In the Arena

Hell Freezes Over

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Krauthammer is right about the three components of our culture of violence.

73 comments
drudown
drudown

Human beings are violent by nature. Tell me, where did all the other prehistoric Hominids go? There they lie, under the green hill, lives taken by the hands of man. So it is not just this year, but always.

The question should be circumscribed to gun control, not abstract inquiries where we all know the answer. 

The violence in mankind is like a bomb through the window, and it ticks.

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

I hate to say this, but maybe the problem is, the wrong people are
getting shot.  If the Dawn Owens of the world were silenced (or just
take away their computers so they could not post crazy theories anymore), there would be a lot less hate, animosity
and fear-induced craziness out there.

The 2nd amendment was for all men (and women) to own firearms - legally. Mostly because they could all be called out to form a militia. If we were ever to be invaded, everyone would be considered part of that militia. Please refer to the comments and notes published by the people who wrote The Constitution. It is not the fault of legal firearm owners that people like Dawn Owens do not understand why it was put in The Constitution. The Founders also felt so strongly about it that they put it in 2nd place, only after the right to Freedom of Speech. Taking it away would be like gutting what the country was founded upon. The 2nd Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons.

dawnowens
dawnowens

I hate to say this, but maybe the problem is, the wrong people are getting shot.  If the Rush Limbaughs of the world were silenced (or just take away their microphones), there would be a lot less hate, animosity and fear-induced craziness out there.  We can't have a sane discussion when half the population is listening to insanity. Freedom of speech was meant to mean a soapbox and a standup rant in the public square, not millions of listeners based on 'profits'.  The Second Amendment was about the ability to call together a militia in short order when the local or federal government needed it, and this was out of the local men who all used rifles for food-hunting purposes.  I doubt the Founding Fathers envisioned an arsenal in every bedroom and nuclear weapons scattered throughout the world.  Things have changed markedly since 1776, the worst change being that our own government and media now thinks they can lie to us and steal from us with impunity.  Sorry, but the Big Experiment in Democracy is over unless we put a halt to the nutjobs, crazies, hacks and thieves.  

YngwieFM
YngwieFM

I wonder if the Beltway's jingoistic, fetishized view of the military had anything to do with it. Or perhaps the Beltway media's conventional wisdom about gun control and how American's didn't want it and it's just those damn hippies(who've been right about pretty much everything btw) and their reflexive hatred of the military and gun culture. Oh no, that would make Joe Klein complicit......can't be right then.

gbknits
gbknits

"Just about everyone around Tucson shooter Jared Loughner sensed he was mentally ill and
dangerous. But in effect, he had to kill before he could be put away —and (forcibly) treated."

We need something more durable than "sensing" that someone is mentally ill otherwise the pendulum swings too far in the other direction.  But still, without money to pay for assessment and commitment, it's just words.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

Livefyre did not print my previous statement, maybe because it was long, so I will be brief.  First, I am civil commitment is serious business and it is expensive.  The reason it was reduced was because people in mental hospitals lived worse than stray animals at the dog pound.  We need more mental health services, but it costs money.  Second, I respect the second amendment, and no gun laws would have prevented Sandy Hook, because Mom went through the requirements, but had a mentally ill son.  Third, the worse school massacre happened I think in 1927 and the murder rate was much higher in the 1920s than it is today.  The murder rate has been going down for the last 20 years.  They didn't have violent video games back then.  They didn't even have TV and the few movies were silent and not full of gore.  America has always accepted a certain level of violence and we were a violent country before television or video games.

Lepi
Lepi

I fail to see why reporters are allowed to toss out the "culture" argument (films / tv / games) without even an inch of column space dedicated to supporting evidence and / or someone able to make a counter argument.

Cable News made a big show of inviting, but failing to get pro-gun guests post Newton. The reason? It's customary (maybe even required?) to try and get both sides of the story, but for some reason no equivalent use of facts is required when it comes to entertainment.

