You already know that I don’t really like getting “political” on here anymore, and I’ve personally enjoyed immensely having nothing but light-hearted and happy things to talk about, but this is just getting in my craw, and I want to make a statement.
The straight-up fact is that gun control does not prevent violence because guns do not cause violence. Guns are the exact same kind of tool as axes, knives, piano wires, scissors, ice picks, credit cards, pills, drugs, needles, etc: they are only a threat when put in the hands of someone seriously unhinged and/or desperate.
At the same time, a well-armed public is generally safer than a completely disarmed public. Take, for instance, the rate of muggings around businesses that refuse to allow licensed gun-carriers in their doors *coughHalfpriceBookscough*, and then consider the vocal observations by many of the bloggers and periodicals out right now. If even one or two people had been carrying a gun (besides the shooter), lives could have been saved, etc. Blah blah blah.
Did I just say “blah blah blah” about how that kind of tragedy could have been prevented with presence of other guns?
Yes. Yes, I did. And I’ll tell you why.
It doesn’t matter. The real problem was not absence of or presence of guns but rather the grossly poor mental health of a single individual. What’s worse is that the mental state of that single individual is not uncommon, and I’m personally noticing a trend in recent years of mass murders and/or shooting sprees carried out by college students. I’m not suggesting that college is bad for mental health (although I have a long list of personal friends in grad school that might dispute that), but where there’s a correlation, there’s reason for investigation.
I could easily get into a discourse about the bleeding-heart tendency of society to forgive the wrong elements and ignore real needs, which I know makes many of my more liberal friends twitchy, but rather than discuss the overall tendency of society to allow continued breeding of those genetically pre-disposed to neurological aberrations, I’d rather focus on a social solution.
The first step would be to recognize that psychology as a “science” is grossly incomplete. The human mind cannot possibly be quantified with the range of data collected to date, and the halls of “traditional psychotherapy” are littered with the broken psyches of those that have been misguided in their healing. If mental therapy were to want to move in a direction that would actually help people, it would go back to the beginning and look at the methods used by shaman, witch-doctors, faith healers, and alternative practitioners. I’m not suggesting that ALL of those methods would be useful, but they produced more effective results more consistently.
The second step would be to look at how our society treats each other. How do we emotionally address groups versus individuals? What are we as a society doing to trigger people into this psychotic episodes? And before you bring up “video games” or “violent movies” or “comic books” or any of that other tripe, just swallow your tongue now because you’ll just demonstrate how much you don’t know about minds versus brains. We can’t necessarily speak for this most recent shooter, but we can speak for many other perpetrators of violence (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc) and say that a common thread is that they felt they themselves were the victims of extreme injustice that went un-addressed by members of perceived authority. They felt pushed into a corner where they saw no other recourse than to lash out and let their rage take on an external form. And we already know that bullying and abuse can cause suicide, domestic violence, drug abuse, etc. Do not mistake a different expression of violence as coming from a different source. If you want to know what drives someone into sociopathic psychosis like this, look no further than at any other causative element that would lead to other aberrant behaviors.
I think you’ve maybe also heard me go on about the tragedy of the patriarchy, that it’s really the men of the patriarchal society that suffer the most. They’re not allowed to have/express real human emotions, they have to live up to impossible standards, they live with a sense of shame or loser-hood for not ticking off all the check marks on the imaginary “Be A Man” list. They also don’t feel the same latitude or have the same permission to talk it out, to find other ways to cope with stress, to be “less than” the strongest, best, smelliest, fiercest whatever.
If you want a truly liberal society based on free will and freedom of speech/religion/choice/etc, then you’d better be prepared for the consequences. In the words of my personal hero, Robert Heinlein, “You can have peace, or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both.” In the context of this particular event, there is some reaping of what we as a society have sown. Would an armed movie-goer have changed the outcome? Would a stronger emotional support system for the shooter have solved it before it happened? Would going back in time and killing this guy’s grandmother have prevented this, or was it a fixed moment in history? Who the hell knows? All we do know is that if you have a problem with things like this happening now, you have to change the way you approach the problem, because until you fix your thinking about it, it’s just not going to change.