Yes, This Is a Good Time To Talk About Gun Violence and How To Reduce It

The Florida school shooting is horrific, but making sure such tragedies never happen is no simple matter.



In the wake of the Florida school shooting that has left 17 dead, politicians who typically promote Second Amendment rights to gun ownership have already gone into a defensive crouch. At a press conference near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Gov. Rick Scott, a favorite of the National Rifle Association (NRA) parried away a question about gun control by mumbling platitudes about a "mental health" crisis in America before saying this wasn't a good time to talk about politics.

The reluctance is understandable but ultimately self-defeating and cowardly. While it's true that few things are more reprehensible than the instantaneous politicization of terrible events, it's also true that constantly dodging heartfelt questions about the apparent effects of your policies is neither legitimate nor convincing. Scott's quick invocation of mental illness is weak as well, especially since one thing we can likely be sure of is that most information about the shooter, identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, will be heavily revised or abandoned completely. Indeed, it turns out that virtually everything most of us still believe about the killers behind the 1999 Columbine school shooting, the incident that dominates our thinking about such events, is wrong. The shooters weren't bullied, they weren't goths or obsessed with video games, and they didn't target minorities or jocks.

If we can't yet confidently say anything about this particular shooting, however, there are still large points we can make and questions we can ask, including the following:

Grant Duwe, Politico

Mass shootings aren't getting more common, but they are getting more deadly. As researcher Grant Duwe wrote in Politico last fall, "What has increased over time is the number of people shot in these incidents. Looking at annual trends in the total number of victims shot in mass public shootings (on a per capita basis), you can see that the severity has recently increased, reaching a 40-year high."

Some people will rush to say this is a distinction without meaning, but surely it means something that there aren't more shootings happening. From a strict cost-benefit analysis of gun control, it might be an argument for changing the sorts of guns that are legally in circulation (though there are plenty of issues with effecting that change; see below), but it also suggests that there isn't some sort of social breakdown that is causing more and more individuals to become psychopaths.

Grant Duwe, Politico

Gun crime and gun violence are still way, way down from 20 years ago. In the wake of last fall's Las Vegas shooting, I wrote, "'From 1993 to 2015, the rate of violent crime declined from 79.8 to 18.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older,' says the Bureau of Justice Statistics in its most recent comprehensive report (published last October, using data through 2015). Over the same period, rates for crimes using guns dropped from 7.3 per 1,000 people to 1.1 per 1,000 people. The homicide rate is down from 7.4 to 4.9. These are not simply good things, they are great things. They are the essential backdrop of all discussions about gun crime and mass shootings, even as we grieve the people killed nonsensically in Vegas."

None of that takes away an iota of the pain and terror of what is still unfolding in Florida, but the most basic argument for gun control remains that reducing the number of guns in circulation will reduce the amount of gun violence in society. Yet since the mid-1990s, states and localities (and certainly Florida) have mostly made it easier for more people to buy and carry guns in more sorts of situations. The correlation has been with vast reductions in gun crime and gun violence.

Bureau of Justice Statistics

All mass shooters are "mentally ill," but defining that term is no easy feat. It seems to me that anybody who shoots up a school, a workplace, or a concert is sick in the head. As Gov. Rick Scott's response suggests, one of the standard disclaimers issued by gun-rights advocates in the wake of a mass shooting is to lament widespread "mental illness" as a way of avoiding thornier questions of what sorts of guns might be restricted under the Second Amendment. The NRA, an inconsistent defender of gun rights at best, typically goes the same way, often calling for broader and broader designations of mental illness that would restrict more and more people from being able to legally own guns. Reason's Jacob Sullum has reported how such laws almost always means virtually unlimited power for mental health professionals and others to restrict constitutional rights.

When it comes to mass shooters, the efficacy of such policies is even less clear. Reason's Zach Weissmueller noted in 2013,

A recent Mayo Clinic study points out that mass shooters tend to meticulously plan their crimes weeks or months in advance, undermining the idea that the mentally ill simply "snap" and go on shooting rampages while also complicating the notion of effective gun control through gun registries, since a methodical planner has plenty of time to obtain weapons through illegal channels.

A more basic problem with a strategy that targets mentally ill people is that the vast majority of them are not violent. When you control for substance abuse, a factor that exacerbates violence in all populations, only about 4.3% of people with a "severe" mental illness are likely to commit any sort of violence, according to a University of Chicago study. The violence rate among those with a "non-severe" mental illness is about equal to that of the "normal" population.

Broadening the definition of mental illness sounds like an obviously good idea that is actually incredibly difficult to implement in any meaningful way. Weissmueller's documentary on the topic explores the problem in depth:

Would restricting certain types of weapons make mass shootings less deadly? It appears the Florida shooter used an "AR-15" style rifle. AR-15 rifles are reportedly the most popular sort of long gun in America and have been used in many mass shootings. Any number of cable-news commentators, including former FBI agents and soldiers, have already made the case that there is no "good" reason for law-abiding people to want such a weapon, particularly if it's a semi-automatic. Such guns, goes this argument, are only good for killing people. Throw in large-capacity magazines and the death toll is going to be larger than it would be with less-lethal weapons. Yet the assault weapons ban in effect from 1994 to 2004 had essentially no impact on violence, leading researchers to conclude: "Should it be renewed, the ban's effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement."

"Assault weapons" is a fundamentally meaningless category, but the whole point of the ban on such weapons was to remove "military-style" weapons from home collections. It turns out that rifles in general don't account for much in the way of gun crime and violence. And given that there are already something like 8 million AR-15s in circulation, it's not clear exactly how they would be pulled out of people's homes even if that were a certain way to minimize casualties in mass shootings.

Do strict firearms laws reduce gun deaths? Along with arguing that access to certain types of weapons needs to be restricted, many gun control advocates on the cable nets are talking about how more gun laws mean fewer gun deaths. Florida has weak gun laws and relatively high numbers of gun deaths, goes this argument, while Massachusetts has strict gun laws and relatively few gun deaths. But as Brian Doherty pointed out in his 2016 feature for Reason magazine, "You Know Less Than You Think About Guns," even the basic correlation behind such an observation is unclear:

"States with strictest firearm laws have lowest rates of gun deaths," a Boston Globe headline then announced. But once again, if you take the simple, obvious step of separating out suicides from murders, the correlations that buttress the supposed causations disappear. As John Hinderaker headlined his reaction at the Power Line blog, "New Study Finds Firearm Laws Do Nothing to Prevent Homicides."

Among other anomalies in Fleegler's research, Hinderaker pointed out that it didn't include Washington, D.C., with its strict gun laws and frequent homicides. If just one weak-gun-law state, Louisiana, were taken out of the equation, "the remaining nine lowest-regulation states have an average gun homicide rate of 2.8 per 100,000, which is 12.5% less than the average of the ten states with the strictest gun control laws," he found.

Public health researcher Garen Wintemute, who advocates stronger gun laws, assessed the spate of gun-law studies during an October interview with Slateand found it wanting: "There have been studies that have essentially toted up the number of laws various states have on the books and examined the association between the number of laws and rates of firearm death," said Wintemute, who is a medical doctor and researcher at the University of California, Davis. "That's really bad science, and it shouldn't inform policymaking."

Wintemute thinks the factor such studies don't adequately consider is the number of people in a state who have guns to begin with, which is generally not known or even well-estimated on levels smaller than national, though researchers have used proxies from subscribers to certain gun-related magazines and percentages of suicides committed with guns to make educated guesses. "Perhaps these laws decrease mortality by decreasing firearm ownership, in which case firearm ownership mediates the association," Wintemute wrote in a 2013 JAMA Internal Medicine paper. "But perhaps, and more plausibly, these laws are more readily enacted in states where the prevalence of firearm ownership is low—there will be less opposition to them—and firearm ownership confounds the association."

The facts of the Florida school shooting haven't yet been established and the motivations of the shooter remain unknown. Given that, there's very little that any of us can say with certainty about what particular law or practice might have prevented or minimized the carnage. Even when all that is known, it's likely that there will have been very little any single person or legislature might have done to prevent such an event without a wholesale change in our open society. That is not a defense of quietism or indifference, but good policy and law making must acknowledge the limits of government action. What happened in Florida is beyond awful, but it won't be remedied by laws and policies that have no chance of achieving their purposes either.

In the wake of last fall's mass shooting in Las Vegas, I spoke with Jacob Sullum about gun rights and crime. Listen below and go here for a full transcript.

NEXT: Update: 17 Dead in South Florida High School Shooting

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  1. Gun free zone = shooting spree zone

    1. This.

      And if you think that this outcome is not PRECISELY what proggies want, you’re ignorant of history, straight up

      1. There is no nut quite like the gun nut, except, of course, the right-wing religious kook.

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do…

        2. Kirkland, are yo going to walk back your claim that gun murder is higher today than a generation ago. You got the citation with both FBi and CDC statistics.

