Reason Podcast

How Libertarians Should Respond to Mass Shootings

Plus: the budget deal, GOP retirements, and the latest front in the trade war.


A pair of horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this weekend left at least 30 people dead. Politicians are jockeying to place the blame on everything from immigrants to guns to the news media. 

What should politicians do when these awful events when they occur? Why have mass shootings increasingly led to people raising First Amendment issues as well as Second Amendment questions? And how do libertarians react to both the events themselves and the misguided policy responses that inevitably result?

On the latest Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and Katherine Mangu-Ward are joined by special guest Eric Boehm to discuss all of these questions, as well as last week's Democratic presidential debates, the no-good-very-bad budget deal, and the latest front in the trade war. Plus: a special China-focused recommendations segment, featuring Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, The Farewell, The Three-Body Problem, and more from the Bobiverse. 

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'Ghosts I, 02' by Nine Inch Nails is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0

NEXT: Kevin O'Leary Talks Shark Tank, Capitalism vs. Socialism, and Trump vs. Trudeau

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How “R” brainiacs should respond:

    Support The Dotard no matter what!!!

      1. It’s what I do! You’re welcome!

        (I’m trying to work my way up to TulPoopy’s standards)!

        1. Ya know SQRLSY, a year ago or so you were slightly amusing.

          Now, you are just annoying …

          1. Annoying compared to who? Do you read the comments? Flute boy is a God send compared to most of the trash who stalk this place.

            1. Certainly compared to you.

            2. Aww still have an admirer trying to mimic me. How sad and pathetic.

          2. Let’s not go overboard

  2. The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.

    This may be the correct-est place to put the blame. On a scale of truthiness, it rates higher than guns and video games. Even if it’s only 5% true.

    1. This may be the correct-est place to put the blame.

      Ignoring the possibility that The Media is kowtowing to the same political faction to which it otherwise overtly kowtows, agreed.

    2. The guy in El Paso is a radical environmentalist. So, does all of the absurd global warming scaremongering count as “fake news” too?

      1. Interesting how you clutched onto the one issue this murderer was into that allows you to classify him in the enemy tribe, even though he shares many of your views.

        1. Interesting how the dude wrote a screed decrying climate change, corporations, AND immigration, but only the immigrant angle is mentioned.
          Not interesting, because it’s all you ever do, that your dimwitted ass would stand on corpses to carry water for progressivism though, eunuch.

          1. Interesting how the dude wrote a screed decrying climate change, corporations, AND immigration, but only the immigrant angle is mentioned.

            Interesting how one of those three topics received far more attention in his manifesto than the other two, and yet some people wish to pretend otherwise. I wonder why.

          2. Until very recently, progs were not so pro-immigration, mostly because the unions did not want to be undercut by cheap labor, but there was definitely a sustainability angle to it too. You see, they did not want immigrants coming from third world countries where all they could afford was a bicycle and a shack they share with 20 extended family members, to America, where they can afford cars and air conditioning, even on a meager income. And the progs most certainly don’t want them to be able to have that in their own countries either! They want them to be naked and covered with flies like in National Geographic.

          3. Let’s not forget that the reason he was against immigration was that it took resources away from Universal Healthcare and a UBI for what he considers actual Americans.

            I realize that this is impossible for folks who see everything in only black and white (with no grey outliers) to process.

      2. No.

        And report to your nearest television for reprogramming, comrade. El Paso dude is a white supremacist. And he was inspired by Trump’s hate. This is known. Now go watch CNN. Or MSNBC. Or NBC News. Or ABC.. Or PBS… or..

        But whatever you do, don’t watch Fox. That’s’ propaganda. Or read alt-right stuff on the internet. Like Reason Magazine.

        1. Wait, FoxNews isn’t propaganda like the others? And Reason is “alt-right,” not Libertarian? Or maybe I just missed the punchline…

          1. Or maybe I just missed the punchline…

            You did.

          2. FoxNews is just as much propaganda as CNN or MSNBC. That anyone here would even question that shows the degree to which some of y’all are brainwashed by Fox News.

            1. Nobody even watches FOX news around here but Tony.

        2. Seriously silly comments. From what has been released the El Paso shooter has held these feelings before Trump took office. The Dayton Shooter was a straight up socialist loser who wet his pants over photos of Lizzie Warren. I wish for a country where the left would grow up politically and understand the Libertarian ideology.

          1. Generally, it’s more likely that someone on the right (or at least, who votes for the R party) will grow up and understand and perhaps join the libertarian movement.

    3. Perhaps it would also help if they’d giving these shooters the attention they crave. Covering the tragedy is one thing, but pulling out the shooter’s manifesto and then sharing it and going through it is something different.

