The Credit Strategist Blog
The FBI, which studies such matters more effectively than it prevents them, reports that the number of active shooter incidents in 2021 spiked by 52.5% from 2020 while the increase over the 2017-21 period was an appalling 96.8%. There were 61 active shooter incidents last year across 30 states resulting in 103 fatalities and 140 wounded. The highest number occurred in CA (6), GA (5), TX (5), FL (4) and CO (4). June was the cruelest month with the highest number of incidents (12) followed by April (10) and August (7). Most of the shootings (32) occurred in “areas of commerce.” An “active shooter incident” is defined as one or more individuals “actively engag[ing] in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area” and implies use of a firearm. Inclusion of the word “active” in the definition refers to the “ongoing nature of an incident, and thus the potential for the response to affect the outcome.” The definitions are obvious and we don’t need the FBI to tell us that we have a problem that is growing worse.
The FBI study excludes many other kinds of mass casualty events involving guns such the shootings that occur in many of America’s cities every weekend and multiple shooting gun incidents that occurs with nauseating frequency around the country including in rural areas.
The shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX yesterday closely resembled a similar massacre in Newtown, CT in 2012. In each case, a deeply disturbed young man easily purchased military weapons that lack any legitimate civilian purpose and used those weapons to murder mostly young children.
Many people claim to be shocked that these appalling events happen. The real question is why they don’t occur more often when we readily place weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest possible time in the hands of children who also happen to be mentally ill.
When everybody is done wringing their hands and offering their thoughts and prayers, they go back to insuring mass shootings will happen again and again by refusing to demand that our political leaders take the obvious steps required to put an end to this madness. They claim they are appalled but enough people are not sufficiently appalled to cast their votes to stop the violence.
There are a few simple principles on which everyone should agree.
(1) Civilians have no legitimate use for military weapons. Ever. Period full stop.
(2) Mentally immature and mentally ill individuals should not have access to military weapons. Ever. Period full stop.
The Second Amendment is not a suicide pact. It does not provide an unlimited right for anyone to own a military weapon. It is a limited, not an unlimited right, upon which reasonable restrictions can be placed to protect society. If you disagree, you are misinformed and should read Justice Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v Heller (2008).
Someone sold the Uvalde killer (21 victims) the weapons he used just as someone sold the Newtown killer his weapons (26 victims) or the Parkland, FL killer his weapons (20 victims a half hour from my home) and every other school shooter his weapons. In virtually every case the killer was obviously not an individual in whose hands such weapons should be placed. And no truly serious attempt was made to inquire whether any of these killers was someone who should own such a weapon. At best perfunctory checks were made to fulfill the bare minimum of the law that resulted in loaded guns being placed in the hands of madmen barely over the legal drinking age. How can any rational person think this is acceptable?
This is how you destroy a society. From within.
Some say we don’t have a gun problem. They say we have a mental illness problem.
We have both a gun problem and a mental illness problem.
And the mental illness problem is not merely that mentally ill people can gain easy access to guns. The mental illness problem is that our society and our government tolerate this kind of problem and make no serious effort to address it. That is a sickness at the heart of the body politic. Our government has given up any pretense of protecting its most vulnerable citizens from gun violence, whether they are children in schools or minorities living in cities like Chicago. If this is not a sign that we are in crisis, I don’t know what is.
We may not be able to eliminate these acts of violence but we can absolutely minimize them if we take just a couple of simple steps.
(1) Ban sales of military weapons to civilians under the age or 25 (an absolute ban would be better but we need to be realistic about what can be achieved politically). If we are willing to make people wait a few years until they can drink or drive, we can certainly make them wait a little longer until they can buy weapons to kill masses of people.
(2) Require thorough universal background checks before selling any guns of any type to anybody, not the perfunctory kinds of checks that prevail today. Current background check laws are inconsistently enforced and insufficiently stringent.
We have to start treating gun ownership like a privilege rather than a right. It is constitutionally permissible to place restrictions on gun ownership.
From a practical standpoint, there is a reasonable opportunity to reduce the number of mass shootings. The question is whether we will continue to allow politics, which is supposed to make things better, perpetuate these preventable killings.