In wake of Ft. Hood, a search for answers on gun violence

posted at 4:41 pm on April 7, 2014 by Dustin Siggins

After the most recent Fort Hood shooting, it seemed like it would be only a matter of time until the normal political strategizing started up again — liberals calling for more gun laws, and conservatives calling for fewer. And while there has been some of both, Politico noted that the conversation has shifted a bit from the expected focus:

After an Iraq War veteran took the lives of three other people at Fort Hood on Wednesday, President Barack Obama, Pentagon officials and others in Washington agreed more must be done to spot “insider threats” before they strike.

But what almost no one is saying: change gun laws.

The Fort Hood attack is the latest in a string of mass shootings, from the Navy Yard attack in September to a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin the year before, where the response from Washington has shifted from guns – to the shooters who wield them.

The push now is to identify those who might become violent before they act, especially when the military is involved — whether that’s a contractor who the police identified as unstable, like the Navy Yard shooter, or the gunman who had been treated by a psychologist at Fort Hood.

Even the the King of Shameful Politics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he’s having trouble finding votes for expanded background checks:
When asked whether he would like to bring up a bill to expand the background check program in response to the shooting, Reid said, “I would like to be able to bring it back up, I need some more votes.”

While this attack was different from most of the mass shootings the nation has seen in several respects, it is similar insofar as mental health appears to have been a factor. It also took place in a gun-free area. However, even as the situation is analyzed and policies discussed, politicians and pundits should not forget about the much larger gun violence problem in America — black-on-black violence, which I addressed in a USA TODAY op-ed last year:

A series of infographics compiled by The Wall Street Journal based upon FBI data shows while the rest of the country may be largely shielded from the horrors of gun violence, approximately 47% of victims of the 165,000 homicides from 2000 to 2010 (including over 111,000 gun-related homicides) were black, and 40% of those committing homicides were black.

Using recent Census data, this segment of the American population is 5.9 times as likely as the rest of America to be victims of homicide. This disproportionate devastation to families and individuals is appalling. It also needs to be addressed in a thoughtful way, not with the haphazard, ineffective methods of the left or the often blind eye from the right.

It is important that the failures that brought two mass shootings to the same base are rectified. But I hope policymakers and the media don’t forget that the horrors visited upon families last week is experienced on a regular basis by black Americans. Yet both parties and the media seem to ignore the human cost of this kind of violence, unless it affects white Americans, large numbers of children, or the military.

And real solutions, such as improving educational and work opportunities for black Americans, ending at least portions of the federal War on Drugs, and eliminating federal programs that encourage out-of-wedlock births (and thus create immense poverty) are ignored by both parties in favor of talking point rhetoric.

At least the issue of mental illness is on the forefront of discussions this time. Too many people are causing the deaths of others, and even more commit suicide. More than 61% of gun deaths in 2010 were suicides.

 

 


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Reid was supported by the NRA. He knows where his bacon comes from.

It is somewhat surprising that the leftist thugs have not consumed more carrion, yet.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Our military can be trusted to carry a weapon in a deployed combat zone, but not on base in CONUS… This IS the problem.

Roy Rogers on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

How many individuals knew Ivan Lopez was potentially a threat and did nothing of substance to stop him? That is where the blame lies — squarely with the mental health profession.

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Everybody carries.

Murderous cowards retreat to Mom’s basement and play Grand Theft Auto (or just stay in the mosque with the other beta males and dream of their 72 raisins).

There’s your solution.

thejackal on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

It is important that the failures that brought two mass shootings to the same base are rectified. But I hope policymakers and the media don’t forget that the horrors visited upon families last week is experienced on a regular basis by black Americans. Yet both parties and the media seem to ignore the human cost of this kind of violence, unless it affects white Americans, large numbers of children, or the military.

Very true, but try getting the people that could have the most influence on this problem to even address it. The likes of Reverands Al and Jesse to start with.

Bitter Clinger on April 7, 2014 at 4:51 PM

thejackal on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

“An armed society is a polite society.”

