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REFLECTIONS ON ROANOKE — 32 Comments

  1. I have a solution … remember the stories of the young mechanic sent to retrieve a “left handed monkey wrench “? Or the urban gent taken out for a “night time snipe hunt “?

    Why don’t we suggest that the antis will get our support for a smart gun that detects the users mental state ! Kind of like a 21st century “mood ring “. This should occupy them for the better part of this century. And we can go about our business without the harping of these nanny state busy bodies.

  2. I have this argument over, and over, and over again to no avail. I truly believe that there must be some kind of mental illness present in the anti-gun crowd. At the very least, they are absent any degree of common sense. How can you believe that passing more laws will stop evil people from committing crimes? If I’m not mistaken, murder is ALREADY ILLEGAL! The real solution is to simply post “No weapons allowed” signs everywhere. After all, those signs have magical powers and any criminal will be helpless against them.

  3. Many people, on both the right and the left, harbor hopes that the gun control debate can be settled rationally. That we can all “sit down together” and reason out a “solution”. This is not possible because the underlying push for gun control is not rational. Rather, it springs from a subconscious (non-reasoned) process related to human behavior and human psychology. I gave a brief explanation of this process in a comment for the previous guest blog by Dave (the Liberal non-Uncle one). It discusses the three (3) subconscious simplifying assumptions that drive political orientation. For those of you who have not seen it, I invite you to read it first before reading the rest of this post. Otherwise, my following comments may not be clear.

    So, the predictable calls for “more gun control” after the Roanoke atrocity do not represent a reasoned response. Rather, they are actually a “self-conditioned response” not unlike the slobbering of the dogs when Pavlov rang the bell. Sadly, the right-wing response, from the NRA and others, will also be a “self-conditioned response” rather than a reasoned one.

    This is why the gun control debate hangs at a constant stalemate. Both sides are not “thinking” about their actions and responses. Rather, they are “feeling” their way forward based upon worldviews that are developed by means of a subconscious mechanism. That is why reason cannot prevail on the gun control issue. The people on both sides are simply not reasonable. Rather, they are irrational and (worse yet) do not even realize that they are being irrational.

    Reconsideration of the gun control position, by either a hard left-winger or a hard right-winger, would require then to, in effect, re-evaluate their entire worldview and political orientation. That is not an easy thing for anyone to do.

    I will note that I am not immune to the subconscious forces that shape political debate. I am as human as the next person. My natural inclination would be to take the negative view of humanity and lean to the right. However, I understand this process is irrational and that I need to base my decision-making process upon what I “think” rather than upon what I “feel”. I tell myself that I must be Mr. Spock rather than Dr. McCoy.

    So, I am probably one of the few humans on the planet who has tried to understand the gun control debate from a rational perspective rather than by just going by my feelings. I have come to view the gun control debate as just another version of the prohibition debate (with guns substituted for alcohol). Indeed, the left-wing arguments for gun control are identical with those for the prohibition of alcohol. Every argument dreamed up by the temperance movement has been “re-cast” and used to call for gun control.

    We know that, historically, the prohibition movement was a spectacular failure. I see no reason to suppose that the gun control position is not just as deeply flawed. So, based upon my rational analysis of the facts, rather than upon my feelings, I have taken a pro-gun position. It is not because I am a right-wing, gun-loving NRA nut. It is because my factual analysis of the gun control debate indicates that the whole concept of gun control is flawed and will fail. I see no reason to support another flavor of an already-failed policy.

  4. So many Americans now seem to have a difficult time understanding that there is, and always has been, a small but very troublesome core element in every society that is hellbent on reckless misbehavior. Some of them are insane, others are opportunistic psychopaths, and many appear to stupid and have poor impulse control. Apparently no amount of counseling, turning the other cheek, or showing them empathy affects their behavior. Why is this such a mystery to some law-abiding folks?

  5. Nothing of importance to add and please forgive me for taking up valuable space for this, but I just want you to know, this is the finest thing you’ve ever written. Oh how I love a healthy dose of reason and common sense.
    Jeff

  6. Mas says, “Going back over decades, the politically correct de-institutionalization of the dangerously insane opened a Pandora’s Box we may never be able to close.”

