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I don't even know what else to say because without the answer to that question, we have no hope of reversing what seems to be an upward trend of crazy fuckers comitting nightmarish acts of violent. Yeah, this is because of that school shooting—that horrible, awful, straight-out-of-the-depths-of-hell kind of evil that can only be comitted by a person who is so insane that they are no longer a human being and so monstrous that they probably never really were.

How does that happen? Why is it happening with more frequency in recent history? And most importantly, how the fuck do we stop it?

Wikipedia has a list of rampage killings dating back to the mid-1800s that's pretty damn long, so these kinds of things have probably been going on forever. And while they aren't unique to the United States, we sure do have a lot of them. Nearly all spree killers are male too. I'm not sure what that says about the male brain, and more specifically the American male brain, but it probably says something. Is it less empathic? Does it have a greater propensity for violence? Is it more prone to severe mental illness? Is it more likely to lose touch with reality when stressed? I don't really think being male is a significant piece of the puzzle, but it may be a piece, whether biological, cultural or both.

We can point to the usual supects too, of couse: guns, video games, movies... but those are not causes. If they were, we'd be witness to horrific rampages in every neighborhood on a regular basis. But we're not because spree killers are a uniquely defective breed. I think the only true solution to their kind of madness is to learn how to identify it early and either treat the abnormailty successfully or remove them from society and keep them locked in padded rooms.


( 14 comments — Add a comment )
Dec. 18th, 2012 06:52 am (UTC)
As an Australian I observe America’s gun culture with a mixture of awe and incredibility, and the televised reactions to these types of tragedies almost as an act of insanity that usually goes like this; First there is the stunned denial that something so bad can happen, then there is the moment of introspection where maybe better gun control should be considered, this is followed by the stampede to the local store to buy more guns because if we were better armed we could protect ourselves from the nut-jobs who go out and kill innocent people.

While I do subscribe to the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument the simple fact is the amount and type of firearms especially military grade firearms that Americans can have is beyond common sense and no amount of cross checking and profiling is going to do an ounce of good until you wake up and realise that maybe there is just too many guns in the community and something needs to be done about that!

But we all know what’s going to happen, the politicians will talk, some new questions will be added to the form you fill out to buy a gun and nothing will change, so on and repeat when the next massacre happens.
Dec. 18th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
Guns are an easy target because they're designed to be lethal weapons. But they're far from the only way to kill. Bombs, cars, knives, swords, poisons, crossbows... any of those things could be used for mass killing if someone was bent on doing it. In fact the deadliest school attack in the US was in 1927, when a guy killed 38 elementary school kids (and injured dozens more) using explosives. What if the next rampage killer plows a car into kids waiting at a school bus stop?

I don't think the goal should be to shape society around the mentally defective, it should be to stop the crazies—remove them from society before they succeed in harming anyone. The idea that we can stop killers by banning or reducing the existence of whatever tool they use for murder is an exercise in knee-jerk futility. It would be chasing after a problem instead of getting to the root of a problem and solving it.

Dec. 19th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
I like guns, I like shooting them its fun, but I’m also a realist which is why after the Port Arthur massacre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Arthur_massacre_(Australia) I supported my government when it brought in gun controls which reduced the firearms in the community by about ¾ of a million.
The net effect of this is gun ownership is down to 5.2 % of adults and Self-defence is not accepted as a reason to be able to buy them, some other statistics relating to this are that between 1991 and 2001, the number of firearm-related deaths in Australia declined 47%.

In the year 2002–2003, over 85% of firearms used to commit murder were unregistered. In 1997–1999, more than 80% of the handguns confiscated were never legally purchased or registered in Australia. Knives are used up to three times as often as firearms in robberies. The majority of firearm-related deaths are suicides, of which many involved the use of hunting rifles.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics , from 1985–2000, 78% of firearm deaths in Australia were suicides, and firearm suicides have fallen from about 22% of all suicides in 1992 to 7% of all suicides in 2005. Immediately following the Buyback there was a fall in firearm suicides which was more than offset by a 10% increase in total suicides in 1997 and 1998. There were concerted efforts in suicide prevention from this time and in subsequent years the total suicide rate resumed its decline.

This all proves that having strict gun controls work and it isn’t a knee jerk reaction or an act of futility, sure it isn’t going to solve the problem of the patently insane trying to kill lots of people but it sure makes it harder for them to try, and it’s not going to keep them out of the hands of criminals because they are CRIMINALS! nuff said.

But I know this isn’t going to happen there because American attitude to guns is very different, even though you know the problem and know the solution you won’t act on it, you seem to dismiss the problem even as it arises and deflect, read your own post and schmacky’s and you’ll see what I mean, it not the fault the guy could easily get a military grade assault rifle or fully automatic pistols, the fault lies in that he was mentally unbalanced, not mentally unbalanced AND able to access these types of weapons!

