Sacrificing Children on the Altar of Gun Control

Guns in schools, as part of a proper plan, create a speed bump for killers; this is like having a fire extinguisher or wearing a seat belt.
Sacrificing Children on the Altar of Gun Control
By: George Noga – June 10, 2018

       In the aftermath of recent school shootings, progressives opt for political posturing and moral preening instead of immediate practical measures that will help prevent, and also minimize the toll from, school shootings. They disregard children’s safety to push for pie-in-the-sky gun control, which likely is unconstitutional and the effect, if any, is in the distant future. They have forfeited any claim to the moral high ground.

       Liberals refuse to acknowledge any cause, other than guns, of school shootings even though government failure at all levels was a major cause of Parkland. The FBI failed; the sheriff failed and local government failed. School administrators failed by imposing a loopy Obama policy of not suspending students or calling police regardless of the number or seriousness of offenses. Where is liberal angst about these things?

        Why is federal gun legislation the only remedy ever proffered by liberals? If there were mass shootings at Starbucks, would there be calls for federal action, or would people simply say that Starbucks needed to beef up its security? The latte left opposes guns in schools for one reason only: they fear to acknowledge guns ever can be a positive force as it would destroy their anti-gun mantra. At a minimum, guns in schools (as part of a proper plan) would create a rather large speed bump for killers.

          Not only would guns deter rampage killers, they also would minimize casualties. If armed school personnel start shooting back at wannabe killers, it messes up their plans. The best way to stop killers is an immediate, violent response; school personnel can respond instantly whereas police require 10-15 minutes. When armed civilians stop an attack, the average number of people shot is 2.5; when police stop an attack, the average number shot is 14; this is solely attributable to the faster response times. Many low-casualty incidents never even make the national news because rapid responses by armed civilians stop the killers before casualties have time to mount.

         Guns won’t prevent all school shootings just as fire extinguishers won’t prevent fires and seat belts won’t prevent accidents – but they all save lives. It’s all about an immediate response which can save an average of 11.5 lives compared to waiting for police. An immediate response can come only from within the school. Although arming school personnel does not deal with the root cause, neither does banning guns. The root cause is people deranged enough to want to commit such horrific acts.

      Nevertheless, progressives reflexively reject immediate, practical measures, like guns in school, to reduce the butcher’s bill from rampage attacks. Instead, they smugly and disingenuously hold out for a feel-good solution they know will take many years and likely will have little or no effect. In the meantime, they leave our school children vulnerable because of dogmatic obeisance to their anti-gun religion.

        Ending school gun-free zones saves children’s lives. Even the possible presence of guns deters would-be killers, whose fantasies would be ruined by an immediate violent resistance. Once an attack began, guns instantly change the killer’s calculus from mass killing to self defense. Guns significantly reduce casualties from an attack and can be introduced immediately with little cost. Liberals would not remove fire extinguishers from schools, yet they want to ban analogous instruments from schools.

       By doctrinaire opposition to guns in schools, progressives make their long-term, unconstitutional and unattainable gun control fantasy the enemy of the present good. They are sacrificing our school children on the altar of their gun control religion.


Next, we respond to numerous reader comments about American Birthright Accounts

Preventing Future Parklands

The response to the Parkland attack is different from the other school shootings. Most Americans (except progressives) seem prepared to support realistic actions.
Preventing Future Parklands
By: George Noga – February 28, 2018

        Is it different this time? After Parkland, most Americans, for the first time, seem ready to eschew ideology and to embrace realistic preventive measures. The skunks at this garden party are progressives and the media, who are determined to regurgitate the same ineffectual and symbolic canards that are non-starters with the public and the Supreme Court. We owe the Parkland victims more than empty political posturing.

        In that spirit, we outline a practical plan to prevent school shootings; it involves gun control, mental illness, school security, media, law enforcement and progressives. The plan excludes banning AR type guns; this was tried and failed. It also excludes banning large magazines; that would make no practical difference. Groups pushing for banning ARs and magazines are simply posturing and are not serious about solutions.

