We've Got to Do SOMETHING About School Shootings! Oh, Like What?

Bath Consolidated School, the site of the worst school massacre in American history, in 1927. This tragedy involved bombing, not shooting.
Bath Consolidated School, the site of the worst school massacre in American history, in 1927. This tragedy involved bombing, not shooting. | Source
Barry Obama, the first Marxist president of the USA. He's looking for a pretext to "fundamentally transform" our fair country into a clone of the GDR. And trashing the Second Amendment is an essential part of that transformation.
Barry Obama, the first Marxist president of the USA. He's looking for a pretext to "fundamentally transform" our fair country into a clone of the GDR. And trashing the Second Amendment is an essential part of that transformation. | Source
Bruce Schneier, security expert
Bruce Schneier, security expert | Source

Let's be rational about this

Since the tragic Sandy Hook School Shooting in Connecticut, Latter Day Marxists have been having a field day. The Democrats want to put draconian restrictions on 'evil' firearms in place ASAP if they can get away with it, or to salami-slice the Second Amendment to death if they cannot whip up sufficiently hysteria in the short term. For several reasons, I'm very skeptical about Gun Control as a solution to the School Shootings Problem.

As of 16 Dec 2012, Barry's assault on the Second Amendment has already begun. It has received precious little public scrutiny. At the moment, it does not involve Congress. And that's on top of Barry's authorization of the notorious Gunwalking operation--aka Operation Fast and Furious.

The Obama administration has an interesting record on firearms policy:

1. facilitating the transfer of firearms to Mexican drug cartels;

2. and more recently, erecting unnecessary bureaucratic barriers for law-abiding citizens who wish to purchase firearms. Now Barry wants to use the Sandy Hook tragedy as a pretext for chipping away at the Second Amendment. As his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel said in a different context,

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.

3. However it's now apparently legal to carry firearms for self-defense against Grizzly Bears in National Parks. As the Communists used to say: One step backward, two steps forward.

In terms of personal integrity, President "I'm-not-going-to-take-your-guns-away" is smelling more and more like the late President "I'm-not-a-crook" Nixon.

On the other hand, a few Republicans, who talk a good game of Small Government, want to side-step the Due Process Clause of our beleaguered Constitution, in order to make an exception for involuntary civil commitment. Let's arrest potential School Shooters while they're still in the Thought Crime stage. Yeah, right.

Realistically, your child is far more likely to die in a car crash than in a School Shooting. Why are we in such a tizzy about the School Shooting Problem? There are a few reasons.

The journalistic profession, in it's wisdom, deems School Shootings to be more 'newsworthy' than other events in which the number of tragic deaths is the same. This is understandable, considering that the violent deaths of children are more shocking than the deaths of adults.

Most Americans think about social problems in terms of personalized stories--real or imaginary. They do not understand the concept of data. And statistical analysis? Forget about it!

Here's a revolutionary concept to wrap our brains around: Lurid headlines are NOT the same thing as reality. It's not very productive for all of us to work ourselves into a frenzy over School Shootings, when there are much bigger public safety problems out there. No matter what the newspapers suggest, your child is extremely unlikely to die in a school shooting.

Yes, School Shootings are terrible tragedies. I am not trivializing the problem. But the general public is laboring under the illusion that we can save a lot of lives at reasonable economic and social cost, by throwing resources at this one aspect of public safety. Let's wring our hands, run around in circles, and then glom onto the first ill-conceived 'solution' that comes down the pike. Yeah, right.

Authoritarians of all stripes enjoy riding their hobbyhorses in public. Their answer to any social problem: Let's have a witch-hunt! It's as American as motherhood and apple pie. Yeah, right.

Before we "do something" stupid, let's put the problem into perspective, so that we can prioritize our resources to save the greatest number of lives. Security Theater--to use Bruce Schneier's expression--is not the answer. The Transportation Safety Administration is a terrible model for solving problems in the Real World.


Memorial to the victims of the Pontiac's Rebellion School Massacre of 1764 in Pennsylvania.
Memorial to the victims of the Pontiac's Rebellion School Massacre of 1764 in Pennsylvania. | Source

Two surprising facts about the history of School Shootings

It's difficult to define the term, School Shooting. I'm not counting the Kent State tragedy of 1970 as a School Shooting. The perps were poorly trained National Guardsmen, who came in at the behest of incompetent administrators. Nobody went in with the intent of committing murder. Moreover the Beslan massacre was an act of terrorism, because of the political dimension, and not a typical School Shooting.

