Another Shooting

There's nothing new here, so there's nothing new to say. The shooter was, again, a crazy person known to police. This is true approximately 100% of the time. The obvious solution is to empower the police to go after unstable people, but the police work for a government that nobody trusts enough to do that. Neither engaged political faction, at least: the right correctly fears that red-flag laws would be applied politically, subjecting ordinary people to SWAT raids aimed at disarming them; the left is pushing for laws to remove police from schools because they don't trust the police either. 

So we end up debating things that are obvious non-starters, like banning the most popular rifle in America -- clearly protected by the Heller interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (see section II) -- in order to 'make it harder' for crazy people to get guns by making it harder for everyone to get guns. There's no political support sufficient for that, and a Supreme Court majority that would reject it; and it would create far greater violence trying to effect it in the teeth of political resistance than could possibly be avoided by it. 

In addition, even if it were successfully done it would subject Americans to the same kind of criminal violence as Mexicans or Brazilians from cartels and other organized crime. Brazil and Mexico, big multi-ethnic American states, are much better analogs for the USA than the European nations people like to cite. The same cartels operate here as there. They terrorize Mexico's citizens because they are disarmed, not because they are weaker people than Americans. They terrorize their police into accepting bribes in lieu of death because the police are isolated and alone, rather than being supported by a large armed populace. We're able to hold all this in check as well as we do because of our broad, deep capacity to resist organized criminal violence. 

So we're not going to do the practical thing that nobody trusts the government nor the police to do; and we're not going to do the impossible thing that would be foolish anyway. Therefore, we have to accept that this kind of thing is going to happen once in a while. There's nothing to be done about it within the realm of the possible, and politics is the art of the possible. 


J Melcher said...

Our culture and political representatives tend to latch onto one idea (often an old one, already tried or rejected) and dig in. This tendency is not a real attempt to solve any problem.

We should brainstorm a whole list of IMPRACTICAL ideas, back and forth, from both (all?) sides. Get as many suggestions on the board as possible. Then rank and list the ideas in several orders. Cheapest to most expensive. Most compliant with the US constitution to least. Most magical to most (nearly) practical. And list which ideas address range of other problems and which are most targeted at the single current crisis.

In some groups we call this "thinking".

It's a process some teams go through before "deciding" or "acting".

And is an alternative to "demanding"...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I will be writing on this from a different angle. I like yours.

There is also the problem that the description that "he was mentally unstable and known to police" describes so many people. When it pops up in these stories it feels to the reader like there were only one or two of these in the vicinity and how did the police and mental health professionals fall down on the job so badly again? It's because we are surrounded by such dangerous people every day of our lives but couldn't function if that reality came home to us. We are deeply at each other's mercy and in each other's care. It comes down to how many people you want to lock up without much evidence or otherwise infringe on their rights because you have a bad feeling about them.

Thos. said...

Mass shootings - especially at schools - are horrifying and tragic. It is natural to feel outrage at both the act itself, and our powerlessness to stop it.

There is, however, a difference between "horrifying and tragic" and "evil".

Prior restraint, which is what most political responses to the problem (whether you define the problem as mental illness, or guns) boil down to, is solidly in the category of "evil".

I will have no truck with anyone who thinks prior restraint is in any way acceptable.

Texan99 said...

We can't lock up everyone who puts out danger signals but hasn't actually done anything yet. We can, however, arm the adults at schools.

Piercello said...

"Politics is the art of the possible" was my first sentence in a short essay.

I tackled the difference between political problems and political constraints, if you are interested.

Not much to add on the shooting itself, since (as you have said) there is nothing new to say.

E Hines said...

