Thursday, February 15, 2018


     Wednesday hit with a thud at mid-afternoon, when TV news devolved into the kind of close attention given to a disturbed killer that disturbed killers crave--

     The predictable talk of "too many guns" and "violent video games" and so on followed; they are cheap and easy things to blame but boys have always played violent games  (remember cap guns and tin soldiers?)  and this country has long had widespread firearm availability and ownership.  What nags me is that no one seems to much care about identifying and maybe even straightening out the killers before they strike.  There's a pattern of torturing small animals, of social alienation, threats of violence and so on that appears to be common to many people who later commit horrific crimes, and it is largely ignored.  Instead, there's a focus on the means -- guns for mass shooting, the hardware of imprisonment for abductors -- or the victims (who indeed rate attention) or the now-outre personality and behavior of the criminal.

     Where was all that when the kid was a Cub Scout?  Where was the concern when he kept tripping fire alarms?  It it enough to expell a child with behavioral problems from school, and let the wider world deal with them?

     For every person who commits a headline-grabbing crime like this, a few dozen more are committing lesser violent crimes; or among the homeless, and perhaps preying on their fellows.  If we're determined to be "doing something," let's direct our energies at people, not objects.


Monty James said...

This is a hard one, getting harder every time some mutant shoots up fifth period.

Restraining orders or denial of purchase based on an evaluation of psych profiles? I think 2A people shy away from this because the mental health profession, like every other profession, is for the most part the property of the Left. Pretty swiftly any characteristic that marks one as "right wing" or "conservative" would be clinicized into a symptom, useful to them to disarm their hated enemies. There's a rich body of neuroscientific studies over the past couple of decades purporting to describe certain political views as some sort of pathological abnormality.

Trying to come up with something practical which doesn't damage our rights too much. A sliding scale of time for background checks, a threshold which triggers a dissection of one's personal life, with longer periods mandated the closer one is in age to the average for rampage killers, or the minimum for purchasing a firearm in a given state? The younger one is, the greater the attention we'll pay to your mental attic? Some sort of hearing with legal protections if an examination of social media accounts turns up pictures of the small animals someone has killed, meant to determine if a sale can be completed?

When I was a little kid in the Sixties, there were always kids going out on the leases during the weekends with bb guns or air rifles or .22s for the older ones. My high school had a rifle club when I attended in the Seventies. This sort of thing didn't happen.

Roberta X said...

Indeed, it was vanishingly rare -- perhaps because the loonies were drawn out and either corrected or got in smaller trouble, sooner.

Most of these spree killers seem to have shown signs well before the age at which they could purchase -- or even own -- firearms. Children have fewer rights than adults anyway (and there's an argument for another time!) so isn't that a better time to be checking/watching them for signs of such problems?

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder if the "Famous about anything is still famous" mindset with youth is a factor driving this trend. Example - Kardashian *anything*.

Combine that with an anti-gun news media looking for anything to reinforce their confirmational bias about guns, you've created a self-reinforcing situation. And I believe the media is just fine with the situation.

Dealing with it without stomping on civil rights like involuntary detention-incarceration is the real 'sticky-wicket'...

Jeffrey Smith said...

The main sign this time was that he had a habit of shooting (not torturing) small animals. That stands out here in SoFla because it's all suburbs, but transfer that to a rural community, and it becomes target practice on varmints. The other main signs: love of guns and membership in an out of town (but not out of state) white nationalist group. Other details of the behavioral problems are hidden under the privacy shield for now. But at what point do you allow the Universal Nanny to step in? Do you really want the Universal Nanny to step in, because the Universal Nanny may decide to step in at a point that's more clearly an infringement on liberty?

There was apparently someone who did see something and report something, but all he could report was a YouTube comment that bubbled up and that the FBI says was untraceable at the time.

I live about forty minutes away from MSD High: it's literally up the (very long) street from me. Local TV has been mostly local news proclaiming how caring and community oriented they are, with little or no actual details. I actually have to depend on the Internet to get the facts....

Roberta X said...

Jeffrey: when did family, friends and fellow students become "Universal Nanny?" "Society" "community" "government:" one of these things is not like the others.

jdunmyer said...

I have a "common sense" proposal: The news media (ANY media) should be disallowed to mention the miscreant's name, perhaps substituting something like "Deranged Scumbag" in its place. It's well known that a huge percentage of these critters crave the publicity, wanting "another Columbine" or somesuch, so if we can remove that incentive, perhaps we can save some lives. Oh, sure there will be some First Amendment absolutists who will complain, but some sacrifices must be made. It's certainly no more of a problem than infringements on the Second Amendment are to the absolutists on that side. After all we have to "Do Something".

(Only a bit tongue in cheek)

Antibubba said...

Are we willing to pay for it? Mental health screening (and treatment) at early ages, increased social services, and possibly increased police monitoring and intervention?

So far, funding for those, or even the passing of such measures, has been as vociferously fought against as restrictions on guns themselves, on the grounds that they are the first steps towards confiscation. we may not be able to morally defend that position anymore. We may not be able to defend it politically either.

This isn't a theoretical argument for me. I've been on antidepressants for almost 30 years. I would not be here now if not for them. Am I mentally ill? Should I not be allowed to own firearms? I've never killed an animal, never pointed a gun at anyone, never pointed a gun at MYSELF. Will any of that matter?