Commentary: Are We Overblowing Our Fear of Mass Shootings?

Gun Control
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Gun Control

In the last several days, I have seen a lot of interesting comments in response to the mass shooting in San Bernardino. There is a palpable fear in the air – though it manifests itself in different ways.

Donald Trump wants to keep Muslims out of the country – despite the fact that both French and U.S. gunmen were native residents of the respective countries. Some have suggested the need to cut back on guns, while others have suggested the need to arm all citizens and allow people to wear body armor.

On December 3, the New York Times ran a story, “Fear in the Air Americans Look Over Their Shoulders.” They write, “The killings are happening too often. Bunched too close together. At places you would never imagine.”

“As the long roll call of mass shootings added a prosaic holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., to its list, a wide expanse of America’s populace finds itself engulfed in a collective fear, a fear tinged with confusion and exasperation and a broad brew of emotions. The fear of the ordinary. Going to work. Eating a meal in a restaurant. Sending children to school. Watching a movie.”

The reality is that this is ridiculous nonsense. It is overblown. Or as President Roosevelt once put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The reality is that each one of us is going to die one day. It is not a pleasant thought, but the reality of our existence. In all likelihood, my death and your death will not be at the hands of a mass shooter. It probably won’t involve a gun at all.

By the odds, people are more likely to die in a mass shooting than win the lottery. But it’s actually a relatively close call on that. Of course people will still buy lottery tickets, hoping against hope, and apparently at least some people will fear being killed in acts of terrorism or mundane acts of a lone gunman.

By the numbers, about 33,000 Americans die every year from firearms. From 2001 to 2013, guns killed more people in this country than AIDS, drug overdoses, war and terrorism combined. But the majority of those deaths are, in fact, self-inflicted suicides.

The majority of homicides are not wild acts of high profile mass shootings. If you are going to get killed, you are most likely going to get killed by a handgun. In 2011, handguns comprised 72.5 percent of the firearms used in homicides. Guns comprised the vast majority of murders, with only 13.3 percent of all murders done by knives and 5.8 percent by use of hands or other body parts.

However, again, if you are going to be killed by a gun, it is most likely going to be your gun, and if you fear gun violence itself, the best way to avoid gun violence is not to have a gun in your home.

The leading causes of death in this country are not violence but are health-related. Heart disease accounts for over 600,000 deaths with cancer just under 600,000. Chronic lower respiratory diseases are third at about 150,000. Next come accidents of all sorts at 130,000, and strokes at just under 130,000. These are followed by Alzheimer’s, diabetes, pneumonia and flu, and kidney disease.

The next leading cause of death is suicide.

According to one source, automobile accidents kill about 33,000 a year, roughly the same number as guns. I once read an article about airplane crashes, which noted that the most dangerous part of the flight is the ride over to the airport. And the reality is that the most dangerous part of the movie theater experience is the ride over, not the threat of a mass shooting at the theater.

I studied media effects in graduate school, and there is a great study by researchers Shanto Iyengar and Donald Kinder called “News That Matters.” They did a series of experiments on their subjects to test the impact of news media, and what they found is that news does not tell people what to think, but it has an enormous role in agenda setting – or, namely, what to think about.

The wall-to-wall coverage of mass shootings has likely elevated the public’s perceived importance of those events. Now, how they respond to the news coverage varies – we have seen the left move toward gun control, and the right has focused on exclusion of refugees or, in Donald Trump’s case, all Muslims, while arguing that what we really need is an armed citizenry.

The reality is that an armed citizenry will probably not reduce the number of mass shootings in this country, but instead increase the number of accidental deaths and perhaps suicides.

I am not suggesting we ignore tragedies or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent future tragedies. What I am suggesting, however, is that we are far more likely to die from heart disease and cancer, and therefore, if we really want to prolong our lives, we should focus our time and money on research into those diseases coupled with better dietary and exercise habits.

Why? Because we are 36 times more likely to die from those two afflictions than at the hands of a gun. And we are probably 75 times more likely to die from heart disease and cancer than we are to be shot and killed by someone else.

Gun control may be important, finding ways to stop ISIS is undoubtedly important as well, but neither is as important as diet, exercise and research into cancer and heart disease.

—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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134 thoughts on “Commentary: Are We Overblowing Our Fear of Mass Shootings?”

  1. Barack Palin

    despite the fact that both French and US gun men were native residents of the respective countries.

    Funny and sly how you leave out the fact that there was a woman involved who wasn’t native and that they were all Muslim.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I’ll admit I could have phrased it more artfully, but that wasn’t the point. The word gunmen wasn’t meant to be gender specific and the point was not whether they were exclusively native, but rather that native residents made up the bulk of the participants, and therefore excluding foreign born people is not THE solution. And of course, it was a very small point in a much larger essay.

      1. Barack Palin

        No, the fact that one of the terrorists was a foreign Muslim woman is very important to the conversation.  Just a couple of weeks ago we had our president chastising that we were afraid of  “widows and orphans”.  Betcha he wants to walk that one back.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Small scale event, except that they planned for more, may have accomplices that weren’t caught, and it comes from the same religion / culture / political movement which killed over 3,000 on 9/11 and killed many innocent citizens weeks ago in Paris.

          This also looks to be a Hate Crime, another Muslim attack during a Christian celebration (Christmas party).

  2. Tia Will

    By the numbers, about 33,000 Americans die every year from firearms. From 2001 to 2013, guns killed more people in this country than AIDS, drug overdoses, war, and terrorism combined. But the majority of those deaths are in fact, self-inflicted, suicide.”

