If the circumstances weren’t so awful, the predictability of the response would almost be laughable. Every mass shooting inspires new calls for gun control, as politicians and pundits retreat to their partisan bunkers and lob blame where they believe it will do the most damage.

I believe in the Constitution, though I don’t view every piece of legislation designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or the unstable as a slippery slope toward repeal of the Second Amendment.

It seems pretty naive to think that someone bent on mass murder is going to forget the whole thing because he can’t get his hands on a particular weapon. Criminals tend to be resourceful. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City and never fired a shot.

“Assault weapon” is a made-up political term designed to expand the list of firearms that gun control proponents believe should be banned. The AR-15, which is a hunting rifle, falls into this category. It fires one round at a time, like a pistol or a revolver. It can fire about 50 rounds in a minute as opposed to a fully automatic, military issue carbine which fires about 1,000 rounds per minute. The U.S. banned the sale of new, fully automatic weapons in 1986.

You want to ban the AR-15? Fine. There are tens of millions of legally-owned AR-15s in the U.S. And keep in the mind that the man responsible for the deadliest school shooting in American history — Virginia Tech in 2007 — used two handguns.

So-called “red flag” laws, which President Trump supports, and more expansive background checks make sense. Seventeen states already have a red flag laws, which allows for a court order to prevent someone deemed a danger to himself or others from having access to a firearm.

That’s a start, though it will be difficult to move forward, mostly because of the shameful politicization of the issue. Within minutes of the shooting in El Paso, Democratic presidential candidates were blaming the president.

If that’s the case then perhaps we should blame the left for the Dayton shooter who, according to published reports, was a socialist, gun control advocate and Elizabeth Warren supporter. We can also blame the left for the man who shot up a Washington D.C. baseball field and tried to kill several Republican members of Congress in 2017. The shooter once worked for Bernie Sanders. Or maybe we can blame President Obama and his criticism of police for inspiring a gunman to kill five cops in Dallas in 2016.

I don’t buy it.

And the reality is that while mass shootings understandably generate the most attention, we’re killing each other in ways and places that inspire a conspicuous lack of outrage.

Since the infamous clock tower shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966, there have been 165 mass shootings in the U.S., according to an analysis by the Washington Post. For purposes of the analysis, a mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are killed by a single shooter. The analysis does not include domestic or gang-related incidents.

Using the Post’s criteria, 1,196 people in the U.S. have been killed in mass shootings since 1966.

In 2018, the number of homicides — by firearms or otherwise — in Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore totaled 1,223.

Over the weekend in Chicago, 53 people were shot, seven killed. You probably haven’t heard much about it.

I’m more interested in why we’re killing each other wholesale, on a daily basis, rather than how we’re doing it.

Perhaps we need to look deeper than the simplistic explanations — political rhetoric, social media, video games, the availability of firearms — and consider a society in which people are willing to take lives without considering the impact or the consequences.

We dismiss the presence of evil in the world until a massacre reveals it in neon. And soon after, we dismiss it again. We foster a culture of victimhood, where our dissatisfaction with life is always someone else’s fault. We lack empathy for those who disagree with us.

We value revenge over forgiveness. We talk about diversity only as it relates to physical characteristics; never diversity of thought or opinion. We allow our children to retreat into the isolation of virtual world, devoid of genuine human interaction.

We fight the rule of law and wonder why our young people don’t respect authority. We dethrone God and exalt ourselves. As Christians, we do a great job of telling people what they shouldn’t be doing and a lousy job of showing them Jesus.

Yes, the one who pulled the trigger is ultimately responsible and accountable.

Maybe the rest of us need to look in the mirror.

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is currently a professor of journalism at Asbury University in Kentucky. You can reach him at manieri2@gmail.com.

If the circumstances weren't so awful, the predictability of the response would almost be laughable.

Every mass shooting inspires new calls for gun control, as politicians and pundits retreat to their partisan bunkers and lob blame where they believe it will do the most damage.

I believe in the Constitution, though I don't view every piece of legislation designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or the unstable as a slippery slope toward repeal of the Second Amendment.

