Chuck Todd on Sandy Hook: If your kid’s playing “Halo” for three hours a night, make sure he doesn’t have a problem

posted at 10:00 pm on December 17, 2012 by Allahpundit

Via Mediaite, I like this clip because it captures the essence of the Do Something gun-control impulse, even though Todd’s not talking about guns. The “Halo” games have sold 50 million copies worldwide. Microsoft estimates that people collectively have spent five billion hours playing them. Violent crime has been declining for 40 years and mass shootings are no more common now than they used to be. I’d bet that, if anything, video games reduce violent crime by providing an innocuous outlet for thrill-seeking. But who cares? The point of Do Something isn’t to craft a policy response carefully tailored to why Lanza and other rampage killers did what they did and how they did it. It’s to throw whatever you can think of at the problem and see what sticks culturally and legislatively, no matter how many innocent people might be snared by your “solution.” Lanza evidently loved violent video games. So do millions of kids who, unlike him, don’t have severe mental problems. But isn’t hassling your perfectly normal 12-year-old over “Call of Duty” a small price to pay for maybe possibly kinda sorta reducing the odds of a school shooting by an infinitesimally marginal amount? If you care about Sandy Hook, then the answer can only be yes. You do care, don’t you?

Before that, you’ll find WaPo’s Chris Cillizza wondering why the two sides of this issue seem to want the public to choose between total prohibition and “doing nothing.” Can’t we just have a “reasonable debate”? But we did have a debate. The left lost. And they lost for good reasons. Partly they lost because they couldn’t answer questions like these satisfactorily, and partly because, when push comes to shove, people know there just isn’t much that can be done:

You can, to be sure, name one or two things that might make a marginal difference: ban extended-capacity magazines, and require background checks for private sales. As a proponent of reasonable gun control that in some ways goes farther than current rules (I’d like to require that people pass a shooting and gun safety test before they can own a gun), these rules don’t strike me as crazy.

But we are back to generic solutions. These “reasonable controls” would not, in fact, have done much to stop the horror at Newtown; Lanza’s problem was not that he didn’t know the four rules of gun safety, or that his aim was bad. And Lanza didn’t buy the guns, so a background check would not have stopped him…

Reducing the magazine sizes seems modesly more promising, but only modestly. It takes a few minutes of practicing to learn how to change a magzine in a few seconds. Even if you banned magazines, forcing people to load the gun itself, people could just carry more guns; spree shooters seem to show up, as Lanza did, with more guns and ammunition than they actually need. In this specific case, it might well not have helped at all. Would Lanza really have been gang-rushed by fast-thinking primary school students if he stopped to reload?

Reducing the body counts a bit is obviously a very worthy project; I am okay with outlawing magazines that contain more than ten bullets. But this will in no way prevent people from going on murderous rampages. We are not talking about an end to spree killing, only about a (perhaps) very slight reduction in its deadliness. And if you ask how I can possibly know this, the answer is that we did ban these magazines for ten years, between 1995 and 2005, as part of the “Assault Weapons Ban” that some would now like to bring back. During which time there were a number of tragic massacres, including those committed by Kip Kinkel, Michael Carneal, and the Columbine killers. Overall gun deaths fell, but they’d been falling before. When the AWB expired in 2004, they stayed steady.

That’s Megan McArdle, who notes that Lanza “had all that you could wish for in terms of resources” for his mental-health problems and who ended up on a rampage anyway. What kind of law can you pass to deter a guy like that? How can you know the disturbed mind well enough, as a legislator, to have a sense of how it’ll respond to incentives? I had a terrible thought earlier while reading this Robert Wright piece about how we should ban semiautomatics and limit Americans’ gun choices to six-shooters, if only to prevent mass murderers from firing off 10, 20, 30 bullets without having to stop and reload. If we did that, would future spree killers become less deadly on average or more deadly as they decided that their only option was to use more lethal weapons or to choose softer targets? Mass shootings might have lower body counts, but maybe there’d be an uptick in arsons or bombings. Maybe, instead of going to the mall or the post office, a mass murderer with a revolver would calculate that he had to target victims who couldn’t stop him while he paused to reload, which means more little kids in the crosshairs. I honestly don’t know. The calculus is wretched and hallucinatory. And yet this is the sort of question you get into when you try to read to the mind of a murderous loon.