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM

How many mass shooters were on drugs for psychological issues?
Nearly ALL of them.
How many mass shootings were in gun free zones?
Nearly ALL of them.

How about we look at the real causes of these tragedies?

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 4:54 PM

That is where the blame lies — squarely with the mental health profession.

Oh well, let’ pack up our gear. This guy has it figured out, and the problem is now solved!

//

Vera71 on April 7, 2014 at 4:56 PM

I’m not sure this guy was as mental as people think.
he self diagnosed himself with ptsd.
somethings not right with this guys service record. it doesn’t add up.

dmacleo on April 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

And real solutions, such as improving educational and work opportunities for black Americans, ending at least portions of the federal War on Drugs, and eliminating federal programs that encourage out-of-wedlock births (and thus create immense poverty) are ignored by both parties in favor of talking point rhetoric.

I see what you did right there. Legalize pot since that’d stop some drug wars or something. Maybe we should grant universal amnesty too so all the Mexican drug cartels put down their weapons and start picking crops or working construction as legit and proud Americans!

Mental health is indeed at the forefront of the debate right now but none of that black on black violence is a result of mental illness. Those 29 people already killed in New Orleans this year are not a result of a lack of mental care facilities.

Happy Nomad on April 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

And real solutions, such as improving educational and work opportunities for black Americans, ending at least portions of the federal War on Drugs, and eliminating federal programs that encourage out-of-wedlock births (and thus create immense poverty) are ignored by both parties in favor of talking point rhetoric.

Uh, why is it up to government or anyone to “improve” anything for blacks? Blacks are 100% capable of improving their own situation, creating their own opportunities, reducing out-of-wedlock births, reducing their rate of drug use and reducing poverty within their own communities. In 2014, it is shocking and disgusting to hear someone still pushing the tired old meme/stereotype that blacks are inferior and incapable of doing for themselves.

Yet both parties and the media seem to ignore the human cost of this kind of violence, unless it affects white Americans, large numbers of children, or the military.

Unbelievable. If anyone is ignoring the black crime rate, it is out of fear of being branded a “RACIST” by liberals. Liberals and black “leaders” do not want anyone to bring attention to “human cost of violence” in black communities – they get exactly the amount of attention that they want.

Pork-Chop on April 7, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Apparently the idea of having people armed against those who would wantonly attack them just never seems to be on the agenda.

That is true at Ft. Hood.

It is true of urban crime.

And it is true of black-on-black crime.

When seconds count the police are just minutes or hours away. Yet in Detroit the defenseless are arming up and having an impact on the rate of crime. And the first CCW holder in Chitown just fought off two crooks who were armed and dangerous.

This stuff doesn’t get reported: the way to address these sorts of crime is not to be worried about the law abiding public. Let the public arm up and the problems start to take care of themselves.

ajacksonian on April 7, 2014 at 5:00 PM

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Good questions, all of them. Until the stigma of mental illness is eliminated and the treatment of mental illness is improved there will always be a method for sick individuals to wreak horrible tragedies on innocent victims. Guns are just to easy to blame in this jaded society.

fourdeucer on April 7, 2014 at 5:01 PM

And real solutions, such as improving educational and work opportunities for black Americans,

So blacks are not able to get ahead in this country without gubmint help?
Blacks like Michael Jordan, Condi Rice, King Putt, Oprah, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Ice-T, Morgan Freeman, Colin Powell, and thousands if not millions of others?

And what does any of that really have to do with Ft Hood?

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

I’m not sure this guy was as mental as people think.
he self diagnosed himself with ptsd.
somethings not right with this guys service record. it doesn’t add up.

dmacleo on April 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

I don’t think so either. But he was on drugs proven to have psychological impacts – as were nearly all other mass killers.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 5:07 PM

At least the issue of mental illness is on the forefront of discussions this time.

Of course the next logical step for the gun-grabbing states will be to start digging through medical records to find any suggestion of mental health issues. If you were prescribed Wellbutrin (an anti-depressent) off-lable by your doctor to help you quit smoking, say bye-bye to your firearms if you live in NY.

iurockhead on April 7, 2014 at 5:08 PM

The shooter may have “just snapped” but it is unlikely that there were no signs.

