Edition: 061417 – Words: 1516 – Audio: N/A
Today’s shooting event, yet another “abhorrent and dastardly” display of violence in America, will, in the end, remain just that, I’m afraid. By now there’s the familiar pattern with these acts of violence in trying to understand the motive of the perpetrator, why was that group targeted, what’s revealed about the shooter in his various online social accounts, interviews with friends and family and fifth grade teacher, and of course… how did this guy not make it on someone’s watch list, as we begin to finger point who screwed up. After all, when the shooter himself gets dead in the process… there’s no one to blame. We need someone to blame. There are no such things as random acts or acts of God… because God doesn’t act that way… allegedly. I am reminded of a saying I heard a while back. A bullet is not guided toward its target once it leaves the barrel; where it goes is up to God.
God aside (and no offense to God), there’s no question the event is a tragedy and will be remembered forever by those who experienced it. Let’s pray (to God, presumably) that Rep. Steve Scalise recovers fully. But in the wake of this I thought I might pass on some thoughts and observations on how to take the event.
- Non-political, non-terrorist, mass shootings and acts of violence like this can happen in America on any typical day; just look at all of it during the Obama years. Now you can add to that the political mood of the nation and increased threats from Islamic extremists.
- The current political mood of the nation will also spawn these kinds of events. I predicted this privately since President Trump came to office. Nothing really can be done about it.. legally. This is just the first of more to come in the coming years. This event.. a mass shooting… doesn’t surprise me one bit and if you are surprised all that much then you have had your head in the sand. Why? We have 350 million people in this country, all with their own opinions, and all with different mental attributes toward dealing with life’s stresses. Any social change, diametrically opposed political opinion, “burps” in the economy, or any other public lifestyle adjustment that might normally be absorbed within cultural acceptance decades past, is going to be amplified as population increases. Between point #1 above and this point.. expect more of these events. Also, expect future events here where the nutcase(s) use cars and knives as weapons.
- While this is the “age of terrorism” around the world, a lot of these lone wolf shootings in America are purely a mental health issue, whether the suspect was radicalized over the internet or just an explosive nutcase (like Sandy Hook). There is a lack of mental comprehension and reasonable acuity to distinguish right and wrong. Already there’s chatter in the media regarding “why didn’t this guy’s online postings put him on some list?’ From what I saw in the media his letters to the local newspaper and online posts were nothing get to worried about; freedom of speech. Hell, my blog here might subject me to being on some list. That’s the threat to the Constitution to watch out for, folks… freedom of speech.
- It’s all about the guns. Well, no, it’s not. But that cry is looming and being hinted about already in the media. The irony here is that the victims in this shooting were Republicans, who typically favor less gun control. I wonder what they will say now. We have more guns in this country than people. More states are allowing conceal & carry. Common sense does suggest that some people will have anger management issues and use their gun against family or friends. Statistically that makes some sense. But would an armed populace limit mass shooting events in those critical 3 to 6 minutes before the cops get there? More to the point… can we expect 350 million people to be responsible gun owners/users.. even if a small statistic kills someone out of anger or misguided passion? In all these shooting events.. people die inside those first 3-6 minutes before the police get on scene. It’s simply a matter of surprise against unsuspecting victims. Do we arm ourselves against those first few minutes when we are on our own? It’s a numbers game. Do we allow (encourage) our elected officials to be armed?
- I mentioned the political mood of the country was apparently the trigger for this shooter, Hodgekinson. That begs the question.. where did this political mood come from? Depends who you ask. Conservative blogs will say it’s Obama/Clinton liberals from some “deep state” who are pissed that Trump won. Although Hodgekinson was a Hillary-hating, Bernie Sanders supporter. Not easy to easily assign his politics to liberal-loving or conservative-loving… although it’s obvious he was Trump-hating. But let’s face this much, Trump the man has been the divisive conduit since day one. In my opinion, his fomenting national divisiveness has spawned this nutcase and will in the future. On the other hand… maybe Congress, certainly the House, may end up getting some morality and empathy toward each other… and maybe loosen some cooperation. That remains to be seen.
- I am fully confident (very sadly) that nothing will come of today’s event. That doesn’t mean the various interest groups won’t try. As always, I contend we need to have a national mental health program. But the anti-gun lobby will be more concerned with the Second Amendment. There will be discussions about detecting these nut jobs in advance; but not likely because we can’t go further Constitutionally. It will fade from the news as the Russian investigation fills the news again. Likely Congress will hire more Capitol Police as public escorts. (Funny… Trump has indeed created more jobs)
The real thing to be wary of as we analyze future mass shootings/mass killing events… is doing a knee-jerk passing of laws that whittle away at the Bill of Rights. This is where Conservatives miss the point. They are constantly rallying around the Second Amendment… worrying about their trigger fingers… when their role should be rallying around preserving the entire Bill of Rights.
I think maybe we need to pledge ourselves in defending the country against all forms of nut jobs, foreign or domestic. The problem is, how do we identify the nut jobs before they get their chance to blow us away in the first 3-6 minutes when they empty their magazine. In my current job of being an unarmed security guard for a San Bernardino welfare office (not the shooting location) it’s critical that I try and identify potential nut jobs as they walk in. On more than one occasion I’ve had to “request” someone entering the facility with a weapon on their belt to remove it from the building; take it out to their car. Each time I’ve done that I’ve approached the person with my pepper spray in hand, but not seen by them. That’s my line of defense in the event the person is a nut job, and if I get the drop on him first, he will drop. Never had to use it… but as I wear a uniform that just makes me a target for anyone, all I have is my common sense. When I am off-duty by myself at the local Walmart or some such public place… I still carry my pepper spray (it’s legal in all states). I could get a conceal & carry permit.. but I’d not be legal carrying it while on duty… yet customers can carry and I am sure many are concealed and I’d never know it. Crazy world we live in.. and crazier yet.. it’s amazing what we will do (or surrender) to make a living. But maybe the secret to combat random violence is more cooperation/contribution from the public through education programs from the government. Office shooter survival exercises is a great concept that’s getting popular.
There is one idea.. since I am inside the business of security. A tax incentive program to enhance security for businesses and governmental agencies. Allow businesses to deduct double the expense of supplying security. For every additional dollar spent on security the business gets to deduct an additional dollar at tax time for each new hire. Well… the details not for this post. But you get the idea. Increase public security while creating jobs that add more eyes for quicker detection. Maybe spend less money for more armed border guards and funnel it to where the REAL threat is… the nation’s public areas and businesses.
In the meantime, we are condemned to simply wait for the next event… and live with it. Let’s not put emotionally driven cracks into the Constitution. As the title of this post suggests, the document is vulnerable and itself is not protected by anything other than the pure spirit of freedom within all of us.
Carry On America.