But look. With this issue even more so than with other issues, a huge part of the stubbornness and vitriol comes from cultural divisions and suspicions about the other side’s motives, not from policy disagreements. I understand the left’s point about high-capacity magazines; banning them might very well drop the death toll at some of these horrors. It’s not crazy to think so. The best counterargument is the slippery-slope argument and I’ve never thought much of slippery-slope arguments outside the free-speech context. The truth, though, is that I don’t trust them and find the media groupthink on this subject endlessly irritating. It takes a lot to get a New Yorker to stick up for rural America, but their disdain for “gun culture” is often transparently a function of their disdain for rural culture. The One’s condescending bitter-clinger remarks were a classic expression of it. Much of the mindless “gun control” table-pounding without specifics feels like an ostentatious way for the table-pounder to simply show how much he/she cares, especially vis-a-vis the heartless conservative. And the flailing panicky vacuousness of the Do Something response, however understandable in the aftermath of Sandy Hook shellshock, grates especially coming from the self-styled Party of Science. As Tim Carney noted earlier, some of Our Moral Superiors who are pounding the table for “gun control” can’t even tell you what a semiautomatic or an “assault rifle” is. They’ve shown no compunction about demagoging other mass shootings for their political ends, no matter how thin the evidence was to support their conclusions. We were presented on Friday with a very unusual, very specific fact pattern from a mass killing committed by someone with a very unusual, very specific set of mental problems, and yet the big “scientific” recommendation tonight on MSNBC was to keep an eye on your kid in case he’s shooting too many aliens on the Xbox. You’re duty bound to lay aside your personal dislike for the other side and not let that stop you from supporting a policy they champion if you believe it’s correct (which is how I manage to maintain my support for gay marriage despite lots of irritation with the left there too), but these are the sorts of cultural hurdles you have to clear to get to that. Exit question: If we’re going to start arbitrarily hassling people who happen to share an interest with Adam Lanza on the off-chance that it contributed even a tiny bit to his rampage, how about instead of hassling gamers, we hassle vegans instead? Nutritional deficiencies can weaken the mind, y’know. Do something!


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nhbwr03xvM

(And SOL is a pistol manufacturer in the game. :)

Axe on December 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM

I was supposed to feel sorry for the little double amputee rodent thing, right? Or something?

cynccook on December 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Bmore- Ruger is in Prescott AZ. :>)

wolly4321 on December 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM

So perhaps we’ll be permitted to retain ownership of our flintlocks and muskets then? Excellent.

cynccook on December 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM

As long as it doesn’t have a bayonet. Guns with mounted bayonets were defined as “assault weapons” under the AWB of 1994.

Still haven’t had any of the leftists tell me if a magazine that’s holds five rounds is acceptable.

Bmore on December 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM

They are awaiting further orders.

Resist We Much on December 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Surprised to learn that Robert Wright owns a gun. He doesn’t strike me as the gun owning type.

terryannonline on December 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM

wolly4321 on December 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Did not know that. Thanks.

Bmore on December 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Sometimes, when I’m popping Leets with my pair of SOLs on Rubi-Ka, I think, wouldn’t it be a blast to go occupy the mall?

Axe on December 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Axe: type type type

Me: o_O ???

cynccook on December 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM

I was supposed to feel sorry for the little double amputee rodent thing, right? Or something?

cynccook on December 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM

:) No. Apologies, I’ll hit everything because I’m not sure where it all went wrong:

1. In the game Anarchy Online is a creature called a leet. Some players have the ability to become one for a while; that was the video. A player just became a leet and ran around town a minute for fun.

