Within 24 hours of each other, two different young men turn their inner most hostile thoughts into reality. El Paso Texas, 21 people have died from wounds received by a 21 year old white male, using a firearm. Dayton Ohio, 9 people have died from a 24 year old white male who used a firearm to kill and wound. At each location there were more than two dozen people injured.
Reading the stories barely touches on the lives so tragically affected. An example, small children die, parents tried to shield their child from the shooter and died. The list goes on, and it’s truly horrible. In Dayton Ohio, Authorities said ____, of nearby Bellbrook, opened fire with a rifle early Sunday in the city’s Oregon District. Among the dead was his 22-year-old sister, Megan. At least 27 people were injured. BTW – I won’t name the shooters. I believe they’re not worth recognition. I want nothing about the specific individual to gain notoriety.
A 21-year-old white man from Allen, a suburb of Dallas about a 650-mile drive from El Paso, is in police custody. Authorities are looking at potentially bringing capital murder charges against him. He was captured shortly after the shooting.
In each instance we seem to have a common nexus. Each has been perpetrated by a white male under the age of 30. This was similar to the shooting, the week before in California, also committed by a white male under the age of 30 using a semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle. What’s going on with these white men, mostly between the ages of 20 to 30?
The victims haven’t had time to be released from the hospitals, or their families grieve, and we have immediate analysis. Some blame this on firearms, they want either a ban or some new law with greater restrictions on availability. Others take to the air waves, and claim it’s because of Trump. “Trump created an atmosphere of hatred among these young men”. Still, we had this senseless killing under Obama, and no one blames him.
An El Paso congresswoman says, “Trump is ‘not welcome’ in the city.” “The president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.” She elaborates further, “Hispanic people have become “dehumanized.”
“The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. The FBI is supporting its state and local partners in Texas through investigative, intelligence, and technical assistance. The El Paso investigation is also being supported by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell. … The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.
I read impassioned pleas to ban “assault rifles”. I see where others want to ban any weapon with a “high capacity”. It seems almost pointless to debate with people so over wrought with emotions. It does little good to point out the decade long assault weapons ban that expired, but did nothing to lower murderous violence. (Not my words, it was the official results finding) No gun-free zones have ever made schools or government facilities safer, despite the good intentions. All our schools are gun free or bomb free zones, yet we have had incidents where that didn’t stop the antagonists.
If the cure isn’t in some type of legislation, or appeal we seek in a supreme being, then what or how can we affect a positive change?
I think I have some of the answers, but people don’t want to hear them, because they aren’t quick and it requires serious change which involves almost all of us.
Let’s do an “IMAGINE” moment together, and look beyond the quick and not effective methods. “In the US, prohibition lasted from the year 1920 until the year 1933. The ban on manufacture, sale as well as transportation of alcohol was stipulated under the 18th Amend of the US Constitution.” “Finally, realizing that the prohibition was not serving its purpose, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law, which was an amendment to the Volstead Act on 22nd March 1933. This act was called the Cullen Harrison Act and it allowed the manufacture as well as sale of alcohol.”
Bans don’t change human behavior. Laws written to stop lawless behavior, are from the outset, doomed to failure. That’s why a ban on alcohol, drugs, or laws against murder, don’t seem to change the behavior of some people. So, what motivates people to commit mass murder? People want solutions, and for the most part don’t care what it takes, because as of Sunday, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019. None of them that I know of have been by Muslims, or radical immigrants.
In just one minute, police say the Dayton shooter opened fire and killed his sister and several other victims. The Oregon District is dense with bars and cafes, but before he could get into any establishments, he was quickly killed by nearby police within one minute of the first shot, police said.
A former fellow high school student, Spencer Brickler told CNN he and his sister were on the hit list, and remembered the shooter was once escorted off a bus by police officers over the threats. He was reportedly suspended in high school for creating a “hit-list” that caused a lockdown after it was scribbled on a bathroom wall.
In high school, the Dayton shooter compiled a list which was separated into two columns: a “kill list” for boys and a “rape list” for girls. A third person, who also asked not to be named for privacy reasons, told CNN that ______ sent messages about the list to one of his classmates, who told her mother. Her mother then notified the police, who came to the school and interviewed people on the list individually in the school’s office.
Some of the names were female students who, turned him down for dates. She said _____ often simulated shooting other students and threatened to kill himself and others on several occasions. “He loved to look at you and pretend to shoot with guns, guns with his hands.”
A source told a CBS News senior investigative producer, the Texas suspect was considered “a troubled youth.” The El Paso suspect was charged Sunday with capital murder and was being held on no bond, on Sunday evening. The suspect has been cooperating with investigators.
About 20 minutes before the shooting started, a post on the online message board 8chan believed to be from the suspect laid out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants. The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” was attached to a post that said, “I’m probably going to die today.” The El Paso shooter began his text by writing: “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
Besides the connection which many want to use, “assault type weapons”, or “high capacity weapons”, there are additional concerns that should be addressed. Obviously, we can’t say, “ban all white males” in the US from owning any potentially deadly firearms or even knives, but there are things which have been pointed out in the past. Can we continue to ignore these facts?
Millions of Americans own firearms in this country, and most are multiple capacity magazine fed firearms. There aren’t exacting numbers as to how many rifles are equipped with features that legislators, lobbyists, & activists point out as “assault weapons”, but they must be in the hundreds of thousands or well over a million. Why doesn’t that inform people, “it’s not the gun”, but the people behind it?
If indeed the perception of America is, it’s a gun culture, then why do we program our lives with so called heroes that use guns to solve problems? I’m suggesting we need to take a hard look at least 3 things:
- Movies which feature protagonists who carry and use weapons, to the exclusion of any real world solutions to problems. Our most popular celebrities have made a fortune featuring their use of violence, yet they turn around and tell us, we shouldn’t use or own guns. Graphic violence on Television and movies attracts an audience, and the entertainment industry thrives on it.
- Violent video games, which we hear from those with a vested interest in them, “doesn’t affect our youth.” Really? We see body parts being damaged, and blood everywhere. This has to desensitize some of our troubled youth. How can this help minds that are already in need of help?
- We lack sufficient healthy resources for youth or for that matter adults, and we lack any really trained first line contacts with the public, who can assess and diffuse a situation that’s going wrong. Again, we answer violence with violence, instead of trying to prevent escalation.
I truly believe the answers to these recurring mass shootings, or for that matter, suicides, lay in further work with mental health. If outer space or the oceans are a mystery, and need further exploration, surely the mind and human mental health deserve at least as much, if not more attention.
The people who want a quick fix, or say, “SOMETHING MUST BE DONE“, but don’t demand mental health issues be addressed, are not going to gain any relief through passage of another set of laws. Those laws have failed us in our public schools, on the streets of Chicago, or for that matter, California. We need to address complex problems with more than simple solutions.
- NOTE Any time you see underscored / underlined words in my post, those are links to the articles from news sources. They will provide additional background to the topic.