          What do you think it means when you invert facts of the core metric?

        3. the only gun nuts are the gun ban nuts like you.

    2. That kid knew there was no armed people on campus.

      1. He also knew that right-wing ideology and gun nuttery go together like a schoolhouse and dead children.

        1. So not very often?

          What an odd idiom…

          1. That is standard RAK male bovine excrement. I’m surprised he/she/it didn’t include his/hers/its usual closing of “Carry On Clingers!”

            1. Carry on, clingers.

              So far as your lousy educations, can’t-keep-up backwaters, bigoted souls, authoritarian natures, and superstition-laced gullibility can carry you, anyway.

              1. I’m a trained and licensed socially liberal, agnostic libertarian concealed carrier that utterly despises religion and fundamentalist whackjobs. I also live in the city, and own several semi-autos to boot. Where does that put me?

                BTW, just what kind of “reverend” are you, anyway? Unitarian Universalist or something? Just askin’.

                1. Congregation Of Exalted Reason.

        2. Yep, because right-wingers support racist and classist laws… Oh wait, that’s the so-called “progressives” who support the racist and classist gun control regime. The majority of gun laws are targeted at minorities and the poor, who the left claims to support.

  2. I prefer the term “defenseless victim zone”.

    1. One of greatest warriors was murdered at a gun range while armed and surrounded by other warriors…sometimes more guns or fewer guns aren’t the solution. In this instance law enforcement clearly failed because this kid should have been targeted and brought in on any charges they could find especially in light of his parents being dead.

      1. On your final point, we agree. He was also reported to the FBI last fall for comments made on a YouTube Vlog; claimed he was going to do exactly what he did.

      2. One of greatest warriors was murdered at a gun range while armed

        he was shot in the back of the head nearly point blank while facing away

        . If he had instead done a home improvement project with the guy as therapy he just as easily would have had a hammer put through the back of his skull. It is a meaningless anecdote.

    2. Australia is one of those, and people are forced to vote at gunpoint. When they complained about bring frogmarched to the polls where there is no LP on the ballot the looters came up with a “preferential” voting system that effectively excludes the libertarian party.

  3. It seems to me that anybody who shoots up a school or a concert is sick in the head.

    Nick’s journolist credentials qualify him to make that diagnosis.

    1. I don’t know. I think I’m OK with saying that someone with such wanton disregard for (or active hostility to) life to that degree is by definition fucked in the head.

    2. I agree that he shouldn’t be making these calls. Unless proven otherwise we should assume some sort of decision making process on the part of the attacker.

      1. Crazy people don’t have some sort of decision making process?

        1. I’m no talking about the legal standard for mentally unfit, but about what people actually mean when they say “crazy” or “mentally ill”.

    3. How on earth is this controversial? If you go on a killing spree you are deranged.

      1. It’s SIV, dude. He is in the throes of the final stage of chicken syphilis.

  4. The NRA, an inconsistent defender of gun rights at best,

    The only to-the-point response to this ridiculous and provably untrue statement is:

    Your girl lost, cuck. deal with it.

    1. You know what’s weird is that you claimed the statement is provably untrue without actually proving it untrue.

      1. NRA is pragmatic about how much of gun rights they can effectively defend without losing influence. If tomorrow they adopted all the stances of GOA and SAF, they would have to oppose 99% of elected officials, and their support or opposition of candidates would be rendered meaningless because they would have to oppose nearly everybody.

        Shouting your principles at the top of your lungs may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it is usually not a good way of getting them maximally implemented.

    2. Actually, when folks make the claim that “the NRA inconsistently defends gun rights” it’s usually conservative gun owners who prefer the more hardline stance of organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation.

      Typical Hillary supporters are convinced that the NRA is the only radical pro-gun gun lobby, and that it all-powerfully blocks common-sense gun control laws they believe are supported by 90 percent of everyone in the U.S.

    3. Never let facts stand in the way of a good insult. The truth is, “inconsistent” is a fair characterization; remember how the NRA hung back on cases like Heller and MacDonald, but then got involved in toward the end run so as to get some credit and something to fundraise on? Sounds pretty “inconsistent” to me…

      1. The NRA’s focus is on legislation, not litigation.

        1. Yup. Of course, the ACLU does not like the 2nd Amendment and rarely takes up the issue in litigation.

      2. Only on Reason could you find someone so idiotic as to call bashing the NRA for being too left on guns evidence of Hillary worship. Truly amazing.

      3. They did not hang back on McDonald.

        They tried to keep Heller from going to SCOTUS out of fear that it would have gone the other way, and set a precedent that gutted the second amendment. We got very lucky that it did not go that way — the dissent, signed onto by 4 justices, explicitly stated that a government interest in “preventing crime” supersedes the right to bear arms. And had Merrick Garland replaced Scalia, Heller and McDonald would both be overturned by now.

    4. See Castille, Philandro for further details.

      1. Ding ding ding.

  5. “…but it won’t be remedied by laws and policies that have chance of achieving their purposes either.”

    Do you mean “little chance”, or “no chance”?

  6. Perhaps it’s just me, but I have a feeling that it’s the round-the-clock media coverage of these atrocities that’s giving these disturbed creeps the idea that a school shooting is a great way to express themselves. I’m reminded of some old words from Roger Ebert:

    ‘Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about ‘Basketball Diaries’?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.’


    1. I believe there are a number of factors that conspire to produce this recipe for disaster; yes, access to weapons is a central element, but that is nothing new. Alienation is also a factor, though again nothing new. It is noteworthy, and not coincidental, that the mass shootings began to occur about the same time we had 24/7 news feeds [CNN], and of course all the more so with mass media and the instant notoriety it offers. Got a world of butt hurt? I’ll show em’ and the whole world will know about it immediately. The Umpqua shooter openly acknowledged this motivation in his diary, of how he could go from being completely unknown to infamous instantaneously. And on and on it goes.

      1. If you do a bit of research, a lot of these school killings started up about the same time as heavy medication of children. If memory serves the Columbine shooter was switching between anti-psycotics, and they weren’t the only ones. What could happen when switching between anti-psychotic medications? Why complete mental breaks, of course!

        Which is almost definitely what happened.

        Only in the modern era is dosing your children with state-of-art neurochemical altering drugs considered ‘normal’. Consider ADDHD medications and how ubiquitous they are.

        I’m not saying this is ‘always’ the case, but in a lot of cases it’s what happened.

        1. IIRC almost every mass shooting has been a person that was on psych drugs with side effects of violence, homicide ideation, etc. Even the Gabby Giffords shooter was on psych drugs just like Columbine,

    2. I think the uptick is related to modern conflict resolution and non judgement where conflicts are not resolved but only patronizingly dealt with in the most pc of ways on the surface and the real problem remains under the rug until a person decides that the only true resolution to a problem is the ultimate solution

  7. ‘The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. “Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”

    In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.’

    1. There was a report from a Psychiatric group that backs this up. They made suggestions for best practices in the media to include limiting the use of the image of the shooter as well as their name.

      1. No shit. The same people that would probably like to blame this on video games, or movies, or Trump’s violent rhetoric wouldn’t bat an eye about coverage of this continuing 24 hours a day for the next week. Seems a bit ironic to me.

        1. It feels more “wantonly and self-righteously hypocritical” than “ironic”.

  8. America is super big and populous, and they have to deal with dozens of issues and everyone else’s gripes in ways that doesn’t exist in places like Japan. We now shrug off things that would chill the bones people elsewhere. In countries outside the Mexico tier, mass shootings, execution of police officers, political assassination attempt and Muslim car attacks are not common.

    There’s no single law or legislation that will fix this. Like or not, the breakdown of the family and the corrupting influence of popular culture and social media has to be considered. Most of these mass shooters are loners who were cocooned in their own insanity for years.

    Everything on American TV is just dark and cynical in a calculating way, and sitcom characters are just Bartleby like stock figures who deliver one liners. A lot of them are skeevy perverts or goody two shoes SJW types. The superhero genre dominates the movies and crowds everyone out. There’s little human warmth or innocent fun anywhere.

    Some of these mass shooters were researching bomb making materials. Guns are a tool and perhaps a symptom. But they’re clearly only part of the picture. If gun free zone Europe can’t stop their crazies from importing guns and blowing up people with bombs, then we won’t be able to either.

    1. Like or not, the breakdown of the family and the corrupting influence of popular culture and social media has to be considered.

      Er, what? Did you miss the part where violent crime has massively declined over the past 2 decades?

      1. I think there is something cultural going on.

        More than 50% of US homicides are by black people, who are less than 15% of the population (though they appear underrepresented in mass shootings, AFAIK). That’s some fucked up shit. Is it the drug war and resulting gang violence ? Family breakdown from the welfare state ? Abysmally poor schools ? I guess all three, and god knows what else.

        So yes, overall crime has gone down, but what remains is shockingly concentrated in a small group that for whatever reason seems to value life differently than the country at large.

