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August 14, 2019

Mass Media Indoctrination and Radicalizations of Mass Murderers

Leftist political “gun control” theatrics versus the root causes of sociopathic violence in America.

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” —Justice Joseph Story (1833)

After three decades of researching the pathology of mass shooters, I’m convinced that four primary factors are almost universally associated with these murderers: a sociopathic predisposition; a history of violent media saturation that indoctrinates and desensitizes them; an opening to be self- or group-radicalized within an echo chamber of ideological influencers; and the means and opportunity to commit a mass attack. Most of the political and media focus has, predictably, been on the fourth factor — removing the means and opportunity. But this ignores the urgency and the systemic nature of the first three factors — the cultural factors.

More on these cultural factors after a brief summary of the two most recent attacks and the political response.

The mass murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, should concern all Americans. But our concern should be tempered by the reality that such attacks, while evoking highly emotive responses, are extremely rare in a country of 330 million people. Fortunately, they represent just a tiny fraction of our nation’s violent crime.

According to the FBI’s uniform crime reports on violent crime in 2018, the incidence of murder is declining, as are most other categories of crime. However, the public perception is that violent crime is on the rise and that “mass murders” are an almost daily occurrence. That perception is the result of the commercial wall-to-wall mass-media replays of sensational tragedies.

The FBI defines “mass murder” as an assailant who “kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), typically in a single location.” But what about “mass shootings” — incidences of violence in which four or more people are shot but not necessarily killed? This is the definition that leftist politicians and their media enablers are focused on.

As a percentage of all mass attacks, so few involve semiautomatic rifles, or what the Left collectively and incorrectly refers to as “assault weapons,” that the FBI doesn’t even categorize it.

And despite MSM assertions to the contrary, in the 2019 mass shootings thus far, the majority of assailants are not white. In fact, 37 were black, 21 were white, and 14 were Latino or of other ethnic groups.

Of course, in cases of mass mayhem, the weapons are not always firearms. Last weekend, a Latino gang member in Los Angeles murdered four people with a knife — a “mass knifing” that received little media attention. Also last weekend, the FBI arrested a sociopath in Las Vegas who was in possession of bomb-making materials and preparing for attacks. (Notably, the most devastating mass murder at a school — the Bath, Michigan, attack that killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults and injured 60 others — did not involve a firearm, but a bomb.)

These rare and terrible high-profile assaults notwithstanding, the vast majority of murders and other violent crimes are gang- and drug-related, and they occur primarily in Democrat-controlled urban centers across our nation. If you’re not associated with gangs or drugs, your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are in line with those in Western European nations, where firearm possession is highly restricted.

Regarding the two most recent mass murders, the El Paso attack was committed by a racist sociopath, which predictably inspired “dog whistle” Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists to immediately blame Donald Trump and claim that his political rhetoric inspires mass murder. Leftists have been working overtime to cast Trump as a “racist,” most recently in reference to his disputes with Demo race-baiters Elijah Cummings and the congressional Gang of Four a.k.a. “The Squad,” the House protagonists leading the socialist surge in the Democrat Party.

As political analyst Dennis Prager notes, America is awash in “the Left’s lies about Trump.” Of course, the Democrat political platform is built on fomenting fear, anger, and division among its constituents.

As for the El Paso murderer, he was arrested by police and now faces the death penalty. But we can be certain that the race-hustling Demo gun confiscators will be fundraising on the bodies of his victims through the 2020 election.

On the other hand, the Dayton attack was committed by a leftist sociopath supporter of Elizabeth Warren and the “antifa movement” of self-styled anti-fascists fascists, but the Leftmedia has been strangely silent about his political affinity.

Unlike the Democrats’ politicization of the El Paso attack, Republicans haven’t been fundraising on the Dayton assailant’s political affiliation. But as House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who was critically wounded during an attempted mass murder of congressional Republicans by a Bernie Sanders supporter, rightly declared, “The president is no more responsible for that shooting as your next guest, Bernie Sanders, is for my shooting. The shooter is responsible.”

Indeed.

Fortunately, the Dayton assailant was killed by a good guy with a gun.

As a result, conservatives are doing what they should do: focusing on the cultural issues in an effort to protect Liberty and the American people from the whole spectrum of sociopathic killers, from rare mass murderers to the far more prevalent gang- and drug-related assailants.

Meanwhile, leftists are doing what they always do: using mass assaults as political fodder for their fundraising and for their incremental “boil the frog” strategic objective to deconstruct and repeal the Second Amendment followed by firearms confiscation.

For his part, President Trump called on Congress to review measures that would, ostensibly, help prevent violent crimes. Unfortunately, criminals, by definition, don’t obey the law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded, “The president called on Congress to work in a bipartisan, bicameral way to address the recent mass murders which have shaken our nation. Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part.”

The first area that the Senate will review is the expansion of background-check requirements for all non-retail firearm transfers. (In the Dayton case, a friend of the assailant helped arm him.)

The second area of consideration is implementation of some form of so-called “red flag” protocols and mandates to identify individuals considered “high risk” for assaulting others. But there are serious flaws associated with red-flagging individuals, so egregious that our researcher, Arnold Ahlert, considers them an outright scam. In the El Paso case, the assailant’s mother alerted police to her concerns, but no action was taken. (This is sadly similar to the dozens of early warnings local authorities had about the Parkland (Florida) High School perpetrator.)