OK, sorry for brow beating you guys but it needed to be said, I miss my gun but I feel safer in my community than I would in yours.
Dec. 19th, 2012 10:35 am (UTC)
No, all that proves is that your gun control laws worked for your country. Switzerland has TONS of guns and almost no gun crime. In the US, we have lots of crime and lots of guns, but our crime rate has been declining. I read recently that despite there being more guns in the US than there were a few decades ago, fewer households have guns. So that could be a factor: Maybe fewer bad guys have guns while good guys have more guns.

I'm pretty satisfied with our gun laws as-is. I think they do a good job of preventing known criminals and crazies from buying guns. The problem, of course, is there's no way to set up a system that can weed out people who will commit their first violent crime in the future. So we accept the fact a tiny percentage of people who legally own guns will one day murder someone with it. And we also know that cops can't catch every illegal gun sale.

I think the only way we could improve on the system we have is by making it a federal law (meaning all of our states would have to comply) that private gun sales have to go through a licensed dealer so the normal FBI background check would be performed. As it is now, some states still don't regulate private guns sales. But that's it for any changes I'd want to see. Actually, I'd like it if we had open-carry everywhere, but I don't see that happening in every state ;)

Yes, the American attitude about guns is very different because we have a constitutional right to own guns. We take that right very seriously.

Now let me clear something up...

the guy could easily get a military grade assault rifle or fully automatic pistols

Automatic weapons are heavily regulated here. None made after 1986 are even legal for civilians to own and ones made before 1986 require special licensing and a hefty fee. Plus they're *really* expensive to buy. I did get to shoot one once, though (a fully automatic MAC 10). That was cool.

The "military grade assault rifle" doesn't mean anything either. Civilian AR-15s are just rifles that look militaristic. There are hunting rifles that are more powerful.
Dec. 19th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
I agree that comparing Australia and America is apples and oranges and there would be no way what worked here would work there but I’m more trying to say it’s still the same basic principle at work, you have too many guns especially types that should never be in the hands of civilians because they are not meant for anything but killing people and “just” people, and personally I would find the prospect of people openly carrying horrifying, I would be a nervous wreck!

“Yes, the American attitude about guns is very different because we have a constitutional right to own guns. We take that right very seriously.”

While we never had it in our constitution to bear arms it was still a “right” for Australians to have guns, I wonder though about that often pointed out amendment wasn’t just a requirement of a young country making sure that it had a citizen army at the ready in case of need and your founding fathers never imagined that new country would be a nuclear armed super power with a large well equipped military or that the then muskets would evolve to be guns of such firepower.
And owning a gun should never be a “right,” It should be considered a “responsibility,” by just saying it’s your right diminishes the seriousness of what it is you own by considering it just another piece of property when in reality it puts a degree of state sanctioned power in your hands.

But anyway like I said I’m a realist, I’m not anti-gun I just wish for better controls on them for you to be in a world where school shooting were not so commonplace, but I also realise that it’s not going to happen, no matter how many times it happens the gun lobby will make sure the system never changes so why bother worrying about it, we’ll just have see what comes of this latest incident but I predict nothing much will change.
Dec. 28th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
"I wonder though about that often pointed out amendment wasn’t just a requirement of a young country making sure that it had a citizen army at the ready in case of need and your founding fathers never imagined that new country would be a nuclear armed super power with a large well equipped military or that the then muskets would evolve to be guns of such firepower."

No, i don't think our founding fathers could imagine the kinds of weapons we have today, but that doesn't change the nature of our Constitutional right to bear arms. They knew swords were no match for muskets just as we know muskets are no match for a semi-automatic rifle. If weapons advance and citizens can't have them, the right itself becomes useless.

Most Americans agree on reasonable gun controls (even a gun enthusiast like myself). But when some nut job shoots up a school and the first thing politicians want to do is pass feel-good gun laws that wouldn't even have prevented such a crime, I can't support that. I mean really, would we all pat ourselves on the back if he'd used two hand guns with 10-round magazines (and didn't take a second to reload) and only killed 20 people instead of 26? Woohoo! Legislative success! Only 20 killed!!!

Guns are a factor, but they are not the problem. The problem is the person. I think the bigger issues are mental sickness, the breakdown of family, the loss of community, and a culture of violence. I have no idea how we begin to solve all that, but we seriously need to.
Dec. 28th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
None of the guns used were "military grade".
What the talking heads and Nanny-statists are calling "assault weapons" are NOT. They are one bullet-per-trigger-pull civilian versions. The military used fully automatic machine guns, that merely LOOK the same, and all the readily convertible receivers were BANNED.
Dec. 31st, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Re: None of the guns used were "military grade".
I found a video that does an excellent job of demonstrating the difference between an automatic assault rifle and a similar-looking semi-automatic rifle. The guy in the video also takes a classic ranch rifle and swaps the stock to make it look like a scary assault rifle.

