I am baffled and stunned by the response to the recent high school shooting in Florida.
“People are the problem, not guns,” is a common sentiment to an outcry for gun control. Americans hold firearms dear as symbols of rebellion, freedom and power against an oppressive government. Navigating feelings of helplessness and grief, I research and write in search of a solution.
What do we know about mass shootings?
The majority of the shooters are male. As of Aug. 1, 1966, published statistics from mass shootings report that all but three of the shooters were male.
The majority of the guns were obtained legally, 167 out of 292 guns total; 49 of the weapons were obtained illegally, the source of the remaining 76 guns is unclear.
The most carnage results from use of semi automatic weapons. This means that the most people are killed when a shooter used a a semi automatic gun, such as an AR-15 or guns using a “bump-fire stock” which enables the weapon to fire like a semi-automatic. “The AR-15, a lightweight, customizable version of the military’s M16, soared in popularity after a 10-year federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004.”
The majority of the shooters are not mentally ill. In an analysis of 235 mass killings, only 22 percent of the perpetrators “could be considered mentally ill”. “Research shows that the association between mental illness and violence is not strong, but it does exist, ” stated John Monahan, University of Virginia Law & Psychology professor. The link between mental illness and mass shootings isn’t as well defined as commonly thought.
The majority of the shooters have a history of violence against women. “The perpetrators of mass shootings in modern America are overwhelmingly male and have a history of domestic abuse or misogynistic shows of behavior.” Max de Haldevang, Quartz Magazine. The reason that the Parkland, FL shooter was expelled from high school was because of fighting over an ex girlfriend who he was abusive towards, he reportedly also threatened and stalked another female. The Las Vegas shooter who shot concert goers from a hotel room had a habit of beating his girlfriend in public. The Florida night club shooter beat and tortured his wife. The mastermind of the Columbine shooting kept a journal filled with rape fantasies and stories of mutiliation.
Mass shootings are contagious like a disease. A 2015 Arizona State University study concluded that “We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past.” Malcom Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Outliers) expounded on the findings of Stanford University sociologist Mark Granovetter that “mass shootings might behave like a slow-motion riot“, somehow normalizing and inspiring new people to join the murderous movement.
Intense media coverage spreads the disease. 19th Century French criminologist Gabriel Tarde wrote about the serial murderer Jack the Ripper: “Infectious epidemics spread with the air or wind, epidemics of crime follow the telegraph.” Tarde noticed that media coverage of Ripper’s killings had started an outbreak of the same type of murders across Europe. The same 2015 Arizona State University study found that the contagious effect of reported mass shootings has a 13-day average, which was linked to the typical news coverage cycle after a mass shooting event.
Change media coverage of mass shootings. Do not release the details of the methods used or timeline of the event. Don’t release the name of the killer immediately. Find social media accounts of the accused and/or convicted shooters, and remove them immeidately from public view. Ideas are from this article.
Keep a nationwide database of perpetrators of violence against women. Create a viable nationwide registry of offenders, both with misdemeanors, reports and convicted felons, that is used as a resource: a “no buy list” for guns. Get Zuckerberg’s people on this. Once a person is reported for domestic abuse, strip them of firearm ownership and make it incredibly difficult for them to get a gun.
Intensify prosecution of violence against women. Why do men beat women? Because they can. The nature of crime prevention in this arena is, sadly, of near middle age methods. This subject bears more attention, to say the least. Women need solid, safe options to report domestic violence. Unfortunately, filing a personal protection order often incites the abuser and puts the victim at more risk. The majority of women murdered knew their killer and suffered domestic abuse previously from the person who eventually ended their life.
Leave the Second Amendment alone. Go ahead, buy a rifle. But common sense legislation has to be passed also that greatly restricts who can buy a gun and how many. Institute a 30-day cooling off period, intense background checks, and restrict the number of guns a person can own. Stockpiling of guns is a known red-flag of potential mass shooting activity.
Government ban and buyback of assault weapons. Yep, I’m gonna go here. There is no reason to own an AR-15 or modified gun that fires multiple rounds but to murder humans. They are not used for hunting or personal protection. They are used in mass shootings. Think you’ll beat the US Military or a Police Swat Team in the event of a government takeover? Think again. Even with assault weapons, camo gear and all the anger you can muster, trained military will win over civilians. The military have tanks and helicopters, guys. There is no contest. Where will the money come from? The NRA. The NRA contributed a reported $54 million dollars to the Trump presidential campaign. They have the money, sue them. For murder.
Guns alone are not the problem, but in the hands of male misogynists, they are doing an incredible amount of damage that can be prevented.
Comments? Cool. Insults? Nope. Leave constructive thoughts. I can dig another viewpoint if it is legitimate.