It seems pretty naive to think that someone bent on mass murder is going to forget the whole thing because he can't get his hands on a particular weapon. Criminals tend to be resourceful. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City and never fired a shot.

"Assault weapon" is a made-up political term designed to expand the list of firearms that gun control proponents believe should be banned. The AR-15, which is a hunting rifle, falls into this category. It fires one round at a time, like a pistol or a revolver. It can fire about 50 rounds in a minute as opposed to a fully automatic, military issue carbine which fires about 1,000 rounds per minute. The U.S. banned the sale of new, fully automatic weapons in 1986.

You want to ban the AR-15? Fine. There are tens of millions of legally-owned AR-15s in the U.S. And keep in the mind that the man responsible for the deadliest school shooting in American history - Virginia Tech in 2007 - used two handguns.

So-called "red flag" laws, which President Trump supports, and more expansive background checks make sense. Seventeen states already have a red flag laws, which allows for a court order to prevent someone deemed a danger to himself or others from having access to a firearm.

That's a start, though it will be difficult to move forward, mostly because of the shameful politicization of the issue. Within minutes of the shooting in El Paso, Democratic presidential candidates were blaming the president.

If that's the case then perhaps we should blame the left for the Dayton shooter who, according to published reports, was a socialist, gun control advocate and Elizabeth Warren supporter. We can also blame the left for the man who shot up a Washington D.C. baseball field and tried to kill several Republican members of Congress in 2017. The shooter once worked for Bernie Sanders. Or maybe we can blame President Obama and his criticism of police for inspiring a gunman to kill five cops in Dallas in 2016.

I don't buy it.

And the reality is that while mass shootings understandably generate the most attention, we're killing each other in ways and places that inspire a conspicuous lack of outrage.

Since the infamous clock tower shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966, there have been 165 mass shootings in the U.S., according to an analysis by the Washington Post. For purposes of the analysis, a mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are killed by a single shooter. The analysis does not include domestic or gang-related incidents.

Using the Post's criteria, 1,196 people in the U.S. have been killed in mass shootings since 1966.

In 2018, the number of homicides - by firearms or otherwise - in Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore totaled 1,223.

Over the weekend in Chicago, 53 people were shot, seven killed. You probably haven't heard much about it.

I'm more interested in why we're killing each other wholesale, on a daily basis, rather than how we're doing it.

Perhaps we need to look deeper than the simplistic explanations - political rhetoric, social media, video games, the availability of firearms - and consider a society in which people are willing to take lives without considering the impact or the consequences.

We dismiss the presence of evil in the world until a massacre reveals it in neon. And soon after, we dismiss it again. We foster a culture of victimhood, where our dissatisfaction with life is always someone else's fault. We lack empathy for those who disagree with us.

We value revenge over forgiveness. We talk about diversity only as it relates to physical characteristics; never diversity of thought or opinion. We allow our children to retreat into the isolation of virtual world, devoid of genuine human interaction.

We fight the rule of law and wonder why our young people don't respect authority. We dethrone God and exalt ourselves. As Christians, we do a great job of telling people what they shouldn't be doing and a lousy job of showing them Jesus.

Yes, the one who pulled the trigger is ultimately responsible and accountable.

Maybe the rest of us need to look in the mirror.

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is currently a professor of journalism at Asbury University in Kentucky. You can reach him at manieri2@gmail.com.

(12) comments

Johnny D

I couldn't agree more with your letter but with one exception. I think a "Red Flag" law is bad way to go. If any law could be twisted and used in nefarious ways, it would be that one.


LibertyorBust

Psst... Please do not purport to speak for actual Constitution supporters and supporters of the fundamental essential right to keep and bear arms. Your own comments on red-flag orders and other gun-control measures indicate quite clearly that you do not, in fact, support Amendment II. You are either being disingenuous or you are woefully ignorant of why and what was enumerated on the BORs.


ronzim

Any well trained scientist or manager knows that in order to solve a problem, you must first state that problem accurately. In this case, the problem is a massive, chronic, nation-wide epidemic of deaths and injuries caused by gunfire. Nothing yet done in our history has been effective in solving this problem. Moreover, it is important to understand both the pseudo-science and the myths which abound regarding this problem, for example: (1) If guns are safely regulated, then violent persons will simply change to other means to achieve their ends. This is can be proved untrue by reference to numerous nations which have solved this problem without any such transference. (2) That guns are not the cause of this problem, people are. This is also untrue by the same references to those other nations.







