang? Well, sure, but that’s just business.
As for senseless, mass murder, better get used to it.
Above the border, that is.
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(Note: Here’s an interesting piece by a writer who thinks America has an “angry, young man” crisis. He’s correct and, again, it’s the culture.)
(The following is an editorial in today’s Washington Examiner.)
The shooter who perpetrated the recent massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., succeeded in killing 17 people. He also got Americans talking about gun control again.
Once again, too, there were those whose contribution to debate was to sneer at people who offered prayers for the victims and their families, instead of advocating or promising gun control. Even if you set aside the sneers, there is a problem with their attitude, no matter how good their intentions are otherwise. Prayer might actually help. Gun control, on the other hand, doesn’t work and can’t work in the U.S. and is a fantasy now just as it ever was.
By “fantasy,” we mean to express several important facts that are ignored in this debate. It is fantasy as policy because stricter gun control, within the limits of what is considered reasonable today (i.e., anything short of a total ban on sales or even gun confiscation), does not guarantee or even statistically correlate with lower gun homicide rates in any given state. This fact merits your time for some research, but to give just one prominent example from the FBI data, Texas and California have comparable gun homicide rates each year (they were actually tied in 2015).
If gun control were effective, that is not what you’d expect in the nation’s two most populous states with two of the most different gun policies. And that is by no means the only observation of its kind that you’ll take away from the FBI’s annual numbers.
Gun control is a political fantasy because the Second Amendment and various states’ constitutions protect the right to bear arms. This will not be changed, full stop. You don’t need to support or even like the Bill of Rights to see that gun control is an administrative fantasy as well.
In a country where private citizens own more than 300 million firearms, no effective form of gun control can be practical, and no practical form can be effective. Even an obviously unconstitutional ban on all new sales would take a century to make its effects felt. Universal confiscation of hundreds of millions of firearms would be several orders of magnitude more difficult than deporting every illegal immigrant in the U.S.
Gun control advocates seem frustrated that this country is not and cannot ever be Luxembourg. But the sooner they accept that reality, the closer everyone will be to starting a productive conversation about how to prevent the next Parkland.
This conversation ought to begin with the question of why the nation’s existing background check system and law enforcement agencies are so woefully ineffective in preventing known threats, like that from the Parkland shooter, whose irregular and threatening behavior was no secret, from becoming school shooters.
Why is the government so bad at keeping guns out of the hands not only of people who arguably shouldn’t have them, but even of people who by law are already not allowed to have them? The Charleston church shooter was a felon who should not have been permitted to buy his gun, but for an FBI error during the background check process.
The Parkland shooter, like the Pulse Nightclub terrorist and the Boston Marathon bombers before him, had been flagged for FBI attention long before his crimes. In each case, the bureau shrugged.
Is the government incapable of safeguarding citizens’ rights and safety? Could it do so with more resources, or with more authority? Congress should at least consider granting money to the states to pay for the personnel and computer resources required to make the background check database work as intended.
The next step will likely fall to state governments, which may want to consider new ideas such as temporary gun violence restraining orders. They probably ought also to be reconsidering procedures for officially identifying and legally recognizing mental illness in people who are suspected threats to themselves and others.
There is also an entire universe of discussion that hasn’t been had in decades, about whether we as a society are inappropriately neglecting to prescribe and perhaps heavily subsidize assisted living arrangements and even partial physical confinement for certain disturbed individuals. In today’s technological context, many of these might benefit and even become productive members of society, without posing a threat.
These ideas should be at the center of this debate. Once we’re talking about them instead of trying to drink from the dry well of gun control, we’ll actually be making some progress.
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(Note: A more accurate headline would have been Gun Control: a Leftist Fantasy. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. We are people with our feet on the ground, with some exceptions. The Democrat Party, i.e. leftists, excel at dreaming.)