A Potential Solution to Fight Mass Killings

I recently referenced an article written by Megan McArdle in which she discussed mass shootings and suggested some ways to prevent them, along with the negatives of each potential solution.

I just came across her most recent article in which she elaborates on one of the points she suggested in her original write-up (banning extensive coverage of mass shootings) and discusses why she feels it could play an important role.

I’m going to quote the relevant portion of the article and provide the source at the end. I can’t guarantee you will be able to access her full remarks as online media is getting very selfish about sharing unless you PAY a subscription fee.

As for government restrictions on news coverage, the political and practical hurdles would be at least as daunting. Who decides what constitutes a violation? Do you trust anyone with that kind of power?

But while government censorship is dangerous, curbing one’s own speech is often just good judgment. News organizations should perform an experiment: Make it a tenet of journalistic ethics not to print the names or manifestos of mass shooters, or details of their lives, or even details of their attacks. Mass shooters seek notoriety; deny it to them.

Ending the wall-to-wall coverage would mean, yes, losing readers and viewers. The public would lose some information. Gun-control advocates would lose a campaigning tool. But the public policy aspects of mass shootings can be covered with aggregate statistics. The visceral details may make for a better story, a better PR campaign. But as long as there’s reason to think that they also make for more murders, we have a moral obligation to avoid them.

Source: The Herald Dispatch

So it would seem she advocates the news media reduce the sensationalism that seems to accompany each violent attack. Would such an action work? Maybe. Obviously it wouldn’t stop the killings, but perhaps it could/would serve as a deterrent.

Your thoughts?

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Fighting Mass Killings

In a recent edition of our local newspaper there was an article by Megan McArdle, a Washington Post columnist, in which she addressed some familiar “solutions” related to gun control in the U.S.  The entire article can be found at the Washington Post website under the title of “How to Fight Mass Killings.” However, be warned. WP restricts people to a limited number of visits, so you may have to find alternate ways to access the article.

In any case, following are some highlights.

Ms. McArdle asks, Why are so many mass shootings happening now? Why not decades ago, when the United States had plenty of guns, alienated youth, dysfunctional families, economically distressed communities, sexism and almost every other factor commonly blamed for these tragedies?

Surprisingly, mass public shootings used to be rare, freak events. They spiked in the late 1990s,  then abruptly fell in 2000 and stayed low for years. What changed? She points out that in 2000-2004, the dot-com bubble burst. Then there was a hotly contested election, followed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. All these events distracted the media and this, in turn, had an effect on those who follow wall-to-wall coverage of massacres.

In her opinion, mass shootings seem to be a “social contagion, a behavioral epidemic.” In fact, she feels they are almost like a disease triggered by media coverage.

Preventing Mass Killings

As we all know, much discussion has taken place on how to stop mass killings. Ms. McArdle provides what she calls two “obvious” policies:

  • Ban private gun ownership
  • Ban extensive coverage of mass shootings

Unfortunately, both violate the Constitution … even though they could radically reduce (if not entirely eliminate) mass killing sprees.

She goes on to say that mental health treatment isn’t the answer since not all shooters have shown any signs of mental unbalance before they strike. She also dismisses violent video games and entertainment. And background checks won’t work because many mass shooters buy guns legally. Or they borrow. Or steal what they can’t borrow.

She points out that a high capacity magazine ban enacted in 1994 proved useless because it’s the high velocity power of the gun that’s the problem, not how many bullets it can hold.

She then asks: “What part of the Bill of Rights do we want to amend, read out of the Constitution or simply violate outright? The First Amendment or the Second?”

She ends her commentary by indicating she will point out a better way in her next column. I hope to be able to access it and report accordingly. However, if it’s not provided by our local newspaper, I encourage readers to research on their own and share her solutions via comments on this post.

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Abortion, Restaurant Shooting, No. Korea, LBGT

Sometimes there are so many things going on in the world, it’s difficult to focus on just one. So I’ve decided to temporarily abandon my usual singular subject post and cover a multitude of topics.

Repeal of Abortion Ban in Ireland

The women are celebrating … the Christians are complaining.

I’ve written before on this very touchy subject so I won’t go into a long, drawn-out commentary except to say I’m thrilled the vote went the way it did. It’s way past time to overturn antiquated laws that deny women’s rights. Go women of Ireland!

Shooting in Oklahoma Restaurant 

The NRA folks are just giddy that “good guys” with guns stepped in at an Oklahoma restaurant shooting. Yippee! Hooray! Justification for not only owning a gun, but running to get it out of the car and shooting the bad guy. Yet they have little to say when someone walks into a school with an assault rifle in their immediate possession and kills innocent children and young people!

There’s something else that’s disturbing about this story. One news source reported the incident as follows: “A man who believed he had been under demonic attacks drove to an Oklahoma restaurant and indiscriminately fired at a crowd.” Did you notice the most important words in this sentence? What do those words tell you about the attacker?

Meeting with No. Korea

There’s not much to say about this except that I truly hope it doesn’t take place. As many of you recognize, our president is NOT the Great Negotiator he thinks he is. Further, his primary goal is not to reach any kind of peace agreement with Kim Jong-un, but to enhance his own ego for (finally) accomplishing something notable as POTUS. (Side note: Several in his administration disagree with his decision to go forward, but of course tRumpsky knows best!)

Supreme Court Decision on Discrimination

It seems a decision is forthcoming on the “wedding cake” fiasco. The matter of general discrimination against LGBT people is still being discussed.  The latter is the all-important one as it determines whether businesses can avoid complying with anti-discrimination measures in serving customers, hiring and firing employees, providing health care, and placing children with foster or adoptive parents simply based on religious objections.

To those of us who have strong feelings related to the imposition of religion into the general population, it’s simply unfathomable that human beings (of which we all are) can be denied certain things simply because they don’t fit the parameters of the Christian faith.


OK — I’ve said my piece. The floor is open.