    And this is one of the reasons that in my safety counseling and in my participation with the Brady campaign, my personal emphasis has always been on the means to decrease gun related injury. There are many ways that one can be injured by a gun. Some are more numerically common than others. We could greatly benefit as a society if we stopped hiding behind excuses such as “the problem is only …X…” or “they are trying to take away your guns”. While this may be true for a few, it is not true for most of us who would focus on research to find actual ways of reducing gun injuries and who continuously find our efforts stymied by those so blinded by one line of our Constitution, or by their profits, that they cannot see that there might be many safer alternatives that people might actually find preferable to the current products if we were only allowed to find out what they are.

  3. Tia Will

    BP

    Funny and sly how you leave out the fact that there was a woman involved who wasn’t native and that they were all Muslim.”

    Funny and sly how you have not chosen to comment on the fact that the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter was a native, white, radical Christian,  supposedly defending unborn babies by…..killing those abortionists…..oh wait….killing a policeman, a mother of two accompanying a friend, and a non medical vet who just happened to be there.

    Not all terrorists are Muslim. It is simply easier to identify them.

    But wait, there is another easily discernible factor. The vast majority of these shooters /terrorists are men. Now men are easy to discern from women. So using the logic of Donald Trump, what we really should be doing is to put all men on watch lists, segregate them so that they cannot harm the demonstrably less violent women and not allow any new men into the country until our leaders find out “what is going on”.  Sound good to you BP ?  If not, why not ?  That is the logic Trump is using to manipulate with fear.

     

    1. Barack Palin

      Funny and sly how you have not chosen to comment on the fact that the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter was a native, white, radical Christian

      That had nothing to do with David’s point or sentence.  You’re the one interjecting this.  David was referring to the two recent Muslim terrorist incidents and left out some key facts.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        Agree with your post as written. However, I believe that not only should we not overblow the impact of mass shootings as compared with other forms of gun related injury, we should not overblow our fear of Muslims as the perpetrators of these acts when they are not the single largest identifiable group. Thus the relevance.

  4. Barack Palin

    Yes, the chances of being killed by a Muslim terrorist are slim but if a few more incidents were to take place then the chances of our economy taking a nose dive are great.

    1. Biddlin

      Cops have killed 1,115 of your country men since last New Year’s Day. that’s almost 40 times the number of Americans killed by foreign terrorists this year. That homegrown terror is more imminent and concerning to me.

      1. Barack Palin

        Yes, we already know that you seem to have a hate for cops, maybe it’s just me but I’ll take my chances with cops anyday before Muslim terrorists.

        1. Davis Progressive

          as a musician he seems to have had negative experiences with cops that you have not experienced.

          however, the point that david makes and you have avoided is that you are more likely to win the lottery than meet your end through muslim terrorists and you are far more likely to die through a heat attack or cancer, so what should you be concerning yourself with?

        2. Barack Palin

          you are far more likely to die through a heat attack or cancer, so what should you be concerning yourself with?

          The difference is one is a natural death.

        3. Davis Progressive

          you’re still dead at the end of it.  it’s a preservation of life issue – i get it – but if we want to preserve as much life as possible, attacking cancer is a better cause than attacking terrorists (which actually will make the problem worse).

      2. Barack Palin

        Cops have killed 1,115 of your country men since last New Year’s Day

        BTW, that’s such a bullschit number.  How many were killed by cops in order to protect themselves or others?  For instance, should they not have killed the two terrorists in San Bernardino.  Yes, there are some bad cops that do unjustifiably kill people, but very few.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “BTW, that’s such a bullschit number.  How many were killed by cops in order to protect themselves or others?  For instance, should they not have killed the two terrorists in San Bernardino.  Yes, there are some bad cops that do unjustifiably kill people, but very few.”

          you keep saying that, but as the vanguard article showed yesterday, it’s not just that some bad cops unjustifiably kill people, but a lot more cover up for that fact.  and what is the number of unjustified killings, is it 50% 10% 1%, makes a big difference, but the problem is you don’t know the answer, so you don’t know how big a problem it actually is and yet you keep defending the cops as though you do.

        2. Biddlin

          That aroma is coming from elsewhere I think. In this year, US cops have killed over ten time as many civilians as Germany has since 1998. No other civilized country comes even close to that.

        3. Barack Palin

          is it 50% 10% 1%, makes a big difference, but the problem is you don’t know the answer, so you don’t know how big a problem it actually is and yet you keep defending the cops as though you do.

          Granted, but you don’t know the number either yet you and others keep crucifying cops.

        4. Davis Progressive

          i spend my days going over reports of shootings – i’ve seen enough reports to know there is a problem.  how large a problem, i don’t know.  and i still think we are scratching the surface because most police officers aren’t wearing body cams yet and we know that police would have gotten away with crimes already but for the cameras.  so while i agree with your comment, i think it misses the larger point.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Which is why I used the word “typical”.

          But I’m all with the Chicago liberals that Rahm Emanuel covered up the killing of at least one citizen there for political purposes, and he should be immediately impeached.

          The killing of these two mass murders and Hate Crimes against Christians is a more typical scenario.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Tamir Rice was in Cleveland. I don’t think you’re established what the typical situation is. I think you’re assuming it.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I certainly want the prosecutor gone, perhaps Emanuel as well. I was hoping Garcia would take him out earlier this year, but he fell short. I don’t know what process they have for removal in Illinois.

  5. Tia Will

    BP

    Yes, the chances of being killed by a Muslim terrorist are slim but if a few more incidents were to take place then the chances of our economy taking a nose dive are great.”

