Monday Morning Thoughts: Moving the Gun Debate Beyond Gun Control

Orgeon Shooting Graphic
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Every time a massacre occurs we take part in a futile debate between those advocating for gun control and those arguing that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. For the most part, I think they are both correct.

We need to ask a different set of questions – starting with the fact that, while America is unique in the mass active shooting situation, the question remains whether that makes America inherently more violent than other societies and, if not, how do other cultures and nations have the desperate and the mentally ill manifest their anger and aggression?

Part of what we are missing in the simple guns/no guns debate is why such killing sprees occur. Almost always, the gunman ends up dead, either through suicide or suicide by cop. Clearly, the killers are set on this being their final act. They are, in effect, domestic terrorists, using the fear and uncertainty they generate to gain attention for themselves as a platform to promote themselves and their grievances against society.

If we take away their guns, what do we have? In other places, we have suicide bombers, mass knife attacks and other massacres such as occurred in China and Japan. And if we take away guns, will people find other ways to inflict mass damage on society?

As usual, I think we have to start with facts and data.

We know, for instance, that shooting sprees are not rare in the U.S. Mother Jones tracked and mapped shooting sprees over the past three decades from 1982 to May of last year. Their data found “at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.”

Another survey by the Congressional Research Service found 78 incidents with 547 killed. Somewhere, about 80 percent of the time, the weapon was obtained legally.

Gun ownership in the U.S. has been declining over the last forty years. A survey found that gun ownership reached a record low in 2010, with 31 percent of adults owning a weapon, down from the peak of nearly half in 1977 to 1980.

Survey data released last year by the Pew Research Center broke down the demographics of gun ownership. Gun ownership, not surprisingly, is predominantly among older adults, rural residents, and whites, especially white Southerners. Whites in the South are more likely to own guns than those in other regions.

But, while gun ownership is declining, active shooting events have been on the rise. A report published by the FBI last year, found, from 2000 to 2007, an average of 6.4 active shootings per year. Since 2007 that number has jumped dramatically to 16.4 incidents per year.

This is a point that gun advocates should focus on – for it shows that, as gun ownership has declined, shootings have increased. It lends credence to the idea that the crucial variable is not guns, but media attention.

The U.S. is a much more violent country than most. Duke University Sociologist Kieran Healy tracked assault death rates from 1960 to 2013.

assault-deaths-oecd-ts-all-new

His data found that the U.S. is far more violent than other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, except Estonia and Mexico. At the same time, the U.S. is moving back to the pack, as it was much more violent in 1970 than it is now.

So, again, the trend of mass killings is running counter not only to the trend in gun ownership but also to the trend in overall U.S. violence.

What may surprise people is that the more rural South is by far the hotbed for assault deaths within the U.S. Professor Healy again shows that the rural South is by far the leader in assault deaths since 2000, at over 7 per 100,000. The West and Midwest are in the clear middle band, with the Northeast by far the lowest.

assault-deaths-us-ts-region

But it shouldn’t be a surprise based on the next two data points…

There are two statistics that play against the party line for gun advocates. The first is that more guns correlates to more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center found substantial evidence to back that up and the finding holds both across countries and states.

Second, states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. In 2011, economist Richard Florida examined the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators.

Some of what he found ran against conventional wisdom. For instance, he writes, “It is commonly assumed that mental illness or stress levels trigger gun violence. But that’s not borne out at the state level. We found no statistical association between gun deaths and mental illness or stress levels. We also found no association between gun violence and the proportion of neurotic personalities.”

He continues, “Some might think gun violence would be higher in states with higher levels of unemployment and higher levels of inequality. But, again, we found no evidence of any such association with either of these variables.”

Those who argue for immigrant-based explanations may be surprised to find that “states with more immigrants have lower levels of gun-related deaths.”

Instead, he found that states with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths.

He writes, “Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).”

Despite this data, gun control is not politically popular and its popularity has been on the decline.

Since 1990, the Gallup Poll has been asking Americans whether they think gun control laws should be stricter, and has found increasingly that they do not think so.

“Less than half of Americans, 47%, say they favor stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, similar to views found last year,” Gallup says. “But this percentage is significantly below the 58% recorded in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, spurred a nationwide debate about the possibility of more stringent gun control laws. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say these laws should be kept as they are now, and 14% say they should be made less strict.”

On the other hand,  2013 data from Pew Research Center found that, while the majority of Americans support the right to bear arms, they support specific regulations like background checks, assault weapons bans and a federal database to track guns.

Finally, Pew Research Center also found that these shootings do not impact views on gun control.

Add that all up and what do we have? We see that the trend away from gun ownership and the decline in crime are not linked to the rise in mass shootings. That suggests that a mass shooting is unlikely to be linked to either the availability of guns or the overall crime rate – meaning that it is a separate phenomenon.

I argued at the outset that mass shooters are essentially individuals committing their final act, as they usually kill themselves or are killed by the police. And as data from other countries suggest, there are other means to carry out massacres without guns, even if guns represent a convenient way to do so.

Let me present an absurd analogy. In baseball there were a large number of incidents where fans would run out on the field. This represented a huge security risk to the players and it interfered with the game. It was attention-seeking activity where the fans were trying to get on TV running around, as well as drawing audience attention.

One way baseball attempted to combat this was by cutting away from the field and focusing the camera on the announcers rather than the fan. I have not seen data on it, but it seems to have greatly reduced the number of on-field incidents because the fans do not get the publicity.

It is hard for the news media not to cover a massacre, but perhaps that is the strategy that can work to reduce the number of mass shootings.

Eric Harris, the infamous shooter in Columbine, would point out in a journal entry that it is not about guns, it is about television, film and fame. Cut out that part of the equation and you might see a reduction in mass shootings. It is, of course, not easily done, but worth investigating.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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117 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Moving the Gun Debate Beyond Gun Control”

  1. Tia Will

    David

    I notice that you left out of your analysis the changes seen in Australia after their mandatory gun buy back.

    The Australian study found that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people correlated with up to a 50 percent drop in firearm homicides, and a 74 percent drop in gun suicides. 

    The authors note that while the decrease in homicide rate was not statistically significant, that in gun suicides was. If you are going to postulate that these mass shootings followed by suicide or suicide by cop, then one must consider them a variant of suicide and consider this finding as relevant.

    I think that this is a fact that bears repeating in an otherwise very interesting article which attempts to present an evidence based view of the problems contributing to mass shootings.

    1. Davis Progressive

      if you follow the data presented here, the mass shootings would not be impacted by this.  the mass shootings are occurring despite the drop in available guns, which suggests that people who are planning out the massacres are not being opportunistic, but rather meticulously planning.  so i think it would be helpful to see massacres as a separate entity from suicides.

  2. Frankly

    The data following Australia’s gun buy-back program indicate an INCREASE in crime in consideration of the crime trends that proceeded it.  That part is left out of all the biased studies… INCREASE IN CRIME.  More muggings and robberies and assaults.  More rapes.  More people just giving in and allowing themselves to be victimized because they lack the ability to defend themselves.

    Despite this data, gun control is not politically popular and its popularity has been on the decline.

    There is a mass gun murder by an insane person, and Democrat politicians demand that we take guns away from everyone as a “solution”.  The reason the popularity of more gun control is on decline is because the majority of voters don’t trust government to keep them safe.  And a minority of voters consider government to be the threat that justifies gun ownership.

    It lends credence to the idea that the crucial variable is not guns, but media attention.

    Bravo.  Absolutely.  Let’s start talking about the need to change our perspective about the 1st Amendment and leave the 2nd Amendment alone.  There is much more primary and secondary harm causes the people of this country by an out of control and corrupt media industrial complex than guns themselves.

    But one other thing missing in this analysis is what we do with crazy people.  And what do other countries do with crazy people.

    And my last point… when we strip out the gun murders by gang bangers, the gun death statistics in the US become lower than many other comparable countries.  The US cannot prevent drugs from entering the country.  They US will not be able to prevent guns from entering the country.  In fact, with too extreme gun restrictions, the black market for guns will just explode because the criminals will demand them.

    My point here is that we should be looking at legalization of drugs as a way to reduce over all gun violence.

    1. Davis Progressive

      ” Let’s start talking about the need to change our perspective about the 1st Amendment and leave the 2nd Amendment alone. ”

      i don’t think this is a first amendment issue.  it looks like more an issue about the best way to cover these kinds of events.

      “But one other thing missing in this analysis is what we do with crazy people.  And what do other countries do with crazy people.”

      not completely.  there is evidence that concentration of mentally ill people does not correlate with gun violence.

      “And my last point… when we strip out the gun murders by gang bangers, the gun death statistics in the US become lower than many other comparable countries. ”

      evidence?

      you’re also completely ignoring the evidence presented here that goes against your theories.  for instance you professed link between immigration and murder.  nevermind the fact that murder rates were falling as immigration rates were rising.

      you’re also ignoring the link between guns and gun deaths – more guns means more gun deaths.  it sounds obvious, but the secnd amendment folks have been arguing the opposite for some time.  the metrics don’t back them up.

    2. Anon

      My point here is that we should be looking at legalization of drugs as a way to reduce over all gun violence.”

      Oh yes, having more people high on coke, crack cocaine, meth, heroin, LSD, etc. should really go a long way to prevent mass killings – NOT!

      1. Davis Progressive

        it probably won’t have any impact at all on mass killings.  it might reduce gun violence because most drug-related gun violence isn’t committed by people who are intoxicated but rather drug deals gone bad.

  3. Anon

    Part of what we are missing in the simple guns/no guns debate is why such killing sprees occur.”

