Sunday, January 6, 2013

Killers May Be Crazy, But They're Not Stupid !

In the wake of a monstrous crime like that nut-case's murder of defenseless women and children at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, the nation's attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre. Of course the knee-jerk reaction is to BAN, Ban , ban all guns and surmise that it'll make people safer without looking at the reality of both sides of gun ownership. I have already brought out two aspects of this argument in recent postings; one regarding the serious assessment, incarceration and treatment of mentally-suspect individuals and the other showing that a gun ban in Australia didn't necessarily make Australians any safer. But wait...there's more!

Luckily, some years ago, two famed economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago and John Lott at Yale, conducted a massive study of multiple victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes affected their frequency and death toll. Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies proposed right now in response to the Sandy Hook massacre: waiting periods with background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun. None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming America's lax mental health laws, presumably because deadshits like the ACLU and the Civil Liberties Union are working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in 50 states.)

Their conclusion: Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes;  CONCEALED-CARRY LAWS.

The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally. Look at it this way....someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal or fruitcake planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun. You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in ''gun-free zones'' -- even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater (where James Holmes committed mass murder) and in a Portland, Oregon mall where a nut gunned down shoppers a few weeks ago. Guns were banned in all these places. My conclusion:  Mass killers may be crazy, but they are not stupid !

If the deterrent effect of concealed-carry laws seems surprising to you, that's because the media hide stories of armed citizens stopping mass shooters. At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the busy Christmas season mall. It turns out, he was stopped by a concealed-carry-holder who hadn't noticed the mall was labeled ''gun-free zone'', and seeing the man's gun was pointed at him, he killed himself. If we care about reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings, shouldn't we pay particular attention to the cases where the aspiring mass murderer was prevented from getting off more than a couple of rounds?

In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the ''lame-media": 
--- Palace Theater, San Antinio, Texas, last month: Jesus Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a car and bystanders at the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total Dead: Zero.
--- Winnemucca, Nevada, 2009:  Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed-carry-holder shoots him dead. Total Dead:  Two
--- Appalachian School of Law, 2003: A crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes to reload, two armed students point their guns at him as a third student tackles him.  Total dead: Three
--- Santee, California, 2002: Student begins shooting his classmates and the campus supervisor; a father who happened to bring his daughter to school points his gun at the shooter, holding him until the police arrive.  Total dead: two
--- Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1999: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principle Joel Myrick retrieves his 45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman's head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two

By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures -- Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wisconsin (six dead'; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia (32 dead); Columbine High School, Colorado (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (5 little girls dead); public school, Craighead, Arkansas (5 killed, including 4 little girls). Again...these all took place in gun-free zones, resulting in lots of innocent people getting killed.

The Way I See It....there should be a ban on military semi-automatic weapons as President Bush originally envisioned as well as stopping the no-accountability (no background checks) shopping at gun-shows. These are the two main areas that need to be addressed right now and the NRA should endorse these measures without hesitation. But any other draconian civil rights violations must be avoided. Are you listening Senator Diane Feinstein???

If what we care about is saving the lives of innocent human beings by reducing the number of mass public shootings and the deaths they cause, only one policy has ever been shown to work: concealed-carry laws. On the other hands, if what we care about is self-indulgent grandstanding, and to hell with dozens of innocent children being murdered in cold blood, try the other policies.

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