Gun Control
  • Institute mandatory universal background checks
  • Impose a 3-day waiting period that sunsets in 5 years to permit NICS compliance
  • Loss of gun rights including confiscation for those subject to a court injunction
  • Ban on bump stocks and similar devices
Mental Illness
  • Increase hospital/institutional beds for mental illness patients
  • Force treatment/institutionalization for the untreated violently mentally ill
  • Take away gun rights including confiscation during period of illness
  • Criminalize knowingly or carelessly making guns available to the mentally ill
School Security
  • Train and arm school personnel including bonus pay for those armed
  • Make clear that schools no longer are gun free zones
  • Increase readiness via realistic planning and drills
  • Adopt relevant parts of the successful run-hide-fight business paradigm
  • Enhance school choice to permit parents to choose more secure schools
Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice
  • Change the culture at the FBI; hold accountable those who fail to respond
  • Enable courts to suspend gun rights, including confiscation, for cause
  • Enact penalties for failure to timely post to the NICS system
  • Fire and charge officers who fail to confront an active shooter situation
  • Penalize making guns available to anyone not permitted to own them legally
  • Charge chronic troublemakers with crimes that suspend their gun rights
Media  (Due to the first amendment, these must be voluntary)
  • Substantially limit coverage of all mass casualty attacks
  • Rarely, if ever, show pictures or use names of perpetrators
  • Do not use body counts, comparisons, talk about records or use superlatives
  • Honestly report instances where legally armed citizens prevent crime
  • Do its part to change the toxic political culture in America
Progressives
  • Cease politicizing school tragedies and promoting fake, feel-good measures
  • Allow treatment and institutionalization of the violently mentally ill
  • Do their part to change the toxic culture permeating America

      Nothing will prevent all school attacks, but implementing the above outline will go far. It is a non ideological, practical and effective compromise. There are virtually no attacks on businesses, theme parks, airports and sporting venues because they are highly prepared, have guns and are adept at understanding personality and risk. We owe our school children nothing less. Is it different this time? Only time will tell.


On March 4th post explains why intellectuals hate capitalism.

Guns in America – Minimizing Mass Shootings

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Some mass violence is inevitable; however, it can be greatly reduced if we take off
our political and ideological blinders. This post shows the way to achieve that goal.
By: George Noga – February 7, 2016

     Following are five actions we can take to reduce mass gun violence; they are listed in the order of importance, i.e. the most effective are listed first.

1. Treat or institutionalize the violently mentally ill. Imagine living in a country where those with advanced dementia wander the streets without medical care, food or shelter. Imagine such a policy was based strictly on political dogma? That is precisely America’s policy for untreated violent schizophrenics. The 70,000 untreated and potentially violent mentally ill are condemned to tortured lives – and all in obeisance to liberal dogma. When there is a shooting by one of these miserable souls, liberals blame it on guns – also in obeisance to their dogma. Progressives refuse to institutionalize or force treatment due to their twisted beliefs. Since 1960, beds in US public psychiatric hospitals are down 90% despite an increase in population of 150 million.

2. Reform media coverage. Media should begin its reform with honest reporting about guns, including the 2.5 million times each year legal guns prevent or stop crime and all the mass shootings that were stopped by guns (listed in Part I). The key media reform is reducing the copycat effect caused by their over-the-top 24/7 reporting. When there is a copycat shooting, the media blame it on guns, ignoring their own culpability. The copycat effect is real and well documented since 1774 when Goethe’s classic, The Sorrows of Young Werther, resulted in a spate of copycat suicides.

3. Eliminate gun free zones. Signs proclaiming gun free zones are welcome mats for rampage killers. Gun free zones increase the danger to those within. The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 needs to be repealed. We need to make school choice universal so parents can choose to send their kids to a school where they are safe. How many liberals would then choose to send their children to a gun free school or to erect a sign in their front yard proclaiming: This home proudly is a gun free zone?

4. Learn from business. Mass killings in the workplace are down 70% in the past 20 years and without any changes to gun laws. Only 5% of recent shootings have involved businesses, which have become adept at understanding personality and risk. Most businesses use the run-hide-fight paradigm; they don’t ignore threats; they have violence prevention programs and they practice deterrence. They change the calculus in a killer’s mind that he will be able to control events until the SWAT team arrives. And yes, that involves guns. Corporate shootings are way down because businesses are non-political, non-ideological and are interested only in real solutions.

5. Change the culture. We have lowered standards for personal and civil conduct; long established rules, limits and barriers have been ignored and destroyed. We have removed all the guardrails for our society. When standards are lowered, those at society’s margins go off the tracks. Intellectual, political, media, cultural and religious elites need to rediscover good manners. Progressives need to bestir themselves and consider the effects of the vitriol they have injected into the public discourse.

We must recognize some mass killings are inevitable and not consternate over every one in a never-ending, in-your-face, 24/7 news cycle. There is much we can do now to reduce rampages. Taking the five actions outlined herein is a great place to begin. First, however, we must shed liberal shibboleths about guns and move forward in a non political, non dogmatic manner. We need a laser-like focus on truth, logic and real solutions, even if that means abandoning cherished myths about guns in America.


