Mass Shootings…

Mass Shootings… October 22, 2015

are an Exceptionally American Problem.

Yup. And a so-called “prolife” movement brimming with people laboring to excuse this is also an exceptionally American problem.

A prolife leader who talked about abortifacients the way so many anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Christians speak constantly about guns would be out on his ear as a leader by nightfall.

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  • Andy

    Mark – I admire your perseverance and your attempts to help people see the disconnect between being pro-life and pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and so on. I fear that in America it is a “lost cause”.

    We have become a country of individualism. We have become country of fear, anger and rage. We have become a country that at one time strove to become a shining city on the hill” to a country that has become a country of individual bunkers. Some examples of rage of anger
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/new-mexico-man-arrested-in-road-rage-shooting-that-killed-4-year-old-girl/
    http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/number-of-gun-deaths
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/gun-nuts-want-to-boycott-haunted-house-that-raises-money-for-leukemia-research-because-theyre-jerks/

    We attack those who we disagree with instead of encountering them or want to control their speech
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ben-carson-police-speech-colleges_5627b787e4b02f6a900eebbb?utm_hp_ref=politics
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/bill-oreilly-wants-san-francisco-official-arrested-after-she-rips-fox-and-hateful-conservatives/
    http://www.criticism.com/policy/republicans-free-speech-policy.php
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/24/fec-democrat-pushes-controls-internet-political-sp/?page=all

    We rage against people not like us:
    http://www.politicususa.com/2015/01/19/texas-protesters-american-muslim-group-go-home-obama-you.html
    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/08/donald-trump-hispanic-man-attack-boston

    As a country we have forgotten that he glue for a country is the family and have moved away from supporting the family to seeing people as fungible assets. We hide behind subsidiarily as a means to assuage our ignoring problems at the expense of solidarity. We hide behind the idea that God gave us dignity, but someone unlike us not so much. The end of this spiral is only extreme ugliness.

    If we are going to stop this death spiral we need to repent of our inability to see Christ in all people. We need to encounter all people where they are and not where we perceive them to be. We need to move to where we see that all people are children of God and deserving of dignity regardless of stage of life.
    We have to get over our rage, our fear and our anger.

    • So, how many people had their lives saved by defensive gun use today? How many people lost their lives due to inappropriate offensive use of guns today? The balance between those two numbers gives the facts we should all use to create a wise policy on arms. The truth is that nobody knows the true numbers because it is extremely uncommon for someone who successfully displays an arm to calm a situation down to generate a paper trail. There are no bodies and the guy who intimidated the about to be combatants into backing down is the only one who committed a crime (brandishing a weapon). So who is going to report it?

      • Andy

        You missed my point – not shocked – I was pointing out that we in America have become country of fear, anger and rage. I never said anything about gun control because given the conditions of America’s psyche it is impossible.

        • America is a country of 320M people. Pick an emotion and enough people in the US will be dominated by it to populate Belgium.

          The whole giving up and giving in thing isn’t very christian.

          • Andy

            Again, as is your frequent pattern, suggesting someone is or is not something – not a Christian, a socialist. But i don’t know how from my initial comment :”We need to move to where we see that all people are children of God and deserving of dignity regardless of stage of life.” indicates I have given up or am to a Christian. Maybe more time reading and comprehending and less time labeling would help.

            We have to get over our rage, our fear and our anger. – but your right we have 320 million folks in this country and the predominate emotions are rage, fear and anger. That explains why the Donald, Ben Carson and Bernie Sanders are doing well.

            • There you go again. If I disagree with you, I’m just responding in my “pattern” which means, of course, that I can’t be right and only minimal reading comprehension skills must be deployed.

              You said “I never said anything about gun control because given the conditions of America’s psyche it is impossible.” which is pretty defeatist, or if you prefer, despairing. Now we don’t agree on this political matter and it would be convenient to my political position if you would just shut up on the subject. But I did the opposite and encouraged you to engage in the issue further, calling out your despair of changing America as not a good example of Catholicism. Do you have the vaguest inkling why I would do that against my own political interest?

              • Andy

                Your version of defeat or despair, again with a label. For you it may be despair, for me it is problem-solving. To respond to or solve a problem – you need to recognize the problem, and its components – which i did. Then I offered a solution or end point. Looking at a problem and saying unless we fix the problem and that includes all components we can not move forward is not despair or being a defeatist.
                Again please specifically point out where I am not engaged:
                pointing out that we have become far to individualistic
                that we have become a country where rage, anger and fear seem to be the norm
                pointing out that we have all but destroyed the family
                pointing out that we have hidden behind subsidiarily instead of embracing solidarity
                pointing out that we see people like us as worthy of dignity but others not like us, not so much
                Said we have to encounter all people where they are and that we must see the inherent dignity in all people and put away our rage, anger and fear.
                Lets see – diagnosed the problem and offered a solution. It may be a solution that you or others don’t like, but it returns us to the Two Greatest Commandments, the Gospels, and is line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Catholic Social Teaching.

                • I am neither despairing, nor accepting that I am defeated, at all. Let’s separate out the politics (which I admit is fun to go with) from the Church (a much more serious topic). Using the Church to help fashion public policy means, in my opinion, figuring out what rules are actually best at reducing unnecessary deaths overall. Poseur policies that superficially look appealing but actually lead to more death overall are not pro-life. As a Church matter, anybody who seriously believes in getting to the goal of reducing slaughter is to be encouraged whether or not, as a political matter, I think that their solutions are nucking futs.

                  Public policy is a thing that is done for all of us, the religious and anti-religious and the profoundly disengaged. Part of the good thing about America has been its willingness to build policy coalitions across traditional lines. Nobody does strange bedfellows coalitions like the USA and that pays off for us in oh so many ways. The Church has generally made room for wildly divergent opinions on inessentials but the US has really focused on this due to the nature of the beast called the USA. So when you say It’s impossible because the US is too individualistic, I view that as surrender, turning your nose up at a losing situation and taking your ball and going home. That’s not what should happen. Understand the other side (you clearly don’t), engage to see how to make things better, and do the work.

                  • Andy

                    The problem Mr. Lutas is your inability to accept that other people don’t view the world through your narrow lens. I understand the other side far better than you seem to understand those who disagree with you. Your condescending attitudes more than demonstrate exactly what is wrong with America.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      I don’t think you’ve done very well in this exchange, Andy. At least, your caricatures of TMLutas (who I disagree with on very nearly every policy question ever entertained in CAEI comments) are just ridiculous.

                    • Andy

                      I was not attempting caricatures – I am not that bright – i was describing behaviors that I see. But I think are – TMLutas and I are not on the same page or perhaps the same book. We are coming from different realities which have equal validity. But I agree we were not doing well.

                    • Stu

                      You guys might be talking past each other a bit. I don’t always agree with TM (and often I do) but I find his comments to be typically very “informed” and I also believe he suffers from something I do as well, which is bluntness coming across in the wrong way. It’s something to consider. This is a low fidelity communication environment so we sometimes misread others.

                    • Fair enough knock on my bluntness. I probably need to work on that.

                    • Stu

                      It’s not necessarily a knock. I can appreciate it.

                    • Andy

                      That is why I am disengaging from continuing the conversation – we are coming from entirely different frameworks, which are equally valid.

                    • For several decades, the narrative has been dominated by your side because media gatekeepers largely agreed with you. Now that this monopoly has seriously eroded, those on my side are regularly viewed as having character flaws for simply not being deferential to the old line narrative. Condescending? Of course I am in your view. You poor soul.

    • chezami

      A huge percentage of “prolife” conservatives don’t really give a shit about being prolife, merely anti-abortion, and only when it is convenient to the GOP.

      • Stu

        How many is huge?

        And, how are we going to evangelize to them? What’s the strategy?

        • Nate Winchester

          I’m curious how he’s able to see into the hearts of so many people about what they do and don’t care about.

    • Regardless of your opinions on guns, its quite disingenuous to compare being pro-gun to being pro-death penalty or being pro-abortifacient. If gun freedom is morally wrong, the argument should be able to stand on its own merit without false equivalencies.

      • Andy

        My opinion on guns – I own several. However, there is a disconnect in part of the pro-life movement which decries abortion as an abomination, says that life is sacred, and that all life has inherent worth and dignity, which is true. The question then becomes how to protect ALL life – from conception to natural death – emphasis on natural death. The death penalty is not natural; being “gunned down” is not natural. Banning the death penalty for me does stand on its own; stopping abortion stands on its own. The need for “Gun control” stands on its own. Yet all three are tied to lack of valuing the lives of others.
        My belief is that in America we have reached a level of fear, a level of individualism, a level of rage, and anger that will make “banning” any of them impossible, unless we commit ourselves to seeing the worst of all.

