February 28, 2018

‘Gun Violence’ Is a Culture Problem, Not a ‘Gun Problem’

Until Democrats reverse their statist policies that have devastated American families and communities, violence will continue to rule the day.

“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.” —Benjamin Rush (1783)

While most of my “liberal” friends claim to care about young people, however misguided the expression of that “care” might sometimes be, most Democrat Party pols don’t give a damn about kids — unless, of course, their caskets can be used to construct political platforms.

I could substantiate that harsh criticism based solely on the fact that, every day, Democrats support ending the lives of 2,446 children before birth — and in doing so demonstrate their utter disregard for even the most defenseless of human life.

But in this instance, I’m alluding to Democrats’ statist policies, which have eroded our culture from top to bottom — including most notably, families and especially the children who were once nourished by them. The devastating consequences of this erosion play out in an endless loop of daily tragedies.

To that end, what follows are some observations in the wake of the mass murder in a Florida school by a sociopathic assailant.

What really happened in Florida

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) protested yesterday that if Congress does not pass “gun control” legislation, a.k.a. “gun confiscation legislation,” “We won’t have done our job to keep America’s families safe.”

Fact is, Democrat policies have, for generations, been a devastating wrecking ball demolishing “America’s families.”

What Schumer and his Democrats never dare suggest is the fact that violence in America is primarily a cultural problem rather than a “gun problem.”

They avoid that debate at all costs because it’s their failed statist policies, the effluent of their so-called “Great Society” centralized social programs, that have resulted in generations of poor Americans enslaved on urban poverty plantations in every major city nationwide.

Those poverty centers are the locus of drastic cultural devolution, most notably the systemic disintegration of the American family, and particularly the eradication of fatherhood. Virtually every school shooting, and most other inner-city violence, is associated with the absence of effective fathering in the lives of young men.

Given the violent social entropy that now permeates our culture, we can piece together the Democrats’ recipe for mass slaughter in our schools.

First, aggressively secularize government schools by expelling God from these compounds in the name of First Amendment rights. Then teach kids stuck in those morally vacuous institutions that there are no moral truths.

Second, infuse the minds of some isolated troubled youth with a steady stream of media violence. Saturate them with unrelenting images of that violence, the staple of the so-called entertainment industry’s productions in every medium, especially video games. Entertainment has become a primary source of indoctrination: garbage in, garbage out. (This unrelenting exposure to video violence is a common denominator among adolescent mass-killers.)

Third, force these sociopathic adolescent outliers into the same campus compounds with students who are behaviorally stable, because Democrat “education” policies demand that we not separate and thereby stigmatize them. And because Democrats vigorously oppose “school choice” measures, poor parents have no other schooling options for their children.

Fourth, ensure that these schools are soft targets — “gun free” zones to guarantee that an assailant’s murderous rampage will not meet any opposition.

And finally, ensure the cascading failures of those government bureaucracies charged with intervening and protecting our children. This includes entities from the FBI to the appallingly incompetent frontline defender, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whose department failed 45 times to intervene in recent years, and whose deputies then refused to enter the building to kill the assailant.

In addition to the irrefutable link between fatherless homes and violence, what I believe is the single most significant contributing factor scripting this particular type of assault, but one that will get the least attention, is the fact that the assailant was steeped in the desensitizing violence of video game “entertainment” — spending countless hours through his formative years in a fantasy first-person killing role. Tens of millions of young people are submersed in these games and don’t emerge as sociopathic killers. But in those rare instances when a young person does become a mass assailant, their pathology, combined with their killing fantasy, results in bloodshed.

For example: The 1999 Columbine High School murderers were immersed in the violent game “Doom,” achieving “berserk mode.” The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School murderer logged 83,496 kills in one violent video game, including 22,725 headshots.

To that end, a joint statement from the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declares, “At this time, well over 1,000 studies … point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.”

Additionally, many of the most noted mass shooting assailants were, or had been using, psycho-active prescription drugs, particularly selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, including Prozac similar drugs. It was only after the introduction and widespread distribution of these drugs (now an epidemic of overprescription in the US) that mass shootings began.

Make no mistake: This grandstanding Hillary Clinton sycophant and his grossly mismanaged department could have saved those 17 children if they had only done their jobs.