      And that’s not even something I can really blame the media for. There’s a lot of people thirsty for this sort of information, for some reason, perhaps so they can use it as a tool to bludgeon their political opponents (and using demented individuals as representatives of any particular population is wrong in ways I shouldn’t need to explain to libertarians). We need to persuade people that they need to avoid rewarding these assholes with publicity when many of them clearly crave it. You’re not going to find answers in this asshole’s manifesto.

      1. Well, a few reports like “x people were killed today in El Paso”.
        No mention of the shooter, the weapon(s) used, the political leanings, manifestos, name, nothing.
        No 15 minutes of fame; just the facts, ma’am.

        1. It will take more than that. As cold as it might seem, media would also have to avoid a pity-party and associated emotional out-pouring.

          Angry people may or may not seek personal fame. But most likely also seek to hurt, and must relish the reporting of how victims and everyone else suffered.

        2. how could the left run fund raisers without the fear of White Nationalists under every bush just waiting to storm congress

        3. Well, a few reports like “x people were killed today in El Paso”.
          No mention of the shooter, the weapon(s) used, the political leanings, manifestos, name, nothing.
          No 15 minutes of fame; just the facts, ma’am.

          So, news organizations should not report genuinely newsworthy information, for fear that such information will be used to push a narrative that some might disapprove of. This is what you are advocating?

          1. Now do violent crime rates by demographic

          2. I would say for fear that another nutcase sees the value in going through with another mass shooting because they’ll be famous and their message with be broadcasted.

          3. Or the 20-30% chance that a copycat killing would occur. Which is what both the Dayton and El Paso incidents were. Copycats of the Gilroy shooting.

          4. Common-sense news regulation. If it saves just one life…

            1. Common-sense news safety regulation…

    4. Uh huh….

      Switch “Media” and “Fake News”, and I might agree with you.

      And the two opposing ways of seeing this are a large part of the issue. What ever happened to the phrase “People of good will can disagree”?

  3. Same way everyone else should: by showing humanity instead of using the tragedy to advance your personal goals.

    1. Thank you, brother.

      1. Never mind the furries.

  4. I would have thought the best response would be exactly Neil deGrasse Tyson’s, but but it didn’t go over very well.

    1. The reaction pretty much proved his point though, his tweet about how people respond emotionally garnered emotional responses

    2. yeh, statistics and informed risk assessments rarely go over well…unless those statistics happen to support your position

    3. It is a shame he allowed himself to be bullied into retracting it. HE was absolutely right. I generally can’t stand him but he was dead on there. He should never have backed down.

      1. My thoughts as well.

      2. Yeah – I also wish he had taken a stand, but I understand why he didn’t.

        1. The backing down completely fits with his willingness to play to the mob rather than objectively view the facts. See global warming.

      3. Funny that everyone is spending so much time studying Trump and nobody other than Trump and AOC have figured out that you never apologize.

        1. The Duke knew.

      4. Yes, he is right, but it’s hard for most people to separate the psychological effect mass shootings have, from the objective reality that you are still far more likely to die in a car accident or other causes he lists. I was at a minor league baseball game with my family on Friday night where there was very little security and found myself thinking there could be a shooter before these latest events even happened.

        1. That was his point, though. It’s hard to not be emotional, but shedding the emotional is the best way to solve problems, and to decide which problems deserve the most attention.

          His biggest mistake was trying to participate in a serious, nuanced discussion on Twitter, though. If it can be said in 140 (or 280) characters then it probably isn’t worth saying.

    4. We should ban medical errors.

    5. If you do not understand that people are going to react more strongly to a singular event of malevolent, intentional killings than to accident and misfortune randomly distributed over the population, then you need a crash course in human psychology.

      1. That was his point, though. He understands it and is saying that it shouldn’t be that way. Everything he listed in his original tweet is just as “preventable” as a mass shooting. In other words, you could probably prevent most such events from happening, but only at great cost. I assume Tyson is not actually a gun rights advocate, but is coming at it from the angle of practicality. Shouldn’t we be focusing our energy on solving the hard problems that cause more misery than the hard problems that cause less misery?

    6. Dammit, this is one of those rare times that Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s pedantry is called for and it starts a shitstorm.

    7. This is exactly why we have the “Patriot Act”, TSA, and a dozen other results of 9/11: terrible event for those directly effected, but statistically an extreme outlier and not the sort of thing any individual is personally likely to experience.

  5. Where is the humanity for the 15 shot in Chicago over the weekend?

    Where is the humanity for the 7 shot in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago on July 20?

    How about the 6 shot in Philly on July 28 during a rap video production? se

    How about the 9 shot in Baltimore on the night of July 20?

    How about the Brooklyn mass shooting of last week?

    All of the above have one thing in common and that one thing in common was not present with El Paso or Dayton.