    Before I read this article any further, I feel compelled to comment on this one sentence.  The reason for killing sprees are as diverse as the each incident – every one with its own perspective.  Killing sprees happen all over the world, in every single country.  No place is immune from them.  Another thing that needs to be taken into account is the context of the killings.  China executes dissidents with abandon to keep their country safe, and yet they still have crazy homicidal maniacs that commit horrendous and senseless killings.  There was a spate of machete killings in China a few years ago that were unexplainable.  China was appalled, and baffled to try and explain them.  As we all know, Norway had a terrible mass killing recently that claimed 77 lives.  Norway!  I remember, many years ago, reading about a mass killing in the Alps somewhere, where a lone killer went from isolated chalet to isolated chalet high up in the mountains, killing 7 (I think that was the number) different homeowners.  And add to that the access to the internet, where all sorts of twisted information is out there for maniacs to “devour”; and constant blasts of information about various criminal acts to be copied in order to gain fame.  And then there are the mass killings in the name of religion, or in the name of cleansing to keep an ethnicity pure, or in the name of political expediency.  Senseless mass killings are ubiquitous to human beings, unfortunately.  I am not saying we should not try and do what we can to stop them, but the reality is it is highly unlikely to eliminate mass killings from the world.  I think it is important to keep this in mind, when having any discussion about mass killings.

    1. Anon

      This is a point that gun advocates should focus on – for it shows that, as gun ownership has declined, shootings have increased. It lends credence to the idea that the crucial variable is not guns, but media attention.

      Eric Harris, the infamous shooter in Columbine, would point out in a journal entry that it is not about guns, it is about television, film and fame. Cut out that part of the equation and you might see a reduction in mass shootings. It is, of course, not easily done, but worth investigating.

      Obviously mass killings are not always as a result of seeking fame (see my previous post), but media attention could explain the spike/increases in mass killings over the last 5 years. There are a lot of gratuitously violent video games, television shows, and movies that may contribute to the problem.

      What may surprise people is that the more rural South is by far the hotbed for assault deaths within the U.S. Professor Healy again shows that the rural South is by far the leader in assault deaths since 2000, at over 7 per 100,000. The West and Midwest are in the clear middle band, with the Northeast by far the lowest.

      Perhaps it has to do with the food or education level of the South versus other parts of the country.  I suspect there may be multiple factors in play other than just access to guns.

      ““Less than half of Americans, 47%, say they favor stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, similar to views found last year,” Gallup says. “But this percentage is significantly below the 58% recorded in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, spurred a nationwide debate about the possibility of more stringent gun control laws. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say these laws should be kept as they are now, and 14% say they should be made less strict.”

      We see that the trend away from gun ownership and the decline in crime are not linked to the rise in mass shootings. That suggests that a mass shooting is unlikely to be linked to either the availability of guns or the overall crime rate – meaning that it is a separate phenomenon...”

      I think Americans are smart enough to recognize that there is a very tenuous link between availability of guns and the ability to reduce crime.  Hence they may be for sensible gun control (no assault weapons, closing gun show loophole, prevent mentally ill from having guns), but not so much so that it infringes on their 2nd Amendment rights.  I also think it depends on what state you live in as well.  For instance, Alaska has a lot of gun owners, just about everyone has a gun in their house who doesn’t live in the large cities.  It is necessary for survival in the wilderness areas because of polar bears, grizzlies, wolves, etc.  In many states, hunting is necessary, for animal control and supplementing income.
       

       

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

        they may be for sensible gun control (no assault weapons, closing gun show loophole, prevent mentally ill from having guns), but not so much so that it infringes on their 2nd Amendment rights.”

        I think that you make a very good point here. One major problem with those who oppose any gun safety regulations insist on equating any suggestion for safer practices with a threat to their second amendment rights. The two are not at all equivalent and yet even posters here make the ludicrous claim that liberals are suggesting taking away all guns.

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    Syndicated columnist Dr. Charles Krauthhammer has mentioned a previous shooting (deaths) in Arizona where the Mother knew her son was mentally imbalanced and a danger to others. His point was that we have gone so far towards almost extreme freedom regarding mental health, that it is extremely difficult to have someone committed for mental health issues, even if they are a danger to others.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of these shootings were committed by individuals in this category.

    Likewise for the number who are on psychotropic (is this the right term?) medication, and what number are on illegal street drugs (coke, pot, etc.).

    I think one reason we are “unique” in the mass killings category is that we are a diverse nation of 320 million people. Unfair to compare us to Finland or Paraguay.

    1. Anon

      I think one reason we are “unique” in the mass killings category is that we are a diverse nation of 320 million people. Unfair to compare us to Finland or Paraguay.”

      I think this is a fair point.  However, even Norway had a recent mass killing that resulted in 77 deaths.  No part of the world in immune.

    2. Frankly

      We should look at Switzerland.  US Liberals want the US to be like the Scandinavian countries, so there you go…

      Even though Switzerland has not been involved in an armed conflict since a standoff between Catholics and Protestants in 1847, the Swiss are very serious not only about their right to own weapons but also to carry them around in public. Because of this general acceptance and even pride in gun ownership, nobody bats an eye at the sight of a civilian riding a bus, bike or motorcycle to the shooting range, with a rifle slung across the shoulder.

      Switzerland trails behind only the U.S, Yemen and Serbia in the number of guns per capita; between 2.3 million and 4.5 million military and private firearms are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people. Yet, despite the prevalence of guns, the violent-crime rate is low: government figures show about 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. By comparison, the U.S rate in the same year was about 5 firearm killings per 100,000 people, according to a 2011 U.N. report.

      Unlike some other heavily armed nations, Switzerland’s gun ownership is deeply rooted in a sense of patriotic duty and national identity. Weapons are kept at home because of the long-held belief that enemies could invade tiny Switzerland quickly, so every soldier had to be able to fight his way to his regiment’s assembly point. (Switzerland was at risk of being invaded by Germany during World War II but was spared, historians say, because every Swiss man was armed and trained to shoot.)

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I still get emails from a Swedish site for English speakers, and I see subtle references to rapes and trouble in Malmo. I googled it a couple of times and read articles about severe problems with their Muslim immigrants, and differing morals between the Swedes and new immigrants. Articles on rape of Swedish women by immigrants weren’t isolated, but there seems to be relatively little coverage of this pattern, if it is true.

        One guess is that the liberal press and politicians don’t like covering the not PC taboo topic. Another guess is that maybe a paper with an agenda was trumping up this non-problem?

        I get the same feeling when I tried to look up crime by Somali immigrants to Minnesota: there seems to be inferences to there being a big problem, but the local press doesn’t seem to cover it.

        Do I have it right? Wow, new results since my long-ago search. Censorship?

        https://majorityrights.com/weblog/comments/muslim_rape_wave_in_sweden/

         

         

         

         

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    How about the mass killings that happen every weekend in Chicago, were guns are illegal?

    The college in Oregon was a “gun free zone” policed by one security guard without a weapon. Too bad they didn’t have one old timer like in Texas recently, where the savvy cop took out two full-armed terrorists with body armor with one spot-on service revolver.

    1. hpierce

      Weird comment… there are not “mass shootings” occurring regularly in Chicago.  There are many individual shootings, to be sure, but not regular shootings that occur involving a singular shooter, or even a single group.  TBD, if it seems dark, try to pull you head out…  your comment, IMO, was a definite apples/oranges one.  Or maybe a elephant/peanuts one.

      If you are saying (if I were to concede your point, which I clearly am not) that we should not be looking for ways to prevent a Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora theater thing, before the mess in Chicago [and elsewhere] is solved.you should seek professional help.  Just a suggestion.

      [moderator] Please be more respectful of your fellow Vanguard participants. Thanks.

    2. Don Shor

      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/29/us/where-50000-guns-in-chicago-came-from.html?_r=0

      The Chicago Police Department traced the origins of about 50,000 guns that it recovered between 2001 and March 2012.
      More than half of those guns came from outside the state.
      But more than 15,000 of the guns traced by the police came from just outside the city limits in Cook County and in neighboring towns that permit gun stores.
      States with the most guns recovered in Chicago
      Illinois 22,051
      Indiana 7,747
      Mississippi 4,296
      Wisconsin 1,647
      Kentucky 1,226
      Ohio 1,121
      Tennessee 1,090
      Alabama 1,070
      Arkansas 944
      Texas 937

      1. Frankly

        So your point I guess is that because we don’t have more severe NATIONAL gun restrictions, the bad guys are getting guns from outside the restricted areas to commit gun crimes.

        But here is the problem.  The US has national laws against drug possession yet with all the zillions spent to prevent drugs from coming to the US, they keep coming to the US.

        The government cannot prevent guns from getting in the hands of the bad guys, only from getting in the hands of the good guys.

        And then there is…

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2630473/The-terrifying-reality-3D-printed-guns-Devices-ANYONE-make-quickly-evolving-deadly-weapons.html

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRXymDoYoWQ

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EXsAeJ7RsU

        Here is the problem as I see it.

        Liberals are wired to opine for scarcity solutions.  They have something twitchy and reactionary in them that causes them to want to subtract freedoms and implement more restrictive rules as a way to make them feel more comfortable and/or safe.

        But this tendency goes against both human nature and technological advances.  It also flies in the face of the primary factor of American exceptionalism to constantly innovate.

        Conservatives tend to be wired toward solving problems with a mindset of abundance.  And although there are certainly challenges with this in practice (e.g., investment banks needing to be bailed out because they took too many risks in their pursuit of abundance) it is a mindset that better fits the needs of modern life.

        Liberals are increasingly at odds with modern life because of the pace of change caused by enterprise and creativity driven by our free market system.

        Liberals want to constrain the use of fossil fuels with their scarcity approach, and then some private citizen improves frack drilling technology and abundance happens.  And it solves a bunch of other problems like affordable heating for low income families, and domestic economic growth that also helps provide more domestic jobs.

        The US is and always has been a primary “abundance” country.  It is why we are different and more successful and stronger.  Some people (primarily those on the left of politics) are made nervous by this for some reason I will never be able to completely understand.