 Next up is Part IV – the final in our series: Guns in America.

Guns and Schools Revisited

Guns and Schools – Part 3

By: George Noga – January 17, 2013

      My recent miniseries on guns and schools was among the most forwarded of all time; reader response was incredibly favorable (thank you) and heavy. Given the strong reader interest, I am reprising the topic for what I trust is the final time. I covered much ground in the prior posts whereas in this one I hone in on the quintessence of the issue.
“The greatest cause of school killings is untreated mental illness
which exists for one reason, and one reason only: liberal dogma.”
      Far and away, the greatest causal factor in mass school killings is untreated severe mental illness  particularly of those prone to violence. Mental health experts estimate there are 70,000 such people in the USA today. This situation exists for one reason only: liberal dogma. Progressive groups, led by the ACLU, prevent states from passing laws that force treatment or, if necessary, institutionalize the severely mentally ill. Connecticut is among the very worst.
      It wasn’t always this way. Due to some bona fide concerns about abuses in mental facilities, but mainly due to a twisted and perverted notion about individual rights that became a canon of progressivism in the 1960s, mental hospitals were emptied. Since that time, beds in public psychiatric hospitals have shrunk by 90% despite an increase of 140 million people. Another byproduct of compliance with this liberal shibboleth is homelessness; a vast majority of which are comprised of such unfortunate souls; the same is largely true of prisons.
     Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, framed the issue in a compelling manner; he said, “Imagine the national outrage if people with Alzheimer’s were permitted to wander about the streets uncared for. But, by some perverse logic, it’s considered okay for schizophrenics.” Let’s sum up. The severely (potentially violent) mentally ill go untreated, wander among the general population, become homeless, populate our prisons and are condemned to tortured, miserable lives – all in obeisance to the liberal religion. Oh yes, and when there is a school shooting by one of these tortured souls, they blame it all on guns – also in obeisance to liberal religion.
“The severely mentally ill go untreated, wander the streets, become homeless, populate our prisons and are condemned to tortured, miserable lives – and all in obeisance to the liberal religion.”
      The second greatest causal factor in school killings is the copycat effect. Most people don’t understand just how real this phenomenon is. In fact, it is about as old as the media itself. In 1774 Goethe wrote his classic “The Sorrows of Young Werther” in which the hero committed suicide in a certain manner. Following publication, there was a spate of identical suicides throughout Europe – and this at a time of low population when few read and news was local and moved glacially. Today there are over 7 billion people (all interconnected), the media is global and pervasive and news moves at the speed of light. Oh yes, and when there is a copycat school killing, the media blame it all on guns – all the while flogging the story for all it’s worth.
      Yes, there also are some other causes (see the first two parts of this series), although guns is not one of them. Nevertheless, untreated severe mental illness and the copycat effect are, by a large measure, the two leading causes. Both result directly from the liberal religious creed and are propagated by liberal institutions. That explains why they reflexively point to guns as the cause – to shift opprobrium from themselves and onto a standard liberal demon – guns.
     All the while, they fully understand the flap over guns is an ephemeron and that there will be no changes to gun laws. One of the few, if any, bipartisan consensuses in Congress today is about guns – specifically opposing any new restrictions on firearms. The identical pattern repeats every time. First, there is a tragedy followed by demands for more gun laws. Second, after a predictable interval the clamor subsides, no new laws are passed and everything is exactly as it was before. So it is this time and so it will be again the next time.

Guns and Schools: 10 Keys to Prevention

Guns and Schools – Part 2
By: George Noga – January 3, 2013
  
     My previous post corrected much of the pervasive media misinformation and bias about the Newtown tragedy. It also described the real causal factors for mass shootings in schools. This post presents a principled plan to prevent rampage school killings.
  1. Change the culture. We have lowered expectations and standards for personal and civil conduct – the vicious attacks, untruths and extreme negativity of the recent election campaign being a good example. Long established rules, limits and barriers have been destroyed. Daniel Henninger in the WSJ describes it as removing all the guardrails for society. There is a linkage between cultural disarray and personal disarray. When the entire spectrum of acceptable behavior shifts, those at society’s margins go off the tracks. Our intellectual, political, religious, media and cultural elites need to rediscover self control. This will take time and won’t solve 100% of the problem, but it is a needed start.

