Friday, October 9, 2015

Everyone Is Missing the Real Problem

I waited a bit to blog about the recent mass shooting at Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon until emotions leveled off a bit. Every time one of these happens, social and television media is full of opinions of those who either blame guns or think more guns are the answer to stopping mass shootings. Instead of blaming guns, I blame the parenting of these young boys for what has happened.

Chris Harper-Mercer had six guns on his person and another eight more at home when he carried out his rampage. He had long term mental illness issues and lived with his mother.

Dylan Roof had a website full of racist postings, at least one handgun and an automatic rifle. He too had a history of mental issues and lived with his stepmother.

Adam Lanza had two semi-automatic handguns, a rifle and a shotgun with him and three more rifles and 1400 rounds of ammunition in a gun safe in his bedroom where he lived with his mother whom he also killed. He too had significant mental issues.

Dylan Klebold had a blog full of posts of hate about society. He carried a semi-automatic handgun and a sawed off shotgun shotgun along with two 20 pound propane bombs. At home where he lived with his parents were 99 more bombs already assembled and more guns.  Klebold suffered from depression and his cohort in crime Eric Harris was a diagnosed psychopath.

These are just a few shooters of mass murders off the top of my head all of whom share some commonalities. They all had mental illness, all lived at home, and all had an arsenal of weapons. What kind of parent finds it acceptable to allow their child who has a mental illness to stockpile all these weapons? Several of the parents not only knew about their child's stockpile of weapons but blatantly encouraged them to get them. Unknown are the multitude of slightly older children no longer living at home who also had a stockpile of weapons and whether or not their parents knew of them.

I'm not sure what the solution is here since in my opinion, the parents of these shooters also suffered from mental issues if they thought their children with diagnosed mental issues were okay to stockpile weapons and ammunition. I do know that all this talk about guns being to blame or the solution to these mass shootings is not the right answer.

Another issue I would like to discuss that is on this topic is that we also need to stop clouding the issue. After all these mass shootings occur, the media pushes out an unbelievable amount of data showing how many people more people die here in the United States than other nations. Even our president got on board with this last one. Not one single one actually used a more meaningful statistic of comparing our per capita homicide rate with the per capita homicide rate of other countries. If you do that, due to the large population difference between the United States and most nations, the United States falls far down on that list. Gasp. We are actually more likely to be gunned down in other countries than our own. Who has the problem? My answer is the media and the people who believe the dribble they force feed the general population.


Vince said...

I don't think your table is apt at all. If you want to split the US up and match say Germany to both California and Texas. Florida, New York and Illinois to the UK. Penn, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan and NC to France. NJ, Virginia, Washington, Mass and AZ to Italy. Add Spain, Portugal, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands to even up with the remainder and you don't come close to the murder rate. You have to go to a war zone or a failed State to find anything near. Note also, the murder rate is about 5 per 100,000. 1 in 20,000, a small town per year even in places like Wyoming.
The thing is on top of the murder rate you have justified shootings a la the cops, hunters doing a Cheney right.
But in truth there are a few issues running here. The normal killings are in places like Honduras within the inner cities, but these school shootings are entirely different. Plus, these shootings are far far FAR harder to address. The inner cities are poor and become prey to criminal scum. Fat well fed middleclass nutters are a different prospect to stop.

Ed said...

Vince - I've never heard anyone say California or the Texas is a dangerous place to live so why split them out of the group? When everyone says AMERICA has a problem, then one should compare America to other countries. To cherry pick California or Texas is the same as picking out a small region of Germany or France that has had murder problems and using them in comparison. I have taken lots of statistics classes and used them throughout my life. I know how easy it is to manipulate them to create fear which is what the media tends to do. After all, fear creates a good news cycle. Another way they used statistics to create fear is when it comes to health. Once a week a report comes out saying that by doing this activity or consuming this item, you are twice as likely to die. While technically correct, they never say that your chances of death actually increased from .25% to .50%. Yes that is twice as likely but not likely overall.

