Every time we hear about another mass shooting, like the one that took place on Monday at a school in New Mexico, liberals begin their mantra of needing more gun control, stricter background checks and more mental health services. President Obama and others tell America that mass shootings are on the rise and then they blame it on the guns instead of the people.
James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University and Monica J. DeLateur, a doctoral student in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University just published their study, Mass Shootings in America: Moving Beyond Newtown, in the journal Homicide Studies. According to the pair of researchers, liberals continue to espouse seven myths about mass shootings that they want us all to believe but aren’t necessarily true. In their abstract they write:
“Mass shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, a Colorado movie theater, and other venues have prompted a fair number of proposals for change. Advocates for tighter gun restrictions, for expanding mental health services, for upgrading security in public places, and, even, for controlling violent entertainment have made certain assumptions about the nature of mass murder that are not necessarily valid. This article examines a variety of myths and misconceptions about multiple homicide and mass shooters, pointing out some of the difficult realities in trying to avert these murderous rampages. While many of the policy proposals are worthwhile in general, their prospects for reducing the risk of mass murder are limited.”
The seven myths about mass shootings are:
Mass murderers snap and kill randomly – Mass murderers typically plan their assaults days, weeks, or months in advance. Their motives are most typically revenge, power, loyalty, terror, and profit.
Mass shootings are on the rise – According to FBI data, over the past few decades there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the U.S.
Violent entertainment, especially video games are causally linked to mass murder – Scientists have not found a causal link between video games and mass murder; violent video gaming may be a symptom and not a cause of the incidents.
There are telltale signs that can help us to identify mass murderers before they act – Murderers tend to be male Caucasians with psychological issues, but these characteristics apply to a very large portion of the population.
Widening the availability of mental-health services will allow unstable individuals to get the treatment they need and decrease mass murders– Increasing mental health facilities may not reach those on the fringe who would turn to murder as many see the blame residing in others, not themselves.
Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of murderers – A recent examination of 93 mass shootings from 2009 through September 2013, conducted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (2013), found no indication that any of the assailants were prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms because of mental illness.
Having armed guards at schools will protect students from active shooters – 28% of public schools already employ armed security personal regularly; there is no way for armed guards to sufficiently protect every single one of their students in an event of a mass shooting.
Concerning the first myth about mass shooters suddenly snapping, the authors point to the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Klebold and Harris had planned their shooting for some time in advance. They practiced their marksmanship in the woods and scheduled the shooting to take place on Hitler’s birthday. They even had a contingent plan if they survived the shooting where they were going to hijack an airplane and fly it into a tall building on the New York City skyline – note this was 2 years prior to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
In their analysis of mass shootings, they discovered five basic motives behind the shootings:
“1. Revenge (e.g., a deeply disgruntled individual seeks payback for a host of failures in career, school, or personal life);
2. Power (e.g., a ‘pseudo-commando’ style massacre perpetrated by some marginalized individuals attempting to wage a personal war against society);
3. Loyalty (e.g., a devoted husband/father kills his entire family and then himself to spare them all from a miserable existence on earth and to reunite them in the hereafter);
4. Terror (e.g., a political dissident destroys government property, with several victims killed as ‘collateral damage,’ to send a strong message to those in power); and
5. Profit (e.g., a gunman executes the customers and employees at a retail store to eliminate all witnesses to a robbery).”
The authors point out that studies that have been publicized showing an increase in the number of mass shootings, like that of Mother Jones were not completely accurate because they excluded a number of mass murders based upon certain criteria. They excluded some incidents based upon motive, location and murderer-victim relationship. The authors looked at every incident that resulted in 4 or more victims from 1976 through 2011 (2012 figures were not available yet at the time of their study). They found that an average of about 20 mass murders take place in the US every year.
The connection between violent video games and movies and mass murderers is strong. Many of the perpetrators spent hours playing violent video games, but the researchers say that their findings indicate that these people are drawn to the games because of their already violent personality. The violent games don’t lead to the violence, but rather is a symptom of the problem.
In thinking of this, I had to go back to my youth in the 1950s and 1960s. We didn’t have video games but the vast majority of our play was based on violence. We played cowboys and Indians, shooting each other to death. We played cops and robbers, shooting each other to death. We played with army men where we shot each other to death. We played with slingshots, shooting at targets to kill. I also grew up hunting and shooting animals, but I and none of my family or friends ever turned into mass murderers.
As for the argument about increased mental health services would reduce the number of mass shootings/murders, the researchers conclude that these increased services may not reach those on the fringe who end up committing the mass killings. From what I’ve read, many of these people kept their thoughts, ideas and plans to themselves, so how does increased services help keep them from acting it out?
The authors state that armed guards at schools can’t protect every student only applies to an active shooter already on campus. They give the example of two middle school students in Arkansas who pulled the fire alarm and waited for students to exit the buildings before the two boys opened fire, killing four students and a teacher. However, I would like to add that the vast majority of school shootings have taken place at schools without armed security.
Several additional myths are covered in their paper but their overall conclusion states:
“…gun control, expanded psychiatric services, and increased security measures are limited in their ability to prevent dreadful mass shooting…”
“Eliminating the risk of mass murder would involve extreme steps that we are unable or unwilling to take—abolishing the Second Amendment, achieving full employment, restoring our sense of community, and round up anyone who looks or acts at all suspicious. Mass murder just may be a price we must pay for living in a society where personal freedom is so highly valued.”
This is why Obama and his socialist colleagues are working so hard to remove the Second Amendment and do away with as many of our personal freedoms as possible. They will continue to use these myths to accomplish their goals until Americans have been stripped of their personal freedoms and we become a socialist nation ruled by a select few tyrants.