        Instead of restricting gun rights, we should be working toward more abundant:

        1. Gun rights

        2. Gun safety training

        3. Databases and tracking and registration requirements

        4. Improved mental health services and controls

        5. Law enforcement personnel and more effective and advanced protocol and tools to help prevent gun crime.

        6. Harsher penalties for gun crime

        7. More armed security personnel.

        8. Relaxed carry laws… allowing more law-abiding citizens to be where there is a need for defense.

        9. Better lock-down facilities at schools, with metal doors and bullet proof glass.

        10.  ???

        How many more “abundance” solutions can we think of?

        Many, but the left does not like abundance solutions… and so we get the exploitation of the tragic events for leftist political and ideological reasons.  Disgusting.

        1. Don Shor

          As I’ve said many times before, I don’t personally favor significant restrictions on gun ownership (“gun control”). I suggest you read the president’s proposals and see how they overlap with your suggestions.
          http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/summary-president-obama-gun-proposals.aspx

          I think most Americans support national databases and registries, research, tougher penalties for gun law violations and restricting guns from criminals and people who are mentally ill in ways that make them dangerous to others. Some regulation of private sales of guns seems necessary as well.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          I’m open to a lot of these ideas. I also would be completely for targeted promos to get guns out of the hands of many – i.e., buy back programs where we offer incentives, concert tickets, etc., for people to turn in their old / unused guns.

          Not sure I want schools turned into prisons. Maybe we need an affirmative action program to bring more masculine males onto campuses. We had an older Jewish professor save dozens of lives in a previous attack, a male student saved lives here, and an older cop take out terrorists with his sidearm. The primary schools I have been to are dominated by women.

          We also probably have a lot of guns smuggled through our southern border – another reason it should be closed.

        3. Tia Will

          Frankly

          Abundance solutions vs scarcity solutions. Are you kidding me ?  I guess that you haven’t been keeping up with the Planned Parenthood controversy where the conservative position is a scarcity of sex, a scarcity of birth control options, a scarcity of health care options for poor women. Whether one sees the issue of one of abundance vs scarcity totally depends upon how you view the world.

          For instance, in the issue of prevention of gun related injuries I would strongly argue for abundance. Abundance of federally funded research into gun safety. An abundance of safety features on guns and an abundance of regulations to make sure that guns are have to have simply safety features in order to be sold. An abundance of caution so that people who strongly believe that they know what they are doing are not leaving loaded guns in locations where their children can easily access them. An abundance of new technology so that only the guns rightful owner will be able to fire it. And yet none of these abundance based options are favored by conservatives because they are too busy with their diatribes about how liberals want to take away their guns.

        4. Tia Will

          Frankly

          Relaxed carry laws… allowing more law-abiding citizens to be where there is a need for defense.”

          Absolutely not. You may feel safer with law-abiding citizens carrying their weapons. What I see is that every single one of these mass murderers was a law-abiding citizen right up until when they started shooting. I see no reason why your subjective feeling of increased safety with a plethora of guns should trump my increased fear under the same circumstance.

           

        5. Frankly

          I guess that you haven’t been keeping up with the Planned Parenthood controversy where the conservative position is a scarcity of sex, a scarcity of birth control options, a scarcity of health care options for poor women.

          I think the argument is that there are adequate services available elsewhere and therefore we don’t need federal funding of PP.  But liberals want a scarcity of acceptance of resonable and moral restrictions on abortions.

          1. Don Shor

            the argument is that there are adequate services available elsewhere

            An argument put forth without the slightest evidence, or even attempt at evidence.

            liberals want a scarcity of acceptance of resonable and moral restrictions on abortions.

            Rhetorical legerdemain at its finest. Again, you’ve outdone yourself.

          2. Matt Williams

            Frankly said: “I think the argument is that there are adequate services available elsewhere and therefore we don’t need federal funding of PP.”

            Frankly, if you worked in the healthcare industry you would know that the above statement is almost completely false. Adequate services are not available elsewhere for huge portions of the American female populace. For women like my ex-wife and your wife access to adequate services is there, but for women without that kind of insurance coverage, many female reproductive health care providers will not provide the care unless the patient pays in full for the services as a self-pay patient before the services are provided.

      2. Frankly

        Frankly: Having poured through the research, I don’t know that any of those will treat this specific problem

        The specific problem being what?

        Assuming gun deaths per capita, then explain Switzerland.

        1. Frankly

          You mean after liberals complained about crazy people being locked up in asylums and instead be considered victims that have rights to decide their own care and handling?

          I say cast a wide net.  Those with mental health problems need help.

          I disagree with the “hopelessness” conveyed in this article.  There are over 200 classified forms of mental illness.  We should be able to profile those that pose a risk.   Every single one of the recent mass murders by gun get the “he was a really weird kid that recently seem to go over the edge.”

          But living in a free society comes at some cost.  There are things we can do to mitigate the risks of harm without destroying free society.

        2. Eric Gelber

          The specific problem being what?

          I’ll take a crack at a few of the specific problems with Frankly’s solutions:

          1. Gun rights: What does this mean?

           
          2. Gun safety training: If only the Oregon shooter had taken a gun safety class, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened?
           
          3. Databases and tracking and registration requirements: Try getting that past the NRA.
           
          4. Improved mental health services and controls: Aside from the faulty assumption that people with mental illness are more prone to violence or commit a disproportionate amount of gun violence, this is the favorite tactic of conservatives to divert attention from the real issue—absurdly easy access to assault weapons and other firearms. Conservatives’ unwillingness to fund community mental health services belies the sincerity of this supposed solution.
           
          5. Law enforcement personnel and more effective and advanced protocol and tools to help prevent gun crime: This is a vague, Trump-like solution.
           
          6. Harsher penalties for gun crime: Which firearm enhancements are insufficient? Which would you add? Are conservatives willing to fund the additional prisons this would require?
           
          7. More armed security personnel: Are we talking about militarizing schools, shopping malls?
           
          8. Relaxed carry laws… allowing more law-abiding citizens to be where there is a need for defense: AKA pouring gasoline on the fire.
           
          9. Better lock-down facilities at schools, with metal doors and bullet proof glass: Are conservatives willing to support increased taxes to fund this? Do we want to turn schools into armed fortresses?

        3. Frankly

           
          1. Gun rights: What does this mean?  Constitutionally-protect rights of US citizens to own firearms for their personal use and protection.
           
            
           
           2. Gun safety training: If only the Oregon shooter had taken a gun safety class, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened?  Talking about the other statistics for accidental death.
           
           
           3. Databases and tracking and registration requirements: Try getting that past the NRA.  If the left stopped with their agenda to ban guns, more voters would be supportive of this and the NRA would not be able to prevent it.
           
           
           
           4. Improved mental health services and controls: Aside from the faulty assumption that people with mental illness are more prone to violence or commit a disproportionate amount of gun violence, this is the favorite tactic of conservatives to divert attention from the real issue—absurdly easy access to assault weapons and other firearms. Conservatives’ unwillingness to fund community mental health services belies the sincerity of this supposed solution.  ALL the mass gun murders being exploited by leftists to ban guns have been committed by wackadoodles.  It isn’t that they are prone to violence is that some – depending on which of the 200 types of mental illness they suffer from – should not be allowed to purchase, own, carry or shoot a firearm until and unless they are cleared of their illness because otherwise they are unfit to do so. 
           
           
           
           5. Law enforcement personnel and more effective and advanced protocol and tools to help prevent gun crime: This is a vague, Trump-like solution.  Stop-and-frisk saves lives.  Do you want people safe, or only win your ideological arguments to feel good about yourself?
           
           
           
           6. Harsher penalties for gun crime: Which firearm enhancements are insufficient? Which would you add? Are conservatives willing to fund the additional prisons this would require?  Yes they would be happy to fund the extra prisons by cutting the Department of Education and the EPA.
           
           
           
           7. More armed security personnel: Are we talking about militarizing schools, shopping malls?  Do you want people safe, or only win your ideological arguments to feel good about yourself?
           
           
           
           8. Relaxed carry laws… allowing more law-abiding citizens to be where there is a need for defense: AKA pouring gasoline on the fire.  Tell the people in Switzerland that.
           
           
           
           9. Better lock-down facilities at schools, with metal doors and bullet proof glass: Are conservatives willing to support increased taxes to fund this? Do we want to turn schools into armed fortresses?  Do you want people safe, or only win your ideological arguments to feel good about yourself?

        4. Frankly

          If true, then gun safety training would have absolutely helped… especially the class that teaches to lock up all guns away from family members with mental health problems.

          I wonder if she was prone to rants of hate?

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t know, but it seems we keep running into this kind of problem. The Newtown shooter’s mother had a house full of guns as well and he had ready access to them, with loads of warning signs about emotional and mental problems. I don’t know what part of this ‘should’ be illegal, but it seems like something should.

  6. Frankly

    not completely.  there is evidence that concentration of mentally ill people does not correlate with gun violence.

    So, the President exploits THIS tragedy and all like it for a political move to implement more gun ownership restrictions.  And you then turn to ALL gun violence stats to back your opinion.

    Which means that YOU TOO are exploiting the tragedy for political gain.

    I find that reprehensible.

    If you want to talk about overall gun violence then why not exploit those events in Chicago where there are the most gun restrictions in the nation.

    I am in agreement with a national database and tighter registration rules.  I am not in support of bans of any type of gun currently legal.  And the ammo clip restriction is stupid, stupid, stupid… I can make any clip with my 3D printer.  In fact, 3D printing in general is going to make the gun ownership issue much more complicated, as in 5-10 years you will be able to own a low-cost 3D printer and 3D laser cutter to make the parts to assemble your own machine gun.  You will be able to download the plans from the Internet.

