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Angry Young Men with Guns: An American Crisis

May 31, 2022

When an 18-year-old misfit stormed into Robb Elementary School in the sleepy town of Uvalde, Texas, barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom and started shooting his young captives, his bloodcurdling act was simply the latest in a long line of bloodcurdling acts by American males armed with guns and a grudge.

Of course, a few factors made this outburst even more bloodcurdling than most: the number of fatalities (21) and the age of the victims (mostly 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds, along with two of their teachers).

This unprovoked mass shooting followed the racially motivated massacre of ten black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, by a mere ten days. So far this year, we’ve already endured 213 mass shootings (of four or more victims), 27 of which were classified as school shootings. In 2021, mass shootings took 703 lives and injured 2842.

When it comes to gun violence, America is off the charts compared to other high-income nations. And the mass shooting of random victims seems to be an almost uniquely American pastime. Yes, it happens occasionally in other countries, but not with the numbing regularity of mass murder in our beleaguered republic.

Are Americans really that much angrier, crazier and more violent than, say, Scandinavians, Poles, Greeks or Japanese? Well, yes and no. Every nation has its share of loonies, but we seem to produce an instantly recognizable looniness in the form of bitter, socially rejected young men with a penchant for powerful firearms.  

Why? We Americans, more than most of our fellow humans, tend to draw a sharp distinction between winners and losers. We value the former and reward them with adulation, generally accompanied by unimaginable wealth. Meanwhile, we can be merciless toward the losers. We taunt them, devalue them and essentially cull them from the herd. The losers sense that they’re being culled, and they must explode inwardly with rage until they can no longer contain it.

Equipped with powerful weapons, the rejected ones recover some measure of masculine pride and potency. They’re still full of rage, but now that rage can explode outwardly. They might stalk individuals who have wronged them in the past. Or they lash out at members of another tribe (like the Buffalo shooter’s black victims). More perplexingly, they turn their rage against random members of our species – individuals no longer viewed as individuals, but as interchangeable targets in some grotesque video game. The difference is that the blood is real.

The Texas shooter fits the pattern almost perfectly. Teased and isolated throughout childhood on account of a severe speech impediment, he eventually grew angry, cut his own face, got into fights, made threats on the Internet, and missed so many days of school in his senior year that he wouldn’t have graduated with his class.

We still have no idea why he shot his grandmother before heading over to the elementary school. I’ve read no reference to either his mother or his father. And why did he take out his rage on young children instead of his own peers? Is it because his lifelong misery was initially inflicted by young children… or that, as a friend of mine suggested, he felt a perverse need to spare them from the kind of misery he had endured? Did he simply choose the nearest available school… or a school with relatively defenseless humans who made easy targets? We’ll probably never know. We just know that he was angry and marginalized.

Why the surge in American mass shootings over the last 40 years? Let me count the reasons, both verifiable and speculative.

First, the sheer number of guns in circulation — some 390 million by current estimates – is greater than the U.S. population. Despite a shrinking percentage of American families owning guns, the number of guns per capita is roughly twice what it was in 1968. That means more guns stockpiled in fewer homes.

Of course, there’s the polarization factor. The wave of well-publicized mass shootings using high-capacity semi-automatic guns has split the country into two angry factions: as more Americans have decried the use of “assault weapons,” gun lovers have hunkered down and grown more assertive about their Second Amendment rights. (I have to wonder if they’ve read the part about “well regulated” militias.) When asked why they want military-grade weapons in their homes, Second Amendment diehards typically claim they need them to defend against a tyrannical government that might come for their guns. (And good luck with that.) But of course, semi-automatic weapons are also useful for mowing down a maximum number of victims in a minimum of time.

The Internet has been a boon for angry misfits as well as for the more sociable among us. Anyone with a gnawing quirk can find kindred spirits out there, ready to cheer them on and encourage the most extreme behavior. Feeling thwarted, rejected, full of rage? Just go online and commune with like-minded souls who feel inclined to commit mayhem.

And of course, the image of the lone, freedom-loving cowboy-pioneer-warrior has always loomed large in the American imagination. Has the macho Marlboro Man impressed himself into the souls of our boys even beyond the death of cigarette advertising? Probably not, but his like has given way to superheroes with fabulous unearthly powers. We’re not talking about good-natured Boy Scout superheroes like Superman; there’s an unmistakable aura of darkness surrounding today’s brooding comic book archetypes.

There’s a fifth, less obvious and more disturbing reason for the mass shooting epidemic: more American males are feeling aimless, hopeless and devalued. “Toxic masculinity” and “patriarchy” loom large in public conversations. Relatively fewer teenage males are opting for college: the gender split is nearing 60-40 in favor of women. Our culture celebrates blacks, gays, women and just about everyone except garden-variety men.

It used to be that society’s heroes, geniuses, politicians, authority figures and creators were overwhelmingly male. Today, women have muscled their way into that territory – and far too many young men skulk in their parents’ basements, wrapped in a stifling cocoon of violent video games, bad music and sick humor.

Young men need to go mainstream again – not reclaiming sole possession of their old leadership roles, but eager to shine, to build their character, to make a difference. Character is one of those archaic virtues that seem to have been discarded along with humility, temperance and chastity. America needs men of character, and we need them now more than ever.

But first, Americans need to agree on sensible gun laws. The majority of NRA members actually favor them, along with two-thirds of the American public; we simply need to convince the politicians who benefit from the NRA’s generous financial “gifts.”

I like the idea of regulating gun ownership the way we regulate driving: prospective gun owners would be required to take a course, pass a test, earn a license, and risk having that license revoked for serious infractions. Impose the same discipline on current gun owners as well.

Should we ban semi-automatic weapons the way we’ve banned machine guns and other tools of mass murder? After all, countries with strict gun ownership laws have seen sharp reductions in gun crimes. We actually banned many semi-automatic guns between 1994 and 2004, although there were too many loopholes for the ban to make a major difference. Still, gun deaths rose predictably after the ban was lifted.

It’s probably too late to ban semi-automatic guns from the American landscape; the government would have to confiscate the weapons already in circulation (and risk a mass armed uprising). 

How about restricting the types of ammunition used by these weapons? Now we might be on to something. Most of us would agree that nobody except a mass murderer needs high-capacity clips and magazines that can fire 40, 60 or more rounds in as many seconds.

What’s a sensible limit, then? Even a 10-round clip can inflict mass murder if the shooter brings several of them to the scene of his crime and keeps loading them one after another.

My preferred model would be the classic Western six-shooter: each bullet must be loaded individually, but the gunman would have enough ammo to dispatch murderous intruders with minimal effort.

Of course, there’s no going back to 19th-century gun technology at this point, so we might have to be satisfied with low-capacity semi-automatic clips: just make it a six-round maximum and call it a high-tech six-shooter.

Gun advocates will insist, not entirely without reason, that the most determined killers will find a way to skirt restrictive gun laws and carry out their bloody vendettas. It’s true that restrictions on semi-automatic weapons won’t prevent mass shootings, but they’ll be more difficult to carry out and therefore less common. By making them less common, we’ll be saving innumerable lives. And saving lives is always a good thing.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available for the absurdly low price of $2.99 each on Amazon and wherever else e-books are sold. 

58 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    June 1, 2022 1:28 am

    Excellent! Not much more can be said But I do wonder when looking at the number of guns sold in this country exploding from 2008 to 2019, including semi’s, with the last few setting records, what happened during this period to make guns so needed.

    This coincides shortly after the rapid rise in social media. Was there some connection?

