Mass Shooters: Nihilism On The Margins

With the latest mass shootings–in El Paso (22 dead) and Dayton (9 dead, not including the gunman)–we are now getting the obligatory calls for gun control, with new focus on “mental health” issues. We’re getting the same old arguments:

  • We have a white supremacist problem. (The El Paso shooter was a White Nationalist).
  • The El Paso shooter was a Trump lover, so it’s Trump’s fault.
  • Access to firearms is too easy.
  • We must have a better way to keep mentally-ill people from obtaining firearms.
  • We need to ban “assault weapons”.
  • We need “Red Flag” laws: laws which allow for the rollback of Second Amendment rights–even allowing firearm confiscation–from people who might be violent, even if they otherwise have no criminal record.

So far, I have yet to hear anyone–not on the news, not in either political party–take notice of a large elephant in the room: Nihilism.

Let’s get a few things straight:

  • While many “mass shooters” indeed have mental problems–the Sandy Hook and Aurora shooters are perfect case studies–mental illness is not what drove them to kill people. People who are depressed, bipolar, and even schizophrenic function without slaughtering people. When you flip that switch to plan and execute a mass assault, it is not mental illness, but rather a character issue.
  • As abhorrent as racism and white supremacism are, such views alone do not move a person to walk into a store and mow people down. Does such a person have an ideological motive? Sometimes. But killing innocent people at a store or a festival or a concert usually requires more than just a lower view of another race of people.
  • Economics has nothing to do with this. Mass shooters tend to be middle-class.

And here’s the thing: look at the largest mass shootings–Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas (MSD), Santa Fe, El Paso, Sutherland Springs, Orlando, San Bernardino, Dayton, Pittsburgh (Tree of Life), Wisconsin (Sikh temple)–and you will find a common thread.

It’s not ideology. Two (San Bernardino, Orlando) were Islamist; two were death worshipers with Nazi leanings (Columbine); four were white supremacists (El Paso, Charleston, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh); one was hard-left/Antifa (Dayton); two were mental cases (Sandy Hook, Aurora); two were alleged bullying victims (Santa Fe, MSD).

Nor is it mental illness, as every mass shooter was not mentally ill.

Here’s the commonality: Every single one of them has/had a Nihilistic outlook on life.

What is Nihilism? To put it simply: it’s a line of thought that rejects the premise that life, or anything about life, has meaning. In the mind of a Nihilist, there is no objective morality.

While there are philosophers–most notably Nietzsche–who develop this framework, one does not have to study philosophy to be a nihilist; one only has to reach the conclusion in one’s own mind that life has no meaning and that there is no objective morality.

Can one suffer mental illness and reach that conclusion? Yes. But depression is not a new phenomenon; some of the best people in the Bible suffered from depresssion. No, Nihilism seems to be an epidemic among younger folks.

A friend of mine, a longtime therapist who has counseled mental health patients and trauma survivors for years and who is opposite of me on gun control, puts it this way: “Mentally-ill people barely overcome themselves; to say mass shootings are a mental illness issue ignores the real problem.” He and I don’t agree on the problem–he says it’s the guns–but we agree that it isn’t a mental health issue.

Can one suffer other traumas and flip the Nihilism switch? Yes. But trauma alone doesn’t explain the growth of Nihilism among the general population. Otherwise, our country would have been a big free-fire zone at the end of the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

No, what we are seeing today is a completely different animal.

Even worse, I don’t think there are easy, pat answers to this. I realize that many Christians will point out: “we’ve taken God out of classrooms”, “we’ve rejected God as a society”–and they’ll point to abortion, gay marriage, the whole LGBTQIAWTH brouhaha as examples. And while that may be part of the answer, I don’t think this completely explains the problem.

I would submit that it comes from a number of factors:

  1. Societal trends have taken a large number of people away from meaningful relationships, including with the opposite sex. This includes social media, porn, community structures, and even the degradation of the nuclear family to name a few. As a result, an increasing number of men are growing up to be “incels”: men who are smitten with profound hatred and anger toward women, as they lack even the most basic social skills necessary to have even platonic relationships–let alone any romantic relationships–with women.
  2. The Church is losing her standing in society due to a mountain of scandals and other “own goals”.
  3. As the Church has lost ground in society, other elements have risen to fill the moral void.

Over the last 20 years, America has seen the growth in the “nones”: those identifying as atheists, agnostics, or otherwise having no religious affiliation. As the Church has declined, those identifying with the Head of that Church have declined as well.

