Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gun Violence Denial

The WSJ has biographies of the Newtown shooting victims, some of them heartbreaking.

There is an online petition to the White House to "Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress" that already has over 120,000 signatures. It probably won't do any good, but if it could garner a few million signatures it could be a vehicle for some useful media attention. It's the least you can do (almost literally).

And then there's this, from the mother of a disturbed 13-year old, about the scant options for treating mental illness in the U.S. outside the prison system.

One of the most odious aspects of these events are the gun creeps who use the occasion to tell us that if only more people were armed, these mass shootings wouldn't happen. Piers Morgan erupted on a few of them here. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, who on more than one issue has struck me as being as dumb as a sack of rocks, said today:
"Chris, I wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said.
This kind of analysis seems to me as little different from denial of climate change or other scientific facts. It assumes the conditions needed for the success of its argument: if this, and if the principal did this, and if that happened, then the shooting wouldn't have happened.

Well, sure, but the gun creeps seem incapable of understanding that a lot of other things might happen instead: the principal might lose the keys to her gun locker, or someone else might get ahold of her gun and cause havoc, or the principle might go beserk, or the principal might, you know, hit some little kids as she tried to take down a heavily armed, determined gunman wearing body armor.

The fact is that when guns are around, they get used and people die -- not mass shooters, but usually someone known to the shooter -- wives, neighbors, kids. A famous 1986 study by Arthur Kellerman of a 5-year period in Seattle found that 'for every case in which an individual used a firearm kept in the home in a self-defense homicide, there were 1.3 unintentional deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms.'

In fact, it seems to me the Newtown shootings are largely an example of this: someone had guns in their home that were used for another purpose other than that intended.

The shooter reportedly got these guns from his mother's home. Why did a middle-aged women living in a leafy Connecticut suburb keep (or need) high-powered assault weapons?

"Guns were her hobby," a neighbor said. Fine -- until someone else gets ahold of them. And too often, someone does. In "12 Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States," Ezra Klein writes:
8. More guns tend to mean more homicide.
9. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.
Who is surprised at either of these? They're perfectly predictable. More guns means more gun violence.

You want to use a gun? Sign up for your state's militia, on which the 2nd Amendment is predicated. No one needs an assault rifle unless they intend to kill large numbers of human beings very quickly, and no one outside the military should be allowed to have one. Period.


Victor Venema said...

"No one needs an assault rifle unless they intend to kill large numbers of human beings very quickly, and no one outside the military should be allowed to have one. Period."

That should be something even Representative Louie Gohmert should be able to understand.

Jay Alt said...

I'd call the mother reckless. The son was described as very poorly socialized, with a tendency to withdrawal. Said he was unaware of the emotions or pain of other people. In HS, adults who'd been around him were alert & constantly aware of that trait. One speculated that if he'd ever been burnt or hurt, the kid would either have not have felt or not acknowledged the pain.

So what does mom do? She takes him with her to the gun club for shared shooting practice.
Such people care more for their beloved weapons than the lives of others. If folks living in suburban, small-town Connecticut are so scared of "threats", let them become hermits for our sake.