Searching for a solution


January 23, 2013, 12:46 PM
New here, lurking for a while, I am not a troll. I come in peace with a serious question.

I've read hundreds of headlines and minor stories in the news over the past weeks and countless threads on here and other gun forums. I've seen the finger pointed at everything from meds to G W Bush. Lots of talk about which reps are pro- or anti-gun and to just write them all. Some great, logical posts, blogs and video clips that haven't circulated much past our pro-2A groups. Everybody on both sides seems to have a simple answer to a complicated problem. Antis scream at the top of their lungs to just ban everything while our side wants more responsible civilians armed. I would like to note a few in-depth points that I haven't heard folks mention as much as others, and then ask a very genuine question. So let's review what we do know:

Prohibition. There is perhaps no greater example of why bans do not work than this. It is single-handedly responsible for the birth of organized crime as we know it. Mass noncompliance, turning hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens into instant criminals, and making regular street thugs into high-profile mafiosi and hardened criminals with heavy societal and political influence. This is the future of Feinstein's bill that the antis do not acknowledge nor care about, except it's even more catastrophic.

Arming more civilians. In theory, this seems like the best, most logical response to a safer nation. It works for Switzerland. But America is not and never will be Switzerland, not politically, not socially. Guns have been heavily stigmatized and as we have seen, the masses fear guns. The masses are uneducated about guns. The masses do not want themselves, and therefore us, being armed. How do we educate the general population of sheep so content to follow the herd and stick their heads in the sand when told to do so? How do we effectively drown out the liberal media? We've tried and are trying, but they are still bigger and louder than we are. Our biggest voice, the NRA, has been branded as extremist. Until we can reach out more effectively than the media, gun-rights activists are going to be further ostracized. Pro-gunners are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to good PR because responsible gun ownership is anything but sensational - it is rational, it is safe, it is unexciting to headlines by its nature. It's almost impossible to make more "good" news. Arming more citizens will only work to reduce crime en masse if the masses are educated enough to not try to ban adequate self-defense. As we have seen, throwing official statistics like the FBI's Uniform Crime Report at them only falls on deaf ears. We have the information we need, but we need a better way to reach out to the public. Only going through politicians who couldn't give a damn is risky business.

Convicted felons. These guys are the main problem, but what do we do with them to ensure they don't get weapons without infringing on our rights? Statistically, deterrents do little to prevent criminals from terrorizing innocents. You might say we can bring forth harsher penalties for gun crimes, but we simply do not have the resources to enforce these nationwide. We do not have the room to keep these guys locked up for life nor the money to send them to death row. We can legislate, but the time and resources are just not there to enforce it.

Drugs/medicine. A lot of gun crimes are drug-related, and mass shooters are typically on some sort of SSRI drug. We have failed miserably in going after gang-bangers. It's difficult to bring them down from the inside by infiltrating them because of their strict requirements to join. They are everywhere. I do not believe we will ever eliminate or even greatly reduce gang violence, so what do we do about them, if anything? The mass shooters who are truly mentally ill before and especially after taking certain antidepressants... we have profiles of these types but are rarely able to stop them before a disaster strikes. We as a country do not see mental illness as seriously as we should. We drug our children at a young age and keep them on these drugs their entire lifetime. They either are or become sick and dependent on the drugs to function normally, and when they are off the drugs, Sandy Hook happens. Columbine happens. We as a country still haven't learned from these mistakes.

My question is, what do we do? Where do we start? We face serious roadblocks at every turn and are quickly losing our rights because of it. Writing our representatives is only going to do so much at best. There's more antis than there are of us, and by the time they are voted out it will be too late. Let's be realistic: if we only fight to maintain the status quo or for more gun rights while the majority is still emotional, fearful and uneducated, we are going to lose. Is there really anything we can do that can greatly affect the current public opinion on guns in time to save our rights? We have been largely preaching to the choir or to corrupt politicians this whole time. What about the People?

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January 23, 2013, 12:56 PM
The only thing you can do to reach the "People", is to educate as many as you can. It can be VERY frustrating to argue with the well meaning, but ignorant, but sometimes you have to state your views and stand by them. Take some people to the range, teach them to shoot safely, and hope that they come around. In the meantime, be active and aware of what is being done on the political side and badger your Reps incessantly; let them know that you WILL vote, and whether it will be for or against them, is entirely up to them.

