Shots fired at San Antonio ICE office a result of left wing hysteria?

Early Tuesday morning, gunshots rang out in San Antonio. They were directed at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. Luckily, no one was killed or wounded in the attack. FBI special agent Christopher Combs who runs the San Antonio wing of the bureau condemned the attack and said it could have caused “the assassination of a federal employee.” All evidence of the shooting was recovered inside ICE offices which makes it certain that it was targeted. The FBI will be opening an investigation into the incident. ICE officials pulled no punches in casting the blame. Daniel Bible who heads the local ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office had this to say,

“political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets, and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts.”

This is just another episode in a series of attacks on ICE facilities by radical leftists and immigration activists. The Federalist recently provided a list of similar incidents.

  • On July 12, immigration activists ripped down an American flag outside an ICE office in Aurora, Colorado and replaced it with a Mexican flag. They then vandalized the building with spray paint.
  • On July 14, a self-described “anti-fascist” and “anarchist” assaulted an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington. Using a rifle and flammable material, he started a car on fire and attempted unsuccessfully to detonate a propane tank. He was shot dead by police.
  • On July 16, 11 leftist immigration protestors were arrested for illegally storming an ICE office in Washington DC.

Counting this latest attack, there have been 4 within the past month. Bible was spot on in his implication of the radical left in these incidents. The root of violence against ICE is unfortunately, the political rhetoric of the radical left.  

If there is any doubt of the validity of the previous statement, one need only take an overview of the prevailing talking points of the radicals. Back in June, socialist representative Ocasio-Cortez made headlines once again for a remark about ICE facilities for detaining illegal aliens. In her own words, “The United States is running concentration camps on the southern border. And that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps and if that doesn’t bother you, I don’t, I got nothing. Like we can have — I wanna talk to the people who are concerned enough with humanity and that never again means something.” One of the cardinal rules of politics is to not make comparisons to Hitler, the Nazis or the Holocaust. Dissecting American politics objectively, nothing on either side is directly comparable to the Holocaust. Making that comparison cheapens the genocide itself and is a slap in the face to its survivors. The claim itself is very untrue considering that the nature of a concentration camp is to extract physical labor, murder on a mass scale or detain political prisoners –all of which contrast with ICE facilities. A recent walkthrough of an ICE facility in Adelanto California revealed it the migrants housed there had access to all of the following: medical, dental and mental care, legal counsel, a law library, outdoor soccer fields, XBOX video games, unlimited phone calls, physical contact visitations and other services while never being locked in cells.

A few days ago presidential hopeful Kamala Harris accused president Trump and his administration of running a “campaign of terror” in reference to his immigration policy. She missed the fact that the raids she refer to were carried out on illegal aliens who had no right to be in the country in the first place and immediately played the race card by insinuating it was an attack against Hispanics. Harris demagogued the perfectly reasonable position which holds that illegal aliens should be deported into an attack based solely on skin color.

An Illinois state senator recently made headlines for a mock assassination of the president that occurred at his fundraiser. One man dressed in Hispanic attire wore a mask that is unmistakably meant to be Trump posed with another who brandished a fake rifle. The phony Trump then pretended to be shot. Mock assassinations of elected officials are a bit inflammatory and that point is not controversial. Governor Pritzker (D) called the incident “insensitive and wrong.” State senator Martin Sandoval, the politician whose fundraiser this occurred at tried to distance himself from it as well writing “The incident that took place is unacceptable, I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

What was really the crux of over the top rhetoric in recent weeks was the saga of the movie The Hunt. It received widespread media attention for being about rich leftists flying to a private island to murder Trump supporters for sport. Victims slated for killing are labeled “MAGA types” which is a reference to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan make America great again. They are also referred to as “Deplorables”, another Trumpian term deriving itself from a Hillary Clinton speech in which she called half of the president’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.” If any inkling persists that these terms could refer to something else it is rendered void by the fact that the film’s original title was “Red State vs. Blue State.” The very fact that someone conceptualized creating a movie about the murder of political opponents is shocking in the highest order of magnitude. Killing those who disagree with one’s perspective on politics and choice of presidential candidate is not entertainment in any way, shape or form.

