America’s Mass Shooting Problem

by Wes Walker via

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Mao Zedong

In yet another tragic moment in America, a deranged 19 year old lunatic manchild, got it into his head that the best way to deal with a lifetime of ostracization, mental illness, gnawing moral cowardice, and emotional emptiness that consumed him after the death of his adoptive parents was to gun down unarmed teachers and students at his former high school. While we can and should seek to understand what drove Nikolas Cruz to murder, we shouldn’t waste too much time feeling remorse or pity for him, because it’s simply unnecessary.

The boy who would grow up to become the Parkland, Florida school shooter died long ago, withering into an empty shell slowly filling itself with blind hatred and bigotry that had begun to fester even before his elderly mother died at age 68. If there is any hope of redemption for him, it’s in God’s hands. More information will come out as the days pass, but none of it should come as a surprise to anyone. As it’s said, what’s done is done. We’re left with the task as a society to figure out what we should do to protect future lives, and therein lies the conundrum.

Before we can even know what questions we need to ask however, we need to put it aside and be adults long enough to focus on the uncontroversial facts of the case. The shooter arrived at Marjory Douglas High School at 2:19 pm Eastern Time and, after entering one of the buildings on campus, began shooting at students and staff in a hallway and several classrooms. He then went upstairs and tried to shoot out a window with high impact glass, so he could shoot at students outside, but the glass held.

As the police began to arrive, Nikolas decided to escape and, knowing he couldn’t do that while carrying his rifle, abandoned his rifle in a stairwell, then ran out of the school with students who evidently didn’t realize he was the shooter, roughly 40 minutes after he first arrived. There are other ancillary facts, but they deal only with the lead up to the shooting, not the shooting itself, so, at least for now, we should put them aside.

All told, these are the facts we must contend with:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Rahm Emanuel

What does society do about a deranged individual with a serious mental illness walked onto a school campus with the intent to murder unarmed students and staff? Is there anything that needs to change about how Americans see and address mental illness? Is there a way we can protect the lives of students and faculty the next time something like this happens? And, most important of all, is there a solution to this problem that doesn’t unnecessarily transgress on the liberties of millions of Americans who are completely innocent of this crime?

We need to be honest. Right now, there are thousands of deeply troubled young men, much like Nikolas Cruz, struggling with untreated mental illnesses, unresolved rage, and alienation from their peers and their society. Those normally eager to lecture others about mental illness awareness when that mental illness is harmless, such as when a woman believes she is cat or a man believes he’s a woman, conspicuously stop being so interested when the mental illness takes the shape of a psychopathic break that leads a young man to murder 17 people in cold blood.

Sadly, tragedy makes it obvious what people truly care about, based solely on what and whom they choose to focus their attention on and what and whom they immediately ignore. Perhaps this is because talking about sociopaths or psychopaths creates the sort of social stigma of fear and distrust that the left is trying to disassemble. Perhaps. More likely however, is that they are simply too busy trying to attack their white whale of gun rights in the United States, because that’s all they talk about after these events.

There is always an easy solution to every problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.”
H. L. Mencken

There is too often the dissonant ring of hysteria when gun control advocates talk about these tragedies, as the language they use blurs the lines between the actions of the shooter and the inanimate weapon used to carry out the shooting, as if the guns themselves somehow induced the shooter to violence. If society’s goal is actually to save lives and to reduce both the number and the scope of these mass shootings, then why do gun control advocates continue to pursue the one political position least likely to gain popular support in America?

Every time something like this happens, gun control advocates trot out the same hysterical arguments, the same debunked statistics, the same untenable simplistic solutions, and then, after refusing to defend their indefensible arguments or to seek a compromise, they have the gall to be shocked when they fail to get support. Gun control advocates value security over liberty, the collective over the individual, and any information that challenges their accepted dogma is a threat. They believe what they believe because it is believed.

Unfortunately, gun control advocates live in an intellectually bankrupt soup of fallacious appeals to emotion (“The kids are dying!“), appeals to their own moral authority (“Conservatives don’t care about children once they are out of the womb!“), appeals to popularity (“A vast majority of Americans support gun control!“), false dichotomies (“You care more about their guns than dead kids!“), and gross ignorance (“No one needs a gun that can shoot more than one round a minute!“). Gun control advocates don’t seem to understand that these demonstrably bad arguments are not compelling because they fail to deal with the problem without unnecessarily transgressing on the rights of other people.

These arguments are also demonstrably false, but that’s a topic for another time.

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Thomas Jefferson

There is a solution to the issue of school shootings, one that gun control left doesn’t want to entertain for a moment, largely because it would create an opportunity for a narrative that would fundamentally undermine their presuppositions, but also because it isn’t infringing on gun rights. This solution takes into consideration the core fact of this case, being, 1) that there are thousands of young men (statistically speaking, it’s men that carry out these sorts of attacks) and, 2) that the reason school shooters are so dangerous is because they are armed and their victims are not.

The first part of the solution can be taken care of within the system we already have. Teachers and school counselors need to identify young boys and young men who are ostracized because of psychological distemperament and do something about it. What “something” is must be left to those in the field, but what society can’t have is these troubled kids running around without emotional support when things fall apart. We may have to seriously rethink how we, as a society, deal with individuals, particularly minors, who are potentially criminally insane.

The second part of the solution is protecting our children with the same seriousness we protect our banks. If that means putting effective security measures into place on high school campuses, such as issuing security badges for all entrances and restricting access to those entrances to faculty and students alike, then that’s what we need to do. But, above all, it means putting a person with a gun in every building on every campus, who can take a shooter down if he or she has a chance, or, at least, keep a shooter from being able to move safely about campus.

The simplest way to do this is allow any one of legal age with a concealed carry permit to carry their firearm on campus. The only question remaining, therefor, is if Americans trust their teachers and faculty enough to let them defend themselves and their students? That remains to be seen.


Liberty is For The Win!

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