    2. Have you ever been to another country? They watch the same crap we do. They play violent video games at the same rate we do. And Europe’s cities are as polyglot as ours or more so, and at 3-4 times the density. Yet their homicide rate is still a fraction of ours. Belgium, which appears to breed terrorists, and a has a dysfunctional divided government population still has 1/3 the murder rate. It’s the guns. The would-be shooters on the Thalyis that got taken out by off-duty American serviceman? –they didn’t even know how to operate their weapon! An American would know how to fire an AK goddamnit!!! Maybe that’s the “Price of Freedom”TM. Maybe it’s worth it to check some future authoritarianism. Maybe we can’t close the barn door given how many weapons are already in circulation. But let’s not kid ourselves about why our murder rate is so high.…..ion-people

      1. France had twice as many guns per capita as Belgium and a lower homicide rate. Norway has the same gun ownership rate and one of the lowest murder rates in the world. How do you explain these, if the reason for the US murder rate is guns?

      2. Um, no, they don’t all watch the “same crap” as we do, unless we’re talking about Game of Thrones or TWD. FPS games are popular, but most of the world are also into RPG and Pokemon type games. I’m bilingual and watch and read all sorts of “crap” in another language, the difference between the two popular cultures is pretty stark.

        As immigration advocates in this site will tell you, families abroad are much tighter as a unit than Americans. There’s a reason parents move to countries like America – it’s for the families.

        Did you know that 30,40 years ago, there were rifle teams in American schools? High school kids shot guns in schools. And in the Jim Crow era Nicholas Cruz might have walked scot free shooting up a segregated black school.

        So why are mass shootings happening more now?

        1. Hell, we used to bring firearms to school in our vehicles so we could go hunting after school!

          1. We brought them to show and tell in the 60’s in rural America.

        2. So why are mass shootings happening more now?
          They aren’t. We’re just hearing about them more.

      3. The USA murder rate is similar to the EU murder rate. While true that the EU has lower firearm homicide rate, they have higher homicide by other weapons than the USA.

        1. No it isn’t even fucking remotely close. Our homicide rate is 4.88/100,000. The highest homicide rates in Europe are:

          Lithuania 5.98
          Latvia 4.11
          Estonia 3.20
          Montenegro 2.72
          Albania 2.28 before you get to the first Western European country
          Belgium 1.98

      4. US becoming safer compared to Europe in both fatalities and frequency of mass public shootings: US now ranks 11th in fatalities and 12th in frequency

        Between January 2009 and December 2015, there are 11 European countries with a higher frequency of these mass public shootings than the US, and 10 European countries with a higher rate of deaths from these attacks.

        Indeed, over that same period of time, the European Union (EU) suffered 303 deaths from mass public shootings, while the US had 199.

        1. You are quoting a hack pro-gun advocacy group, which rigged the count. Compare it to the Guardian’s similar?but not rigged?count of mass shooting casualties, and the conclusions you suggest are shown to be wildly wrong. As I recall, you have quoted this before, and been corrected before, in detail, with links. Advocacy works better if you at least try to seem forthright.

          1. “Compare it to the Guardian’s similar?but not rigged?count of mass shooting casualties”
            You’re quoting a hack leftist newspaper, and claiming it’s not rigged.

      5. The deadliest mass shootings in the world in the past decade have actually happened in EU countries — France, Belgium, and Norway.

        The majority of homocides in the US are from inner-city gang warfare, often related to drug territory disputes. If you exclude such homocides the difference between the US and EU disappears.

        If you want to argue for a gun ban for inner-city minorities, have fun with that. If you’re telling Bubba in East Podunk KY that he can’t have an AR because hoodlums in Chicago are shooting each other with handguns at a record rate, that’s bullshit and not supported by the stats.

  9. Gun crime and gun violence are still way, way down from 20 years ago.

    Not surprisingly, the anti-gun cult ignores this fact.

    1. The cult that blames video games, Hollywood culture and a so-called decline in traditional morality ignore this as well.

      1. It would not surprise me if these cults had significantly overlapping memberships.

    2. And the gun ownership rate is also down. Reports/ GSS_Trends in Gun% 20Ownership_US_1972-2014.pdf

      1. Nonsense…

        Yes… gun sales amoung brand NEW, never before gun owners has skyrocketed thru the past decade. You want “proof”?

        Okay… let’s take a look at Illinois. Illinois requires ALL legal gun owners to have a FOID card. No card… no purchase of a gun (or even ammo). If you already have a FOID card then you can purchase all the guns you want without getting another FOID card for each gun. Therefore… New FOID card = New gun owner. Got that?

        Let’s see what the Huffington Post says about the massive increase in FOID cards over the recent past.

        “So far this month, more than 70,000 FOID card applications have poured in, putting March on track to be the record month so far for the program which began in 1969, reports the Associated Press. According to state police data, the number of total FOID card applications has been increasing steadily since 2010 with four months of record-breaking application numbers in 2012.”…..65393.html

        1. And what does CBS News have to say?

          “Officials say state police received 338,610 FOID applications last year. In the first three months of 2013, applications are nearing 188,000, more than half of the applications received in 2012.”

          The Massachusetts “Class A firearms license” serves the same purpose as the Illinois FOID card. A current gun owner does not need a NEW license to buy a gun but a NEW gun owner does. So those with NEW Class As are NEW gunowners. And what has been happening in our dear liberal state of Massachusetts where it is very difficult to buy a gun?

          “The number of Class A licenses has increased by 104,150, or 44 percent, from five years ago.”

          Now… you can claim that all these new gun owners are all imaginary… I’d give it a read just for the amusement value.

          1. This is a snap shot flow rate of people into (legal) gun ownership. People choose to become gun owners as they come of age, or move into the state with a gun, or think a Democratic president might prevent them from getting a gun in the future. A similar phenomenon happens after mass shootings. I’d note that Sandyhook, which occurred in December 2012 (just before your 1st half 2013 spike) was that last time Congress even contemplated doing anything about guns. In any case, there is presumably some people flowing out of gun ownership at same time: moving out of state, dying or deciding they don’t want a gun in the house. You would need to observe this flow rate out to get a net change in ownership rate. There may also be a large fraction of the population that always had a gun without a FOID. Perhaps stepped-up enforcement is inducing long-time gun owners to get right with the law. So administrative data (from 1.5 years) isn’t great at capturing behavior. The GSS on the other hand is a representative survey of the American population that asks a bunch of questions of which the the STOCK of gun owners is just one. It’s also used to learn about religion, drug-use, sexual activity, etc.

            1. In Illinois in 2007 there were 1.1 million persons with a FOID. In 2014 there were 1.8 million persons with a FOID, and as of June 2016 (the last month I found data) there were 2 million persons with a FOID.

              In the period from 2007 to 2014, the population of Illinois grew by 3.7% while the number of persons with FOIDs grew by almost 60%

              Bottom line, there’s a lot of new gun owners in Illinois.

      2. If you were to call and ask me if I owned guns, I’d tell you to go pound sand.

        But, If you take the last 3 characters of my handle and throw them into Google, you may have reason to think very strongly a certain way.

        Ergo, those studies are meaningless.

  10. It won’t solve school shootings but just ending drug prohibition would lower the gun violence rate drastically.

  11. …constantly dodging heartfelt questions about the apparent effects of your policies is neither legitimate nor convincing.

    Heartfelt, eh? Even if true, feelings-based prohibitions are never a good thing to give ground on, and it’s hard to stand your ground when the other side of the debate is high on drama and supposed moral high ground. You’re going to get absolutely nowhere engaging with these people in the heat of the moment.

  12. All mass shooters are “mentally ill,” but defining that term is no easy feat.

    It should be an easy feat when it comes to mass shootings.

    Have they been taking antidepressants/antianxiety or other psychotropic medications?
    Do they have the alleles in their CYP450 genes that induce reduced/distorted metabolism of those medications thus leading to blood toxicity and a neurological (NOT psychiatric) condition called akathisia (which can be both suicidal and homicidal)?

    Mayo does this genotyping before prescribing psychotropics – – but 99% of psychiatrists don’t.

    The NIH and FDA are well aware of independent studies going back decades linking akathisia with homicide/suicide (back to the beginnings of those meds in the 1950’s) and more recent studies show the link to the CYP450 system – eg

    I’ll bet there is direct causation. These mass shootings – in schools or where teens are perpetuating them – look very correlated with the growth in psychotropics being prescribed to kids (starting small with ADHD in the 1970’s). It isn’t that they are ‘mentally ill’ (and thus in our screwy mindset – need MORE psychotropics). It is that they are being poisoned BECAUSE they are being prescribed psych meds that they can’t metabolize.

    The problem is that Big Pharma and psychiatrists have a direct interest in the growth of these prescriptions. And the media now utterly depends on that advertising. So to everyone else – FYTW.