Given the pervasiveness of these deadly ingredients, I’m actually shocked that there aren’t more of these tragic events.

But the fact is, according to a recent Northeastern University study of school assaults, four times as many students were killed in assaults under Bill Clinton’s watch. But one such assault will forever be too many.

That notwithstanding, this is what the Leftmedia’s incessant coverage of such violence (selling advertising on the blood of innocents) communicates to potential future mass-murderer wannabes:

  • We’ll make sure you’re famous by devoting all our air time to you.
  • As targets go, a school will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back.
  • Use an AR-15 — it’s the most popular gun for the job, and then we will call it an “assault weapon.”

For the record, violent crimes are almost exclusively committed by sociopathic thug, drug and gang-bangers battling on city streets. Furthermore, it is also clear that 96% of all mass shootings since records first began being kept in 1950 occurred in so-called “gun-free zones.” In other words, people were killed in places where the victims were most likely unable to defend themselves. And 90% of those firearms were obtained illegally.

Of course, only law-abiding citizens abide by laws, and making lawful citizens helpless clearly does not make outlaws harmless. Remember: The vast majority of mass assaults occur in “gun-free zones.”

Sidebar: Anyone who asserts the public or private space they manage is safe by posting signs and/or establishing regulations prohibiting (gun-free zones), should thus be liable for any assault that occurs in that public or private space, because in effect they advertised it was safe from any firearm assault – and advertised to criminals that the space is full of people who are unable to defend them selves.

Debating solutions with a liberal

Generally, I find conversations with those who have divergent views compelling.

One of my lefty friends is a Brown University graduate who lives in the most dangerous city in America, Baltimore, in one of the most liberal states in America, Maryland.

She’s a thoughtful and intelligent liberal, which is to say we disagree on many fronts but not via screaming matches.

Referencing an opinion piece in The New York Times entitled “I Was a Marine. I Don’t Want a Gun in My Classroom.,” subtitled, “The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence,” she asked my opinion on five current debate issues: Politicians who take money from the National Rifle Association; firearms in the classroom; increased age requirements for gun purchasers and background checks; a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines; and how to reduce “gun violence” in America.

I responded with the following observations, which are applicable in every debate on this subject.

1.) Regarding politicians who take money from the NRA:

According to The Washington Post, the NRA has donated a total of $4.23 million in direct support to all current members of Congress since 1998. The bulk of NRA spending during those same years, $144.3 million, was used for advertising and other advocacy measures in support of Second Amendment rights. It spent $45.9 million lobbying for those rights. In other words, the NRA spends about $10 million annually on advocacy, only a small portion of which consists of donations to campaigns.

The mainstream media is thus grossly exaggerating the NRA’s influence over Republicans. Few Republicans need the NRA to convince them of the historical context for the Second Amendment as the fundamental assurance of American Liberty.

Meanwhile, estimates of the value of “entertainment industry” support for Democrats is far greater than what the NRA donated in the last two decades. (Frankly, on top of monetary contributions, the value of ubiquitous Leftmedia propaganda in support for Democrats is priceless.)

If Republicans are being asked to refuse the paltry direct support they receive from the NRA, Democrats should be asked to refuse the massive support they receive from the coffers of the “mayhem and death” profiteers — the purveyors of violence who inculcate the brains of young people, day in and day out, with the most graphic violence imaginable.

Remarkably, some of the celebs who owe their fame and fortune to their ultra-violent “entertainment” roles are among the most outspoken gun control advocates — a demonstration of unmitigated hypocrisy that falls squarely into the “BIG Lie” category.

And on the subject of the NRA, I reminded my Democrat friend that when cities host NRA conventions, crime rates invariably go down while NRA members are in town — and in convention halls with the highest concentration of firearms per capita in the city, there are no shootings.

2.) Regarding The New York Times article and firearms in the classroom:

The assertion that “the presence of a firearm is always an invitation for violence” is absurd. In the possession of a law-abiding citizen, a firearm is a deterrent to violence. And being a Marine doesn’t necessarily confer some special status regarding an opinion on this matter, but I was pleased to see the Times found a reason to honor a veteran’s military service.