Dec. 19th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
The moment the gun control issue came up I bow my head and shake it because I don't understand how that is going to stop someone who wants to kill other people. The problem with this country isn't the lack of gun control. It's the crappy healthcare system. Specifically the mental healthcare system. That needs a good long hard look. Gun control is just a band aid.
Dec. 19th, 2012 10:43 am (UTC)
I was actually surprised that people seemed to be talking more about the mental health issue initially, but I guess I knew that wouldn't last. The usual call to ban "assault weapons" was inevitable. We had a ban for 10 years and it didn't make any difference because there are still crazy people.

If we really want to stop spree killings, we have to stop the spree killer types from wanting to do it. So I totally agree: this is absolutely a mental health problem.
Dec. 28th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
What about community cohesion?
Politicians in the USA have been dividing and conquering us citizens for so long, that we no longer have the kinds of communities that rise in the common defense. The Liberals point at the Conservatives and call us "gun nuts", while we call THEM coddlers and enablers.

I think we need to continue abrupt interventions when bully and exclusion develop in school settings, but we also need to give our kids honest, critical, constructive feedback, when they need to work harder, behave better, and conform in some ways to fit in to their communities. Parents, or failing that, other adult members of our communities need to clearly express and enforce behavioral norms, so that the little monsters tormenting cats don't become, or create, big monsters terrorizing communities.

I like ONE thing about Homeland Security: their mantra: "If you see something, say something."
Dec. 31st, 2012 06:28 am (UTC)
Well said.
Liberals point at the Conservatives and call us "gun nuts", while we call THEM coddlers and enablers

Well they are coddlers and enablers ;)

Y'know, I was recently thinking about all the guns I have and realized I'd probably be considered a gun nut by many. But I don't think of myself as a gun nut at all; I think of myself as a gun nerd. Every gun I own is different and I like the challenge of trying to master them all. Target shooting gives me a thrill and shooting well gives me pride. It's a hobby, it's sport, it's fun.

I guess the "nut" part comes into play when the Second Amendment gets brought up. I don't know any gun owner that doesn't strongly believe that the purpose of that right is to keep tyranny in check. But in modern daily life, that seems like extremist talk. Revolutions are what happen in history or in third world countries, not in a western republic! At least not today. What anti-gun people fail to consider is that taking away or watering down the Second Amendment could be the doom of a future generation.

"If you see something, say something."

There are lots of weird loners, lots of people with emotional problems, lots with learning disabilities, lots from broken families... how do we spot the infinitely small percentage of them that will one day harm others? Even if we can, what can really be done about someone that hasn't actually done anything wrong? It's a very difficult problem and I think that's why people are quick to shout "GUN BAN!!!" It solves nothing, but makes people feel like they're doing something.
Dec. 31st, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Well said.
RB: "Every gun I own is different and I like the challenge of trying to master them all."

I've never seen a golfer with only one golf club in his bag.

Just like golf clubs, guns are made to satisfy many different performance criteria: corrosion resistance, concealability, light carrying weight vs reduced recoil, ultimate accuracy, short range, long range, rapid reloading, slow paper bullseyes, or rapid engagement of falling plates (simulating multiple assailants, as Reginald Denny faced).

RB: "what can really be done about someone that hasn't actually done anything wrong?"

There ARE people in my extended circle who I do NOT recommend to own guns: those who have quick tempers, or short attention spans, or who just seem "a little off". Those folks do NOT get invited to the range. Anyone who doesn't grasp the concept of muzzle control, in a single session, doesn't get invited back. Maybe they'd never hurt anyone, but I wouldn't want to be the one who encouraged them to take up shooting.

I wish our Legislature would take a similar attitude regarding the creation of law: people who can't grasp causality, who feel rather than think, should not be invited to craft legislation.

RB: "What anti-gun people fail to consider is that taking away or watering down the Second Amendment could be the doom of a future generation."
Amen. Can I repost this?

Edited at 2012-12-31 07:48 pm (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Well said.
Repost? Sure. You're welcome to quote me directly or just paraphrase ideas into your own postings/writings any time.

There ARE people in my extended circle who I do NOT recommend to own guns...

Actually this is really where we (fellow gun owners) can make a difference — especially gun shops and gun ranges. What you said reminded of the Colorado movie theater shooter who applied to a gun range and was rejected because they thought something was *off* about him. That alone can't stop a psycho killer from being a psycho killer, but if the gun shops he bought from felt the same way and had refused to sell to him, maybe it would've thwarted his movie theater shooting spree.

Of course that guy was into explosives too, so he probably would've blown people up if he couldn't get guns. So it really takes everyone — family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, teachers, therapists — to pay attention, notice the brewing violence, take it seriously and try to do something about it.

( 14 comments — Add a comment )


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