2. I linked it so you could see a leet.

3. The planet is called Rubi-Ka.

4. SOL is a gun manufacturer in the game; you can buy a pair of their pistols.

5. My original comment was to say that playing Anarchy Online made me want to go occupy the mall — a statement so dumb it would show how dumb the idea is.

My bad cynccook. I guess it does look like Greek. :) I just typed.

Axe on December 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM

I remember reading once that Japan has very violent comic books and movies yet few murders; they have a very old, settled culture that proscribes that kind of behavior.

We have a very new, young culture, when you compare it to the rest of the world. We don’t have cultural norms that stop that kind of wild antisocial behavior. We’re barely settled and still are always taking in new cultures and peoples.

And nowadays the left valorizes derelicts and oddballs as “just different” in some laudatory sense from the supposed conformism of our lives. So there you are, a toxic stew of ideas.

I took a gun class one day and found that semi-automatic means just about anything except a revolver. Banning them would not stop the madness. If we could stop the media from creating a movie about the killers, that might help too. How come nobody is talking about that?

PattyJ on December 17, 2012 at 11:01 PM

you deserve a huge round of applause for all the great points you made in this post, AP!! =)

the Do Something approach is so annoying because it sounds more like Do Anything. let’s just do the first thing that pops into our heads instead of thinking about things logically. something must be done… but that doesn’t mean we have to do just anything. we need to think about everything rationally. i think the problem is that there needs to be more mental health research done.

oh and yeah, video games are the problem? sigh, everything i’ve heard about him is that he was socially awkward, had no real friends, he was a nerd who played video games… lots of kids are like that lol even me, kinda

Sachiko on December 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Had to different lefties make the argument that since the 2nd Amendment was written so long ago that only the kind of weapons available at that time (ie muskets) should be available to people.

The left pounced on this tragedy and are using peoples emotions to go after something they hate.

Besides why do you need a bushmaster, that’s my favorite repeated talking point. Once language doesn’t mean anything anymore, then the truth doesn’t matter. This is where the media using propaganda to confuse the sheep. Semi-auto, assault rifle, machine gun, black death gun boom stick, etc. The average person (think democrat) sees this and thinks, we gotta ban this stuff.

It’s really gotten all Orwell. The left just wants everyone to surrender to the state no questions asked. We can discuss gun laws as long as we ban guns being a prime example, one of many.

I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore Toto…

Fett on December 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM

My bad cynccook. I guess it does look like Greek. :) I just typed.

Axe on December 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Heart you anyway!

cynccook on December 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Of all the video games he picks Halo? Instead of Grand Theft Auto? Heh.

Othniel on December 17, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Halo “Red vs Blue” has now transformed into “Dems vs GOP”

They try to take these games away the Dems will lose the youth vote.

mechkiller_k on December 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Had to different lefties make the argument that since the 2nd Amendment was written so long ago that only the kind of weapons available at that time (ie muskets) should be available to people.

Fett on December 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Remember that the musket was the high tech weapon of the day.Top of the line. And anyone could have one. It was encourged.

mechkiller_k on December 18, 2012 at 12:19 AM

If your kid plays Halo at all, he’s got a problem. It’s called “Bad Taste in Games”.

Dunedainn on December 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

More importantly, how do we stop our children from becoming journalists and doing real damage to our country and culture?

trigon on December 18, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Donkey Kong.
Once you get hooked on the easy games, it is not long until one is hooked on the hard stuff.

Ban them all!

And ban NBC news,too!
;-)

albill on December 18, 2012 at 6:06 AM

The rest of the world gets the same video games as the US…
yet Europe has a fraction of the homicide rate of the US…

So it isn’t the video games…

albill on December 18, 2012 at 6:08 AM

It takes a lot to get a New Yorker to stick up for rural America

Well done, Allah. It’s almost like you have feelings or something.

Much of the mindless “gun control” table-pounding without specifics feels like an ostentatious way for the table-pounder to simply show how much he/she cares, especially vis-a-vis the heartless conservative.