    1. Thanks Much, JFree, that was VERY informative! (Loved the links).

      The other thing is anti-depressants prescribed to bipolar people… Bipolar people need mood stabilizers, and anti-depressants are a way-way-WAY bad idea for them, because they drive bipolars towards mania!!!

      The saddest part of it all is, we ***MUST*** own our own diseases anyway, and do our own research along these lines? Because MANY doctors are too stupid and / or lazy to do it for us! Friends of mine, they have a son with bipolar, and they did NOT “bone up” on the meds, and do a simple Google search? Google will easily red-flag (search on anti-depressants and lithium, or anti-depressants and bipolar), that bipolar patients need “mood stabilizers” ONLY (like lithium), and should NOT be mixed with anti-depressants, which will drive the patient towards mania! This is common knowledge! Their stupid shrink prescribed exactly that, prescribed this bad drug combo, and kiddo spends almost 1 month in the psyche ward? You can bet that they double-check the shit out of stupid doctors now any more!

      1. There’s a common problem with anti-depressants, that doesn’t get enough attention.

        Depressed people lack the energy and initiative to act on their depression. It’s all they can do to drag themselves through the daily routine, they’re not going to go out and plan some kind of mass shooting or what have you. They’re more likely to just sit on the couch and wish they could just run down like an unwound watch and stop, instead of being forced by hunger to eat, and keep living.

        Give somebody like that an anti-depressant, and what’s the first thing that happens? The self-destructive urges and weird thoughts go away? I wish!

        The first thing that happens is that they get some energy and initiative, to act on them. The first months of treatment for depression are dangerous!

    2. “The problem is that Big Pharma and psychiatrists have a direct interest in the growth of these prescriptions. And the media now utterly depends on that advertising. So to everyone else – FYTW.”

      See? See? It’s a Korpurashun conspiracy!
      JFree? Check aisle 6 for tine-foil hats on special.

      1. I agree that we shouldn’t look for some corporate conspiracy, but it does seem like there is a great deal we don’t know about brain chemistry and development regarding how we use drugs on (especially) adolescents and that medical professionals ought to be a little more circumspect in this regard.

        1. “I agree that we shouldn’t look for some corporate conspiracy, but it does seem like there is a great deal we don’t know about brain chemistry and development regarding how we use drugs on (especially) adolescents and that medical professionals ought to be a little more circumspect in this regard.”
          Not sure what that really means.
          Is there evidence otherwise?

          1. I just think that we over-prescribe medicines that affect brain chemistry for “behavior problems” in adolescents, and yet we find out more all the time about how the brain develops and what can mess up that process. Maybe that’s just my own perception, but I’ve seen doctors (especially allopathic physicians who are trained to medicate first) whip out their prescription pocket reference (or, I guess, now use an app) and look for the recommended medication when there might be other alternatives that could be therapeutic (and I’m not into homeopathy or anything like that, but I do think that osteopathic physicians will often take a different approach due to differences in their training).

            1. Yeah, but if a hyperactive and/or misbehaving child isn’t assessed some medical condition, it looks bad on the parent’s ability to…well…parent. And if the kid is diagnosed with a medical condition, it’s not the parent’s fault. The doctors and the pharmaceutical industry gets new customers, and everyone is happy. Well, everyone other than the kid. I get that some kids have medical issues, but most just need parents who engage in their lives, make them go outside, and discipline them for bad behavior.

              A lot of parents don’t want to do the hard stuff, they want to be their kid’s friend so they’re perceived as cool. My parents weren’t cool. They were tough but fair. They channeled my high energy into sports. Sports where I learned about humility, hard work, and sacrifice. I also learned to focus and burn a lot of calories.

    3. ^ This. It’s not the guns, stupid. It’s the drugs.

  13. The libertarian/progressive side of this national argument will never allow the crazies to be identified and institutionalized (in high security 24/7 lockdown) as quickly and efficiently as they would need to be to prevent such tragedies. The conservative/NRA faction, which includes myself, will not allow semi-auto firearms to be generically banned and the Constitution to be tossed in the dustbin as outmoded thinking by men in powdered wigs.

    I did hear blatant suggestions that the Constitution is simply obsolete and can be ignored from several talking heads on CNN today.

    Also not on the table is the possibility that it might be effective if the death penalty were uniformly and quickly applied to shooters that personally survive their grand-standing massacres. The sterling example of that is the failed assassination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Florida in the 1930’s which killed a mayor. Shooting to execution took less than 90 days.

    1. What does crazy have to do with it?

      I thought gang violence resulted from poverty and broken families.

    2. The libertarian/progressive side of this national argument will never allow the crazies to be identified and institutionalized (in high security 24/7 lockdown) as quickly and efficiently as they would need to be to prevent such tragedies.

      Fixed it for you. Also, rights are dangerous. They always will be. Deal with it.

      the Constitution to be tossed in the dustbin as outmoded thinking by men in powdered wigs

      That happened a long time ago. Before the Alien and Sedition Acts, actually.

      Also not on the table is the possibility that it might be effective if the death penalty were uniformly and quickly applied…

      Do you want DC to do this?* Didn’t you just imply you are a Constitutionalist? What about federalism?

      *Good luck getting California to do this!

    3. I see no evidence that this swift execution prevented any deaths. Certainly didn’t prevent the death of that mayor.

      I am generally mildly in favor of the death penalty, but only because the juries and the government seem to take due process more seriously when a life is explicitly at stake, rather than when they can pretend that sticking someone in a cage doesn’t often condemn that person to die in that cage after repeated rapes.

  14. All I know is you didn’t have these mass shootings back when I was a kid and you also didn’t have all these gun laws. These mass shootings didn’t start popping up until after the Brady Bill was passed. Coincidence or causation?

    1. 50 years ago, it was fairly common for public school to have gun clubs with minors bringing their rifles to school and storing them in their lockers. And not just in Bumfuck, Mississippi either, even New York City had them! And these incidents pretty much NEVER happened back then,

      So the real question is what changed in America between then and now.

      1. I graduated in 1985. When I was in high school plenty of gun racks with rifles could be seen in the back windows of trucks in the student parking lot, especially during deer season. Nobody gave it a second thought (except maybe something like “I wish I had a rifle like that”).

    2. Did you read the article? The incident rate is flat -it’s the fatalities that are up.

    3. Coincidence. The Brady Bill was pretty minor as far as gun laws go.

      Note that the GCA in the 1960s and NFA in the 1930s were passed in response to severe increases in gun violence during their respective eras. It’s not a new concern.

  15. This situation calls for, no, demands, a law to be passed asap. This law shall be named after the most sympathetic and photogenic of the victims, preferably a female person of color. Doing so will stop this sort of thing from happening.

  16. All you have to do is repeal the second amendment, then outlaw guns entirely.
    Worked great with booze, drugs, and sex trafficking.
    Problem solved.

    Gun laws and mental health evaluations are irrelevant as long as keeping and bearing arms is a constitutional right.
    Trying to ‘just’ ban “military style” weapons ignores the fact that the second amendment intends that citizens be able to form a militia (AKA a military unit) by bringing their own weapons.

    1. “then outlaw guns entirely.
      Worked great with booze, drugs, and sex trafficking.
      Problem solved.”

      Seems like it would work for immigration too, right?

      1. Apparently in your universe all immigrants have shrunk down to the size of a firearm and can survive hypoxic and hyper/hypothermal conditions. Not everyone is north korean, you know.

        1. Apparently in your world, the “War on Immugrintz” is working, and laws are actually effective. So why haven’t these bans worked? Is it the lack of a big beautiful wall?

      2. Hey–look–the pony’s doing it’s one trick!

        Good pony!

        1. That’s me. My one trick is consistently supporting personal liberty over government… You should try it.

  17. ” but the whole point of the ban on such weapons was to remove “military-style” weapons from home collections.”

    Not really. The point was to establish that a category of arbitrarily defined weapons could be banned. Once this was legally established, the category could be gradually expanded to encompass more and more weapons, until ultimately they were all banned.

    It didn’t really matter that the guns being banned weren’t much used in crime. It was just a foot in the door for further bans down the road. In fact, the ban not working was essential to this dynamic, because you could come back and claim that the ban hadn’t worked because it wasn’t expansive enough.

    The most important thing to understand about the gun control movement is that they ARE a “gun” control movement, not a “violence” control movement. The only problem they’re focused on “solving” is that people are allowed to own guns.

    1. Pretty much. They say oh we only want to ban these weapons and high capacity mags cause it will reduce the number of casualties. That implies there is a level of casualties they accept. Is it 3 4 6 10. When does a mass shooting become unacceptable. Answer it doesn’t cause when they get the first ban and maybe number of casualties goes down then any number will become unacceptable. So we need to expand the ban further (All the while they will say we are not banning guns we are only banning certain types to reduce casualties.) As you say it is the foot in the door and they know it. Likewise they want to make additional restrictions that will make gun ownership so difficult as to make it impossible for anyone but the connected elite. Look at California’s laws. So complex that even police have been hemmed up by them. You can have your guns taken away under suspicion that you are a threat and then it falls on you to prove you are not. Financially and time wise difficult for most people who likely would just give up.