1. Define "mentally unstable"

2. Identify which "mentally unstable" are dangerous and which are not

3. Identify how "dangerous mentally unstable" are to be disarmed without disarming--leaving defenseless--those around him

4. Specify how quickly--including appeals--a court case must be finally decided and the "dangerous mentally unstable" gets his weapons back after successfully defending himself

5. Specify how the "dangerous mentally unstable" will be made financially whole after winning his court case

6. Specify how an accusation will be separated into a frivolous one and one made in good faith

7. Specify the sanctions to be brought against the accuser if the "dangerous mentally unstable" wins his court case

8. Identify how the "dangerous mentally unstable" gets his reputation and his life back after winning his court case, whether it was brought in good faith or bad

That's just a start on the idiocy and virtue-signaling nature of red flag laws.

Eric Hines

J Melcher said...

And I want to see, or even run, some experiments. Demonstrations. Put a "shooter" in the sort of padded armor used when training attack dogs, and arm him with a rapid fire paint ball tagger. Give a class full of eight-year olds each a baseball bat. How long does it take to train six or ten aggressive boys to work as a team/squad and beat down an intruder with no more than X number of casualties? Five of the six? Three? One? With two weeks training? Four? Eight?

How long to train a bunch of dual purpose attack / "emotional support" German Shepherds to get a dozen or so per elementary school? Is anybody even talking about dogs? I'm sure as heck seeing "drug sniffing" dogs often enough. It'd be a nice change to see some on the student's side...

Oh, add blowpipe /bean shooters to the baseball bat arsenal. I'm old, I'd figure the girls get the darts while the boys get the bats, but I could learn to be modern.


E Hines said...

Oh, add blowpipe /bean shooters to the baseball bat arsenal.

Blowpipe/bean shooters might be a choking hazard, especially in the potentially hyperventilating (or approaching that) fear and tension of the situation. Consider slingshots with steel marbles. And train them to work in pairs: a slingshot boy and a bat boy.

But wait! You're teaching our babies violence! The horror! Pf-f-f-ft. We all had slingshots as boys when I was growing up.

Eric Hines

E Hines said...

One fillip: don't train the boys in set, formed pairs. Train them to pair up on the fly.

Eric Hines

RonF said...

I'm on Facebook talking to some people I know - younger women that I got to know while performing in an opera. I said "What we need is a solution that we can implement now. Doors with electronic locks and cameras and intercoms. Trained armed people in the schools."

I am derided with slogans. "Just what we need - more guns!" "It's insane to arm teachers" - even though I pointed out that there are many States that permit armed teachers or other people in schools. "It isn't true that 'only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun' because the cops showed up and did nothing'" - even though I point out that cops minutes away != someone already in the school, and when a cop stops a mass shooting before it starts you perforce never hear about it.

They want guns gone. They don't want to hear actual solutions you can implement with bi-partisan support because that doesn't achieve their objective.

Texan99 said...

A good reason not to entrust children to them: they're too squeamish to think clearly about what it means to be obligated to protect children.

I'm still struggling with the idea that the classrooms were made to lock. Apparently the locked steel doors and concrete construction were sturdy enough to keep the cops out, so they'd have worked pretty well against the shooter. I read that the shooter entered through an interconnecting side door to another classroom. The shooter had aroused all kinds of suspicion outside the school, even popping off shots out there. Even supposing that it wasn't possible to stop his entering the school building (no armed "resource officer" yet on scene? why?), couldn't the school have activated the PA system to tell teachers to lock their doors? If they had side door access, lock those, too, or lock the classrooms to which they connected.

J Melcher said...

An early narrative, later discarded, of the events of January 6th 2021 held that a mob killed an armed police officer using a fire extinguisher. Details were sketchy but popular imagination supposed a spray of chemicals against eyes and face, followed by bludgeoning with a heavy steel cannister against a fragile skull. The reports and inferences were plausible enough to be wildly believed.

It does not seem at all unreasonable to me to set up correctly sized and "ranged" fire extinguishers in every US classroom, and hold training for every US teacher, on how to use the implement in various emergencies. Electrical fires starting in the room. Fires entering the room from the halls. Intruders...

Train hard, train often. Train as you mean to fight.