I had the very great pleasure of rendering someone speechless yesterday on this very point. The table-pounder was all, “High-capacity magazines! OH NOES!11!!” and I replied, “Yeah, if we could just figure out how to get those darned criminals to follow the law.”

Dead silence. It was epic.

mrsknightley on December 18, 2012 at 7:16 AM

I took a gun class one day and found that semi-automatic means just about anything except a revolver. Banning them would not stop the madness. If we could stop the media from creating a movie about the killers, that might help too. How come nobody is talking about that?

PattyJ on December 17, 2012 at 11:01 PM

I forget who said it, but a HotGas poster said

Semi-automatic guns are like gasoline-powered cars

Yup.

Washington Nearsider on December 18, 2012 at 7:50 AM

They can have my Pestilent Crux when they pry it from my cold, dead hand. …That is, if they can get to me before the New-U kicks in.

ZK on December 18, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Here’s a way to lose the youth vote.

Punchenko on December 18, 2012 at 8:33 AM

First they came for Halo,

But I said nothing because I played Battlefield…

rihar on December 18, 2012 at 8:41 AM

But we did have a debate. The left lost.

Don’t be so obtuse, AP, that’s still not true. All the left has done is given back a little territory in a fight they won long ago. If they had truly lost, to repeat myself, an elementary school would be the last place a crazed killer would go hoping to find nothing but helpless victims.

Knott Buyinit on December 18, 2012 at 8:43 AM

If your kid plays violent video games but plays as the bad guy (yes I’m talkin about all you Darth Maul fans/psychos), then you have a problem.

There is nothin wrong with violent video games as long as your kid knows what is right and wrong and plays as the good guy.

KirknBurker on December 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM

I mostly agree with this.
I played D&D for a lotta years.
Most of the time it was the NPC’s that were the bad guys.
Every now & then you’d get a person who you’d never played with come in & play a bad guy that was like Chaotic evil or neutral evil.
The party would eventually end up killing the guy.
There are lots of good things that can come out of role playing situations like these RPG’s & video games.
You create a morality around a story & become part of it, it simulates how one should pick their place in society.
Our culture is really immoral & the fruits of all of this ‘do what fells good’ attitude are coming to bear.

Badger40 on December 18, 2012 at 8:44 AM

They just can’t help themselves from giving out parenting advice. Nanny Bloomberg leads the way, followed by all the other progs who think you need help living your life and guiding your kids. Then there’s BOR last night asking shouldn’t we just tighten up on gun restrictions a little. No one asked him what do we tighten up after this happens the next time. He wants to restrict sales of AR15s but kept calling them AK15s. They look way cool but still only shoot one bullet at a time. Then he made fun of citizens who are fearful of the govt. That’s what the 2nd if for, isn’t it, Bill? How many armed guards do you have keeping you safe, hmmmm?

Kissmygrits on December 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Simple question;

What gun law that our government can pass would have prevented this tragedy?

Simple answer; None.

The common thread in almost all these shootings is the mental health of the assailant. Several of these murderers were reported to be “geniuses” or extraordinarily smart. They were either coddled by the system and therefore avoided proper diagnosis or had emotional disabilities which people recognized but never reported.

I call that a “clue”.

Banning large magazines or so-called assault weapons would do absolutely nothing to help these situations. Not only would these guns and magazines be in circulation ad infinitum, but people can carry multiple weapons or reload very quickly with practice.

A person bent on this type of murderous rampage doesn’t need a gun. Before guns were prolific these murderers found other ways to reap mayhem including knives, fire and other ignominious methods. By the way; did Timothy McVeigh use a gun in Oklahoma City?

Legal gun owners are largely a very responsible group. Restricting firearms from people who are already more law-abiding than the average person will not solve this issue. Period.

Marcus Traianus on December 18, 2012 at 8:54 AM

If your kid plays Halo at all, he’s got a problem. It’s called “Bad Taste in Games”.

Dunedainn on December 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Thou not speak ill of thee Halo. Long live the king!!!!