With the state of the political discourse and that of the wider culture like this, acts of political terrorism such as what occurred at the ICE facilities can only be expected. Mock assassinations, ICE facilities cast as concentration camps and entire movie devoted to senseless, politically motivated murder have no place American culture. It is about time that everyone takes a step back and tones down the volume and venom of the debate for the unity and stability of America demands it.

Photo credit: “Officials blame ‘political rhetoric and misinformation’ after shots fired at San Antonio ICE office” via USA Today

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2nd Amendment strategies in 2020

Anyone who is acquainted with contemporary politics is aware of the gun control debate in America. For better or for worse, it currently looms large in politics. Both sides of the aisle are weighing in on how to make the country a safer place, though they have come to much different solutions. Leftists are launching a no-holds-barred assault on the 2nd Amendmentand will deal it as much damage as possible if given half a chance. Tragically, conservatives are split in their response. One camp, which sometimes includes the president, waffles on the 2nd Amendment whenever the pressure is on, while another stands firm for liberty.

The purely American political circus that is the presidential election is ramping up by the week. 2nd Amendment issues, while not the most popular campaign plank for either side, have a very far reach. When one speaks of liberty, the right to keep and bear arms is one of the most fundamental freedoms that can be cited. America is anomalous on the world stage for our freedom regarding this and that is something worth protecting. Gun control policies are largely ineffective in the way of reducing violence. In fact, the only thing that it excels in is restricting liberty on a large scale. For this reason, 2nd Amendment issues are truly paramount in value. The right to keep and bear arms is as fundamental and inalienable as the right of speech or religion. When the left demands to castrate the former right, the conservatives who seek to preserve the values of the American Revolution must not back down.

Make no mistake; this is not right wing fear mongering. Radical leftists have taken their zeal to destroy freedom to a level rarely seen. Case in point, Congressman Eric Swalwell demanded a national gun buyback program on twitter. With this point alone, nothing is unusual, as that point is often made by leftists. What he said next though was shocking. Responding to a tweet from Infowars reporter, Joe Biggs, saying that a program like that would cause resistance, Swalwell wrote,

“And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”

-Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell

There is no shame in re-reading the tweet a time or two to ensure that the reader’s initial interpretation was accurate. A Democratic congressman threatened nuclear annihilation against a prospective revolt by gun owners against power mad Washington. How does one even respond to this?

Foremost, it should be obvious to anyone and everyone that using chemical, biological or nuclear weaponry against a government’s own citizenry is inexcusable. Conduct like this is not the realm of civilized, liberal nations like America. This is the exclusive domain of dictatorial hell states. Perhaps Swalwell should be reminded of the chemical attack on Kurdish civilians at Halabja. Five thousand were killed (mostly women and children), and the man who ordered the attack, General Ali Hassan al-Majid, was given not 1, but 4, death sentences, and was hanged. Saddam himself was also hanged for his atrocities. This is the appropriate response given when chemical, biological or nuclear weapons are used against one’s own civilians. Crimes of that degree must be punished severely and in Iraq, justice was indeed served in the case of Halabja. Swalwell was not proposing using mustard gas or Sarin, he was talking about nuclear weapons. The crime against the American people and against humanity as a whole for something so evil and barbaric would outweigh everything done by Saddam by a factor of 100. The sheer horror that he calmly contemplated is unthinkable. One could only pray that Britain, France, and the rest of the world’s friends of freedom would come to the rescue of the American people with weapons loaded if such an atrocity were committed by our own government.