"Don't let the Man get you down!" ;)

January 23, 2013, 01:00 PM
I am going to take exception to the SSRI comment. There are about as many people on SSRI's as there are who own AR's. The percentage who become mass murderers is also about the same. Responding to unjust stigma towards us by projecting it another group of people is not a path I would like to see us go down. You are right that mental health is an issue here - but the people that perpetrate these things are considerably more messed up that your garden variety depression case.

Excellent points otherwise, and welcome to the forum. You don't look at all like a troll. The SSRI thing just hits a bit close to home for me.

January 23, 2013, 01:24 PM
I wasn't implying that all or most people on SSRIs are lunatics or murderers, because that's obviously just not true. I was saying that many of those who ARE crazy, likely born with or grew up to be predisposed to be that way to begin with (Lanza for example), have those traits exemplified by drugs like antidepressants, or withdrawal from them. When they experience something that triggers their instability, some of them will end up committing heinous crimes in part due to the drug's affect on their behavior. You are absolutely right, it's more about the individual than the drug. But how to pick out the Holmeses and Lanzas from safe individuals before disaster strikes? Good question... I've no idea.

January 23, 2013, 06:11 PM
You are definitely on to something relevant.

The mass shooters we’ve seen have certainly been on medication at a much higher percentage than a random sample of the population would be. Suggesting that there might be a causal relationship is of course perfectly reasonable – though that should be a cause for investigation, not a conclusion.

In this case, I think we DID know ahead of time that something was wrong. The mother had been trying to get her son committed because she was concerned.
I think the part people have trouble with is that in many cases, there is simply no justification for locking someone up (or otherwise restricting them) prior to their committing an atrocity. We know in hindsight that this man was a monster, but until he crossed the line, he possessed the same rights that you and I do. I’m not sure this is something we want to change.

The resources being spent on the “mass shooting problem” seem somewhat irrational to me, to be honest. These events are tragic, but so are lightning strikes – and both are about equally common. If there wasn’t a political motivation, we could save more lives by spending the same resources elsewhere. As cold as it sounds, I think the best course of action to deal with this issue really is to do nothing. I felt the same way about 9/11 though, so I’m probably an outlier on the political spectrum.

January 23, 2013, 06:24 PM
How about prosecuting those who obtain or try to obtain guns illegally?
Adam Lanza failed a background check just before he shot up Sandy Hook. If someone in law enforcement had taken an interest in him then, maybe the whole thing could have been prevented.

Gun free zones are also dismal failures. People in Aurora and Sandy Hook died proving it. Simply put, gun free zones aren't gun free. There is no way to make them gun free. If you could magically do it, I would be in favor if that. But you can't. The best solution is to also allow good people to be armed so that at least they can resist the armed bad people who kill innocent people in gun free zones.

School security, such as hardened entry points, loading and unloading zones under cover and or concealment (because it's only matter of time before someone exploits a bunch of buses unloading kids), real security in multiple layers that all would have to be breached. Simply put, we need something better than a receptionist with a clipboard as our only line of defense.

Reality check. One news story I watched had a school with what they thought was great security. Visitors came in and handed their ID's to a receptionist through a large sliding window and she ran a background check on them before issuing a visitor's pass. Sounds great, but a determined assailant could still climb through that window, neutralize her and anyone else in the way, then continue on and have wide access to the rest of the building. There were also large windows in every classroom door - shoot one of those out and you could easily open the door and have access to the defenseless people inside.

Gun owners are people who look at real risks and accept that they are there. We start from the point of how to reduce them and how to survive when things go wrong. Those who oppose us start from a fictional happy land where a padlock and a teddy bear are all they need to feel safe. They have to start facing the ugly reality of the risks they face. No matter what they can ban or what they can do with mental health, we have to stop sticking our heads in the sand and pretending it's safe. It isn't safe. Accepting that is the first step to making it safer.

January 23, 2013, 06:38 PM
Your prohibition point stands for itself.

Your point on arming more civilians...the bolded text isn't what your point is about. You're talking about liberal media vs. NRA. And you're right. We can't hope to compete with the liberal media, especially with the stigma we have. We do have a few rational people I've seen on talk shows, but they aren't in a position of real authority in the gun industry.