    That this is not being discussed here demonstrates how cravenly cucky Reason has become.

    1. OK then, Libertymike, what should be saying or doing that they aren’t saying or doing?

      Don’t be coy, Roy! Don’t just leave on the bus, Gus!

      1. Talk about the problem of black on black crime and black on black murder. The problem is that neither reason nor libertarians in general really have an answer to the sort of societal breakdown and lawlessness that is going on in our cities other than maybe “everyone should be armed”. While that is true, it is not really much of a response. I don’t really want to live in a society where I have to carry a gun everywhere I go and be prepared to use it. And for a very long time the US was outside of a few exceptions like the frontier west not a society like that.

        The problem here is not the guns. The problem here is that we have large numbers of people in this country who seem to like to kill each other. And libertarianism doesn’t really have a response to that or any ideas how it can be solved.

        1. libertarians in general really have an answer to the sort of societal breakdown and lawlessness that is going on in our cities other than maybe “everyone should be armed”.

          That’s not true. A radical transformation and dismantling of the welfare state would (IMHO) do wonders to reduce this problem. Welfare seriously fucked up the urban poor. Seriously.

          1. Places like Somalia and central Africa don’t have a welfare state and are very dangerous. Sorry but getting rid of the welfare state while perhaps a good idea is not going to solve this problem.

            Beyond that even if you are right that welfare is the cause of all of this dysfunction, and I agree that it is the cause of a lot of it, ending welfare just stops making it worse. It doesn’t necessarily fix the damage that has already been done.

            1. It doesn’t necessarily fix the damage that has already been done.

              I’ve come to believe that when you have massive societal problems, sometimes all you can do is stop the thing that’s doing the damage, and the problem will reverse itself after a generation or two.

              That’s not always optimal especially in the political realm, because people want their problems fixed now, not for their children’s children.

              This is where I’ve come to have some sympathies for some ideas on the left, by the way. Hell, I know you’ve even talked about this. When all the manufacturing jobs in flyover country disappear or go to Mexico or China, as a libertarian, I still believe those things tend to correct themselves in a free market over time. But I also have to admit that those things might take a generation, or two or three to correct. So what do you do with those populations in the meantime? Just saying “learn to code” to a laid off coal miner doesn’t cut it.

              1. I’ve come to believe that when you have massive societal problems, sometimes all you can do is stop the thing that’s doing the damage, and the problem will reverse itself after a generation or two.

                I used to believe that but there are too many societies that remain dysfunctional and violent regardless of circumstances to believe it anymore.

                As far as manufacturing jobs and such, unless our society magically transforms itself such that we only have nerds who want to work and are capable of working desk jobs, that problem wont’ solve itself. You have a wide variety of people and an economy has to provide jobs for every type or you are headed for big trouble. In many ways Libertarians look at people like Marxists do. Instead of being part of the proletarian mass, they are just interchangeable units of labor to some Libertarians. Both assumptions are insane.

                The only reason the coal miner is laid off is because of the environmental cult has put him out of business. Don’t pretend that is the market. It is not. And China and Mexico using slave labor and manipulating their currency isn’t the free market. And even if it is, why is the result of the market sacred? Maybe the result isn’t the best? If you are not willing to at least debate that, you need to admit you have moved to a form of religion.

                1. You have a wide variety of people and an economy has to provide jobs for every type or you are headed for big trouble. In many ways Libertarians look at people like Marxists do. Instead of being part of the proletarian mass, they are just interchangeable units of labor to some Libertarians.

                  This is mainly what I’m talking about. I no longer am willing to accept the above as true. That we eliminate entire swaths of jobs and employment within a half a generation and then just think everything will rearrange itself and everyone will be prosperous.

                  I still believe that these things DO work themselves out, but when you’re talking two, three generations to adjust, that’s glacial. We have harvester combines on American farms that do the work of a thousand laborers, and no one bats an eye. There are literally tens of thousands of women no longer working in typing pools as they did from the 1940s up through the 1980s.

                2. If the market was actually allowed to run, the coal miners would have by and large been put out of work anyway, and probably earlier with breeder reactors supplying baseline power and natural gas plants supplying sudden load.

                  1. And many of those families are in the same areas of coal mining moved to a fracking boom, so now we are outlawing natural gas and cleaner nuclear. Another point is that the U.S. is now down to 14% of carbon output (getting lower every month-thats great), but its a crisis that only the American and EU taxpayer, opps investor- forced through taxes or something like that can solve for the rest of the world.
                    Investment and Retrofit is the new tax

              2. Yeah, Andrew Yang’s first UBI model was based on Murray’s UBI to consolidate and end of all other forms of welfare (I heard him say it on Fox, early on). He completely folded while doing the Academic SJW YouTube Channel tours.

