On the mass murder of children in Texas.
America’s mass shooters don’t fit into one political box, but they all have one common trait, that they have untreated mental health issues. In this country we don't have gun problem, we have serious mental healthcare issue. Guns are only available and easy scape goat. Even if we had absolute ban on guns, these people would use knives, baseball bats, mow people down with a car or simply buy guns illegally.
Switzerland is a country with very lax gun laws, males have to serve military, and after their service they have to take their service guns home, all males also have to do regular shooting exercises and Switzerland has no issues with mass shootings . What is the difference? Robust mental health system in Switzerland.
So guns are not an issue, sadly in US we have normalized situation where people with mental issues are left to fend for themself, with little on no support. To fix this, we need to go to pre Regan era, where people could be institutionalized against their will, because current situation leads to tragedies like this, or situation where people with mental health issues either are getting dumped on the streets where they die to drug overdoses or end up in prison.
But sadly, this will never be implemented in US, for two reasons. Solving real issues of mental health doesn't rally Democratic base as gun topic. If it did, California wouldn't be dumping its mental ill to the streets while providing them with easy access to drugs for last 20 years.
On the other side, Republicans wont do anything, due to possibility that investments in mental health will require spending American Taxpayers money on Americans at home, since they don't like that, because its better to spend money on pointless wars and proxy wars abroad. Sadly as always, Americans are and always will be last thing our Congress cares about.
This kind of thing did not happen 40 years ago, despite the fact that many young men kept long guns in their vehicles in the school parking lot, to facilitate hunting before or after school.
What has changed is that the mentally ill can no longer be locked up.
What has changed is that we are constantly bombarded with messages that everything wrong in our lives is someone else's fault.
What has changed is that parents have abdicated their responsibility to before- and after-school programs that constrain children instead of allowing them free time to solve problems for themselves while they are still young enough not to have started blaming their problems on everyone else.
What has changed is that we give media attention to the violent, and we have taught our children that attention is the have-all and be-all of life.
I worked a primary precinct last night and the dems started chattering about this and went straight after Trump Cruz and the NRA. Nothing about the two years of lockdowns, school security and the mental health of our children. Two seconds to go full on political just like Biden. They have no shame.
Bari, why do you say: "Here’s where I think they are right, if inadvertently"? What does that 'inadvertently' mean? The reality is that the government cannot get guns out of America. They can only restrict them to those willing to break the law. Where has the government shown its ability to stop illegal activity? The war on drugs? Illegal immigration? You can stop law-abiding citizens from having guns, but the mentally ill and criminals will still have them. It's true that fewer mentally ill people may have access, but right now the laws we already have on the books to stop that haven't worked very well. Why will new ones? And mentally ill people can still use knives and push people onto subway tracks and make homemade bombs and, and, and.
We should not compare ourselves to other countries with more homogeneous populations and with different cultures. We should compare ourselves to the United States 60 years ago and ask what changed.
One thing that changed is the way we treat mental illness. Another thing that changed is the rejection of Judeo-Christian values as the basis of our culture. There may be a strong tail wind to the idea of the sacredness of life, but when the head of ethics at Princeton posited (Peter Singer, years ago already) that disabled people and the elderly are a drain on society and perhaps we'd be better off without them and when women discuss getting abortions for the purpose of showing how empowered they are, and when we are reintroducing racism at a shocking rate, we are not a society that values human life. Judeo-Christian principles served us rather well, but too many Americans agitated to get rid of them because they saw them as an impediment to progress (heavily in the family and sexual arena). Or they wanted to keep idea A but get rid of B and they liked C but abhorred D. That's not how real life works.
A real discussion has to cover all these bases and more as well as look at statistics of how many lives are saved by guns each year, both actively and through prevention. We need to ask why the biggest rise in gun ownership is female. Could it possibly have to do with attempts to destroy the police and DAs refusing to jail criminals? There's a lot to discuss that is uncomfortable and gun control legislation is at worst a power grab and virtue-signaling, and at best hopeless optimism with little relationship to the real world.
