23. Is “Gun Violence” a Loaded Term?

June 17, 2016

Why do They Avoid All the Issues Other than Guns?

I sit at my keyboard today not to convince those who support the Bloomberg/Clinton/Obama-liberal advocacy of gun control, but to clarify my own objection to what I consider to be an intentional diversion from the true nature of religious, racial, ideological and drug-related gang violence as manifested by the Orlando massacre, the San Bernardino shooting, and the daily reign of death and terror on the streets of Chicago.

To me it has seemed clearer by the month, especially during the past year or so, that there exists, at least in inner city black communities a profound racial animus, and a contempt for white language, culture, values, and laws, as well as for law enforcement and institutions for the administration of criminal justice.

I frequently ask myself why Liberal America, right up to and including the half-black-half-white man who sits in the White House. Is so insistent upon avoiding awareness of the truly causal factors of violence, to the extent that they repeatedly drag out the red herring issue of what they call “gun-violence”, implying in the face of all evidence to the contrary that the cause of rampage killings and gang shootings is the “availability” of guns.  By guns they mean, at various times, handguns, semi-automatic rifles, pistols, or rifles that look like machine-guns even when they do not operate like them; or guns that can be reloaded by the simple insertion of a new magazine.

All of these firearms are available because the Founders wrote into the Constitution that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. Which they thought was so important to our on-going independence, freedom, security and stability that they put in the form of our strongest and most immutable law.

Inner City Violence

I don’t believe that all liberal-progressive, Muslim and black people want America weakened both internally and externally, though that which is expressed by the crowds in the street in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and Chicago, and the language and policies emerging from the White House certainly suggests that conclusion. But I do think that political and community leaders are totally at a loss regarding how to deal with racial and ideological anger, or with the problem of preventing the mentally ill from obtaining weapons without intruding upon the privacy of their health records.   Identified leaders of inner-city communities have shown they have no idea how to broach the subject of the absence of fathers from 66% of the homes in which black children are being raised, or how that and teen motherhood create both poverty, and a moral void for children that is readily filled by the purveyors of the gang and drug culture, eager to place their criminal value system into the minds of new recruits.

The White House and city administrations, education, church and community leaders have largely been silent regarding the often reported observation that in the social structure of urban schools, whereas white kids tend to look up to high-achievers, black students tend to despise black high-achievers, (except in certain sports), in proportion to their achievement. The most obvious indicator of achievement in school being manner of speech, if a black kid speaks standard English, he is disparaged by his own race for his betrayal.  The inability to speak or understand rudimentary standard English, and to do simple arithmetic is obviously a major bar to obtaining most ordinary jobs. Which plays right into the agenda of the real leadership of the inner city, the drug gangs, given that it provides them with entry-level employees who have had no where else to go.

It is these kids who, as long as they can hold a pistol sideways in emulation of their Hollywood anti-heroes, account for 96% of urban murders.

The liberal political leadership of our major cities colludes in the production of this homicide statistic by shedding crocodile tears from time to time and clamoring for “more gun control”, but at the same ranting against such enforcement programs as, “Stop and Frisk”, the very program that had made a major dent in the homicide rate in New York.

What is worse, city leaderships seek more gun control (at the expense of the rights of a hundred and ten million, mostly white, law abiding gun owners), while at the same time they pander to mobs who systematically demonize the police agencies seeking to enforce the overabundance of gun laws (>6,000 of them) already on the books.

Rampage Violence

The following quote is a condensed version of something posted on an internet discussion site regarding the June 2016 shooting rampage in Orlando.

“I am not a father, but I mourn as Fathers’ Day nears, for:

“How does a father control his grief and rage, when a son or daughter will not be coming to share his day, or any future days…?

“How does a father act to protect his children from bigotry and violence?

“How does a father explain why it is so easy for anyone with a hate-filled heart to obtain a weapon of mass destruction?

“Fathers, mothers, children– take a step back, and then a giant leap forward:

“Banish all forms of discrimination, intolerance, indifference, and yes–

“Ban assault rifles.”

Well, I am a father with grown children.  I feel a powerful empathy for the fathers of whom the writer speaks.

I hadn’t followed the news of the tragedy in Orlando very closely, but I had picked up a few scraps of information from the TV being on while I was working around the house.  From the beginning, the case resembles the San Bernardino massacre, in which an assault rifle was used, widely trumpeted to have been, “legally acquired”, a code phrase in the language of the anti-gun movement that implies that existing laws were not plentiful or strong enough to prevent the tragedy.

But the FBI, whom I personally heard initiate the claim of “legally acquired” in that case, was quickly proven to be wrong.  The obtaining of the weapons used in San Bernardino was already entirely illegal under three separate federal and California laws.  First:  they were purchased by a friend for the two shooters, who themselves could not have bought them.  This is called a “straw purchase” and is a federal felony.  Second:  So-called assault rifles are already illegal in California, and one defining characteristic of such a weapon is the push-button release of the magazine.  After purchasing rifles requiring a tool to remove its fixed magazine, they were illegally modified to add a push-button release. Third: Magazines holding more than ten bullets are illegal in California, but the shooters obtained higher capacity magazines illegally, and used them in the crime.