    Only if we allow our own fear to overcome our sense of proportion as we did with the Ebola scare where millions and millions of health care dollars were diverted to Ebola protection processes and gear when we had real and imminent risks ( flu) occurring at the same time the prevention of which would have benefited greatly from these funds.

    Terrorists are only effective if they are successful in inducing terror in their target populations. If we stand strong in our beliefs in our open society and in our own principles and values….they will fail. We are doing exactly what they want us to do if we abandon our principles out of fear. They know that they cannot defeat us militarily. They will truly win only when we abolish our own principles and destroy our own society from within.

    1. Barack Palin

      Only if we allow our own fear 

      Human nature is human nature.  Look at what happened to the economy after 911.  Stock market took a dive and the economy took a long time to recover.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Correct. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant, shouldn’t play defense and / or offense, and shouldn’t root out evil and evil doers. We don’t need to act like Nevil Chamberlain. We can identify the offenders and come up with strategies and tactics to defeat them. The number one role of the Federal government is to keep citizens safe.

      we’ve also been lucky that the Haters from the primarily the Middle East are poor at making bombs. If the Underwear and Shoe Bomber were better at their craft, there would be more dead Americans.

    3. Miwok

      They will truly win only when we abolish our own principles and destroy our own society from within.

      Is that why our “leaders from within” try to pass new laws about their fear?

      Some have suggested the need to cut back on guns, while others have suggested the need to arm all citizens and allow people to wear body armor.

      Who is doing this? And why don’t they go to the people they think are threatening us? Explain to the people in the Middle East the Common Sense this would make, and they will give them up? Instead many legislators are trying to pass laws they swore to uphold, any legal loophole they can find, and yet do nothing for the war zones they already have in the country, and the world?

  6. Anon

    I’m going to skip right to the heart of the matter – 9/11.  The fact of the matter is this nation is not immune from vicious and large scale terrorist attacks.  We found this out to our cost on 9/11, in which approximately 3,000 U.S. citizens perished along with much of our financial sector.  Law enforcement is constantly trying to foil similar plots 24/7.  Terrorists can fail over and over again, but just one failure to find the terrorists by law enforcement can result in another 9/11 – AND THAT IS THE GREAT FEAR.

    So then the question becomes how do we prevent another 9/11?  The San Bernadino shootings and the Boston Marathon bombing give little comfort, instead reminding us that as a nation we are still vulnerable to mass terrorist attacks.  Prevention of terrorist attacks is a tough, tough question, especially because of the terrorists’ use of the internet.  My preference would be to have law enforcement keep better track of internet/cell phone traffic.  There is a privacy trade-off to be sure, but it is one I am willing to accede to, rather than some of the other suggested solutions that seem inhumane/extreme.  JMO

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Another problem is that the terrorists are 1) now using encryption technology, and 2) we are still fighting political correctness in every sector of our nation. Neighbors of this couple knew there was something wrong, but the PC culture prevented them from saying anything. (The neighbors happen to be primarily Latino.)

      Terrorists were planning to bomb and flood the Tube in London, and there have been large scale attacks planned here as well. We have over 1,000 terrorist cells in America, an unsecure southern border, a blind president, and a confused Congress.

      Yes, Trump could have chosen his words better. In the short term, we could ban immigration and travel from 10-20 countries from which these terrorists come from until we root out our own multiple problems and issues in security and enforcement. Jimmy Carter banned citizens of Iran from coming to America during the hostage crisis. It is common sense.

      1. Mark West

        Anon:  “AND THAT IS THE GREAT FEAR.”

        How long will you use 9/11 as a justification for your unreasonable fears?  It has been 14 years since the event, are you going to remain fearful for another 14?  Twice that? Forever?

        There is no doubt that the world is a dangerous place, with many bad people wanting to do bad things to others.  I guarantee that each one of us is going to die sometime; life is a fatal disease after all.  But is that any justification for living our lives in fear of what might happen?  Greater than 3000 people died on 9/11.  It was a horrendous act and we should mourn all the victims. We should demand that our government remain vigilant to prevent similar attacks in the future, but we should not allow it to rule how we live our lives.  Unreasonable fear is just that, unreasonable.  Unreasonable, irrational and frankly, downright stupid.

      2. Don Shor

        Jimmy Carter banned citizens of Iran from coming to America during the hostage crisis. It is common sense.

        This is a false comparison, and by now I assume you know that.

        1. Frankly

          Radical Islam Don.  Radical Islam.

          And we were not at war is Iran.

          You are making it sound like a profound difference to defend what Jimmy Carter did and what Trump is recommending.   I think you need to rethink your position on this… it really destroys your credibility as a balanced thinker and puts you in that 100% leftist ideologue camp.

          Why did Jimmy Carter ban Iranians from coming to America?  Do you think ALL Iranians were a threat to the USA?

          1. Don Shor

            It is a profound difference. This stupid internet meme has taken on a life of its own, from people who seem to want to defend Trump’s position. It’s indefensible.

            Radical Islam Don. Radical Islam.

            Donald Trump: “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
            I don’t see the word “radical” in there, Frankly. It’s really clear. “Muslims.” Period. That’s what he said. See the quote? Really simple. A straight religious test for admission to the United States. Unconstitutional, bigoted, unenforceable. And completely indefensible. And yet you and others have glommed onto this internet meme to defend it.

            it really destroys your credibility as a balanced thinker and puts you in that 100% leftist ideologue camp.

            Why do you do this, Frankly? I will never understand the rhetorical stuff you choose to use on the Vanguard.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Don Shor: Trump also clarified his comments in numerous follow up interviews.