JVelez on December 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Hey Chuckschmuck, as long as the kids aren’t watching MassivelyStupidNBC I’m sure they’ll be okay, and much smarter for that avoidance.

stukinIL4now on December 18, 2012 at 9:15 AM

By all means, let Democrats make themselves into the party they were portrayed as in the early nineties. Liberal kids who play games need to see these morally self-righteous types for what they are.

See, it’s all about choices. In competitive gaming, if you make stupid choices, you get punished for them, because better players aren’t going to let you off the hook. That doesn’t extend to the bubble imposed on real life by liberals, so I take it upon myself to educate every little twit who sees me on the radar sitting behind a corner waiting for them, and who still turns the corner, knowing full well I could have a shotgun or energy sword. You get punished for mistakes and poor decisions. It’s as simple as that, and yet it still manages to be a more useful lesson than most of what they’re probably learning in public school.

mintycrys on December 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM

But isn’t hassling your perfectly normal 12-year-old over “Call of Duty” a small price to pay for maybe possibly kinda sorta reducing the odds of a school shooting by an infinitesimally marginal amount? If you care about Sandy Hook, then the answer can only be yes. You do care, don’t you?

I think there needs to be a differentiation made here. The Sandy Hook shooter was not a 12-year-old boy. He was a 20-year-old man. I have problems with any child wasting hour upon hour “gaming” instead of, you know, living in the real world. But adults can make those decisions for themselves.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Chuck Tard reporting….

Hey Chuck my kid we’ll call him “Barry” has another problem….he decided to arm some friends of his we’ll call them the “Muslim brotherhood” and when his friends started to kill one of Barry’s classmates in benghazi Barry watched it in real time and has expressed no remorse and instead blamed another kids’ visual arts project.

Is my son a sociopath?

Oh and Chuck “f**k you”

