Over at Twitchy.com there are many examples of hateful tweets put out by famous celebrities. The latest hate-fest is against the National Rifle Association, a target of misdirected ire over the Connecticut school shootings of a week ago. The latest is from author Joyce Carol Oates, who wants NRA members to be victims of gun violence so that they can better sympathize with other gun victims and allow gun control.
One of the characteristics of the loony left is a hair-pin trigger for anger, over-developed adrenal glands and a strong tendency to find a scapegoat for the cathartic expiation of their emotions. When the actual source of their anger (the shooter) is not available for punishment, a substitute will do just as well. They need someone or something to hate, someone to act as punching-bag for their anger, someone to blame.
Their strange logic goes like this: crazy man gets guns, kills people. The NRA supports the rights of gun ownership. Therefore, the NRA killed those kids in Connecticut. Brilliant logic. Or not.
Actually, the NRA has, for over 100 years, supported the safe and responsible ownership and use of rifles and guns. They teach firearm safety courses. When I was around 11 years old I went to one of them, as a precondition for going deer hunting with my father.
There are those on the wacky right (the Alex Jones types) who find scapegoats of their own, namely, antidepressant medications, which have nothing to do with the murderous rampages of the insane. But blaming the medication satisfies a human need to find someone or something to blame.
So is anything to blame for the recent murderous rampages of the insane? Yes. Just supply your favorite pet peeve here: keeping God out of schools; the deterioration of family values; income disparity among the populace, etc, ad infinitum. However, I think there are objectively considered, real reasons for the violence. They may (with emphasis on "may," as an admission that I don't have all the answers) include:
1. The mainstreaming of the dangerous insane, rather than institutionalizing them. Yes, we want to avoid institutionalizing the non-dangerous insane -- like the professor in "A Beautiful Life" or the man who believed in a giant rabbit named Harvey. However, when a mental patient has a history of hurting people or expresses a reoccurring desire to harm or kill someone, he should be institutionalized if, say, two independent psychiatrists agree.
2. The creation of target rich environments by specifying certain areas as "gun free zones." This is nonsense. There is no logic in assuming that making people defenseless will make them safer. All areas where lots of people congregate should make provisions for defending against the occasional mad shooter, areas like schools, colleges, shopping malls, train stations, airports and movie theaters.
3. Absurdly restrictive Gun Control Laws. California is a good example of how absurd gun control can be. You cannot carry a loaded gun in public, concealed or unconcealed. If you are caught doing so, you are subject to arrest and imprisonment, even when such incidences are accidental. If you carry a gun in your car, it had better be locked up and in the trunk; it may not be loaded, and the magazine may not be close by the gun. This is allegedly to prevent traffic rage incidents where drivers shoot each other. It also prevents defense from carjacking or robbery while in the car. We need the right to carry loaded concealed weapons, under a reasonable training and licensing program.
4. Overly Lax Gun Control Laws. Those who wish to carry concealed weapons should know what they are doing and how to prevent accidental discharge of weapons. Along with mandatory training, testing and licensing, I wouldn't be opposed to some kind of psych examination of applicants either, at the very least, a questionnaire: "Have you ever murdered anyone? Do you plan to do so? Are you a lunatic?" The usual background check for a criminal past should also be a requirement for licensing.
Conservatives tend to oppose any kind of gun control, but I think that is going to have to end. No one should be able to buy a gun without a procedure for licensing, training and a background check. No buying guns at pawnshops, Craig's List or gun shows, without first undergoing a licensing and training procedure. Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon with a pistol he bought at a pawnshop.
5. Irresponsible Handling of Guns by Gun Owners. Too often crazy killers get access to their parents' guns and then use them to murder. Obligatory training courses for gun ownership should include restricting access to one's guns by unauthorized or unlicensed family members, with criminal penalties for those who fail to do so when such failure results in gun deaths. Adam Lanza had access to his mother's guns and used them to murder school children. The Columbine shooters also used their parents' guns to commit mass murder.
6. Extreme Violence in Movies and Video Games. It isn't clear how much the extreme violence in movies and video games contributes to insane gun rampages. Logically, I would assume that they have some impact upon the impressionable and undoubtedly contribute to gun violence. This would be especially true for psychotics who cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. More study is needed.
7. One More: Teenage Bullying in High Schools. High school is a terrible time in the lives of many. You are either one of the cool, in-crowd, or one of the despised and ridiculed masses. Many teenagers love to bully, beat up and humiliate the less popular. Sometimes the bullied get pushed too far and snap. Harris and Klebold were two such teenagers, and finally struck back with mass murder. Bullying in high schools cannot be allowed, with strict and swift punishment for those who practice it.
That's the way I see it.
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