I know this might not correspond with how it feels, but the fact is that every actual scientific inquiry on the subject of children and violent entertainment has failed to establish any link. It frustrates me as a consumer of news to see the rules of reporting so diligently followed in some areas (always have a pro gun guy on your TV show!), but so willfully ignored in others (a whole panel of people proclaiming Call of Duty responsible without evidence or anyone to disagree? No problem!).

Greuven
Greuven

Krauthammer makes some rare good points, and I commend him for at least acknowledging the validity of limitations on guns, although I think if we really wanted to do so, a buyback program would be an effective way of reducing the number of assault weapons, high-capacity clips, etc., as well as drastically raising the cost of those remaining out there.

On violence in the media, and violent video games in particular, however, he refutes his own point (made in the past by Joe as well), by citing the statistic that homicide rates have declined by 50% over the past 30 years. Which happens to be about the same period that video games have become prevalent in society. If there was any correlation, let alone causation, between the two, we would expect crime rates (especially among youths) to have gone up. Instead, they have plummeted.

It may be the case that some of the perpetrators of these horrible mass shootings played violent first-person shooters before committing their crime. But the vast majority of gamers never go on to commit violent crimes in real life, and get their release from any violent urges by shooting virtual figures on a screen. In the meantime, senseless violence and murders have been going on since long before video games were invented.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

Regarding item 3, the only proper response to offensive free speech is more free speech. To take an obvious example, smoking is now almost universally shunned and is illegal in many places. Though laws suppressing advertising had some effect, the main impetus was individuals shaming other individuals into eventually changing their behavior. The same approach can work against people who 'enjoy' violent games and fantasy.


PaulDirks
PaulDirks

Item 2 is the most important one. The ability to care for those who are a danger to themselves and others due to mental illness has been sacrificed and the result is not only the occasional mass violence but also rampant chronic homelessness. Unfortunately the solution includes spending public money so when it comes down to it, even Mr Krauthammer will eventually vote 'nay'.

fitty_three
fitty_three

...and funny you should mention it, but doesn't all this damnable violence purveyed in the media feature guns?

Is there maybe a bi of circularity going on here?

tomwittmann
tomwittmann

Krauthammer is right about the killer and the cultural climate, but wrong about gun control.


Gun control fails because the laws are weak. Australia is the example to follow. Similar culture to the US, their gun control law featured buyback with compensation. Most outlawed weapons were turned in.


A starting proposal would prohibit with buy-back all semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines, greater than 6 bullet magazine capacity, or machine loading. Loading devices would also be outlawed.


Such a law would not compromise any reasonable self-defense or sport usage.

fitty_three
fitty_three

If Krauty was right, then why had the machine gun ban worked so well, Joe?

Also, I'm guessing that the shooter just pointed his finger at the kids and said "brap, clip, brap, clip", brap?

Is that how we do things now?

Heian
Heian

@dawnowens Freedom of Speech does not equate to Freedom of Transmission, or Freedom of Representation. He can say whatever he wants, but he's not guaranteed the right to spread it all over the country, nor is he guaranteed the right to represent any of his information as factual.


He's a hack. Actual journalists who scrape and dig for facts can delivery nonpartisan and fair expression of information, and Rush can just spew whatever comes to mind with completely made-up statistics. There is no accountability for plain, bold-faced lying for "entertainers" who still thump their political views and hand false information down to people, with no disclosure.

Brucek
Brucek

I notice that the ones to be silenced are always on the right. Not a word about silencing something like MSNBC where everybody who disagrees is either Fascist or a Racist.

telittle
telittle

@dawnowens Shame on you for calling to silence Rush. The wrong people getting shot, etc. You have broke the law of good sense yourself! Let each do as they please as long as it hurts no other! BIG BEAR

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@YngwieFM 

The hippies grew up and don't seem to have any issues with wars if Obama is the one running them.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Violence: It's what's for dinner.