        • Understood and agreed! I gathered that you were saying being in favor of owning guns was morally the same as being in favor of the death penalty. My mistake!

        • Sue Korlan

          Then there was the young man who was gunned down here while breaking into the shooter’s home. Sometimes owning and using a gun are necessary for self defense. Not everyone is able to protect himself with his bare hands or a knife. Gun control simply means that weaker people can be victimized at will.

  • Dave G.

    I’m not sure if it’s an American problem as much as a modern one. America might just have been ahead of the curve. But I’m pretty sure disagreeing over what the problems and solutions are doesn’t make anyone more or less pro-life than anyone else.

    • Mark

      I agree with you, Dave…yet on the matter of abortion, there are plenty of prolifers who will excommunicate you for even suggesting that maybe it is not rank heresy for a politician to prudentially judge that criminalization in all three trimesters isn’t the most effective way for government to minimize abortions. Or that someone can truly hate abortion, think it’s murder, believe personhood starts at conception…but still think the best use of the State’s (ultimately finite) resources in terms of maximizing saved lives…isn’t by pursuing raids and stings and homicide trials, but other approaches.

  • Nate Winchester

    So you really believe that Somalia (or many other african nations) has fewer mass shootings than America? You planning to move there, then?

    • Those don’t count, I’ve been informed, because those are military strikes, not crime.

      • Nate Winchester

        Exactly. (though one wonders if the victims really care whether their particular death gets counted as crime or war) Which one would think should raise some question marks about the full details & methodology of the study, otherwise the whole thing smells like a loaded test along the lines of “More Texans killed in America than anywhere else in the world!”

      • MarylandBill

        What about Brazil or Mexico? Both countries have murder rates at least 4-5 times as high as the United States does.

  • Baltimore Catechesis

    Might have had more impact if two of the sidebar stories on the page were not about recent Canadian mass shooting incidents. Physician, heal thyself, eh?

    • Heather

      I didn’t see any on my sidebar. The only related Canadian shooting stories were about some people on trial for a plot to commit a mass shooting in Halifax — a mass shooting that did not actually happen — and something about some shooting deaths in a nightclub which while indeed were shooting deaths were not a “mass shooting incident.” Someone getting into a gunfight and hitting a bystander as well as their target is not the same as someone going into a school or workplace or mall or theatre with the express purpose of killing as many people at random or semi-random as possible.

  • jaybird1951

    Have you forgotten the Norwegian mass shooter who took the lives of over 45 young people in Norway several years back, a country with strict gun control laws I believe?

  • Pete the Greek

    *sigh*

  • Joseph
    • Heather

      You will note the tragic but comparatively small death and injury toll in that event. When I heard it the very first thing I thought was “thank God he didn’t have a gun or so many more people might have died.” A person who wants to go on a murderous killing spree is much more likely to kill ten or more people with a firearm than an edged weapon.

      • Do we really need to break out stories on the knifing sprees in China? The last one I read about had over 40 dead.

        • Procopius

          And that’s the knifing sprees. For the more ambitious in China, explosives are the preferred method of mass mayhem or revenge. https://www.trunews.com/seven-dead-in-china-bomb-spree/

          • Procopius

            In China, demolitions materials are widely available over the counter in hardware stores, and can be purchased without restrictions.

        • Joseph

          If you do, she’ll just say, ‘thank God they didn’t use GUNS!!!’. She was already exposed with the article I posted. Anti-gun zealot who cares more about gun bans than the people killed by them (or any other weapon). Anyhow, she’s a boob tuber… she’s only aware and/or cares about what’s on CNN. Mass knife attacks don’t make the news because there’s no political agenda to ban knives. So, the people who die at the hands of those who use weapons other than guns to kill them are irrelevant. They can’t be used as set pieces. The anti-gun zealot movement is much too transparent.

          • I’d like to see actual evidence that she’s in that sad sack group of people who don’t actually care about people dying but are all about banning guns regardless.

          • chezami

            You are way the hell out of line, mister.

      • Nate Winchester

        You know what I notice is the most common feature in all these attacks?

        HANDS! Every attacker is always using their hands! Guns, knives, swords, they all rely upon the hand to operate. Clearly if we just have people get rid of their hands, then nobody will ever be hurt ever again.

      • Joseph

        Is that what you were thinking? I was actually distraught for the family members of the dead teacher and the parents of the children who were killed or maimed rather than thinking, ‘whew, at least the death toll didn’t reach the threshold where my political position on gun control would’ve been threatened’. Man, what goes through the gun control zealots head? One thing to note, however, I’m pretty sure swords *are* banned in schools… but that didn’t stop this guy.

        • Heather

          Wow, what an awful spin you put on that. I am not a “gun control zealot” so I don’t know what goes through their heads. What went through my head was literally something along the lines of “Oh how awful, thank God the assailant didn’t have a gun or it could have been so much worse” which is in an entirely different galaxy than “oh good, my gun-grabbing political aspirations are unchallenged by this incident.”

          • Joseph

            Please… if you must know, I’m actually in favour of gun control laws in the US similar to those in Ireland (so long as the vast majority of American policemen are stripped of sidearms as well, it’s the only way). But I can spot a disingenuous End Times Protestant quote from a mile away.
            .
            Let me put it like this: I have two colleagues and friends who are practicing Muslims… normal ones, not the freaks that run around killing people. Every time there is a beheading, bombing, or shooting by masked men somewhere in the world, they *hope* that it’s not a Muslim, because they know what will ensue if it is. On the other hand, it’s a guarantee that there are those who *hope* that it is to affirm their authentic anti-Muslim position… and if it is they are so-so-sorry for the people who were killed. If it isn’t, they soon forget about the victims when the very next Kardashian event takes place.
            .
            In the same way, when there is a school shooting, I guarantee that there are tons of good, law abiding gun terrified that, once again, they are going to be attacked by the disingenuous anti-gun zealots who are actually jubilant that more killings at the hands of some nut took place, as long as it was a gun that was used, that is. Then they are so-so-sorry for the people who were killed.
            .
            If he had a gun it could have been much worse… as if getting hacked to death with a friggin’ sword wasn’t bad for the teacher and the student… or their families? You see how you did that (and I knew someone would, so thank you for responding to my post exactly in the way expected)? Ooooh… a guy went on a killing spree in a school with a sword, thank God he didn’t have a GUN!!! It’s called false sensitivity, false concern. You instantly took a horrible situation and made it into an anti-gun political statement and, by doing so, actually showed your deep-seated disappointment that it wasn’t a gun, so that you could be validated in your anti-gun zealotry (like the anti-Muslims). I know you’re going to say that I’m judging you, that I don’t know your heart, blah, blah, blah… but it’s pretty obvious, sweetie.

            • Heather

              Telling me that I have a deep seated disappointment that it wasn’t a gun is saying that I wish more people had died. That is a disgusting assertion to make. Shame on you.

              Do you seriously disagree that two people dead is less bad than more than two people dead? For the two people who died, certainly it makes no difference. But coming so closely on the heels of the recent school shooting with 9 victims dead and as many injured I couldn’t help making the comparison and being thankful the casualties were lower than that incident.

              I’m just going to quote Ken upthread because he pretty much makes the exact point I was going for.

              “To the individual victim, the means of murder of course make no difference. The significance of the difference in tools comes in the number of lives cut short. There is simply no other tool on this planet which so efficiently facilitates mass casualties as modern firearms, particularly high capacity semi-automatics. Anyone – people of virtually any age, with no martial training or fighting skills or athleticism, can slaughter dozens of people with absolutely no effort at all in the space of a few minutes. The most recent school attack in Scandinavia involved a goofball in a mock-up Darth Vader helmet with a sword. Two dead. Two injured. Utoya, Norway, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, another goofball, attacks a summer camp with one semi-automatic rifle and one pistol. 69 dead, 110 injured. (He killed another 8 with a fertilizer bomb earlier that day). Both attackers were solidly average mopes with no combat experience or particular skill in their weapons of choice. Tools matter. If the availability of tools are truly irrelevant, we have no reason to get upset at the prospect of a nuclear Iran.”

              • Joseph

                I’m not telling you anything… just pointing out what is evident based on your comment. Deny it all you want, it’s in writing. You’re so entrenched in your pet cause that you actually passive aggressively *hope* for shootings to occur, just to bolster it. Very, very sad state of affairs… but all too common. Especially with your ilk.

                • Heather

                  I am not part of an ilk, and I don’t have a pet cause. Please stop posting this disgusting calumny about my supposed hope that innocent people be murdered. For the last time, “That’s terrible, thank God the perpetrator did not have the means to commit even worse carnage like what happened in that shooting a few weeks ago” is not the same as “oh darn, it wasn’t a shooting that I can use to further my pet cause.” Stop trying to equate them.

