Sunday, June 09, 2013


You know people do all kinds of crazy things to get in the Guinness Book of World Records. People do crazy things to get on TV and I'm convinced that what we have going on is a contest here.  People who shouldn't be anywhere near weapons are vying to see who can do the most senseless act of senseless violence and some don't care if it's the last thing they ever do.  Every shooting spree seems to trigger another in some sort of macabre chain reaction.

I don't know if rampage shootings are on the increase, or whether they're on the decrease  I expect than in the long term it's the latter, but although we have evidently made strides in reducing most violent crime, we have more crazy people, psychopathic and schizophrenic people, treated or untreated roaming about looking for blood and despite our efforts at making mandatory background checks effective -- way too damn many are slipping through the gaping holes in the system.

Santa Monica gunman previously hospitalized for mental health
shouts the headline.  So why, with all the gun control laws California has, was he able to get hold of a gun?  Did he pass a background check, did he buy it illegally, at a gun show; did he steal a gun?  I'm sure we'll find out, but the fact that he may have recently been hospitalized for urges to kill people and yet acquired weapons or retained weapons is inexcusable.

Yes, we are all upset at the failure of Congress to do something about our Swiss cheese system of background checks, but did we really read the bill or were we just satisfied as long as the title promised that everyone would have to pass a background check?  Did it only plug a loophole through damned little was passing?  Did it address the fact that 'no gun' lists are not adequately maintained or updated either because it's too much work for mental health professionals or because they are afraid of lawsuits or other repercussions? 

Passing laws that are not or cannot be enforced and are proven ineffective is inexcusable and while an effective approach must include checks, it must also make those checks real by making the reporting of such mental health issues real and if some are so concerned that the evil Obama is going to take their weapons and put stooges on the court that will make the second amendment nugatory, perhaps they should stop the kind of  stonewalling that is endangering the freedom they wish to keep. Perhaps our traditional practice of  writing and passing bills without reading them, without examining the assumptions and looking at past experience is going to have to change as well.

Background checks are necessary but they may as well not exist if we're going to prevent them from working, if we're going to be satisfied with doing the same things expecting different results.  But if we're to look at gun crime in general,  I have to agree with the USA Today article that discusses the failure of  our current approach that owes so much with our refusal to discuss or do anything about the poverty, the criminal subculture, the frustration and anger and hopelessness and yes, the untreated, unrestrained mental illness that that foster crime.  The most severe restrictions have far, far less effect on crime than their passionate advocates insist they do and in my opinion the traditional belief in bans and licenses and registration programs are always going to fail if we do nothing about the vast Petri dish of depravity that is America.

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