    1. Don Shor

      Frankly says:

      So, the President exploits THIS tragedy and all like it for a political move to implement more gun ownership restrictions.

      What is the President’s actual proposal?

      President Obama has unveiled a plan to address gun violence in the nation. The initiative consists of 23 executive actions and three presidential memoranda, most of which will require congressional approval. Many parts of the plan may have significant effects on states.

      The plan:
      Requires background checks for all gun sales and strengthens the background check system. This would include removing barriers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so that states may more freely share information about mental health issues involving potential gun purchasers.
      Provides states with monetary incentives—$20 million in fiscal year FY 2013 and a proposed $50 million in FY 2014—to share information so that records on criminal history and people prohibited from gun ownership due to mental health reasons are more available.
      Bans military-style assault weapons and limits magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds.
      Provides additional tools to law enforcement. The plan proposes a crackdown on gun trafficking by asking Congress to pass legislation that closes “loopholes” in gun trafficking laws and establishes strict penalties for “straw purchasers” who pass a background check and then pass guns on to prohibited people.
      Urges Congress to pass the administration’s $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 state and local police officers on the street to help deter gun crime.
      Maximizes efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime. The president calls upon the attorney general to work with U.S. attorneys across the country to determine gaps occurring in this area and where supplemental resources are appropriate.
      Provides training for “active shooter” situations to 14,000 law enforcement, first responders and school officials.
      Directs the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a statement to health care providers that they are not prohibited by federal law from reporting threats of violence to the proper authorities.
      Launches a national gun safety campaign to encourage responsible gun ownership and authorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission to examine issues relating to gun safety locks.
      Helps schools invest in safety. The president’s plan calls for more school resource officers and counselors in all schools through the Community Oriented Policing Services hiring program. The plan also calls for the federal government to assist schools in developing emergency management plans.
      Improves mental health awareness through enhanced teacher training and referrals for treatment. The plan calls for the training of 5,000 additional mental health professionals nationwide. The plan also calls for coverage of mental health treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

      http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/summary-president-obama-gun-proposals.aspx

      1. Frankly

        Bans military-style assault weapons and limits magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds.

        Nope.  Idiocy.  For one thing, it would give people a false sense that they are safer when they would not be.  “military-style” is way too vague.  There are high powered hunting guns that are semi-auto and light-weight. Many hunter use AK-style firearms to hunt.

        Guns do not kill people, people do.  Cars do not kill people, people do.  Knives do not kill people, people do.   Bombs do not kill people, people do.   I’m sure you get the point…

        1. Don Shor

          So move on to the other dozen or so points in the president’s proposal. This is irrelevant and a largely trivial part of the legislative remedies that are being considered. Maybe it’s “idiocy” to focus on those types of weapons and magazines. So what? There are lots of other points in there. I could not care less about what happens to “military-style assault weapons” and magazines, but if that is the only thing you choose to comment on — then obviously you do not actually care to work on solutions. You just want to criticize. So you’re part of the problem.

          Many hunter use AK-style firearms to hunt.

          Right. So they might be slightly inconvenienced as they seek alternative weapons. I am aware that the gun manufacturers promptly modify their designs to skirt any new limits. SO WHAT?

    2. Anon

      I also am in agreement with a national database (I think – not sure now, with all the computer hacking of gov’t sites going on) and tighter registration rules.  Also like the idea of mandatory safety classes prior to gun licensing.  Want ban on assault weapons.  Interesting point about ammo clip restriction.  Makes me wonder if getting a gun gets too complicated, if we don’t see a rise in bombings a la Timothy McVeigh.  Just pondering…

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        I don’t think a database will accomplish much until after everyone currently alive has died and the contents of the database come from more coercive gun purchase regulations (which might also fail). Look at how difficult it is to get people to simply comply with a census every ten years.

    3. Napoleon Pig IV

      Good point about 3D printing. It’s already feasible for people who know what they’re doing, and no government can ultimately control the flow of information permanently.

      1. Don Shor

        Another pointless irrelevance to simply rhetorically sidetrack any discussion of actual solutions. 3D printers cost money and require knowledge to operate. They aren’t exactly in common usage right now. Yes, someday they might be a factor. But to bring it up in the discussion simply is another excuse to NOT discuss ways to reduce gun violence perpetrate by unbalanced individuals. It seems that some folks will do anything to deflect these discussions away from possible legislative remedies.

        1. Frankly

          Wow.  Put your head deeply in sand why don’t you?

          I am very family with 3D printing technology and also 2D laser and water cutting technology.  And you are absolutely 100% wrong and out of your element in this topic.

          The price of personal maker devices… including CMC controlled milling machines, are falling faster than you can imagine and it won’t be long until they are in the average well-equipped home shop.  And before that, they will be used by well-funded bad people to supply other bad people with guns.  In fact, this will happen regardless of Obama and Dem’s success exploiting gun tragedies to restrict more and more gun ownership.

          Sounds to me like you are just throwing a bit of a mental tantrum on this because it is such and inconvenient truth to your political position.

          5-10 years Don.  Even if it is 15 years or even 20 years, it is absolutely relevant to the discussion.  Ban, ban, ban… how can you ban everything?  You can’t.  Technology advances and you lose your the ability to satiate your impulse for lineal control in the liberal dystopia of a permission society.

          1. Don Shor

            I’m waiting for you to actually talk about solutions. I’m not talking about banning anything. I don’t really care if they try to ban some semi-assault whatever weapons. I don’t really care if they try to ban magazines of a certain size. I understand the logic, think it is faulty, but think it is a relatively trivial part of whatever legislative solution that will be crafted. There is bipartisan support, support among a huge majority of Americans, for various gun regulation proposals.
            I’m not “throwing a… tantrum.” I don’t know why you say stuff like that. My “political position” is that legislation requires compromise, that there are two parties, and that whatever comes forth will involve something each side doesn’t really like. I prefer pragmatic solutions and would like to focus on
            — the ready availability of guns to people like the guy in Oregon and the others who have done these shooting sprees;
            — the lack of informational infrastructure available to law enforcement that might help them be more effective and efficient in enforcing current laws;
            — the lack of funding and resources for dealing with mental illness in general, and these dangerous mentally ill (mostly) young men in particular.
            If 3d printers are part of the problem, then we can deal with that in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years (you seem to have chosen all of those time frames). Possession of a homemade gun might possibly be something we’ll want to limit, eh? An example: if you go and buy 500 lbs. of ammonium nitrate nowadays, pretty good chance someone from a federal agency will be in touch. Before Oklahoma City that didn’t happen.

            lineal control in the liberal dystopia of a permission society.

            On gun control issues, I am definitely not a liberal.

      2. Napoleon Pig IV

        Don, I know a 12 year old kid who built a 3D printer from scratch. I also know multiple teenagers with very sophisticated programming skills. I don’t think the day of cheap and easy guns via 3D printing is as far off as you hope.

      3. Napoleon Pig IV

        Don Shor

        My point is that focusing on devices (guns, printers, bombs, whatever) is a waste of time. A focus on causes is the only solution (mental health, etc.). Solutions must not tread on individual freedom or they won’t work – ever. That is my point.

        1. hpierce

          And, to the point(s) you just articulated, I agree completely.

          If we do not look at/deal with root causes, we spin our wheels.

          Don… if you want to get rid of bamboo, do you simply cut it off at ground level year after year?

          1. Don Shor

            In the long run it will die out if you do that consistently and don’t allow it to re-establish. It’s more effective to dig it out.

        2. hpierce

          Frankly, if there is a competition for ‘best’ mixed metaphor, you have my vote!  Where do I send the nomination papers? (if I knew how to do a winking emoticon, it would be here)

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

        3. Tia Will

          Napoleon

          I am in agreement with you about addressing causes. But I think that you, like many others put far too much emphasis on mental health. Calling someone a “wackadoodle” as another poster did is useless and a needless distraction. The majority of shooters have not had a diagnosis of a mental illness. Just because the neighbors retrospectively label someone as odd, or off, does not meant that they had a diagnosable illness. And in cases like that of Dylan Storm we have definite evidence in his own words that his goal was clear, hate based racism. I don’t know how one eradicates hatred from a society, but that seems like a more productive place to start to me.

        4. Napoleon Pig IV

          Tia

          I partially agree with you, but I do think that mental health services are woefully lacking, as is tolerance and empathy for those with mental health challenges. There is a significant stigma in many circles associated with admitting the need for the services of a psychologist or psychiatrist, and there are big gaps in education about diseases of the brain versus the rest of the body – which lead to misunderstanding and prejudice, further hindering a person from openly seeking help..

          As for hate, I suppose there is little that can be done other than the slow, incremental progress that education should eventually achieve. However, I’ve known a lot of people who “hate,” but would never consider murder. I think Dylan Storm was mentally ill, whether properly diagnosed or not.

          I know there is certainly no easy solution, but increased funding for mental health services and education would be a start worth making.

  7. Anon

    Frankly: “And my last point… when we strip out the gun murders by gang bangers, the gun death statistics in the US become lower than many other comparable countries.

    Another good point – how much are the formation of gangs contributing to crime in America?  Perhaps that is the problem that needs to be addressed first and foremost.  Many inner city schools do not have after school programs, kids from low income families are brought up in drug infested projects where dealing is a way of life, etc.

  8. DurantFan

    “….a mass shooting is unlikely to be linked to either the availability of guns or the overall crime rate – meaning that it is a separate phenomenon…””

    Mass shootings are a separate phenomenon because they often occur under a separate and unique setting. This setting is a weapons free zone.  Common weapons free zones include controlled areas such as movie theaters and  academic campuses where people forfeit the right to self-protect.  When weapons free zones do not provide adequate protection for attendees (customers, students, faculty, and staff, etc.), they are creating “killing fields” for deranged weapons carriers. Under these unique conditions, it seems reasonable that responsible parties creating weapons free zones should provide adequate and responsible protection (properly cleared and trained armed security) to minimize the potential for a mass killing on site.