      • Joseph

        Interestingly, the attacker in Sweden, it turns out, was an anti-theist atheist. So, looks like there is a correlation here in Europe to that of school shooters in the United States. They all appear to be proud atheists. Perhaps we need to ban atheism.

  • I thought Mark liked Chesterton? Chesterton’s fence applies to gun ownership and the ignorance of why guns are in wide circulation on the part of pro control reformers is astonishing.

    The US is unique as a country in a number of ways, some good, some bad. Mass shootings are a problem. The relevant question for christians is whether we’d have more deadly incidents with or without guns. By not doing a proper analysis that takes into account both the good as well as the bad, gun control advocates come up with sob pieces that have preordained conclusions. Gun advocates look at the road they (the gun controllers) want to lead and see more bodies on net. Both think that the other side is filled with moral monsters for exactly the same reason, advocating policies that will end with more people dead.

    • Pete the Greek

      Man, you have more patience that I do. I’m done. This topic is getting to be like expecting to have a reasoned discussion with an angry toddler on why he can’t have ice cream for every meal. Good luck to you, though.

      • An angry toddler who doesn’t see how he’s doing something that, on balance is going to get more people killed is not someone you just leave be. Ever.

        Anyway, that’s my approach.

        • Pete the Greek

          I totally understand. And when it comes to that, it requires someone with a lot more patience than I. Carry on, sir.

      • Nate Winchester

        “Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.” -Aristotle in ‘Rhetoric’

        To quote Vox Day:
        “Hence the importance of knowing your audience and understanding which language of discourse they speak. When you speak in rhetoric to a dialectic-speaker, you will tend to sound very dishonest even when you are utilizing effective rhetoric that is perfectly in line with the truth. On the other hand, you can’t speak dialectic to a rhetoric-speaker for the obvious reason that they cannot be informed or persuaded by it. They simply don’t have the capacity.”

        I really don’t blame you. It’s pretty clear that Shea and some of the fan club have wholly embraced rhetoric, which disadvantages dialectics like us since trying to speak in rhetoric just feels… dirty.

  • MarylandBill

    The primary objection I have to many of the current proposals to limit access to guns is that I think the gun control advocates have not sufficiently made their case. Yes, it is trivially true that if there were no guns, there would be no gun homicides, and even extremely likely that the overall homicide rate in this country would be much lower. But we are not really talking about not having any guns; rather restrictions on guns.

    The basic argument against guns is that America has a far higher murder rate than than other “advanced” countries and also has far more guns than other countries therefore if we restrict access to guns, the murder rate will drop as well. The problem with the argument is that if you start drilling down into the numbers things start breaking down. Per capita whites are twice as likely to own a gun as any other racial group in the country yet along with Asian Americans are among the least likely to be murdered. In contrast per capital African Americans are about half as likely as whites to own a gun but about 6 times as likely to be murdered. Also, murders are most likely to occur from inside an ethnic group (i.e., a white is more likely to kill a white than an African American, Hispanic American or Asian-American), so what exactly is going on?

    Lets expand the lens a bit so we can get more context. If you add the developing world into the picture, you will notice that all of the countries with higher murder rates than the US (in some cases many times higher) also have less access to firearms. In fact if you look at the data, their doesn’t really appear to be much of a correlation at all unless you restrict the list to the “advanced countries”. All of this can easily be seen if you look at the maps on these two wikipedia pages:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    So, is there any other factor that correlates better with homicide rate than guns? I think so. The following wikipedia page is about wealth inequality.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

    Now the correlation is not perfect, but it seems to me to be far better than the correlation with the availability of guns. Indeed, this also makes sense with respect to the fact that African Americans, who have unfortunately been and in many ways still are the victims of systematic racism, are by far the most likely to be poor, to commit murder and to be murdered. I would submit that we are far more likely to reduce the homicide rate in this country by concentrating on fixing the problems of poverty and racism in our country.

    Now mass shootings are, I will admit, a problem that seems specific to the United States (though I wonder if they simply aren’t tracked in some of these countries which have murder rates that dwarf ours?). I am just not sure how much most proposed laws will due to reduce how often they happen. This is particularly true in an era when you can essentially 3D print a gun.

    • Stu

      YES. Treat the underlying problem instead of the symptoms.

      And your point about being able to print a gun is the real game changer for those who want to simply go after the guns.

      • MarylandBill

        Mind you, I have no particular interest in whether they make it harder to own guns or not in this country. My big objection is that both sides are essentially fixated on one factor that they disagree strongly about. Thus we are wasting time on an argument that likely won’t be resolved for a generation at least. Lets concentrate on fixing poverty and racism and see what sort of results we can get from that.

        • Stu

          I understand. And I’m open to the possibility that some gun restrictions could be needed. I just haven’t seen the case where anyone connects the dots on such things.

    • Re_Actor

      African Americans, who have unfortunately been and in many ways still are the victims of systematic racism, are by far the most likely to be poor, to commit murder and to be murdered.

      Are Asian-Americans and Jewish Americans still victims of systematic racism?

      • He has a point about African Americans. Among other things, they are disproportionately subject to gun ownership restrictions. The original gun control laws were, after all, written in order to make it safe for the KKK to terrorize blacks. Armed blacks made that quite hazardous to a racist’s health. That’s a legacy of systemic racism that endures to this day no matter the actual motivation of the current enforcers of this legacy meme.

        • Re_Actor

          I confess I’m not sure what your last sentence means. Is there any evidence that the current enforcers are motivated by racism? If not, in what sense are current gun ownership restrictions applied to African Americans a “legacy of systemic racism”?

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Gun control in the US has a history, back to early Tennessee. If I was supporting a political movement, I’d be curious about that movement’s history. Obviously, YMMV, of course.

      • MarylandBill

        At the very least, I think we can all agree that Jewish Americans and Asian Americans are not significantly more likely to be entrenched in deep poverty than the rest of population. And while I think there are probably still quite a few stereo-types around about both groups, I think they are less likely to be negative stereo-types.

        We all, to some degree, have a degree of prejudice in our hearts. I know if I was placed in a room full of African Americans I would get slightly nervous. This is total bias on my part and something I struggle to over come. The problem is those biases show up in hidden ways that are harder to overcome. Studies have shown that identical resume’s are more likely to get a call back if the name isn’t distinctly African.

        • Re_Actor

          I think we can all agree that Jewish Americans and Asian Americans are not significantly more likely to be entrenched in deep poverty than the rest of population. And while I think there are probably still quite a few stereo-types around about both groups, I think they are less likely to be negative stereo-types.

          Yes, but if I understood you correctly, you were implying that African American poverty was the result of current systemic racism, itself a persistence of historic racism. I question that, because it seems to me that neither Asians nor Jews have exactly been garlanded with privilege in modern Western society. The Jewish people in particular have laboured under institutional disprivilege and popular hostility as least as great as that endured by blacks and for a hell of a lot longer. At times that hostility has flared into acts of violence as grievous as anything suffered by blacks. And for more than a century it has been typically expressed in the form of racist ideology. Yet despite it all, the Jews have prospered within and exerted a profound influence on Gentile culture out of all proportion to their numbers, regardless of whether one regards that influence with admiration or harbours reservations about it. By contrast, black dysfunction seems to be getting worse despite decades of positive discrimination legislation, anti-racist education and funding for community programmes.

          Like African Americans, the Jews have not forgotten their ill-treatment and are quick to remind Gentiles of it. Like African Americans, they demand recognition and reparation. What they don’t typically do is loot businesses or assault passers-by. A fanatical white nationalist may hate blacks but he doesn’t fear them as he does the Jews – precisely because he recognises that, whatever else the latter might be, they are not dysfunctional.

          I hasten to add that I would be hesitant to explain all this solely in terms of “inherent racial qualities” that differentiate blacks and Jews. But the Jewish counter-example also makes me hesitant to attribute black dysfunction solely to a ‘legacy of racist oppression’. (Perhaps part of the problem is that the Civil Rights Movement came at a time of revolutionary social change (still ongoing) when the legitimacy of every Western institution was called into question. As a result the blacks, already torn from their native African cultural roots, were denied the chance to integrate into a stable dominant culture because that culture was in the process of self-immolation. They were thus left doubly alienated.)