From the time the first 911 call was placed to the point Lopez killed himself, approximately eight minutes elapsed, Grey said. More than 35 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition were recovered. Three spent spent shell casings were found in Lopez’s car and 32 more were discovered throughout the crime scene.

Same holds true with the Washington Navy Yard shooter. And we still don’t know what was behind the incident at the Norfolk Navy Yard (which is slightly different because the dead gunman took the weapon off the Petty Officer of the Watch).

It’s all fine and good to clutch one’s pearls and talk about the deficiencies of the mental health system but that only goes so far. How many Washington Navy Yard employees were killed because the contractor and/or Navy did nothing when co-workers said that the shooter was “not right”? PC and fear of lawsuits have trumped doing something when one sees something.

Happy Nomad on April 7, 2014 at 5:10 PM

We’d be better off finding answers for the all sickos and psychos running the streets of this country.

rplat on April 7, 2014 at 5:10 PM

A related article:

Guns Don’t Kill People, Democrats Kill People

A quote from the article:

..what may be shocking is the near exclusivity of firearm-related homicides to a small subset of neighborhoods; neighborhoods that vote predominately for Democrat candidates.

And a follow up article by the same author:

A Localized Culture of Violence

A quote from that article:

The data for Minnesota, Virginia, and Louisiana indicate that 67% of the firearm homicides (a rate of more than 14 per 100,000 people) occurred in neighborhoods with a racial composition of more than 30% African American, a per capita income of less than $25,000, and a population density greater than 640 people per square mile. The firearm homicide rate in the remaining 99% of the land area was 1.3 per 100,000 people.

climbnjump on April 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Our military can be trusted to carry a weapon in a deployed combat zone, but not on base in CONUS… This IS the problem.

Roy Rogers on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Retired military here.

Don’t know if you realize – but SOME of them DO carry sidearms. What are you calling for exactly? Most Conservatives seem to think we should arm EVERY servicemember on the base.

That is not practical …

1. We don’t have sidearms for everyone in the military – not even close.

2. We don’t have near enough ammunition to outfit every military member if they’re all carrying sidearms.

3. The rules governing the use of deadly force stateside are way more complicated than rules of engagement overseas. And – there’s a lot more media attention on singular domestic incidents than there are shootings in a war zone. So there’s a political component to using deadly force stateside that isn’t always present overseas.

4. We would need simultaneous and broad changes in local gun control laws in every locality there is a military base if you want these armed military guys to take their sidearms home at night.

5. And if you don’t want them bringing them home at night – then they’ll have to check them in/out at a base armory each morning and evening. That will take HOURS out of the workday.

6. Enlisted guys do physical work – I was one. I had to clean toilets sometimes. No way I would have cleaned a toilet or done hot laborious work outdoors with a sidearm strapped to my side. I would have taken it off – and doing so means you’ll have higher incidents of loss of control.

7. The guy who killed the Sailor in Norfolk was NOT armed. He TOOK A GUN from one of the Sailors who had one – a woman, who probably had no business having one. There were plenty of armed people around and one even killed the perp – but there is still a dead Sailor.

8. You don’t want every swingin’ dick to carry a sidearm. Some of them will NEVER see combat and are real “Barney Fifes”. I know – I’m retired military.

My answer? Arm the officers – or a good percentage of them on each base. That should provide enough margin for safety to stop these attacks.

The military answer though will be to beef up military police … and ask Congress for more spending to do it. I don’t agree with that. The military already has so many specialized policemen it’s choking the services – who need to concentrate on the GWOT.

HondaV65 on April 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

How many individuals knew Ivan Lopez was potentially a threat and did nothing of substance to stop him? That is where the blame lies — squarely with the mental health profession.

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

…every time something like this happens…they scream “confidentiality”!…just like lawyers do.