For all due diligence, Swalwell may not even be correct in his assumption that the US government could suppress a determined revolt by millions of gun owners. Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, wrote a wide-ranging and enlightening book on strategy in 2013, appropriately called Strategy a History. In it, he wrote extensively about guerrilla warfare. He draws on the campaigns of T. E. Lawrence against the Turks in which his Arab Revolt forces did heavy damage on the Palestine front in the First World War. Lawrence (the soldier, not the book’s author) quipped that “to make war upon a rebellion is messy and slow –like trying to eat soup with a knife.” The author then goes on to trace the development of the revolutionary Maoists in China before the Second Sino-Japanese war until their victory in 1949. Mao showed that rebellions can survive virtually anything. Revolutionary forces, when they fail to win in the cities, can retreat to the countryside and survive for a long period of time as Mao did, which will allow ample time to regroup. Lawrence (the writer, not the solider) called guerilla warfare a “strategy of exhaustion,” where a smaller force fights a much more powerful one with the weapons of attrition. Guerilla warfare is not about winning conventionally as Swalwell seems to think, but, rather, about winning on the grounds that it becomes too painful for the occupying force to continue. It is not about the decisive battle and regular troops; it is about outlasting the opponent. The Vietcong against the Americans, the Spanish insurgents against Napoleon, the Mujahedeen against the Soviets, and the American militiamen against the British hammer home the fact that a small force can exhaust a much larger one.

This is just a thought exercise about why nuclear weapons could not even be used against the kind of rebellion that Swalwell speaks of. It simply wouldn’t work because guerrillas do not hold the ground, they strike and retreat. Using weapons as powerful as that on small bands of revolutionaries in the mountains and forests is idiotic on so many levels. This is not endorsement in any way, shape, or form for revolutionary conduct or violence against the state –it is merely an outlay of the tactics and strategy of revolutionaries through history and why they show that it is not at all certain that even the might of the US military could defeat a nationwide rebellion. Interpreting the history of revolution and finding a clear pattern that small forces can defeat large forces is no more incendiary or criminal than interpreting the history of astronomy and predicting that tomorrow the sun will rise.

Blind and borderline dangerous fervor like Swalwell’s is what America faces. He is not a nonentity in the leftist movement either –in fact he dropped out of the 2020 presidential race just a month ago. Swalwell will not be president in 2020, but the spirit of animosity towards the 2nd Amendment lives on among the other leftist contenders.

The left is resolute in their convictions on the 2nd Amendment. So resolute are they that one of them proposed nuclear annihilation of rebellious gun owners. Conservatives must adopt their stalwart demeanor and entrench themselves on this issue. Radicals like Swalwell unapologetically fight against this sacred freedom, so why should the conservatives not return the favor? As a broad strategy for 2020, Trump and the GOP need to fight over gun control. Not every hill is Little Round Top, whose capture or defense can change everything, but every once in a while, there is a time to make a stand and not apologize for its bluntness. The 2nd Amendment is one of these places. Liberty is on the line and conservatives must fight over gun control like it is Verdun. (For those who wish to misinterpret this, fighting in this paragraph refers to things like voting, winning person to person debates, and traditional activism -not literal violence).

Conservatives have solutions to gun violence just like leftists do. Concealed carry laws, broken windows policing, filling the cracks in the background check system without new laws, and the like are real solutions. The right will be less effective in the national conversation if they cannot propose their own plans to answer the leftist designs. It is time for these ideas to take center stage as the right wing gun violence plan. Leftists have their plan which relies on heavy-handed, freedom-reducing means such as bans on certain elements of firearms, more red tape on acquiring them, among others. All too often, the GOP is seen as the party that doesn’t have a solution, but doesn’t want the leftist solution either. That may work with committed conservatives who loathe the left’s plan, but it will not work as well with the moderates who are less ideological. To capture the moderate demographic, there needs to be action on the part of conservatives, but it must be well thought out action that will not hinder liberty and will actually get the job done. Action needs to be more than just digging in to defend the 2nd Amendment; it also has to include a pro-freedom answer to gun violence. 2020 is fast approaching and the right needs to have a plan to give to the voters and then they must carry it out.

