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The 6 Ways to Stop School Shootings That We Should Be Talking About
If a few Crips get shot by a Blood in a dispute over drug dealing in some bad neighborhood, it’s a tragic loss of human potential (albeit wasted), but it’s also a pretty easily avoidable problem for most people. On the other hand, if a lunatic shows up at a school or theater and starts shooting, that is much more terrifying for the average person. The whole idea that you could be relaxed, in a safe public space and have some nutjob try to kill you for no reason is understandably frightening. This is why gun control advocates have begun trying to deliberately mislead the public by lumping in lunatics trying to kill innocent people with gangbangers popping off at each other in the statistics for “mass shootings.” They’ve used that deceptive statistical sleight of hand to claim there have been more than 200 “mass shootings” this year alone. If you look at the real numbers? Let’s just say that the non-stop news coverage gives people the impression that it’s far more common than it actually happens to be. This quote is from a column I did in 2018:
But what are the chances you are actually going to die in a mass shooting? Well, in an anti-gun article in the Washington Post from April of this year, it was noted that 1,081 people had died in mass shootings from 1966 to the present. In other words, roughly 21 people per year died in mass shootings over the last 52 years. Just as a point of comparison, almost one American per day (335 per year) drowns in a bathtub, hot tub, or spa. In 2016, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 656 people were beaten to death with “hands, fists, feet, etc.” If the mainstream media obsessively focused on stories like these, we’d have people calling for bans on bathtubs and martial arts training. The death of any innocent person is a terrible thing, but the number of deaths via mass shootings doesn’t justify 1/50 of the attention it’s given in a nation of 325 million people.
Again, it’s always sad when someone dies, PARTICULARLY a child, but statistically, your kid is far more likely to die in the tub than in a school shooting. So contrary to how it’s portrayed, we’re talking about a rarely occurring event. Additionally, it’s worth noting some of the biggest mass killings don’t necessarily involve shootings or guns either. For example, one of the worst mass murders in American history occurred in 1927 when Andrew Philip Kehoe, the Treasurer of the Bath Consolidated School Board, killed 44 people, including 37 children at the school with explosives. We also need to note that this isn’t just an American problem. Not even close.
In other words, we’re talking about a fairly rare phenomenon that occurs across many countries and doesn’t have any universal trigger, any perfectly definable perpetrator, or any easy solution. Certainly, the “solution” offered by gleeful gun control advocates every time there’s a mass shooting won’t work.
So, what might work? Let me suggest a few ideas, most of which don’t get taken nearly as seriously as they should be by a media that primarily looks at school shootings as a great opportunity to push a liberal agenda.
1) Putting an end to schools as gun-free zones: Have you ever wondered why mass shooters don’t ever try to break into gun stores or police stations to go on a killing spree? You don’t have to wonder because you KNOW. The people there are armed, and the bad guys are highly likely to get shot themselves. It almost always seems like these mass shooters go to “gun-free” zones to find easy victims. There are some easy ways to change that dynamic. One of the most practical ones would be to allow people to carry concealed in most areas. In schools, armed security and/or allowing teachers to carry concealed on school grounds would do the trick. Would just that be enough to deter MOST school shooters? It seems likely that it would.
2) Making it easier to involuntarily commit people / Red Flag Laws: Involuntary commitment is a complicated issue. Forcing someone to get mental treatment against their will is obviously something that people that care about liberty should be extremely wary of doing. Also, because of the nature of mental illness and the arbitrariness of diagnoses (how exactly do you PROVE you’re sane to a skeptical person), the potential for people to remain stuck in mental health facilities for far too long is very real. On the other hand, we can also be certain a significant percentage of people in our prisons and perhaps even a majority of homeless Americans have serious mental issues that need to be addressed. The same goes for quite a few mass murderers. People close to them usually notice signs galore that a mass murderer is disturbed and potentially dangerous before he kills people.
You get into some of the same kinds of issues with Red Flag laws, which allow a judge to “temporarily” take guns away from a person after a report by family, police officers, or mental health professionals. As someone who has called the cops to check on a friend in another state I thought might be about to kill themselves, I could see the utility of Red Flag laws in potential suicide cases. Domestic violence cases? Possibly. School shooters? Maybe. However again, what is an appropriate standard to take someone’s guns? How long should you be able to take them away? Are we willing to “temporarily” take guns away from dozens of people who may not deserve it to stop one that does? Those are very difficult questions to answer, particularly when you are talking about a constitutional right. Even well-meaning, liberty-loving people can disagree on these issues. However, if your highest priority is stopping mass murderers, we should probably be using these options much more often.