I love the articles you put out and am in no way disagreeing with the core message of this one. America has major problems right now in terms of violence, nihilism, etc. I watched the news yesterday and again marveled at how depraved human beings can be.
However, I don’t think the issue should immediately turn to firearms. A gun is merely a tool. A dangerous tool, to be sure, but still just an inanimate object. If someone decides to commit this heinous act, then the last thing he does is grab his gun before walking out the door. Instead, I think the focus should be on what has led this man to commit this crime, rather than on the implementation of the crime itself.
That probably won’t happen, however, since to evaluate and condemn that would be in part to condemn the society of which we have all helped to create.
Again, good article, but I don’t think the focus on firearms will help to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.
"Here’s where I think they are right..." You were referring to gun rights activists and said they might be right even inadvertently. Two years ago there was a "defund the police" movement nationwide. Police were demonized, as was ICE. At the Democratic National Convention there was zero mention of this or the riots in Portland and other cities. Many cities actually did defund the police. Police recruiting is down significantly - who would want to be a policeman in an environment where police are vilified and receive zero support from the city? In my town here (Norman, Oklahoma) the city council took $900,000 from the police budget to send it to "community outreach," whatever that is. Six senior police officers resigned the next day, and recruiting is of course way down. A judge did overturn the action later, but the damage was done. In this environment, I absolutely will have a gun to defend my wife and my home. I cannot state that strongly enough.
I suspect at 13-17 the perpetrators of these acts were detached from their peers, immersed themselves in the meta-verse of video games and social media, didn’t play team sports nor attended church regularly. I say often this is an adult problem: from parents, to teachers, neighbors and our congregations we must exert the effort to embrace and engage these folk, preventing these perverse seeds from taking root in their souls.
And we should not be surprised these persons were all men, the most denigrated and besieged of the genders the past 25-30 years.
“Thou shall not kill”.
Does anyone learn the 10 commandments any more?
When you kill God, as Nietsche said mankind has done, what do you get? An immoral people. A lost people. Nietsche said each person should create his own morality. How is that working out?
When you replace the family, the father, with government, what do you expect?
When you keep blaming the weapon instead of the system that creates people who are capable of such violence, you delude yourself.
Are all the shooters young men? Why are they so screwed up? Because we destroyed their role models, their heroes? Because we made being a MAN a bad thing?
There is deep societal rot at the root here, and sadly there will be more violence because we can’t turn this around quickly.
I think a return to faith is desperately needed.
The Buffalo shooter was MENTALLY DERANGED as his 180 page rambling manifesto attests. He was NOT a white supremacist. When that lie is continually repeated it seeks to become the truth. It is not. Bari Weiss I am surprised at you.
We need an all of the above approach to gun violence. Getting guns off the streets, banning assault rifles, and working on mental health. And this needs to be done in every state, because guns don't stay in the state in which they are bought.
Unfortunately few politicians seem motivated to get things done. The only motivation with any issue is how to use it against the other party and accumulate power.
Anyone blaming guns shows intellectual laziness. And gun owners will never allow us get to a point that only bad guys have guns. It seems like we could avoid many of these shootings if FBI and anyone else in charge of verification if the gun buyer is fit to own one just did their job. Parkland shooter was flagged, Buffalo shooter was clearly crazy. This last murderer killed his grandma before murdering the kids. Don’t you think that perhaps there is correlation between emptying state insane asylums in 70’s and increase in mass shootings? Most of them belong to nurse Ratched.
I have no patience for the idea that we as a society are numb to mass shootings. We are not. They dominate the headlines for days, and the victims are publicly mourned. But this part is so true: "The dissolution of our social ties—and with them the accountability and responsibility that an actual community demands—has allowed insanity to fester unnoticed"
What we are numb to is seeing mentally ill/addicted people living (and dying) like rats and pigeons on the street.
How many dying people did you walk or drive past today on your way to work? How did you feel about them?
What we are numb to is modern day slavery, obscured by the words "sex trafficking." Human beings, many of them still children, are traded and sold for sex in every major city in our country. They are raped on a daily basis until they either die or end up sleeping on cardboard next to a dumpster. Who cares?