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Democracy Worldwide: Unrest in Hong Kong escalates as Beijing’s response looms

The semiautonomous city of Hong Kong has been rocked by protests for the 9th straight week. What began as a protest against an extradition proposal has become a wide-ranging offensive for democracy. On the ground, the situation gets more volatile by the day. Demonstrators have converged on the Hong Kong airport and will remain there for a 3 day sit in. No room for doubt of their motives is left by their signs and slogans. TIME Magazine reports that,

“Tourists came up to take pictures of the protesters, who sang ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ from ‘Les Miserable’, and handed out fliers in a variety of languages that said things like ‘welcome to Hong Kong, not China’ and ‘please ask me about Hong Kong.’ At least three people waved big American flags, while a banner was unfurled that read ‘Liberate HK Revolution Now.’”

–TIME Magazine

The references to classical liberal values could not be more evident. Around the world, America epitomizes the ideal of freedom, of citizenship and civil government more so than any other country. America’s Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers created the template for future liberal states and did so in the most eloquent way possible. The people of Hong Kong recognize the beauty of the American system to the extent that they will wave our banner while under threat from the authoritarian Chinese. Their courage is to be admired. Not content with references to the American Revolution, the pro-democracy demonstrators also pulled from the history of revolutionary France in the form of a song from the musical version of Les Miserable. “Do you hear the people sing” could be called the theme song for classical liberalism. The song refers to the liberal revolt that occurred in Paris in 1832 (Paris being in chaos is rather topical). Scores of liberals were killed when the boot came down. It is a romanticized anthem for freedom and self-government which makes it a perfect choice for the Hong Kong protestors.

In the 2014 unrest in Hong Kong, “Do you hear the people sing” was a favorite of the protestors as well. Evidently, Beijing has had enough of these toxic liberal ideas because they have decided to censor it across China. Another popular protest song is the Christian hymn “Sing Hallelujah to The Lord.” This is particularly noteworthy considering China’s renowned persecution of Christians which the Guardian has called, “the worst crackdown on religion in the country since the Cultural Revolution when Mao Zedong’s government vowed to eradicate religion. China’s persecution of religious minorities –especially Christians, is a long running trend that was grandfathered in from the communist days. It is also a subject so expansive that it merits its own article so this deviation must end here.

These ultra-liberal demonstrations come at a time when Chinese police and military forces are massing just outside Hong Kong. It does not take a military genius on par with Karl von Clausewitz or Helmuth von Moltke the Elder to see that nothing good can come of this development. Without mincing words, it is reasonable to assume that China is preparing to put down the pro-democracy demonstrators with extreme prejudice. Hong Kong is on the brink of another Tiananmen Square. Today, few Chinese are aware of the massacre at Tiananmen Square because of the government’s monopoly on the media. Few Chinese are also aware of the concentration camps set up by the regime Uighur region of Xinjiang. George Orwell would soberly nod at seeing how well Xi’s Jinping China has mirrored Big Brother’s Oceania in 1984.

Photo credit: “US monitoring Hong Kong border as Chinese forces gather en masse” via the New York Post

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The motivations of the gun control movement examined

All political designs have supporters who will back them for different reasons. This can be best imagined as a conflict between idealism and Machiavellianism used in a loose context. Former of the two, the idealist relies on what he really believes is right. Politics for him is not about attaining power and influence. It is only about affecting the change that he sees as necessary to promote morality, maximize utility or suit an end similar to these. Is he always correct in his assertions? Certainly not. Who can in good faith say that he has not a hint of hypocrisy or fallacy in his views? The idealist is the true believer, the one who seeks change because it is right, not because it is profitable. The Machiavellian (here defined loosely as unscrupulous and scheming in nature) is the antithesis to the idealist. He feeds parasitically off of the energy and goodwill of the idealist. The idealist is the tool of the Machiavellian to pose like a puppet. He will control the masses by means of oversimplified arguments and half-truths mixed with fiery rhetoric. Machiavellians are demagogues if they are to be called by any other name. They spout cooked statistics, misleading testimony and lie by the omission of important facts. When the Machiavellian does this, the conclusions reached become absurd.