Having stated the problem, we next turn to what causes the problem. It is unequivocal that both the prevalence of guns and the degree of easy access to them are the direct causes of elevated gun violence. This too has been repeatedly documented by science, and is knowledge within the public domain. Knowing both the problem(and its dimensions) as well as the causes, we can then craft solutions that work. This does not require re-inventing the wheel because prevention of such public health problems has already been successfully implemented in a broad swath of other nations. We can certainly copy the best elements of their solutions.







NEEDED ACTIONS: Although these actions will show powerful reductions in homicide(and attempted homicide) over time, much of the suicide problem will also be ameliorated but will require actions from both lawmakers and the neuro-sciences community as well. Here are a set of actions which are immediately available and probably meet all current constitutional requirements:







One: Establish a national firearms register which makes it a crime to own, possess or have access to any firearm not registered in your name, along with correct address, phone number and positive identification. Exceptions for institutional possession such as museums, universities and historical societies.







Two: Establish a nationwide requirement which makes it a felony to own, possess or have access to any firearm absent a chip-encoded certification of a comprehensive background investigation(at the level required for a TOP SECRET security clearance, and including a full psychological evaluation)which is no more than five years old. Include resources to monitor those who are too sick to possess firearms or explosives, as well as CBR weapons.







Three: Transferring any firearm to any other person/entity, absent that person's investigative certificate and changed registration shall be a felony.







Four: Specifically define exactly what firearms may be possessed by anyone in the U.S. and in what numbers, and banning the sales or other acquisition of other firearms. A good starting point would be one, single-action, six shot hand gun( =



These actions appear to be within the aegis of existing court decisions; however, if there should be an adverse ruling , new legislation or an amendment would be called for. After all, the Second Amendment is not a suicide pact and doing nothing is not an option.





Lee Bertay

Yes indeed, and all of these restrictions and oppressions would be impeccably



and honestly applied by the incorruptible and always 'fair to all' imperial



government. Why, look at the other nations that have never abused power



like this. How silly it was to have a Bill of Rights to protect people from



a corrupt and abusive political class, Dr Lysenko!



And if this is quadruple spaced again, I have no idea what that is about.


Texas T

Since these conversations can be so easily derailed, let's just stick to one topic for now and hash it out a little. Ron's first proposed action is: One: Establish a national firearms register which makes it a crime to own, possess or have access to any firearm not registered in your name, along with correct address, phone number and positive identification.



* What would this have done to prevent or mitigate the actions of the El Paso shooter?


ronzim

Lee: Because government will always be conducted by fallible and sometimes corrupt officials, there will always be potential for abuse of the power that we citizens delegate to them. When abuses occur, we can remove the offending parties from power, just as we often have in the past. If we cannot entrust those whom we have given power in the matter of firearms registration, then, ipso facto, we cannot confer any power at all on anyone in government. That is called anarchy. In about 99% of government activities the professional class of employees do an excellent job of exercising power and serve us well.







In addition, we have both congressional oversight powers enumerated in Section I of the Constitution, as well as virtually unlimited powers of investigation by Inspectors General and the FBI. Finally, we have the free press which acts as a First Amendment brake on government excess. I am not suggesting that these monitors are effective 100% of the time. They are, however, effective most of the time; therefore, there is no impediment to gun registration based on the premise of presumed abuse. That is just a distraction.







I appear to be responsible for the quadruple spacing. I recently wrote to the editor and pointed out that their system had eliminated paragraphing which made both writing and reading more burdensome. In their zeal to correct that problem it appears that their first attempt was a bit theatrical. Sorry.


