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.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Iraq Chooses McCain

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no foreign policy expert. I do feel, however, that the United States sometimes sticks its nose in where it doesn’t belong. And I also think we tend to want to ‘democratize’ the entire world (see this post).

Be that as it may, in a blog at, the writer said that the Iraqis prefer McCain be elected President of the United States because they are worried Obama will pull our troops out too soon. They say their army is still too weak and that Iran’s President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad would fill the void left when US troops depart.

While there is undoubtedly validity in their concerns, I am reminded of our original reason for going to war in Iraq which, according to George W. Bush, was because of “Iraq’s illegal weapons programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups.”

Of course many of us now know that was just a smoke screen and the real reason was related to controlling the Persian Gulf oil reserves. And the reasons we stay in the area is not so much related to Iraqi human rights or protection against terrorism as it is to ensure our continued access to the oil we so desperately need to keep our country running. Why else do you think McCain made the comment about staying in Iraq for 100 years? (For more information, see

CIA Director R. James Woolsey said in 2001, “I fear we’re going to be at war for decades, not years. Ultimately we will win it, but one major component of that war is oil.”

Moreover, when you consider the fact that many American corporations, some of which have close ties to the current administration, are making huge amounts of money in the current reconstruction process in Iraq, it’s pretty apparent why McCain wants us to stay in the area.

I believe it is time the American people wake up and recognize that our national security will continue to be threatened until we begin taking an ACTIVE role in becoming energy independent. We simply cannot continue to let Middle Eastern countries control our destiny, take the lives of our young men and women, and manipulate our economic policies.