    2. We crossed that bridge when we largely banned machine guns in 1986.

      1. That wasn’t an arbitrary category of guns. Rates of fire faster than the maximum finger pull rate make a huge difference in mass shootings as we’ve seen recently.

  18. If you really wanted to do something about this problem, you’d look to violate a different amendment in the Bill of Rights. What we’ve got here is a problem with copycat crimes. This sort of attack became a problem when the media decided that every such incident was going to receive massive, nation-wide publicity.

    That decision was arrived at as a tactic in the war on gun rights, it’s part of a deliberate PR campaign. Not a product of normal news coverage decisions.

    It’s been known for some time that massive coverage of such events leads to a string of copycat incidents, by triggering other people who might be inclined to similar actions. Then the pool of such people is temporarily exhausted, and such incidents stop happening.

    Lacking any mass shootings being reported, the people inclined to do such things stop being triggered and used up, and gradually start accumulating again. Until one of them spontaneously “pops”, gets massive publicity, and a new string of incidents take place.

    You can see that pattern in your own graph, from the 70’s to the early 00’s. Then it sort of fades a bit, possibly because of a change in the way the events are covered, maybe because coverage of terrorist incidents interrupted the cycle.

    1. Well stated. I expect that after the last lull of several months there will now be such a string of shootings by butt hurt losers doing exactly as you describe. And the media will indeed “use” them for their own purposes, which only serves to inspire the next round.

      1. What do you propose when the people are the media? There is zero chance that with all of the social media platforms, situations like these aren’t going to continue to get mass coverage. If it’s not CNN, it’s facebook. You think the students or parents wouldn’t get the details out somehow?

        The hard part, is a devastating situation like this has so many nuances, it’s hard to figure out what to do. But I do agree, some steps need to be made. Total resolution is not achievable, but a bunch of kids saying ‘we always knew he’d come in shooting’ and the fucking kid did, is a big problem. Now, you can’t possibly police every single troubled child, but maybe you can make schools more secure with access cards. Perhaps different levels of access for different kids. So, there is more attention on how they enter the building and less access given to teens who are deemed troubled. We have access cards at my office – once you lose yours, you report it and it’s unusable.

    2. It would be impossible to “cover up” mass shootings in the age of the Internet and 24/7 news. Even if it were desirable to do so.

  19. If you wanted to really do something about this, and didn’t mind violating a civil right, you wouldn’t attack gun rights. You’d prohibit reporting the names and faces of the perpetrators, mandating that any coverage outside the local area referred to them as “that asshole”. That would remove the instant notoriety incentive the media have knowingly created.

    1. I can see the bumper sticker now…

      Guns don’t kill people, freedom of the press kills people!

      1. Rather like guns don’t kill people, abusive uses of guns kill people. Freedom of the press doesn’t kill people, abuse of it does.

        The media know they’re driving this copycat dynamic, they just don’t care because most of them are gun control fanatics, and they’re hoping that, sooner or later, they’ll leverage one of these mass shootings into getting some more gun control.

        The dead kids? Can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

        1. Very cogent arguments, BB. Too “conspiratorial” to be of any use when debating. I don’t understand how the media can understand the copycat mechanism for suicides but not for this, so I have to conclude that it is willful at some level. I don’t know how to fix it even by excluding the shooter’s name from news broadcasts. It’s a matter of public record, so unless he’s a minor, he’ll be getting a Wikipedia page for sure. I could win a Nobel prize and have a paragraph written about me in my local paper. These kids are splattered on covers of magazines and websites all over the world.

          Oh and don’t get me started on what the rest of the world has to say about how we should fix our problems..

          1. The basic problem is just that our media are unrepresentative of general society. They’ve been taken over by the left, and any institution the left takes over prioritizes the left’s ends over the institution’s own purpose.

            I really don’t know the solution to this, because it’s a pervasive problem across society; The left have taken control of society’s institutional high ground, the education system, and from there are taking over everything else.

            I’m somewhat pessimistic about the whole thing, because short run victories that don’t do anything about that underlying problem can’t be expected to hold.

            Perhaps when the higher education system collapses, and gets replaced with something else, it will resolve itself.

        2. Freedom of the press doesn’t kill people, abuse of it does.

          Reporting facts about issues of public interest is not “abuse” of freedom of the press. Indeed I’m not even sure if there is such a thing as an abuse of freedom of the press. Libel, I guess, but that’s the only possibility I see.

          What you’re describing is attempted thought control via coerced selective dissemination of information. That is as unconstitutional and unAmerican as it gets.

  20. Bad people exist, and bad things will always happen.
    1) We can agree to live in a free society where bad things happen and we don’t allow the government to infringe on any of our liberties to try and solve the problem.
    2) We can agree to give up our liberties and bad things will still happen, and government will still ask to infringe more and more on our rights when they do happen.

    This is a tragedy, and I don’t mean to make light of what happened in terms of the victims or their families. However, I would rather live in a free society with the minuscule risk that I might die in a mass shooting someday, rather than an oppressive society with a slightly less minuscule risk that I might die in a mass shooting someday.

    1. If only our society, our media, and our politicians could be so sensible. Of course that is not gonna happen and they’re gonna make hay out of this while the sun shines.

      1. The myth that the government must do something about every tragedy is perpetuated by both sides. Liberals call for gun control. Conservatives call for more control over drugs/doctors, or militarizing our schools. Both approaches are statist; both perpetuate the myth that the government can keep you safe.

        Heck, we even have someone in this thread saying that we have to limit freedom of the press, because 2A > 1A apparently.

        1. No, I’m just saying that *if* you were going to limit a civil liberty, the 1st amendment would be a better target than the 2nd.

          I’m something of an absolutist on all civil rights. I wouldn’t limit any of them. But I do think it would be helpful if the media voluntarily stopped encouraging copycat crimes by promising instant notoriety to anybody who commits a mass killing.

          But as for imposing that from the government, no way.

        2. Placing armed guards in school isn’t militarization. We protect our politicians with guns why not our kids?

          1. We protect our politicians with guns why not our kids?

            Because politicians are more likely to be the object of an assassination attempt, I think.

            Maybe it’s a good idea, but the logic behind armed guards for schools would apply just about anywhere else too. It’s not as if mass murders only happen at schools. Which is probably a good reason why people should be allowed the means to defend themselves in most situations.

          2. Let’s install the TSA into our schools!

            They don’t have mass shootings in prisons, let’s use that model!

          3. “We protect our politicians with guns why not our kids?”

            I can’t think of any evidence to refute the effectiveness of that analogy…

        3. Ah, the sweet chestnut of both sides do it. You know it’s deflection on the part of the gun advocates but you just can’t help yourself. Conservatives call for more control over drugs and doctors? Umm, maybe you haven’t noticed but there’s an awful lot of hand wringing by deep blue pols over the opioid epidemic and there’s an awfully inconvenient correlation between medicaid expansion and increased opioid abuse.

          1. The gun *advocates*? So you’re anti-gun, huh? Or did you mean gun *controllers*? Maybe you fucked up there. Either way you’re full of shit.

            As for the rest, nothing you said contradicts anything. Conservatives DO want more control of drugs and doctors, genius. What the fuck do you think Sessions is, some fucking liberal?? LOL. He’s hard-right and fucking LOVES the drug war. The fact that alot of progs are just as bad and ALSO want more control of drugs and doctors does not negate that point. Hell, that’s just another version of “both sides doing it” in itself! FAIL. But hey, keep drinking that red koolaid, dude. TEAM RED, YAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        4. 100% agree Leo.

    2. We have laws in this country that regulates our liberties that even strong supporters of whatever right in question will admit are reasonable in various cases so this is phrased in a rather high degree of generality. What does “infringe” mean? Heller lists various legitimate regulations that do not “infringe” the 2A. There are various regulations that will not make us an unfree society that are valid in any number of cases.

    3. Or a much higher risk of being killed in a low casualty event perpetrated by the government towards you specifically while it was enforcing the laws that were ment to save your life in the first place.

  21. Want some fake news? I gotcher fake news right here:
    “Wednesday’s shooting marks the 18th time a gun has gone off on a school campus in the United States since the start of 2018, just 45 days into the year.”

    For example, we have this tragedy (from the fake news’ source website):
    “2/8/2018 New York, NY The Metropolitan High School High School Gun fired but no one injured”

  22. I have taught in Florida schools (Collier County), where we’ve had armed deputies on station for decades. That is NO guarantee, but they do intercept students bringing guns to school (I know — I was at one when it happened). I am unfamiliar with Broward County, but in the wake of what happened there, I have to ask, “Where was the cop?”.

    Yes, there is a problem with 4th Amendment violations (cops going after drugs rather than shooters), and I’ve seen that too, but a principal instigator here is school administrators who have more respect for public image than for the laws they say they want to enforce. And, cops pay attention to the 4th Amendment when judges require them to do so.