    It was not an issue of political correctness. Until the late 1970’s anyone who showed virtually any degree of mental or intellectual disability could be indefinitely institutionalized by their family or by the state. Just because someone is mentally ill does not mean that they lose their Constitutional. And one of those rights is the right not to be locked up if you’ve not violated the law or been proven to be dangerous to yourself or others. Moreover, as the discussion here has revealed (and the experience in other countries such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) has shown, there can be vast disagreement over what constitutes mental illness and easy involuntary commitment can be used as a tool to suppress one’s opponents or to penalize nonconformist thinkers. The solution in the 1970’s was to require that individuals could be involuntarily committed only after a hearing which afforded the full due process of law, including the right to be represented by counsel, and to only be committed if it could be shown that they are an actual and immediate danger — not just speculative due to the nature of their condition — to themselves or others or unless they voluntarily agree to commitment. And, in fact, the _vast_ majority of mentally ill people are not, and never will be, such a danger.

  7. So how do we identify the mentally ill? ******Lord that opens up another whole can of worms!!!!! But the contents of that can NEED to be examined by WISE people on both sides of the gun issue.
    Perhaps we can at least begin by restricting the “obviously” mentally ill, i.e. those who already have a history of violence without cause.
    The mental illness issue is valid, but where does one draw the line? Does someone loose their right to carry because they went to family concealing because their son or daughter was having “teenage issues”?
    It is a VERY tough issue! Some say that combat veterans shouldn’t be allowed to have firearms and yet the ones I personally know are more qualified mentally and skill wise to have arms!
    I wish I had all the answers but I don”t. However I do know that taking guns away from almost all Americans is dead wrong.
    law abiding Americans is definitely

  8. Well, thank you so much Mas, for your blog. I’m sorry for the families, and their loss. I lost a brother, years ago, and it’s never been easy. This ex-reporter, committed murder. That’s an evil act. I wonder if I would’ve been allowed to work with this reporter, had it been known I carried a handgun like a G26?

    This news team could of been murdered any number of ways. Unfortunately, logically speaking, as a CHL holder, I’ll go through an extensive background check. But, a persons emotions rule. Even though lives would of been saved.

  9. Whenever a gun-related tragedy occurs, folks fall all over themselves asking, ‘What could/should we have done to prevent this terrible tragedy from occurring?’

    The implicit assumption behind the question is that every event is preventable… when the fact is, many are not.

    As long as we have crazy people in the world, they’ll do crazy things; some of which, unfortunately, no laws, regulations, or restrictions will be able to prevent.

    That’s life, folks…

    But of course, progressives are operating under the delusion that all problems are fixable, if only we pass the right laws…

  10. As a practicing psychologist and gun owner for forty years, I have often thought about mental illness and firearms. As noted by a woman above, it can be very difficult to decide who and how to prevent troubled folks from getting weapons. If you require professionals to report scary folks, you will report many people who will actually never harm anyone. You will also prevent people from airing fears or fantasies that have troubled them but, also, will rarely be acted on. None of the few sketchy folks I might have been concerned about over the years ever ended up doing anything that made the newspaper. There are very sophisticated psychological tests in a battery that I use to screen officer candidates for depts. but for civilians these would be a violation of privacy, expensive and, truthfully, valid for only a year or two. People can pass and go off to develop problems. In one dept. I evaluated ten people twenty years ago and, over the years, saw one officer go out on permanent sketchy disability in six months, one beat his wife years down the road, one lie about a witness’s testimony. Others went on to to save a child’s life with a quick shot to a coyote and one became an excellent deputy sheriff later on. This is an issue with many quick solutions, all bad.

  11. My question to gun control nuts is this … If you believe more gun laws are the answer, then would YOU also be the first to support a law that prohibits the display or use of any firearm or weapon in any Movie, TV show, Music Lyrics or Video Game ?

    Implementing these types of restrictions are just as absurd as more laws aimed at law abiding citizens.

  12. Mas, good call on stating this shooting is somewhere in between a hate crime and workplace violence involving a mentally ill person. Too many discussions have centered on making this a black/white or gay/straight issue when it really isn’t.

    We really don’t have a handle on mental health issues. The diagnostic manual for mental health issues, DSM 5, and the changes in health care provisions seem to have made things worse. I completely agree that mental health diagnoses could be accidentally or intentionally to deny a person their rights. My doctor and I joked a bit about this when she asked me how I was doing and I responded “up and down”. She asked me what I meant and I told her pleased that I had passed my stress test (up) and upset that my blood sugar was too high (down). She remarked that this was fine and we discussed my pre-diabetes diagnosis. She then kidded me that insurance coding for manic depression was out of her area (cardiology). It occurred to me how easy it woud be for a doctor to just check boxes without regard to external consequences to the patient. Definitely scary in the digital age.

  13. Does someone loose their right to carry because they went to family counseling because their son or daughter was having “teenage issues”?