    Or during this same period, the extreme elements of each party began taking control. More and more moderates were replaced by the more extreme elements that refuse to compromise. That is very apparent in the what the left and right say about guns and gun control. No longer does one open a request for legislation to find a way to reduce these attacks, they go right to the red meat and say the code word, :ban:” That is only to generate support from their base to generate votes, but also is a red flag for any beginning discussion in any sensible legislation to make mass shootings less. Any politician knows beginning in this manner will get no where.

    And this one is not a Trump or Biden issue since it began years before they were even considered for president. The movement in each party based on division and :hate” created the presidency of each of those men. Trump and Biden are the products of the social environment. The social environment is not the result of these two men.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 1, 2022 2:42 pm

      There is nothing that will drive gun sales more effectively than threatening to take peoples guns.

      Even liberals and women tend to buy guns when democrats talk more about legislation regarding guns.

      So many keep talking about everything becoming so extreme – as if this is a phenomena of both parties.

      It is NOT. There is pretty much nothing on the GOP agenda – whether you agree with it or not, that has not been on the GOP agenda my entire life.

      In fact MANY things on the GOP agenda have also been on the agenda of some or many democrats – atleast until recently.

      The last time we had this debate – I beleive your claim as to why the right was more extreme ultimately boiled down to Trump’s mean tweets.

      You can criticise the GOP for many things – but becoming more extreme is not one of those.

      This is satire, but I thought it was pretty good.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 1, 2022 2:44 pm

        Arg, I thought I had worked out how to link to youtube
        Search for “Hateful White Men Question How Hateful They Really Are” on youtube.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 1, 2022 2:57 pm

      You continue to sell compromise as a goal, as a value.
      This is obviously wrong.

      Should we have compromised with Nazi’s over how many jews they could gas ?

      When something is WRONG – you do not compromise.

      We are in the midst of a wide array of disasters at the moment.

      Democrats are getting the blame for almost all of these – deservedly so.
      But they are not completely alone.

      Trump and republicans spent money like it was water on Covid – Biden and democrats have doubled down on that – and now we have serious inflation that will with near certainty require a recession and spike unemployment just generally make most of our lives more miserable, to get past.

      Regardless, of how you split the blame, we KNOW what caused this mess, and it is not covid, or supply chain disruptions or the War in Ukraine – though each of that are disasters on the own that we should enquire into.

      Inflation is too much money chasing to few goods. Dumping $6T into the economy was a mistake.

      All of us should start to grasp that everything government spends comes at a cost.
      Republicans democrats – it does not matter.

      Would things have been better had we “compromised” ? Frankly i am not sure how that was possible. Democrats litterally wanted to spend almost twice what we actually spent and were stopped only be a few brave members of their own party.

      Regardless on Spending – both parties are WRONG, andthey are WRONG in the same way.
      Both want to spend way too much – but one party looks better than the other – because the other wants to spend twice as much again.

      Should we have compromised ?

      Where are the areas that you think we would have been better off with “compromise”

      Compromise is a tool, it can be good or bad, and in nearly all instances in public policy today compromise would be BAD.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 1, 2022 10:57 pm

        I do not sell compromise as a goal or as a value. All it is is a tool where two individuals will sit and discuss issues to find some level of solutions to problems. right now the “extremes” dominating the parties refuse to discuss anything.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 2, 2022 4:37 pm

        You just posted an article that by excellent argument and information makes it clear that there is nothing government can do that will be effective.

        So who are the “right wing extremists” ?

        Those who regardless of their desire to reduce mass killings are going to fight against what can not work and will cause harm ?

        When YOU talk of two extremes, you automatically imply several things.

        That both “extremes” are wrong,
        That there is an answer in the middle through compromise.

        Your article makes clear one “extreme” is rational – moderate if you wish.
        The other is not rational.

        More often this is the case.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 2, 2022 4:57 pm

        Dave. when elected officials would brake bread in the congressional dining room, would have friendships outside congress, would discuss issues like Reagan and O’neill and act like Scalia and Gingsburg with their vast differences, there wer no extremist in my mind in that group. Now there are few, if any that would be caught dead with a person of the opposite party, let alone have a friendship with them. They refuse to discuss anything of importance and when they speak to each other, it is only to shout their parties agenda and not be productive other than generating votes fro themselves. Screw the country. “Who cares if we set a violent image for other to follow?”

        So my difinition of an extremist does not require “extreme” political views, it is more “extreme anti social behaviors” while conducting congressional business, or lack of.

        That is not to say those that act in this manner on both sides of the isle can not possess extreme political views, because many do.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 7:24 pm

        First – look at the positions on issues of the “left” and the “right” in those past times ?

        Who has changed ? Who has become more extreme ?

        Trump’s policies are SLIGHTLY to the LEFT Reagan’s.

        IF as you claim Reagan was somehow a moderate or atleast not an extremist,
        Then the entire GOP today is to the left of Reagan.

        If you are going to play nostagia games – to revert to the past – only the Left must move.

        There is no consequential right wing extremism today. PERIOD.

        I do not rule out the possibility there will be in the future – and when there is – I will confront that.

        But today the biggest political problem is on the left.

        Further to the extent there are problems with the right it is that the Right is too far to the left.

        Republicans talk fiscal responsibility and there is no doubt they are more responsible than democrats. But they are still fiscal disasters. Trump fully included.

        Next – democrats and republicans “working it out” – is itself a scary thing.

        Democrats “compromised” with Reagan – they got amnesty for illegal aliens, Republicans got the construction of a southern wall.
        40 years later – there have been about 45M illegal aliens enter the US. And still no wall.

        Compromise with democrats means slow capitulation.

        Finally – where is compromise needed ?

        Government could stop exactly where it is. Congress could go home, pass no new laws,
        and things would be pretty good.

        “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

        Adam Smith

        With few exceptions – getting rid of the many mistakes our govenrment has made in the past,

        I do not WANT government to compromise.
        I want them to DO NOTHING.

        That is what is best for us.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 8:02 pm

        Absolutely the Left and the Right are yelling and fuming and ranting …. ABOUT THE ISSUES,

        My first argument was that to the extent Republicans have moved at all it is slightly to the left.

        The second would be that to the extent that one party is more likely to be right on THE ISSUES it is the republicans.

        We are ranting here about Gun Control.

        There is almost no one in the country right or left that would not fully support almost any legislation that would actually WORK.

        Recognizing that there is no government solution – and if necescary yelling and shouting at idiots – who in many cases KNOW they have no real solution but are intent on doing something stupid anyway.

        One of the fundimental differences between left and right today – is that the left does not care if what they wish to do works. The right actualy does – sometimes they are wrong and hard headed. But the goal of those on the righ is actual improvement – even when they are wrong about how to accomplish that. The goal of the left is to be seen acting, and to increase govenrment power – NOT to solve any problems.

        Regardless, whether you like it or not substance matters far more than style.

        It is absolutely true that Trump drug the GOP kicking and screaming into adopting the style of the left. And was very successful because of that.

        I am expecting that Republicans will take over one or both chambers of congress in 2022.

        I am also expecting they will behave exactly as democrats have.

        I expect House Republicans to create committees to Investigate misconduct by the executive that are allowed to expand into essentially criminal investigations of democrats.

        I expect that Biden – and other democrats will be impeached – possibly repeatedly.

        I expect republicans to violate all the same centuries old norms as democrats have.

        I will be crying for our country as they do. But I will be cheering them on.

        Because the only way that todays democrats stand any chance of learning the error of their ways is to have to live under their own hypocritical rules.

        We saw people’s lives RUINED by the collusion delusion.
        But there is no price – criminal, civil or even political for the perpitrators of the hoax that consumed the nation.