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3) Stop making school shooters into rock stars: As Tony Robbins likes to say, “There are six basic human needs that every single person on the planet tries to fulfill: Certainty, variety, connection, growth, contribution, and significance.” If you murder people, for a short period of time, you will become one of the most significant people in the country. Your name will appear in major news publications. Millions of people will talk about it on Twitter. Hundreds of articles will be written examining your life. YOU will be the one EVERYONE is talking about. For a brief, shining moment you will be Jake Paul. You will be Kim Kardashian. You will be Joe Rogan. If you’re some socially awkward, angry, amoral loser or raging narcissist who cares about no one but yourself and hates the world, this explains why you might find murdering people appealing. The media is creating that appeal by the way we cover what happens. This is why if we were REALLY interested in shutting these things down, every major publication in the country would follow the lead of Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire:
As of Monday, The Daily Wire will no longer be publishing any names or photographs of mass shooters.
This decision comes after another horrific shooting, this time in Parkland, Florida. One of the jobs of those of us in the media is to weigh the public’s right to know about news events against the impact our coverage can have on the lives of Americans. It has become increasingly clear in recent years that the value of public knowledge regarding specific names and photographs of mass shooters is significantly outweighed by the possibility of encouraging more mass shootings. Studies suggest that media coverage of mass shootings can have a significant impact on the psyches of potential mass shooters — that such potential mass shooters have a cognitive craving for attention, which they know they will receive for committing atrocities.
As Professor Jennifer Johnston and Andrew Joy of Western New Mexico University found in a paper presented to the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in 2016, “media contagion” can help make mass shootings more common. “Unfortunately,” said Johnston, “we find that a cross-cutting trait among many profiles of mass shooters is desire for fame.” The rise of such a trait in mass shooters, she claimed, rose “in correspondence to the emergence of widespread 24-hours news coverage on cable news programs, and the rise of the Internet during the same period.” Johnston recommended a media pact to “no longer share, reproduce, or retweet the names, faces, detailed histories or long-winded statements of killers, we could see a dramatic reduction in mass shootings in one to two years.”
When you make pathetic losers into rock stars, it’s no surprise when other pathetic losers decide to follow in their footsteps.
4) Not allowing anyone under 18 on social media: Social media is a sewer and not everyone would agree, but I think you could make a decent case for banning it entirely for the same reasons we ban crack cocaine and machine guns. Even if you don’t agree with that, it’s certainly not a place for kids. Under the best of circumstances, sites like Twitter and TikTok make almost everyone who uses them into worse human beings. In other cases, social media can take people down deep, strange rabbit holes filled with extremely unhealthy ideas. In and of themselves, incels (which means involuntarily celibate) are sad and pitiable figures. That being said, it’s not a coincidence that there have been more than half a dozen mass murderers that were heavily involved in incel forums. When you take tens of thousands of sick, angry people with deeply unhealthy ways of looking at the world and have them congregate online and reinforce each other’s most dysfunctional beliefs, it’s not a surprise when bad things happen. Allowing a troubled teenage boy to get on social media is a recipe for disaster. There are a few ways they can go right, and a million ways things can go wrong. It’s not exaggerating to say that in some cases, it can even lead to murder.
5) Having a mom and dad in the home: Statistically, on just about every measure imaginable from drug use to crime rate to mental health issues, kids raised by a mother and father outperform by orders of magnitude children raised by a single parent. This is also the case when it comes to mass killers. SOME OF THEM do have a mom and dad in the home. Most don’t. Paul Kengor researched the issue in-depth and here’s what he had to say about it:
At most, and this is probably being generous, we found maybe four or five of the 27 (of the deadliest) shooters that we could definitively conclude (without doubt) had been raised in an intact family, or a family that included the biological dad at home, or a biological father who was consistently at home. For instance, one of the cases involved a frequently absent father who might not have been biological. One of the only seemingly clear cases where the dad appeared to be largely at home (perhaps) was the father of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. In that case, what influenced the shooter was reportedly Islamist ideology.
Getting divorced or pregnant out of wedlock doesn’t just dramatically increase the chance that your kid will end up in prison or as a junky, it increases the chances that they’ll shoot a bunch of kids in a school one day.
6) Organized religion: Over time, the number of Christians in America and people who consistently go to church has dropped. One of the big problems with that is that for most people, church is the only place they get regular, consistent moral instruction. Our culture has moved away from Christianity and has replaced it with tribalism, virtue signaling, and “do whatever makes you feel good.” Then, we’re shocked when people do bad things. At least Christianity encourages us poor broken sinners to embrace a consistent moral framework and TRY to be better. There’s something to be said for that. There’s nothing good to be said for the sort of “Don’t judge anyone and do whatever you think will impress people” rottenness that so many people in our culture have adopted as a moral framework.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no statistics on whether mass murderers are active members of churches. Granted, it wouldn’t be a shocker if there were a crazy Christian or two on the list, but it’s hard to imagine anything other than a tiny fraction of mass murderers were participating in an act that they believed could damn their immortal souls to Hell. We certainly couldn’t ever expect 100% of the population to become Christian and go to church, but if it actually happened, loonies shooting up schools would likely become a thing of the past.