Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Go Fish, Dec 14, 2012.
For the record, I'm batshit crazy. I feel my offspring would be a burden on society.
Equating the desire to discuss with the intent to ban is wrong-headed and unfair and uncivil.
This instant distrust poisons the civil discourse we need to have in this nation.
That said, this forum is doing a pretty good job with a few exceptions. Bravo.
Statistics are absolutely meaningless if you attempt to apply them on an individual level. They only indicate probabilities that might be relevant in analyzing large populations. Trends involving percentages of large populations. Get it? None of that can be applied to any particular individual. I majored in quantitative analysis and statistics. This was basic.
One of my nieces committed suicide a little over a year ago. Of course I have no idea why. Nobody saw it coming.
No guns for Lugan...jesus look what he does to a guitar....
when they kick in your front door, how you gonna come, with your hands on your head or on the.....
...trigger of your gun.
But that was a different time and place. And I was a drummer in a punk band, not guitar. I'm too coarse for that.
That gun is illegal in CT an NJ.
Unless it was grandfathered by virtue of being purchased before 1993, at least according to this summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Connecticut#Assault_weapons
Here's a summary of the situation in my mind vis-à-vis legislation. Naturally, it is written by a Brit for a conservative Brit newspaper that usually has a level-headed view unclouded by American political ideology: http://www.economist.com/blogs/lexington/2012/12/gun-control
Like many, I'm saddened by what happened, but not more so than what happened at the mall in OR a couple days earlier, or the murder that was reported on the radio (insert which one here). There are lots of crimes, and the loss of human life is tragic.
What gets me about this event are the calls for action to ensure that a mass murder shooting like this can never happen again. I presume that is emotion and not logic speaking. The actions necessary to prevent any future occurrence are socially, politically, and economically unacceptable. At best we might take some actions that reduce the probability and frequency of such events. And by the news reports, the Sandy Hook along with many other school districts have already instituted strategic plans for reducing the casualties that might otherwise happen when an outlier event like this does occur.
And that's what a school mass murder shooting is, an outlier. The frequency ranks somewhere between uncommon and rare. Given that kind of statistic, calling for armed guards in every school or major overhauls in US gun laws would be major actions that are disproportionate to the prospective effect. It's probably impossible to diagnose who is going to become mentally ill and psychotic and prone to commit a mass murder, although it might be beneficial and in the national interest to devote more resources to diagnosing and treating the mentally ill. I think sometimes we have to recognize that certain events are outliers that are not predictable with any useful degree of reliability, and therefore not preventable. The best we can hope for in such a circumstance is to have a plan for how to react when something like that does happen. It looks like the schools and first responders have done that.
Really, what else can society actually do that would improve the outcome?
Salmo, there is absolutely an angle of irrationality to this. But then again, after 9/11 we created the TSA, invaded two countries, enacted the freedom-limiting Patriot Act and spent (spend) trillions on the lot. The death toll on 9/11, while dramatic and awful that day, was around 2,000. That is 1/6 the number that die of gun murders each year. And yet, we spend and we take our shoes off at the TSA checkpoint, and so on. I mean seriously, one incompetent half-wit tries to blow up his shoe on an airplane, and we are all compelled to do the TSA shoe dance ad infinitum.
I offer that comparison just to make a point that it's not unprecedented for this country to act irrationally. I actually don't have an opinion about what to do about school security for many of the reasons you cite and more.
Unfortunately, you're talking about that many deaths in one day in a couple incidences (and all planned together). Now, if all those shootings were planned and happened in one day, then it's a good comparison. Especially when you're talking terrorist attacks (and if you want, I can gladly get combat decorated soldiers on here who've fought against terrorists to give you their say on this as well, but you won't like it).
Salmo, sure if you play the stats a school shooting/attack is an unlikely occurrence, but this conclusion borders on cynical, yet dressed as weary pragmatism.
Let's take a minute to dig a little deeper. Domestic gun massacres occur mainly in three places:
1- Workplace (post office, cubicle farm or some position of monotony (we are excluding PhD / Mentor killings like UW, 2000, Dept of Pathology, given only 1-2 die)
2- Restaurant (fast food typically, you are right to fear the cheeseburger...)
