Mass Shootings. Can We Prevent Them?

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So. Another mass shooting in America, this time, in a small town in Oregon at a community college. Along with most if not all of you, I am deeply saddened by this event. I feel for those families of the dead and wounded. What, if anything, are we as a society to do to prevent these shootings from occurring in the future?

I’ll be honest that I haven’t had the television on watching all of the coverage, because I know from past experience there’s just hours of well, nothing but speculation as to the shooters motive. In reading some news stories online I’ve seen many are now saying that he was deliberately targeting Christians yet no one is able to say why. Look out! The War on Christianity is here!

Sorry, didn’t mean to be glib, but you know there are going to be certain people that will run with that narrative.

As I said, I haven’t watched any of the television coverage. Of course the media as usual have all the usual pro- and anti-gun pundits on , each taking a side as to the motive when none are actually known (the guy is dead so we’ll never really know). there’s also the debate about prevention. See? I don’t even need to watch the news to tell you exactly what you’ve been watching over the last several hours because it’s always the same.

Of course the anti-gun folks always say that there needs to be more gun control to the point of implementing what Australia did after a horrific massacre in 1996. Of course, Australia didn’t ban all guns. In fact there are between 3.5 to 4.5 million legal firearms in Australia today. that’s with a population just short of 24 million. With that, there are some 816,000 legal gun permits in that country.

So why have there been no more mass shootings in Australia? Do the new regulations have anything to do with it or are the Aussies just more sane than we Americans? I let each of you come to your own conclusion there.

One of the silliest arguments I hear from the pro-gun side is that ore people are killed in/by automobiles every year in America than by firearms. Well, by itself that’s a true statement. The main difference I would point out though is that to drive, you must be licensed by the state, meaning showing some proficiency, at least initially, in operating a 2-4 ton projectile.

Declining, the statistics for automobile deaths are stunning. One interesting data point is the number of deaths from alcohol:

Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities decreased by 2.5 percent in 2013 to 10,076, accounting for 31 percent of the overall fatalities in 2013.

31% of fatalities on the road are alcohol related. What can we do about that? I guess there needs to be more enforcement to get drunks off the road. But wait! In a lot of cities and towns, if not most, they do have some focus there. Should we restrict sales of alcohol say, on weekends? That seems to be a time when more people are out with friends and family enjoying an adult beverage or two (or more!). how about holidays? Where I live, during Federal holidays, they actually have a “DUI Taskforce” out to get drunks off the road, hopefully preventing a tragedy (and I don’t live in a large city). No, no one is proposing restricting legal, adult consumption of alcohol. Why should we have more restrictions on legal gun ownership? Have more restrictive regulations prevented gun deaths overall?

Well, hello Chicago. Oh, let’s not forget about Los Angeles, (43 last month), two states and cities that have very restrictive gun regulations. Look up any major city. For some reason, I have never really seen the media focusing on these numbers. Of course they’re going to have wall-to-wall coverage (speculation) on a mass shooting, but how about making people more aware of the level of violence (by gun) in these cities.

I haven’t answered the question about what may be done to at least prevent these mass shootings because, frankly, I don’t have an answer. No one really does with the exception of outlawing all firearms, which would never happen in this country. Possibly instituting regulations like Australia, but that would mean the government giving specific permission for anyone to own a gun. Again, never happen here.

I’d be content if someone would come up with a reasonable solution that didn’t impinge on law abiding people owning a gun if they desired. I’ve yet to see anything of the sort in the last 3 decades and the “solutions” that have been offered, and in some instances implemented, haven’t worked to date.

6 thoughts on “Mass Shootings. Can We Prevent Them?

  1. I’d say that there are plenty of things we can do to bring about a slight reduction in the number of victims of mass shootings and likely nothing we can do that would eliminate mass shootings completely. The political will to do much of anything does not seem to be there, as much of the population has simply given up on the idea that meaningful change will happen. We have grown used to these incidents, and the barely register now.

    • Of course, any sensible ideas are worth discussion. States a
      Ready have background checks to include domestic violence. Some, like CaliforNia, have waiting periods to prevent someone from buying a gun and immediately going out to shoot another.
      What bothers me after any of these incidents is the wailing of “we’ve got to do something” but those same people, politicos, pundits, etc. are yet to offer a solution other than an outright ban on personal ownership, without a license from the govt., like what Australia does.
      Of course, these are the constitutionally crippled that fail to realize a law as such could violate that very same document.
      With all the current laws on the books at state and federal level, we continue to be unable to prevent these tragedies from occurring.
      I actually believed eve there are more root causes than people are willing to admit and those causes are societal.

  2. The biggest problem is, these things are happening less often today than they did in the past, we just hear about them constantly today. It’s an information overload, not an increase in violence. If it bleeds, it leads and since the media no longer exists to inform the public, but to put forward a political agenda, these news outlets live for the next shooting so they can rant about their anti-gun platform. And people are stupid enough to fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

    Can we do anything to stop it? Probably not, just like we can’t do anything to stop drunk driving fatalities. There will always be a certain number of them and if we outlawed guns, which is a complete impossibility in this country, the crazy people would just start using explosives or knives or baseball bats. Want to outlaw those too?

    There are things that are an unfortunate consequence to being free. This is one of them. I’d much rather live in a free society where bad things sometimes happen, than to be strictly controlled and not allowed to ever think for myself. That’s why I’m a conservative.

  3. “I’d much rather live in a free society where bad things sometimes happen, than to be strictly controlled and not allowed to ever think for myself.”

    Talk about changing the subject. No one is talking about limiting your right to think. This is about what to do about gun violence. Also, living in a free society does not require acceptance of a high level of bad things happening. No right is absolute, meaning that no restrictions at all can be placed on the exercise of that right. This includes the second amendment right to own firearms. Every right is subject to some limitations. What those limitations are or ought to be is part of the democratic discussion.

  4. “…these things are happening less often today than they did in the past, we just hear about them constantly today.”

    It appears that the F.B.I. does not agree with you Cephus. According to a recently released report, the number of mass shootings have increased in the past seven years. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/us/25shooters.html?_r=0)

    The relevant finding that there has been an increase is found on page 8 of the F.B.I report, which can be found here:
    (https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/september/fbi-releases-study-on-active-shooter-incidents/pdfs/a-study-of-active-shooter-incidents-in-the-u.s.-between-2000-and-2013)

  5. There is no way I can conceive of to prevent all such shootings. But there are things we can do to reduce how often they happen.

    But the more important issue is not preventing mass shootings, which even though they have increased in frequency are still relatively rare. The more important concern is diminishing the number of gun-related deaths in this nation. We lead every industrialized democracy in the world in the number of people killed and injured by guns, and not by just a little bit.

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