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On Killing Sprees

2012 December 19
by Ian Welsh

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.

107 Responses
  1. tsisageya permalink
    December 26, 2012

    But that I would still have the internet. lol

  2. tsisageya permalink
    December 29, 2012

    And that my children and their children’s children will live long, happy, healthy, and Christ-like lives.

    Live long and prosper?

  3. January 1, 2013

    America “has jobs which are intensely unpleasant, with the asshole boss being the norm… People have to be medicated to function in American society because it requires unpleasant and unnatural behavior, virtually all the time. ”
    Just wanted to thank you for writing this. It’s rarely talked about, probably because working-class people don’t have a voice anymore.

    If you’re not aggressive, not “money-motivated,” care more about other people than just making a financial profit, you’ll have trouble succeeding in today’s job market. Used to be that, as a result of the Privacy Act and probably other laws as well, employers could only check your references and ask your former employers about your work history–how long you’d worked for them, what your salary and duties were, etc. Now employers can actually make you take a physical (with one of their own doctors) and can access your medical records! They can have your body physically examined to see whether they approve of you as an employee. I’m talking about basic jobs answering phones, working in customer service, etc., that don’t require physical labor at all. They also can test you for drugs, check your credit history and, of course, your criminal background. (It’s as though your applying for a job arises some sort of suspicion in them.)

    But in the process of all that background checking and medical probing, they can find out your religious, political and racial background, whether or not you’re disabled, what your sexual preferences are, etc. All this used to be illegal because we wanted to encourage employers to hire Americans, but now suddenly it’s okay in the USA, so we have a lot of unemployed Americans who can’t pass all those background investigations. Also now that you’re required to show two forms of ID, employers can see your date of birth. I called the EOC and they actually told me that it is now legal for employers to ask potential employees their age! I believe this is a result of the Patriot Act. And age discrimination is a serious problem as many employers prefer to fire older, better-paid employees and replace them with younger, less-experienced employees whom they can pay a lot less.

    What no one’s talking about is that many Americans can’t find jobs due to discrimination. And all this background checking makes it easy for employers to discriminate (that’s why it used to be illegal!)

    But Americans aren’t angry about all this ’cause they’re taking tons of antidepressants and sedatives then sitting in front of the TV set where they can get titillated and stimulated till they fall back asleep–and dream of more titillation and stimulation…

  4. tsisageya permalink
    January 2, 2013

    America was fucked-up from the very beginning. Srsly, white guy?

  5. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 3, 2013

    @ mbl
    January 1, 2013

    What no one’s talking about is that many Americans can’t find jobs due to discrimination. And all this background checking makes it easy for employers to discriminate (that’s why it used to be illegal!)
    But Americans aren’t angry about all this ’cause they’re taking tons of antidepressants and sedatives then sitting in front of the TV set where they can get titillated and stimulated till they fall back asleep–and dream of more titillation and stimulation…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Which is one of many reasons I left; my sister recently joined me abroad and is working at a decent job.
    Your post is like looking at my previous life as a working stiff “on the floor” of warehouses and manufacturing plants. I managed to go from blue collar to white; from machinist to engineer; at base it never changed because I never got above the status of employee.
    Great post and a serious look at what is!

  6. Edward Hara permalink
    January 6, 2013

    I find it amazing how many people want to live in a society where the idea of a loving God Who commands us to love one another is treated as something to be despized, and then expect the same society to function well. We have ample evidence that societies that exclude God and a higher moral code based on loving your neighbor are societies that are violent, repressive, and deadly to live in. Think Russia, China, Cuba, N. Korea of the last century.

    Yet to mention the idea of God to Liberals is to get that look that says “I’m sorry you are an ignorant, superstitous moron.”

    No true believer in God would do the things I see American Capitalists doing to their fellow man for the sake of a buck. No true believer would commit the moral atrocities that Liberals do and try to pass them off as moral behavior. This is one reason we have so mnay crazy people in America who are on the verge of cracking. The unresolved giilt of evil living, the free wheeling use of drugs that bend the mind ans the moral senses, the anger at being treated as a thing by others who just want to use you for their gratification — these and a hundred other daily abuses that people must endure because we do not accept that God has told us “Love your neighbor.”

    A truly Christian society would be marked by a strong sense of community where money would not be the most important thing on earth, where charity would mean universal health care, not health if you can afford health, respect for other nations instead of seeing them as little brown people to be exploited for their raw materials, war as a last and regrettable response rather than the always first response to every disagreement. Perhaps the best example we had in the last century was Dorothy Day.

    There is so much to say and this is such a limited space, but the starting point is to find peace within by finding the love of God within. That love gives peace, and a peace that is then able to be given to a sick world.

  7. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 8, 2013

    Edward Hara
    January 6, 2013

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The gods of the various religions, including Yahweh of the old testament, have been responsible for most of the wars that have resulted in the largest losses of human life in the course of human history.
    Your sentiment, while likely well meaning, is just that; sentiment.
    No thank you; I choose life as it is and as it comes…

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