Skip to comments.An American Madness
Posted on 10/06/2017 8:48:53 AM PDT by Kaslin
All countries have mental illness, but its expression differs dramatically by culture. Historically, in Southeast Asia, men whose minds were coming unglued displayed symptoms of wild, uncontrolled violence. It was called "amok" and entered our language as "running amok." In the Middle East, the afflicted showed symptoms called "zar" -- inappropriate outbursts of laughing, singing and screaming. In 19th century Europe, women had "hysterical" blindness and unexplained paralysis. In 20th century America, young people suffering from anorexia starved themselves to death in the belief that they were obese.
Our culture, for complex reasons, has given rise to a new expression of madness -- the mass shooting followed by suicide.
A few of our worst -- San Bernardino, Orlando, Fort Hood, Charleston -- were terrorist attacks. The killers were not crazy, just bent on destruction for political ends. But the majority of mass shooters over the past several decades have been mentally ill men. The Virginia Tech killer had displayed many signs before his assault. So had the killers in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Washington's Navy Yard, and on and on.
In 1966, a 25-year-old ex-Marine stabbed his mother through the heart. He then did the same to his wife, covering their bodies with sheets. He left a note confessing to the crimes and asking that an autopsy be performed on him after his death. Later that day, he climbed the tower at the University of Texas and began a shooting spree that lasted 96 minutes. Fifteen people, including teenagers, were killed, and more than 30 were injured before police were able to kill the man and end the siege.
An autopsy was performed. The shooter, who had visited many psychiatrists and other doctors complaining of headaches, was found to have a brain tumor, a glioblastoma, the size of a pecan.
Because the Las Vegas killer's last act was to put a gun in his mouth and blow his brains out, an autopsy may be of limited value in this case. We can only do a social autopsy, and so far, that has led only to more questions. He was utterly outside the usual categories of mass killers. He wasn't young. He was wealthy. He had displayed no previous signs of mental instability. His massacre was meticulously planned and executed -- not a case of running amok with a gun. Any explanation, even that he had somehow become a devotee of ISIS (which the terrorists claimed afterward but which is highly doubtful), would at least piece this together.
But even before learning what motivated this killer, we can shake off some of the old dust that encrusted the gun control debate. This is not about "gun violence" writ large. Most people know that deaths from guns have been declining over the past several decades even as gun ownership rates have risen. It is not about "silencers" either, as people who shoot guns for sport will tell you. The James Bond image of "silenced" guns stealthily dropping people is mostly a Hollywood invention.
A nation with a Second Amendment, a strong belief in the right to self-defense and 357 million guns in circulation is not going to have an Australian-style confiscation. Gun control absolutists need to live in the real world. The U.S. is not going to become Japan, which has almost no guns, or Switzerland, for that matter, which has a gun in every home and virtually no violence.
That said, if we understand that the thing we are trying to prevent is the next mass shooting, banning "bump stocks" would seem reasonable. These adaptations to the AR-15 -- the Las Vegas mass murderer seemed to be using one and appeared to have many in the hotel suite -- permit the user to fire so rapidly that the semi-automatic weapon becomes in effect an automatic one. No "good guy with a gun" stands a chance against a bad guy in that situation.
Machine guns, grenades and other weapons have been heavily regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934. A 1986 amendment made it illegal for civilians to own a fully automatic weapon manufactured after May 19, 1986. Machine guns of older vintage are available but extremely expensive and highly controlled. That's as it should be. No one thinks our Second Amendment rights are compromised because machine guns are nearly impossible to obtain. So are bazookas and Stinger missiles.
The American psychosis of mass shootings isn't just a gun problem. Publicity, the modern opiate, may be a motive, which is why, in my small way, I try not to contribute. I don't name the killers.
I believe the shootings of random, happy people doing normal, quotidian things are a symptom of the spiritual emptiness and loneliness that afflicts a subset of our people -- a byproduct of family dissolution and fraying communities. It won't be solved by any gun measure. But if there's a good reason not to ban bump stocks, I haven't heard it.
Rubber bands can be used to achieve the same thing. Are we also going to ban rubber bands?
Paddock was Mooslim madness.
Oh, for crying out loud.
I don’t give a shirt if his mommy and daddy didn’t love him enough.
The son of a bitch is dead and he deserved it.
He was crazy.
But he was crazy enough to function efficiently in our society and make lots of money.
He could have run for office as a Democrat and won.
Then, we could have another crazy son of a bitch who felt that his mommy and daddy didn’t love him enough like, oh, say, Bill Clinton or Barrack Obama.
There are always going to be crazy son of a bitches and some of them will be elected as Democrats and control vast amounts of killing power.
No gun control.
The liberal controlling beast is very hungry.
If you feed it at all, you had better expect that it will come back for more.
The author of the piece couches his veiled appreciation of gun control in the diagnosis of an American ‘psychosis’.
No matter how ‘crazy and darn dangerous’ Americans are seen to be by the rest of the world, it is the very American ownership of guns that daunts dictators, globalists, and Communist-kissing liberals alike.
I’m surprised that the author of the article did not dig back into the history of The Ol’ West, to substantiate his ‘psychosis’ theory.
I think anyone who thinks there should be a fight over bump stocks is just plain silly.
1. It is a fight that is already lost
2. Even if we were somehow able to turn it around, there would be nothing real gained by 2A advocates
3. Most 2A advocates don’t care about bump stocks and are not in the fight. They are passive, at best.
I say again, it’s a silly waste of energy and political capital for NOTHING. And, it splits the 2A bloc.
The writer is Mona Charon who is a conservative Never Trumper.
The case that the tumor had much to do with Whitman's behavior was never considered definitive. Meanwhile, his ferociously messed-up childhood is beyond question. His father was extremely, notoriously angry, demanding, and physically violent, both to him and his mother. His mother left his father after the kids were grown to live alone and work in a store, just to get away from the beatings. Charles became violent to his own wife after they married at 20. He was initially a high achiever in academics and sports, but less so when he was sent to college on a GI scholarship. He drank and gambled and had fits of rage. He was court-martialed by the Marines for loan-sharking other Marines, threatening them, and keeping a private firearm in his room.
The father apparently had no tumor. If the son acted like him after growing up around him and being beaten regularly, the tumor COULD have been an extra factor, but as an explanation, it seems unnecessary. Personality traits and some behavior tendencies are heritable, and random beating and cruelty in childhood are known to leave the victim with a reservoir of rage that can inspire him to victimize others.
“Who the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad” — Ancient Greek proverb
Anyone caught with an Assault Slinky should be put away for twenty years.
Charon is indeed a writer. But she’s no conservative, no matter how loudly she may claim to be one.
It looks like it, but unless the authorities report that they found a Koran in his house: as ISIS claimed that he converted to Islam, we don’t know. So far there is no report that they found one.
Yeah, but this time she stays on subject and makes no mention of President Trump which is good.
I don’t believe that tumors are inheritable as you seem to do.
It's not a "gun problem" at all. It's a murderous nutjob problem. Banning bump-stocks, or even real automatic weapons, is misguided and foolish (at best). At worst it is a deliberate effort to disarm the people prior to oppressing them. We need to concentrate murderous nutjobs, not get distracted by the foolishness of banning objects.
Here is the problem I see with the bump stock ban - IMO it will not be a clean bill, Dems will work with GOPe squishes to add other gun control measures, Trump will veto, and the Dems will run around shrieking about how Trump won’t even sign a bump stock ban. That is the trap to avoid.
“Dems will work with GOPe squishes to add other gun control measures”
that’s why GOP must put a clean bill on the floor and close debate.
You said it and I agree completly
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