            2. Places like Somalia and central Africa don’t have a welfare state and are very dangerous.

              The failed communist dictatorships in those areas didn’t have welfare?

              1. Shhh! Somalia is a libertarian paradise! It is known!

                1. Shh Jeff is retarded and has no idea what is going on

              2. Which part of failed state do you not understand? Failed states don’t have welfare

            3. Places like Somalia and Central Africa also don’t have a relatively strong economic engine or a stable and relatively fair law enforcement situation or a stable and relatively fair government.

            4. Somalia and Central Africa are not capitalist and their culture does not value the nuclear family. It is tribal/medieval. Welfare-dependent communities have been artificially isolated from free market benefits and have had their family units sabotaged by their “lord” state. Tribes rule in the isolationon. Very similar climates, in my opinion.

            5. Maybe more intensive policing of those areas? Hmm…maybe some intense racial profiling, ya think? Maybe limiting the intense media coverage that spawns copycat killings? Maybe get rid of that deadly Bill of Rights and impose full-blown dictatorship? Yeah that’s it – tyranny will keep us safe.

        2. The solution is simple, end drug prohibition.

          1. That’s part. More important: reduce the out of wedlock birth rate and single mother families from the 70% back to 20% in the cities.

            1. Not putting dads into prison for drugs will help that.

        3. “I don’t really want to live in a society where I have to carry a gun everywhere I go and be prepared to use it.”

          I do; and I do not find it to be a burden at all. A Ruger LCP fits discreetly into my right front pocket and while I am aware it is there [and loaded, with a round in the chamber] it does not show or “print” and the the weight and size are negligible. Is it the “ideal” gun for a fight ? No, but an AR or Mossberg 930 would cause obvious concerns to many about me….

      2. It kind of goes to the dirty secret that Libertarians don’t like to think about. That is that you can only have freedom in a high trust peaceful society.

        1. If drugs were decriminalized, inner-city turf battles would be diminished.

          1. To some degree but criminals would move onto other criminal activities.

            1. There will always be criminals.

              All we can do is minimize the incentives.

              1. All we can do is minimize the incentives.

                And/or (ancillary) damages.

            2. If only initiating force was illegal they’d have no where to go.

        2. There can only be high trust in a free libertarian society.

      3. Reason should castigate the likes of MSNBC, CNN, the WAPO, the Boston Globe, NBC, ABC, CBS et al for its selective coverage of mass shootings.

        Likewise, Reason should condemn the likes of Morning Joe, Mika, Joy Reid, Prof. Glaude, Donny Deutsch, George Will, Robin Roberts, Michael Strahan, Steffie Stephanopolous, Andrea Mitchell, Don Blackhole Lemon, Chris Cuomo, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jake Tapper, Judy Woodruff, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews, to name just a few, for their failure to devote almost any time to the epidemic of black violence afflicting the country and for devoting round the clock coverage to mass shootings reportedly perpetrated by whites.

        Reason should exhort all of the above to make a new plan, Stan.

        1. Reason should tell the truth in other words. My God, Mike what kind of a monster are you?

          1. A monster who was underwhelmed by Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

            1. Thanks, Libertymike, for the new-plan-Stan! I do see and agree…

              Mighty Whitey isn’t to be blamed for everything! And sure as hell not “capitalism”! Nor free speech! The blame goes to the wrong places, and we neglect to fix what’s really wrong!

              1. Most Honorable Righteous Feelz – how the hell are you? I haven’t been around much due to work and this horrible new set-up of Reason’s site and the constant squirrels.

                1. Doing mahvelous, thanks! Being retired and goofing off!

                  Don’t work too hard! But pay more taxes; I need to draw Social Security soon!!!


        2. They do much of this in the podcast

      4. “what should be saying or doing that they aren’t saying or doing?” Rationally re-tweeting, discussing and promulgating the essence of Tyson’s tweet, for starters.

        1. Oh, the horror, Tyson tweeted some simple basic facts!

          For the reading pleasure of those who’ve not looked it up yet… Tyson below:

          In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.

          On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…

          500 to Medical errors
          300 to the Flu
          250 to Suicide
          200 to Car Accidents
          40 to Homicide via Handgun

          Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.

          1. PS, with regards to the 500 medical-errors deaths per 48 hours…

            We CLEARLY need some common-sense doctor-control laws!!!

            1. Most medical errors are caused by exhausted and burnt out nurses and overextended doctors squeezed by greedy insurance companies. I have no doubt that a single payer system will be 100% error-free!