          • MarylandBill

            If you look at the history of anti-semitism in Western Civilization, I will agree that Jews have labored under severe oppression. But I think, if limited to the American context, its hard to argue that Jews in this country have experienced the same amount of oppression as African Americans (This does not mean they have not experienced any, they have). In addition, except when anti-semitism merges with racism (like it did with the Nazis), there was always an important safety valves for those Jews who decided fitting in was more important than being faithful to their beliefs. A Jew could convert to Christianity and within a generation or so his children or grandchildren would be part of the larger culture. Heck in America, you didn’t even have to convert in many parts of the country… as long as you changed your name so it didn’t sound too Jewish. African Americans generally don’t have that luxury. As a result, the Jewish experience is built around a narrative of those who remained faithful to God in face of oppression while the African American experience is built around oppression based on nothing other than the color of their skin.

            Oh, I would point out that African Americans have also influenced Western Culture all out of proportion to their numbers. Never more than about 20% of America’s population, their cultural influences, especially in music extend far past America.

            BTW, I could care less about “white nationalists” think. Their fears are based on twisted fantasies where anything that can be identified as other will be demonized. A Hundred years ago they feared the Irish, Polish and Italian Catholic every bit as much as they feared the Jews and the African Americans.

            Oh final though. Jews, Irish and Italian immigrants (and in more modern times Russian immigrants) have all had phases when they could be very violent. Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky simply represented the top of a Jewish Mob that was every bit as violent as any modern gang. For the most part as an ethnic group integrates, they become less associated with violence. Yes, there are still some Italian and Irish mobsters, but their connection with their broader ethnic communities is far smaller than it was a generation ago.

  • Stu

    The author of the study concerned himself with “shootings where four or more people were killed, and only looked at active or rampage shooter situations — killings in workplaces or movie theatres, for example, not gangs battling it out on a street.” He looked at a 50 year period for these incidents which amounted to 90 in total, averaging 6.9 deaths per incident for a total of 621 deaths over 50 years. Now I’m not trying to minimize any death but this is an extremely small amount of incidents to make bold accusations as Mark is doing about people not being pro-life. It’s just sloppy and unfortunately it is become standard practice on this issue.

    The author of the study does go on to point out that the culprits in these cases are all mentally ill, equates them to terrorists and states that the potential solutions for this particular problem set as outlined above is to stop THESE people from getting guns, stop THESE people from having access to targets and identify THESE people to get them treated for their mental health problems. He even further talks about the media needing to not identify or show pictures of the killers to deny them what they are most looking for. Sounds like things that have been talked about in the comboxes here.

    So Mark, what is your solution this problem set aside from periodic chastisements of people?

    As to the larger problem of gun violence, one would need to look at suicides which account for the largest share of deaths, inner city violence which account for the overwhelming amount of homicides by firearm and even accidents which are a small portion but deserving of attention as well. Then look for solutions for those particular problem sets as the Mr. Lankford has put forth for his “mass shootings.” But that would require someone to be anti-death by gun rather than just anti-gun.

    • Personally, I’m anti-fatal aggression all around, no matter the tools used or if there are no tools at all. The gun does not make a life cut tragically short any worse, nor does its lack make the funeral any better.

      • Joseph

        I don’t see how anyone can argue against this point… unless of course they have a pet cause.

      • kenofken

        To the individual victim, the means of murder of course make no difference. The significance of the difference in tools comes in the number of lives cut short. There is simply no other tool on this planet which so efficiently facilitates mass casualties as modern firearms, particularly high capacity semi-automatics. Anyone – people of virtually any age, with no martial training or fighting skills or athleticism, can slaughter dozens of people with absolutely no effort at all in the space of a few minutes. The most recent school attack in Scandinavia involved a goofball in a mock-up Darth Vader helmet with a sword. Two dead. Two injured. Utoya, Norway, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, another goofball, attacks a summer camp with one semi-automatic rifle and one pistol. 69 dead, 110 injured. (He killed another 8 with a fertilizer bomb earlier that day). Both attackers were solidly average mopes with no combat experience or particular skill in their weapons of choice. Tools matter. If the availability of tools are truly irrelevant, we have no reason to get upset at the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

        • The legality of a tool usually is based on the totality of its effects on net and that’s a reasonable way to do such things. If something is mostly used for crime and killing, the argument to ban gains strength. The utter disinterest that most gun control opponents show toward the serious question of evaluating these net effects is not a good thing. There are a few gun control advocates who do at least take a stab at quantifying the effects and drawing conclusions from of net good vs evil. Harvard does some work on those lines. I’m less impressed with their methodology (which I find very flawed) than their intent but at least they are asking the right questions and that gets respect from me.

    • David

      What the hell, Stu? “Now I’m not trying to minimize any death but this is an extremely small amount of incidents to make bold accusations as Mark is doing about people not being pro-life.” Forgot your feelings about Mark and guns for a moment; this is just a spectacularly wrong way to approach things in any case about human life. Being pro-life means to abide by the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church regarding the protection, defense, and sanctity of human life at all times. You could tirelessly work to save all the lives of the unborn, the tortured, the youth, outlaw euthansia, etc.; but if you don’t give a damn about the lives of 6’5″ circus clowns from Greenland, then one is justified in saying that you’re not pro-life. It’s not about the smallness or largeness of numbers.

      • Stu

        It is when you are talking about policy. On average, the killings that this author is discussing amounts to 14 people per year. Of the 32,000 deaths by firearm, this is by no means the major culprit and should not be the basis for sweeping changes. As I pointed out, if you want to make a dent in that number, then go after suicides which account for 20,000 deaths and inner city violence which is the major portion of the homicides.

        These ramoage shootings, while horrific, are actually rare but get more attention which ironically feeds potential culprits.

        • David

          “It is when you are talking about policy.” No, it is not. If one has a policy with intentional disregard for even one human being, he is not being pro-life. You adopt utilitarian approaches towards things. Drop them.

          Notice how I did not talk about firearms in my posts; just the absurdity of your claim. Hammer this out before debating Mark about firearms.

          • Stu

            I noticed you avoided my point to win some points in your mind. Hammer thus out yourself before actually trying to discuss something with me in the future. Anyone who looks at a problem set and limits themselves to only .044% of the data iis almost certain to come to a bad conclusion.

            • David

              Wrong again. Why talk about any policy when you can’t even get the moral authority that you need to implement policy in the first place correct? Your last sentence is also a strawman.

              • Stu

                Yes, you are wrong again. If you go back to my original post you will notice that I highlight Mr. Lankford’s general recommendations to address rampage shooters while simultaneously indicating the other problem sets that would need to be addressed for a comprehensive approach. Simply looking at rampage shooters and then coming up with a one size fits alll approach for the whole problem just won’t work.

                • David

                  Right, but that’s not what was said or suggested. No one is saying to come up with a “one size fits all” approach.

                  You talked about addressing other problems, as well. That’s fine. The comments that preceded your addressing of other problems, however, were problematic. It’s a mindset that should never be accepted.

                  • Stu

                    How about reading my remarks in their entirety and then commenting on the whole instead of picking one remark out of context and finding something there that isn’t really there?

                    Mark used this study, which is very limited in scope, to conclude that the “so-called “prolife” movement brimming with people laboring to excuse this is also an exceptionally American problem.” Is anyone excusing it? And given the limited scope of the study, which was my point, can you really make such a conclusion? Really.

                    Further, every time someone post an article like that without context or spouts of the 32K killed a year by gun violence without really breaking down that number to recognize it actually contains a variety of problems then they are indeed talking about a one size fits all approach because they simply see it as one problem.

                    Of course, it would also be nice if those who constantly chastise others for apparently not caring actually routinely put forth some real ideas of their own and didn’t whine about people critiquing said ideas.

                    So feel free to critique my ideas on how to skin this cat but don’t spout BS and try to make it out like I don’t care about lives lost or try to say my approach is utilitarian or some other nonsense. It’s just flat out false.

                    • David

                      No need to worry, I read your entire post the first time. It does not mean I liked what you said at the beginning of it, because it’s a moral mess. It’s problematic as written, and it implies sinful consequences. Defending that claim in matters of policy formation is also problematic, for the reasons I stated earlier.

                      You must think I don’t want gun rights. I already told you before I come from a miltary family. I WANT gun rights, and I am entirely opposed to the Left and their insistence to eliminate them. I sure as hell don’t trust Caesar, especially Caesar with a gun. I’m also not a gun nut, nor do I want a country that makes guns such a wide commodity that anyone who’s anyone can get their hands on them. You better know damn well what using a gun means, and when/where it’s proper to use them. These are also not fists, rocks, knives, swords, crossbows, or power saws from your local hardware store. These are tools that can take down even the most powerful animals and men in a tiny fraction of a second, and from incredible distances, and with the ability to employ said tools with a lightining-quick repeatability and large ammunitions. No, I don’t want Joe Yokel to easily own a gun because, shit, “gun rights”. I sure as hell don’t trust fallen citizens, especially fallen citizens with guns.