For some reason that I do not understand, we Americans have a long history of School Shootings, which dates back to the 18 Century. It did not begin with the Columbine massacre. It's a different story for the rest of the world.

There were no recorded School Shootings outside the USA prior to the 20th Century! And only two before 1960! Now these tragedies are happening outside the USA as well. It's an interesting coincidence that the Psychiatric Drug Revolution began in the 1950s.


Prozac: killer pills?
Prozac: killer pills? | Source
Sigmund Freud, glorified witch doctor, and a major contributor to Psychoanalysis.
Sigmund Freud, glorified witch doctor, and a major contributor to Psychoanalysis. | Source

The antidepressant connection

This is a common thread running through most School Shootings of the past 25 years. School Shootings are essentially an iatrogenic (physician-caused) problem. Here's what happens.

Antidepressants cause a marked decrease in REM sleep, the rapid-eye-movement phase, which is strongly associated with dreaming. There's informed speculation that REM-debt is one of the mechanisms by which antidepressants work their magic.

This is why the benefits of these medications usually aren't apparent immediately. Sometimes, there's no benefit for the first six weeks, because it may take that long to build up a sufficiently large REM debt.

For a clinically depressed young male, who also has anger and impulse-control issues, the large REM debt can erode his self-control to the point where he crosses over into homicidal territory. Here's a LINK to antidepressant stories involving School Shootings.

For some antidepressant medications, there's also a doubled risk of suicide during the first 30 days, and for 30 days after any change in the dose.

On the other hand, untreated depressed people are at increased risk of suicide, but less so for mass murder. If we were to ban antidepressants outright, there would be more Type 1 tragedies stemming from inadequate treatment, and fewer Type 2 tragedies stemming from the homicidal side-effects of antidepressants. Is there a middle ground? Yes, there is.

Here's Larry's First Proposal: Let's make it a felony for psychiatrists to prescribe antidepressants to anyone under the age of 18. For men (but not women) under the age of 30, antidepressants should be available only in residential treatment facilities, where each participant agrees to be an inmate for at least 90 days.

This would allow reasonable amount of time for adapting to the drug, for titrating the dose, and for 'drying out' if the drug doesn't work. It would also be opportunities for anger management classes, and for treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has documented benefits for people with depression. Yes, there are other modalities of psychotherapy.

As of 30 years ago, there was zero evidence for the efficacy of Psychoanalysis, for example. Psychoanalysts are not without influence. Why the paucity of scientific studies? Because Psychoanalysis is a load of codswallop. And at some level, its practitioners are aware of that fact.

While I think of it, Psychoanalysts in France are foisting their little secular religion of autistic children and their families, thereby denying them the opportunity for real treatment at a crucial stage of their development. As a scientist, I consider this modality to be pure voodoo, and I regard its unethical French practitioners with the contempt that I usually reserve for Scientologists. Psychoanalysis is the wrong way to help clinically depressed people.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is more here-and-now. It emphasizes things like false beliefs (e.g. I'm a bad person), and it helps people to strategize about dealing with psychologically difficult situations that they face in their daily lives. More to the point, there's scientific evidence that CBT is somewhat helpful for people with depression.

Returning to the main topic, there should also a qualified personal trainer at each facility to help craft an individualized aerobic exercise plan for each participant. I've written an earlier hub about optimizing one's aerobic work for the mood boost.

Psychiatry has evolved beyond the dark days of Lobotomy--but not by much. The antidepressant prescribing is far too cavalier--especially for young males. Psychiatrists need to be kept on a shorter leash. Psychiatrists should be required by law to tell their young, male, clinically depressed patients the whole truth:

Oh by the way, there's a very small risk that the medication that I'm prescribing for you will push you over the edge into mass murder.

We already have a counterproductive War on Drugs, which includes the demonization of the medicinal and relatively innocuous recreational plant, Cannabis. Perhaps we can muster the collective backbone to crack down on a class of psychiatric drugs that actually contributes to mass murder.

But on second thought, that would be too sensible. Our Congress critters would need to get permission from their campaign donors at Big Pharma first.


What about security officers at public schools?

I have very mixed feelings about this issue. Yes, a police officer armed with an AR-15 at Sandy Hook probably would have prevented the tragedy. School Shooters are cowards who prefer soft targets.