    At least in Texas the disqualifications are stricter than that. Except for failue to pay child support, or government fees and fines.

    The problem I have with the states that confiscate guns for mental health is tat it seems to consist of sending SWAT t take the weapons, then leaving the person alone. No attempt at a psychological evaluation. The law presumes the person is too crazy to have a gun, but not crazy enough to lock up.

    If a person is mentally off, a SWAT raid doesn’t seem likely to calm him down. Given how many ways there are to kill people, that sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  14. Mas, as usual, is right on the mark. I think instead of regulating gun owners, we should have some rules for the media so that the killer never gets their 15 minutes of fame. I wonder how many of these events would never have occurred if we didn’t have hundreds of cable TV stations needing to fill 24 hours of material every day. Giving the killers the fame they often crave seems to be a common theme. Take away their glory and leave them as an anonymous entity might just make this kind of act less appealing to these evil and sick individuals.

  15. The surest way to prevent murders on air and the glorification of mass murderers is to ban all live reporting.

    Marcie in TX beat me to the ” ban the 24-hour a day news cycle” bit, although I meant it as a joke to point out the stupid arguments of the antis…

  16. Laws are not the answer. Pror do bad things to others. The reasons are as many as the grains of sand on a beach.
    I have to wonder if the number of incidences are really higher now than 10 years ago or if this is just the result of the media making it seem so.

  17. Speaking of Psychologists,
    You know, when I was at University, (BA in Psychology, BS in Criminal Justice, now retired truck driver…) I would have sworn that most of the Psych students were there to try and figure out what was wrong with themselves.
    They seem to have graduated and taken jobs at “Say what we pay you to say” agencies.
    While a small minority of the Criminal Justice students seemed to be there to learn how to be successful criminals.
    That was actually a topic of discussion at many small off-campus meets.
    Why was I there? Ain’t saying. The fifth, y’know.

  18. Crazy? Mentally ill?

    He defined a reason to use violence to resolve an issue (real or imagined).
    Then crafted a detailed plan, procured the resources necessary to implement the plan and at an opportune moment, executed his plan to design.

    Crazy? Mentally ill?

    Remove the violence component and realize that the same methods are used daily to develop products / solutions by people considered ‘normal’.

    Delusional? Probably.

    Evil? Beyond doubt.

    Crazy? Mentally ill?

    There exists a need to define these behaviors without whitewashing them with the broad brush terminology of ‘crazy/mentally ill,.

    Because in the long run, and in someone’s opinion, I’m sure many, if not most, could be labeled ‘crazy/mentally ill’ with regard to some actions that have no relationship to any mental issues.

    And that opinion could be used to strip one of their constitutionally protected rights.

  19. Not all cat owners are nice people. Were the murderer’s cats white and have long fur? Recall that Bond villain Blofeld owned such a cat and he was evil.

    Seems many nut cases kill their pets before the go on their murderous rampages. The maniac who shot numerous people from atop the tall building on a Texas college campus killed his mother and dog before gunning down more innocent pedestrians on the streets. Many serial killers began their criminal activities by hurting pets and other animals. A few weeks ago in south Florida, unknown scumbags beat a 13 year old Pomeranian to death and then left the little mangled body on his owner’s lawn. The dog was let out by the owner’s dumb girlfriend and was not seen alive again. Apparently the dog wandered away and was found by the killers who kicked the poor guy to death, breaking his back, smashing several ribs and knocking out many teeth. The a++holes even left a note with the dog’s body proudly proclaiming their nefarious deed (the word “we” was used in the note). I would not be to surprised if these monsters will soon graduate to hurting and then killing humans, if they haven’t already. The world’s a crazy place and it’s not getting any better, especially with the scum controlling our country, so pack plenty of heat and stay safe.

  20. My own simplistic view is this. While the hammer may have smashed my thumb, it is no more at fault than the thumb. It’s the guy swinging the hammer who’s to blame.

    If guns were suddenly removed from the earth, folks who wished to harm others would just choose another tool. (As far as I know, Jack the Ripper used only a blade) I can’t help but think those who wish to ban guns have never truly considered the result – a society where the weak are at a great disadvantage to the strong. Granny with proper training and a firearm is on much more equal footing when it comes time to deal with the wolf at the door.

  21. Thanks, Mas, for the post!

    BTW, the father of the slain reporter has posted an editorial on the site of Big D’s remaining bird-cage liner with this headline: “Andy Parker: My daughter was killed on live television. I will do whatever it takes to end gun violence.”