                      Most of all, there’s NO contradiction between protecting, defending, and upholding the sanctity of human life; and having gun rights. Which means that, even while having those rights, I want those “miniscule” numbers in mass shooting to be wiped off the face of the earth to the best of our human power, along with everything else you mentioned. So, please, act as if Mark or I or anyone else who wants you and your pals up to wake up are the stupid, idiotic, “one size fits all/no gun rights for you!” crowd that you depict us as. I’ll gladly grind your false depiction into dust and have it blown back into your face, soldier.

                    • Stu

                      I don’t have any opinion on whether or not you support “gun rights”. Up till now, you haven’t mentioned it. And unlike you, I don’t read shit into other people’s words. You mischaracterize my position greatly and that s weak sauce on your part.

                      And I still don’t know how you being a military dependant brings you any special insight and I am not a “soldier”.

                    • David

                      No special insight, just an understanding of why weapons have their place. And yes, you do. After all, Mark just has “periodic chastisements of people” and no solutions to “problem sets”, no? He doesn’t regard other causes of gun violence, correct? And I just want to come up with a “one size fits all approach” to violence, right? You not above mischaracterizing people, Stu. I HAVE to make sure my position on gun rights is clear, because you’ll mangle my viewpoint about guns, as well.

                    • Stu

                      Well, I don’t believe being a military dependent gives you any guarantee of uderstanding more than any other civilian. Not that I think being in the military does either.

                      I think you mangle my ciritique of Mark on this issue with thinking I have even remotely touched on your personal beliefs. None of my comments in question have been directed at anything you have said here.

                      So, yes, Mark does typically offer little to nothing in terms of solutions but rather routinely just chastises groups of people for not being truly pro-life in his mind.

                      As to what you believe, put forth your ideas for a solution and we can discuss.

                    • David

                      Well, I don’t think you’re at all being fair to Mark, and with regards to my posts, you did think that my reminder to protect even the few necessarily means disregarding the protection of everyone else, but I won’t rehash those points. I’ve made them multiple times already.

                      As for solutions (I’ll quickly summarize them), I am in agreement with several different ones that have been given on this site and elsewhere, ranging from better gun safety tech, to better training of law enforcement, to increased emphasis on psychological and spiritual help for those in need, to youth programs for helping to keep young people out of gun violence, to even ideas that you have restated from Lankford’s article such as putting a lid on the media’s depiction of gun violence. (The interesting thing is that some people who get pissy about gun rights restrictions don’t think about the implications here with speech rights restrictions.) And, yes, solutions must also include some sort of restriction on who can get their hands on guns. Guns are not the most fundamental causes of gun violence. It doesn’t follow that they aren’t causes of gun violence.

                    • Stu

                      “you did think that my reminder to protect even the few necessarily means disregarding the protection of everyone else”

                      Nope. And if you return to my OP, you’ll see I endorsed Mr. Lankford’s proposals aimed at “protecting the few” as you call it. I would add that it protects and helps the potential perps as well.

                    • David

                      Perps are only helped if a “one size fits all” approach is adopted. Which is not one that I am proposing.

                    • Stu

                      I never claimed such.

                    • David

                      Good. Hopefully the stupid 200-comment comboxes can cease because shrieking posters finally stop getting hysterical over some posters and bloggers who are open to, suggest, or argue for gun restrictions while also being completely for gun rights in principle.

                    • Stu

                      But that’s not what is happening. Not even close.

                      We have a blogger that after every rampage shooting makes a point of calling out a group of people as not being pro-life because in his mind they are “gun cultists” who value their firearms more than the lives of people. That’s BS.

                      What happens is that in response to him calling for action, people naturally ask “what would you do?” to which he refuses to answer because in his words we are either going to disagree (yeah, so) or because he has apparently shared it before. At least for me, all I remember him seriously putting forward was the notion of “smart guns.” Absent anything really concrete, many assume that he is just a gun grabber (rightly or wrongly).

                      As to people in the comboxes, many of them do offer their ideas in good faith and I applaud that. But that doesn’t mean I agree with them when quite often it is apparent that they need a better understanding of firearms and need to show how their proposal would actually address the problem at hand. It’s easy to simply call for more “gun restrictions” but I believe such restrictions should actually be geared toward the problem at hand which often isn’t the case.

                    • David

                      “We have a blogger that after every rampage shooting makes a point of calling out a group of people as not being pro-life because in his mind they are “gun cultists” who value their firearms more than the lives of people…”

                      Not even close. This is a not a bogeyman of “tinfoil hat” Mark’s creation. These people actually exist, they’re sizable, and they’re loud. His calling out of these idiots shouldn’t disturb you, unless you’re one of those people. Yes, I know. Pay them no mind. It’s only the asswipe clowns from the Left who (rightfully!) should be called out for their dumbassery. The thing is, though, the enemies of the Church don’t just come from the Left.

                      “What happens is that in response to him calling for action, people naturally ask “what would you do?” to which he refuses to answer…all I remember him seriously putting forward was the notion of “smart guns.”

                      Not even close. That’s the wonders of the Internet; you can verify if something is true. Use it.

                      “It’s easy to simply call for more “gun restrictions” but I believe such restrictions should actually be geared toward the problem at hand which often isn’t the case…”

                      Depends on whom you talk to. Just like with those who bitch about any sort of gun restrictions, the people who would love nothing more than to eliminate gun rights altogether also exist, are sizable, and are loud. And yeah, their stupid screeds have been also denounced on this blog, multiple times. But, for the sane such as Mark, myself and others, we thoroughly seek for ways to address the problem at hand, NOT provide a stupid “One size fits all! Yeehaw! You’re a great citizen but SCREW your gun rights!” answer to the issue. So, again, you’re not even close.

                    • Stu

                      “These people actually exist, they’re sizable, and they’re loud. His calling out of these idiots shouldn’t disturb you, unless you’re one of those people. ”

                      Show me these people here in these comboxes. Who are they? Where are they? Are they Mark’s audience? And is he converting them or simply adding to the churn? And as to paying crazy people no mind, that true for both sides of the political spectrum.

                      “That’s the wonders of the Internet; you can verify if something is true. Use it.”
                      Cop out. I’m happy to share my opinion over and over again. All part of discussion. Mark has not put forth anything really serious and when he does offer anything, he gets very upset that anyone might critique it. But by all means, if you can find some really serious proposals of his via Google, please share. I have certainly asked nicely many times for such only to be dismissed.

                      And yes,every time someone talks about 32K deaths without breaking down the multiple problems sets, they are looking for a one size fits all solution because they don’t even understand the problem.

                      So, you remain far off on the history here.

                    • David

                      “Show me these people here in these comboxes.”

                      Continue to play stupid. YEARS of articles pointing these people out on the Internet, TV, and papers, and you cry for evidence? You sound just like those on the Left who feign that they know nothing about the destruction of families (caused by their idiocy) that we speak about.

                      “Cop out.”

                      No. There’s a search engine and archive box below. Have at it.

                      “And yes,every time someone talks about 32K deaths without breaking down the multiple problems sets…”

                      No wonder Mark literally mocks you whenever you make an argument. The lack of understanding comes from your end.

                    • Stu

                      You continue to have nothing of substance. But do go on making your mud pues.

                    • Round Tripper

                      Seems to be more substance than you have, since you can’t get your interlocutor’s position right.

                      Or Mr. Shea’s.

                    • Stu

                      So you say.

                    • Round Tripper

                      Not my problem if you disagree.

                    • Stu

                      No, your problems are all your own.

                    • Round Tripper

                      You continue to have nothing of substance. But do go on making your mud pies.

                    • Stu

                      You, personally, get what you give. Take it up a notch and perhaps someone will take you seriously.

                      Regardless, great use of cut and paste. Or did you retype it all?

                    • David

                      Haha, well played.

                    • Round Tripper

                      His calling out of these idiots shouldn’t disturb you, unless you’re one of those people.

                      That’s something to wonder. Mention gun restrictions (and it’s gun restrictions with important qualifications and limits, not unlimited gun restriction/unlimited gun confiscation/total gun bans), and watch the comments roll in from opponents.

                    • David

                      Yeah, I gave Stu too much credit. I still remember when he tried to rationalize vile comments that were recently made by Ted Nugent.

                    • Stu

                      You mean where I commented, regarding his remarks, “I think it was idiotic and out of line.” I certainly won’t give you any credit for reading comprehension.

                      I’m still humored by this comment from you which I can’t even begin to see how you rationalize:

                      “As someone who comes from a military family, let me be clear: Nugent’s comments were disturbing at all levels…”

                      How exactly does your being a military dependent, or even having someone in you family serve in uniform, give you some manner of special insight on this so much so that you go out of your way to state it up front. For those of us who have worn the cloth, we actually have a name for military dependents or even those who come from a military family. It’s called a civilian.

