Friday, February 16, 2018
Thoughts on the Florida school shooting
I've waited a couple of days to say anything about the tragic high school shooting in Florida. As usual, the media and self-appointed "experts" were all over the situation, exploiting it for their various purposes and agendas. Few, if any, worried about what the families who've lost loved ones might think, or how they might react. As in previous such tragedies, the media are dancing in the blood of the victims.
I've written about such situations in the past, particularly here and here. My arguments then remain valid today, so I won't repeat them. I simply point out that gun control will not work. It's as simple as that. H. L. Mencken made the point in 1925, and Kevin over at The Smallest Minority expanded on the logic a few years ago. Both are correct. I invite anyone who wishes to refute their reasoning, to try to do so. If anyone can demonstrate a guaranteed, practical, logical, rational approach to gun control that will - not may, will - reduce mass casualty events such as this, and reduce "gun crime", I'll support it with my money and my vote. However, no-one will, because no-one can. It's not humanly possible.
It's human to demand that somebody in authority "do something". I can absolutely understand those who lost loved ones in this tragedy expecting that of their elected representatives. The trouble is, "doing something" doesn't necessarily equate to "doing something effective". The worst school massacre in US history did not involve firearms. Neither did one of the worst nightclub massacres. Gun control legislation would not have prevented either of those incidents, or many others like them in our troubled history.
Nevertheless, I must (and do) concede that the problem of access to dangerous articles and substances is one that must receive more attention. If gun control legislation will not prevent such tragedies - and it won't - then what can we do to improve the safety of our schools and other vulnerable places? Is there any possible way to provide greater security against such attacks? I think there is, starting with more armed, well-trained guards in schools - preferably the teachers themselves, who will be in the best place to respond to such incidents as soon as they arise. Israel found that approach effective after the Ma'alot massacre. However, that was in the context of a broad, society-wide anti-terrorism effort. Ultimately, it's that broader focus that has proven relatively effective, although even that has not prevented some terrorist attacks by "lone wolf" operators.
There's also the issue of the widespread and deliberate doping of our children. Karl Denninger has a well-informed perspective on that issue. There's been a lot of discussion about possible links between mood-altering prescription medication and mass shootings, including a very interesting list of perpetrators who were confirmed users of such drugs. You can read more about it for yourself. The upshot is, I think there's enough anecdotal evidence to justify a formal study of the issue. If the authorities want to to "do something" really effective, perhaps they should start there? I doubt that they will, though . . . there's an entire industry grown up around drugging our society as a whole with these medications, and an entrenched bureaucracy administering it that will fight tooth and nail to prevent any reduction in their authority, power or influence. (For more information, see here, here and here.)
Ultimately, a large part of the problem boils down to individual versus community "rights". Our Constitution enshrines individual rights - they're what the Bill of Rights is all about. I'm certainly not advocating that any of them be reduced or constrained. However, many of those arguing for greater gun control or other restrictions are not being fully honest, because what they want will necessarily involve restricting those individual rights. Their objectives can't be achieved without that.
Are we looking at a situation where, to maintain, uphold and defend our existing individual rights, we must accept periodic shootings such as that in Florida as an unavoidable "side effect"? That would be tragic beyond words . . . but it's a question that needs to be asked. It's easy to be glib and say, "Yes - my individual rights take precedence over everything and everyone else!" However, it's not so easy to say that when looking into the eyes of a mother who's just lost her child in a school shooting. Somewhere, we have to find common ground, or risk our society unraveling over this issue.
I don't have any answers. I suspect few of us do. Nevertheless, we need to continue to look for them together.