We saw two horrific examples of mass murder in the last few weeks. As usual, the initial news reports were wildly wrong. The initial reports claimed the attacks were by racist white men using assault weapons. They were wrong, but the false report served the political ends of the mass media and the politicians. The news reports deliberately failed to mention how the existing 20 thousand firearms regulations again failed to protect innocent people from violent attacks. Despite the shocking failure of gun-control laws, Democrat politicians called for more of the same.
Both politicians and pundits ignored the responses we know will reduce violent attacks. Unfortunately, the media and politicians are now part of the disease rather than being part of the cure to reduce mass public violence in the United States.
A murderer killed innocent women in Georgia. This murderer bought his gun legally. He bought his gun through the same purchase process at a gun store that tens of millions of us use every year. The murderer used the same sort of handgun that millions of honest citizens use to defend themselves every year. In short, the murderer looked like us.
This murderer passed his firearms purchase background checks when he bought his handgun. He was not a prohibited person before he committed his attack. Background checks have not done much to stop mass murderers. Background checks look back in history and mass murder isn’t a repeat crime. Time after time, we’ve seen people who went on to commit mass murder pass their background checks.
It is uncomfortable to imagine that a mass murder can look normal until he kills. It is uncomfortable to realize our gun-laws won’t protect us. This murderer didn’t bother to get his concealed carry permit because criminals don’t bother to follow gun-laws.
It would be nice if mass murderers were easy to identify ahead of time. They are not. They look like us and they act like us before they kill. They use the same firearms to harm others that we use to defend our families every day.
In Boulder, Colorado, a murderer killed innocent people in a supermarket. This murderer also bought his gun legally. He passed his background checks even though the FBI had a file on him. Like most mass murderers, and for the same reason, the murderer didn’t bother to get his concealed carry permit.
The grocery store this mass murderer attacked had a posted sign saying that customers should not carry firearms openly. A moments thought tells us that mass murderers won’t obey plastic signs. Again, honest citizens obey those gun-laws while murderers break the law. Gun-control may have disarmed the victims, but it did not stop violent criminals.
It is comforting to think a plastic sign saying “no guns allowed” will somehow keep violence away from us. That comforting thought is dangerous because ink on paper doesn’t stop mass murderers. Prohibition may feel good but it is getting us killed from coast to coast, and time after time.
Prevention is hard. I’ve studied mass murderers for a few years and I could only find one small telltale sign in this murderer’s past. Team sports are usually an antidote to mass murder. You have to submit to a set of rules in order to play those sports. If you’re knocked down, you are expected to pick yourself up and continue to play the game. You are expected to win or lose, and to do so without blaming others.
This murderer was thrown off the high school wrestling team because of his violent temper. That is a small but telling fact. Unfortunately, failing at a team sport is too small of an indicator to think we can reliably detect mass murderers in the making. We’ll have to try something else.
Sadly, we’ve been here before. Despite the media hype, violence is not an epidemic in the United States. The slow and steady increase in mass public violence is caused by understandable and preventable forces.
Politicians talked about these murderers for hours on end. The media put the murderer’s name and face in the news for days. Effectively, the news media and the politicians gave the murderer a multi-million dollar publicity campaign. We’ve seen what happens next. That media driven celebrity campaign attracts more broken people who will kill to be noticed.
That media driven celebrity campaign attracts more broken people
who will kill to be noticed.
Politicians don’t care. Republicans put forward an amendment to increase mental health funding after the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Democrats voted down that amendment. That happened two decades ago, but the facts haven’t changed. Healing the sick isn’t sexy and it doesn’t get a politicians’ name in the paper.
Mass murder serves the interests of the media and of anti-gun politicians. They won’t change their actions until we change them. You and I will have to defend ourselves in small ways until we cure the sickness in our government and in the press.