...Pull the plug on this blog. 'Cos there are too damn many people out there who would happily volunteer to work the guard towers if Congress decided Monday to lock up all the Muslims in the U.S. behind barbed wire. As it happens, I'm no fan of a faith with many adherents who claim it says I gotta dress like a sleeping bag and can't have a real job; but in this country, you can believe any idiotic thing you want, as long as you don't force others to do so, too. This is actually an important concept, one we fiddle with at our peril.
L. Neil Smith has some interesting thoughts on this, too.
Looky, spree shooters are a problem. Grotty little bastards who wanna be important, who want attention they don't deserve, who go armed into disarmed-victim zones (yeah, "no guns," what a swell idea) and shoot up people who are just going about their lives, they are a problem.
And so is puffing them up into something they're not. In the last ten years, the spree killers in the United States have included at least two different flavors of racist, one whacko who couldn't get a date, and scads of other half-wit causes.
Big damn deal. You wanna concentrate on the disease or on the cure? One thing is for sure: the common factors among such killers are few. Mostly male, generally loners and think they've got a raw deal -- but those are pretty common conditions; if we ran out or locked up every guy that fit that profile, half the science-fiction writers I like would be behind bars or deported!
In hindsight, there are often indications, but once again, many are moody but few lash out.
Nope, you can't fix it by finding 'em in advance. "Precrime" is fiction and if you haven't figured out that "thoughtcrime" is the short bus to FAIL, you have not been paying attention. Planned or impulsive, they are mad dogs among us and the important thing isn't understanding why they are foaming at the mouth, they all think they have got some excuse; the important thing, the vital thing, is stopping them as soon as possible.
And the only way do that is to have a greater leavening of people who understand that such things do happen, who have thought about it and are "armed" with the determination to stop it. A weapon helps but a sidearm is useless if you're not ready to use it* -- in the right hands, a chair or a baseball bat will do the job.
It's human to claim "Group X" is the problem. Sometimes it's even accurate. But it is rarely all of 'em -- ever hear of John Rabe or Chiune Sugihara? How many babies are you willing to throw out with the bathwater?
Why not try the simpler thing first; why not resolve to STOP people when they initiate force against others?
Major Hasan is a Muslim. He shot up a bunch of people who were doing him no harm. One of those things is inherently evil. Can you guess which?
* So, do you have the skill to take out one baddie in a crowded mall with your handgun? If not, what's your Plan B? Always good to have a Plan B.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
4 months ago