My first question is about cost. How much would it cost to put a police officer at every public school in the USA? How many lives per year could we expect to save?

What about Opportunity Cost? Could we save more lives by deploying the officers elsewhere? Or maybe the cost of a full-time police officer would be justifiable only at the larger schools.

Mission Creep is another issue. The police officer assigned to a public school may get bored, walking around, waiting for a would-be shooter to show up. There would be a great temptation on the part of Authoritarian administrators to capitalize on the boredom, and to assign additional not-so-useful duties to the officer. There's at least one school in the USA where boys are busted and fined for neglecting to tuck their shirts inside their trousers.

At a Zero Zolerance school, a 13-year old girl was strip-searched, because she had a 2 Advils in her possession. SCOTUS later ruled the school's action to be unconstitutional.

Do we really want this kind of abomination to be a part of our school security strategy? Call me a redneck, but I think that we should have zero tolerance for child molesters masquerading as public school principals.

If we do not spell out the job description of police officers assigned to public schools in minute detail, I'm concerned that this option would accelerate our transition to a Totalitarian national security state.

I think that special firearms training programs for teachers who want to protect their charges would be a smarter and cheaper option.

Texas town allows teachers to carry concealed guns

Israelis are smart enough to understand that guns can help keep children safe.
Israelis are smart enough to understand that guns can help keep children safe.
This venerable pistol would still be legal under Larry's Second Proposal.
This venerable pistol would still be legal under Larry's Second Proposal. | Source

Reasonable gun control?

As I said earlier, the most important thing we can do to prevent school shootings is to outlaw the prescribing of antidepressant medications for anyone under 18, and to put reasonable restrictions on antidepressant meds for males between the ages of 18 and 30. That said, there's a smaller measure that we can take with handgun regulations.

We could outlaw the carry of semiautomatic pistols with double-stacking magazines by civilians. Example: high-capacity Glock 9mm pistols. That would limit their firepower somewhat. Of course, these weapons would still be available to military and police.

Under the Larry's Second Proposal, traditional 1911-style .45 auto-loading pistols would still qualify as being legal to carry. They were good enough for our GIs in WW2, and are good enough for some modern SWAT teams; they should be good enough for civilians who wish to protect themselves from violent criminals. What about our Second Amendment?

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

(Italics mine.) Implicit in our beleaguered Second Amendment, is the right of government to regulate their militias (that's us) in reasonable ways. We already have strong restrictions on the private ownership of fully-automatic machine guns. I'd be willing to extend the restrictions to the carrying of Glocks and other similar pistols. But that's as far as I would go. No salami-slicing.

And for home-defense, I do not have a problem with Glocks, or AR-15s, or other high-capacity firearms.

California already has a prohibition on private ownership of semi-auto pistols with magazines having capacities greater than 10 rounds. I think that that's the wrong way to go. A determined wannabe mass murderer could purchase a perfectly legal pistol in state, and then buy a higher-capacity after-market magazine out of state, or on the Black Market.

On the other hand, a single-stacking, after-market magazine would have half the capacity of a double-stacking magazine of the same length and caliber. The would-be mass shooter would need to stop and reload more often, and this would allow more opportunities for a brave individual in the crowd to jump him before he finished reloading a new magazine. By the way, courageous unarmed bystanders stopped Jared Loughner while he was reloading.

Again, my Gun Control suggestion is definitely not a solution to the problem of crazy people with guns. But it would cut down on the fatalities a bit, and would allow armed pistol-packing civilians to protect themselves against violent criminals. Non-lawyer Larry thinks that it would pass Constitutional muster.


Involuntary civil commitment

If a young person talks openly with his friends about the suicide option, that's a red flag for suicide. But not necessarily for mass murder.

A Secret Service study suggests that it's not yet possible to profile School Shooters in advance. Loners? Not necessarily. Divorced parents? Not necessarily. Forget the usual stereotypes.

Advocates of Involuntary Civil Commitment are left with an approach taken by the Dubya Administration regarding a different problem, terrorism: If you see something, say something. If you made a derogatory comment about The Smirking Chimp, you could be harassed by Federal goons. And yes, that has actually happened.

Never mind the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are not trained in profiling. And never mind the question: Is anyone really qualified to profile a wannabe terrorist or School Shooter?

There are good reasons why we don't have involuntary civil commitment anymore. First and foremost, it's unconstitutional; there's precious little due process of law. Second, it costs a lot of money. And third, there is always the risk of abuse associated with the process, no matter how well-intended it was to begin with.

