Deterring the Insane

There are many odd things about the sad atrocity in the Sandy Hook school. This includes odd political things, like the implicit assumption by Obama and many others that making one more aspect of what the shooter did illegal would stop him. The shooter was a 20-year-old young man described as a “loner” and “something of a genius” and “not very social” — phrases that were used to describe me, decades ago, and are now being used to identify “Aspies” and autistic children as potential mass murderers. Video games, too, are being blamed — though this isn’t supported by studies as nearly as I can tell.  However, video games did figure into this, and I will get to that in a moment.

This mass murder took place in an area where it was against the law.  All do, in fact.  But this mass murder, like all in the last half century except the shooting of Gabriella Giffords, took place in a spot where defending oneself was also against the law.  This is evidently no accident; the shooter was apparently quite accomplished at first person shooter games, and would have learned some appreciation for strategy and tactics, including defensive capabilities.  In fact, when he heard that the police were about to arrive, and that he would be opposed, he immediately killed himself.

I do not suggest that video games caused the killing — simply that it is one obvious source from which the shooter could have learned something about the tactics involved.  Television, movies, and books also provide such information, usually in similarly distorted form.  But distorted or not, it is enough to have an effect.

Is that effect common?  Yes. All those horrifically effective mass murders, taking place in gun free zones, are not accidental.  There are four selection biases involved here. First, the shooters tend to choose a place where their targets won’t shoot back.  Second, the shooter’s effectiveness is badly compromised by people who shoot back. Third, the media tends to focus on those who actually succeed in killing large numbers, making the perpetrators famous and encouraging more perpetrators to do the same thing. Fourth, the media tends to play up white mass killers, while being rather more gentle and sympathetic toward minorities and especially jihadist murderers.

One recent case demonstrates a bit of all of these biases:  A young man who came to the US after a very difficult time as a child in Bosnia joined a mosque, became a jihadist, and went to a mall to kill civilians. He made a tactical mistake, as this was in Utah and guns were not banned.  After shooting several people, one returned fire (an off-duty policeman out for a Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife).  That was the end of the killing spree; he was pinned down until finally being killed in a shootout with cops when they ultimately arrived.

The media treated him gently enough. The Salt Lake City Tribune ran several full pages of biographical details, but it was difficult indeed to spot the fact that he was a Muslim. His attendance of a radical mosque is not even mentioned in the Wikipedia article, which notes only that his parents were Muslims. And he was not much in the national news, as he killed relatively few and was the “wrong kind” of killer.

The “Batman killer” in Aurora, Colorado was “smarter” — he chose the one nearby theater where handguns were banned. The Virginia Tech shooter picked a gun-free zone too, rendering his law-abiding victims defenseless.

Just a few days ago, another would-be mass murderer made a similar mistake to the Utah jihadist: He went to a Texas restaurant looking to kill a raft of people starting with his ex-girlfriend, and finding her not there, opened fire on employees (who ran to a nearby theater).  He began shooting in the theater, but hit only one person before a gal with a concealed carry permit acting as security for the theater returned fire, taking him down.  He got up, ran to the restroom, and was ultimately disarmed by her.  No one was killed.  (He’d hit one man in the chest, who survived.) Note, too, that this incident has barely surfaced in the news, and is not featured in leftist news sources at all.

Banning “assault weapons” is silly; this once-useful term now means simply guns that look scary to legislators. Automatic weapons are already banned, and were used in none of these crimes. No assault weapon was used in Sandy Hook. Banning such weapons would affect only those without criminal intent, as illegal guns made in South America and China are very easy for criminals to obtain, and that’s where most of Mexico’s gang weapons come from.

Speaking of Mexico, foolish, ignorant or deceitful politicians including Secretary Clinton and President Obama continue to maintain the fiction that “90% of Mexico’s guns come from the United States.”  Even when the Obama administration was pumping weapons into the hands of Mexican gangs, apparently intending to use just such incidents to stir up anti-gun sentiment, the 90% number wasn’t true; it appears that the number is less than half and may be as little as 12%.

The gun-free zones that attract mass murderers should be banned themselves; they are responsible for hundreds of deaths.  Allowing teachers, and others, to carry weapons if they desire to do so has a track record of stopping mass murders from even being attempted.  The same sort of practice, extended to the citizens to places such as Chicago, would help: Chicago would no longer be the number one “alpha world” city for murder rates.  But it seems that Chicago’s leadership (including Obama) does not care about those deaths, which will this year be dozens of times the Sandy Hook toll and amount to about a Sandy Hook every summer weekend:

For his part, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has responded to the killings with his unique brand of tough love, saying that he doesn’t really care if gang members kill each other, just as long as they do it away from children and other innocents. “Take your stuff away to the alley,” he told a press conference in early July. “Don’t touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don’t get near them.” In Emanuel’s words is the tacit understanding that it’s not kids committing these crimes—at least not very small ones. It’s young men committing these crimes, and the vast majority of those young men are black (though blacks make up only 33 percent of Chicago’s population, they’re 78 percent of the murder victims).

Former gun instructor Larry Correia has an excellent post (hat tip to the Lady Rowyn) discussing each of the typical gun control arguments and appropriate responses.  Highly worth reading.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • The disingenuous nation of this administration is … disappointing. Prior to becoming President, Obama ran an anti-gun organization called the Joyce Foundation, which had the goal of eliminating handguns in America. He was on the board, and left the opportunity to be chairman of it in order to run for the state senate. He laid low for most of four years, but now — beyond reach of any “do over” — he has seized upon the first convenient opportunity, even doing a fundraiser offering (for himself, not for Sandy Hook!) from this incident. The sort of person who would do this would also order guns to be smuggled into Mexico, hoping to cause an anti-gun reaction when they are used. Instead, they’ve caused an anti-him reaction when the scheme was exposed. But as you said, this information is not considered “pertinent” for the public to hear.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • There are places that are exceptions … but this is a sad state of affairs for a nation so very exceptional.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • “a spot where defending oneself was also against the law”

    Sadly, that is most of the planet.

  • Teresamerica

    Spot on! Excellent post! Obama and the rest of the Democrats only care about using this tragedy to advance their anti-gun agenda. Never let a crisis go to waste like Rahm Emmanuel said. And, yes, there is so much bias in the media because they agree with Obama & CO and want to aid them in advancing their gun control agenda. I am so sick of the media of not simply reporting the facts, the news. Instead, the media decides what is pertinent for the public to hear not giving the citizens the whole story.

    Teresa @ Catholibertarian