          2. PS, little-known facts for y’all:

            Of the 500.00 deaths due to medical errors, a full 486.73 of them are due to improper, incompetent, or (especially) un-prescribed blowing upon cheap plastic flutes!!! Dangerous “medical devices” known as “lung flutes”!!! So, do ***NOT*** blow on un-prescribed cheap plastic flutes!!! (For some unknown reasons, these cheap plastic flutes cause deaths ONLY in the USA; so OTHER nations do NOT require prescriptions for the EXACT same device!!! Maybe Americans are just terminally stupid and incompetent?).

            Anyway… To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

            1. They also fuck with the whales.

              1. Every year, more people are raped by dolphins than are killed by sharks.

  6. The second amendment is more important than anything else in the constitution, and the media’s/ democrats reaction to these sort of events make that totally obvious.

    But please, continue to both sides

    1. And I do not include Reason in “the media”…. for now

    2. “The second amendment is more important than anything else in the constitution”

      It’s this kind of silly shit that makes people dismiss “libertarians” as unhinged nutjobs.

      1. Yeah? Beacause what are you going to do when the government decides to no longer respond to your petitions to redress wrong and becomes tyrannical? You don’t think the Iron Curtain would’ve fallen sooner if the Poles had arms? I guess us sending weapons to the mujahedeen had nothing to do with the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan?
        All rights stem from the ability to protect those rights.

        1. Tell me how many times in the last 200 years has the government strategically altered its course due to fear of an armed society? Your firearm means dick to them. But if it makes you feel super strong then good for you.

          1. Too many to count.

            That’s why it’s the SECOND amendment, Eric, because it puts that calculus at the back of their minds.

        2. All rights stem from the ability to protect those rights.

          This is dangerously close to “might makes right”.

          1. Power flows from the barrel of a gun.

            Mousie Dung

          2. All rights stem from the ability to protect those rights.

            This is the exact opposite of “might makes right”.


            But, the fact that you don’t understand this is very telling.

        3. The latest Chinese military warning video to the Hong Kong Protestors is chilling, an outright warning of the coming slaughter. Gun rights mean something, especially if you are in Hong Kong right now (they have no self defense mechanisms). I’ve just read that the protestors are willing to die, wrapped in a U.S. Flag. Another latest news is that Julian Castro published the names of Trump supporters and their employment places.

      2. I’d rather be an “unhinged nutjob” than a defenseless sheep

        1. You are a defenseless sheep. You just don’t know it.

            1. +100

              Americans successfully defending strong gun rights means we’re defenseless, yeah right.

    3. So you’re only HFTO when you wear a tux?

  7. 1) Giggle with glee at the survivors who will be bankrupted by medical bills.

    2) Cherry pick the one thing which doesn’t jibe with conservative thought in their manifesto and make it totally about that thing.

    3) If the perpetrator is white, it’s an “isolated incident”.

    4) If the perpetrator is not white, it’s a “problem with x culture”.

    5) If the perpetrator is not white, then talk of more prisons, more walls or travel bans.

    6) If the perpetrator was white – meh, thoughts and prayers now let’s not talk about it.

    7) If all else fails, blame the CIA. Or the Illuminati. Or maybe Bohemian Grove or the Trilateral Commission for variety’s sake.

    1. Shut up Hihn. No one cares what you have to say. Go fuck yourself.

    2. Let’s see what the left will do

      1. Giggle with glee over the chance to score political points on the dead bodies of others.

      2. Call every mass shooter a “white supremacist” and declare everyone who disagrees with them responsible regardless of the facts.

      3. If the perp is a Muslim, send it down the memory hole and say “we will never know why this happened”.

      4. If the perpetrator is white, declare every white person and every white male accountable for his actions.

      5. Regardless of who the perpetraitor is, talk about gun control and confiscation.

      6. If the perp is a Muslim or a protected minoriity, get it out of the news as soon as possible.

      7. If all else fails blame Trump.

      Fixed it for you retard. No go back to your hole.

        1. The truth runs losers like you off like a cross to a vampire.

          1. Like Goose on Gannon (I am pretty confident you’ll get the reference).

          2. But I’m still here.

      1. 3 = “workplace violence”

      2. Excellent; I am going to copy that one John.

    3. I care. Keep it coming. John’s whining is music to my ears.

      1. So is this fake sqrsly or palin. Guessing the latter since he was banned for admitting to CP again.

    4. Don’t confuse the Trump boot-lickers and right-wingers who come here, with actual libertarians.

      I think it’s fair to say that libertarians are a lot more likely to place blame on the individual’s behavior rather than on some vague social force.

    5. ‘You said rape twice.’

  8. What should politicians do when these awful events when they occur?

    “First, do no harm.” So, since nobody knows how to prevent mass shootings, politicians should do nothing. It’s not in their job description and they aren’t constitutionally empowered anyway.