These days, the risk of abuse is even greater. Barry Obama signed the NDAA, which allows the American military to arrest people, throw them in a gulag indefinitely, and throw away the key, without the quaint nicety of trial by jury. And there's more, much much more.

Do we really want to throw innocent people into 'snake pits'--a descriptor for mental institutions in the first half of the 20th Century--just because they're different? That's not the American way any more. Or is it?


Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her performance in the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Her character, Nurse Ratched, is a symbol of everything that's wrong with mental institutions.
Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her performance in the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Her character, Nurse Ratched, is a symbol of everything that's wrong with mental institutions. | Source

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Comments 14 comments

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

I absolutely agree with you about banning the use of antidepressants for children. There seems to be a definite link between elevated suicide and murder rates and antidepressants or other psychotropic drugs. Psychiatry needs to rely more on cognitive therapy, and less on drugs. Good article, voted up, interesting and useful.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi mparrottet. Thanks for your vote of confidence.


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 3 years ago from the bridge of sighs

I liked this hub as well.What I don't get about antidepressants is...How do they test them?I mean,usually they test drugs on animals right?So how can they tell if a mouse is depressed?...and how can they tell when it's happy?

I suspect a lot of psych meds are just hit and miss with the law suites written into operating costs.Typical corporate voodoo spin.lol

Dean


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi Dean,

Thanks for your comment. You wrote: "What I don't get about antidepressants is...How do they test them?I mean,usually they test drugs on animals right?So how can they tell if a mouse is depressed?...and how can they tell when it's happy?"

Excellent question. A related question: When the new antidepressant proves to be safe for animals, the researchers move on to clinical trials with people. How do they measure the elevated proclivities for mass murder? After 500 more School Shootings?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Larry, the one thing I have thought about when I saw this on tv, is something that crossed my mind before when it happened. coming from England we don't have guns. If someone does a shooting, we are not only shocked that they did the shooting, but the idea of using a gun. In the States however, guns are so familiar to people its an easy step to use them for whatever reason, in other words we would be appalled at the idea of picking up a gun and using it, whereas if we were used to it like Americans are, then the step between picking it up and using it is much smaller, what do you think?


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi Nell,

It's nice to hear from you, as always. That is a good question, and it's a tough question. I hadn't thought about it very much before.

I did take the short NRA (National Rifle Association) course. I've also done some target shooting with a revolver. Because of that small amount of instruction and experience, I'm somewhat familiar with the safety precautions, with the legal aspect, and with the recoil of the self-defense loads that tend to be hotter than the target loads.

I know myself well enough to know that if I needed to defend myself against a knife-wielding attacker who was determined to kill me, I definitely would pull the trigger. (And if that act of self-defense resulted in the death of an attacker, I'd probably have nightmares about it for the rest of my life.)

Despite my limited experience, I would be in a state of panic. There would be a greater likelihood of my shooting and missing, as compared with calmly shooting at a bulls-eye in a pistol range. But at least, I wouldn't be worried about shooting myself in the foot.

From my reading, I know that most encounters between armed home-defenders and violent home-invasion robbers do not end with someone being killed. Some of the time, shooting and missing scares off the attacker. In some other situations, simply pulling out and aiming the revolver--while maintaining a 'Poker face'--would have the same effect. And when prompt medical attention is available, the majority of gunshot wounds are not fatal.

All things considered, my limited reading, instruction, and experience put me in a better position to make the right decision if the need arose.

And yes, I think that the energy barrier for self-defense with a revolver is somewhat less than it would be with a knife, for example. That's partly because of the distance involved.

My guess is that the pilots who bombed Dresden in WW2 would have have been very reluctant to cause the same amount of death if they had to look each of those German civilians in the eye, before dropping the bombs. Distance was definitely a factor. Killing a fellow human being is not a natural act.

In most circumstances, I think that women are more reluctant than men to pull the trigger--even to save their own lives. And depending on the individual, that reluctance could make the firearm ownership a safety liability, rather than a safety plus. The decision about having a self-defense firearm in the home definitely requires some soul-searching.

However a violent home-invasion robbery situation, in which small children are at risk, would be a different story. An otherwise gentle young mother with a revolver would defend her children with a degree of determination, which would be comparable to that of a momma Griz defending her cubs.