          1. A ban would be temporary.

          2. There would be exceptions – say, for example, if we wanted to give a green card or refugee status to a Muslim who had worked with the US Military as an interpreter.

          3. The issue is our security.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          FDR – another liberal icon – may have banned Japanese immigration during WWII.

          Currently, we have huge numbers of Muslim immigrants accepted from the Middle East, but very few Christians, even though they are being raped and sold into slavery. I wonder why Obama / UN are doing that? What does he have against Christians?

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, ironic that you pick that analogy.

          Think Tia would argue that we should go ahead and smoke, since the odds of getting cancer are low? We use common sense to try and prevent what we can. Besides, I’m sure yo’d feel differently if you had a relative in Paris or if they get biological or chemical warfare.

        5. hpierce

          BS…  Frankly, I personally know of two families that came to the US from Iran in that period… both are full US citizens, by choice, not birth (are you a Trump-ette”? “birther”).

          Iran has at least 3 significant religions, but as a liberal arts major (?), you might not see that.  I understand.  You  may be ‘impeded’.

          Call BS.

           

      3. Tia Will

        TBD

        Neighbors of this couple knew there was something wrong, but the PC culture prevented them from saying anything. (The neighbors happen to be primarily Latino.)”

        What evidence do you have that “the PC culture” prevented them from saying anything. How about all of the folks that did not say anything about the odd behaviors of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter. PC culture responsible for that too ?

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          These neighbors were afraid of being labeled racists (PC thinking).

          Racism is one of the top 3 tenets of the Liberal Left which they think exists virtually everywhere.

    2. Topcat

      Prevention of terrorist attacks is a tough, tough question

      Yes it is.  Perhaps we should be looking at the reasons for the terrorist groups to exist in the first place.  What are the grievances that have caused them to be exist?  How can we alleviate these grievances in the future?

  7. Biddlin

    “as a musician he seems to have had negative experiences with cops that you have not experienced.”

    Just a couple of unsatisfactory ones.Won’t clutter the thread with off-topic.

  8. Frankly

    So, we are advised not to judge all Muslims immigrants by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge all gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

    Or looking it at it another way, we are told that people suggesting we pause Muslim immigration until we are assured that high quality systems are in place to keep all Americans safe from harm are guilty of fear mongering, but that people suggesting we ignore the Second Amendment and ban guns to keep all Americans safe are not guilty of fear mongering.

    Consider that the US government has failed to intervene in a single US terrorist attack to save lives.  Ironically too, it was citizens on UA flight 93 that prevented the terrorist attack on the US government and saved hundreds if not thousands of lives.  And the US government wants to take away citizen gun rights because they say they will keep us safe.

    Right before the two San Bernardino killers were radicalized, they were just ordinary peaceful Muslims.  If radicalize followers of Islam are just like regular followers of Islam, then doesn’t this make all regular followers of Islam suspect of being radicalized?

    Apparently the San Bernardino killers had been planning the attack since 2012.  That is clear evidence that the assumption that our government is doing a good job identifying the risks and ensuring our safety is flat wrong.

      1. Frankly

        If your point is that the US government is terrific at preventing terrorist attacks, then why do  your Party leaders use the terrorist attacks as justification for demanding we ban guns to keep Americans safe?

        I think you are in danger of painting yourself into a logic-corner Don.

        1. Don Shor

          I am unaware of anyone in the Democratic or Republican parties who wants to “ban guns.” I support, along with an overwhelming majority of Americans, reasonable regulations of guns. In fact, so do you, or you have on previous threads on this topic.

        2. Tia Will

          Frankly

          leaders use the terrorist attacks as justification for demanding we ban guns to keep Americans safe?”

          I think that you have been out shooting straw men. I know of no one who has argued for a ban on guns to keep Americans safe from terrorists. I have heard again what I would consider “common sense” steps to make it harder for the terrorists to obtain weapons, such as a “no fly, no buy” rule. Does it really make sense to you to have an identified group of people who are considered too dangerous to board a plane, but fine to buy semi-automatic weapons ?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Can you specify which of Saul Alinsky’s tactics he’s using to change the topic?

        3. Frankly

          Obama’s use of Alinsky rules:

          “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” –  This is key for Obama and the same for Trump.  It is that type of thing that sounds like tone-deafness to those that have opposing views.   Keep saying the things that make your base happy no matter how accurate and no matter how much it distracts from really solving problems.

          “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” – This is another that Obama is good at and it dovetails into the first.  Basically keep the opposition sputtering in disbelief that you actually went out and said that thing.  Set the oppositions’ hair on fire and constantly poke at them.

          “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” – Obama is the master at this one, but he is unfairly assisted by the mainstream liberal media.  The power of late night talk shows and entertainment is discounted by the left, but in our media pop-culture times it is mega-powerful.  One episode of SNL can destroy a political career.  Trump does not have the support of the mainstream media taking the page out of Obama’s RFR book, so he has to be louder and more profound in his use of ridicule.  And he has to do so while the mainstream liberal media and lefties work hard to destroy him with ridicule.

          “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” – This is another Obama tactic we see much of.   This is the power of the underdog and/or victim.  Dead people from gun violence are pushed hard as being caused by gun rights.   The problem that Obama has here is that the “positive” is much more abstract and illusive for him… but that does not stop him.

          “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” – Liberals in general are more consistent with this tactic.  It is the practice of attacking and destroying the messenger delivering the message that threatens them with defeat on an idea or position.  Obama is an expert.  Just ask all those lovers of guns and religion.