Gun control is no different than any other issue. On this question there are Machiavellians and idealists. Some seeking greater restrictions of firearm ownership are genuine and some are not. Most of the garden variety supporters are authentic and perhaps even some of the leaders of the movement are too. Perhaps is the key word though. The rhetoric of the gun control crowd has become so twisted and the statistics so manipulated that it is hard to believe that they buy what they are selling. A few of examples of their blatant untruths are below to show the absurdity of the leftist claims and support the notion that the main gun grabbers can’t buy what they’re selling.

Myth #1: Guns aren’t often used for self defense

A series of studies have arrived at very different conclusions. Criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz studied this and estimated that every year there were 2,200,000-2,500,000 defensive gun uses by civilians. This number may seem shocking to some but other studies have reached similar conclusions. A few years later, the National Institute of Justice published a wide-ranging study on guns in America including their defensive uses. While lower than the Kleck and Gertz study, it is still massive coming in at 1,500,000. The authors commented on the other study here cited saying that the National Institute of Justice’s findings were “directly comparable” and that “it is statistically plausible that the difference is due to sampling error.” The Kleck and Gertz study is often maligned by the left for a number of reasons. One of them is that it was compiled in the mid-1990s when crime was significantly higher. The other study cited is a few years newer, but still Clinton era. Crime was significantly higher back then and since crime has fallen it makes sense for defensive gun uses to fall too. That criticism is fair but Kleck still militantly defends his findings. Even outlier studies like a 1993-2011 study cited by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) show that annually there are around 67,000 defensive gun uses in America. Any serious gun grabber must answer the question of what he expects all these tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions to do without guns to defend themselves.

Myth #2: Guns are one of the biggest dangers to kids

Statistically speaking, that statement is simply untrue. Other much more mundane things are responsible for more child deaths than guns. Economist Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote on this subject in their book Freakonomics,

“In a given year there is 1 drowning of a child per 11,000 residential pools in the United States. (In a country with 6,000,000 residential pools this means that roughly 550 children under the age of 10 drown each year). Meanwhile, there is 1 child killed for every million plus guns. (In a country with an estimated 200 million guns this means that roughly 170 children die each year from guns).The likelihood of death by pool (1/11,000) versus death by gun (1/1 million plus) isn’t even close.” [Freakonomics page 150]

 Perhaps it is not common sense gun control that is needed but rather common sense pool control.

Myth #3: Waiting periods for buying guns prevent rash crimes

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) traced the time between acquisition of a firearm and its use in a crime when they are recovered in the United States and its territories. The ATF’s term for the duration between the acquisition of the weapon and its unlawful use which is oddly not some piece of legal newspeak is, time-to-crime. Every year, this figure is made available. As of 2016, the national average time-to-crime was 9.79 years. The lowest state or territory average was 7.39 years in Missouri and though it was a bit of an outlier, the highest was Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands at 20.97 years. Excluding Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, the next highest was Hawaii coming in at 14.94 years. Nothing more needs to be said. The argument for waiting periods is exploded by just looking at the numbers.

These 3 leftist lies about guns are fairly representative of the entire body of rhetoric utilized by the gun grabber crowd. Other lies and half-truths about guns and mass shootings were cut down in an article published yesterday and more will be debunked in coming articles. It is easy with a handful of statistics or examples to refute most of the claims and demands of the left on the matter of gun control. It all begs the question, if gun control is so absurd then why are so many swindled by it and how can the conservative and libertarian movement undo its support?