No, I’m not suggesting that all mass shooters are atheists–although many of them are.

I am suggesting that in a society in which Atheism and agnosticism are more popular, some of the tangential ideas that come with those outlooks–among them the premise that life, and elements of life, have no meaning–also become increasingly popular.

And no, I am not suggesting that all Nihilists are going to become mass shooters; most, in fact, do not.

I am suggesting, however, that if I have a Nihilistic outlook, then it’s a lot easier for me to rationalize going there. And on the margins, that is exactly what is happening.

How do we fix this problem? There are no pat answers.

I can tell you that it’s not simply about “getting God back into schools”. God isn’t worshiped in most Christian homes. Posting the Ten Commandments on a school wall isn’t going to solve this issue.

How many Christian families read the Bible at home? How many pray with their kids? How many parents teach Biblical principles without making it the death of a thousand dogmas? How many live out their faith with minimal hypocrisy?

I can also tell you that it’s not just a matter of getting more conservative theology in the churches. The evangelical world is largely conservative in her theological outlook. The availability of solid Biblical study information for every American–including Bibles of every translation imaginable, Greek and Hebrew study guides, theological commentary, apologetics resources, Church history, all for free via the Internet–is unprecedented in history.

None of those things can account for a Church stained–in Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical sectors alike–with terrible scandals that span all levels of Church life from the local church body to the highest offices. In a world desperate for a meaning to life, the Church could not be weakened at a worse time.

While the SBC and other conservative sectors have declared Complementarianism as the hill to die on–even as their denomination drowns in sex abuse/coverup scandals–they miss out on a chance to provide a real answer to much larger problems in this world. Youth ministers are often shallow in their Christian walk, lacking the depth to provide substantive answers to teens who search for answers. Single adults are largely ignored by the Church, offering no hope to the incel who will never see the love in the Body of Christ, therefore never appreciating the meaning of that Ironman triathlon known as life.

The liberal denominations are busy offering the world a watered-down version of itself, conservatives are offering a robust theology soiled with abuses by wolves, who in turn get their cover from the masses.

Meanwhile, a significant subset of younger adults are deciding that life has no meaning, joining the ranks of the Nihilists. And while 99% of them are otherwise harmless, that one percent is flipping the mother of all switches.

At this trajectory, we are well on our way toward the breakup of our nation.

Las Vegas Massacre: My $0.02

Irrespective of whether the Las Vegas gunman achieved fully-automatic fire via (a) a true fully-automatic weapon, (b) an illegally-converted semi-automatic, or (b) a “bump-fire” stock, the fact remains: this is only the third time in the last 83 years, the last being the North Hollywood shootout of 1997, that a fully-automatic weapon–converted, modified, or otherwise–has been used in a violent crime.

In the coming weeks, we will learn the ugly, sordid truth of this gunman. Initially, he appears to be a wealthy man with no criminal record or social media presence, otherwise irreligious and apolitical, who flipped the mother of all switches and meticulously planned and executed the worst mass shooting in American history since Wounded Knee.

If he had a religious or political motive for his attack, we will eventually find it. Many on the Left are praying to Molech that he was an honors graduate of Bob Jones University with a Life Membership in the NRA, whereas many on the Right are hoping he had found death-worshiping religion in Mosul.

At this point, for all we know, he was Atheist, agnostic, or simply had not given much thought to the matter while making his millions.

Initial reports say he was prescribed Valium for anti-anxiety, but other than that his mental health record appears clear. Other reports say he may have had some social issues–often unkempt, frequently berated his girlfriend in public–but was otherwise functional enough to be a successful businessman who made a lot of money and was at least able to have relationships with the opposite sex.

(That would rule out the possibility of him being an angry omega male who, out of despondency over unrequited love, jumped off the proverbial cliff.)

The emerging reports, and the crime-scene photos, indicate that the gunman, in order to achieve fully-automatic fire, used “bump-fire” stocks, rifle stocks which use the recoil to facilitate the manual use of the trigger, thereby achieving quasi-full-automatic functionality with semi-automatic action.

A bump-fire stock, while providing near-full-auto fire, does so at the cost of accuracy, as it requires a more deliberate use of the hand muscles to maintain fire. At the same time, because he was shooting into a crowd at a concert, he was effectively shooting fish in a barrel.

As I write this, the death toll is 58 (the official toll is 59, but I’m not counting the gunman, nor should you), with over 500 wounded. If the reports are correct, then everyone who made it to the hospital alive is still alive as of this writing.