KOOLAID2 on April 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM

…and dream of their 72 raisins

thejackal on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Al-Qaeda’s really cutting back on the rewards expectations, yeah?

Sockpuppet Politic on April 7, 2014 at 5:22 PM

HondaV65 on April 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

We’ve hashed this over on a couple threads already, but I’ll say again – just remove the federal prohibition of firearms on military bases and let the local/state gun laws (concealed carry and such) apply.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 5:25 PM

How many individuals knew Ivan Lopez was potentially a threat and did nothing of substance to stop him? That is where the blame lies — squarely with the mental health profession.

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 4:48 PM

…every time something like this happens…they scream “confidentiality”!…just like lawyers do.

KOOLAID2 on April 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM

We need to de-deinstitutionalize. I’ve been saying the same thing ad nauseum ever since Gabby Giffords was shot.

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Don’t know if you realize – but SOME of them DO carry sidearms. What are you calling for exactly? Most Conservatives seem to think we should arm EVERY servicemember on the base.

That is not practical …

[snipped for brevity]

HondaV65 on April 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

It’s not practical to arm service members any more than it is to arm the entire population. And yet for some reason, we have a 2nd amendment that says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I don’t believe that right should get tossed just becuase you are a professionally trained handler of large-scale military ordnance(?!).

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM

That was a creepy post, and by creepy, I mean rambling and nonsensical.

Dusty on April 7, 2014 at 5:35 PM

And while there has been some of both, Politico noted that the conversation has shifted a bit from the expected focus:

 
From the “Breaking: Another shooting at Fort Hood” thread:
 

And it will be neat to see this pushed down so as to not disrupt the 7 million April Fools meme they went to so much effort trying to establish.
 
rogerb on April 2, 2014 at 7:32 PM

rogerb on April 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Fun Fact: Still many more times killed by AIDS.

There should be some kind of sensible homo control laws.

jukin3 on April 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM

My original post got eaten by the PC bots…so I will just summarize and say…

The mental health industry might be partially responsible for these incidents because they hand out mood and mind altering drugs to teenagers and children before their brains have fully grown. They do this for the simple reason that parents and teachers at schools are clueless how to raise them, mostly boys who are loud and restless and thus are declared to have ADHD!

William Eaton on April 7, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Don’t know if you realize – but SOME of them DO carry sidearms. What are you calling for exactly? Most Conservatives seem to think we should arm EVERY servicemember on the base.

That is not practical …

[snipped for brevity]

HondaV65 on April 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Where did that strawman get started?

Who on the right is calling for this?

It’s not practical to arm service members any more than it is to arm the entire population. And yet for some reason, we have a 2nd amendment that says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I don’t believe that right should get tossed just because you are a professionally trained handler of large-scale military ordnance(?!).

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM

And I don’t who is calling for this anyway.

A great deal of the argument stems from the ‘arm EVERY servicemember on the base’ strawman– this shows the inherent weakness in the Anti – Commonsense Civil Right side of the fence.

DinaRehn on April 7, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Too many people are causing the deaths of others, and even more commit suicide. More than 61% of gun deaths in 2010 were suicides.

The experience in countries that have moved towards strong gun control laws has been that, while gun suicides are reduced, overall suicides remain statistically unaffected.

Socratease on April 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Read “Thank you for your service” by David Finkel. It tells you everything you need to know about returning vets and PTSD. Its epidemic and these poor guys are lost.

http://www.amazon.com/Thank-Your-Service-David-Finkel/dp/0374180660

joepub on April 7, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Too many people are causing the deaths of others, and even more commit suicide. More than 61% of gun deaths in 2010 were suicides.

The experience in countries that have moved towards strong gun control laws has been that, while gun suicides are reduced, overall suicides remain statistically unaffected.

Socratease on April 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Forgive me for seeing a larger picture here but focusing on guns only obscures that picture even more. There’s a fundamental breakdown of societal norms going on and this has to show up in statistics like these. The incidence of teenage suicides, for example, since the 60′s has grown tremendously.