telittle
telittle

@gbknits Way too many crazy people on the street! We must spend the money for mental health and more cops or armed teachers in the schools. I had a crazy MANCHILD in my first class as a new teacher, his uncle was the Principal, he finally died a few years later on drugs, leaving two children without parents. I had my protection item in a car parked very close to the schools door. He never actually hurt anyone, but it was close.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@fhmadvocat  

I agree with most points but I think banning assault rifles is a good move.  We've had an effective ban on machine guns for 70 years and I don't see why we need to allow the country to be flooded with military grade weapons.  We are a violent country but I'm one of those who doesn't feel that two Sandy Hooks a year is what we need to accept.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@fhmadvocat The Bath, MI. school mass murder in 1927 was the worst. The culprit was Andrew Kehoe, and he used bombs. He protested the school's building and funding, but clearly he had personal problems. (Wiki's profile is found under "bath school disaster" and has many good footnotes / links.) What's scary is Kehoe sounded so much like a rabid Tea Partyer today: was anti-tax and angry about it to a fault. He was known for using dynamite on his property a LOT. I wonder how many clues to his evil behavior were obvious then; we still have a tough time reading people today.


http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/18/bath_school_bombing_remembering_the_deadliest_school_massacre_in_american.html


fitty_three
fitty_three

@PaulDirks  

I'm not sure how much can be done here.  I'm not sure how much would be an encroachment into the 1st Amendment.

And doesn't the fact that almost all of these types of games glorify guns have some impact here as well?

fitty_three
fitty_three

I support screening as one of the tools, PD, including those for mental illness, but because of the multiple influences, even by your definition, screening will not ever be a fail-safe method.  

I think screening is so far from fail safe that we probably could never achieve more than 70 to 80% (a wild guess, I admit) accuracy, but even with 95% efficiency, you leave some fifteen million mis-diagnosed.

fitty_three
fitty_three

...and it's only a part of the problem.  Many shooters are not mentally ill.

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@tomwittmann 

I find it amazing that 6 bullets is the limit that people use when saying anything above is "high capacity". And yes, it could compromise reasonable self-defense, if I felt the need to have an 8 round clip in my handgun. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

And Krauty, bless his soul, wasn't right.  The assault weapons ban was rescinded on the politics of the NRA, not because of that report.

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@Heian @dawnowens 

I wish we had journalists that would scrape and dig for facts instead of mostly being force fed to them by the people they believe in. About the only non-hack journalist being employed by liberal media outlets right now is Jake Tapper and I'm sure Obama already has him marked to be told by ABC executives to "just shut up".

dawnowens
dawnowens

@telittle @dawnowens  Sorry, but Limbaugh and his ilk are responsible for the destruction of open, honest communication in this country.  He engenders hate against numerous others in the population on a daily basis and when called upon it, either issues a fake apology or chuckles that he's 'just an entertainer'.  The man is scum and at least take him off the air, please.  Or do you enjoy your airways being poisoned by a drug addicted propagandist for the far right wing of a crazy party?  When will we stop rewarding evil behavior with millionaire status?  In a sane society, Limbaugh would be laughed out of the room, or imprisoned for society's sake.  As I said above, the first amendment was meant for freedom of speech on a limited basis, not mass broadcasting of disgusting points of view based on society's lowest common denominator and advertising revenue.  Rush isn't harmless, he loves violence.  He preaches it as a matter of course.  Sorry, but there should be blowback for such things.  Too bad if you don't agree, time has run out for pretending his behavior is acceptable. 

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@sacredh 

Those damn NRA guys. What gives them the right to stick up for the 2nd amendment?

fitty_three
fitty_three

PD.

Many shooters are not.  There is a difference between behavioral disorders and mental illness.  A large number of those particularly those not on the tail of the death distributions are not.

And those, PD, number in the ten thousands

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@53_3 There's that reading comprehension issue again. Here is what he wrote: "I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn’t
work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the Justice Department.)" He never said the assault weapons ban ended because of that report. The assault weapons ban ended because of the law's sunset provision in 2004.

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@dawnowens @telittle 

I assume you mean this also about someone like Bill Maher who also hides behind the mantle of entertainer, while he peddles hate? Oh. You only mean people you disagree with. I see.

