On Killing Sprees
I’ve waited a bit to weigh in on this, but I think it’s time.
The two most important things to understand are that gun control would reduce harm significantly, and that gun control is a palliative for a sick culture. The US does have more guns than anyone else, but countries like Finland have a pile of guns and people don’t kill nearly as many innocents with them. Likewise every military age male in Switzerland has an assault rifle, and they don’t have killing sprees.
The first point first, China has people who go on sprees with knives. In fact there was one just recently in a school, 23 students were injured. That’s sad, but not one of them died. Not one. Guns make violence far, far more deadly. Reducing gun availability won’t stop attacks. It will reduce how deadly they are.
The key points of leverage on harm reduction are reducing clip sizes, getting rid of automatics and semi-automatics and radically restricting ammunition purchases. Likewise soft-target ammunition – bullets intended to fragment, and hollow point ammunition need to go away. These bullets have no purpose but to kill civilians. You don’t use them against military or paramilitary targets because they suck against body armor. As such they have no place, even if you believe in a 2nd Amendment “fight the government” argument. If you’re fighting the government, you’ll want ammo that can pierce body armor.
The second point is that America has far more of these attacks than anyone else. This is because America:
1) is under economic pressure. The more people who are in economic trouble, the more attacks.
2) has jobs which are intensely unpleasant, with the asshole boss being the norm. Don’t tell me otherwise.
3) has a startling rise in diagnosed mental illness, and a startling rise in the use of psychoactive medications whose effects we don’t really understand. In particular, there has been a massive increase in the drugging of young children (males are who we care about in this context) with amphetamines and dextro-Amphetamines, officially starting as young as 3 years old, and unofficially, earlier. Long term use of amphetamines is associated with psychotic breaks and violence, this is not in question, we have a TON of historical evidence. You cannot keep people constantly on amphetamines and not expect these sort of eruptions.
4) The increase in mental illness and medication is in large part because life in America is extraordinarily unpleasant. You live in a militarized surveillance society with no guaranteed health care and with a job market that doesn’t provide enough jobs for those who need it, allowing bosses to treat those who do have jobs like shit, and executives to take virtually all productivity gains for themselves. The economic model is to pile debt on consumers to create rental streams, but constant debt payments put people under major psychological pressure, all the time.
5) People are suffering an epidemic of chronic physical diseases on top of this.
You cannot have a pressure cooker society which is also militarized and swimming in guns. You simply cannot.
First step, enact gun control. Second step, stop treating your fellow Americans like shit and stop medicating young children (and everyone else) with record amounts of psychoactive chemicals. There are only two possibilities: either that many Americans really are mentally ill, or they aren’t. In either case, the solution isn’t to medicate them. It is to figure out what about your society is making them ill.
Actually, the truth will be somewhere between. More people are mentally ill because of your society, but not as many as are medicated. People have to be medicated to function in American society because it requires unpleasant and unnatural behaviour, virtually all the time. School and work both require people to act in ways that normal, healthy, unmedicated individuals find hard to sustain. Add to that the fact that social ties have, over the last 60 years, absolutely collapsed, leaving most people with almost no friend or close family, and people need to drug themselves to get through their day. They are sicks, scared and lonely. And at the very edges of this, the occasional person cracks, goes ballistic and kills a lot of people.