  9. Grant Acosta

    For those who say if we ban guns, criminals will find another way to do harm, consider this.  The same day as the Sandy Hook massacre, a man in China attacked an elementary school with a knife.  The most notable difference:  in the China attack, 22 kids were injured, but all SURVIVED;  at Sandy Hook, every single kid who was hit by a bullet DIED.

     

    The problem is that the guns have become too powerful.  You can’t tell me any private citizen needs a military-grade assault weapon.  If you need that to hunt, you are a lousy hunter!

     

    Yes, the bad guys will find another way, but the chances of survival almost certainly favor victims whose attackers have knives rather than guns

    1. Frankly

      This is not a good argument.  Tell the KetMoRee victim that knives are less dangerous.  Tell the hero of the Oregon school shooting that took seven bullets to help save class mates that guns are more deadly.  Certainly a knife-wielding killer would have a harder time killing adult males and some females effective at fighting back.  But not children.  A gun also makes a loud bang thereby alerting nearby people that they need to flee or take cover.

      The French train terrorist that was taken down by the three American heroes did as much human damage with a box-cutter as he did his AK.  The 9-11 terrorists did all their carnage with box-cutters.

      But bad guys will get guns.  You are talking about restricting guns from wackadoodles by taking away a Constitutional-protected right of law abiding and able-minded citizens to own guns.   So you disadvantage the law-abiding from being able to protect themselves from the bad guys that would break the law to have a gun to use for crime.

      The problem is a wackadoodle problem, not a gun problem.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “This is not a good argument.  Tell the KetMoRee victim that knives are less dangerous.”

        speaking of not a good argument.  i think the argument was that the survival rate for a knife attack was higher than for a gun attack.  that’s an empirically verifiable claim.  you use an anecdote to attempt to refute it.

        1. Frankly

          Like more cars and more car deaths.  Or more people and more people deaths?

          It is not MORE GUNS.  It is more people using guns to kill other people. You could have 10x the number of guns and unless there are more people using them to kill other people, there would be no “statistics” to talk about.

          And what about Switzerland?

          1. Don Shor

            An interesting interview: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/caused-dramatic-tipping-point-deadly-shootings/

            EDWARD FLYNN, Chief, Mailwaukee Police Department: Well, we’re seeing a number of different dynamics playing out.

            Certainly, one of the things we have seen is a dramatic increase in the use of firearms, particularly semiautomatic pistols, in our violent deaths. We have seen that our shootings are up significantly, our homicides are up dramatically. Over 85 percent of our homicides are committed with firearms, and, of those, over 85 percent are committed with semiautomatic pistols.

            We have recently passed a ludicrously weak gun law that allowed basically concealed carry permits to be granted to people who meet the statutory definition of career criminals. We have also got a situation where no matter how many times you are arrested for carrying a gun illegally, it remains a misdemeanor, even though a second offense for carrying marijuana can be prosecuted as a felony.

            So very weak and relatively recent gun laws are certainly a major contributor to our dramatic spike in firearms-related violence.

            COL. SAM DOTSON, Chief, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department: I’m seeing exactly the same thing that they’re seeing in Milwaukee, the availability of guns.

            We have a constitutional amendment in our state that was passed within the last year that makes it an inalienable right to have a gun. We have had courts that have declined to prosecute convicted felons that we arrest with guns. I’m seeing exactly the same thing, high-capacity magazines, a willingness to use the guns, and a judiciary that sometimes doesn’t follow through on the prosecution.

            We had research done from a university here. Of about 250 cases of unlawful use of a weapon, over 61 percent of those cases got probation. That means those people are right back out on the street committing crimes.

        2. Frankly

          Thanks Don.  This meets my expectation of one root cause… too weak gun crime laws and punishment.

          Let’s say hypothetically we implement a zero tolerance gun use law.  Use a gun in the commission of a felony crime and get mandatory life in prison sentence.

          That would solve most of the gang banger gun crime… of course they would just start using knives and other weapons… but it would be hard for them to kill any innocent young school kids doing their homework in a drive-by knife fight.

          Also think we need more stop and frisk in areas where there is high gun violence.

          My guess is that the social justice crusaders would not allow either… preferring instead to trample on the rights of other law-abiding people to take their ability to own a gun.

        3. Jim Frame

          Use a gun in the commission of a felony crime and get mandatory life in prison sentence. That would solve most of the gang banger gun crime.

           

          Aside from the proportionality problem — using an oversized hammer in response to every problem, regardless of size — the cost would kill us.  We need to reduce prison populations, not expand them dramatically.

        4. hpierce

          Kinda agree with Jim Frame… displaying or threatening with a gun in the commission of a felony should not generate a life sentence.  Yeah, add a few years to the punishment beyond the underlying felony.  Maybe.  Gun might be empty, part of a “bluff”.

          Jim has a pertinent point on societal costs.

          Am thinking (momentarily) that it was too bad that Topete and the Aurora theater shooters were ‘taken alive’. But only momentarily.  Yet financially, if those two (and others) did what the Oregon jerk did, the cost is much less to society.

    2. DurantFan

      Frankly, I appreciate your solid response to Mr. Acosta’s article (above).  A knife used by a “wackadoodle” (to use your word) in a weapons free zone can produce “mass woundings” but less deaths than an attack with a gun  (as described in Mr. Acosta’s unique example).  However, both attacks are atrocious, and can produce tragic outcomes (mortalities) if used in future attacks .  The material point here is that both events occurred in  weapons free zones, and the victims in both cases should have been protected!.   No defensive weapons (be they guns or knives) in weapons free zones ultimately result in more crime and mortality!

  10. TrueBlueDevil

    The Patriot Post had this viewpoint:

    “In regard to Obama’s assertion that “we should politicize this,” it is telling that, after listing several mass shootings that met his “politicization” criterion, he did not mention the armed jihadist assaults at two other gun free installations on his watch: Fort Hood, Texas, and the recent murder of five military personnel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After the Chattanooga assault on July 16, it took Obama five days to order flags to half staff, and even then he did so reluctantly. But after the Oregon assault, he ordered flags down within 24 hours — to bolster his “politicized” gun control agenda. Of course, the “commander in chief” also did not mention the death of 10 Americans in Afghanistanwho lost their lives in a plane crash three hours before his Thursday press conference. Of course, mentioning them would undermine his political pivot away from his latestMiddle East failures.”

    http://patriotpost.us/posts/38027

    I think this is political theater to cover for The Bear (Russia) marching over ISIS in Syria. Recent reports claim they are having a devastating effect on ISIS in less than 1 week.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      An appropriate warning. Recall the term “psikhushka,” which referred to the psychiatric hospitals used by the soviets to imprison and intimidate political prisoners. Their system was bad, but isn’t it interesting that the successor government to that system is the one where an American patriot by the name of Edward Snowden was able to find refuge?

      Clearly a serious focus on mental health is important and long overdue, and justifies the expenditure of significant public resources. But, anything the government does requires careful oversight. “Eternal vigilance,” so to say.

  11. tribeUSA

    DG–good article with a lot of valuable statistics; however there is a problem with the implied interpretation of some of the statistics:

    “There are two statistics that play against the party line for gun advocates. The first is that more guns correlates to more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center found substantial evidence to back that up and the finding holds both across countries and states.”

    The implication in the article is that more guns lead to more homicides.

    However another way to interpret this data is that in more dangerous areas with higher rates of violent crime, people are more likely to buy guns to protect themselves and their families. In such dangerous areas, it could be that such actions help to deter many violent crimes from being  attempted; such that the crime rate could be even higher if people had no means to protect themselves (as Frankly points out in Australia, wherein violent crime rate actually increased substantially after stringent gun ownership regulations were implemented). In your discussion of gun ownership and homicide rates in the southeast, you neglect completely to mention the relative rates of violent crime (without guns as well as with guns) in the southeast as compared to the rest of the country. For example, people who live in rural areas are much more likely to own guns than people who live in towns and cities; because in rural areas there are not nearby neighbors or nearby police who could witness and respond quickly to a violent situation; so people in rural areas take some responsibility for protecting themselves by learning to use and purchasing a gun.

    That said, otherwise a pretty good article (and yes I’m in favor of well-crafted moderate gun  regulations that would make it more difficult for the mentally ill and criminals to get ahold of guns).

      1. hpierce

        Well, I don’t care much about ownership… I care about bad uses.  Except for the gang culture, most cultures, even if they own guns, are not the problem.

        The core/root problems are criminality and/or MH.

  12. hpierce

    Just thought of this… for the Sandy Hook, Oregon shootings, the death penalty is definitely no deterrence.  ‘The State” did not execute those shooters.

    1. Clem Kadiddlehopper

      Guns are not the problem. Its drugs and mental illness.

      John Hinckley (1981) John Hinckley, age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.

      Laurie Dann (1988) In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, IL, killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the anti-depressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.

      Patrick Purdy (1989) Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, CA, in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptvine, an anti-depressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.

      Joseph T. Wesbecker (1989) In another famous case, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine. Prozac maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.

      Kurt Danysh (1996) Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danvsh’s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done.” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”

      Michael Carneal (1997) In Paducah, KY, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.

      Kip Kinkel (1998) Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.

      Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (1999) Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox. Like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of anti-depressant drug called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999, during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvav Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s one in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.

      Larry Gene Ashbrook (1999) On Sept. 15, 1999, Larry Gene Ashbrook murdered seven people and injured a further seven at a concert by Christian Rock group Forty Days at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Ashbrook then committed suicide. A doctor had prescribed the anti-depressant drug Prozac for Larry Gene Ashbrook, but investigators are unsure whether he was taking it when he killed seven people and then himself in a Fort Worth church last week, police said on Monday. Fort Worth’s Lt. Mark Krey, who is heading the investigation into the largest mass shooting in the city’s history, said police have found a Prozac vial in Ashbrook’s name and want to ask doctors why it was prescribed.