If you do bring up the subject of modern day slavery, you get accused of starting a "sex panic". The only acceptable form of slavery to panic over is historical slavery, not the equally sadistic form of slavery still happening under our noses.
What we are numb to is children being raped in their own homes, schools, and churches every day.
How many children are being raped today?
If you bring up this subject you get accused of encouraging a "witch hunt" even though child rape is the least reported and least punished of all crimes. And unlike witches, child sexual predators are very very real.
What we are numb to is the fact that three women in the USA will be murdered by a husband or boyfriend by the end of this day, an every other day.
See any headlines about that?
Yes, there are just as many abusive women as there are abusive men , but being physically smaller, women are a lot less deadly.
If a woman dares to demand that rapists and batterers be locked up for years when convicted of their crimes, she'll get accused of being a "carceral feminist" (which in my opinion is the ONLY kind of feminist who does any good).
We are numb to a LOT of things in this country, but mass shootings isn't one of them.
Victims weren't even identified before the President and many Democrats in Congress immediately turned this into a political issue - namely that any Republican who supports gun rights are to blame. As if gun laws are the sole reason why these murders continue to happen.
Once again, rather than reflect on the reason of this murderous spree, the Democrats couldn't help themselves and had to wave the bloody shirt.
Never let a crisis go to waste. Not when you can score political points.
This is where nihilism leads. It's not social rot Bari its moral rot.
Politicization and propaganda is all anyone knows in America about the gun issue. Even the Times article you site was counting kids up to 19 years of age so must include almost every Gangland shooting victim. Is that really a fair representation of the average "child" in America? The problem we have is a lack of sincerity which gets back to the moral question. I get the sadness in your writing and so don't want to pick a fight. It's easy to pick up those talking points and condemn people for wanting to feel safe by arming themselves. It's easy to berate people as "gun addicts" who simply want to protect their families in their home.
Covid exposed the truth that our government does not have our best interest at heart. The Government has no intention of protecting us but rather protecting a certain class of people that they feel are more important. This extends down to the community level and is evidenced by the fact that more young people will die this weekend most likely in the south side of Chicago then died in that mass shooting. That happens every week or at least every month in many cities around the country. We don't hear about it because those lives really don't matter. They are not reflective of the elites children who would never venture to such places... they're not worth talking about. We only become horrified when the victims look like us. When the victims possibly could be our children. Then somehow it matters. All of our kids go to school so a school shooting horrifies even the elites in their gated communities in "super zip codes"
Child sacrifice happens every day in our "neo-Pagen" country. Covid was an example of mass child sacrifice on an almost unprecedented scale. The UN estimates that millions of children will die as a result of the downstream effects of Covid measures. Because of Covid measures, the war in Ukraine and America's energy policy making the production of fertilizer unprofitable for most of the world because of rising fuel cost we are about to witness worldwide famine and starvation on an unprecedented scale. The most vulnerable are the youngest and we will be inundated with images of the Starving dying Children of the third world... But again those children we can't relate to.
I am only arguing that our moral outrage surfaces only when the victim could have been one of us or our children. Public shootings scare us but only in places we might visit. School shootings however touch everyone because we all send our kids to school.
I am saddened also by the loss of those families but let us not confuse our selective compassion with morality because we have no problem sacrificing children as a society,
"The social rot that’s come over America, the nihilism and hatred of each other, is part of the cause here." Insane governmental policies, like lockdowns, did not help mental health.
‘Social rot’ = moral rot. Moral rot comes from Moral relativism which comes with affluence. When society becomes affluent enough to break away from subsistence living, you get people who have time on their hands to question the basic moral building blocks of society. Soon society says ‘live how you want’, with less and less responsibility. People then abdicate responsibility to the government, work, schools, healthcare systems, etc.
Imagine if you had to be a responsible employee - show up to work and contribute. What about being responsible for your own health - atleast attempting to live a somewhat healthy lifestyle? What if you and your church or your neighborhood were actually responsible for the homeless people in your town? What if your didn’t abdicate your parental responsibilities to the school system?
Guns are tools that are often used for evil. But true root cause requires us to look a lot deeper.