  2. Reduce the copycat effect. The copycat effect is real and proven. This is where the media need to exercise self restraint. No one advocates legal restrictions on the press, but a voluntary industry wide code of conduct would be a good start. Before this can happen the media must acknowledge its culpability in creating future horrors. Right now the media is too busy flogging the story for all it’s worth and deflecting blame onto the NRA.
  3. Treat and/or institutionalize the violently mentally ill. The statistics are too numerous to list but they all prove most rampage type attacks are perpetrated by the mentally ill. The heart of the problem is the existence of numerous people with severe mental disorders who are not being treated – and under existing law cannot be forced to accept treatment. In the 10 worst mass US killings, the majority were by people with untreated schizophrenia. Instead of changing gun laws, the imperative is to change laws pertaining to mental illness. That will do more than anything else to prevent future tragedies.
  4. Eliminate (fake) gun free zones. A sign proclaiming a gun free zone is a welcome mat for rampage killers. Gun free zones such as at airports are real as they are backed by  metal detectors and a police presence. However, most gun free zones are merely notional and work only to increase the danger to those within the zone. It has been proven ad nauseum that more guns equate to less crime. Numerous mass killings have been stopped (see Part 1) by citizens with legal guns. Over 2,500,000 times each year legal guns prevent or stop crimes. The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 needs to be repealed.
  5. Understand that guns are not the issue. As I wrote last week, neither of the two deadliest school attacks in America involved guns. On the very same day as the Newtown tragedy, there was a mass school killing in China where 22 children were stabbed. Other mass school killings have involved dynamite, cars and fire. The sooner we all disabuse ourselves that guns are the culprit, the sooner we can begin to focus on the real causes.
  6. Learn from business. Mass killings in the workplace are down nearly 70% in the past 20 years and without any changes to gun laws. Of 20 mass shootings this year, only 1 involved businesses which have become more adept at understanding personality and risk. Most businesses use the run-hide-fight paradigm; they don’t ignore threats; they have violence prevention programs and they practice deterrence. They change the calculus in a potential killer’s mind that he will be able to control the situation until the SWAT team arrives. And yes, this calculus involves guns; there are few, if any, fake gun free zones in businesses.This approach is proven to work and it is idiotic to ignore it.
  7. Enact universal school choice. School deaths may be caused by individual monsters but they are abetted by a collective monster – government. Families are forced to send their children to specific schools where it is impossible (under existing law) for anyone to defend them. Some countries (Israel included) promote guns in schools and this has saved lives. If every family had choice, they could decide for themselves which school to send their children for the best education and also the best protection. I wonder how many liberals would choose to send their children to so-called gun free schools.
  8. Understand 100% protection is not attainable. Despite the best preventative measures, we cannot eliminate all school murders. Even if all the measures described herein were in place, some incidents would happen. We could use these to learn and to further enhance preventative measures. These should not be occasions for knee-jerk attacks on guns.
  9. Seek real solutions not political solutions. It is abundantly clear that viable solutions exist to vastly reduce school violence. We must resist the urge to adopt quick, feel-good political faux fixes which may satisfy for a short time but will do nothing to solve the problem. Passing a law can be quick and easy but real solutions take time and effort to bear results. We may need to shed some old shibboleths about guns in the process.
  10. Government is part of the problem not the solution. Government doesn’t do anything well except perhaps the military. Theoretically, it may be helpful to tweak gun laws to keep guns from the untreated mentally ill. I don’t advocate this however because government would botch mental illness the same way it botches everything else. Do you really want the same folks as at the DMV in charge of deciding who is too ill for guns? The solution to preventing school violence lies in more liberty and less government.
“It is not possible for any scient person to read this and continue to believe more gun laws are the answer. Yet that is all we are hearing.” 
     It should not be possible for any scient person to read this and continue to believe more gun laws are the answer – or even a tiny part of the answer. Yet that is all we are hearing. That is why I interrupted my holiday torpor to write these posts. We can vastly reduce school violence but only if we first abandon myths about guns and the lust for a quick political solution.
     Finally, I cannot write about guns in America without pointing out that our constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not primarily about hunting, target shooting, sport or even self defense. Our founders considered gun ownership, first and foremost, a political right and it always must be understood in that context.