    Here’s the link: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20150831-andy-parker-my-daughter-was-killed-on-live-television.-i-will-do-whatever-it-takes-to-end-gun-violence..ece

    Although he says he’s entering this campaign with an open mind, it seems to me his path is obvious…

    TXCOMT

  22. Mas, I grew up in the area (not Roanoke specifically, but the Roanoke area), and those two killed were originally from Salem (my home town). It is one of THE most crime free cities (though Roanoke is typical for crime, that is, lots of it, and of that lots, much is violent) in Virginia, if not the nation. True, this didn’t take place IN Salem, but these were still two homegrown kids. It’s a very rude awakening to the community.

    Hopefully enough of the rest of us homegrown kids who have spent the last decade or so living elsewhere can help the rest realize the simple solution. Though the fact that the shooting didn’t take place in Salem is going to leave most folks still with the sense of “that kind of stuff just doesn’t happen here”, because mostly it does not. Doesn’t help the handful of victims every 30 years or so though (that was when the last homicide in Salem took place).

  23. Thanks Mas, another spot on post. When WILL we re-establish the much needed system of asylums, halfway-houses, and mental health institutions? When Bryce Hospital (adjacent to U of A, Tuscaloosa) closed, the families and patients begged for a place to keep up 24/7 care. As it is now, our jails and skid rows fill up with men and women who are certifiably in need of treatment. Sad sad day.

  24. Mas my brother…you are so on the money with your posting !! I am sickened by the recent “EXECUTIONS” of the Texas Deputy Sheriff fueling his police cruiser who got shot multiple times in the head, the police officer sleeping in his own bed when he was shot to death by some nut case who broke into his home and then today in Boston where the police car was shot at and crashed, going up in fire !!!
    Did I miss something or did President Obama use Executive Order to declare a Federal Hunting License to shoot at cops and to kill them at will ???
    FYI…Everyone take notice that my brother and sister police officers are the “Thin Blue Line” every time we put on our uniforms and step out into the streets to protect and serve. We help to protect this civilized society from total mayhem of all kinds. The police did not create this mayhem, make the laws or create the criminals !! The police officers work hard at protecting our society and now themselves even more so than ever. When was the last time you thanked a police officer for putting their lives on the line every moment of every day ? Please remember that we are police officers from the day we enter the police academy until the day we die.
    Being retired since a 2004 career ending injury and presently certified under Federal Law HR-218, I carry concealed at all times and in presence of a Felony being committed or an act of Terrorism and the absence of an on duty police officer, I will take the appropriate action to protect and serve the citizens of this great country , as I was sworn to do until I die !!! Be safe my brother and sister police officers and above all watch your backs !

  25. According to James, both the murdered reporter and her cameraman were from Salem. Even though this is not the older town of the same name in Massachusetts, it’s a sure thing Hillary will not be flying on her broom to anyplace named Salem.

  26. Reading the post by “Ret. PO Bryant Kolner” reminded me of something I posted once before, maybe a few months ago. I know police are not allowed to strike, but imagine what would happen if all police officers in the USA went on strike for one month. {If I was a Hollywood producer, I’d turn that idea into a blockbuster!}

  27. To TAXCOMT,

    I do not even have to follow the link you provided to the father’s article. The title of the article alone, especially the use of the term “Gun Violence” which is a left-wing code word, informs me that:

    1) The father’s pre-existing worldview is left-wing. Therefore, he is predisposed to view all evils in the world as the result of social forces rather than as being caused by human actions.

    2) That he sincerely believes that the firearm involved in this tragic incident caused his daughter’s death rather than the hate-filled human that actually pulled the trigger.

    3) That he will join the anti-gun ranks with the belief that he is truly fighting for justice and a more peaceful world by supporting the most extreme anti-gun measures possible.

    4) And finally, that his worldview is now so set in concrete that no argument or set of facts, no matter how accurate or well-proven, will be able to bulge him in the least.

    Left-wing bias has totally closed his mind. He is now beyond rational discourse.

  28. Mas, thanks for bringing this subject matter to the forefront – it is vital this gets discussed in some kind of rational, “let’s listen to each other” manner.

    I’ve been spending a large amount of time on the pistolforum, site, just reading the absolute endless posts by folks who have been on the frontlines for decades. First, I am not aware of any other site that provides better, or deeper, opps for education, reading, etc. – about ALL aspects of this subject. I now have a much better grasp of the complexity of the mental health issue.

    I really appreciate the civility of THIS site – and pistolforum. Please keep up your oh-so-needed efforts. BTW, I just joined the ACLDN and watched all the dvds – again, great work. I am so inspired to dig deeper into the laws and psychology of the criminal mind – you did a great job!