    1. You’re such a spoilsport.

    2. Ding. Ding. Ding.

    3. Send thoughts and prayers.

  9. Is there any question about the media being ultimately to blame for so many of these mass shootings?

    The first mass shooter I can think of is Charles Whitman, the University of Texas tower shooter in 1966. I can’t think of any obvious follow ups or copy cats to that shooting. If it was in his head to become famous, noticed, or important like someone else, I suspect that was probably about the notoriety of the assassin after the assassination of JFK.

    After that, the next prominent mass shooting I can think of is the “I don’t like Mondays” shooter, Brenda Spencer. I doubt she was trying to become a media celebrity. She was just a general nut.

    Then there was the San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre in 1984. That was a big one.

    After that, mass shootings seemed to proliferate–along with the market penetration of cable news and the 24 hour national news cycle. I suspect that’s probably what happened. As it became possible to become famous and noticed and important–all over the country and the world–by shooting a bunch of people, those who craved that kind of attention suddenly had a way to get it.

    I blame the news media.

    Maybe if they covered these things differently. Maybe it’s not just the notoriety of the shooters either. If you want to be condemned by all the same people who condemn Donald Trump or whomever else is being hated at the moment, there’s a sick but easy way to achieve that. Every time someone on cable news makes it seem as if, e.g., Donald Trump’s attempts to enforce border security are an existential struggle against evil, they’re probably contributing to the problem. It could be anything. That’s just one example.

    1. Luby’s shooting, 1991, Killeen, Texas.

      On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Hennard, an unemployed man who had been in the Merchant Marine,[3] drove a Ford Ranger pickup truck through the plate-glass front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.[4] Hennard yelled, “All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers! This is what you’ve done to me and my family! This is what Bell County did to me… this is payback day!” He then opened fire on the patrons and staff with both a 9mm Glock 17 pistol and a 9mm Ruger P89 pistol.[5][6] Hennard stalked, shot, and killed 23 people, ten of them with single shots to the head, and wounded another 27.[4][7]

    2. Every time someone on cable news makes it seem as if, e.g., Donald Trump’s attempts to enforce border security are an existential struggle against evil, they’re probably contributing to the problem. It could be anything. That’s just one example.

      I believe there’s something to this. You can’t enter into a sane policy debate anymore… everything is an existential struggle against [Nazism] with serious media articles debating if it’s ‘ok to punch a Nazi’.

    3. Agreed, and news media has committed more general social distortion and inspired more anger. Data reveal the people who are bigger consumers of both left and right media have more distorted views of the other side, enabling more distrust and anger. The people who have the least exaggerated perceptions (and the least extreme personal viewpoints) do not do most media. (Ironically, the only media that improves perception of the other side is classic network news.)

      Maybe we need to repeal that whole freedom of the press thing–and apply it to all press.

    4. It’s the “LIBERAL” media, Kenny poo. Get your brain right. Blame them ULTIMATELY!! Jesus christ.

      1. The liberal media do trumpet racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc as much as possible. These are all very divisive, particularly when you are blaming the other guys, and inspire hate of the other guys. FOX et al are largely on the defensive in the culture wars, as you so frequently point out. So, yes, the liberal media do inspire hate more than other media centers.

      2. Ah, so it’s the retard sqrsly mimicking me

    5. The timing is not accidental by any means; notoriety is motivating even if posthumous. Fact is 24/7/365 “news” is now part of our lives, and it plays a part in everything, but that does not excuse irresponsible and gratuitous “reporting.” I’ve finally deleted “Drudge” after they plastered their site with pictures of these last two shooters. No, First Amendment protects this sort of speech and “freedom of the press” but we can influence it by just not using it. Like markets and capitalism.

    6. Good reading: The Phrase ‘Mass Shooting’ Belongs To The 21st Century

      In 2015, there were 17,489 total uses of the phrase [mass shooting]. Compare that to 1980, when there were exactly two mentions of the phrase “mass shooting” in printed news — both referred to a massacre in Afghanistan. This year, on the day after the San Bernardino attack there were 802 mentions.
      This would all seem to make sense if the number of mass shootings were on the rise as well. And, depending on how you count, mass shootings have risen, but not nearly at the rate that our use of “mass shootings” has.
      Rather than the phrase being used more often in order to simply cover more shootings, there is likely another force at work — the attention and interests of the media itself.

  10. It’s kind of abstract but – I “blame” monetary and fiscal policy. In other words (besides mental illness), I blame the state of the economy. A very serious downturn is on the way and the nuts crack first.

    1. A very serious downturn is on the way? So, it hasn’t happened, yet, but the consequences of it have happened? Nice logic.

  11. Well if the shootings only happened on the south side of Chicago than the politicians could pretend they never happened like they do now.