        Indeed the foreman of the Sussman jury said that it was a waste of time,
        So examing a deliberate fraud that attempted to steal and eletion and that was usefd to attempt to remove an legitimate president and waste 4 years of americans time – that was an unimportant waste of time ?

        The country is fundimentally divided about MORALITY – and though both sides are wrong – one side is inarguably far more immoral than the other.

        That is why we can not get along.

        It is near certain to continue until:

        Democrats lose power for decades,
        or gain sufficient power to destroy us all and make our live “SOLITARY, POOR, NASTY, BRUTISH, AND SHORT”

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 8:05 pm

        Your defintion of extremism is CAUSE be the extremist views of the left.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 1, 2022 3:55 pm

      You say this is obvious regarding Guns – WHY ?

      Why do you presume that legislation would accomplish any good ?

      Whether the issues is guns or anything else – this is one of the reasons I am constantly identifying so called moderates as leftists – or atleast leftist enablers.

      Why do you presume that there is or should be a govenrment solution to every problem ?

      The evidence we have in many many areas is the opposite.

      We have done many many things in education throughout my lifetime.
      The result is we have made it more expensive and we have made it worse.

      We have been screwing arround with Health care over the same period to the same effect – we have increased the cost, and we have made people less and less happy about their healthcare.

      And the worse the problems created by government get the more the demands for more government control to fix it.

      You wonder why I find “compromise” so repugnant ?

      We ALREADY have fairly significant gun laws – and we have had even more draconian ones in some states.

      As a point of fact – until very recently the actual trend has been mostly towards greater gun rights and weaker gun laws and during that time violence DECLINED, but that trend predates the changes in gun laws. Further the Trend has reversed – but the causes of the reversal appear to be self evident and are pretty much ENTIRELY the consequence of the LEFT.

      The left declared WAR on the police. The LEFT has also been increasingly violent.

      This started before Covid – but it got much worse during Covid.

      I am personally reluctant to blame everything on Covid – or the left’s response to it, but it should be undeniable that Covid and our policy responses have F’d up much of the country creating massive problems

      Worse still most of these problems are WORSE for young adults,
      Despite the fact that Covid was WORSE for the elderly.
      The greatest fear, and the strongest demand that govenrment save us came from the young who were at near zero risk.

      There are many many overlapping problems and causes. Drug use has shot up, anxiety has shot up, depression has shot up, suicide has shot up. These are all interrelated.

      And they are all caused directly and indirectly related to our public policy response to Covid.

      Even the “defund the police” movement – which is the single most significant driver of increased violent crime, had substantially more strength because of our Covid policies.

      Covid has been both a blessing and a curse for the left.
      It has given he left enormous power.
      But it has triggered a backlash
      AND having acquired power the left has failed.

      You rant about why can’t we do anything about guns – yet the change that ended decades of declining violence was not more guns.

      Rick rants about Angry young men. There is much more to it that that – but inarguably there is alot more anger today and that anger is worse the younger you get.

      Mass killers share many commonalities with people who lead perfectly normal lives.

      Hundreds of millions of people own guns, tens of millions of people own semi-automatic long guns.
      Millions of people are scorned, ignored, bullied.

      These do not become mass killers.

      The fundimental problem with ‘gun control” – the fundimental problem with most all the nonsense the left pushes – and so often so called moderates here buy into, is that you can not restrict the liberty of millions of people – because there is a tiny chance that doing so will stop some small portion of incredibly rare but heinous crimes.

      In the past few months Russia bombed a school in Ukraine that was being used as a shelter – more than 600 people mostly children were killed.

      Over memorial day weekend in Chicago – 7 children under 14 were killed and nearly 100 were shot.

      We can not eliminate all violence.

      But there are things we can do – none of which involve gun control.

      Merely restoring the status quo regarding policing would reduce violent crime accross the country by 50%

      Not repeating the stupid things we did to thwart Covid would also be a huge start.

      But we have a big problem – so of the harm from our response to Covid is permanent or near permanent. We can not give back to children, teens, and young adults what was taken from them. Time MAY diminish the damage – but it will still effect generations to come.

      That is far worse than all this nonsense about gun control, and the damage not merely agrevated mass shootings – but has done harms accross the entirety of our lives.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 1, 2022 10:50 pm

        Dave I do not believe there is a government solution for every problem much the same as I do not trust the private sector to handle those same issues and correct them either.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 2, 2022 4:30 pm

        I do trust the private sector – it is in their interests to do so.

        But even if you beleive as you do – so long as government can not work,
        the only choice left is private.

        Whether you trust private actors or not, government effortss fail.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 2, 2022 5:03 pm

        Yep, just like the formula shortage. Abbott really cared about kids with the crap they allowed in their product.

        And the government is no better, not getting on Abbott to clean and reopen that plant.

        biden said the other day he had no idea the impact of closing that plant.

        Well its not his position to know those facts.

        It is the FDA’s requirement and they dropped the ball.

        The government also droped the ball in making it so hard to import formula. People in border states with a passport are heading to mexico to buy formula by the case of formula that meets the current American standards. Just made in Mexico.

        So my point?
        You can not trust anyone, period! They all f up when given the chance.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 7:12 pm

        I know very little about he abbot situation – EXCEPT that

        There is zero chance Abbot would intentionally kill the babies of customers,
        little more chance they would do so accidentially.
        And that left alone they would fix the problem fast and efficiently.

        With specific respect to government – there is no way in which they have made anything better.

        It might be true that in some hypothetical world regulators would make things better.
        In the real world – they don’t. they make things worse.

        We are seeing that with Formula, and we saw it with Covid.

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 8, 2022 5:04 pm

      “The social environment is not the result of these two men.”

      Certainly not, Ron, although both sides would like to convince us of that, right.

      The 26 year old young white man arrested today for planning to assassinate Brett Kavanaugh is a good example of what we’re discussing here. His name is Nick Roske, and he has been reported to have told U.S. marshals that he believed that killing Kavanaugh would give his life meaning, since Roske believed that Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and would also loosen gun control laws. In other words, this disturbed young man wanted to be a hero.

      He apparently called law enforcement on himself, and told them that he was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm in his possession.

      This kid (and young people of 26 are now considered “kids” or barely beyond “kid”hood) had a full time job. His mother is a special ed teacher and his father an insurance agent. THey live in California.

      Just a “normal” American young man in 2022.

      Anyone who thinks that the political rhetoric around the Supreme Court, abortion and gun control is not potentially inciting violence is kidding themselves.

  2. Francisco A Figueroa permalink
    June 1, 2022 5:57 pm

    There is much room to improve our current laws and policies. Examples are Red Flag laws, increasing the age to purchase deadly weapons, increasing waiting periods, imposing background checks, etc. However, from a strategic perspective, I would like to see a National Mass Casualty Board, akin to the National Transportation Safety Board. The latter is comprised of professional experts to immediately go to the sites of transportation accidents, gather evidence, determine root causes and contributing factors, evaluate trends and provide recommendations for policy changes that prevent or minimize casualties in the future. We should do no less for mass casualty events such as mass shootings. This would increase confidence in investigations and decrease the tendency to jump to conclusions and proffer policy changes that simply fit personal biases.

    • Ron P permalink
      June 1, 2022 10:46 pm

      Fransisco, I would support all of ypur proposals, but I think your idea puts into motion the way to find reasons and maybe solutions to my continuing positions as to finding why these thing happen well before they happen. I would prefer that is be a public/private venture that is directed by the private sector, Otherwise, we would just end up wioth another blotted government agency like the FDA that made the formula shortage much worse though red tape and inaction.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 2, 2022 4:27 pm

        You do not need an agency.

