Back in 2012 I wrote a long piece explaining in detail my beliefs about the issue of guns and gun control, going so far as to propose a set of federal rules I think would do no violence to the Constitution and yet make a public show of trying to do something to address gun violence and mass shootings. Of course it was long and required the heretical act of actually READING so it had very few hit despite my posting it on FB for the purpose of addressing posts aimed at me, a known supporter of the 2nd Amendment.
Last week, however, the craziness that happened in Las Vegas brought the usual reflexive responses showing little evidence of reflective thought. I’d like to simply ignore those simple minds grasping desperately for a simplistic answer since their mind set has ossified into its current position and there is nothing but frustration to be gained by trying to have something bearing at least a casual resemblance to a discussion of the issues with them.
I see two issues existing, at least at this early stage in the investigation, to address. One is specific to this crime: the shooter’s motives. The other is a general review as to what, if anything, can be done to address this increasing violence. Let’s start with the easy one: motivation.
I do not think this guy was insane. This was far too carefully planned and over a long period of time. There was, I believe, a method underlying the apparent madness; a purpose and an objective. So far at least, I see no reason to connect him to organizations like ISIS or Al Qeada, but I believe, nevertheless, that this act was a desperate action to achieve attention for some purpose. Whether it was logical or rationale is another issue, but to ferret out the motive I think we need to start looking at the results and responses, some reflexive, some reflective.
This was no alt right nut. According to the left wing politicians and media, the victims were all redneck Trump supporters, some anchors or on-camera contributors going so far as to even publicly say the victims deserved no sympathy and one even hoped it was Trump supporters who were killed. Let’s for the moment set that disgraceful display of blind partisanship aside and stay on point… why did he do it?
If he were a far right winger he would have been knowingly killing his own folks. Makes no sense. So what does? Why would you want to kill people in that specific crowd. With all the preparations he knew precisely what the demographics of the crowd were. Perhaps the CNN pundits with the above attitudes inadvertently told us the answer…
If that shooter, for example, believed that the attendees to that concert were, as one MSNBC idiot put it, “…all probably Trumptards” and because of their assumed beliefs were dangerous, why would it not be OK to mow them down for the sake of the country following that ideologically sound logic?
Perhaps it truly is a work of insanity, a person wanting to hold a record, even an evil one, to give some surrogate immortality to his name. He can join the ranks of Genghis Khan, Attila, Vlad, Hitler, etc to go down in history even if on a list of dark deeds.
But at the moment, I am highly skeptical of that theory and see a dark, well conceived purpose but one as yet not made public at least by main stream news. It makes no sense that for this level of killing he left no note, no manifesto to explain and rationalize his well thought out plans. Or… maybe he did but it is not one that is comfortable to the mainstream and they have quashed it. It will be interesting to see what his girlfriend says, or at least what is reported about what she says.
Now for action on gun laws. Personally I do think focusing on gun laws is more of a distraction to show the “Choir” the purity of one’s heart than any real effort at finding solutions. There are “feel good” additions to bans already in place one could do but not one of them would have stopped a massacre of some sort in LV.
By the way, let me be clear: I have no problems with a full auto ban and since that ban is not about a mechanism but about a result, I have no problem banning any device that can simulate full auto fire. There is no competitive or sporting use of a full auto capability to justify its use.
At this point please read or re-read my post from 2012 on The Second Amendment. You can simply type “amendment” in the search box in the right hand column to see it. Then you can come back here and we’ll go from there.
There are, as pertains to gun laws, a few steps we might take that would cut down the instances of sheer evil intent: identifying and profiling unusual arsenal builders, for example, background checks to include psyche issues which can be defined as exclusions. But sheer lunacy is not all that controllable until we make up our minds to contain it. Shoving people with serious issues out onto the street is madness. But this shooter was no homeless wretch; he was a millionaire. So that doesn’t fit neatly into the narrative.
The Supreme Court has ruled that NO right is absolute. The old law school cliché that “I have an absolute right to swing my arms but that right stops at the end of our nose” is reasonable and logical. No matter the underlying “right” or freedom, it does not bestow on me the additional right to harm someone else or take aware their rights. But that really creates some unintended consequences for an increasingly thin-skinned populace.
For example, how are we to modernly define “Harm?” Physical injury is obvious, but where, in terms of rights maintenance, are the limits. Does being offended constitute a “harm” under that view? Does being frightened constitute a harm? Apparently for many it actually does (and that, to me, is truly frightening…)
I’m OK with banning full auto guns but not in favor of banning guns because they are scary looking. Threatening me with one, coercing me to do something with one is certainly a harm. But a lawfully acquired and carefully, legally used gun that just looks like an assault rifle is no more dangerous that a plastic kids toy that looks like an assault rifle. It is not the looks that make it dangerous.
A real “Assault Rifle” is, by definition, one that is capable of sustained full automatic fire. A rifle that is semi-automatic that looks like the assault rifle is NOT an assault rifle. A civilian AR-15 is NOT a military M-16 Assault Rifle. And as I said a few paragraphs above, any additional modifications or devices that allows it to simulate the real Assault Rifle need to be banned… not the core piece.
In law there are crimes and then “Aggravated” crimes performed with a deadly weapon. Anyone using a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime should be hammered right into the ground because the resulting reflexive fear is pervasive enough, whether grounded in any reality or not, that it threatens my right to own one peacefully.
But we have a larger issue: do words really now do harm? Are we so fragile a people that now words as well as sticks and stones can harm us? Really?
When I was a kid it as axiomatic that the old “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was a priori truth. But now we contend that words can hurt and be harmful. Oh man, do you not understand that opens up an immense logical can of worms. If words can truly harm me then why cannot I not defend myself from that harm just as I would if the threat were from a weapon with more tangible existence?
I contend and believe strongly that it is not a gun problem we have, but an ethics and morals problem, facilitated and perpetuated by the idea that behavior and choices should have no consequences. And if one sub-authority can rebuke a higher authority and ignore their laws, then what should compel us to do any different?
To make matters worse, the entertainment world has glorified those stepping outside the law for their own sense of vengeance starting with “Death Wish” and continuing with anti-heroes such as “The Punisher” series. Being judge, jury, and executioner is seen as a justifiable act by them.
Well, maybe it is justifiable to deal with a personal issue such as an attack on one’s family and loved ones — I would be hard pressed to be constrained had someone killed a loved one of mine. But the moment it goes outside that tight world, or beyond normal “Self-defense” laws, the actor becomes the aggressor and needs to be shown as such and treated as such.
But when we allow municipalities to ignore laws of higher levels of authority because they do not like them, what precedent does that set for the rest of us? Does that mean we can ignore laws we do not like? Why not? How dare a state tell me I must obey THEIR laws when they are clear they do not need to obey Federal laws they do not like?
We are in dangerous water here. What we need is careful well thought out responses not just the frightened, knee-jerk ones. Comparisons with other countries is, as always, simple but irrelevant. Solutions intended to last and be accepted need to come from the core values of the culture itself.
But what if we are in the transition period of throwing away those core values? What then?