These guys are just the tip of the iceberg, I think. There’s much more going on here than just PTSD, imo.

Cleombrotus on April 7, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Too many people are causing the deaths of others, and even more commit suicide. More than 61% of gun deaths in 2010 were suicides.
The experience in countries that have moved towards strong gun control laws has been that, while gun suicides are reduced, overall suicides remain statistically unaffected.

Socratease on April 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM

And when you look at overall causes of death in the US, ALL homocides, let alone gun related homocides, don’t even break the top 15 (according to the CDC, most recent stats being 2011):

1 Diseases of heart
2 Malignant neoplasms
3 Chronic lower respiratory diseases
4 Cerebrovascular diseases
5 Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6 Alzheimer’s disease
7 Diabetes mellitus
8 Influenza and pneumonia
9 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)
11 Septicemia
12 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13 Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
14 Parkinson’s disease
15 Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids

Also according to the CDC, for 2011, regarding gun deaths:

Accidental discharge 851
Suicide 19,766
Homicide 11,101
Undetermined Intent 222
Total: At least 31940 people died from gun injuries in 2011.

In comparison, in 2011 32,367 people were killed by automobiles.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Guns have been around long before the modern trend of mass shooting of the unarmed. I suspect a search for answers on gun violence must go a lot deeper than the hardware. What we have here is a software problem.

lel2007 on April 7, 2014 at 6:12 PM

lel2007 on April 7, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Government Power and Evil
Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog
Anyone who really hankers after a world without guns would do well to try the 12th Century which was not a nicer place for lack of guns. The same firepower that makes it possible for one homicidal maniac to kill a dozen unarmed people also makes it that much harder to recreate a world where a single family can rule over millions and one man in armor can terrify hundreds of peasants.

Do we want a society run by kings and princes who commit atrocities according to a plan for a better society, or by peasants with machine guns? The kings can promise us a world without evil, but the peasant with a machine gun promises us that we can protect ourselves from evil when it comes calling.

It isn’t really guns that the gun controllers are afraid of; it’s a country where individual agency is still superior to organized control, where the trains don’t run on time and orders don’t mean anything. It’s afraid of individual power.

A world where the peasants have assault rifles is a world where peasant no longer means a man without any rights. And while it may also mean the occasional brutal shooting spree, those sprees tend to happen in the outposts of utopia, the gun-free zones with zero tolerance for firearms. An occasional peasant may go on a killing spree, but a society where the peasants are all armed is also far more able to stop such a thing without waiting for the men-at-arms to be dispatched from the castle.
See more at: http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2014/04/government-power-and-evil.html

DinaRehn on April 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Why is there a photo of a Japanese cemetery fronting this article?

fiatboomer on April 7, 2014 at 6:17 PM

I don’t think the answer is arming everyone or letting people carry concealed weapons. First in the uniform of the day, I’m talking Charlies for you fellow Marines, it would be difficult to CC unless you wore an ankle holster, in utilities it would be easier. Now that I thought about it it an easier solution would be to have duty officers and NCOs open carrying a service weapon on a utility belt like we used to do and maybe expand that to include more personnel on duty carrying to. The argument that people need to defend themselves is true to an extent but it is a military base. No one would be carrying at unit PT for example, there will be times when a nut job has an opening.

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

HA classic

but I thought mass shootings only occurred in gun-free zones?!

nonpartisan on April 2, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 6:26 PM

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Active duty military are not the only people on military bases.
Why not just let civil service, contractors, and military retirees (and those categories overlap quite a bit) who have valid concealed carry permits be able to carry on base?
If these people are trusted with 2nd amendment rights in the civilian world, and have access to the base for a valid reason, why can’t they be trusted with 2nd amendment rights on base?

Just eliminate the federal prohibition of firearms on military bases, and let the local laws apply.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM

There will always be crazy people. When they’re determined to kill and don’t mind losing their own life doing it, there is no way to stop them in a free society. The way to stop them the fastest is to have the good guys armed.

Areas of the world with strict gun control measures don’t see a drop in suicides, just a drop in suicide by gun. If people want to do it they will find a way.