  12. The comment from the crowd can’t rightly be interpreted as “shoot immigrants”. The context was about what to do when 20,000 people show up trying to cross the border. If they won’t accept “You can’t come in” and insist on forcing their way in…What do you do? “Shoot them.” I hope that clears it up for you guys.

    1. Nothing says “stay away” like a Ma-duce and a cleared and marked field of fire.
      Crude, but effective.

      1. +10

  13. “How Libertarians Should Respond to Mass Shootings”

    Shoot back.

    1. Excellent; as unlikely as it is for any one of us to actually encounter such an event, we must assume responsibility for our own protection. If we are going to live in a world with modern firearms, with an element of freaks, wing nuts, incels, terrorists, and various miscreants, we either do that or give it all up.

      1. Not necessarily. We can also choose to not carry a firearm and assume the risk that we will be involved in one of these rare events. The vast majority of people (armed or otherwise) will go through their entire lives without ever being involved in an active shooter event.

        Responsibly carrying a firearm requires a guaranteed (and modest) cost of time and money. Not carrying has a very small chance of having a huge cost in life or limb. Each person just has to decide how they weigh those risks and costs. At least we live in a country where we are free to make the choice.

  14. But how should libertarians respond to being told how to respond to mass shootings?

    1. We have to wait for Robby to tally up all the Tweets first.

  15. Looks like Rand had to have part of a lung removed from consequences of that attack by his crazy neighbor. I hope Rand takes him for all he is worth in civil court and I wish Rand a painless and speedy recovery.

    1. Oh man that’s terrible. Hope he gets well soon.

    2. this is the NYT take….

      Summary: a couple of doddering old Republicans had medical procedures. Mitch McConnell because he’s senile and clumsy and at this point we hope you lose interest so we don’t have to talk about…. Oh, right! There was a mass shooting, we can mention that first. Now where were we?

  16. Nick mentioned in the podcast that there was a “decline narrative”, this view that the US is in decline and that both sides have seemed to embrace this narrative to various extents. Do you believe the US is in decline? If so what can be done about it, if anything?

    1. Certainly every politician of the out-of-power party tells us this is true. If you can’t trust politicians, whom can you trust?

      1. Well, Nick’s point is that both parties have this decline narrative, not just the out-of-power party. Do you agree?

        1. The out party harps on the decline incessantly. Even Trump’s Inaugural was about the decline. Now, not so much. After all, his new theme is “Keep America Great” hardly an indicator of decline. But I would agree that everyone at all times focuses on the problems with society. The Donkeys think 4% unemployment and lowest black unemployment ever is decline, while the Heffalumps think too many immigrants is decline.

    2. I think that was really the point of the Neil Degrasse Tyson tweet. It’s not that those other types of death are more frequent and that something needs to be done, but that these types of mass shootings are relatively rare. At least that was my takeaway.

      I would have said that this is the best response. Offer some perspective that negates the emotional, politically-driven narrative of both sides and the media. But apparently, that type of response gets criticized with emotion to the point that NDT had to retract his statement of fact. Think about that for a minute. He had to retract a statement of fact.

      The ideology of “do something-ism” is rooted in authoritarianism. Every incident is a problem that only government can solve. Once you get to that conclusion then the “decline narrative” is simply a means to gain more power. The “decline narrative” begs for “do something-ism” and politicians gain more political power every time we fall for it.

      1. NDT didn’t have to do anything. He could have explained why he was right (over about 20 tweets), but he chose to be either lazy or cowardly and backed off. The real lesson here is that Twitter is not for serious discussion of anything.

    3. The US is more in a steady-state than a decline. Some things we can do about it:

      1. End the war on drugs.
      2. End the wars on everything else.
      3. End the welfare state (both individual and corporate).
      4. Balance the budget and (slowly) start reducing the debt.

  17. Way too much time spent talking about these miscreants! Monsters have existed in human history since the beginning. They can’t be stopped or anticipated, unless someone close can intervene. These monsters used to head governments and kill millions. These ‘private’ killings, while horrendous, are rare and should not ‘terrorize’ the flock.

    May you and yours pass through your lives and not cross paths with ‘Johnny death’!!

    1. We who are willing and able should assume responsibility for our own protection as for our loved ones. If enough do that and ignore “fun free” restrictions mass shooters would face a very powerful disincentive. They’ve gone from schools to Wal Marts and festivals, as was predicted when one venue became too difficult or unavailable. I truly hope I never have to, but if I do it will be on me to pull out my CCW and shoot the bastard or be killed defending myself and others. Even when cops are a minute away, they are never in your pocket [and might be busy taking out someone’s dog when you need them].