                    • David

                      “You mean where I commented, regarding his remarks, “I think it was idiotic and out of line.””

                      No, I mean the article that stated in a nutshell that people who don’t own a gun should stop being stupid and get a gun. For someone who claims that Nugent’s remarks were out of line, you still defended them anyway with your BS about “tone”. You even feebly tried to spin the focus on what Nugent said about gun-free zones, which was *not* the point of the article.

                      Oh yes, the military family. Of course I am a civilian, you twit. A proud American civilian. I also already told you that this doesn’t have shit to do with any “special insight” compared to anyone else, but helping me to personally gain an understanding and appreciation of where and why weapons have their place. I am speaking as someone who values gun rights.

                    • Stu

                      Well, we made some progress. We are least talking about what the article’s main point was instead of Nugent’s asinine way of saying it. So indeed, in essence he was saying gun free zones are going to save you, so arm yourself and don’t be a victim. But, given it’s Ted Nugent, he said it in backward and primitive manner. What do you expect from an idiot that dances around the stage in a loincloth? But what he was trying to say (“Don’t be a victim.”) isn’t really unreasonable even if we don’t necessarily agree that everyone should go out and buy a firearm for protection because there are folks that, quite honestly, have no business attempting to use a firearm. So let’s have that discussion instead of focusing directly on the crazy shit he says in trying to communicate a point. Why get bogged down in that?

                      People often will say things, in making a larger point, that can be ridiculous, erroneous and even offensive. I find your mention of being from a military family not relevant at all to the discussion but still you had a bigger point so initially I just ignored it and attempted to engage you. I had a friend on time remark, “the Latin Mass sucks.” Should I get offended or instead try to understand his point (which was that he doesn’t get anything from it) and move the conversation along?

                      I know you value gun rights. You said so. I know Mark isn’t out to confiscate all the guns. He has said so. But to get the discourse going we have to rise above emotivism and actually exchange ideas.

                    • Round Tripper

                      So indeed, in essence he was saying gun free zones are going to save you, so arm yourself and don’t be a victim.

                      I read the article. While we’re here figuring out which people are proposing panaceas to complex issues, it must be noted that Ted Nugent called his solution the solution to gun violence.

                      We know and Nugent knows what he is saying, and it does not matter whether or not he says it with the tact of a learned scholar: not having a handgun is irrational; get a handgun. It’s a foolhardy edict, and it’s also why Nugent criticizes victims of gun violence in the manner that he does.

                    • Stu

                      I support the notion of “not being a victim” if it means prepare for such possibilities whether it be carrying a firearm, having a plan, knowing self-defence techniques, etc. Simply arming everyone isn’t going to do much to solve the problem. Nugent’s panacea is just as weak as any panacea.

                      And while Nugent can get some things right, he is generally a clown on most things. At least that is my impression of him.

                    • Stu

                      You misread the discourse here and I would recommend hanging around awhile before coming to that conclusion.

                      I would say the overwhelming majority of those who critique Mark on this issue have no problem with restriction. We all own firearms and have obtained them legally taking part in the current regulations and restrictions. All of my firearms are on the books and required me to complete a background investigation. I also have a CCL which required a more in depth background investigation to include finger printing. So be it.

                      What people here like me critique are calls for “more action” with no real substance or with connection to the problem at hand. And at least in Mark’s case, the only thing I have ever seen him recommend is the panacea of “smart” guns which are even remotely mature. And yes, in his case it is a one size fits all approach to a very complex problem.

                      Typically, following a rampage shooting you find calls for the following by well-meaning people who almost always have very little experience of the firearms or understanding of the current laws:

                      1. Limit the magazine size for certain weapons – would not have had a significant impact on the rampage shooters.
                      2. Banning of AUTOMATIC weapons – already illegal to own since the mid ’30s for all but those who go through extensive licensing.
                      3. Eliminate Open Carry – Not sure how this would stop a rampage shooter.
                      4. Require Gun Insurance – Typically those who are going to allow access to firearm to a relative who is mentally unbalanced aren’t really going to be swayed by an insurance policy
                      5. Mandatory home inspections to make sure firearms are properly secured – Is that really cost effective? And will it ensure compliance?
                      6. Banning of Assault Weapons – These too are already illegal so this amounts to banning scary looking guns.
                      7. Eliminate the gun show loophole – This could be pursued simply because it may be a good idea but it would not have any effect on rampage shooters.
                      8. Eliminate straw purchases – Already illegal.
                      9. Keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill – I agree with this one but it’s not necessarily easy. Medical records are private for a reason. Steps can be taken to encourage states to make more of their records available.

                      So most of the “good ideas” that you typically hear would not have any impact on rampage shooters and when confronted with this, the typical response I get is along the lines of “well, it’s a good start and we need to do something.” Well, if it doesn’t address the problem then it isn’t a “good start” and in that case we shouldn’t waste our time doing it especially when the current laws are not being enforced.

                      As of now, the odds of someone getting prosecuted for lying on the ATF form for a background check is very low. VERY LOW. So every time you hear the President talk about how many firearm purchases where stopped by the background check system, bear in mind that is where it stops. I’ve been in a gun store where someone was denied a firearm due to not passing the background check. He simply walked out and probably was never confronted again. Same goes for straw purchases. These are already illegal but rarely prosecuted. Don’t you think it prudent to first start enforcing the current laws before passing new restrictions that aren’t even remotely related to the problem?

                      Now, I have offered a way of looking at this problem a few times in the comboxes with little or no comment from the host or others like yourself. My position is that gun violence is symptomatic of greater problems that we need to address and if we address those problems, all violence will go down.

                    • Round Tripper

                      You misread the discourse here and I would recommend hanging around awhile before coming to that conclusion.

                      You have no need to entertain me with your frivolous “recommendations”, Stewart; your standard comments already provide plenty of entertainment. Records of the gun violence discourse are also easily accessible to any Neanderthal with a computer, so I am well-aware of the viewpoints of everyone involved. It does not mean, however, that your word is taken as is. Talk is cheap. I do find it humorous that you cite your participation in current gun laws and restrictions as evidence of your “approval” of restriction. Certainly, you do. You have no choice but to play nice with the authorities and participate; that is, if you want to acquire your guns in a legal manner. As ignorant as you are, I’m sure that you don’t also want to be known as a criminal.

                      Be that as it may, I actually don’t give a rat’s tail about your particular viewpoint. Along with the fact that Mr. Shea’s position on guns continues to be misconstrued by some of his shrill comboxers (because, yes, Mr. Shea totally endorses the concept of smart guns as a “panacea” to the problem of gun violence, even though he doesn’t; he only claims that it is a potential piece to the solution puzzle that is worth attempting, along with other solutions that address the flawed human nature at the root of gun violence), my curiosity is piqued by the predictable rejection of any notion of gun restriction in Mr. Shea’s articles. The notion is either shot down outrightly (whoops, no pun intended), or it is shot down without refinements or any offers of alternative restrictions. There is no problem with suggestions that are not based in gun restriction, suggestions which may not even mitigate or eliminate the problem. One would be better off suggesting that we hold hands with the criminal in an impromptu therapy session and sing “Kumbaya” than to ever mention gun regulation.

                      This statement is especially golden: Well, if it doesn’t address the problem then it isn’t a “good start” and in that case we shouldn’t waste our time doing it especially when the current laws are not being enforced.

                      Follow me here: a law or a restriction isn’t much of a law or restriction if it doesn’t outlaw or restrict jack. And it begs the question why the current laws aren’t being enforced. Could it be that the gun-grabbing left-wingers (notice I did not put scare quotes around gun-grabbing, there) who are hellbent on eliminating all guns from the American landscape are being lazy, inept, timid, or a combination of the three? No. Left-wingers are deranged and ass-backwards in their quest for postmodern Utopia. But they do not bluff when they can use the law to achieve their quest for postmodern Utopia; if the law doesn’t have teeth, they make sure to fit it with their despicable fangs. So it can’t be them. I’ll leave it to you to figure the rest of it out, Stu, but I’m not holding my breath.

                    • Stu

                      “It does not mean, however, that your word is taken as is.”
                      Then don’t. But it would be nice for you to actually engage my ideas in demonstrating such.

                      “You have no choice but to play nice with the authorities and participate; that is, if you want to acquire your guns in a legal manner. As ignorant as you are, I’m sure that you don’t also want to be known as a criminal.”
                      If I didn’t believe in the law, I wouldn’t support it. Why not simply accept that I am compliant and have no complaints about the current system.

                      “Be that as it may, I actually don’t give a rat’s tail about your particular viewpoint. ”

                      Noted.