      Michael McDermott (2000) The hulking computer technician accused of gunning down seven of his co-workers at a Wakefield high tech firm this week suffered from a host of mental illnesses – including schizophrenia – for which he was taking a trio of anti-depressants, a source told the Herald yesterday. “He’s got some serious psychological issues and a long (psychiatric) history,” the source said of 42-year-old Michael “Mucko” McDermott. McDermott, a divorced Navy veteran from Marshfield who lived most recently in Haverhill, suffered from severe depression, paranoia and schizophrenia, and had been in psychiatric treatment for some time, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity. To cope with his mental disorders, McDermott was prescribed several Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs are designed to increase brain serotonin. Low levels of brain serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.

      Christopher Pittman (2001) 12-year-old Christopher Pittman struggled in court to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability he’d ever known in his turbulent life. “When I was lying in my bed that night,’ he testified, “I couldn’t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them.” Christopher had been angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept and then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them. “I got up, got the gun, and I went upstairs and I pulled the trigger,” he recalled. “Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show. You know what is going to happen, but you can’t do anything to stop it.” Pittman’s lawyers would later argue that the boy had been a victim of “involuntary intoxication” since his doctors had him taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft just prior to the murders. Paxil’s known adverse drug reactions according to the drug’s FDA approved label include mania, insomnia, anxiety, agitation, confusion, amnesia, depression, paranoid reaction, psychosis, hostility, delirium, hallucinations, abnormal thinking, depersonalization and lack of emotion, among others.

      Andrea Yates (2001) Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in a bathtub. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children. She had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years. At her 2006 murder re-trial (after a 2002 guilty verdict was overturned on appeal), Yates’ longtime friend Debbie Holmes testified: “She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession?” And Dr. George Ringhoiz, after evaluating Yates for two days, recounted an experience she had after the birth of her first child: ”What she described was feeling a presence … Satan … telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah,” Ringhoiz said, adding that Yates’ delusion at the time of the bathtub murders was not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan. Yates had been taking the anti-depressant Effexor.

      In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.” The Medical Accountability Network, a private nonprofit focused on medical ethics issues, publicly criticized Wyeth, saying Effexor’s “homicidal ideation” risk wasn’t well-publicized and that Wyeth failed to send letters to doctors or issue warning labels announcing the change. And what exactly does “rare” mean in the phrase “rare adverse events?” The FDA defines it as occurring in less than one in 1.000 people. But since that same year 19.2 million prescriptions for Effexor were filled in the U.S., statistically that means thousands of Americans might experience “homicidal ideation” – murderous thoughts -as a result of taking just this one brand of anti-depressant drug. Effexor is Wyeth’s best-selling drug, by the way, which in one recent year brought in over $3 billion in sales, accounting for almost a fifth of the company’s annual revenues.

      Jeff Weise (2005) In 2005, 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.

      Terry Michael Ratzmann (2005) Terry Michael Ratzmann killed seven members of the Living Church of God (LCG) before committing suicide at a Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield, WI in 2005. On the verge of losing his job as a computer technician with a placement firm, Ratzmann was known to suffer from bouts of depression, and was reportedly infuriated by a sermon the minister had given two weeks earlier. Ratzmann’s autopsy revealed that he was suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis very often results in hypothyroidism with bouts of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include Myxedematous psychosis, weight gain, depression, mania, sensitivity to heat and cold, paresthesia, fatigue, panic attacks, bradycardia, tachycardia, high cholesterol, reactive hypoglycemia, constipation, migraines, muscle weakness, cramps, memory loss, infertility and hair loss.

      Seung-Hui Cho (2007) Seung-Hui Cho was a Korean spree killer who killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. He was a senior-level undergraduate student at the university. The shooting rampage came to be known as the “Virginia Tech massacre.” Cho later committed suicide after law enforcement officers breached the doors of the building where the majority of the shooting had taken place. His body is buried in Fairfax, Va., In middle school, he was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder known as Selective Mutism, as well as major depressive disorder. After this diagnosis he began receiving treatment and continued to receive therapy and special education support until his junior year of high school. During Cho’s last two years at Virginia Tech, several instances of his abnormal behavior, as well as plays and other writings he submitted containing references to violence, caused concern among teachers and classmates. In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine convened a panel consisting of various officials and experts to investigate and examine the response and handling of issues related to the shootings. The panel released its final report in August 2007, devoting more than 30 pages to detailing Cho’s troubled history. In the report, the panel criticized the failure of the educators and mental health professionals who came into contact with Cho during his college years to notice his deteriorating condition and help him. Like the perpetrators of both the Columbine and Jokela school massacres, Cho was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Prozac prior to his rampage, a substance suspected by Peter Breggin and David Healy of leading to suicidal behaviors.

      Robert Hawkins (2007) Robert Hawkins also had problems controlling his temper, as outcast-types with no anchor tying them to the rest of society sometimes do. Robert Hawkins had a prescription for and was taking anti-depressants. Maribel Rodriguez said her son’s life had been a challenge from the start. She divorced Hawkins’ father when the boy was 3-years-old, she said, and by 5 he was taking prescription Ritalin and Zoloft. He became a ward of the state in 2002 after apparently threatening his stepmother. He was moved through facilities and foster homes for several years, until he was released in 2005. Two weeks before the shooting rampage, Hawkins parted ways with his girlfriend. Hawkins killed eight people before turning a gun on himself and committing suicide.

      Steven Kazmierczak (2008) Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing six and wounding 21. The gunman shot and killed himself before police arrived. Jessica Baty said that her boyfriend of two years had been taking Xanax, used to treat anxiety and Ambien, a sleep agent, as well as the anti-depressant Prozac. Baty said the psychiatrist prescribed the medications, a fact that made her so “nervous” that she tried to persuade Kazmierczak to stop taking one of the drugs. She said he had stopped taking the anti-depressant three weeks before the Valentine’s Day rampage on the NIU campus in DeKalb, Illinois, which left five students dead and 16 wounded. He then killed himself. Kazmierczak told her he had stopped taking the anti-depressant “because it made him feel like a zombie,” she said during the interview Sunday at her parents’ house in Wonder Lake, Il. “He wasn’t acting erratic. He was just a little quicker to get annoyed.” Kazmierczak had a history of mental illness and revered figures like Adolf Hitler and Ted Bundy. Steven Kazmierczak even wore a tattoo depicting Jigsaw, the Saw films’ sadistic narrator, and had a history of attempted suicide. NIU police say they never got wind of such warnings. “How could it be a red flag if it never came to us?” said the university’s police chief. But David Vann, who culled the information on Kazmierczak for a book about the shootings said the writing was on the wall. Kazmierczak had been hospitalized several times for mental illness and was known as “Strange Steve” by roommates. “What does a mass murderer have to do to get noticed?” asked Vann.

      Robert Stewart (2009) Eight people died in a shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, NC. The gunman, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, was targeting his estranged wife who worked at the home and survived. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison. Richard Wagner, a toxicologist with the State Bureau of Investigations, testified that blood samples taken from Robert Stewart hours after the shooting show he had several prescription drugs in his system. Wagner told jurors Stewart was reported to have the antidepressant Lexipro, sleep-aid Ambien, Benadryl, and possibly Xanax in his blood system on March 29, 2009. Wagner said he was unable to determine the amount of each drug that was found in Stewart’s blood stream because the time these drugs can stay in a person’s system can vary.

      Jared Loughner (2011) Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head when 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire on an event she was holding at a Safeway market in Tucson, AZ. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Giffords’ staffers, and a 9-year-old girl. 19 people were shot. Loughner has been sentenced to seven life terms plus 140 years, without parole. Loughner’s plea spares him the death penalty and came soon after a federal judge found that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia had made the 23-year-old college dropout competent to understand the gravity of the charges and assist in his defense.

      Eduardo Sencion (2011) Eduardo Sencion entered an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, Nev., and shot 12 people. Five died, including three National Guard members. According to CBS affiliate KTVN, the shooter’s motive was unclear, but family members said he had mental issues. He had never been in the military and had no known affiliation with anyone inside the restaurant. Investigators said his family first became aware of mental health issues when Sencion complained about being harassed by co-workers. He sought treatment when his employer told the family he was becoming increasing paranoid. Family members said Sencion took his medication, and all but one of his mental health commitments were voluntary. The report did not say how many times Sencion was hospitalized. But Sencion told his family he avoided intimate relationships because he feared “he would father a child and pass along his illness.” He immersed himself in the Bible, and gave his mother keys to his gun safe, warning her he was “getting sick.”He thought people were demons trying to hurt him, and began hearing voices telling him to do “bad things” to people. Sencion’s medications were changed this summer. About a month later, he approached a priest in the street and asked him for help, telling the priest, “They’re telling me to do bad things.” The night before the shootings, Sencion, who lived with family members, took his medication at 10 p.m. Everything appeared normal the next morning. His last comment to his family was, “I should have gone to work today.”

      Scott Evans Dekraai (2012) Eight people died in a shooting at Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, Calif. The gunman, 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed six women and two men dead, while just one woman survived. It was Orange County’s deadliest mass killing. At Dekraai’s Oct. 14 arraignment hearing, which at the request of defense attorney Robert Curtis was continued to Nov. 29 so he would have more time to prepare, the lawyer asked Judge Erick L. Larsh to order jail officials to give his client a prescribed anti-psychotic medicine and access to a “spinal cord stimulator” he has needed since his 2007 boat accident. Larsh instead ordered a medical evaluation of Dekraai to see what medicine he might need, leaving it up to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department jailers to decide what was appropriate.