What's worse, on that same topic, is the anti-gun agenda is all anti-gun. They focus on it, and they use only that topic. They're not calling for anti-gun...and gay marriage. Or anti-gun...and socialized medicine. They're calling for anti-gun, period. We can't seem to divorce ourselves from other politics to just focus on the gun.
At the rally I went to, there was a lot of "us vs. them" that wasn't just pro-gun vs. anti-gun, it was republican vs. democrat. There was a lot of "this is because we now have a godless society." I am agnostic and know athiests that like guns, and I know Christians that don't, so I'm pretty sure gun politics are irrespective of religion. There were a lot of other political subjects brought up (debt, abortion, etc.).
Our focus should primarily be on the 2A, both with our position and attacking the fallacies of the anti logic. Secondarily we should focus on the Bill of Rights as a whole. But all the other politics need to be put aside so we don't divide internally.

Convicted's simple. Don't trust them with guns? Why trust them with baseball bats and kitchen knives? Why trust them around people? If you think someone is dangerous, don't let him wander society, supposedly unarmed. Lock him up. Get rid of victimless crimes, stop devoting police resources and jail cells to victimless crimes, and we'll see a decrease in violent crime.

As to the mass murders...they'll still happen. Gun ban or no, they'll still happen. There is no escaping that fact. Even the anti's admit this. Yet they still restrict our rights.

Texan Scott
January 23, 2013, 06:39 PM
Because they're emotionally incapable of FRIGHTENINGLY HONEST threat assessments. It's easier to pick an easy answer and declare ourselves safer and go on believing that.

In the words of Jeremy Irons, they suffer the great weakness of the clear minded... they believe everyone thinks as they do. They cannot imagine the weaknesses in their defenses because they are emotionally reluctant to realistically visualize someone being cruel, evil, and vicious enough to exploit any weakness they find.To do so makes them feels 'dirty' and insecure, and so they unconsciously avoid realistic assesments.

The first thing we need to do in these cases is view the situation from the outside with the nakedly and unapologetically malicious eye ... find the weaknesses that are exploitable, then ADDRESS those vulnerabilities.

If, after honestly concluding that nothing COULD have been done, then there's nothing TO do. Of course, looking at how the school was breached should have immediately prompted legislation to pay for HARDENING OF THE FACILITY... but apparently, that was overlooked. Why SHOULD a public school be as easy to enter as a WalMart? Nobody's asked that, or answered yet. Until someone does, other steps are perhaps premature.

January 23, 2013, 08:29 PM
Agreed with all of you. We are all armed to the teeth with logical and rational information but nobody willing to listen to us. That is the problem we need to solve if we want to get anywhere, is how to get people to listen.

Going off topic for a minute, but I think it somewhat has to do with the people of my generation (now early-late 20s). The world we grew up in is so radically different from the ones our parents did. My generation is more focused on "me me me" and in-the-moment, not forward thinking at all. It is painfully common for someone my age to know more about the Kardashians' daily dress than the foundations this country was built on. Maybe that's got something to do with all this as well.

I agree with those of you stating let's maintain the status quo, just don't change anything because there's not much we can do anymore - but how to convince raving liberals of this? How do we better make them hear logic and reason before it's too late? If we give up and say screw it they're too stupid, we all lose in the end.

January 23, 2013, 09:56 PM
You are definitely on to something relevant.
The mass shooters we’ve seen have certainly been on medication at a much higher percentage than a random sample of the population would be. Suggesting that there might be a causal relationship is of course perfectly reasonable – though that should be a cause for investigation, not a conclusion.

In this case, I think we DID know ahead of time that something was wrong. The mother had been trying to get her son committed because she was concerned.

Yes, if anything needs to be done, its a look at the medications, and increased awareness of the dangers associated with them. As far as I can tell all of these mass shooters have been on them, that certainly is significant. From a cursory look, it seems that several other high profile murders have happened with people on these drugs, too, like some of those bizarre mother murdering her kids things. Hinkley on was on medications like that. I think one reason this inst circulated much, besides the "blame the guns" mentality, is that the pharmaceutical industry has really, really deep pockets, lots of TV ads, and a lobby to match. And they might not like the awareness that these meds have a chance to cause people to freak out. Might mean a few less less dollars in their pockets. If big pharma has to sweat it out and help identity what people are at a greater risk for the psychotic episodes these medicines can cause, I wouldn't be too concerned.