                      “Mr. Shea totally endorses the concept of smart guns as a “panacea” to the problem of gun violence, even though he doesn’t; he only claims that it is a potential piece to the solution puzzle that is worth attempting, along with other solutions that address the flawed human nature at the root of gun violence”
                      I’m not sure what his other viewpoints are. I, and others, have asked repeatedly in good faith what he proposes. He won’t answer. All I can remember or find is his talk of smart guns. But by all means, if you can help an ignorant, neanderthal like myself in showing me his views, I would appreciate it.

                      “The notion is either shot down outrightly (whoops, no pun intended), or it is shot down without refinements or any offers of alternative restrictions. ”
                      Are they? I haven’t seen that. But I would also submit that many think we have exhausted the low hanging fruit in terms of restrictions to the point that further restrictions just won’t do much more good. It’s a question of diminishing returns and return on investment. I think more inroads and results can be gained by going in a different direction at this point. You may disagree. I’m happy to discuss that thus I offer my thoughts. Though, they simply amuse you and you really aren’t interested. Not sure what more we can talk about then.

                      “So it can’t be them.”
                      Why not tell me who you think it is and let’s discuss. It’s been a problem for over twenty years, so I’m not blaming any particular political group. I’m past blame and would like to talk about solutions.

                      Your ball. Take it home if your want.

                    • Round Tripper

                      Your ball. Take it home if your want.

                      I said what I had to say in this comment section.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            You’re supposed to have utilitarian approaches to things. Things are utilised.

            You should probably hammer out some shit yourself.

            • bill

              The poster is talking about human life. It’s not a mere thing to be utilized.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Then the poster shouldn’t call human lives ‘things’, should he?

              • David

                Correct. Stu might think I’m taking him out of context, but I’m not, and he even claims that the biggness or smallness of numbers matters when it comes to policy on human life. That isn’t right.

                It doesn’t mean care about the 99%, and don’t care about the .044%. It doesn’t mean care about the .044%, and don’t care about the 99%. It doesn’t mean adpoting a foolish, “one size fits all” (as if anyone ever suggested or implied that) policy that cares about some people and not others. It means to care about everyone, and do whatever we can within our human power to ensure their care, whatever the policies are. GOP sympathizers shouldn’t be railing against restrictions on rights, anyway. Some of them have no issues with proposals that restrict Americans from voting as easily (I agree with them here!), and they don’t run around talking about fixing the more fundamental issues behind voting abuse (insufficient education, people not being properly informed of the issues, etc.).

            • David

              I was using “things” in the sense of situations or predicaments, not things properly speaking.

  • Pete the Greek

    There! You see? You somehow made this even more stupid.

    • Stu

      But at least MediaFindersJobs didn’t call you a gun cultist or speak of your blood lust.

      • Pete the Greek

        Hey, for $83 an hour, I’d let them call me whatever names they wanted to.

  • CradleRevert

    Right, but prolific gun rights are also not a trait specific to America, so given that mass shootings are specifically an American problem, this clearly suggests that guns are not the root cause of these mass shootings. But let’s go ahead and conclude that gun control is the solution despite a complete lack of correlative effect anyways…

    • kenofken

      There is no other country in the world with widespread legal personal gun ownership even roughly comparable to the U.S. which has such lax regulation, the level of killings we do or such a profound determination to do nothing about it. Other countries have mass shootings, but they’re still in the realm of “the one this generation” or “the one this decade”. Here it’s “the one this week.” Everyone in Norway can easily name and remember their mass shootings. We need search engines to keep them straight.

      • The thing is, mass shootings used to be an exceptionally Israeli problem.

        The PLO or one of its many subdivisions and/or fellow travelers could buy an AK-47 for about 50USD (cos both the Soviets and the PRC liked to keep em cheap), send them to shoot up a bus, school, or the like, and they might even have a decent chance to escape!

        Israel had, and continues to have, very stringent gun control laws. What they did to address this, under Golda Meir’s leadership, was to increase the number of people who could legally carry concealed handguns, especially around schools and tour buses, generally issued from government armories. The death tolls from mass shootings dropped from double digits to low single digits. And Arab terrorists had to give up on cheap, easy to use, readily available AK-47s to get headline-grabbing death tolls, and had to start using expensive, hard-to-manufacture car bombs and suicide vests.

        The reason this doesn’t show up in the statistics is because it was a problem that Israel solved over 40 years ago, which means the study period is 80% after Israel implemented their solution, and only 20% during the time that this was a problem. If his study period was from 1950-1975, the conclusions would be very different.

  • Stu
  • Stu

    Each of the following areas needs it’s own solution.

    Firearm Suicides: 20K deaths a year. Mostly in rural areas where mental health care is inadequate. Guns are prevalent in these areas and part of day-to-day life. People in these regions typically don’t turn them on others but on themselves.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/the-growing-risk-of-suicide-in-rural-america/387313/

    Firearm Homicides: 11K deaths a year. Mostly in the inner cities where crime is rampant. These areas typically have very strict gun control in place but these measures have probably reached the limit of their effectiveness given the criminal element. Victims in this category are predominantly black males between the ages of 18-40. This is not to say this group is the cause because of “who” they are but rather that is where the problem lies. Solutions here would focus on building community, eliminating crime in ways that would transcend the current model of policing (I think this would help the racial issues as well) and bringing localism/solidarity back into the city.

    A very minor subset of this category are the rampage shootings that while horrific are actually quite rare thought they garner lots of attention. Solutions for this challenge could have overlap with the suicide problem set given these killers themselves are almost always suicidal.

    Firearm Accidents: About 1K deaths a year. Education and public awareness are key here.

    Now these are general approaches that I believe need to be taken to address the gun violence problem which should be seen as a symptom of underlying weakness in our social fabric. At the same time, could measures be taken to make background checks better or eliminate so-called loopholes? Sure but I don’t believe such things will have much more impact on the problem at hand but only serve to add unneeded layers to the current process which already isn’t completely enforced already.

    Regardless, all of the typical stuff you generally see in response to rampage shooters (reduce magazine size, ban certain guns based upon how they look, more permits, etc) really are outdated and static approaches especially given the future of 3D printing.

    I’d love to hear ideas from others.

  • Cypressclimber

    The number and rate of firearm murders has hit a new low since the sky-high gun killings during the 1990s, with California topping an FBI list despite having some of the toughest anti-gun laws on the books.

    Data from the FBI and Pew Research Center show that all gun violence has declined since the Clinton era, though suicides blamed on guns has ticked up.

    In a new report, Pew said that between 1993 and 2000, the firearm murder rate dropped by almost half, from seven homicides to 3.8 homicides per 100,000 people. It also said that all gun deaths — murder, suicide, police and accidental — have dropped 30 percent since 1993.

    — Washington Examiner, 10/23/15

    Bolding added to first paragraph to highlight conundrum. How could it be that California, “with some of the toughest anti-gun laws on the books,” has the worst gun murders? Surely that should have happened where there are easier gun laws?

    Hmmm…

    • kenofken

      The inference we’re supposed to draw from this is that A)There really is no problem with gun violence and B)states with stronger gun control laws are more dangerous because liberals have disarmed the entire population and left them to be shot down by criminals. Like most partisan Internet memes, it’s a great story if you don’t let facts get in the way.

      Statistics are a lot like optical lenses or diffraction gratings in that you can see what you want to see by choosing the point of focus and viewing angle. The Pew/FBI stats do not lie. The firearm murder rate did drop by 49 percent from 1993 to 2000. It has not declined significantly since that time with any consistency. Essentially all of that decline happened during the time of Clinton’s “assault weapons” law, but most criminologists attribute the steep drop to the decline in the crack epidemic, an improving economy, and an aging and increasingly incarcerated offender demographic. Gun violence has not resolved itself, we’re just back to a baseline after an unusually bad bulge in the crack years, from the mid-80s to late 1990s. Crack was an unusual perfect storm of violence because the drug created huge profits with little to no technical expertise or capital investment and no stable organized crime cartels controlling any of it. It was a running battle for every street corner in major cities. Our “new low” is still appalling when compared to any stable democracy in the world. Our firearm homicide rates are not just worse than our European peers. They are worse by decimal places. They haven’t had a mental or cultural handle on 8,000+ gun deaths since World War II. About all we can say for ourselves is that we’re doing better than the Central American countries which young people are fleeing in hordes to avoid getting shot.

      California’s “topping the list” refers to total gun homicides of 1,224 in 2013. That’s a lot, but then California has a hell of a lot of people, 38 million. It’s population is larger than that of most countries in the world, and it is the second largest population center below the scale of nation anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. It would be very unusual if California did not “top the list” in total gun homicides, or many other statistics.