3- School or university
Let's look at some school shootings or attacks:
Westside Middle 1998, 5 dead Arkansas
Cleveland School , Stockton CA 1989 6 dead 30 injured
Cal State Fullerton 1976 7 dead, 2 injured
Oikos Univesity, 2012 Oakland CA 7 dead 3 injured
Columbine High, CO 1999 15 dead, 24 injured
Sandy Hook, CT 2012 28 dead
Northern Illinois University Il 2008 6 dead, 18 injured
University of Iowa, 1991 6 dead
Bath School Bombing, MI 1927 45 dead
Kent State, OH 1970 4 dead
Thurston High, OR 1998 4 dead, 24 injured
Amish school shooting, PA 2006 6 dead, 5 injured
UT, TX 1966, 16 dead
Virginia Tech, VA 33 dead, 25 injured
Simon's rock, MA 1992 2 dead, 3 injured
So if you work backwards and try and figure the percentage of gun massacres by location on a page like this:
Discounting attacks like Sept 11, Racial riots, Indian Massacres, stuff from the 1800's and so on then things get interesting- you got about
25 % of massacres occurring in schools or universities.
So yeah, it's an outlier in absolute occurrences, but 1/4 massacres happen disproportionately in places we typically think of as super safe, where 6-25 year olds hang out...now that's sort of interesting, right?
And then Hopefully you wonder why would that be, why so high? Well now we're talking about hypothesis so here are some of mine...in a school or university
1- the population is unprepared and perhaps disproportionately female and unlikely to resist or fight back
2- there is an absence of law enforcement in those locations
3- Members of the population are known to the assailant, they are peers...
4- The shooter knows the geography
Which brings us back to plans to stop this crap, particularly #3...we could start here with peer surveillance, teaching kids to recognize mental illness and advocate for help for those who have it. Those skills are important for life anyways, what do we have to lose by having kids well versed in psychology 101 by the time they leave High School?
What then if kids and their teachers define that risky kid? Well they ask that kid to see the counselor, they run some Neuropsych tests like the MMPI, they test low on scores of empathy and insight, high on impulsivity and anger... and you bring in their parents and ask....is this kid fascinated with firearms and do you have any guns in your house? Do you know of any of your kid's friends who have guns? Then it seems like you can actually get a plan going there...
I.e. ask those parents, for the sweet love of all that is good and true, to get rid of their guns because you have defined, based on evidence and patterns, that their kid is one that is highly likely to do something really fucking stupid and deadly...
So please, if you buy into the statistical outlier, fine, but tucked within that outlier are plenty of clues and ways to improve what we do to prevent this....I for one would love to see kids learn the ins and outs of psychology and it's pattern recognitions and ways to help intervene, not just for kids in need, but more pragmatically so they don't fuck up and date, marry, breed with and then hate their life partner/co parent. Worst case scenario, they resent their mutual child. In essence, behaviors that might fuel another generation of angry, marginalized hotheads with daddy/mommy issues
Those same models could then be used in the workplace, again based on peer surveillance and early psychological intervention and risk assessment.
Not sure how to do the fast food one though...Cheeseburgers....maybe stick to drive through? Switch to Thai food?
What's interesting also are the environments that do not appear on the list of massacres...sporting events, concerts, street fairs, parades, buses, cracker bar....
Anomie: "...when there is no free horizon of expectation."
I agree completely. As callous as this sounds, policy making should be done without emotion. To formulate beneficial policies with long-lasting support requires sober calculation. However, sometimes horrific events cast forgotten issues into the spotlight to be re-examined. As others have said, there needs to be a frank, open-ended discussion about the status of mental health diagnosis and treatment as well as gun-control.
But when it comes down to it, the prospect of "solving" the mental health problem scares me. 'Boot, I love the idea of educating children about mental health and having discussions with parents about children that might be at risk for these kind of tendencies. I think this would help a lot of children that fall through the cracks, regardless of whether they are future mass murderers. The problem I can't see around is what happens when the parents and the potentially deviant kid don't see the problem or don't want to accept it? When the carrot fails, do you bring out the stick?
In this country, taking away a person's liberty is a last resort, and we only do so if we know that it is entirely necessary and justified. Many would say it is perfectly acceptable to let 10 guilty men walk for every innocent man convicted because because the notion of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is just that fundamental. Considering this basic paradigm, how many at-risk teenage boys would we have to institutionalize or force to take psychotropic medicine for every mass murder prevention?
Many think that there are a lot of people on the buses, in the streets, and in our schools who shouldn't be allowed in the general population. They point the finger at the decision to slash state mental asylums when incidents like the CT massacre occur. I don't doubt there's a lot of people that will be calling for a return to something similar, but the decision to get rid of these institutions wasn't just a budgetary decision. People were appalled, and rightly so, at the complete loss of liberty and human decency that occurred. I'm not saying those finger pointers would support a mental health system a la One Flew over the Cuckoo's nest and Nurse Ratched, but I'm just not sure that preventative detention of the mentally ill is advisable at any level of funding or human compassion.