Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Roseburg Massacre and Washington's Incurable Madness

The blood of the Roseburg massacre victims had not yet dried on the classroom floor before President Obama went into hysterical hyperdrive, demanding that the entire country be declared a "gun free zone" and threatening to bypass Congress to make it happen. Every word he uttered was false.

We've been here before. Immediately following the Sandy Hook massacre, Obama, his posse, and the establishment news media launched a coordinated blizzard of misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies to exploit the shock and horror that tragic event generated ("never let a good tragedy go to waste") in an effort to ram through national gun control legislation. That non-stop 24/7 effort just may have been the greatest public relations miscalculation in political history. The American people's riposte was a stunning act of immediate and unremitting defiance. They queued up for hours to buy virtually every firearm of any type that could be found available for sale in the United States (plus all available ammunition stocks) and placed additional firearms and ammunition orders amounting to a year's worth of manufacturing output!

The anti-gun Left is and has always been completely out of touch with reality. Consider (1) its continued focus on "gun violence" instead of overall violence; (2) its insistence that semi-automatic rifles are "assault weapons;  (3) its continued claim that the U.S. has an unusually high murder rate; and (4) its repeated assertion that the widespread private ownership of firearms is responsible for the murder rate. The facts are readily available to anyone who cares to look for them and they still are not being accurately reported by the establishment media.
  • The U.S. homicide rate per 100,000 population has been dropping since 1993 and is now at its lowest level since 1968! Exceptions are cities which have the tightest restrictions on the private ownership of firearms such as Obama's Chicago.  (See FBI-Uniform Crime Reports.) 
  • The U.S. homicide rate (murders per 100,000 population) ranks 108th of the 207 countries for which data are reported according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s most recent report (see http://www.unodc.org/). All countries reporting higher murder rates than the U.S. require firearm registration and have very restrictive (virtually prohibitive) licensing requirements. Bear in mind that these data are from “the most recent year reported” and are subject to change as new information is added.
  • Gun ownership data comes from http://www.gunpolicy.org/. Although the U.S. leads the world in per capita ownership of firearms, more than one-half of the countries in the world have a higher murder rate than the United States, many of them much higher. If private firearms ownership “causes” murder, the U.S. murder rate should be the highest by far. It’s not even close.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. reported 14,196 murders in 2013, continuing a decline that has been occurring since 1993. To put these data in perspective, had the U.S. experienced El Salvador’s homicide rate, there would have been 218,039 murders and yet private firearms ownership is 15.3 times that of El Salvador! Greenland’s rate applied to our population would have resulted in 60,496 murders. In the face of these data, it is impossible to honestly believe that there is any meaningful correlation between private gun ownership and national murder rates.

It is also absolutely clear that the propensity to commit murder (and the probability of being murdered) is not equally distributed among the U.S. population. Black Americans kill and are killed at eight times the rate observed in the rest of the population. Again, see FBI-Uniform Crime Reports. The effect of this unequal distribution on the national murder rate is enormous. When the black murder rate is “normalized” to those levels observed in the rest of the U.S. population, the U.S. murder rate is cut virtually in half and falls close to rates seen in Western Europe and Canada. These data do not support the idea that there exists any causal relationship between national murder rates and private firearm ownership.

Mass killings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Roseburg are of a very different type and the perpetrators have very different motivations. Unlike the street killings that account for most U.S. murders in which black Americans are disproportionately both victims and killers, in mass killing incidents the killers tend to be White or Asian male mental patients. There is a reason for that.

Prior to 1968, there were virtually no mass killings in the United States and it was possible for anyone to purchase any legal fire arm with no background check. Guns could be mail-ordered from catalog stores such as Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Wards, JC Penny, or Spiegels and they would be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Then, beginning in the decade of the 1970s,  the U.S. experienced a dramatic increase in the number of mass killings. Two factors accompanied that increase and both warrant exploration.
  • Throughout the 1970s, mental health care reform emptied out the state mental hospitals and made it much more difficult to have dangerous mental patients involuntarily committed for treatment.
    • In 1987, the “anti-depressant” PROZAC was approved and widely prescribed followed by ZOLOFT, PAXIL and other SSRI drugs. Known side effects include suicide ideation and violent behavior. Most—if not all—of the mass killers from 1980 on were taking one or more of these drugs.
    The Roseburg tragedy invokes feelings of shock, horror, and great sadness in all of us. It is essential that we identify and understand the true causes. It will be a greater tragedy still if we allow this terrible event to be exploited to advance a dangerous political agenda that will do nothing positive and place all Americans at risk.