          Obama is more nuanced and smooth in his delivery.  But that appeals to his base.  Trump is more direct and unsophisticated in his delivery.  But that appeals to his base.

          1. Don Shor

            Conservatives again desperately trying to find some equivalence to Trump anywhere in the political spectrum. A complete fail, again.
            You would do better to completely disown Donald Trump, rather than continuing to try to defend the indefensible. He is destroying the party you support.

        4. Frankly

          Check out his poll numbers Don.  It must be so frustrating to see the left media machine fail in tearing down another conservative politician.

          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

          Trump will not win the primary.  It will be Rubio.  And Rubio will mop the floor with Clinton.

          But of course you see Hillary Clinton… that flip-floppin’, lyin’ saying what every she has to to keep from getting caught lyin’ and to win power that she only wants to leverage for wealth – candidate as the ONE.

          And because of this, you have zero credibility on opinions about Trump or any other candidate.  Those that support Clinton are hopeless leftist ideologues.

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t support Clinton. I oppose the Republicans. Perhaps you can come to understand the difference.

        5. Frankly

          Conservatives again desperately trying to find some equivalence to Trump anywhere in the political spectrum. A complete fail, again.
          You would do better to completely disown Donald Trump, rather than continuing to try to defend the indefensible. He is destroying the party you support.

          BTW Don.  Thanks for proving my last point.  Liberals clearly like to go after the messenger when something is said or written that threatens their views.

          1. Don Shor

            The ongoing conservative obsession with Alinsky would be bizarre if it wasn’t so cynical. It was relentless in 2012, fomented continuously by Newt Gingrich who tried to set up a false dichotomy of ‘American exceptionalism’ (the Gingrich version) versus Alinsky’s supposed goals. Breitbart, O’Reilly and others harped on it constantly. It was obviously part of a strategy to paint Obama as a radical, un-American, socialist, etc., a strategy that also encompassed the birther movement, the bizarre “Kenyan anti-colonial” canard (carried further in the movie 2016), the links to Rev. Wright (yet insinuating that Obama was a Muslim) – and it all continues to this day.

            There are some ironies here. Gingrich admired Alinsky for his tactics and applied them himself. Obama and Hilary Clinton are precisely the sort of public officials Alinsky would have despised – incrementalists who are clearly part of the power structure. And finally, the tactics of Alinsky are often used on the Vanguard, and their foremost practitioner is the prolific commenter who goes by the name ‘Frankly’. Most especially: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Absurd reductionism, constant use of strawmen, and overt personalizing and stereotyping are tactics that Frankly practices nearly every day.

            Every political leader uses some of the tactics Alinsky itemized. More to the point, they are general enough that anybody can see something in them, and they apply to almost anybody in public life. How insightful or brilliant is this: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”? Not very. You might as well say “stay on message.”

            Obama is not a radical by any measure. Most liberals don’t even consider him a liberal. The constant harping on Alinsky is just a strategy to try to paint the president as something he is not, and I’m sure we’ll hear the same about Hilary Clinton – which will be even more laughable.

        6. wdf1

          Frankly:  Trump will not win the primary.  It will be Rubio. 

          What makes you so certain?

          I read what you said four years ago, just before the 2012 Presidential election:

          Democrats may very well get what they ask for this election. Four more years of Obama… and four more years of a growing political divide that threatens to further rip the country apart while sending us over a fiscal cliff that we will never recover from.  source

          So I guess you can make your case for political division.  But what happened to going over the fiscal cliff with no hope of recovery?

          I think you can also make an effective case in Trumps defense that he has brought together Democrats and Republicans in ways that Obama hasn’t.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        How many “radicalized” pro lifers have killed anyone based on those beliefs this year?

        I think Muslim terrorists are up over 500 this year, not counting Muslim-on-Muslim crimes.

        1. Biddlin

          Short memory or disingenuous?

          Colorado Springs, November 29thth, 2015?

          Two civilians and a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police officer were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

          Kinda blows your lie to sh*t, no?

           

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Biddin, I believe that murders committed in America are largely committed by brown and black “people of color” to be correct. 95% of black men who are murdered are shot by their black brothers. In New York City, I think Mayor Bloomberg said that over 95% of gun crimes were committed by people of color.

          You’re correct that white males don’t get a pass. They are disproportionately represented in mass killings, and due to their large representation in the country, have a fair share of the gun crime. But it is not disproportional.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      FDR’s grandfather said, “Not all Democrats are horse thieves, but I believe in my experience all horse thieves are Democrats.”

      Almost the same logic hold’s true for today’s terrorism.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      So, we are advised not to judge all Muslims immigrants by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge all gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.”

      I can see your frustration with this approach. Especially as I see it occurring just as much from the other side. We have American men doing the vast majority of the shooting that occurs in this country. From the numbers that have been posted multiple times, it is more than just a “few lunatics”. Every one of these men would be perceived as a “law abiding citizen” right up until the point where he starts shooting. Using these numbers, we are at much higher risk from our non-Muslim acquaintances, family members, neighbors, coworkers, and yet there is far more politically at stake by diverting attention, anger and fear to the readily identifiable “foreigner”, even if they are not foreign as many Muslims are not. We are now being asked by Trump and his supporters to judge all Muslim by the actions of those who are radicalized. You are right…..this is a very difficult logic to support.

       

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Your logic is twisted and false. Our goal is not to judge all Muslims, but to protect all Americans from potentially mass murder. The Constitution stipulates few responsibilities, one of them is for the Federal government to keep the citizens safe.

        Unfortunately, we have Jihad / radical Islam, some say it goes back centuries. Christianity went through a Reformation and Enlightenment, so did many other religions. Not Islam.