      1. “gun” free, oh my editing…

  18. Giving up your civil liberties will not stop mass murder.

    1. +1000

    2. Giving up your civil liberties will not stop ________.

      Mass murder
      Drug use
      Hate speech
      Illegal immigration
      Acts of terrorism
      Economic disparity

    3. The liberty to own weapons of mass destruction is not a useful civil liberty.

      1. Semi-auto firearms are not “weapons of mass destruction”. That’s reserved for things like nukes, etc. Yes, freedom to own semiautos is a VERY useful civil iliberty so long as governments and criminals have firearms.

      2. Correction: “liberty” not “iliberty”

        Semi-auto firearms are not “weapons of mass destruction”. That’s reserved for things like nukes, etc. Yes, freedom to own semiautos is a VERY useful civil liberty so long as governments and criminals have firearms.

  19. I blame our celebrity-obsessed culture.

  20. “Mass shootings” (“mass” usually defined as 3 or more?) represent something like 1% of gun homicides.

    Libertarians, and everyone else, should keep pointing that out. They’re sensational, and the press hypes them up way too much, but statistically, they are not significant.

    1. The definition of mass shooting often depends on the talking point you are trying to make. In the past the standard definition (and the one the FBI uses) is 4 or more killed in a random, public shooting incident. But lately its become desirable among some groups to inflate the numbers of mass shootings. First it was changed to 4 or more shot (not necessarily killed). Then they dropped the random/public aspects. Now its trending to 3 or more shot, and I’ve even seen a few sources even drop it to 2.

      1. In 2013, Congress defined a “mass killings” in as 3 or more people in a single incident. Yes, it was most likely to inflate the number. Rational people still used 4 to preserve accurate statistics that actually mean something and don’t compare two different things.

  21. Nick rants about Trump providing deranged statements and support for white supremacy. Right, Nick, here is Trump’s deranged statement from yesterday.

    The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.

    Nick, so sad.

    1. Oh, please, Trump is simply trying to cover his (racist) tracks. /sarc

    2. The behaviour of the media regarding Trump’s alleged racism is going to go down as one of the most shameful in examples of ‘fake news’ in history.

      He has a point in his Tweet. They’re not helping and contributing.

      But as long as you get judges like the one who dismissed Sandman’s case against the WaPo, they’ll continue and not account for their bull shit.

      If Nick is taking this stance, he’d better produce the proof.

      Because I sure as hell don’t see any as of yet.

      1. The media and Democrats need to go read the one about the boy who cried wolf. They’ve criticized Trump for so many things that he didn’t actually do that no one on the middle or right will ever trust them again.

        What’s amazing is that there are so many valid criticisms of Trump available, yet they have decided to just lie about him over and over.

    3. I don’t think it’s unfair to point out that obviously wasn’t written by Trump. Someone wrote that and handed it to him, and someone actually managed to get through to him that he could not ad-lib and go off-script while saying it.

      1. Geez, your TDS is grasping at straws.

        He hired the speech writer, read the speech, and approved it. That means it represents his views. The fact that he is too inarticulate to express himself that way doesn’t change that.

  22. “How Libertarians Should Respond to Mass Shootings”

    However they damn well please as long as it isn’t hurting anyone.

    1. ‘zactly. A shrug of the shoulders and a “shit happens” would do as well. All the time fingering the trigger shroud in your pocket.

      1. But- -click bait – – we have to blame some group of people in order for the future leftwing fed pick to buy muni bonds and bail out failed deep blue cities and the states that those cities and PS unions, transportation boondoggles are dragging down with them. White people and Asian suburbanites, lets blame the suburbs- thats the narrative and I’m sticking to it!

    2. Hear hear. Same with property rights. Stop depending on jackbooted government thugs for that. Just sit there and hope things will turn out well.

  23. I blame video games. They are just not good enough, and after hours of shooting video game people with video game guns, one gets a hankering to shoot real guns at real people, and for that, there is no substitute for a massacre such as this.

  24. How should libertarians respond to mass shootings? The same way they respond to every crisis:
    1) Stridently proclaim that gov’t shouldn’t take any action that limits my doing whatever I want or requires any money from me
    2) Assure everybody that the free market will fix it, if we just stop trying to futz with it.
    In other words, they should do what Atlas did: shrug.

  25. Libertarians might reframe the debate in terms of what we would TRADE for a somewhat tempered Second Amendment. Of course, the Statists who want to grab our rights have no interest in giving back anything. But this should be the nature of our response: “So, you want to restrict my access to guns? What do you propose to give up in return?”

    Not for a minute should we GIVE our rights away. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t frame the issue as a trade between the people and the government. That is, after all, why we have a Second Amendment in the first place. As a check on over-reaching government.

    Libertarians should frame the debate in terms of liberty, not in terms of guns.

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