      Thomas “TJ” Lane (2012) Three students were killed by Thomas “TJ” Lane, another student, in a rampage at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio. Three others were injured. In hindsight, it is also easy to see how violence was part of his family. During his infancy, his parents Thomas Lane Jr. and Sara Nolan were reportedly each charged with domestic abuse against each other. Later arrest charges for Thomas Lane Jr. include assaulting a police officer, domestic abuse against another woman who fathered his children and attempted murder. The attempted-murder charge was dropped, but in 2002-03 he served eight months of a four-year sentence for strangling a woman until she lost consciousness, holding her face under running water and bashing her head against a wall. By the time TJ Lane was in elementary school, he was living with his maternal grandparents, Jack and Carol Nolan, who had also taken in his older brother Adam Nolan and a sister. But violence followed him there too. Records indicate that police arrested Adam, 19, multiple times for disorderly conduct, theft and other crimes related to his abuse of prescription drugs and heroin, including several overdoses. (Adam apparently was released into the custody of his grandparents who reportedly said they would try to get him treatment.) On Dec. 9, 2009, during his parents’ divorce proceedings, Lane and Nolan, then 15 and 16, were arrested for assault, after getting into a fight with an uncle who had gone to the house.

      Ian Stawicki (2012) Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, Wash., killing five and himself after a citywide manhunt. The father of the sole surviving victim, the cafe’s chef, told Reuters that police detectives had said the gunman was known to have had “psychiatric problems” and caused a disturbance at the coffee house a few days earlier. The sole surviving victim was identified as Leonard Meuse, 46, the cafe chef, who was hit by at least one bullet that pierced a lung, grazed his liver and a kidney but missed his heart, his father, Raymond Meuse, told Reuters. The gunman, he said, “was a person who has psychiatric problems and had been disruptive there (at the cafe) a few days earlier, detectives told me.”

      James Holmes (2012) During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater. The Denver Post reported Jan. 7 that, according to newly released court papers, police removed a number of prescription medication bottles – four, to be exact – from Holmes’ apartment shortly after clearing it of explosives in the days following the July 20 shootings. They also seized immunization records. “The disclosures come in a back-and-forth between prosecutors and defense attorneys over whether those items should be subject to doctor-patient confidentiality. The judge ultimately ruled in October that prosecutors could keep the items,” the paper said, adding that the names of the medications had been redacted from court documents. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been following the correlation between these dangerous psychotropic drugs and mass murder. After all, earlier reports confirmed that Holmes was indeed being seen by a psychiatrist [http://www.nytimes.com], so there’s a better-than-average chance that he, too was on one of these dangerous medications. With a fix for “altering his state of mind,” the ‘Batman shooter’ was heavily hooked on the prescription painkiller Vicodin. Holmes even reportedly dosed up on a pharmaceutical cocktail just before the shooting. Side effects of Vicodin use, even at ‘recommended’ levels which Holmes likely far exceeded, include ‘altered mental states’ and ‘unusual thoughts or behavior.’

      Andrew Engeldinger (2012) Five were shot to death by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minn. Three others were wounded. Engeldinger went on a rampage after losing his job, ultimately killing himself. A police search of the home of Accent Signage Systems shooter Andrew Engeldinger found medications commonly prescribed for depression and insomnia, according to a Minneapolis Police Department report. Police found prescription bottles for two anti-depressant medications. Mirtazapine and Trazodone, and for Temazepam, a medication used to treat insomnia, in Engeldinger’s home. They also found many empty prescription bottles, including 18 empty prescription bottles for a generic form of the anti-depressant drug Wellbutrin. According to the police report, all of the prescriptions bottles bore Engeldinger’s name.

      Adam Lanza (2012) On Friday morning, 27 people were reportedly shot and killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. According to sources, 18 of these casualties were children. New York Magazine wrote a piece about shooter Adam Lanza’s supposed “aspergers” syndrome. Inside the piece though, they report Adam Lanza’s uncle said the boy was prescribed Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine.

      In fact, Fanapt was dropped by its first producer, picked up by another, initially rejected by the FDA, then later picked up and mass produced. The adverse side-effect is said to be “infrequent,” but still it exists, and can’t be ignored. The reaction invoked by the drug in some people is reminiscent of the Jeffrey R. MacDonald case, where a Green Beret slaughtered his entire family and then fabricated a story about a marauding troop of “hopped up hippies.” MacDonald though, had Eskatrol in his system, a weight-loss amphetamine that’s since been banned in part for its side effects of psychotic behavior and aggression.

      These drugs are not the only ones that can cause the opposite of their desired effect. Several anti-depressant medications are also restricted to adults, for the depression they inspire in kids rather than eliminate.

      Ambien: depression, anxiety, aggression, agitation, confusion, unusual thoughts, hallucinations, memory problems, changes in personality, risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger, or thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself; daytime drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, feeling “drugged” or light-headed.

      Amitriptvine: You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an anti-depressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

      Anafranil: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

      Fanapt: restlessness, aggression, and delusion have been reported frequently. Hostility, decreased libido, paranoia, anorgasmia, confusional state, mania, catatonia, mood swings. panic attack, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, delirium, polydipsia psychogenic, impulse-control disorder, and major depression have been reported infrequently.

      Lexipro: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

      Lithium: hallucinations, seizure (blackout or convulsions.)

      Luvox: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

      Mirtazapine: anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

      Paxil: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about  suicide or hurting yourself, agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination, fainting, headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.

      Prozac: headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.

      Ritalin: aggression, restlessness, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics (muscle twitches); dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure.)

      Thorazine: unusual thoughts or behavior; feeling restless, jittery, or agitated.

      Trazodone: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself; extreme mood swings, restlessness, or sleep problems; agitation, hallucinations, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination.

      Temazepam: confusion, slurred speech, unusual thoughts or behavior; hallucinations, agitation, aggression; thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.

      Valium: (diazepam): confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior; unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger; depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself; hyperactivity, agitation, aggression, hostility.

      Venlafaxine: (the active ingredient contained in Effexor): agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination.

      Vicodin: confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior; anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness; headache, mood changes.

      Wellbutrin: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

      Xanax: depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger; confusion, hyperactivity, agitation, hostility, hallucinations.

      Zoloft: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

        1. Davis Progressive

          except that you’re still stuck in the wrong place here.  first, even with his long list, you’re only talking less than 30 people over a 30-plus year period.  so you’re not explaining the behavior, you’re just finding perhaps a common thread with those individuals.  moreover, you’re stuck with a conundrum not explained here – why are mass shooting incidents going up while gun possession and crime rates are going down.  mental illness alone doesn’t explain that, because you’re talking about the tiniest of fractions of mentally ill people on that list.  i bet, and this is a guess pulled from my behind, you could find 100 people, maybe 1000 people, maybe far more who have the exact same symptoms who didn’t commit mass murder.  so you’re still locked into the rare event explanation using a fairly common affliction.

      1. Don Shor

        Guns are not the problem. Its drugs and mental illness.

        People with certain mental illnesses, on certain drugs, having access to guns is the problem in some instances.

        1. Davis Progressive

          but not every person with a mental illness becomes a mass shooter.  in fact, they are exceedingly rare.  so, it’s a case of necessary but not sufficient.  that’s been my point that you refuse to address.

    2. hpierce

      Uh, Clem, did you not pick up on the fact that I agree with you?  I focussed on MH, not drugs, but for many drugs, they are definitely intertwined.

  13. Tia Will

    Clem

    Guns are not the problem. Its drugs and mental illness”

    I do not dispute any of the factual information that you have cited. I strongly dispute your conclusion.

    What you have done is a great example of the limitations of dichotomous thinking. Because one factor plays a role in certain cases, you have decided that it must be the only factor in all cases. I will provide a medical example of just how dangerous this kind of thinking can be.

    When an individual with diabetes has an infection, they are at much higher risk of developing life threatening sepsis than is an individual who does not have diabetes. A doctor would be clearly endangering the well being of their patient if they were to claim “diabetes is not the problem. Its the bacteria.” While they are technically correct that the bacteria is the cause of the infection, if they do not address the out of control diabetes, they may well have consigned their patient to die because they refused to address a confounding issue.

    I believe that problems should be addressed holistically with all contributing factors addressed. Your assertion precludes this approach.

    1. hpierce

      Actually, Tia, it is “root cause” thinking.  Guns are the ‘bacteria’ you referred to in your post.  For someone with uncontrolled diabetes, I understand that fungal infections are also a risk (knives?  bombs?). You seem to be the doctor (your analogy) who focuses on the ‘bacteria’, with little reference to the diabetes.  Your posts on the subject to date show little “holistic” logic.

      I appreciate your overall approach to need to deal with the ‘gun thing’ (and as I’ve said repeatedly before, that does need work, but not to the extent of bans), but guns are NOT the ‘root cause’.

      1. Frankly

        Great response.

        It is amazing to me the level of creative mental gymnastics that can be drummed up in desperation to cling to a view clearly challenged.

        This reminds me of Johnathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind where he says people primarily debate to win, not to learn and exchange ideas and reach new conclusions.

        It is more interesting to me when I see this occur with people that opine of a non-competitive, 100% cooperative collectivist utopia.

        Clem does a fantastic job with real evidence that mental health and drugs in fact play a primary role in these gun murder tragedies, but since this evidence is inconvenient to a worldview that favors taking gun rights away from everyone, there is a great effort to contort in response to deflect and ignore the evidence.

        What I love about this, and one the reasons that I blog, is that it is illustrative to those that read how irrational and unreasonably stubborn some people and some views are.

        1. Don Shor

          Clem does a fantastic job with real evidence that mental health and drugs in fact play a primary role in these gun murder tragedies,

          And those people having access to guns. That seems so obvious that it would hardly need saying.

          it is illustrative to those that read how irrational and unreasonably stubborn some people and some views are.