        Research can be done by any private entity – colleges do lots of research.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 2, 2022 5:10 pm

        So why do it if there is nothing in it for them? Why create an ongoing study that will be activated each time a shooting occurs immediately after it happens if there is no reason to do it. Who benefits? Whats in it for them.

        Why does the FAA investigate plane crashes? Would a college investigate each plane crash and dig for minute details if the FAA did not do it?

        I dont want another government agency to grow into a blaoted underworked, overpaid group like everything else in govt.

        but I think taking the college route and combining governmental support over an extended period of time would be wise. And not onlycollege socialogist, psychiatrist and other experts in that field but also law enforecement individuals., all looking at it for the why’s not the whats and certainly not for any political use.

      • Francisco A Figueroa permalink
        June 2, 2022 5:14 pm

        The problem with universities/colleges doing this work is that it would not be integrated. You’ll have a bunch of self-appointed expert academics pushing their own agendas and funding sources, with no consistent standards. I get what you are saying about government agencies being bloated and ineffective (TSA for example), but the NTSB has proven itself to be consistently effective and accepted by the airline industry. The airline industry wanted to do their own thing and I would be ok with that if it was an independent agency not reliant on funding from the airlines. So it would be with a National Mass Casualty Board.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 6:50 pm

        All your complaints are likely valid.

        But are the same or worse if government does it.

        Government is not neutral.
        Those in government have agenda’s just like those in academia.
        But those in government are more dangerous – for the very reasons you note.

        We clearly have self appointed experts in government – and they are far more dangerous than elsewhere.

        I would be happy to eliminate the NTSB, and I do not consider the fact that an industry likes or accepts its regulators to be evidence of anything positive.

        Nearly every business really wants to be a public utility – guaranteed profits, no competition,
        In fact most of those running public utilities would prefer to be running government entitites – no pesky shareholders to please, no requirement to profit, no consequence for failure.

        The legitimate domain of government is small. We should return to that.
        We would all be better off.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 6:52 pm

        the national Mass Casualty board would be no different from the NIH or CDC or FDA,

        Who have been incredibly political, and incredibly incompetent and incredibly self serving regarding covid.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 6:59 pm

        Why don’t airlines investigate plane crashes ? It is in their interests to make travel by air both cheap and safe.

        Why don’t the lawyers for crash victims hire researchers to investigate crashes ?

        You ALWAYS gravitate to the assumption that government doing something is the only way to get it done. It almost never is.
        It also almost never is the best way.

        To paraphrase Coases law of economics.

        With minimal externalities, limited friction, an strong property rights markets will ALWAYS solve a problem better than any other answer.

        My “answer” is not that airlines should investigagte crashes or that plantiffs lawyers should,

        It is the left alone MARKETS will find the best answer – my specific proposals may not be the best answer – if not they will not happen

        Bujt when a govenrment solution is not the bst answer – which is nearly always, we are stuck with it because government rarely and never easily cedes power once it has it.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 3, 2022 7:01 pm

        To be clear – the answer is not to come up with the perfect answer,

        The answer is to keep government out of this and grasp that ultimately what will happen in free markets is what people actually want – to the extent they are willing to pay for it.

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 8, 2022 6:45 pm

      Francisco, I would support raising the age to buy a gun. Not sure if you’re including knives as deadly weapons, but, of course, they are, just as many other items could be. I would not support raising the age of purchasing a hunting knife to 21. I would support raising the age to purchase guns to 21, as long as we simultaneously raised the voting age back to 21. If an 18 year old is too immature to responsibly handle a gun, s/he is also too immature to choose our government leaders.

      I have mixed feeings when it comes to 18 year olds enlisting in the military, but, on balance, I would support allowing that. Volunteering to serve in the military is essentially different from buying a gun for personal use and/or protection.

      I was under the impression that we already have universal background checks. If I’m wrong about that, someone please set me straight. If the proper data is kept online, it shouldn’t require a long waiting period. That’s a big “if,” however.

      I’m afraid that I agree with Ron that a public Mass Casualty Board would be another politicized government agency, with the likelihood that it would do more harm than good. I also think that, if law enforcement does its job competently, we shouldn’t need a board to investigate these crimes. Another big “if.”

      I think that, instead of another government agency or board, I’d like to see a professional media, that would report the facts honestly, and disclose its biases, so that we could judge its reporting based on transparency, rather than advocacy.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 8, 2022 7:14 pm

        Priscilla, to clarify my thoughts on the mass casualty board that Francisco proposed, I was against that being a govt agency because it would be like all other govt agencies, start out small, be very productive and over the years grow larger, add people and do little more than the handful of people did at the beginning.

        What I do support is a gov,t/public group led by the private sector which would utilize specific individuals for specific research and make recommendations on improvements to specific congressional committees as needed.

        Now I do support an age limit on the purchase of weapons because a 21 year old person today does not appear to be much more mature than a 17 year old 50 years ago. The age for voting was lowered to 18 by means of a constitutional amendment in 1971 as a response to the thousands of men being killed in Viet nam, sent there for combat in a corrupt war. Today, I would be hard pressed to find any reason to give 18 year old kids the right to vote compared to 18 year old men women in 1971. But linking the age of buying a weapon to the voting age amendment would be impossible since one is made by legislation and the other by amendment.. In 1971 congress was much smarter to pass significant changes so they could be very hard to reverse,

        Not sure what you meant about 18 year olds volunteering for the military. That already happens. If it is the same today as it was 50 yrs ago, the military wants them young so they can mold them into their ways of life, they do not want someone much older that has developed opinions unless that person has specific skills in critical need by the military.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 8, 2022 8:43 pm

        Ron, I understand that voting age was lowered to 18 by a constitutional amendment passed in 1971, during the height of the Viet Nam War, when the draft was still active. I don’t believe that it would have passed otherwise. But, just as Nancy Pelosi has spoken in support of 16 yr olds voting in federal elections, Democrats in the 70’s knew that, the younger the voter, the greater the odds that they will vote for Democrats. As you say, young minds are more easily molded, whether it be by schools, the military, or the media.

        My point was in response to an argument that I have often heard, which is that we should not raise the age for gun sales to 21, because 18 yr olds can fight and die for the country. My point is that, yes, they can, but those 18 yr olds volunteer to serve now, as they are no longer forced by law to do so.

        I don’t believe that a board of any type would be successful at this point in time, whether it’s a board to investigate mass killings or to regulate the manufacture of peanut butter. The US simply lacks the political and social unity to create solutions to
        anything right now.

        Hopefully, we can return to reasonable debate and consensus building in this country, but I’m not at all sure that that’s possible.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 9, 2022 1:27 am

        I do not support federal gun laws.

        If a state wishes to raise the age at wish one can buy a gun, that is Ok with me.
        But if you expect that to change gun violence you are mistaken

        I would not prohibit gun ownership below 21.

        I would bar those under 21 from possession of semi-automatic weapons outside of the home or gun ranges.

        those under 21 could still own and posses bolt action hunting rifles, and go hunting.
        They could own other weapons and possess them in the home, and use them on firing ranges.

        But each state could make their own choices on this.

  3. Savannah Jordan permalink
    June 1, 2022 7:03 pm

    Rick, not much that I can add to your analysis. As far as semi-automatics, I agree that if we attempt to confiscate them, there would be a second civil war. New Zealand instituted a buy back program and was able to reduce the number of guns by 20%. I think that this would be a partial solution as well as banning the production of semi-automatics and such things as bump stocks. It astounds me how anyone can fail to see that this situation is limiting our freedom not ensuring it.