harlekwin15 on December 18, 2012 at 9:30 AM

The time has come in America to ban ALL guns. Some gun nuts may point out that this country has 20,000 gun laws already. That is obviously not enough-the evidence this past week clearly shows that. The nuts may even point out that countries like the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, South Africa, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France have much stricter laws and some have banned all guns and yet all of them have higher violent crime rates than the US. It’s four times higher in the UK than the US. All this does is point out that we need more laws passed that will keep guns out of the hands of people who don’t obey laws in the first place. We have got to think of the children! Speaking of children, they have parents to look out for them, but adults no longer do. That is why we have the Government. They are the mommies and daddies for adults. Our Government Fathers know the perfect balance we need between freedom and security. It worked when alcohol was banned during Prohibition. The subjects recognized that the Government Fathers knew best as acquiesced to their wisdom by putting the bottles on the shelf. They also know what the constitution says better than we do and they say we misinterpret the second amendment. As subjects, we should trust them. After all they, not us subjects, had the knowledge in 1973 to determine that 200 years of precedent and nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution was there language that valued human life enough to protect the unborn. It’s just not in there you wingnut subjects! We needed them to tell us that in 1973 and we need them in 2012 to tell us the founders didn’t want us to have semi-automatic weapons. They know how to best provide for the welfare of the American subjects. You could see the pain and anguish our head Government Father; President Obama, felt when he gave his speech about the recent school shooting to the American subjects. I can’t imagine the hidden pain and anguish he feels when he learns innocent children are killed in drone strikes in Pakistan. The pain must be extra hard to deal with since they are all illegal strikes and he must internalize the sadness it’s since it’s all super sekrit and hush hush.
Our Government Fathers have a long and venerable history of taking our freedom away to make us better and safer subjects. They always think of the children first! I remember Tipper Gore getting that “parental advisory” label that could be put on music and the crusade against the evil rap and hip-hop industrial complex. I saw a commentator on CNN Sunday saying there needs to be more legislation to stop these shooters before the crime happens. She said it is too hard to force these problem students to get the help and medication they need. You can thank that anti American organization the ACLU for that! She said we all need to look for this atypical behavior in our kids and others: they like going to the gun range, they are angry, moody, or spend time alone. I agree. This is very atypical behavior for teenagers and if we see something, we need to say something so we can get them medicated. It shouldn’t be hard, teen angst will definitely stand out as abnormal behavior. If you wonder about this woman’s bona fides she was introduced as an expert who has a long history of working on capitol hill. And Washington DC is an almost holy place, as the ancient Greeks had Zeus and Mt. Olympus, we have D.C. where our Government Fathers look out over the subjects. Just this morning I heard an expert talking about banning marketing and content of video games. This hit close to home because I like video games. But I got to thinking, maybe we should take a hard look at what I am consuming that may be sinful and not choose my entertainment so desultorily. After all garbage in, garbage out. One game I have played actually keeps count of the number of people you have killed! Chuck Todd said if your child plays Halo three hours a night, make sure he doesn’t have a problem. Agreed! And if you don’t hopefully soon there will be legislation that will allow your child’s Government Father to medicate him. After all, it’s all about the children, it doesn’t have anything to do with the lobbyists for Big Pill in the DC/Mt. Olympus area. After reflection, I agreed it our Government Fathers right to decide whether I should consume this entertainment and to medicate me if needed. We should not be allowed to play these games that desensitize us to violence. Never in the sphere of human history has life been less precious. Not the Dark Ages, not in the Roman empire, not the 18th century slave triangle of the Atlantic, never. They know what’s best. I hope we see this legislation soon too. Similarly, I saw Jamie Foxx saying two weeks ago his latest movie was great because he got to kill all the white people, ostensibly because he dislikes whites. Then a week later he said Hollywood has a negative effect on the subjects. So I’m sure he should agree that in addition to video games, we also need legislation on all forms of entertainment. This will make us better, nay, holier subjects. Children play video games, and we must think of the welfare of the children. Finally, I remember last year when Internet forums erupted in anger when our Government Fathers attempted to pass SOPA and PIPA laws to impose harsh regulations on the internet. But we need them! Besides the pornography (children can see it!) the internet is a cesspool of free flowing information and ideas that need to be regulated. Sometimes that information is inimical to our Government Fathers, but I don’t think that is why they want to clamp down on its free flow, it’s really all about the children. The internet is a vast wasteland that our Government Fathers haven’t yet improved with legislation as they have improved all other areas of our lives with legislation. This will change soon. If you read this far I’m sure you’ll agree we may at first not like our loss of freedoms, but we will be both safer and holier subjects. Trading a little freedom for a little security is no loss and our Government Fathers are just looking out for the welfare of the American subjects. /sarc off

The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants ~Albert Camus.

levi on December 18, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Holy cow I didn’t know i typed that much.

levi on December 18, 2012 at 9:35 AM

The common thread in almost all these shootings is the mental health of the assailant. Several of these murderers were reported to be “geniuses” or extraordinarily smart. They were either coddled by the system and therefore avoided proper diagnosis or had emotional disabilities which people recognized but never reported.

I call that a “clue”.

Banning large magazines or so-called assault weapons would do absolutely nothing to help these situations. Not only would these guns and magazines be in circulation ad infinitum, but people can carry multiple weapons or reload very quickly with practice.

A person bent on this type of murderous rampage doesn’t need a gun. Before guns were prolific these murderers found other ways to reap mayhem including knives, fire and other ignominious methods. By the way; did Timothy McVeigh use a gun in Oklahoma City?

Legal gun owners are largely a very responsible group. Restricting firearms from people who are already more law-abiding than the average person will not solve this issue. Period.

This. Great post

Also I would add that if the rest of us allow the disrespect of life no matter how small, young, old, infirm it helps those with this mental issue to think that no one is precious.

The destruction of morality is the undoing.

Noelie on December 18, 2012 at 9:46 AM

” Can’t we just have a “reasonable debate”?