As for guns in the classroom, nobody is calling for a mandate arming those who don’t want to be armed. There are already far too many federal mandates that have crippled government schools. Decisions on how to best protect students should be left to state and local governments, and most do a very good job at this.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this week a $500 million plan to harden government schools: “I want to make sure we have increased presence with mental health counselors at our schools. We’ve got to make sure we have an increased law enforcement presence in all of our schools. We also need to make significant investments in school safety. We’ve got to invest in metal detectors, we’ve got to invest in bulletproof glass, we’ve got to invest in steel doors, we’ve got to invest in upgraded locks. We’ve gotta do everything we can to make sure that somebody that wants to harm any one of our students can never do it again.”

It is a sad commentary that the culture outside our schools necessitates them becoming fortresses, but no amount of hardening will end the violence until the cultural questions are addressed.

Yes, this week President Donald Trump met with governors to talk about school safety. He’s already committed to banning bump stock devices, a measure The Patriot Post has supported because bump stocks circumvent federal laws regarding select-fire weapons (which are true assault weapons). And Trump is an advocate for states to authorize and train some teachers and school officials to be armed.

But Democrats oppose Trump’s advocacy for additional armed personnel in schools because they would never want to concur that firearms are a deterrent to violence.

Regarding armed individuals in schools, some people are predisposed to stand in the gap to protect others. I think the school model should be similar to the commercial pilot model. Pilots have the opportunity to be trained and armed — and many are. There are school districts in states where this has already been implemented successfully.

3.) Regarding increased age requirements for gun purchasers and more stringent background checks:

I actually wouldn’t be opposed to raising the age limit to purchase certain classes of firearms to 21. When I went through the Georgia police academy at age 19, an older officer in the department had to purchase the handgun I carried through the academy. Yes, I could be a police officer, but I couldn’t purchase a handgun.

However, while I think the net effect of raising the age limit would be negligible, in the Florida case it would have made more difficult the assailant’s access to the firearm he used.

I do believe there need to be more stringent background checks for firearm purchases, particularly related to mental health qualifications. But redefining those qualifications should be done with great skepticism, given the Democrats’ propensity for abusing civil rights — particularly the First Civil Right as defined by the Second Amendment.

4.) Regarding a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines:

We banned so called “assault weapons” and large-capacity magazines from 1994 to 2004, and according to the Justice Department, there was no discernible effect on crime rates.

Again, I would argue that guns are not the problem, and rifles are most assuredly not the problem.

According to the FBI’s latest annual crime statistics, rifles were used in 252 homicides, while knives were used in 1,544 homicides.

It’s not a knife problem, either.

Since my friend lives in Baltimore, I mentioned that in my most recent column on the Democrats’ “common sense gun control” proposals, which are anything but, I cited a study done by the Baltimore Sun that noted:

> The average homicide victim in Baltimore in 2017 had 11 previous arrests on his record. About 73 percent had drug arrests, and nearly 50 percent had been arrested for a violent crime. About 30 percent were on parole or probation at the time they were killed, and more than 6 percent were on parole or probation for a gun crime.

In other words, if you don’t have a violent criminal record, and/or are not associated with the violent thug, drug or gang subcultures, who commit the vast majority of crimes in America, your chances of being shot or killed by an assailant with a gun are almost as low as murder rates in Western Europe where gun ownership is outlawed. Oh, and in Switzerland, which has a higher concentration of “assault weapons” per capita than any nation in the world, the murder rate is one of the lowest in the world.

As a matter of fact, if you’re not involved in criminal activity, your statistical probability of being killed by a drunk driver is much higher than being murdered.

But I am not proposing to ban alcohol or automobiles.

5.) Regarding how to reduce “gun violence” in America:

The debate we should be having is about the cultural roots of the epidemic of violence in America, those I outlined above regarding broken families, violent media and policies that foment violence.

But predictably, the Left is using adolescents as human shields to promote its latest faux legislation to ban semi-automatic firearms. And Demo MSM outlets, most notably CNN and its anti-2A crusade, are churning the tragedy 24/7 as fodder for advertising sales.

The most “inconvenient truth” for those who think guns are the problem is the indisputable fact that violent crime trends have declined over the last two decades, while private ownership of firearms has significantly increased.