    Finally, though we all have experienced the horror of these incidents, what are we doing in our classrooms to educate students on the laws they have to obey? I’m not seeing a lot of that, and clearly we need more of it.

    Seizing guns is not the answer. The legitimacy of our democracy rests on the sovereign power of an armed population. In The Federalist # 28, Alexander Hamilton explained this power explicitly. And, we must guard against its erosion, since that by its nature converts a government of free men into one of ruler and ruled.

    We need a solution that doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. “The legitimacy of our democracy rests on the sovereign power of an armed population” I love me some Hamilton, but much of the developed world appears to have achieved “legitimate” democracy without the 2nd amendment. Indeed, we no longer stack up very well in some rankings:

      1. An armed populace is probably effective against sudden, acute departures from democracy. But what America has faced is a very long term, gradual “boiling the frog” degradation of democracy, as our political class have evolved ever better ways of gaming the system, and entrenching themselves against any competition from outsiders.

        That’s probably why all the hysteria about Trump; He didn’t come from within the pre-existing political class, so he’s a threat to their continued dominance.

        Really, our very stability has been the problem, because most nations have things totally shaken up periodically by a revolution or lost war, and so their political elites don’t end up so entrenched. We might need a revolution at this point to oust them, and restart real democracy.

      2. What makes their democracy legitimate? My Declaration of Independence states that only just powers may be granted by consent of the governed (unjust powers may not be granted by anyone). So, democracy as such cannot vindicate itself.

        Furthermore, America is unique for having a system of dual sovereignty — with the double protections such a system offers. If a State becomes corrupt in its governance, the nation with the other States can intervene to correct things, by force if necessary. And, if the nation becomes corrupt in its governance, leagues of States can band together to root out the evil, again by force if necessary. An armed population is the fulcrum in the balance.

        That is the fundamental teaching of Hamilton (who helped write the Constitution and, one must assume, knew what was intended). Furthermore, since it makes more sense to throw balls of paper at our neighbors than balls of lead — because it is uneconomic to change governments periodically by shooting up the place — democracy in America does rest on a solid foundation — the foundation of the alternative.

        1. What makes democracy legitimate?

          Just the utilitarian consideration, that it’s better that the majority oppress the minority, than that the minority oppress the majority, because fewer people are being oppressed. Obviously, from a libertarian standpoint the important thing is reducing the oppression, not just who gets to engage in it.

          From a practical standpoint, so long as elections are not rigged, they function to reduce the chances of large scale social violence, because they function as a kind of war game, demonstrating to everybody who would win a civil war, and handing the victory to them peacefully. Rigged elections lose that advantage, because people can reasonably suppose the loser of the election might win the civil war.

          So I support democracy with free elections, but prefer that elections decide as little as possible, because anything that an election decides gets imposed on the loser, too.

      3. Just don’t practice any hate speech and do as your told and you’ll do just fine.

    2. I have to ask, “Where was the cop?”

      I’ve been wondering about that too. Assuming there was one (or more in a school of 3000 students), isn’t shooting this guy kind of the whole point of his being there? So what was he doing? Or was he the first one shot or something?

      I’m not a fan of police in schools, but if they are going to be there, they should probably do something other than hassle kids about drugs and misbehavior.

      1. Isn’t current SOP for dealing with an “active shooter” to just lock the place down so that they can’t get away, and then wait for them to run low on ammo, and use their last bullet on themselves?

        Problem solved, with no risk to the cops!

        1. Except this guy did get away and didn’t kill himself. SO if that’s the SOP, they fucked that up too.

    3. I suspect American schools don’t meaningfully educate students on any laws or basic humanity in their most formative years.

      When I was a student in Korea the school used to have large morning rallies in which the principal would go over the importance of ethics, civic duty, friendship, etc. We read a ton of Aesop’s tales, Hans Anderson stories and biographies about the world’s greatest scientists and composers, and there were music stations offering classical music and some jazz. I still remember things I learned about Schubert in Korea that are lost on like 99% of American kids.

      When I was in American schools I sensed that ethics in America was narrowly specialized to “accept everyone for who they are” without really instructing the kids on basic humanity or opening their minds to its elemental beauty. And these kids would grow up watching tv shows and movies where everything is romantically “different” and rebellious, and traditions, grownups and morality are repressive by default.

      The result is something like the OWS. Their entire mindset is fighting inequity, and yet, something in their minds don’t tell them that it’s wrong to assault journalists or encroach on someone else’s property. Bullying is a huge problem in Asian cultures, but the victims know they can’t burden others with their pain. That’s why kill themselves without taking anyone with them.

      1. Traditions and stability are a powerful, powerful thing. I volunteer with teens who are minorities as well as come from lower income families. The pattern I see the most is that they don’t have enough stability in their formative years. They come from broken homes, will have lots of step and half siblings, change schools a lot, etc.

        The hard part, which I’m coming to realize, is that mentality and culture is so ingrained, most kids are made fun of or almost looked down on for wanting to do better. But the opposing mentality is somehow how the family mentality is enforced. ‘I don’t think I’m too good for this, or better than that.’ So, bettering themselves would exclude a lot of people who can’t / don’t want to compete with people who want to learn more, do more…

        The funny thing is – that* mentality is almost parallel with the liberal mentality and the need to break ‘tradition’. As you’re saying, family values and traditions are viewed as = to oppression, conservatism, exclusion…but tradition, culture and family values do not have to be a boogey monster and equate exclusion.

        Since teachers are expected to raise these children, we need to give them back the power to real deal discipline students and to hold the parents accountable. It should be legal to fine parents for overly disruptive children. That will catch their attention. It might be hairy at first, but it would force them to take behavioral issues seriously.

  23. Anyway, bottom line? The week following such an incident is exactly when you SHOULDN’T be talking about it.

    Because, 1, you don’t have the facts yet.

    And, 2. people are still running on emotions, not Reason.

    That latter is exactly why gun controllers want to discuss gun control right after shootings. Because they’re hoping to stampede people into adopting laws that they’d never enact if they had time to think about them.

    1. people are still running on emotions, not Reason

      This includes me on the pro-2A side. I just get so discouraged when I have to dig in my heels and start justifying the 2A to a bunch of hurting, angry people. We can’t not talk about it, though; the Feinsteins of the nation are waging all-out war and weaponizing good intentions in the days and weeks after such a tragedy. I’m just tired of it. I’m tired of reality TV politics.

    2. At some point, when things occur over and over again, we have the ability to make various judgment calls about the basics. Anyway, it is not like there is now some major discussion about past incidents. Fine. Let’s have a lag time and discuss the incident after such and such a time. Heck, why don’t we use this time to talk about the last incident? This won’t happen in a broad sense probably, of course, since people generally don’t work that way. The news happen, it is reported on and the events discussed. Then, we in general largely forget about it.

      It’s fine to be all reasonable like this though with respect over the years you haven’t exactly been the voice of reason on various issues, like “gun grabbers” or the like. It would come off better if you spoke in generalities here. Those people you sympathetic more do the exact same thing. They discuss things right after they happen, in a somewhat simplistic fashion at times, and push for strong policies.

      Anyway, luckily for you, there cannot be a “stampede.” The laws take time to pass. We have enough cases to talk about that happened not just in the recent past there to argue for them. You won’t like some of the proposals, but just talking about the most recent school shooting won’t stop it. There are enough school shootings that only talking about past ones, like you talk about past events to promote your policy goals will do the trick at times. Reason isn’t a ‘gun grabber’ and thinks more should be done, after all.

  24. As always, this is a really good time for everyone to say what they already thought about guns and mental illness and mass killing.

    Guns are awesome, mental illness sucks and mass killings are bad.

  25. There are a lot of the usual memes on the internet blaming the Evul NRA. Okay; let’s say that after the last mass shooting the NRA had folded and supported the gun control laws that Democrat politicians called for. What would be different today? Do we have one shred of evidence that anything would be different?

    1. Well, the NRA would be out of business for starters. And some other gun rights group would pick up a whole lot of new members.

      1. Probably Gun Owners of America or the Second Amendment Foundation.

  26. The school was already a gun-free zone by law.

    The shooter had reportedly been banned from the grounds before, after having been expelled, after having been banned from carrying a backback for fears of potential violence.

    How did those restrictions help these poor kids?

    Under the old “assault weapon” ban, the difference between a legal rifle and an illegal rifle were cosmetic. A semi-automatic long-gun without a pistol grip or adjustable stock–one that looks like an old-fashion rifle and not a “scary black gun”, but is still semi-automatic–fires the same bullets at the same rate from the same magazines and will do exactly the same amount of damage. An adjustable shoulder stock doesn’t change anything, but was one of the big criteria.

    So you say you want to ban semi-automatic rifles?

    1. Or flash suppressor and/or bayonet lug

    2. How convenient for the perpetrator to be able to count on the victims having already been disarmed by the Political State. I wonder if there is any statistical correlation between gun free zones and zones chosen for killing sprees.