Heian
Heian

@dawnowens @telittle  

 It is a sad world where those who twist the amendments that exist to guarantee freedom to fit their purposes. The First Amendment shouldn't be used to spread intolerance and hate, divisive speeches and misinformation. The Second Amendment should not be used to arm the mentally ill.

It is a sad time that the freedoms of one person can condemn others.

telittle
telittle

@dawnowens @telittle Again freedom to listen or not is so much more important than trying to control what comes out of anothers mouth. I listen to both sides, both have good points. Just listen to Rush, and others. None preach violent behavior! Please listen! Do not be lost to what others have said about someone, listen yourself. Have a super duper Christmas!

fitty_three
fitty_three

@outsider2011

I'm really advocating for an assault rifle ban.  That and better screening and closing loopholes.

I'm just providing Paul with information he might not have considered, and we just don't have that kind of technology.

outsider
outsider

@53_3 @outsider2011 


That's a good point. But i think that what dirks was saying (if i may presume) is that while you're correct, the majority of perpetrators of these crimes had problems had issues that just weren't known prior to going off. 


The case for temporary insanity is just; but, as with everything else involved here, it's one factor among many. 


But you know - get ride of every gun, then even if someone goes nuts, they're limited in what they can do. 


Easier for a group of people to take down a knife wielder, than it is someone holding a gun. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@PaulDirks

PD, one of the problems here is that one cannot diagnose without something being diagnosable.  Chemical imbalances are, in fact, a well known and well supported method of determining mental illness.

This is different than conditioned reflex, or mechanical defects of the brain.  Your solution is too simple because the first doesn't diagnose i.e. come out in a clearly defined medical test and the second requires a very high resolution examination of brain structure.

Dumping it on big pharm is really a short circuit, though I know big pharm benefits from it.

Conditioned reflex can appear due to parental misguidance, abuse, etc etc.  

It is just not that simple, PD.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@53_3 @outsider2011 The idea that mental illness=chemical imbalance is very friendly to the pharmaceutical industry but it an oversimplification which also happens to discourage more the comprehensive care that many people need. Also I would note that the more permanent nature of 'behavioral disorders' does not disqualify them from being referred to as 'mental illness'

fitty_three
fitty_three

@outsider2011

I agree with this, but mental illnesses are diagnosed by imbalances in brain chemicals.  Temporary imbalances can occur via many other routes, most environmental.

Also, behavioral disorders are a stronger influence, as they are what determines what the judgement will be on whether to kill or not.

outsider
outsider

@PaulDirks @53_3 


It takes a person with a problem to think it's ok, or to even contemplate, killing other people; at least outside of protection. 


The school shootings were not about anyone being protected. It was a sick mind; even if said minds weren't known to be sick. 

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@fhmadvocat Good Lord, you're as dumb as a bag of hammers. I wrote, "Krauthammer is usually right." Learn to read.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

Kevin, you said that Krauthammer is right, but now say you didn't necessarily agree with him?  So, to carry this to its logical conclusion, you would prefer to be "wrong"?  If you read his article, I don't see where he necessarily changed his position on the assault weapon ban.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@KevinGroenhagen

"so called"?

Did the shooter point his finger and say "brap, clip, brap, clip, brap"?

And don't forget the physics of 4370 fps vs 1300 fps..

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@fhmadvocat There's that reading comprehension issue again. I never said I agreed with Krauthammer. And Krauthammer said he supported a so-called assault weapons ban in 1994. I saw nothing in his piece which would indicate that he would support it today, esp. since he does not believe it worked during the decade it was in effect.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

So Kevin, since you agree with Dr. Krauthammer, do you support the ban on assualt weapons?  Since you are/were a Marine, I assume you still have one.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@53_3 Like Krauthammer, I usually am. And you're usually wrong. This is merely a rare occasion when you admit you were wrong.

fitty_three
fitty_three

You are actually right.  I doesn't change any of my contentions though.