What the San Bernardino case suggests is that what is lacking is NOT a sufficient number of laws, it is the enforcement of existing laws.   The enactment of more laws will surely infringe the Constitutional rights of the law-abiding, who will voluntarily comply.   New laws, no matter how restrictive, will not, if past events teach us anything, significantly hamper Islamic terrorists, who believe that the secular laws of any nation are blasphemous objects of contempt.

What little is known of the Orlando shooter at the time of this writing includes the fact that he was a radical Islamic man who was also a violent spousal abuser.  Mateen was suspected by some of being bipolar, but his history of being a rule-breaker and trouble-maker during his school days also raised the possibility that he was exhibiting a significant degree of sociopathy, especially given his murderous finale. He is the second member in as many years, of a tiny Florida mosque, who has undertaken a terrorist act.  The first had become a suicide bomber in Syria in 2014.  Omar Mateen’s father is an Afghani who is reported to have been an angry and vocal supporter of the Taliban, both before coming to the U.S. and since.   Omar Mateen himself, is thought to have been a regular attendee at the gay nightclub and is believed to have connected there with gay men.  One theory is that he may have suffered from the conflict between his sexual proclivities and his religion, which is homicidally intolerant of homosexuality.

Mateen had been taken into custody twice by the FBI because of his own ideological rants, but was found to have “committed no crime for which he could be charged.”

It appears that in this case we are again the victims of the fairness of our own culture, not of an insufficiency of laws.  As a wife-beater misdemeanant, Omar Mateen would have been prevented by federal and Florida law from purchasing a firearm.  The implication of the snippet of an interview of his ex-wife that I heard was that her family helped her get away from him after he became violent, but whether they notified the police was a question not asked in that interview. Later it was revealed that she may have known a great deal about his intentions and his actions but did not contact authorities.

As for the FBI, when they could find no proof of law breaking, they had to let him go.  Our laws protect those not found guilty in a court of law.  We don’t think it’s fair to take away the rights and freedoms of people not convicted of wrongdoing.  Wrong thinking is not a crime.

Unfortunately, the quoted writer’s recommendation that we “banish” all forms of discrimination and intolerance …and even indifference, is decidedly unAmerican.  We can ban some kinds of discriminatory acts that we define as illegal…e.g. discrimination on racial or religious grounds, in housing or employment.  But we can’t ban beliefs, feelings or speech that is intolerant or discriminatory.  We cannot ban even these behaviors with regard to people’s voluntary associations with one another.

This past year I read the entire Koran, word-for word, specifically looking for any expression or tolerance or peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims.  But I found the Koran unremittingly and violently intolerant of every belief but Islam as Mohammed defined it.  Nonetheless, many would be horrified if it were suggested to banish Muslims from the country.  Some find abhorrent the idea of stopping Muslims or immigrants from certain countries from entering the U.S. even temporarily while better vetting processes are established…(i.e. a processes that would have prevented Mateen’s Taliban-supporting father from coming here.)

In terms of prevention of ideological violence, the major disconnect, it seems to me, has been between it being well known that a person is mentally ill and/or ideologically dangerous, and that concern being communicated to the people who maintain the “no-buy” list for firearms.  Again, fairness and concern for privacy play a major role.  As in the case of the German Wings pilot who crashed a planeload of people into a mountain,  many people knew he was dangerously ill and suicidal, but extreme German privacy laws and privacy concerns prevented that information from flowing to licensing authorities.

If we are to enhance prevention of these horrible crimes without trampling on the Constitutional rights of, say, Muslims, or of one hundred and ten million law-abiding American gun owners, knowledge of relevant mental illness and ideological extremism must be communicated, immediately, consistently and quickly, to the authorities who can do something about it.

On Father’s Day I’ll be thinking not only of my own children, but of the fathers who have not been as lucky as I have been, to have their kids still with them for a lifetime.

Congress and the CDC

 In the wake of the Orlando rampage, the on-line medical news service, Medscape, reported that the American Medical Association (AMA) had resolved to recommend to the U.S. Congress that it lift a ban it had imposed upon the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to study “Gun Violence” as a public health issue. The AMA, true to my experience of it across four decades of medical practice, once again got it wrong. The Congress had never banned the CDC from doing research into violence, nor even violence involving guns. What it had forbidden was that the CDC should use public funds to “advocate or promote” gun control, which it feared the agency was more likely to do after the appointment of Obama’s candidate for Surgeon General, who had already agreed a priori with the President’s pre-judgment that guns caused violence and that banning them was the solution.

As far as the proposed CDC research is concerned, it risks guaranteed contamination by the political agenda of people who, before any study is undertaken, take the position that guns are the cause of violence.  This is foreshadowed by the very attachment of one word to the other in the proposed subject title:  GUN VIOLENCE.

The significance of this might be more easily seen in this example.  As a factor, Black race alone is actually four times more powerful a predictor of violence than is gun ownership alone.  So what if one were to propose that the CDC study BLACK VIOLENCE?   See the bias inherent in the wording of the question?  Do you notice that many avoid mentioning ISLAMIC VIOLENCE?  Oh, dear, not very PC in the current White House.  Our Surgeon General reportedly agrees that Islam is incidental and guns are causal.

People who for whatever reason would like to see the nation rid of guns, simply always draft laws into which that agenda is woven.  Then they characterize those laws as “reasonable restrictions” and those who oppose them as, ‘gun nuts’.  To such people the political end justifies the dishonesty of the means.  It would be distraction from achieving any scientific understanding of the problem of violence if we allow that political faction control over the CDC research process.