        1. Tia Will

          TBD

          Our goal is not to judge all Muslims,”

          Your “goal” is not the point if that is the outcome of your actions.”The Constitution stipulates few responsibilities, one of them is for the Federal government to keep the citizens safe.”

          Americans are not being kept safe from white Christian or from black American shooters and we are not planning on eluding them from entering the country and/or being placed on registries. What do you see as the difference other than ease of identification ?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Americans are HERE, red, green, or yellow. They also typically kill 1, 2, 3, and typically not planned. It is an act of rage, a botched robbery, etc.

          Terrorists PLAN to kill, spend weeks or months, and PLAN to kill hundreds or THOUSANDS of people. This brings them JOY and FAME. That is their driving force, their purpose in life. Kill 100 Americans, become a martyr, and go to heaven waging Jihad and gain 144 virgins. (I don’t know if the Black Widow female killers get 144 stallions.) This is a deep-seeded cultural / political / religious issue.

        3. Miwok

          The Constitution stipulates few responsibilities, one of them is for the Federal government to keep the citizens safe.

          Not sure it says that, maybe “provides for the common defense”? Quite different.

          If this goes back so far, maybe the people who care about it should go where the problem is and fix it before it get HERE? Oh sorry, they kill aid workers there.. But they sure as heck (Don) will legislate YOU out of your liberty while they “try to make you safe”.

  9. Tia Will

    BP

    Not so fast. According to another version of this story presented in the comments:

    neighbor did not call authorities about suspicious activity bc she did not want to racially profile “

    She did not want to racially profile. This is not the same as “not wanting to be called a racist”. Do any of us want to “racially profile” ? Perhaps she simply did not think that she had enough evidence to make a report. It would seem that some people, including Donald Trump, feel that simply being Muslim is enough to religiously profile. I do not share that belief and feel it is against our basic principles as a nation and frankly a dangerous point of view.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Part of the jibberish of the Politically Correct Left.

      The worldwide problem of radical Islam / Wahhabism and the killing of infidels / Jihad is a complex mess. Obama sticks his head in the sand, Trump doesn’t. Hillary Clinton would be a 3rd term of Obama. He doesn’t even have the testicular fortitude to bomb their oil fields because he fears for the environment. That, or Susan Powers and Susan Rice feel thusly.

      Restrict immigration from 10-20 countries until we get our act together.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Plenty of news stories, we helped direct and put out the fires. Dr. Bill Wattenberg of Lawrence Livermore Labs and formerly of KGO radio helped come up with a strategy for putting out the oil fires which dramatically sped up the process.

          Reports also claim that many sorties are abandoned if there is any fear we might hurt any women or children, and when we bombed oil trucks we first dropped leaflets – giving the drivers a warning before the trucks were obliterated. I don’t think we ever gave the Nazi’s such warnings, kind of defeats the purpose. It sound like the most prominent PC War to date.

        1. Tia Will

          TBD

          But the terrorists don’t come from all 50.”

          Not so far.  But then we had not had an attack on American citizens by a gun wielding female before either. So when a single terrorist does show up from a country of multiple millions of peaceful citizens who have never before mounted an attack on the US, should we then bar everyone from that country as well ?

          Can you really not see where this is headed ?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Can you not see where we are headed if we allow our incompetent government to continue to allow individuals in from known terrorist countries with our limited vetting? Do you want another 9/11, or worse?

          There have been plenty of female attackers in Europe.

          Why don’t you even show the same level of concern for a religion that has sects which throw homosexuals off of rooftops, butchers women’s private parts, teaches children that Jews are dogs, condones spousal rape, and wants to implement Sharia Law here?

          All over the world Buddhists get along with Christians, Mormons get along with Atheists, followers of Confucius get along with Sikhs, Bahia get along with Jews, Jews get along with Hindus… but in so many countries Islamist extremists cause so many serious problems which includes violence and death. Caliphate?

  10. tribeUSA

    “Islam is the third largest faith in the United States after Christianity and Judaism.[1] According to a 2014 study, it is followed by 0.9% of the population, compared to 70.6% who follow Christianity”

    Source-wikipedia

    I read another statistic last week that about equal numbers of people in the USA have been murdered by fundamentalist Christian fanatics as by radical muslims since circa 2010.

    Since there are about 78-fold as many christians as muslims; this means that per population rate, muslims in the USA have killed 78-fold more people in religiously-motivated and/or mass-murders than have christians.

    No need to get excited about this, pro-immigrant pushers! Don’t be afraid of the facts or of appearing -phobic, but base immigration policy on what is best for the country and citizens. A dispassionate risk analysis is called for–personally I’m fine with a limited amount of immigration from countries that have been spawning terrorists only if there is enough data available to thoroughly screen each and every applicant; and some other upgrades to the immigration process including further signed written and verbal upgrading oaths to abide by US laws; including explicit specifications of acknowledgement that US laws trump religious laws, such as Sharia, when the two conflict.

    1. Tia Will

      some other upgrades to the immigration process including further signed written and verbal upgrading oaths to abide by US laws; including explicit specifications of acknowledgement that US laws trump religious laws, such as Sharia, when the two conflict.”

      I am in favor of a reliable vetting process for anyone seeking to enter the US. However, I simply do not believe that a “verbal upgrading of oaths” is going to deter any terrorist from entering the US to cause harm if that is their intent. People frequently lie in order to get their way. Do you believe that a terrorist won’t. There is a difference between measures that might have a chance to improve safety such as a “no fly, no buy” policy and those which are merely intended to block or delay entry.

