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December 29, 2012 / Political Fluency


This site began in January of 2011 with a post about a crazy, lunatic nutjob that targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and ended up wounding her while killing 6. And now in December of 2012 here’s another post about a crazy, lunatic nutjob that targeted children and ended up committing suicide while killing 26.

Back in 2011, I posted 3 days afterward to tell everyone to CTFD. In the wake of an even more horrendous shooting rampage – maybe the worst in US history with innocent children as the victims – in an educational environment that is closest to my heart, I waited 2 weeks afterward to tell everyone to CTFD.


In those two weeks it seems everything has been said, which is fine because I prefer to say something original when emotions have settled down. It is much better to evaluate movies and TV shows this way. Either it holds up to posterity or it doesn’t. Likewise, editorials about wanting to talk about guns the very next day, from the same media that got the killer’s identity wrong only hours before, are loaded with predetermined political points before the facts are laid out before us. And most importantly, before we’ve had a chance to grieve.


Even as time has passed, we had the completely embarrassing tirade of the President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne La Pierre, as he gave the most politically tone deaf statement of the year… an election year at that.


The NRA’s idea to put armed guards in every school is ludicrous. Where are we getting the money for that? We have no money! Right now. None! And the NRA’s constituency is typically wary of government spending. It’s the Democrats who should be all over this with 100,000 public schools in the country and at least one more armed employee in each means 100,000 union members.


This wouldn’t work functionally either because I was just at the Social Security Administration in New York and as I entered the armed guard was at the self-serve kiosk handing me my ticket out of boredom that I was to be called at #186. After months and years of no threats to the schools they are protecting, the average armed guard would likely become complacent and be woefully unprepared for a determined psycho who is armed with the intent to kill students.


We can’t afford an overreaction. Look at a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan each as examples.


Megan McArdle had the best opinion piece with the truth no one wants to hear: we can’t do anything.

Unfortunately, there have been so many of these shootings that they actually serve as the rebuttals to people’s ideas.


Background checks were enforced on Adam Lanza as it seems he was denied in his attempt to buy a gun shortly before he went into Sandy Hook Elementary School. Any existing or stricter background checks would’ve been done on his mother, not him. In fact, Adam Lanza needed to shoot his mom in the face dead in order to access all of the guns and the car needed to carry out the massacre. That’s quite a barrier to gun access if there ever was one.


We need to have a serious discussion about mental health in this country. But where will that end? Someone pops a Xanax and he can’t own a gun? A register of mental health diagnoses that completely violate HIPAA, let alone any expectations of privacy, is a non-starter.


This is a major shift in the debate. There was almost no talk about mental health after the school shootings in the late 90’s culminating in Columbine. It was a total culture war – rural gun owners who despised the media versus urban media consumers who despised guns – arguing about shootings in the suburbs separating the two of their worlds.


While noteworthy conservatives like Peggy Noonan and Michael Savage have spoken out on limiting the number of rounds in the magazines, a position I agree with, this wouldn’t have done anything to prevent the Virginia Tech massacre as the killer perpetrated the worst shooting spree with two handguns with 10-round magazines – the number of rounds most legislation wants to limit clips to. Handguns are never going to be banned.


And this is the most important point everyone needs to make note of: take every shooting spree story of a killer armed with an assault weapon or rifle and replace the shooter’s weaponry with two handguns. How many people does that shooter end up killing instead?


Many would argue less. Given their proposals, the logic of gun control activists leans that way. But – without looking it up – how many people were killed at Columbine? How many at Virginia Tech? You probably don’t know the exact number to any of them. That’s because it’s not the number killed that’s important, but the emotional shock of the event that is felt across the nation. So this really is about a public policy debate that deals with an emotional shock that is felt by millions as all different sides act like we can actually control how chaotic life actually is. Instead of the logistics of the event and where things went wrong.  And laws and regulations on things such as guns are logistical matters.


When we ask ourselves honestly, where could we have logistically stopped Adam Lanza? We’ll find that it is impossible to have covered all of the bases with any level of certitude. One of those bases is a background check and it’s maddening that he failed it, but was still able to carry this out.


But we’re not going to scrutinize the details of this massacre and compare it to the others and give the data to brilliant Nate Silvers to get the pattern recognition in the Zeitgeist. Instead, we’re going to watch the President and other Democrats propose the typical liberal wish list on gun control they’ve wanted for decades while the other side continues to buy guns at a record pace. The insanity continues.


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