Gun control’s popular support can be summed up as resulting from misinformation, leftism as an ideology and misguided idealism. Misinformation can and must be answered with abundant statistics and well developed logic. This can be achieved by further educating the conservative and libertarian movement as a whole so the arguments against greater gun control can proliferate organically. Leftism as an ideology is rooted in control – control by the state over as much of the lives of the people as possible. The Second Amendment is perhaps the greatest expression of freedom outlined in America’s founding documents. It is a final check on government making literal the Lockean principle of the ability of the people to displace and replace a government destructive to the ends of the preservation of freedom and property. Leftism conflicts fundamentally with this principle and to this end, those subscribing to said ideology will forever be hostile to the idea of an armed citizenry. For the converse reason, all those subscribing to the ideals of Locke and the American Revolution must forever be aligned with the idea of an armed citizenry. Finally, the misguided idealism is the desire to “do something” in response to a problem. For the gun control advocates, for both foot soldiers and leaders alike, the supposed need to “do something” is absolute. Idealism becomes absolute (and thus dangerous) when the zeal to “do something” eclipses objective morality, the immutable laws of economics or the founding principles of classical liberalism. Such is what separates the leftist from the conservative and libertarian. When conservatives and libertarians “do something,” they do not allow their zeal to subvert morality, economics or classical liberalism. So often, this is not the case with the left, which makes their idealism misguided at best and downright dangerous at worst. Beyond that, gun control is a textbook case of doing something that “feels good,” but governing on that principle will never produce the sought results. Rather, good governance in the arena of “doing something” must rely on the utilitarian principle of “doing good.” What “feels good” and what “does good” are two entirely different things. It may “feel good” for the leftists to take away the guns and enact sweeping bans, but it won’t “do good.” If there is no utility in enacting the designs of the left on gun control, and freedom is to be curtailed in its enactment, what sane society would accede to that?

Photo credit: “Gun confiscation next move in Washington state” via Law Officer: Training, tactics, technology

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Calls for gun control in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton: What’s not being said

Tragedy has struck America. In El Paso, a mass public shooting occurred in a Walmart which killed 20. It was perpetrated by 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Dallas who has been apprehended by police and is being held without bond. The Houston Chronicle reported that he posted a message on an 8Chan account in the lead-up to the shooting where he expressed concern over Hispanic immigration and advocated for America to be divided up into different zones by races. He denied being a “white supremacist” but his support for the heresy of physically dividing the United States along racial lines makes it appear that race was a factor in this shooting. Federal authorities are considering hate crime charges as well which carry the death penalty.

Hours later, tragedy struck again in Dayton when a man named Connor Betts killed 9. It occurred in the vicinity of several popular bars which had many people milling about when the shooting started. Among those murdered was his sister Megan Betts. Dayton police responded swiftly and severely. 5 officers and a sergeant were on engaged the shooter immediately. He was killed in less than 30 seconds. Nothing more can be expected of the police judging by their response time. Figuring out a clear motive on the Ohio shooter is more difficult but some facts are known. The Daily Caller described his political beliefs as “far-left” citing his now suspended twitter account. This is not a stretch considering his bio read in part “leftist” and the unnerving words, “I’m going to hell and I’m not coming back.” He also retweeted attacks against fascists and voiced his “support for Satan” to quote the aforementioned article.

Predictably, it took no time for the left to capitalize on bloodshed to suit their political ends. Leftist gun control groups converged on the NRA headquarters building in Virginia to hold a vigil for the dead. The fact that this was done not at the place where the attack happened showed the true nature of this stunt. A vigil held outside NRA headquarters has nothing to do with remembrance and everything to do with the politics of gun grabbing. It is as if the National Rifle Association itself perpetrated the shootings by the response obligatorily given to it. Major stunts like this only follow mass public shootings so sensibly, the schwerpunkt of the gun control argument are these events. To follow the Clausewitzian principle of attacking at the center of gravity, the mass public shooting angle must be studied to determine the legitimacy of the pro-gun-control argument.