The other area that might make a difference is the the media self restricting information of these killers to prevent the whole hero worship aspect. If you look at most of the thwarted spree killers, they had been studying past spree killers. People don't seem to realize that to someone inclined to go shoot a school full of kids, constant stories discussing someone who did that is glorifying them. It would be kind of like what wall to wall coverage of stories of the people in New York standing up against the ban there would be to the people here. How many would say that such stories wouldn't inspire others to do the same? "New York gun owners are taking a stand, let take one here, too!"

I'd thought that the increase in spree killings was due to the 24 hour news cycle at first, but now I'd be willing to bet there is also an increase in the number of people on psychiatric medicines in the corresponding time. It looks like doctors have started passing those things out like candy. I'm thinking those two together are a pretty big root cause.

Of course I completely agree identifying bizarre behaviors in your kids might help. Half the time I hear about how these kids were acting before they did their little spree and I wonder what the hell was wrong with the parents. Theres a difference between a rebellious teen and how these kids act.

January 24, 2013, 12:38 AM
Personally, I think if someone is too dangerous to own a handgun, they are too dangerous to be on the street. If they are a violent criminal, they should be locked in a box or removed from the face of the earth. If someone is so mentally unstable that they can't be trusted with a gun, they should be institutionalized.

This is my lithmus test: if an individual can't be trusted with a weapon, they shouldn't be loose in public.

The liberals tell the "rich" they need to pay more for the greater good. I'm asking the dangerous parts of our society to do their part and either join society or go away. We're all in this together, and we all need to do our part regardless of whether you are good at building things or destroying things.

January 24, 2013, 06:31 AM
Miller.Lyte, your right about not being able to convince the "raving liberals", but we don't have to.... we have to convince the fence sitters, who are oblivious to firearms, except for what they're told constantly in the media. "Guns are bad, M'kay?" Those are the ones to reach out to, rather than wasting time with someone who won't be swayed.

January 24, 2013, 11:38 PM
There are "raving liberals" who are pro-gun.
I am pretty liberal myself and I have written as many letters as anyone in the last few weeks. It does those who defend the Second Amendment a disservice when people are not open-minded enough to include those people who have a different ideology than you but who still want to live under constitutional government.
And also, a Republican governor and a Republican state Senate just helped pass the most restrictive gun laws in the nation in New York last week. Don't let Republicans off the hook.

Check out the Liberal Gun Club discussion forums if you don't believe me. Don't get political if you don't agree with them - don't start divisive conversations. Just don't do it. Don't go there and start an argument about religion or spending or abortion. It serves none of us and only weakens us when we should stand united against those who want to strip our rights. We can sort out our other differences under a constitutional government AFTER we have all worked together and preserved our rights. But if you drop in and register and join a few discussions about the gun issue, I think you'll find some unlikely allies. Even now, there are those over there who lament that the left has been so associated with anti-gun politics and want to do something to change that.
So the question to you all is, do you want more allies who can help sway the democratic party more toward protecting the Second Amendment and who could add their voices to yours tomorrow (and who are actually adding their protests to yours right now), or is it more productive to just blabber on about how "them damn liberals" are to blame for everything?

January 25, 2013, 01:25 PM
Goon makes an excellent point.

We are discussing a fundamental human right here. Many people on both sides of the aisle get that. I personally believe that the vast majority of people who think they are in political disagreement have more in common with each other than they do with those who seek to divide them.

Look at the effort to separate the "sportsman" from the rest in the 2A debate. This is NOT the only place this tactic has been used.

The idea that we have to "do something" at all is still one we should not immediately concede, though. I see NO evidence of an increase in mass shootings. I only see evidence of an increase in hysterical news coverage of same. Imagine if we got 20 minutes of national news coverage every single time someone died in a fatal car accident. We would have just as big of a cry to "do something" - the only difference is that said accidents are three orders of magnitude more common than mass shootings, so you don't have enough hours in the day to grant them the same coverage.

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