The bottom line: Violence is a cultural problem, and until Democrats set aside their political charades and work with Republicans to reverse the policies that have devastated our families and communities, violence will continue to rule the day.

When debating the Second Amendment, there are three points that are often neglected.

First, possession of firearms is a deterrent against countless millions of crimes, as made clear in studies of convicted felons, who tell researchers that they choose victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. Second, there are more than a million crimes thwarted every year by those who defend themselves with a firearm.

And finally, the Second Amendment is, first and foremost, about protection of our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines. As I have oft noted, handguns are for personal and home defense. But semi-automatic rifles, mislabeled by Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists as “assault rifles,” are for protection of those who would infringe on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” If you find that notion unsettling, then you need to learn more about the history the constant assault of statist tyranny on Liberty.

And for the record, despite claims to the contrary, banning the sale of those guns has had dubious results in terms of reducing the rare but sensational use of such firearms by mass murderers.

“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any…” –James Madison (1788)

The bottom line regarding the epidemic of violence: Democrats institutionalized lawlessness in the name of “social justice,” beginning with their “Summer of Rage” riots in 2020, when they intentionally provoked and promoted violence. They simultaneously villainized law enforcement and cut police budgets. The result was, and continues to be, a one-two sucker punch against victims of violence and those charged with protecting them.

Surging violence today is the direct result of empowering leftist mobs in the name of “social justice,” in effect sending the message that Democrat constituents are entitled to be violent – and that sense of entitlement continues unabated. The implications, given the rising generation of sociopaths, is dire. It will take years to restore real justice – rule of law – but leftists politicians are not going to do that when they can label the violent cultural devolution they have fomented a “gun problem,” and avoid the inconvenient truth about race and violence.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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The First Civil Right is To Keep and Bear Arms. It is, as James Madison’s Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, rightly defined it, “the palladium of the liberties of the republic,” the ultimate assurance of all other rights.

What follows are a few key notes that all defenders of American Liberty and its foundational guarantor, the Second Amendment, should be prepared to articulate, in order to refute the rhetorical gun control agenda disinformation propagated by Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists.

While some of this data is based on annual findings, most of that data does not vary significantly year over year.

FOOTNOTE 1: Regarding so-called “gun violence,” there were approximately 19,600 homicides involving firearms in the U.S. in the latest year of record, which you can view state by state. Fortunately, there are indications that homicides may be declining after the significant surge of violence unleashed by Biden and his Democrat agitators in 2020. The 2022 homicide rate was 30% higher than in 2019.

The Demos ubiquitously and falsely label the generational murderous contagion they have seeded as “gun violence,” and they focus exclusively on the infrequent high-profile “mass shootings,” which account for only a tiny fraction of all homicides. More than 99% of murders in the U.S. are not the result of mass attacks. (Notably, guns don’t commit violence, thugs and sociopaths commit violence.) The oft-cited Gun Violence Archive defines a “mass shooting” as any incident that involves a “minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed.” The vast majority of those violent attacks are the result of drug and gang violence committed in Democrat-controlled urban centers.

In a country and culture that ignores the rising generation of sociopathic murderers — mostly thugs in violent urban centers who are saturated with cultural violence and indoctrinated with mass-media glorification of violence — it is fortunate that the incidence of mass murder is not 10 times higher. Arguably, the only thing keeping that number from being higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

Democrats don’t focus on the vast majority of murders, particularly the epidemic of black-on-black murders on their decaying urban poverty plantations, because they want to avoid the “inconvenient truth” about race and violence, which is the direct result of failed Democrat social programs. In fact, black people (13% of the population), are 12 times more likely to be murdered, per capita, than white people (62% of the population).

That gross racial disparity in murder rates isn’t useful for the gun control narrative Democrats invoke to evoke emotional reaction from mostly wealthy white suburban women, who form the Demos’ largest voter constituency.

FOOTNOTE 2: Regarding so-called “mass shootings,” for the record, murders of multiple people by one assailant are very rare in our nation of 335 million people. Less than 1% of all murders nationwide are classified as “mass shootings” and high-profile attacks, such as the 2017 mass murder in Las Vegas, are extremely rare.