    • Ron P permalink
      June 1, 2022 10:41 pm

      1. Those that would turn in the gun are those that would not use them illegally.
      2. Bump stocks are already illegal and illegal to possess
      3. Read the article I just posted. It tells why “semi automatic weapons” cant be banned. Well they could, but not reasonably.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 2, 2022 4:25 pm

        You article is also a good example of Bastiat’s “that which is seen and that which is not seen”

        We knee jerk respond to events and pass feel good laws.
        But those laws can not work. Life is more complex that the law can accomodate.

        Laws restrict the liberty of the law abiding.
        They have little impact on criminals.

        Trying to ban some or even all guns is stupid and ineffective.

        It is like mass shootings themselves – theater.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 10:24 am

      Nearly every gun made in the US is a semi automatic.

      Almost every single hand gun made is “semi-automatic”.

      Further it is Handguns that are involved in by far the greatest number of deaths.

      Even in “mass shootings” where the killer has AR-15’s or similar semi-automatic long guns.
      Most victims are shot with a hand gun. Rifles are area defense weapons. They serve to keep people at a distance. They are horrible close quarters weapons.

      The “mass shootings” we are most concerned about – are very rare events. They make up a tiny portion of deaths. They are also unique in that they are performance theater.
      The objective is one moment in the spot light. They wear body armor, use scary looking weapons as part of the Theatrics – not because they are effective.
      These people target schools – because that will get them the most attention – and because most schools are soft targets. they kill students – often YOUNG students – because that is what shocks us the most. The strive for the largest body count – because that is what will get them the most attention and the most enduring remembrance.

      Mass shooters are much like suicide bombers – except that any cause they have tends to be a personal grevance.

      Regardless, like suicide bombers they are incredibly difficult to thwart.

      When AU and later NZ “banned guns” – they reduced “mass shootings” – but they did not reduce mass killings. In AU there was a dramatic increase in mass casualty arson’s.

      If you want to do something about mass killings – you need to address the mass killers – not the tools.

      Ban guns entirely – you can make a flame thrower from $25 in parts you can get from an autostore.

      Do you think the guys who are shooting up schools with guns would have a problem switching to flame throwers ?

      The comparison to suicide bombers is apt. Ban guns and these guys will put on suicide vests and walk into a school assembly.

      By far the worst mass killing in the US was at a school in the early 20th century,
      The killer used a bomb and killed over 200.

      Feel good measures that pretend to be doing something without accomplishing anything are useless.

      No one should be surrendering rights just so that people can feel they have done something about a problems.

      Some problems are easy to solve – most problems are hard.
      But solutions that accomplish nothing beyond making you feel like you have done something are worse than useless. They do actual harm without doing actual good.

  4. Ron P permalink
    June 1, 2022 10:38 pm

    With all the political rhetoric that happens every time one of these shooting occur, no information comes out that gives a basis of what gun control is, can do and what it can’t do.

    I stumbled onto this after doing a number of searches. Although this is not written by anyone with a name, is not a media mouth, has no political associations and is not bought off by any lobbies, this article gives some good basic information. This individual is someone who has studied politics in college and works part time as a research analyst for the Center of Constitutional Studies and he has been published by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Daily Herald, and the Standard-Examiner. Does not make him an expert, but this article gives information that I have never seen before.

    It is written from a perspective of banning “military grade weapons”, but gives excellent information on guns of various types, how they compare, why the banning of one would have little impact on shootings, etc. It is rather lengthy because it covers much information, but it is written by someone that seems to be open minded, without an agenda.

    If you want to know what congress faces in gun control, please read. It let me know why just a ban on AR-15’s would have little impact.And no elected official would really want this widely known because it could kill their vote getting incitement message whenever a shooting occurred. And they dont want you to know they dont have a good answer.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 4:21 pm

      Ron, the article you linked is excellent – if anything it is thorough the point of being tedious and causing ones eyes to glass over.

      Its length means that the slippery slope analysis at the end is likely to be glossed over or missed despite being excellent and goes far beyond guns.

      It is a general critique I make of pretty much all government actions.

      Something bad happens and far to many of us decide that government must do something about it – anything. Some feel good law to make us all believe we are somehow safer.

      Every-time any law is signed the president has a signing ceremony – with lots of pens and speeches that talk about the wonderful benefits that some new law will bring.

      This is 99.99% BS. Outside the core fundamental laws that nearly all government have imposed practically from the time of Hammurabi – new laws rarely accomplish anything good.

      It does not matter whether the law is about guns, mass shooters or covid,

      A recent huge comparative study of mask use in the EU during Covid found ZERO benefit to mask wearing in comparison to countries that did not require masking,

      BUT it actually found a very small but statistically significant increase in Covid DEATHS in nations that mandated masks.

      This is one of a host of studies – some very recent some older, that pretty effectively demonstrate that most everything government did regarding covid was ineffective, and should have been known to be ineffective at the start

      We are dealing with Theater.

      Mass Shooters engage in theater – very deadly theater. Their goal is to shock sufficiently to get their 15 min of fame – or better still be remembered for ever.

      All their choices are about theater.

      Then legislators respond with MORE theater.

      “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.”

      Shakerspeare could be writting of mass shooters
      Or politicians.

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 13, 2022 9:55 am

      This article is a very good example of how real common sense works, and it includes common sense decisions by a citizen, a school employee and a police department, all following the legal guidelines and procedures. The only person killed was the potential mass killer.

  5. Savannah Jordan permalink
    June 2, 2022 8:58 am

    I did not have chance to read the entire article. Hopefully, by the end of the day I will. You are correct that bump stocks are now illegal. They weren’t until after the Las Vegas shooting. The author admits that he is a gun owner advocate. As I said I have not had a chance to read the entire article. From what I have read he lists the various features of the AR-15 and proves that they are in almost every type of gun owned by ordinary citizens. Right off, my question is why are they the preferred weapon in these mass shootings? You may say they are not but that is only when you classify a mass shooting as more than 2. When you limit it to 10 or more, they are almost always used. Second, why is it that other countries which do have restrictions are not plagued by these mass shootings. Third, why did the 1994 Assault Weapon ban, which immediately had many loopholes, result in less mass shootings as compared to the decades before and after its implementation. Fourth, the Second Amendment was never an end in itself, it was a means to an end, that end being the ability of a WELL-REGULATED citizenry to defend itself against a dictator. Actually, it used the term militia. Note: WELL-REGULATED. Not just implying but blatantly stating that there had to be restrictions on this freedom. Of course, the original purpose of opposing a dictator with the weapons available to citizens has long since vanished. Where do you think Ukraine would be if it relied upon even machine guns. The war would have been over in a couple of weeks with Russia as the victor. Even though the original intent of the Amendment is defunct, there is a more basic principle that underlies the Second Amendment that it the ability of a weaker victim to defend themselves from a stronger assailant. When people tell me that they want to ban guns, I remind them that a man does not need a gun to kill a woman, but a woman having and knowing how to effective use a gun can save her life. At the NRA meeting, Trump said there are a lot of bad guys out there and we need a gun to defend against them. I agree, but tell me, tell me, tell me, how is removing background checks thus giving to the bad guys easy, legal access to guns helping me to defend myself against the bad guys? How is allowing an 18-year old to legally buy a gun ensuring me of my ability to defend myself against an assailant. We recognize the maturity of the teenage mind enough not to allow them to buy tobacco products until 21 years of age. In order for a person to get a driver’s license we demand that they prove competency with a written and hands on test. We require this because we recognize that a car has the capacity to commit great harm, but so does a gun. Why not apply this same reasoning to owning a gun? Oh wait, we can’t impose this restriction because everyone – criminal, stalker, domestic abuser, needs a gun to fight a dictator. How absurd. Additionally, a dictator could overtake us far more easily by confiscating our cars rather than our guns. It would destroy our mobility by limiting us to a small area. They could then drop a bomb on us and wipe out hundreds of opponents in one fell swoop. Again, the Second Amendment is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end. That end being the safety and security of the citizenry by allowing them weapons in which they are well-trained and the weapons well-regulated.

