Rampage killings always bring out the best in people who wish to leverage one maladjusted person’s craven cowardice to enact laws for which they’ve always clamored. When 20 of the victims are children gunned down in classrooms at an elementary school in a sleepy Connecticut town we can expect the very best empty rhetoric and accusations of abetting child murder.
It starts with vapid statements like, “We must make sure this never happens again.” I guess people who actually believe humans can control the planet’s thermostat and sea levels really do think they’re powerful enough to prevent some crackpot from acting on his impulse to hurt others.
Right. The same people who can’t put forth a viable, rational plan to avoid an obvious, regularly occurring problem like our trillion dollar annual deficit – whose cause is clearly known and indisputable – are now going to devise a common sense solution to banish random, utterly unpredictable crimes to the dustbin of history.
I’m not going to argue the merits of additional gun laws because nobody on either side is changing anybody’s mind on the other side. If people honestly believe that certain classes of firearms or certain capacity magazines must join crack cocaine and heroin as things that are banned and therefore impossible for any American to obtain that’s their right.
I don’t believe it’s possible to “make sure this never happens again.” There are too many variables, too many potential targets, too many mentally deficient people for the threat to be eliminated altogether. The best we can do is minimize the threat once it’s been identified. Unfortunately, the only indication a rampage attack is imminent is usually the attack itself.
From all news reports so far, the child murderer in Newtown gunned down people until emergency responders arrived at the scene. At that moment he blew his own addled brains out. That is, despite being better armed than the average cop on the street he had no interest in killing anyone except the weakest and most helpless.
Most of these cowardly spree killings end the same way. The perpetrator is a gutless punk, so as soon as another armed person shows up at the scene they put a bullet through their head. The Aurora shooter was a rare exception, although I believe in his case he’s a psychopath (in the clinical sense) who thinks his previous interactions with mental health professionals will spare him the death chamber.
If anyone has a reasonable argument as to why a person whose plan includes “kill as many innocents as possible” and ends with “put bullet through my brain” would be deterred by any law I’d like to hear it.
There are no easy answers to senseless acts of violence. Unfortunately, politicians specialize in easy answers and compound that by valuing good intentions over results. Their self-interested desire to be seen as doing “something” will trump logic, truth, and reality. As is always the case when something horrible happens we’ll be told the only unacceptable action is to do nothing.
History has shown us that when politicians rush to “do something” in response to murderous acts by demented individuals we get the worst sorts of laws. September 11 spawned the TSA. Sure, we’re not any safer now than we were before but Washington was able to take a little more of our freedom and dignity. Now we gladly accept being disrobed and patted down like criminals for the privilege of flying. We’re constantly under surveillance yet the only way plots for large scale murder are disrupted beforehand is by accident when the potential killer does something stupid or inept.
Tragically, there is no easy answer to this particular problem. It can’t be solved through more spending. It can’t be solved by any sort of prohibition. It can’t be solved by locking up everyone who’s not right in the head. If it could, murders like this wouldn’t happen. That’s what makes this kind of crime so frightening.
We must make sure this never happens again. I feel safer already. The same people who can’t pass a budget – much less a balanced budget – are going to do something. The same people who can’t pass a disaster relief bill until it’s larded up with pork spending will surely present Americans a well-thought-out, rational plan to stop spree murderers.
Irrational people won’t be deterred by laws devised by rational people. It may sound defeatist or fatalistic, but there really is very little we could do to stop this from ever happening again. America is ostensibly a free country, our Constitution is as it’s written, our culture is what it is. We can’t predict when and where the next nutjob will strike any more than we can a lightening bolt. It’s a sorry state of affairs, but no one in Washington or any statehouse can affect these kinds of murders to any meaningful degree.