It’s kind of hard to have a reasonable debate when one side insists on making emotion based arguments that have no basis in fact. Please excuse us gun owners for being a bit defensive when we are accused of having some responsibility for a mass murder. Please forgive us for being shocked at the ghoulish, politicized hysteria that ensued while the bodies were still warm.

But I guess that’s to be expected when your true and barely hidden position (repeal of the 2nd Amendment) has already lost to reason, facts and history. Never letting a crisis go to waste is the tactic of tyrants.

RadClown on December 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM

If your child is spending three hours a night on any video game, try being a parent.

morganfrost on December 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Gun control? Sure, and there will never be gun smuggling as there is dope smuggling today. How bright, ban guns and, you know the rest. A good example of the blind, constant, aimless hatred of the left.

arand on December 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

If your kid is playing any video game for more than 3 hours a day (Except of course, for Civ V, which is more than a game, man!!!), he’s got some sort of problem.

JohnGalt23 on December 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM

I wouldn’t let my kid play Halo, period. My son did ask for the new Assassain’s Creed for his birthday, and I got it for him. But he’s 31 and not a psychopath. I would never have allowed him to play it as a kid.

Bob's Kid on December 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM

The calculus is wretched and hallucinatory. And yet this is the sort of question you get into when you try to read to the mind of a murderous loon.

Funny. That’s very similar to the answer I gave to a friend of mine about studying terrorism and nuclear calculus as part of IR. You have to ask questions that would drive otherwise sane people, mad…

JohnGalt23 on December 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

McArdle:

To move from generic to specific, do we have any evidence that his mother wanted Lanza locked up? Or that he had a diagnosis which would have allowed her to do so, if only we didn’t insist on the constitutional rights of the insane? Most spree killers seem to be clearly troubled folks, but they’re not all paranoid schizophrenics or otherwise so identifiably insane that it would be easy to argue for committment.

So much wrong with this statement. Maybe all “spree killers” are not “paranoid schizophrenics” but many, if not most, are. IIRC, Loughner, Holmes, Cho fit that category. Once someone is over the age of 18 parents or trustees are helpless to force them into treatment. Why? Because of laws which began to change in the sixties because of a combo of groups like the ACLU and kook fringe psychologists whose avant garde ideas about the mentally ill were, well, just plain nuts.

Harvard trained Charles Krauthammer spoke the other night of committing people into Mass General, something which is nearly impossible today. If forcing paranoid, delusional people into treatment is a violation of the Constitution then we violated it since our founding and only fixed it when the Left came along and declared in classic Orwellian fashion that it is the insane who are sane. And did you know that Capitalism is to blame? And that it is an act of kindness to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill, and allow them to roam the streets, homeless?

As for Lanza’s mother, the facts are muddled, but it seems she was in denial about the extent of his illness (despite allegedly warning a baby sitter not to turn his back on him even for a moment). She took him to a shooting range in order to “bond” with him? Kept guns in the house? Thought he could go away to college? Really? But even if she had wanted to have him committed (and unless her psychotic son had a moment of lucidity at exactly the moment he was presented with voluntary commitment papers) she would have been powerless to do anything about it.

PS: Some Recommended reading.

Buy Danish on December 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

I play a lot of games. You don’t let kids play a lot of the games out there today.

Starcraft and the like is probably OK, but Hitman or Grand Theft Auto are not to be played until 18.

I’m also wondering why there are not as many black serial killers. Maybe there are a lot though we just call it gang violence.

GardenGnome on December 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Is the problem: (Loosely based on WSJ OpEd piece.)
1) Nuts who are political, religious, psychotic,
2) Firearm laws (types of guns, ammo, equip.)
3) Copycat (due to media publicity)
4) Video games with violence
5) Lack of inpatient care for psychotics
6) Pretend gun free zones (victims always unarmed)

It is evident that most of the nuts believe they are being completely rational in what they do – from the Oklahoma City bombing, to the World Trade Center to the latest at Newtown. Firearm laws of any type would not have prevented the first two of those. Unless we want to live in a news vacuum some publicity will occur. Millions play video games without causing mass murder – how do you ID the nuts that will? Lack of mental hospitals is a problem. Somehow we as a society have decided that privacy and other civil rights trump perfect safety in regards to mental illness. The places to go where the victims are always unarmed are well known.
In the world of the USA with a very necessary Second Amendment, maybe the answer is more armed sane people.

