Mass shootings increase

The Right Response #3

Why has the Frequency of Mass Shootings Increased?

In the article Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown the Wall Street Journal reports there were 18 random mass shootings in the 1980s, 54 in the 1990s, and 87 random mass shootings in the 2000s. In 2012 - just one year rather than a whole decade - the Washington Post lists 14 cases of mass shootings.

But why are the number of massacres growing? Are the ever more restrictive gun laws working as their proponents hope? Are they ensuring lunatics and criminals - who don't obey the law - have no access to guns? Or has the 1990
Gun Free School Zones Act encouraged the slaughter by disarming the law-abiding?

What does the Increasing Slaughter Mean?

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Young woman learning to control guns
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Young woman learning to defend herself with a gun
When someone has not learned how to think for themselves - one of the many problems with the government running the education system - the meaning they conceive for a problem also determines the solution they come up with.

Although different people usually choose different meanings - meaning is chosen individually - some mistakenly think it means the same to everyone. Thus unaware people see those who disagree with their personal opinion not just as having chosen a different meaning, but as wrong.

For this young woman learning to defend herself, what is the meaning of Gun Control? "The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound."

Everyone has their Personal Opinion

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The meaning for the increasing slaughter of innocents can be explained in as many ways, everybody has their personal opinion: too many mentally disturbed individuals, not enough mental hospitals; too many laws, not enough laws; too many guns, not enough guns; too many unemployed; cultural deprivation; some even see a wicked conspiracy by the Illuminati to facilitate a one-world government...

With so many different meanings, is it possible to find an effective policy that will reduce mass slaughter incidents? Yes, but not by merely thinking about the problem and then hastily choosing an untried policy as the "one best solution." Such a reaction is a recipe for disaster because there are always unforeseen consequences.

Do you want to solve the problem? Then check how well a suggested strategy works out in practice. Does it have a successful track record overall? Who were the losers? Are you sure those responsible for choosing that "one best solution" don't have an ulterior motive? Suppose they make a mistake? ...

The Effects of Different Policies

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Government gun controls kill people - not guns
Once implemented, the results of different solutions can be readily compared. Fortunately, there's much evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of different gun policies both in different states and other countries around the world.

So explore any policy change which produces undesirable consequences carefully. When further changes produce yet more undesirable consequences, it's a pretty safe bet that those changes are counter-productive. The Holocaust started with gun registration - not just gun control. Results, rather than any politician's fine words, are conclusive: Evidence is indeed king.

America needs to reverse ineffective policy changes. But are those originally responsible for ineffective policy changes willing to recognize their mistakes? Or will they refuse to admit their policies just don't work?

There's also much insight to be gained by exploring the effectiveness of similar bans in other areas. How well did the
alcohol ban in the Prohibition era work? Is the War on Poverty reducing poverty as promised? How about the current War on Drugs (started many years ago by President Nixon)?

Does One Size Fit All?

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Different US states have different values influencing their policies - which allows differences in effectiveness to be compared. Comparison demonstrates the Founding Fathers' wisdom in reserving everything not explicitly listed as federal to the States or the people. Yet widespread federal interference into the States purview eliminates the beneficial effects of competition and promotes the disaster of a one-size-fits-all approach.

In a seminal article in Reason magazine,
Do We Live in a Post-Truth Era? Ronald Bailey quotes Professors Rittel and Webber's approach to the reconciliation of different social values. They suggest to "bias in favor of [individual choice.] Accordingly, one would promote widened differentiation of goods, services, environments, and opportunities, such that individuals might more closely satisfy their individual preferences."

Bailey continues, 'Instead of entrusting decisions to purportedly "wise and knowledgeable professional experts and politicians" who aim to impose the "one-best answer," individuals should be allowed to pursue their own visions of the true and the good.'

** Your Next Step **

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Food for Thought

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"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

- Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1927-2003, former ambassador and presidential adviser applauded for his scholarly intellect.

This is an updated version of the article originally published at ezinearticles:,-Despite-More-Severe-Gun-Laws---Part-3-in-The-Right-Response?&id=7545800

© Copyright worldwide Cris Baker, All rights reserved. Republishing welcomed under Creative Commons noncommercial no derivatives license preserving all links intact, so share this widely!
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