      When we get back to the rate per 100,000, California is not faring so poorly. I have not seen the state-by-state breakout of this Pew report for gun murders, but as of 2010, California was right at 3.4, which was less than half that of Louisiana. The dozen or so states with worse rates than California included Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina – places with huge gun ownership and carry rates where an armed citizenry is supposed to be making everyone safe from crime. Blue states were well represented in the worse-off-than-California gun murder rankings as well – Delaware, Marlyand, D.C. etc. When you look at total firearm deaths – suicide and all, and adjust it for age and population distribution, California comes in 42nd at 7.7 per 100,000.

      It’s not clear in any of this what role California’s gun laws play in the final statistics. California has not “banned” guns in any global sense. They have a regulatory thicket which constrains one’s choice of firearm model, but most of the burden seems to fall more on retailers and manufacturers than end buyers.

      • Cypressclimber

        What inferences you draw are yours, not mine. So it’s a nice trick to offer inferences that are easily demolished; but you’re arguing with yourself.

        My point in citing this article was simply to show the absurdity of Mr. Shea’s repeated, silly argument that the problem is simply guns. They exist–that equals the problem. It’s not my argument that more guns ought to mean more crime, and vice-versa; that’s his silly argument.

        Gun-grabbers, when these inconvenient facts are pointed out, resort to a magical theory that I call the geographic-potency-activation theory. It goes like this:

        A gun can be purchased anywhere; but it only becomes a danger when it is transported across certain political boundaries. So, for example, for many, many years, the politicians in the District of Columbia have blamed their much higher gun-related crime statistics on guns sold in Virginia and points further removed — but, principally, Virginia.

        But the thing they never could explain — sadly, no one ever asked them to — was this: if the problem is the sale of the gun, then why isn’t the spike of crimes occurring in the place of such abundant, insufficiently regulated sales? Why is it that these malevolent guns, so ready to maim and kill, fail to express their potency for evil, until they cross the Potomac?

        The only explanation — based on the premise of the problem being the gun itself — is that there is some triggering of potency in the gun that occurs when it crosses into the District. Outside the district, it is benign. Inside the district, it becomes a menace.

        The same argument is being made, now, in Chicago. The guns that cause problems in Chicago somehow are rendered benign, until they enter the jurisdiction. Fascinating.

        • Round Tripper

          My point in citing this article was simply to show the absurdity of Mr. Shea’s repeated, silly argument that the problem is simply guns.

          Pure stupidity in your post.

        • kenofken

          “If the problem is the sale of the gun, then why isn’t the spike of crimes occurring in the place of such abundant, insufficiently regulated sales? Why is it that these malevolent guns, so ready to maim and kill, fail to express their potency for evil, until they cross the Potomac?”….

          Because that’s where the grinding poverty and hopelessness and chaos are, and hence the demand for guns as instruments of murder. No one is suggesting that the gun itself is “the problem”, but it clearly an element of the problem in many settings. If there were in fact no illegal guns in D.C., or fewer, you’d still have evil and violent people, but you’d have fewer murders because it would become much harder work. Aspiring killers would have to actually get out of their cars and break a sweat, for one thing. The sale of the gun is part of the problem, when it is done in such a way and within a regulatory framework which greatly enables transfer to criminals.

          Why does this concept of benign vs malevolent in relation to place seem so absurd and radical to you that only Mark Shea or avowed wingnut liberals could conceive of it? That idea is the basis for regulation of everything in commerce that is regulated. Alcohol, even in abudance, for non-alcoholics, benign. Behind the wheel, not so much. Ammonium nitrate, perfectly benign, when it’s used to fertilize fields or blasting in legitimate quarry operations. We don’t, at least anymore, sell it to whatever random white power freak who rolls up at the supply depot. We don’t, for the most part, think of that as deluded liberal magical thinking. Under the gun lobby’s logic as applied to guns, we should have no curbs on the sale of explosives because human evil is an intractable problem and we’d only be deluding ourselves by focusing on the morally neutral object.

          I’ve been following Mark’s thread of thought on this for a few years now, and I don’t think he has ever even implied that the problem is simply guns. The problem, as he seems to frame it, is that the gun culture’s attitude toward gun violence sucks, and that guns have been fetishized, even deified, to the exclusion of all other considerations, like human life. I happen to agree with him on that assessment, both as a gun owner and someone who has rarely, if ever, found agreement with Mark Shea on much of anything else.

          • Cypressclimber

            No one is suggesting that the gun itself is “the problem”

            Actually, quite a lot of people are making that very argument. If you are indicating you think that argument absurd, I agree.

            Alcohol, even in abudance, for non-alcoholics, benign. Behind the wheel, not so much.

            Yes, but your comparison is inapt. The proposed further regulations of guns are not comparable to what we do with alcohol. For example, is anyone proposing a national registry of all people who drink alcohol? Is anyone proposing a limit on the number of cans of beer, or bottles of wine, someone can buy? Is anyone suggesting that all people who drink alcohol should share the cost of the liability incurred by those who cause harm through irresponsible use of alcohol — such as a drunk driver? All these are the sorts of regulations of guns — which treat the gun as the problem, not the nexus of gun + irresponsible person.

            My argument is simple: since the gun itself is inert, the proper target of regulation is (drumroll) the irresponsible person!

            Whatever Mr. Shea actually believes, he has endorsed the approach of those who do, indeed, believe the gun is itself the problem — which is what the gun-grabbers believe.

            • Round Tripper

              Is anyone proposing a limit on the number of cans of beer, or bottles of wine, someone can buy?

              The law just restricts you in another manner if you can’t keep from driving while intoxicated, such as by revoking your inert license. And yes, people do restrict alcohol in certain cases. One of many examples is at baseball staidums, where you cannot purchase alcohol after a specified duration or inning, and/or are limited to a specified number of drinks you can purchase.

              Whatever Mr. Shea actually believes, he has endorsed the approach of those who do, indeed, believe the gun is itself the problem.

              You are still displaying pure stupidity in your post. Anyone who can’t distinguish between limits and restrictions, and an outright ban/confiscation of guns is rationally inert.

              • Cypressclimber

                “Pure stupidity”? Well, I would say your confusion about what happens at a baseball game, with how gun-grabbers propose to regulate guns, is a prominent example of “pure stupidity” — but not on my part.

            • kenofken

              The regulation of alcohol is not so vastly different from that of firearms, and in some respects, the controls are tougher. No, we don’t license end purchasers, but the producers and sellers are highly regulated. Sales of alcohol is, in many jurisdictions, more regulated than guns. You can set up a table at a gun show or flea market in many areas and resell guns with no license or paperwork. You can’t sell booze anywhere in the U.S. without a license that I know of. Sale is still flat-out prohibited in many locales.

              Liquor retailers do carry insurance and are legally accountable for the harms irresponsible buyers cause when the sale is considered to be in an irresponsible one. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems that it’s much easier to sue and recover from reckless bar owners than from gun stores which have patters of irresponsible sales. We do sometimes limit how much a person can buy. Utah is full of such restrictions, and all establishments are legally bound to cut you off when they feel you’ve had too much. The feds do get all up in your business as an end buyer of alcohol if you want to buy pure unadulterated ethanol without paying the beverage tax – for research, manufacturing etc.

              When we look at automobiles, there is a whole system of regulation, including a registry of all vehicles (Big Brother knows who has cars). To operate the things anywhere on public property, you need to demonstrate an understanding of the laws, competence of operation, and the physical and mental capacity to do so. This is done before the device is used and at regular intervals for the rest of the user’s life. Insurance is pretty much mandatory everywhere. The right to operate, and in some cases, to possess a vehicle, can be revoked fairly easily for major violations or even a pattern of minor ones.

              We could go on. Pseudoephedrine cold tablets: The vast majority of people use them responsibly. They’re also the key precursor for methamphetamine. We didn’t ban the stuff, or raid everyone’s homes to grab their decongestants, but we now impose very strict limits on how much you can purchase each month, and detailed records of sales are kept.

              There are no regulatory systems which focus on the individual user in isolation from the regulated product, because it’s not possible or sensible to do so. No object is truly inert if a human can put it to any use whatsoever. Every form of regulation takes into account the potential harm of misuse from that particular object and people’s legitimate needs and uses for that product.

              Regulation always means that a burden is imposed on the vast majority of responsible people in order to minimize the great harms which can be caused by misuse in the minority. It always limits access to the product unless and until the buyer can demonstrate a degree of responsibility and accountability before the sale and over the longer term. The challenge is to strike a balance between public safety and access/individual freedoms. We don’t have that balance with firearms in this country because we’re ideologically wedded to the idea that guns should be exempt from all considerations of the good vs harm formula that we apply to everything else in our world.