That doesn’t mean we can’t try to find ways to spot these people faster and help them, or put them where they can’t hurt anyone, but we are never going to stop all killings or suicides.

Annielou on April 7, 2014 at 6:29 PM

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Active duty military are not the only people on military bases.
Why not just let civil service, contractors, and military retirees (and those categories overlap quite a bit) who have valid concealed carry permits be able to carry on base?
If these people are trusted with 2nd amendment rights in the civilian world, and have access to the base for a valid reason, why can’t they be trusted with 2nd amendment rights on base?

Just eliminate the federal prohibition of firearms on military bases, and let the local laws apply.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM

And active duty military personnel are not always in uniform on base.
If a military person has a conealed carry permit, let them carry on base when not in uniform – that way you don’t mess with “proper” uniform.

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Why is there a photo of a Japanese cemetery fronting this article?

fiatboomer on April 7, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Maybe they couldn’t find a photo of a Soviet Navy cemetary….
;)

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 6:33 PM

HA classic

but I thought mass shootings only occurred in gun-free zones?!

nonpartisan on April 2, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Yep, and less than a week old.

slickwillie2001 on April 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM

I don’t think you will find many base commanders that would agree to concealed carry on base. If they would agree to it I would say retirees and civil servants could CC and the majority of the personnel, not sure about the contractors. Most contractors couldn’t carry at their home plants, sure don’t think Lockheed lets people carry at the Ft Worth plant. There still would be targets, e.g. unit PT. These recent shootings were all by people authorized to be on the bases, hard to defend from the internal threat. Some of the local laws in states where the bases are aren’t exactly gun owner friendly either. I’m thinking New York and Maryland.

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 8:11 PM

The push now is to identify those who might become violent before they act, especially when the military is involved — whether that’s a contractor who the police identified as unstable, like the Navy Yard shooter, or the gunman who had been treated by a psychologist at Fort Hood.

Rachael Bade, politico.com on April 3, 2015 at 8:16 PM EDT

.
It’s not the government’s JOB (any level of government) . . . . . “to identify those who might become violent, before they act.”

It’s up to the individual citizen to do that for themselves, and … BE PREPARED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES … on the spot, with a moments notice.
.
If we concede to allow government take over the responsibility for identifying those persos “who might become violent, before they act”, FREEDOM is gone.

listens2glenn on April 7, 2014 at 8:52 PM

And I don’t who is calling for this anyway.

A great deal of the argument stems from the ‘arm EVERY servicemember on the base’ strawman– this shows the inherent weakness in the Anti – Commonsense Civil Right side of the fence.

DinaRehn on April 7, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Every base commander who goes along with a “no personal weapons policy” is making their base a ripe breeding ground for the Nidal Hassans (muslim jihadists) and Ivan Lopezes (crazies) of the world. Not a doubt in my mind that if they made concealed carry an option in Fort Hood, between Hassan and Lopez, they could have saved lives. John Lott already did the definitive study on this years ago: More guns = less crime. Why would that be any different on a military base?

gryphon202 on April 7, 2014 at 9:07 PM

DinaRehn on April 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Excellent essay on the mentality and motivations of gun-ban advocates. Here’s a little extra background.

In the 12th Century he mentions, most European countries prohibited anyone below titled rank from possessing “arms”, meaning swords, maces, spears, armor, and particularly bows or crossbows. The latter were especially forbidden, as they were about the only projectile weapon that could penetrate armor. (Mail in those days; full plate was still a couple of centuries away.)

Among other things, hunting anything much bigger than a rabbit (which could be caught with a snare) was illegal for common folk most places. Only thr nobility were allowed to hunt deer, boar, etc., and any peasant caught doing so, especially for food, was generally hanged ASAP. The story about Robin Hood being “outlaw” for hunting the “King’s deer” has its basis in such laws, which were passed by royal decree in England much as they were on the Continent.