Bernfp on December 18, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I’m also wondering why there are not as many black serial killers. Maybe there are a lot though we just call it gang violence.

GardenGnome on December 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

-
And the racism of the media gets the spot-light…

RalphyBoy on December 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I understand the left’s point about high-capacity magazines; banning them might very well drop the death toll at some of these horrors.

RINO.

It takes a lot to get a New Yorker to stick up for rural America, but their disdain for “gun culture” is often transparently a function of their disdain for rural culture. The One’s condescending bitter-clinger remarks were a classic expression of it.

AP rocks. He may be a beta-male RINO, but he doesn’t capitulate like the rest of the RINOs, no “Obama’s a nice guy in over his head” or “reaching across the aisle” for him. When I read him, I always get the feeling that AP despises Ogabe as much as I do. Thanks for your work.

sauldalinsky on December 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Excellent post, AP. Probably the best piece of writing I’ve read by you this year. Nothing really to add.

right of the dial on December 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Just turn off your TV. Anyone who watches one hour of Chuck Todd a night has a problem.

Galtian on December 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

I understand the left’s point about high-capacity magazines; banning them might very well drop the death toll at some of these horrors. It’s not crazy to think so.

How do you ban high-cap magazines? Sure, you can ban their sale, but how do you stop somebody from making one? They aren’t that complicated. It’s a sheetmetal box, a spring, and a plastic follower. Anybody with access to the most rudimentary metal-working equipment and knowledge to use it could make their own magazine. Or you could simply weld an extension onto a ten-round mag and put a longer spring in it.

That’s the problem with this type of thinking. Lefties seem to think that manufacturing is some magical process and things can only be made when approved and sanctioned by government.

Walter Sobchak on December 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Gears of War’s, is like Halo I take it?

Bmore on December 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM

If you have to ask this, then you’re obviously writing from under a rock.

Richard Romano on December 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Although I am not in the demographic, I love Halo. I also own several guns. So I guess I will have to fight for my guns and my video games.

megthered on December 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Paging Megan McArdle: You claim nothing can be done to stop “spree killers” from slaughtering innocents without ripping up the Constitution. Did you know the ACLU prevented AOT/Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws both in Connecticut and Arizona? New motto?:

The ACLU Protecting people like Lanza and Loughner for the greater good.

Buy Danish on December 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

That’s the problem with this type of thinking. Lefties seem to think that manufacturing is some magical process and things can only be made when approved and sanctioned by government.

Walter Sobchak on December 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM

You’re the first person I’ve seen make this extremely relevant point.
Do people not realize how many people with modest machine shops can make just about anything – including fully automatic guns?

Does anyone realize how easy it is in fact to make your own flame thrower? What would the carnage have looked like, and how horrible would the deaths have been at Sandy Hook if that psycho had gone in with a homemade flame thrower and burned everyone to death?
Ban the guns and we will just see horrific mass murders by all kinds of homemade weapons.

OR – let people arm themselves for self defense against any possible weapon and see the number of deaths plummet.

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Adam Lanza’s mother was trying to have him committed

Apparently, Nancy Lanza was aware that her son was spiraling out of control, she had been moving the paperwork petitioning the court to conservatorship so that she could have him committed for treatment as an adult, against his will. He found out and snapped.

She had been volunteering at Sandy Hook, working with kindergartners for several years, and those first grade victims were some of the children she’d worked with last year.

Apparently Adam Lanza, in his delusional state, believed that his mother loved those children and the school more than she loved him. He was in a rage.

The school principle and psychologist, both good friends of Nancy Lanza, were killed in the attack.

thatsafactjack on December 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

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