      1. Any chance the politicians who created the disarmed targets will be charged as accessories before the fact?

  27. “including former FBI agents and soldiers”

    this should read “SOME former FBI agents and soldiers”, the ways its written makes it sound like all but in reality its only a few of the thousands

  28. Nick misses the point again. These phenomena are in every case examples of the initiation of force, precisely what 96.7% of the voting population increasingly favors with its ballots, especially since the 1971 Nixon subsidies transferring tax dollars into electioneering. Republicans, drawing on the wisdom of the NSDAP, Prohibition and Progressive parties take the Kristallnacht view that “the wrong people” cause gun violence, making it an “education”/eugenics issue. Democrats follow the post-Soviet collectivist dogma that makes government guns in the hands of State murderers (First Responders?), tax collectors and politician bodyguards invisible, yet animates all non-authoritarian guns into reactionary Terminator things that use visible non-government hands for the killing of innocents by simple Historical Necessity. Facing the fact that the initiation of force at gun-free schools is the exact thing libertarians predict based on past induction and current deduction, and the thing the 97% demand with their looter votes would require honesty. Honesty is not in the cards for any looter ideology capable of rationalizing facts into insignificance.

  29. So is that bombing back in the day not the most deadly school event so far?

    Oh, wait sorry. I forgot, for the narrative we must narrowly focus on guns rather than explosives or chemical weapons that can be manufactured from shit under your sink. Obviously if we reduce the number of guns, no one will use alternatives. That’s a fact, right?

    Continue talking about the evil gun objects now, by all means.


  30. There’s no “good” reason to own heroin, either. I guess that’s why it’s illegal. And, in spite of being illegal, everyone who wants it can get it. I have yet to hear even ONE media whore claim that they can actually stop a psychopath from getting whatever gun they want.

    Also, it’s illegal to drive drunk, yet drunk drivers commit fully half of the vehicular homicides in the USA. That’s in the neighborhood of 25 people murdered EVERY DAY.

    As for the magazines, they can be changed out within two seconds by someone who has practiced just a little bit. So it’s irrelevant how many rounds per clip.

    No, guns do not kill people. Cut the crap, and take this seriously instead of pushing a political agenda. THEN, maybe we’ll find some solutions.

    1. See, you are just another science denier.
      Every liberal knows that guns daily climb out of closets, load themselves, and shoot the hell out of everybody in town.
      Are you going to let a few silly facts get in the way of their feelings? What a fascist.

    2. Right, that’s why we register cars and require driver to have licenses. A lot more people would die on US roads if we allowed drunk driving, allowed untrained people to drive and had no license plates. The solutions are obvious, and every European country has them. Require a license to own a handgun or assault weapon and register those weapons. Guns are just tools, like automobiles. And, like automobiles, dangerous in the hands of irresponsible people.

      1. Require a license to own a handgun or assault weapon and register those weapons. Guns are just tools, like automobiles.

        Oh, you want to treat guns EXACTLY like we do automobiles, do you? Fine. I’ll get a license, registration, and insurance for my firearms. In exchange:

        1) The license is a simple operator test and will be SHALL ISSUE in all cases. Renewals consist of nothing more than a simple vision test, just like automobiles.
        2) I can buy any gun I want, across state lines, without a background check or going through a licensed dealer, just like automobiles.


  31. Serious question.
    With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the left, why has no liberal politician introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal the second amendment?
    It is the only effective, truly constitutional path that would allow legal gun control; why are they not all focused on that one task?
    Could it be that the actual goal is something other than ‘gun control’?

    1. Because they’re not insane enough to think they could get such an amendment ratified, or even voted out of Congress.

      Because they’re committed to lying about intending to abolish the right.

      And because they are committed to abolishing it by judicial fiat, not amendment.

    2. Because despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the right, liberals don’t want to ban or confiscate all guns, and they do not believe that it is the “only effective, truly constitutional path”.

      This isn’t hard. People that disagree with you don’t share your conclusions.

  32. What an occurrence?to see someone who so achingly wants to do the right thing, but is nevertheless compelled, step by step?so demonstrably, so systematically, so reluctantly compelled?by his own disinterested logic?to the conclusion that he (and everyone else)?must instead do what he prefers.

  33. Over 40% of children live in single mother homes and single mothers account for the bulk of child abuse and neglect. At the root of every abusive man is an abused boy. A fatherless male child with mental health issues on psychotropic medications exhibiting erratic behavior goes to a place where he knows there are very few MEN and no self defense firearms and kills people. Where are the calls to reduce single mother by choice homes? Calls to address the problem of males with mental health issues (easy to ignore when it “only” results in a male suicide). Where are the calls to study the impact of these mind altering drugs on youths, mostly directed at males? And where is the call to allow individuals to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed right to protect themselves with firearms? I have seen not a single article in any news outlet which didn’t sensationalize the absurd “ban something” with a shrill cry from SJW’s and PC’s calling on guvmint to stop what it can’t, while ignoring the things they can address which would reduce these. What a shameful anti-male and anti-family anti individual responsibility country we have become.

  34. Perhaps we should consider adding students expelled (or otherwise seriously disciplined) for weapons- or violence-related offenses to be added to the list of prohibited purchasers.

  35. The best thing to do to stop these shootings is to stop promoting psychotropic drugs such as LSD, which Reason Magazine has done at least twice in its videos.

    These shootings started in public schools, which are distribution centers for psychiatric drugs. Such drugs cause violence and suicide. Read the side effects on the labels. LSD is such a drug, though its not prescribed any longer. Others are Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft, Xanax, etc which are currently being prescribed and distributed in public schools.

  36. “gun violence” WTF?
    Is death from a drunken driver “car violence”?
    Is death from malpractice “hospital violence”?
    I call bullshit on blaming things when people initiate violence.

    It is violence. It is done by a person. It is a crime, and in twenty years or so we will have the swift justice called for in our constitution.

  37. Say, Nick, have you heard about what was done in Australia a few years ago. Gun deaths dropped dramatically.

    1. Gun deaths were dropping already, and didn’t drop any more than in the US.

    2. “Gun deaths” are mostly suicides, which libertarians shouldn’t care about.

  38. There is _never_ a right time to talk about “gun violence”. Either you’re concerned about violence, regardless of the weapons used, or you’re using “gun violence” as a smokescreen to violate one of our fundamental rights.

  39. There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”
    If the DSM is the standard by which politicians wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.

    1. Mental health is the avenue to gun control..

      American Psychiatric Asso says Half of Americans are mentally ill..
      After crafting by politicians and Media all will be crazy except for the media/politicians..
      300 million prescriptions for psychiatric drugs were written in 2009 alone..
      Your children on medication for ADHD?
      Single woman with children diagnosed with depression?

      be careful what you ask for

  40. We’ll never stop the occasional killing by an idiot with a gun.

    Our FBI – the FBI for fucksake! – reports that over 60% of gun violence is directly tied to the illegal drug trade. You wanna reduce gun violence? Simple: Repeal and replace drug prohibition with a legal and regulated market.

  41. Get the kids off “anti-psychotic, anti-depressant” drugs which have been the common denominator of every mass shooting for decades, yet the media looks the other way, to guns… most likely to shield their Big Pharma advertising buddies.

    1. maybe/maybe not. Do you have proof? Most people who have sever mental health problems are on anti-depressants, correlation does not equal causation. Please present your long term study that controls for this.

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  43. As I’ve said before. Get out of here with your facts and statistics. I feel that guns are wrong, and we need to ban them. Because my feelings are hurting.

  44. Trust me, you’re gonna HATE me, but will be unable to refute my data:

    I watch TV talking heads wring their hands and be completely befuddled over the rash of school shootings so far this year. Calls for legislation, complaints about Trump, accusations of FBI ineptitude, and a host of other rationalizations pour forth with an inescapable underlying desperation that some new law, new drug, new technology will somehow preserve us from further carnage.

    Allow me to reassure one and all, you are futilely pursuing puny human solutions for something infinitely more powerful enabled to thwart your every solution.

    1. The Catholic Church has since its inception by Christ and the Holy Ghost at Pentecost and Golgotha stated authoritatively that this mortal life is a series of battles in spiritual warfare for the salvation of the soul.
      If then we are in spiritual warfare, who then the enemy?

      Let us calculate the threats against us and see if we can accurately surmise our dilemma.

      First, we observe that 60 million + babies have been ripped from their mothers’ wombs since this antiseptic, hygienic and oh-so acceptable hidden holocaust was made legal by the Supreme Court decision in Roe (eggs) v. Wade (wallow in the sewage where our children have become rat food). Their blood is crying out to the Almighty exactly as that of Abel cried out to Him due to the murder by his brother Cain.

      And, all this after 60 years of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, the unholy trinity of the enemy, under whose influence all have sinned.