    • Ron P permalink
      June 2, 2022 1:14 pm

      Savannah, yes this was written by a gun owner. Yes it was written from the perspective of banning “military style weapons” But my hope was the readers would also note the secondary information listed in the information.

      1) Most all guns sold in America to day are semi automatic weapons. There are a few that are not, like 38 and 9mm pistols carried by police and high powered hunting rifles, but the majority of the $200 billion industry is semi’s.

      2) Note the information concerning clips and how ineffective they are when over 10-20 bullets.

      3) He does provide information on how these rifles are useful in specific situations. I can understand some of the needs by ranchers, but I have not verified that.

      4) The AR15 is the gun of choice due to its price point. Ban just that one gun and the next expensive rifle would be come the gun of choice.

      5) Ban all semi’s and how does the government address the economic fallout in the cities where guns are manufactured. I don’t know what the economic multiplier is anymore, but if you eliminate $200B in manufacturing, you eliminate much more in economic activity.

      I agree with many of your thoughts on access to weapons. I doubt the founding fathers would have allowed someone in the Williamsburg mental institution in the 1700’s to possess a gun, even after the bill of rights was created.

      My point in sharing this information is the politics that is in play and not the true desire to find ways to reduce this carnage. Shout “Ban AR15’s !!!” and that make excellent headlines, but does it fix the problem? “Ban high capacity clips” but does that solve the problem when high capacity clips are not normally used” Is 10 bullets “high capacity” if you are trying to eliminate predators on your property? “Ban all semi-automatic weapons”, and then how does the government support those towns that depend on gun manufacturing? Does the government do that or not, nknowing their party in power will lose those votes?

      But the main issue I have is “Why the hell doesn’t our elected officials tell us about the problems they face in formulating any gun control. Gun access laws is one thing, gun control is something much different.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 2, 2022 1:23 pm

        The link was a chart on mass shootings. The number did not change in the 90’s after the gun ban, they stayed at 1-2 as history showed before then. They stayed at about 1-2 after the ban was lifted. it appears it was around 2010-12 that the large increase occurred. The question that I asked in a previous post was verified by this chart. What the hell happened in this country after 2008 that generated the hate that currently dominates society are generates more young men buying guns to create terrorist style mass murder/suicides?

        We see the effect but what the heck is the cause. That is where Francisco’s thought are so spot on.

        Again here is the chart.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:08 am

        Just about every handgun is a semi-automatic – including those used by police.

        Bolt action rifles and many but not all shotguns are not semi-automatic. as well as the Henry type rifle that require ratcheting a lever between shots.

        Any gun that will fire a bullet with each trigger pull and that automatically loads the next round into the chamber between shots is semi-automatic.

        If you have to do something other than pull the trigger between shots the weapon is not semi-automatic.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:18 am

        Regardless of the bias of your articles author what he pointed out in great detail was that there are no “features” of firearms that you can isolate and ban that would have any effect on “mass shootings” that would not also effectively ban all firearms.

        It is possible – even likely that mass shooters select AR-15’s because of specific features.

        It is probable that they do so specifically because AR-15’s are hyped by the media.

        It is probable that they select features – independent of model and manufacturer specifically because they Appear “scary”

        But regulating those features will have no effect. The are theater, and all mass shootings are intentionally theatrical. There are many ways to acheive the same theatricality.

        I am honestly surprised that Mass Shooters have not more frequently used booby traps, bombs, home made grenades, flame throwers – though there are some instances.

        Regardless, you are not stopping this people merely by eliminating one choice of weapon.

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:24 am

        The economic fallout is a poor argument.

        If it was really possible to eliminate mass killings particularly at schools I doubt there would be any difficulty getting people to agree find a way to address the economic harm – if that was the only harm.

        But guns exist for many reasons. The economic benefits is a CONSEQUENCE of meeting peoples needs.

        They exist for protection against crime, they exist for sport, they exist for protection against the dangers of nature, they exist to secure food, and they exist as a constraint against tyrany.

        “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
        – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:32 am

        If we can not trust 18 yr olds to own guns – then how is it that we can trust 5 yr olds to choose their gender ?

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:44 am

        What if there are no ways to reduce this carnage ?

        Or what if the cost of reducing this carnage are worse than the carnage ?

        Freedom ALWAYS includes the freedom of people to make bad choices.

        We accept that with the knowledge that the benefits of freedom dwarf the cost from those who misuse freedom.

        Look arround you at what happens when we restrict freedom – even for purportedly good causes.

        Are we winning the war on drugs ? We have turned Mexico into a narco state in our effort to limit the freedom of people to smoke pot, snort coke or shoot fentanyl.

        Do we have organized crime sufficient to control large countries in the free exchange of any legal product ?

        If we made all drugs legal tomorow – would the negative impacts be greater than the gargantuan reduction in violent crime that exist solely because drugs are not legal ?

        Nothing should make us more aware of the horrendous costs of reducing freedom than the drug war.

        Maybe it is possible that our drug laws reduce the number of overdoses and other harms from drug use – the data from nations that have fully legalized drugs tells us otherwise.
        But even if that benefit is real is it not dwarfed by the crime and violence that are the consequences of making drugs illegal ?

        Why would you expect guns to be much different ?

        Even if we could succeed in ending all mass shootings – that can not be achieved without a cost in liberty that will be far more harmful.

        We thought the cost of criminalizing drugs would be low – how did that work out ?

        Worse we KNEW better – how did criminalizing alcohol work out a century ago ?

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:56 am

        Look at your own chart – the peak number was 12 in 2018.

        More children were shot in Chicago over memorial day weekend, yet we are fixated on a rare even in TX.

        Violent deaths in our major cities occur every single day and are rising.
        A significant portion of them are deaths of innocent bystanders often children.

        So we should fixate on some rare events that are far beyond our ability to actually control ?

        The recent increase in mass shooting is just a refection of the reversal of a decades long trend towards lower rates of violence.

        We should not be looking to congress to pass legislation that will magically reduce violence.

        We should look to the fundamental causes o increasing violence.

        While I think that our response to Covid is the single largest factor driving increasing violence right now – it is NOT a fundimental cause, it is just a very large agrevating factor.

        More fundamental is rising anxiety, depression and anger – particularly in teens and young adults.

        And we need to sort out what has changed that is driving that rising anger, anxiety and depression.

        That shift is having an impact accross our entire society.

        It is driving violence, it is driving drug use, it is driving suicide – and it is driving our political bitterness.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:07 pm

      Why are AR-15’s the prefered weapon of mass shooters ?

      That is NOT exactly true.
      First the Press reports “long gun” aka rifle and AR-15 as interchangeable.
      Further semi-automatic Hand guns are at pretty much every single mass shooting, and the most common weapon used to kill people at mass shootings.

      As Ron’s article demonstrates Semi-Automatic riffles have specific uses and even from the perspective of a mass shooter, they function primarily as area denial weapons – not the weapon of choice for murder.

      If you wish to fire into a crowd with the most harm – they are a good choice.

      If you wish to breech a defended position – and you are well trained, machine guns are not available, and the defense is weak – they are useful.