There are, of course, also calls for another “assault-weapons ban” similar to what Bill Clinton’s Democrats passed in 1994 — with dubious results. But the Demo calls for this ban are clearly disingenuous. Even The New York Times editorial board notes it is too late to pass such a ban and Democrats should “deal with the world as it is.”

What both assailants, and almost all other murderers regardless of the number of victims, have in common is this: They are sociopaths and disregard the law.

A sociopath, or person with antisocial personality disorder, is broadly defined as a person who has a pathological lack of conscience and empathy for others, which manifests in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and can result in violent actions against others.

So what causes their pathology to manifest in horrific instances of mass murder?

Many mass assailants come from broken and dysfunctional families, are isolated from others, have been treated for psychiatric issues, and have a history of fantasy saturation with media violence.

It is this latter factor that I believe is a primary influencer of those committing mass assaults — and the influencer that the Left most aggressively denies.

In 2006, I penned a condemnation of the Left Coast’s “entertainment” industry. Under the title “Entertainment as Indoctrination: Garbage In — Garbage Out,” I noted, “Young people who do not have the sturdy character foundation that only time and good parenting can provide are at very high risk of political, cultural, and environmental indoctrination through entertainment media. This is even more troubling given the increased saturation of young minds with imagery of unmitigated violence.”

Last year, responding to the Left’s political theatrics after the Parkland murders, in my column “Violence Is a Culture Problem, Not a ‘Gun Problem,’” I noted, “Until Democrats reverse their statist policies that have devastated American families and communities, violence will continue to rule the day.” Indeed, as political analyst Ethan Epstein notes, based on the number of murders committed without a firearm, “The United States would still have a higher murder rate than more than 70 other countries.”

Leftist political “gun control” theatrics are emotive diversions, but the root causation of violence in America, the causation of sociopathic predispositions — disintegrating families and the resulting trend of cultural devolution — has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed, threaten the very foundation of Liberty. The most significant cultural degradation is the result of leftist secularization, as columnist Thane Bellomo points out: “We killed God, family, and community — and now it’s killing us.”

The Left has built its political fortunes on that harmful disintegration, while conservatives are invested in restoring the basic tenets of family, faith, and freedom, which have made America great.

Again, let me reiterate the four factors I believe are common to most mass killers: a sociopathic predisposition; a history of violent media saturation that indoctrinates and desensitizes them; an opening to be self- or group-radicalized within an echo chamber of ideological influencers; and the means and opportunity to commit a mass attack.

It is the second of these factors, violent media saturation, that requires far more attention — and neither conservatives nor liberals are taking on the massive entertainment complex responsible for it.

It is patently ludicrous to insist that saturating sociopaths with endless hours of violent “entertainment” and video-game “fantasy violence” does not influence their behavior. Idolizing violence desensitizes the emotionally unstable individual’s sense of right and wrong. There is also peer-reviewed research finding that “exposure to gun violence in the mass media” desensitizes young people to the danger of firearms and increases the chance they will use one.

For the record, media advertisers spend billions of dollars on 15-second TV ads and clickbait online ad images to influence those who view them. The entire commercial mainstream-media industry is funded by brief glimpses of ads designed to influence the behavior of those viewing the ad, so to argue that saturating a sociopath’s mind with violent images has no negative effect is absurd.

Further, the entertainment and gaming industry already utilizes content rating systems and age restrictions — a tacit admission that content does influence its consumers and thus should only be viewed by an appropriate audience. Thus, the purveyors of this harmful content are already on record in agreement that certain content is inappropriate for certain groups.

So how can they argue such content is not a contributing factor when sociopathic consumers of their violent content who are desensitized to such violence act on what amounts to entertainment indoctrination?

Anecdotally, firearms availability and ownership was as prolific 50 years ago as it is today. What was NOT prolific 50 years ago was mass media saturation of violent content on an epidemic scale.

Notably this week, in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton attacks, Comcast/Universal Pictures postponed the release of “The Hunt,” billed as a “satirical horror film” based on a group of wealthy elites who capture and then release “deplorables” in order to hunt them. While the film ultimately condemns these twisted “hunters,” the postponement is indicative of the concern about what it might trigger in a sociopathic viewer. And that indication is tantamount to an admission that violent media can move an unstable consumer to commit violence.

Elizabeth Warren has taken the position that gun manufacturers should be held liable for how an individual consumer uses their products. This is like suggesting a car manufacturer is responsible for manslaughter associated with reckless or drunk driving or blaming Ben & Jerry’s for the obesity and heart disease associated with consuming too much ice cream. Warren should go after spoon and fork manufacturers for how consumers use their products.

But the notion of holding media producers liable for influencing and indoctrinating consumers with unmitigated violence is a very different standard for liability, and conservatives should counter the “gun problem” leftists with congressional hearings and significant legislation regarding liability for violent indoctrination. Ironically, the argument leftists make against restricting violent content is the First Amendment right to free speech, while ever endeavoring to undermine the Second Amendment.

The bottom line: 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)

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

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NOTES:

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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