I also disagree on the term "normal killings." I don't think there is a normal killing and I don't think there is a difference if the killer is poor or middleclass. My point is that in all these cases, these kids grew up in households where their parents allowed them to stockpile guns when they had known mental issues. This has nothing to do with wealth or where they grew up (regionally) and everything to do with their parents.

sage said...

I agree that parents should share some responsibility but I disagree with your chart. Granted, you are dead whether you are shot or you are stabbed or run over by a bus, but why not stick to guns (most of the media reports I see show gun deaths which not only includes homicides but also suicides which does raise the US numbers). What about comparing us to other developed nations and not the third world?

Ed said...

Sage - Statistics are hard to interpret when all you get is a graph. The website I pulled that graph listed it as only rampaging gun violence. How they interpret that I don't know. Of all the graphs I did see that specifically said homicide via gun, the highest I ever saw the United States was in 15th place.

On kind of a related side note, I did run across a study tracking only mass shootings and studied the relationship between number of incidents, perpetrators and victims. Since 1980, the number of incidents and perpetrators has remained fairly constant. The number of victims however bounces around quite a bit but if I were to chart a trend line, it would also show them to be fairly constant. I would guess this year would be one of the high points on the chart. I'm sure you remember back in the 80's when people were going "postal" and shooting up mail offices all the time. We've always had this problem but with modern media, it has portrayed as a new problem.

Tewshooz said...

Umpqua is in Washington. The shooting was in Roseburg, Oregon.

Vince said...

The numbers are ballparking the populations, this would be far more analogous than using a failed state like Honduras. The general 5 per 100,000 is the FBI's.
But my point is the murder rate is confined to that 5 per 100,000 regardless of State with Wyoming the lowest at 4.7, which converts to 20 plus murders per year.
However, most of these are confined to economically and educationally marginalised areas, usually inside large cities. It is my contention that every darn firearm could be removed and you'd still have that rate of murder inside those areas. But, it's very unlikely those school shootings could've occurred had gun possession been tighter, and only a little bit tighter.
Did you know that the private prison industry when planning a site will analyse the education level of 10 year olds.

Ed said...

Tewshooz - It should have read Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon and I have corrected the post. Thanks for the heads up.

Kelly said...

Very, very interesting.

Ed said...

Now that all have commented, I would like to say that my personal belief is that guns are way to easy to obtain. I think background checks ought to be mandatory and extensive and that we treat them much like we do a drivers license all the way down to showing you are capable of operating a vehicle before getting your license. Although I feel that anyone who wants a weapon that is fully automatic and has a large clip should be able to obtain one, provided they pass the background check, I think the fees for them should be higher and the background check even more thorough, i.e. neighbors and family get interviews, etc.

I have no desire to own such a gun but I do own a shotgun and a handgun. Though I used to hunt, I haven't for over a decade and so now, they are mostly for self defense though I pray that I never have to try them out. When I obtained the shotgun, I had to fill out a form and wait three days for them to run my name through a database somewhere but that was 20 years ago and I'm sure very inadequate. The handgun was a more recent purchase but that required a wait of only ten minutes after filling out the paperwork. Neither of those "background" checks were adequate in my opinion. Although I took a class to learn how to operate and shoot the handgun effectively, it wasn't required when I purchased it. There should be no difference in the background check whether you buy your gun online, through a dealer, at a gun show or privately.

These are some of my thoughts on the issues of guns and if they were to be made into law, I think it would make a difference in the fight against mass shootings but I in no way think it will stop them. As long as there are parents out there who feel arming their mentally ill children is a necessity, or not teaching children at an early age about the sacredness of life, these things will continue to happen as they have always.

Vince said...

The issue with your idea is that it attacks the very core of the 2nd. But dint of Citizenship the Right exists. If the legislators attempt to dilute this it will be struck down by SCOTUS.
The changes to your licencing regs stems from this. Also the laws about concealed carry, which is now largely automatic. I recently looked at a list of CC States and was shocked. Who the hell walking into Aunty Mame Maple Syrup Store would expect Mame and her six dirndl dressed daughters to have a Glock strapped to their person. Europeans only think Texans are nutty on guns.
But I contend that the only way to prevent mass school shootings is the blanket removal of middle-class guns. I've certainly never come across a Ghetto school having such an event.