The term “robber baron”, so beloved of progressives regarding free enterprise even today, has its origins in this time. Barons tended to levy “tariffs” on anyone passing through their lands. Merchants were especially favored targets, and most places could generally count on losing at least a fourth of their available cash or goods- or all of the virginity of any comely daughters that might be accompanying them. (NB to feminists; feudalism was not fun for women.)

BTW, outside of Europe, China also prohibited almost any weapons from being in “private” hands. China’s imperial bureaucracy wasn’t in the mood for any back-talk from the peasants. A surviving “civil service test” from the 11th Century AD has this question; “What would you do to detect and punish people who kept privately armor and crossbows in their homes?” Those who had the harshest suggestions presumably were accepted into the ranks of the ruling bureaucracy.

The one partial exception to this was England. From the time of Edward I, the longbow had been legal for English yeomen to own, and aside from church, the only legal activity on Sunday was practice at the archery butts. The English “secret weapon” was Welsh in origin, and had a 5 to 6-foot long yew “limb” with a pull weight in the 100 lb.+ range, vs. the typical “Continental” bow which was at best a 30 to 40 pounder about 3-4 feet long.

To see the results, see Crecy and Agincourt.

The longbow remained the primary weapon of war for Englishmen well into the 15th Century; Bosworth Field (22 Aug 1485) was probably the last battle the longbow played a major part in, although the “trained bands” (the equivalent of the National Guard) only gave up the great bow for muskets in 1595(!). At least some we still in use during the English Civil War (1642-51) especially on the Parliamentary side, because (a) there were barely enough “modern” muskets around to arm the New Model Army and (b) a lot of the volunteers from the back country had never used anything but a bow in their lives. (Flintlocks were common with troops on both sides in the first half of the American Civil war for the same reasons.)

In short, England depended on an armed citizenry to defend the country. This also made life fairly hazardous for both criminals and would-be “robber barons”. If you’re a noble who depends on the arms of your immediate subjects to “have your back” in time of war, getting nasty with them the rest of the time isn’t very smart.

Attempts to introduce archery in Europe, especially after the major beat-downs the English administered that way in the Hundred Years War, were uniformly rejected. No European noble, and certainly no king, trusted the despised peasants with a weapon that could take them out of the saddle. They just kept hiring mercenaries, and later had their own standing armies, instead.

Gunpowder made it worse for them. See the Hussite Wars.

“Gun control” laws are older that you might think, as you’ll see in part 2.

cheers

eon

eon on April 7, 2014 at 9:50 PM

OK, here’s part 2.

The earliest “anti-gun” laws in Europe coincided with the development of the wheel-lock, the first gun that didn’t need a source of fire (lit punk, glowing coal, etc.) to make it go off. The pistol came along about this time; a short gun that could be carried on horseback and used by cavalry. The wheel-lock made it practical, which the matchlock absolutely didn’t. (NB; “Pistol” apparently comes from the Spanish Pistallo, “saddlehorn”, which was where the guns were carried in holsters attached to same.)

In England, laws were enacted prohibiting any “firelock” or “stone gun” less than three feet long, because they could be concealed. Another law prohibited making, possessing, or storing any such gun within three miles of the Queen (Elizabeth I). Even when the flintlock came along to replace the matchlock as the standard military musket, laws against the shorter arms remained on the books, especially in Europe.

One reason I suspect that the Second Amendment is in the Bill of Rights is that as late as the French and Indian War (1754-63), the British governors in the colonies were prohibiting British freemen (which they still considered themselves at that time, remember) from having arms to protect themselves against the French and their native allies, for fear that said freemen might turn them on the British regulars. As they indeed did, a decade and a half later.

This is the main reason that whatever laws were passed against handguns, rifles were traditionally exempt from bans. Simply put, the rulers needed riflemen to make up their armies to maintain control of their own subjects, and to wage war on that saschin-fraschin’ ruler on the other side of the border. Even in Europe, as late as the 19th Century, while most men would only be allowed to have a rifle when (as W.H.B. Smith put it) he was handed it along with a uniform and a demand for obedience, shotguns were still legal. (But you had to buy the ammo from the government, as in France even today.)