Guns and Schools: Plain Truths

Guns and Schools – Part 1
By: George Noga – December 27, 2012
  
        The staccato drumbeat of claptrap and counterfactual blathering by the brain-dead state sycophant media and their progressive camp followers roused me from my holiday torpor. It impelled me to write this unplanned 2-part posting. First, an elegiac:  my thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all the victims and their families and friends. Although predictable, it nevertheless saddens me that so many are so quick to politicize every gun related tragedy by advancing their anti gun political agenda.
“The two worst school mass murders in America didn’t involve guns.”
     This first of two postings is a presentation of facts and perspective which thus far has been largely absent from the pubic debate. In part 2 (next week) I advance a principled approach for the future to address guns and schools including measures for prevention.
Correcting Media Errors and Bias
       It is falsely asserted Sandy Hook was the worst school killing in America, or at least second to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Agitprops for gun control conveniently forget about the deadliest school mass murder in 1927 Bath, Michigan in which 44 were killed. They forget because guns were nowhere present; the perpetrator used dynamite. Moreover, 500 pounds was found unexploded; had it detonated, the death toll would have been far, far worse.
       Nor does anyone mention what arguably is the second worst school related mass murder in America, i.e. the Janet Reno approved attack by agents of the federal government in Waco, Texas in 1993. In that attack (spearheaded by tanks for crying out loud) 28 school children and 55 adults were killed. Again, guns did not play a role as the casualties resulted from fire.
“The guns used in Newtown were not assault rifles.”
      The litany of media misinformation continues. For starters, there is no such thing as an“assault rifle“; that term was created from whole cloth in the 1990s by gun control advocates to frighten the low information crowd. Connecticut has an assault rifle ban and the guns used in Newtown were legal and would have been so even if the federal ban were still in place.
       Firearms are used 2,500,000 times a year in the USA to prevent or to stop crimes; this fact is never reported because the number of lives saved often is indeterminable. Many mass murders have been prevented by citizens with legal guns; these include Shoney’s in Anniston, Alabama 1991, Pearl, Mississippi High School 1997, Edinboro, Pennsylvania school 1998, New Life Church in Colorado 2007 and just a few weeks ago at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon.
       The most disgraceful media coverage was the 2002 shootings at Appalachian State in which 3 students retrieved legal guns from their cars to stop the killer. Over 400 media outlets covered the story, all knowing the role guns played in stopping the tragedy. Yet 99% failed to mention  that guns stopped the killing; instead, they used terms such astackled and subdued.
The Real Causal Factors
      Undeniably there is a copycat effect that is caused or exacerbated by the media; the very same folks who want you to believe the cause is guns are themselves an integral part of the chain of causation. This is well documented and explained in the 2004 book “How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines“. Media coverage  is much more pervasive today than in the past because of the ubiquitous, 24/7 in-your-face news cycle. And don’t expect any mea culpas from the media; they are too busy flogging the story.
      Another real casual factor is the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill – including those who are violent. Recall this was a liberal shibboleth from the 1960s and 1970s. In earlier times the violently mentally ill would have been in a state institution. The New York Times(ugh) did a study that found 47% of “rampage murderers” were mentally ill. Pursuant to the liberal diktat to release all the mentally ill, hospital beds for mental patients have plunged to the level of 1850 – over 160 years ago. Don’t waste your time waiting for regrets from liberals; they are too busy deflecting the blame from their failed policies; it’s not their fault; they meant well.
“If your home had a ‘gun free’ sign, would you be more or less safe?”
      Yet another real cause is ersatz gun-free zones; it is no coincidence that most of the recent mass killings have taken place in schools, movie theaters and shopping malls, all make-believe gun free zones. A sign proclaiming a gun free zone is like a welcome mat for perpetrators. If you put a “Gun Free Home” sign outside your house, do you believe you would be more safe or less safe? Memo to progressives: This is not a trick question. People who engage in mass killings are not hardened criminals, they are weaklings and cowards who dissemble when an armed citizen materializes. At the Clackamas Mall, the killer, who just had begun his rampage, was confronted by a citizen carrying a legal handgun; His next shot was to kill himself.
       Surprise! Government is a cause, the same government that gives families no choices about where to send their children to school and then dictates gun free zones making it impossible for anyone to defend them. John Lott in his books “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns” proves to any reasonable reader the efficacy of an armed population. States that adopted right-to-carry laws experienced a 78% drop in deaths from rampage attacks.
      Finally, the intellectual climate is to blame including university professors, journalists and politicians who evangelize a new culture where the long established rules of civil conduct no longer apply. We have drastically lowered the barriers on acceptable political and personal conduct. The most vulnerable and marginalized among us lose all self restraint. If we truly want society to have no restraints then we must be prepared to reap the whirlwind.
“Workplace shootings are down 70%; prevention is possible.”
       Next week in Part 2 I present a fact-based and principled plan to prevent future mass shootings at schools. Preview: workplace shootings are down by about 70% in the past 20 years and without any added gun regulations. This occurred because businesses implemented real world solutions instead of phony political solutions. Stay tuned.