          It is typical to oversimplify complex situations. There are multiple factors. Citing two of them doesn’t eliminate the other factors.
          In at least two instances now we have disturbed young men sharing a house with a mother whose attitude towards guns is borderline delusional, and with ready access to an arsenal with which they could commit horrific acts of murder. The guns are clearly part of the problem.

        2. Davis Progressive

          frankly: clem’s work not withstanding, it’s not data, it’s a collection of anecdotes strung together.  there is no way to analyze the non-events.

        3. Frankly

          The guns are clearly part of the problem.

          No more than cars are clearly part of the problem when a crazy wackadoddle from an effed up crazy family plows his car into a crowd.

          No more than pressure cooker pots are part of the problem when a crazy wackadoodle from an effed up cray family makes a bomb and sets it off in a crowded place.

          In all these cases, objects/things were used for their unintended use by crazy people to kill other people.  We don’t hear the President demand that we ban those other things.  Instead we focus on the acts of the crazy people and the victims.

          1. Don Shor

            With regard to drunk driving, we focus on the act of driving. We consider regulations that prohibit drunk people from operating vehicles. We utilize ignition interlock devices as a means of protecting the public from the actions of someone who has a problem with alcohol and may choose to drive. We don’t just say we should treat them for alcohol abuse: we focus on the act of driving and the use of the car. We sanction their behavior in using the car, not their behavior in getting or being drunk. Same with guns, access to guns, and the things we consider doing to protect society from people who shouldn’t have access to guns.

            The guns are clearly part of the problem. It is disingenuous to try to argue otherwise. They are uniquely designed to achieve maximum damage and we can consider ways to reduce that capability. No matter how many different ways you and the hard right want to deny that guns have anything to do with killing people, they are the tools that were used and we have good reasons to focus on access to the guns as PART of the solution to this continuing problem.

            https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/BAIID/baiid.html

            IMO, the mother of this shooter should be charged with murder.

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Please show me in any post of mine where I stated that guns were the root cause ? I have stated again, and again that my emphasis is on injury prevention wherever that may lead me. I fail to see how you do not see this as a holistic approach.

  14. Biddlin

    Guns and people who love the power they bestow are clearly the problem:

    11 year-old kills 8 year-old neighbour with a shotgun over puppy

    http://www.wbir.com/story/news/2015/10/04/fatal-shooting/73329258/

    American Journal of Epidemiology
    Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/929.full

    Abstract

    Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

    And Frankly,  AK-47s are one the most inaccurate rifles of all time. Only an idiot would hunt with such a weapon, so I imagine it’s common but not responsible, by any means. I have used guns since I can remember. I can kill you with my bolt action model ’98 Mauser,  a hundred yards before your AK-47 could reach me.( I know this, because it fed me for a couple of years in the Canadian northwest.) I have found no good use for it since moving to civilisation, with a Nugget and Belair, nearby.

    ;>)/

    1. Frankly

      And Frankly,  AK-47s are one the most inaccurate rifles of all time. Only an idiot would hunt with such a weapon.

      What are you smoking Biddlin?

      First, you are wrong.  Any AK47 can be modified and customized to be extremely accurate.

      But you kind of spill the beans that this isn’t your topic area.  Because the round used has a lot to do with accuracy.  It depends on distance and other factors not so much the gun.  Although a gun in poor condition will be inaccurate in all cases.

      My point was that ARs are used for hunting.  Specifically the AR-15… the civilian and law enforcement version of the famous M16.  That gun can be customized to the nth degree for a fantastic hunting weapon.  Lightweight and extremely accurate.  The 223 caliber rounds are reasonably available and priced.  The gun does not kick very hard, thereby making it a good choice for people with physical limitations and ailments that prevent them from shooting something heavier and higher caliber.

      1. Biddlin

        What am I smoking? Well it isn’t strong enough to overlook your earlier nonsense,

        ” Many hunter use AK-style firearms to hunt.” Now you change your story to AR-15 and AR type weapons and have the chutzpah to add”But you kind of spill the beans that this isn’t your topic area.” I’ve repaired and rechambered my own guns since I was a teenager, you arrogant twit. Like most of your ilk, you can only deride, deny and deflect, lacking any thoughtful reasoned response. The real issue is  that guns do more harm than good, by several times. The numbers don’t lie. Less certain about some posters.

        ;>)/

    2. Frankly

      You can substitute cars for guns in your missive and the mortality rate goes up significantly.  You are more at risk of getting seriously injured or killed in a transportation accident than you are from a gun shooting.   So why not work harder to ban cars and other dangerous transportation?

       

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        So why not work harder to ban cars and other dangerous transportation?”

        Once again, deflection rather than serious consideration of the issues. No one is suggesting a “ban on guns”. We have passed many regulations to make car transport safer. We have driver’s licensing prior to being allowed to drive. We have speed limits. We have seat belts and air bags. We have laws against DUI. What we also seem to have successfully limited the kinds of vehicles that private citizens can drive on public streets. You won’t see private citizens driving tanks or MRAPs or the like down our streets and freeways.

        So instead of continuously putting down what is not being suggested, namely a ban on guns, why not consider what is being suggested, namely reasonable limitations and safety regulations for them. It would be very refreshing to hear someone as bright as you seem to be actually discuses the issues rather than making straw man arguments to demolish.

         

  15. oopsididitagain

    When I grew up we had Pong, Access to public Mental health, Access to Employment Training. A Juvenile Justice System. Hell we even had a 5th grade teacher who would teach us gun safety and take us to the range (With parents approval) Can you imagine that? Today? You 10 year old comes home from school and asks if you will sign a permission slip to go shooting?

    Evil is Evil, Bad is Bad, But I find it interesting how society has changed in regards to somethings yet not to others.

    What would happen if I wanted to produce a Cartoon for kids that promoted Rape, Alcohol Abuse and Violence? It would probably get shot down. Yet We had Popeye? Every episode was the same. The earliest w/Betty Boop took place in Bars where they were drinking always followed by the bad guy grabbing the woman dragging her kicking and screaming into the bed room as she screamed NO! only to be saved by Popeye.

    I seriously doubt if a remake would be done now a days.

    Yet when it comes to graphic violence Its as if we are programming our children to become numb.  Im sure all of you know exactly what games your children are playing for enjoyment. Why do they enjoy it so much? The blood The gore The killing.They cant get enough of it. They sit and play for days at a time. WHY? What do they get out of it? And what happens when they get bored of it? When the video re-enactment isn’t quite enough?

    So Popeye is bad yet, Yet Call of Duty  is Good.

    Watch your juvenile child steal your car, Get pulled over and the police tell you. You need to come pick up your car and your kid. You respond “No he can go to Juvenile Hall” They respond No You have to pick him up!

    Recently the voters of California lovingly passed prop 47 So now more criminal minded people can commit crimes and still be able to buy a gun legally. Mental Health Service is practically Non existent. As is Substance Abuse Counseling.

    We as a society are freaked out about an armed guard at our children’s school. Yet the Day after 9-11 embraced the fact of  Armed Marshals aboard our Airplanes.

    And if you were wondering which School District allowed Teachers to Take students to the gun range. Well its this rustic little town Called Davis. God do I miss Pong.

    1. KSmith

      “Yet when it comes to graphic violence Its as if we are programming our children to become numb.  Im sure all of you know exactly what games your children are playing for enjoyment. Why do they enjoy it so much? The blood The gore The killing.They cant get enough of it. They sit and play for days at a time. WHY? What do they get out of it? And what happens when they get bored of it? When the video re-enactment isn’t quite enough?”

      As far as I know, the jury’s still out on to what extent violent video games (or violent movies, or violent music, etc.) factor into these types of shootings. Do we even know if all of these perpetrators were/are gamers? And if so, how much time they spent playing first-person shooters (FPS) if they even did/do?

      I think the point you make about “what happens when they get bored of [the games]” is alarmist and not borne out by the data. For instance, way more people who play these games *do not* commit such acts than do. And in countries that have the highest rates of playing FPS games (e.g. the Netherlands and South Korea) there are virtually zero shootings of this type. (See, for example, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/video-games-violence-guns-explainer).

      What do people get out of playing such games? Well, for one, there is the concept of “flow,” defined in this article (http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/why-gamers-cant-stop-playing-first-person-shooters) as “an absorbing experience” that “requires a good match between someone’s skills and the challenges that she faces, an environment where personal identity becomes subsumed in the game.”

      So, basically an immersive experience done for leisure, which FPS shooter games (for whatever reason) have as a main feature. And, as the article goes on to point out, these games can actually reduce stress and (when played in an on-line environment) provide social interaction, dispelling the notion that gamers are just basement-dwellers who are socially isolated and alienated and more prone to such acts of violence.

      Now, as a parent and as a gamer myself, I would not want my child playing FPS games, and was quite appalled when volunteering in my daughter’s classrooms during elementary school to find out that some kids (mostly boys) started playing these games from first grade or earlier (and these are kids of “high-quality” Davis households).

      Personally, and even though I’ve read some of the literature that dispels the notion that violent video games are a major causative factor of such shootings, I find it problematic to have a child identify with a killer of humans, and put pretty severe rules on the types of games my daughter could play. She is 16 now, and though I’ve relaxed the no FPS game rule, I would still steer her clear of Call of Duty type games (where killing humans is the goal) but would be more tolerant of horror or “creature” type games (involving getting rid of zombies, aliens, etc.).

      I don’t think these games (or movies, etc.) necessarily cause people to “become numb.” I think there are a multitude of factors involved, and being a fan of horror movies or video games doesn’t automatically make people de-humanized to suffering.

       

    2. wdf1

      And if you were wondering which School District allowed Teachers to Take students to the gun range. Well its this rustic little town Called Davis. God do I miss Pong.

      Davis HS had a rifle club in the 1950’s.

      You can play Pong online here. Enjoy.

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