What changed this in the U.S. at least was Operation Desert Storm in 1991. You may have noticed that the first calls for “assault weapon bans” surfaced within months after it ended, including the ones from the first President Bush.

I believe the reason was the same that caused one Clinton staffer, on Bill’s inauguration day, to first have a visceral I-hate-the-military reaction when the Blue Angels swept overhead- and then to smile when he thought, “Oh yeah… they’re ours, now.

Simply put, they had seen a massive army destroyed by advanced weapons delivered by sophisticated air, land, and sea war machines, under command-and-control direct from Washington. And concluded that in future wars, they no longer needed riflemen to fight for their causes.

So, if they didn’t need the Poor Bloody Infantry, it was safe to disarm the peasants totally- to protect themselves from the peasants.

Just like the European nobility of the Middle Ages.

The modern infatuation with drone warfare just takes this to the next level. They may decide at some point they don’t even need an army, navy or air force with manned anything; just drones that can kill anyone they want dead.

(Never mind the Terminators; look up the manshonjagers in the Instrumentality of Mankind stories by Paul M. A. Linebarger aka Cordwainer Smith. They flew around, hunted down people, and killed them. Sound familiar?)

The motivation for “gun control” has nothing to do with “public safety”, and it never did.

It has everything to do with the rulers wishing to be immune to any attempt by said public to be able to contradict said rulers.

Period.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 7, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Blacks like Michael Jordan, Condi Rice, King Putt, Oprah, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Ice-T, Morgan Freeman, Colin Powell, and thousands if not millions of others?

dentarthurdent on April 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Sorry, but I gotta weigh in on excluding those two from your list. I am of the opinion that Powell’s career was definitely helped along by affirmative action. And 0bama definitely didn’t get where he is due to his abilities, but due to an abundance of “gubmint help”.

GWB on April 8, 2014 at 8:52 AM

but SOME of them DO carry sidearms

HondaV65 on April 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Not legally, they don’t. (We are all excluding the small amount of MPs and security personnel.)

DinaRehn on April 7, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Why do certain people keep insisting that most of us are asking for the base armory to issue these folks weapons? We’re advocating that people who live or work on base should be allowed to exercise their 2d Amendment rights the same as people who live off-base.

No one would be carrying at unit PT for example

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Why not? Lots of people carry when they are exercising. There’s an entire industry centered around making it easy to carry concealed in all sorts of situations.

there will be times when a nut job has an opening.

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Yes. But allowing people to exercise their 2d Amendment rights means that an armed citizen will be a lot closer than a policeman.

I don’t think you will find many base commanders that would agree to concealed carry on base.

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 8:11 PM

And, why should they be allowed to have a say in the exercise of a citizen’s Constitutional rights?

hard to defend from the internal threat

major dad on April 7, 2014 at 8:11 PM

BINGO! This is why external security (MPs and gate security personnel) is not a solution.

eon on April 7, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Excellent historical analysis. Thank you.

GWB on April 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM

The LA Times has a good article on the Ft Hood shooter

Last year he had problems getting leave to attend his mother’s funeral in Puerto Rico, and was angry they had only given him two days leave. Including travel time that is not enough. It is not as if the guy was needed for critical work

The shooting followed a request for more leave to supposedly handle affairs related to his mother’s death.

It is very possible, he expected to be denied when he went in, if he was nursing a grudge

Not in the article, but an audio clip I heard when the shooting was first being investigated, someone who witnessed Lopez requesting more leave said they told Lopez to ‘come back tomorrow’

IMHO he was screwed over twice, and they screwed over someone who was not stable. He was not exactly n a critical job title

They say he did not have mental health issue, but between the two episodes this:

Months later, the 34-year-old musician, father and decorated soldier posted a chilling message on his Facebook page saying that said he had been robbed, and that the devil had taken him and he was “full of hatred.”

Death triggers many things.

Accident waiting to happen, on both sides

So sad for the victims and their families

entagor on April 8, 2014 at 9:23 AM