Lee Bertay

Pretty laughable analysis, RZM. Government is the junkyard dog that guards the property. Don't invite it in to your living room and take the doggie's collar off. You won't get control of it again without a lot of blood and damage. Just like the measures that you list won't get our 2nd Amd back again. 50 years ago, guns were all over the place and these things didn't happen with the regularity that is provided today. The problem is cultural. Perhaps your side could work on national pride and patriotism. Or is it more like "out of chaos comes order." “If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.” — Lenin


ronzim

Texas T: Thanks for an excellent question. It is axiomatic that nothing can be regulated unless you know where that something is. The answer is that it might have kept firearms out of his hands; however, the register alone would not do so absent the background investigation and mental health evaluation. Remember also, it should be a crime to transfer a firearm to anyone who does not have an unfalsifiable certificate of background investigation and mental health fitness. The investigation of a shooting starts at the manufacturer's site and traces each transfer of the weapon, thereafter. At some point in this chain, there will be an illegal transfer and that transferee will also go to jail.







If you give a shotgun to your grandson, for Xmas, without verification of the registration(which includes the background investigation and the mental health evaluation, without which no one can be legally registered)that would be a crime. I am fully aware of the fact that there will continue to be a black market in firearms, just as there now is. We can, however, greatly reduce firearm deaths and injuries by better law enforcement tools. No one of my suggestions would be effective absent the inclusion of the others.







How would you do it?





johndoe

It's plain and simple, humans are evil violent creatures. Kane didn't bash Able's head in with a rock because he was bullied online, or he played too many video games. The good news is once we perfect A.I. it will become self aware and come to the conclusion that humans are the problem and eliminate us. Problem solved.


ArizAl

In my opinion, the problem is the saturation of the american public with firearms that kill faster and deadlier. That is so that the arms manufacturers can reap in huge profits.(Bood Money) There is a reason that arms manufacturers sell billions of dollars in arms sales to small backward countries, so they can make large profits at the expense of the people of those countries killing themselves faster. The same holds true for their modus operandi in the United States. Common sense dictates that the more firearms are circulating in our country, the easier it is for more people to get aquire a firearm, resulting in more: accidental shootings, murders, mass murders, and armed robberies. Common sense also dictates that the flawed reasoning used by many right winger, "guns don't kill people,people kill people," is dead wrong. Using their logic then "drugs don't kill people either" people abusing drugs kill people. So why have laws regulating both?


ronzim

Once again, johndoe is entirely off base, with: "It's plain and simple, humans are evil violent creatures." which constitutes nothing more than unsupported, cynical opinion which ignores the fact that the hatred which results in many homicides has to be taught. There are no data which demonstrate that humans are innately "evil"(the wrong term at all events; "violent" would relate to the subject better). Second, in the long term, violent crime in the United States has been in decline since colonial times. The homicide rate has been estimated to be over 30 per 100,000 people in 1700, dropping to under 20 by 1800, and to under 10 by 1900(presently averaging about 5 for the last ten years). It should be obvious, even to a middle-schooler, that the rate would change very little, over time, if attributable to innate violence.







Third, his claim cannot stand in view of the fact that 143 nations have lower rates of intentional homicide than the U.S., with 46 of them only a fraction of one per 100,000. We have a 500% greater rate than 100 nations. Are Americans more "evil" than Japanese, Norwegians or the Swiss? Of course not. Fourth, innate evil cannot account for variations of intentional homicides with variations in certain externalities. When abortion is legal, violence declines on a delayed schedule because fewer babies are born into violent circumstances. When prosperity increases for the bulk of the population, violence goes down. The number one factor is, of course, the prevalence and accessibility of firearms.







There is also another problem: Inadequately regulated Capitalism, racism, religious bigotry and insufficiently progressive taxation and income/wealth inequalities, create a resentful and sometimes violent, non-partisan underclass in America. When combined with ready access to firearms, violence is often the result.







I am now in favour of a new Second Amendment which reads "A WELL REGULATED NATIONAL GUARD BEING NECESSARY TO THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE, the right of GUARD MEMBERS to keep and bear ONLY THOSE ARMS ISSUED BY THEIR GUARD UNITS, shall not be infringed, AND THIS TIME WE REALLY MEAN IT!"


johndoe

Let me try this post again since WMI is censoring me... Once again Ron fails to recognize sarcasm and then uses that as an excuse to bore us with a bunch of unwanted drivel. ZZZZZZZZZZZ


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