If you're still curious, I'd recommend a website run by attorney Eric Puryear. He answers most of the FAQs that people have, but not the one that you asked. The website is learnaboutguns.com.

Anyway, that's my long-winded answer to your difficult question. Thanks for stopping by.

I hope that you have an uneventful Mayan Calendar Day and a very Merry Christmas.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Thanks Larry, I thought I had left you another comment, sorry! lol! yes you do have a point here, its really just the fact of being in a situation where everybody seems to have guns, like out there, whereas over here people would be appalled if I said I had a gun. I just think it leaves a huge gap between being familiar with a gun and never handling a gun. I remember an American lady over here, she was a bit loud if you know what I mean! lol! she was in the shop talking in a very loud voice to someone and she said ' I would get my shotgun and shoot that darn bird if it kept coming in my garden to make a mess' the whole shop looked at her in amazement! her use of the word shotgun really shocked people, whereas over there it would probably have been laughed at, and thats the point I think. Saying that though we do get people using them, of course we do, but its less because they are hard to get hold off. and maybe thats how it should be, nell


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi Nell,

Not all firearms owners are rednecks, like the woman in the shop. Loose talk--e.g. about shooting birds in one's backyard--is usually in poor taste, unless one also adds that one lives out in the boonies, and that the nearest neighbor is 10 miles away. In most places here, it's against the law to discharge a firearm within city limits, unless you're at a shooting range, or acting in self-defense.

Old saying: An armed society is a polite society. That's mostly true here. But in Texas, there are ignorant rednecks who will threaten to shoot you, when they get PO'd.

Thanks again for stopping by.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent and thought provoking Hub, Larry.

Statistically, we actually don't have a crisis. Children have a better chance of being hit by lightning than being shot in school.

Obama is trying to fast track this while it's still big news and before anyone can reflect on the recklessness of shoving through new laws that will violate the rights of every American.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi Will. Interesting that you should mention lightning. A cousin of mine was struck by lightning--and survived. Nice to hear from you.


OldWitchcraft profile image

OldWitchcraft 3 years ago from The Atmosphere

Good article!

The pharmaceutical companies are running - and ruining - the world.

Talk about Fast and Furious (which you mention in this article) seems to have dropped out of sight. It should definitely be talked about some more. Interesting how Obama can feign sadness at the deaths of children at Sandy Hook (which we can't even prove actually happened yet, by the way) while he seems to have no qualms about the fact that their illegal guns were sent to a country where people have been stripped of their right to self-defense, resulting in untold numbers of deaths of innocent, children, women and men. We didn't see any tears shed over Fast and Furious despite the fact that about 400 violent deaths are alleged to have been caused by this program.

I'm one of those "radical extremists" who believes in the 2nd Amendment exactly as it reads in plain English. Nobody gets to dictate to you how, where and when you defend yourself or infringe on your right to obtain the means to do so in any way.

Vote up and accolades!


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi OldWitchcraft,

Thanks for your vote of confidence. You mentioned:

"Interesting how Obama can feign sadness at the deaths of children at Sandy Hook (which we can't even prove actually happened yet, by the way) while he seems to have no qualms about the fact that their illegal guns were sent to a country where people have been stripped of their right to self-defense, resulting in untold numbers of deaths of innocent, children, women and men."

Obama is a psychopath, who has learned over the years to feign human emotions that he is incapable of feeling. In the photo op with the 'Parker family' a couple days after SH, he had a big grin on his face. That's probably because he just received the equivalent of Hitler's windfall of the Reichstag Fire. Apparently, Barry's drama coach forgot to tell him to avoid transparent Schadenfreude on tragic occasions.


GClark profile image

GClark 3 years ago from United States

Totally agree; especially about Obama. Guns aren't the problem. The problem in most mass shootings that we hear about is that someone who is mentally ill steals a gun like the CT shooter who killed his sleeping mother and took her gun. I was horrified to learn that she had actually taken him to a gun range for target shooting. I blame the mother for not getting her son help and doing what was necessary to protect the public. She was receiving $300,00 per year support from her ex husband and had lots of resources available and closed her eyes evidently to her son's condition!

In contrast, we learned recently in the news about a women who saved her two little boys by hiding in a closet with them when a burglar broke into her house. Fortunately, she had a gun. While waiting for the police she ended up shooting the intruder when he tried to break into the closet. She fired 5 times and hit him but he escaped to the sidewalk. What if she hadn't had a gun?


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi GClark. Thanks for stopping by.

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