      If you are defending a position with open approaches where YOU have some protection to hide behind – they are effective.

      Most of these are a poor fit in a school shooting.

      The primary reasons that mass shooters use AR-15’s

      They are inexpensive,
      readily available – they are the single most common type of long gun – BY FAR.
      they are scary – and a mass shooting is about scaring people.

      But they are not unique.

      The only way that AR-15’s are “special” is that there are so many variants – AR-15 can mean anything. Most are inexpensive – as semi-automatic rifles go, but some are expensive and especially well made. Some are even hand made. they are not even all rifles – some are pistols. Some “look” list M16’s, some look like hunting rifles. Some are hunting rifles.
      Most are small caliber 0.223 is a tiny bit larger than a 0.22 one of the smallest bullets made.
      Many AR-15’s use 0.22 ammo – because it is dirt cheap, it is also less powerful than 0.223 AR-15 ammo. But an AR-15 can be bought with a 7.76mm barrel.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:22 pm

      Mother Jones has a downloadable database of all “mass shootings” from 1982 to the present. It is a pretty good resource for information.

      The figures below are NOT from MJ, but appeared to be consistent with MJ.

      Handguns are used in 83% of all mass shootings.
      They are used ALONE in 56%.
      Rifles are used ALONE in only 13%
      and Rifle AND handgun in 12%.

      Almost all AR-15’s are rifles – but most Rifles are not AR-15’s.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:25 pm

      Mass shootings occur all over the world. The US has neither the least mass shootings nor the most We are pretty much in the middle.

      The US news does not report on Mass shootings elsewhere int he world unless they are especially note worthy. They are committed by nazi’s or terrorists.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:29 pm

      The AWB did not result in an appreciable alteration of ANY trend – that is why it was quietly allowed to die – because everyone knew it accomplished nothing.

      I would note that the AU gun Ban – also Did NOT result in a reduction in Mass killings – it did result in a reduction in Mass shootings. Mass Killers resorted to other means – primarily arson.

      Until NZ recently banned guns, we were able to compare AU and NZ directly, one had some of the severest gun laws in the world, the other had relaxed gun laws.
      The populations were similar in most every other way.

      There were no noticable differences between AU post gun ban and NZ without a gun ban.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:41 pm

      Militia meant something entirely different in 1783.

      At that time most states had mandatory militia membership for all males over 16.
      Further in many states owning a rifle was REQUIRED.

      I would note that gramatically and legally the militia clause operates as a justification NOT a constraint.

      I would read further on our founders and the concept of militia.
      They literally believed an armed populace was necessary to reign in government.

      You can find many remarks by various founders of the form “so long as the people own firearms, we need not fear tyranny in government. ”

      THAT is the meaning of the militia clause.

      There is also a historical note.

      In the North – guns were owned and kept by individuals in their homes to a very large extent.
      In the South – guns were generally kept in a community armory.

      Gun culture was different north to south.
      Southerners generally did NOT have guns in their homes – they were very much afraid of slave uprisings and slaves getting guns from their masters.

      This was also part of the reason for the Militia clause.

      Finally the legislative history of the 14th amendment – and the driving force behind the MacDonald and Heller decisions by Recent SCOTUS, was that the 14th amendment specifically extended the right of gun ownership to freed blacks as individuals.

      The Reconstruction republicans – correctly beleived that without guns blacks in the south would not really be free.

      So the history of the 14th amendment expended the 2nd amendment – it was the FIRST act of incorporation of a right in the bill of rights to the states. And it explicitly intended that right to be individual.

      The 14th amendment was also supposed to restore teeth to the 9th amendment – but that did not happen – Scotus continues to ignore the 9th amendment.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 5:53 pm

      “Of course, the original purpose of opposing a dictator with the weapons available to citizens has long since vanished.”

      This is SELF-EVIDENTLY FALSE today.

      While J6 was actually a non-event. The reason that democrats are bonkers about it is because had 10,000 Trump supporters with AR-15’s showed up on the mall we would have had a different outcome.
      J6 was obviously not an insurrection – but it could have been.

      The US military can not except for unusual circumstances fight against the american people.
      But there is the question of whether they actually would.

      The CIVIL War had a character radically different from the Revolution – and as such it was not treated the same by people north and south.

      Union soldiers were willing to fight fellow americans – because they were morally wrong, and because the conflict was NOT about government tyranny.

      Even in China at Tienamen square – one man stood up to Chinese soldiers in tanks and stopped them.

      In East Germany – Hunsicker called the Russians for help. He called on the East Germany Military and police. And those forces refused to come to his aide and the government fell.

      It is fallacy to think that the US military would under all circumstances wage war using its aresenal of weapons against US citizens.

      Wars between nations are entirely different.
      Nations will defend themselves if invaded and can be persuaded to support attacks on other nations.

      The original intent is still quite significant – not only did J6 prove that – but Democrats ongoing response to J6 continues to prove they are TERRIFIED that several thousands armed citizens will come for them, an the capital police and the national guard and the US army will not defend them.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 6:02 pm

      Who is looking to remove background checks ?

      There exists a so called LOOPHOLE – but it is tiny. It is for people who are not gun dealers to sell very small numbers of their own weapons to others who are not gun dealers.

      Anyone who engages in selling guns in more than very small numbers must register as a gun dealer and must do background checks.

      I was the executor of a friends estate – he died, he owner 3 rifles. I was legally able to sell them – to the former mayor of the city who was a gun collector, without doing a background check.

      The so called “gun show loophole” is not specific to gun shows, and does not cover gun dealers – who STILL must run background checks,

      Mostly I am NOT a fan of background checks – they are an infringement on liberty and enforcement of laws is the responsibility of government.

      I have no problem with laws saying convicted violent criminals may not own guns.

      But it should be unconstitutional for government to require ordinary citizens to enforce those laws – and that is what mandatory background checks do.

      We do not require background checks to purchase persciption drugs.

      I also oppose laws that require employers to determine the immigration status of people who work for them.

      Just because a law has SOME good impacts – does not make it a good law.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 6:07 pm

      With respect to laws regarding the age at which one can own a gun – leave that up to the states.

      My father-in-law got a .22 rifle when he was 12 for promising not to ever smoke or drink – it was a religious family. My son-in-law now has that rifle.

      I would likely not oppose laws that barred people under 18 or even 21 from having a gun in public absent the immediate supervision of an adult – but I would not bar them from owning one or owning and using it at their home, or going out hunting with adults.

      But I would NOT support this as a federal law.

      To the limited extent that I would support gun law at all – it is up to the states NOT the federal government.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 2, 2022 6:38 pm

      You have an odd view of the omnipotence of dictators.

      Dictators can only impose their will on people when:

      They have the support of the police and military and enough of the populace.

      The legitimacy of government is a question of the trust of the people.

      “Dictators” can get away with less trust than elected leaders If and Only If they have strong support of law enforcement and the military.

      Even Stalin and Mao depended on the police and the military to kill or exile opponents when Mao or Stalin said so.

      In the US a “dictator” will start with steps that even if they do not have broad support, atleast have the support of large numbers of followers.

      The federal Government MIGHT get away with gun confiscation – if law enforcement and military and a large enough portion for the left supported that.

      I say MIGHT – because in all likelyhood you would have a revolution, and we would get to test whether law enforcement would back the dictator.

      Confiscate cars – and there is no chance you get support – the dictator ends up out on their ear.

      Do you honestly see the US Airforce bombing US citizens ?

      Post J6 the democrats were tryin to push “loyalty oaths” on the national guard and the military.

      Why ? Because they are terrified that the guard and military will not back them.