      1. tribeUSA

        Hello Tia–yes, of course they can lie, but I think such an oath, solemnly administered, has an important psychological impact, as follows: Muslim culture, particularly Arabic Muslim culture, is for the most part very much an honor-based culture (and I daresay most Muslims are indeed honorable people). A solemn oath that is clearly set on honor, can help to separate the wheat from the chaff, psychologically speaking–those few that are degraded enough to mouth the oath with a lie in their heart will often (not always, of course) carry some burden of shame or resentment or anger, smaller or larger, with them (as a consequence of their honor-based culture); and perhaps an increment of identifiable degradation is added to their general deportment. Alternatively, if they are later tempted to a path of radicalization, one component of deterrence might be the memory of that oath, if they are the type of person that tries to honor their word.

        1. Tia Will

          tribeUSA

          A solemn oath that is clearly set on honor”

          I think that your understanding of a “Muslim based system of honor” is woefully lacking and makes this a terribly naive comment on your part. I have known many truly honorable Muslims. And I have known many Muslims who talk about honor, while feeling that it applies only to interactions with those of the Muslim faith and that others do not count and can be lied to and cheated with no feeling of remorse. I have known others who are somewhere in between. And I have had many, not a few interactions due to having been married to a Sunni Muslim with many Muslim friends and family members for 12 years.

          In other words, the honorable Muslims are not those who are going to be terrorizing our population. Making them say an oath will not make them more honorable than they already are. Those who would do us harm will not be deterred in the slightest by an oath which they will readily take and then just as readily discard when it no longer serves their purposes. Trust me. Muslims are human just as are non Muslims. No more and no less honest, or honor bound than anyone else.

        2. hpierce

          Interestingly (at least to me) is the “oath” issue.  Our presidents have the option to “swear” (oath) or “affirm”  when taking office…. am remembering that  GW, our first president, was the only one to opt for the ‘affirmation’…  not an oath…  I do believe in honor, and have no intention to diminish, by one iota, TribeUSA’s post.  It is “spot on”.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Good points, Tia. I’m told the Koran says its OK to lie to the Infidels.

          Have you ever discussed with your Muslim friends the Reformation and Enlightenment? Do they think their religion would benefit from such movements for Islam?

        4. tribeUSA

          Tia–yes perhaps I’m naiive, I have to acknowledge you have more first-hand knowledge than I in this matter. Guess part of my attitude is a romantic notion (from old books and novels with Arabic culture); and partly to do with some Sikh students I have seen and met at the UCD gym–a lot of these Sikhs are really strong tough guys, but they do not swagger or otherwise present themselves in an intimidating way, but seem quite refined–perhaps still just some romantic notions on my part on their ancient tradition of honorable warriors and protectors.

          I was suggesting the enhanced oath thing as one among many small steps that might help each reduce the odds, each by small increments, of terrorism in the USA.

          And Don, I am not suggesting a loyalty oath, merely an oath to abide by US Laws and to acknowledge that they trump religious law, including Sharia, when they conflict–I don’t see how any reasonable person could object to that.

    2. Tia Will

      BP

      I guess on thing we can all take out of this article is since the leading cause of death is health related and we over fear violence then liberals should back off gun control.”

      No, this is the dichotomous, either or type of thinking that you seem to favor. We, as a nation, have the capability to address more than one problem at a time. It is entirely possible for some researchers to be focused on diabetes while others are focused cancer while still others are researching how best to reduce gun related injuries. But, there is one problem. The government funds the first two but denies funding for the latter.

       

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          Strange as it may seem to some, I do not speak for David….and David does not speak for me. Just because that was a point of his article does not mean that I am in agreement. In this case, I do not feel that there is any need to downplay the importance of either naturally occurring health issues or gun related health issues. Both need to be and can be addressed at the same time.

    3. TrueBlueDevil

      I’d also like to see that source that claims all of the murders by fundamentalist Christians. My understanding is a large number of murders happen for various reasons, including the commission of a crime, crimes of passion, drug dealing, and gang activities (many now controlled by the Mexican drug cartels).

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Bingo!

          Answer: Because then we can try to PREVENT it!

          When New York hit 3,000 murders per year, they knew that was unacceptable, so they implemented stop and frisk and other measures. They gradually took career criminals off the streets, and got that number down to 400? For a city of 10 million? The 400 are largely “crimes of passion” – one lover killing another, or one gang member killing another. The city has eliminated things like Joe Citizen getting killed picking up a pizza, grabbing a taxi, or walking to work.

          Regarding radical Islam (Wahabbis?), in the short term we can protect ourselves and stop / kill the killers, cut off their funds. In the mid term, we can work with law-abiding, rational Muslims, and work to de-legitimize these fanatics who’s goal is mayhem, death and destruction.

        2. Miwok

          Answer: Because then we can try to PREVENT it!

          You can’t prevent it and be “innocent until proven guilty”. You can only watch until it happens, then take notes and clean up the mess after, like Police do best. They do not “prevent” crime or murder. Otherwise we would “prevent” cancer, child molesters, drug abuse, etc..

          The Justice system only provides for Justice after the fact, not before.

  11. Barack Palin

    I guess on thing we can all take out of this article is since the leading cause of death is health related and we over fear violence then liberals should back off gun control.

      1. hpierce

        ok… does that tell you something about how “clear” you “implication” was?  Often best to say things ‘straight out’, and not rely on nuance/implication.  Duh.