When attempting to determine the quantity of mass shootings, the definition is important. Often it is defined as an incident where 4 or more are killed excluding things like gang warfare and family annihilation. Differences in methodology and data points accounts for serious discrepancies in statistics about these events. Economist John Lott and Michael Weisser writing in the New York Post examined this. They took a look at an often cited study by criminologist Adam Lankford which studied mass shootings from 1966 to 2012 in America and the world. Lankford came to the conclusion that in that space of time, America had 90 mass shootings while the rest of the world had 202. His list of data points has not been provided. The closest Lankford came to doing that was to cite a New York Police Department study which by the admission of the NYPD was severely biased against international incidents because of the language barrier. Oversampling of domestic incidents makes the Lankford study skewed and misleading.

To counter the Lankford study, Lott did his own research and came to a much different conclusion. Limiting the timeframe to the past 15 years (1998-2012) because of the difficulty of finding mass shooting data for developing nations back into the 1960s, a total of 1,423 foreign mass shootings were found. Using these numbers, the share of American mass shootings plummets from 31% to 1.43%. Considering that the United States contains about 4.6% of the global population, by his methodology America is underrepresented in mass shootings worldwide. Lott then makes another illuminating point,

“Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the US ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia all have at least 45% higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States.”

-Economist John Lott

If Lott’s numbers are to be believed, the mass shooting debate is exaggerated. This statement is not to be misinterpreted. A single murder in a mass shooting is unacceptable. A single murder by any means under any circumstances is unacceptable for that matter. Nothing to the contrary is being perpetuated by the statement that the mass shooting portion of the debate is overrepresented. The Heritage Foundation put out a report on mass shootings in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting that helps with perspective.

  • Mass killings are very rare, accounting for only 0.2% of homicides every year and approximately 1% of homicide victims.
  • Only 12% of mass killings are mass public shootings. Most mass killings are familicides (murders of family members or intimate partners) and felony-related killings (such as robberies gone awry or gang-related “turf battles”).
  • Although there has been a slight increase in the frequency of mass public shootings over the past few years, the rates are still similar to what the United States experienced in the 1980s and early 1990s. –The Heritage Foundation

Heritage’s statistics are merely for the purpose of regaining some well needed perspective in this debate. Mass shootings are a huge problem but when they are compared by the numbers to other facets of the gun control debate such as general homicide, one sees that there is less damage done by the former than the latter. Ergo, the debate should really focus on how to curb firearm homicide in general but that is a topic for another day.

With the questions of the scale of the mass shooting problem dealt with as much as it can be in a brief article, one thing remains. What are we to do about it? Action must be taken to solve this problem. On this, there is universal agreement but the answers put forward by the left and the right are starkly opposed.

The answer given by the left is heavy handed attacks on Second Amendment liberty to take guns away from the law abiding while being ineffectual at doing the same to criminals. To this one must ask, what would stop a tragedy like Dayton or El Paso? Will more gun free zones make the problem go away? Not so. Research indicates that 94% of mass shootings from 1950 to 2018 occurred in gun free zones. Will banning “high capacity magazines” make the problem go away? Not so. Few shooters use “high capacity magazines” and a there is “no evidence” that a delay of a few seconds to reload will reduce the casualties in these events. Knee jerk “do something” gun control measures will not help, they will just reduce freedom.

 The answer given by the conservatives and libertarians relies on hardening soft targets with security measures, less restrictive concealed carry laws and the like to empower the law abiding citizenry in concert with authorities for collective protection. But do law abiding citizens with concealed firearms ever stop these attacks? Indeed they do. An extensive list can be found here. Common sense dictates that any armed and trained man who could in the event of an emergency utilize his weapon against a shooter makes that place safer. The more law abiding armed and trained men able to fight back against the shooters the safer the soft targets will be.

Photo credit: “Hundreds hold vigil for mass shooting victims outside NRA headquarters” via CBS News

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