      There is a line in V “People should not fear their governments, Governments should fear their people”

      I would note that the transistion of power to Biden only occurred successfully because:

      The media and social media was ALL in for Biden.
      Democrats barely gained control of the house and senate.
      Democrat governors and never Trump republicans controlled the key states
      The courts were complicit in failing to thwart lawlessness BEFORE the election and were terrified of any inquiry After the elections.

      Just before J6 56% of americans beleived it was LIKELY the election was stolen.
      That was BEFORE we learned of the MASSIVE ballot harvesting operations – which are now proven from multiple sources.

      Even now, it is impossible to get honest coverage of election fraud.

      Regardless, my point is that the US was very close to insufficient trust in government for the Biden assumption of the presidency to FAIL.

      Trust is absolutely critical – no matter how large and powerful the army is.

      Democrats were/are right to be affraid of what MIGHT have happened on J6.

      But the Problem is NOT with Trump or Trump supporters.
      Hillary STILL says Russia elected Trump – that is despite the fact that SHE is the font of that LIE.

      In 2016 we came dangerously close to not having sufficient trust in the results of an election.
      2020 was much worse.

      Whether you beleive the 2020 election was stolen or not – it is NOT sufficient that something close to a majority of people trust the results. Nearly everyone must.
      We must not merely not have election Fraud – we must Not have the appearance of election Fraud.

      It is trust that the existing government is legitimate that assures that armed hordes will not descend on the capital, and that if they do, law enforcement and the military will defend the govenrment.

      The police and soldiers are sworn to uphold the law and constitution.

      They are not going to pull guns or bombs and kill their fellow americans unless they trust that the government they are defending is legitimate.

  6. Priscilla permalink
    June 4, 2022 10:03 am

    This is an excellent column Rick, If all gun control advocates were like you, there might be some hope of finding a reasonable solution to this issue.

    I am particularly concerned with what we are doing to young men in our society. We already know that the ongoing destruction of the nuclear family, which began in the 1960’s, has resulted in an overwhelming number of boys (and girls) growing up without fathers. We know ~ and have known for years ~ that fatherless boys are more likely to commit crimes, to be addicted to drugs and alcohol, and to be suicidal and/or to suffer from other serious mental health issues. Mother-only households are more likely to be poor, and live in underserved neighborhoods where crime and drug use are endemic….and where the schools are terrible. Add to that toxic mix, the power of social media, and media in general, to influence young minds, and it’s frankly a wonder that we don’t hear about mass killings every day.

    It’s not that those everyday killings are not happening. They are…but they are happening via drug overdoses, suicides, and gang-related murders ~ check out the numbers in places like Chicago, LA, or really any city.

    But politicians don’t care about those thousands of kids killed – or the many who fall prey to human traffickers. No, it is only certain very specific killings that they focus on…specifically, crimes in which mentally deranged white boys or men go into schools and murder young children.

    And, those politicians have little to no care about the actual victims of those school shootings ~ they care only that they can use them as pawns in their neverending quest to ban guns. Unfortunately for them, they can’t yet do what Justin Trudeau just did, which is to simply declare that guns are essentially banned in Canada, so they must blame mass shootings on guns alone…as if the Boston Marathon bombing,the Waukesha Christmas Parade masscre, and the more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2021, among other crimes, never happened.

    Nope, it’s the guns. Just them. End of story.

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 4, 2022 10:06 am

      mass *killings,* not shootings…

      • Milton Freidman permalink
        June 4, 2022 10:59 am

        Important point.

        But even more important is that we have seen decades long trends of declining violence end and we are in the midst of rising violence.

        Correcting that is much more important than a few school shootings.

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      June 4, 2022 11:56 am

      We are in the midst of a reversal o 40 year trends of declining violence.

      If we do not figure out what we are doing wrong things are going going to get worse.

      Many points you addressed are POSSIBLE causes.

      The destruction of the nuclear family was LIKELY a major factor in the spike in violence in the 60’s-80’s but that continued and violence declined.

      Abortion is another contender – it is likely that higher rates of abortion among the poor reduced the number of children grew up in environments that would lead to violence.

      Even Lead paint has been offered as a factor in violence and its reduction.

      As has the Guiliani type of aggressive policing.

      Mass incarceration has been offered as a cause of reduced violence.

      you proposed social media as a potential driver for increased violence.

      The increased potency of Marijuana is being offered by some as driving greater violence.

      And of course the left offers guns as the cause for increased violence.

      Understanding which of these is REALLY the cause – or even something else and doing something about the ACTUAL CAUSE is of critical importance if we wish to thwart the rise in violence.

      The likelyhood today is that not only has the trend of slowly reducing violence STOPPED – but it has reversed and we will likely see higher rates of violence each year until we figure this out and change something that actually works.

      Finally, while I do not beleive and the evidence does not show that guns have anything to do with these trends,

      I am personally willing to accept that greater freedom has SOME bad impacts, that free people will make more INDIVIDUAL bad chooses than those who are not free, and that is the price we pay for more GOOD of all kinds as a result of freedom.

      Regardless, we need to actually establish by fact – not emotion the cause(s) of our reversal in rates of violence before we can decide what to do about it and whether the price for decreasing violence is worth the cost.

      Sort of addressing Ron – I am not sure than the claims of many conservatives regarding the causes and answers to suddenly rising violence are correct. But I am certain that those of the left are WRONG. The one factor that we have most clearly established DOES NOT correlate to rates of violence is the prevalence of guns. It is possible there is a WEAK inverse correlation – more guns means LESS violence – though it MIGHT mean more of certain SPECIFIC forms of violence. But there is ZERO possibility the reverse is true. We have had decades of declining violence and decades of increasing guns. Guns do NOT correlate to increasing violence.

      The LEFT is Wrong, the RIGHT is correct, on Guns.

      Is the Right correct on every other possible cause for changes in rates of violence ?
      Probably not.

      But one of the problems I have with the purported moderates here, one of the problem I have with Robby, and Rick and increasingly Ron, it that on nearly every level there is no parity between the left and the right.

      Increasingly it is near certain that whatever the issue the LEFT is WRONG.
      Even in those issues where their policies intersect on libertarian values – such as “culture war” issues – the LEFT goes WAY too far. Recognizing the freedom of others to lead their own lives as they wish – so long as they do not actually harm others – is a far cry from INFLICTING ones views by force on others.

      For more than 4 decades I have fought for the liberty and rights of homosexuals and trans people. Increasingly I find myself at odds with sometimes lifelong friends I have supported, because NOW they seek revenge. Having gained tolerance and acceptance, they are as intolerant or worse of those that hold different views as their post enemies. Worse still they are as adamant about going beyond equal rights to demanding the indoctrination of everyone else into their beliefs.

      TODAY the right is not a small portion as dangerous to us that the left is.
      The right even when wrong, is not nearly as dangerous or crazy as the left.

      I disagree with many of the policies of the dominant strain of Republicanism today – Trumpism if you will, which is just an evolution of the Tea Party movement.

      But it is inarguable that the country would be far better off with every single Trump policy bad and good than it is with the left getting only SOME of what it wants.

      Nothing Republicans want – even when wrong is dangerous or all that destructive.

      Everything the Left wants is disasterous. Even when they are partially right – they go WAY too far and cause more harm than good.

      The ONLY reason I am not affraid that the LEFT is going to cause is huge racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic backlash – is because i actually trust the RIGHT much more than the left. The right is not capable of the full 180 backlash that the left is driving hard.

      We face a political choice today – between an imperfect right and a left that vacillates between anarchy and totalitarian with zero ground between.

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