      1. The Divine response to this unspoken, unrecognized and unrepented holocaust is to be found in Isaiah 10:1-7, as follows:

        10:1. Woe to them that make wicked laws: and when they write, write injustice (that would be Roe v. Wade):
        10:2. To oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of my people: that widows might be their prey, and that they might rob the fatherless.
        10:3. What will you do in the day of visitation, and of the calamity which cometh from afar? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
        10:4. That you be not bowed down under the bond, and fall with the slain? In all these things his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
        10:5. Woe to the Assyrian, he is the rod and the staff of my anger, and my indignation is in their hands.
        10:6. I will send him to a deceitful nation, and I will give him a charge against the people of my wrath, to take away the spoils, and to lay hold on the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
        10:7. But he shall not take it so, and his heart shall not think so: but his heart shall be set to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few.

        Do you find our previous, Muslim-named president’s clear preference for the Muslim immigrant to the exclusion of those who are Christian and are being annihilated in the Middle East as unusual? No, it’s just part of the Plan of the Almighty to punish us for our murders.

        1. Are you puzzled by all the European leaders, starting with the German Chancellor Merkel’s leadership, of inviting hordes of Muslims to walk from the Middle East to the welfare promises of socialist Europe? Well, did not Almighty God clearly state “But he shall not take it so, and his heart shall not think so: but his heart shall be set to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few” above?

          As the Cologne sex attacks by renegade Muslims against pagan German women took place right outside the Dom of Cologne, the former place of the worship of Almighty God by saner generations, now the scene of the cause and effect of satan’s unholy trinity of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll proceeding to its logical conclusion, we find the Almighty handing us over to our sins.

          And all this after a thousand years of Muslim invasions of the west, of the wholesale dissipated competing sects of the PROTESTant revolt started by the renegade German Catholic monk Martin Luther, who was beaten mercilessly by both father and mother, along with the corporal punishment meted out by his instructors in school, all due to his insatiable need to be right against all authorities. What better petri dish than a soul like this could satan have found to tempt to the same crime he committed, the sin of pride, which cast him out of Heaven?

          1. Germany, the anal retentive state divided up between east and west post WWII (after starting both world wars), and now unified and a former communist agent becomes Chancellor and ?. Wonder of wonders!! Opens the borders to give full socialist benefits to a faction of the world’s most disordered creatures to enter in for the FIRST TIME IN 1,400 YEARS to be embraced by the pagan west whose hatred of Catholicism gives them companionship to the forces which have militarily invaded the west for over a millennia, only now to be welcomed with open arms as misunderstood refugees.

            And the social chaos, the pandemic violence, the rapes, the murders, the marauding masses and the attempts to bankrupt the socialist experiment which is Europe by exhausting the funds continues unabated. Europe, producing 1.3 children per family, is in demographic suicide mode, and, as mentioned above, the blood of the unborn is screaming for vengeance. Since inadequate numbers of workers have been procreated by the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll crazed population, what recourse do European leaders have?

            And what opportunity do the Muslims have who find themselves outbreeding (8.6 kids per wife with 4 wives each, therefore a 34.6 to 1.3 ratio ? guess who wins?) and holding in contempt modern western ? dare I say it? (Gag!) “civilization,” which has forgotten Who their God has been.

            1. They can scarcely believe their good fortune. And, as God has created them: “But he shall not take it so, and his heart shall not think so: but his heart shall be set to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few.”
              Now a quick history lesson.

              Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:

              1. The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasting to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church”
                The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
                Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
                Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?
                Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
                Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

                1. So, satan was unleashed on October 13, 1884, exactly 33 years (the length of Jesus’s life) prior to the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima in 1917.
                  Pope Leo XIII heard Jesus and satan debating whether he could destroy the Catholic Church. Jesus gave him 75 to 100 years to accomplish it.
                  75 years brought us to the convocation of Vatican II by John XIII in 1959. Its fruits were (a) the exchange of the universal use of Latin in the Mass into the local vernacular; (b) over 75 prayers stricken from the Mass, in particular THAT WHICH LEO XIII WROTE TO FIGHT THE DEMONIC FORCES UNLEASHED AGAINST US; (c) the destitution of Faith in religious communities as nuns put on pants and shed their habits, and pursue social justice goals while abandoning Catholic schools, and pagans enter into such schools and decimate the Faith; and (d) a vocational crisis almost unheard of in Church history.

                  100 years brings us to the date of the title of George Orwell’s book, “1984,” which gave us the concept of Big Brother. In 1984 I was working for a NYC law firm using brand new 286 IBM clones. What do we have today but algorithms invading our every word on the Internet (recall Proverbs, “They have cast a net for my soul.”) Christ said if we look at a woman with lust, we commit adultery, a mortal sin. Does internet porn ring a bell?

                  1. Lastly, the sole survivor of the 3 shepherd children, the late Bl. Lucia Santos, from Fatima said satan’s final battle against the Church will be against the family. Abortion, birth control, divorce, homosexuality, shacking up, friends with benefits, do these and all the rest of the sins of the flesh we engage in with impunity and self satisfying license add up to anything???

                    Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated that the entire world is in the hands of satan, but the prime target of his malice is the Catholic, because we have all the Sacraments necessary for salvation. In short, unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood, there is no life in you. Nobody else has the Eucharist. The priesthood is decimated and fewer and fewer answer the call. Entire congregations have no priest. No confession, no Eucharist. Satan knows what he is doing. And no one suspects a thing. For this reason entire races are seething against each other, and the Muslims have literally walked over the borders to successfully invade and destroy the culture of Europe, which is in demographic suicide mode, unable to mount an effective armed resistance to the unbridled assault by western civilization’s arch enemy for over 1,400 years.

                    Want less school murders to take place? Cut off the power of satan at its root: institute the prayer of the Most Holy Rosary every single morning at every single public school, or continue to suffer the horrors of school massacres.

                    1. Mr. Cruz complained of voices telling him what to do. Medications are useless. You need an exorcist for such cases, but good luck finding one in the decimated ranks of the priesthood.

                      A former gay friend of mine informed me about the Capuchin monk Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, as he had played the piano for Pope Paul VI and the pope sent him to play for Padre Pio. This padre could read your heart in the confessional, and told my gay friend he could continue his homosexual pursuits and end up in Hell, or forswear them and become a prince of the Church, or a cardinal. He instructed him to go back to NYC and find his son. This blew his mind, as he could not figure out how that was possible, being introduced to the gay life style early on by a Steinway piano representative hired to “protect” him as a child by being his chaperone, and who, instead, predated upon him and introduced him to the gay life style.

                      As it turns out, he had fallen asleep drunk at a party, and a woman had jumped into the bed with him and conceived without his realizing it. This son is now a priest.

                      The friend was told by Padre Pio that he could continue his gay lifestyle and end up on Hell, or he could put it aside and become a Prince of the Church, i.e. a Cardinal. He chose the gay life.

                      It is no surprise, as the same Padre Pio cited before he died in 1968 that if the demons infesting the world had corporeal bodies, they would BLOT OUT THE SUN.

                    2. My research led me to another woman who had died and been sent to Hell, but spared at the last moment by the prayers of her saintly deceased mother and a farmer who was besieged by communist guerrillas and had heard of her death. She was a Venezuelan dentist who was struck by lightning for her abortions. Her name is Gloria Polo. You can Google her story by searching for “Gloria Polo in Hell.”

                      While in her soul, Dr. Polo was shown by Jesus how each time an abortion is committed, something like a seal opens on the face of the earth and millions of demons are released. At 60 million abortions and counting just here in the United States, that means, conservatively, 60 TRILLION demons have been released, IN ADDITION to those cited by St. Padre Pio as sufficient to blot out the sun.

                      Another Catholic saint, one Sr. Josepha Menendez, who wrote a book entitled “The Way of Divine Love,” was the 3rd saint in the string stemming from St. Catherine Laboure (founded the Miraculous Medal), which led to St. Bernadette Soubirous (of Lourdes fame), then Josepha Menendez (author of the Divine Love), and finally St. Faustina Kowalska, who established the Novena of the Divine Mercy.

                      This Josepha Menendez went to Hell several times in order to suffer what was necessary for the salvation of certain souls in danger of perdition. You can read her story by Googling, “Josepha Menendez in Hell”

                    3. The satanic influence in the Church which the Blessed Mother described as follows in Akita, Japan:

                      “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

                      So, we see that the devil has been unleashed, war is a punishment for sin as specified by Our Lady in Fatima, mankind does not even know what sin is, and we are all dancing to his tune.

                      Again, institute the discipline of reciting the Most Holy Rosary every morning in every public school, and you will soon find the eradication of mass murders, which so far every Catholic school has evaded.

                      But will you? Surely not, since such a discipline is repellent to the secular pagan mind, and the cozy, easy, gratifying temptations of satan are far more important than the fear of God. So get used to more and more carnage in schools and public places. With his TRILLIONS of buddies, satan is having NO problem getting his work done.

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