The FBI defines “active shooter incidents” as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” In 2022, the FBI reported 50 incidents resulting in 313 casualties (100 killed and 213 wounded). That number was up significantly from 2020 when the FBI reported 40 incidents resulting in 164 casualties (38 killed and 126 wounded).

A broader record of “mass shooting” data is maintained by the Associated Press and Northeastern University, which uses the Department of Justice definition of mass public shooting: “A multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms.” These numbers fluctuate significantly year over year, and they range between 20 and 40 incidents. But notably, over the last 30 years, the number of black mass assailants is almost as high as the number of white assailants.

Democrats focus on these rare instances of multiple murders because these high-profile tragedies are political fodder to foment fear — most notably when they can toss out their oft-repeated but erroneous claim that “gun violence is the leading cause of death for children.” If by “children” they mean gang and drug-associated murders of those primarily between the ages of 16 and 21, then yes. Democrats are experts at fomenting fear and division.

The fear and angst Demos intentionally propagate are taking a toll on Americans’ mental health. Psychological researcher Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson observes: “Watching it time and time again on your phone or on the headlines can really impact you in ways that I don’t think we knew before to be as impactful. It’s so ‘in our face’ all the time and we have access to so much footage, so many pictures, so many videos, so many accounts that we’re ingesting it in ways that’s really unhealthy for us.” The result for many mothers, in particular, is an irrational fear that their children will be shot. That is precisely the fabricated fear Democrats want to perpetuate, especially among their female constituents, in order to advance their gun control agenda.

FOOTNOTE 3: Regarding what Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists ubiquitously and falsely label “assault weapons,” an actual assault weapon, commonly known as a “machine gun,” is select-fire and can rapidly cycle rounds in fully automatic sequence. Very few select-fire weapons are in civilian hands, and only then subject to stringent licensing requirements.

In fact, civilian firearms in common use, like the AR-15 and other semiautomatic sporting and hunting rifles, are not “assault rifles.”

For much the same reason the Demo/Media talkingheads focus only on rare high-profile “mass shootings” to generate fear and angst, they also call semi-automatic rifles sometimes used in those attacks, “assault weapons.” Predictably, Demos then call for what Hillary Clinton framed decades ago as “common sense gun laws,” inevitably followed by calls for an “assault weapons ban.”

In 1994, Bill Clinton banned the sale of “military-style assault weapons,” but that ban was not renewed 10 years later because it was determined the ban had no effect on crime reduction. According to Rand Research, “We found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated.”

The fact is, rifles and shotguns combined are used in less than 3% of all homicides, but Democrats never let facts get in the way of their “assault weapon ban” political agenda.

Both the Clintons were prolific prevaricators, masterful obfuscators of the truth. And Joe Biden has followed their template, establishing himself as the standard bearer of the “lying dog-faced pony soldier” cavalry.

FOOTNOTE 4: Regarding firearms and violent crime, researcher John Lott reports, “Over 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.” Again, the only thing keeping that number from being much higher is that 125 million Americans are legal and responsible gun owners.

FOOTNOTE 5: Regarding firearms and suicide, almost 60% of all deaths involving firearms are suicide, most also involving drug or alcohol abuse. But the big numbers promoted in “gun violence” reports do not distinguish between murder and suicide, thus implying that homicide rates are much higher. And does this mean that Demo support for assisted suicide is in conflict with their support for gun control?

FOOTNOTE 6: Regarding alcohol versus firearm deaths, if Democrats are serious about protecting Americans, they should outlaw alcohol. Alcohol abuse is far more deadly than firearm abuse. More than 178,000 people died from alcohol abuse last year — that’s NINE times the number of homicides associated with firearms. Drunk drivers are responsible for 37 deaths per day. And notably, it is estimated that alcohol is a key factor in at least 30% of homicides where the assailant uses a firearm. (Include drug dealing or use as a factor and that number jumps to about 60%.)

Of course, the vast majority of alcohol users possess and use it legally and responsibly. Likewise, the vast majority of firearm owners possess and use them legally and responsibly. Enacting a prohibition on firearms is tantamount to enacting a prohibition on alcohol. In both cases, only law-abiding users obey the laws.

BOTTOM LINE: Let me restate this point — only law-abiding citizens abide by the law. Only outlaws perpetrate acts of violence. Making good people helpless won’t make bad people harmless.

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