  12. TrueBlueDevil

    I heard on the radio that of the so-called hate crimes committed, roughly 15% were committed against Muslim Americans (158 in total?), and roughly 56% were committed against Jewish-Americans. I read very little about the second, I guess not the sexy topic for so-called journalists.

  13. TrueBlueDevil

    Reports now that ISIS has the ability / equipment to mass produce passports. Wonderful.

    But the Obama Administration, Susan Powers, Susan Rice, and others won’t bomb the oil fields which help fund these operations and violence due to concern for the environment. I guess we can hope that Putin bombs them.

    The Middle East imploded under Hillary Clinton which she concurrently took millions of dollars from countries that support Sharia Law. If someone wrote a fiction book about this 20 years ago – the first potential female President of the United States enabling these killers and taking their money and joking about child rape – it would be deemed absurd.

  14. Tia Will

     In the mid term, we can work with law-abiding, rational Muslims,”

    Well that is going to be difficult if we put those in this country on registries, monitor and some cases close their mosques, prevent those whose lives are in danger from entering, and “go after the families” of those that we suspect of being engaged in terrorist activities.

    If we threaten to bomb the crap out of them, kill their families, reinstitute torture, and abandon innocents of and religion to their fate because of our fear….tell me what law-abiding, rational Americans will they have to work with ?

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Rest assured. I have absolutely no idea what you were referencing with your “skunk” analogy and thus could not have taken it personally…..it went right over my head.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      You’re purposefully presenting an extreme situation.

      Yes, there may be short-term travel bans until we get our act together and come up with some strategies. Obama is lost, and his top aides contradict themselves by the hour. Obama says we’re not at war, some of his top commanders say we are; Obama calls ISIS the JV team, they then take more major cities and conduct large-scale attacks in Paris. He mocks the GOP for being afraid of women and children, and then several “black widows” kill innocent people. It’s a circus.

      We already have useless lists and we poorly track over 1,000 terrorist cells currently here. I’ve heard of not a single mosque being closed, but I’m sure a one-way ticket out of Dodge for radical clerics would be in order. Yes, we should bomb the crap out of ISIS, not peaceful Muslims. I don’t think we ever coddled the Nazi’s while we were at war.

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        You’re purposefully presenting an extreme situation”

        I actually was not “presenting an extreme example”. I was quoting the “plan” being presented by Donald Trump. I did not exaggerate his statements in any way. You are not taking him at his word. It was Trump who said that we “have to go after the families of the terrorists”. This clearly includes to me women and children, as well as potentially innocent siblings, parents and grandparents. What else are families made up  of ?

        short-term travel bans until we get our act together and come up with some strategies”

        We have been fighting one form of claimed “Islamic terrorism” or another very visibly ever since 9/11, so well over 10 years without “figuring it out” as Mr. Trump said. How do you believe that this is likely to turn into “short term travel bans” ?  Unless of course you consider 10 + years short term or you believe that Mr. Trump will have some kind of epiphany that no one else has had. I do not see any way to a “short term ” scenario here. And I do not believe that Mr. Trump is advocating for something that facile. I believe that he is playing to a political base who would prefer that no one Muslim were ever allowed into the country. I believe that he is playing to the “white, Christian only need apply crowd”.

  15. Tia Will

    Miwok

    You can’t prevent it and be “innocent until proven guilty”. You can only watch until it happens, then take notes and clean up the mess after, like Police do best. They do not “prevent” crime or murder. Otherwise we would “prevent” cancer, child molesters, drug abuse, etc..

    I disagree with your posts on a number of counts.

    First on the medical side. It is entirely possible to prevent some forms of cancer. Cervical cancer readily comes to mine both with prevention by abstaining from sex and on the medical side with the HPV vaccine and detection and treatment of precancerous lesions. Many medical illness are preventable as is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of lung, bronchial, pharyngeal, and bladder cancers are completely preventable by not smoking.

    Likewise, I believe that many crimes are preventable. People can be provided with opportunities for more positive activities. Child molesters can be prevented from further transgressions by being kept away from vulnerable targets. People with known addictive traits can receive early counseling and intervention.

    It would seem to me that you have a very fatalistic view that there is nothing that we can do for primary prevention and that all we can do is to catch the miscreants and convict and punish. I do not share this view and believe that much can be done in the way of both primary and secondary prevention.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Agreed. Stop and frisk in New York prevented thousands of crimes and murders,  and under George Bush Jr. we stopped upwards of 10 terrorist attacks. Now our authorities have their hands tied by PC rules which prohibit certain types of criminal profiling, ignoring the obvious … we rarely even define the number one perp, Islamic extremists.

  16. Tia Will

    TBD

    Can you not see where we are headed if we allow our incompetent government to continue to allow individuals in from known terrorist countries with our limited vetting?”

    I asked for the conservative view on this once before and was met with silence. What specific provisions of the Republican backed measure which would require more signatures of certification and submission of findings to 10 congressional committees does any one believe will make us safer than the current two year vetting process ?

    Why is this process better than the President’s suggested “no fly, no buy” suggestion, roundly condemned by conservatives, but which to me seems to be a no brainer. If you are considered to much of a threat to board an airplane, what makes you safe enough to purchase weapons ?

    So with this lets just bog down the process in order to prevent entry and make people “feel” safer, rather than actually “be” safer philosophy, is in any wonder that I am taking the President’s efforts at security more seriously than I am the conservatives….even though he is not the master of puffing out his chest and making idle threats which would likely put us at much higher risk by fanning the flames of racial hatred, now pulling in only the fringe, but with the possibility of being a major recruiting tool if we become what we say we hate ( barbarians, torturers, deliberate killers of women and children)  which is what Trump argues for.

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