As expected, the Leftards jumped on the wagon for gun control. Hillary Clinton broke from her Blame Everyone But Myself book tour to tweet for more gun control; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation targeting “bump-fire” stocks.

The NRA, to their credit, has been relatively cool in their response, as well they should be.

Here’s my take…

First off, a couple of disclosures:

(1) I oppose the Hughes Amendment of the Volkmer-McClure Act of 1986 (also known as the Firearm Owners Protection Act). If I were President, I would strike down the Hughes Amendment.

(The Hughes Amendment bans the manufacture of fully-automatic weapons for civilian purchase. Those manufactured before 1986 were grandfathered in, so that way existing machine gun owners would not be turned into instant criminals. The upshot: machine guns made before 1986 are still legal for purchase, anything after that is only legal for military and law enforcement and drug cartels of the government’s choosing…)

(2) I oppose the inclusion of suppressors (also known as “silencers”) under the Class 3 umbrella. Those, which are not a tool of criminals except in the movies, are a legitimate accessory for hearing protection and ought to be available for open purchase.

(3) I do support the inclusion of fully-automatic weapons in the world of Class 3 firearms. Those who would purchase them should require some vetting. What we saw in Vegas is exactly why we need that. It would not have prevented the Vegas gunman from obtaining them–he had the clean record and the deep pockets–but it would give more latitude to government to provide more extensive vetting that would keep the mentally-ill, or those discharged from the military for reasons other than Honorable or Medical, from obtaining machine guns. (While a Dishonorable Discharge is disqualifying, other less-than-honorable discharges short of that are not.)

In other words, some folks, on the margins, who would otherwise qualify to purchase semi-autos, may be worthy of exclusion from purchasing full-auto, as full-auto ought to have a higher bar.

But what about bump-fire stocks?

While technically legal for general purchase, bump-stocks effectively convert a semi-automatic firearm into a full-auto. This would seem to, at the very least, make them worthy of inclusion under the Class 3 umbrella.

Currently, the Leftards would like to ban bump-stocks altogether. Some Republicans are also entertaining the idea.

Here’s what I would support:

(1) Repeal the Hughes Amendment, making all full-autos available for purchase via the Class 3 process. This would drive down the price of full-autos and expand the ability of law-abiding citizens to own them.

(2) Remove all suppressors from Class 3 status, making them universally-available for purchase as an accessory.

(3) Classify bump-fire stocks as Class 3 firearms, requiring the regular Class 3 background check for purchase, but with the $5 tax instead of the $200 tax.

The only problem with (3) is how to enforce it against those already out there? You’d have to have some sort of grandfather clause. The problem is they aren’t stamped, and anyone with a 3-D printer and the CNC know-how can manufacture one.

You could include a window of time for the grandfather clause–during which you can get it stamped, having the larger background check waived and even receive a $200 rebate from the government–but after that, anyone caught with an unstamped bump-fire stock would have it confiscated (but would not be prosecuted).

And once the window closes, all legal transfers of bump-fires would have to occur via the Class 3 process, with violations of that resulting in confiscation but not prosecution. Any use of them in the commission of a violent crime, however, would result in a mandatory minimum of life imprisonment.

That would ensure that (a) those who want real-deal full-autos can get them at reasonable prices, while still requiring vetting, (b) those who want suppressors can get them easily, and (c) those who want bump-fires can still get them–at reasonable prices–but would require a class 3 vetting that includes a nominal tax, with penalties minimal for those not committing violent crimes.

Professor Hale Weighs in on Zimmerman Trial

He seems to have screwed up the same things I did.

1. I was certain that an all female jury would find Zimmerman guilty. I even mistook their 16+ hour deliberation as a sign that they were doing their best to find Zimmerman guilty of SOMETHING. But I was wrong and I am glad I was. An innocent man won’t go to jail (except for the time he already served that he will never get back or be compensated for).

I, too, was totally convinced that the all-woman jury would find him guilty. They were mostly middle-aged, many “baby boom” age. Other than an all-black jury, that was the second-most-likely combination to lay down a conviction. Most had children of their own. When Martin’s parents said the voice on the call was his, I figured they would go with that.

Their 16 hours of deliberation told me they TRIED VERY HARD to convict him of something. But they went with the law and the instructions, and they got it right.

2. The S did not HTF. Other than very limited instances of black on white violence which are normal events every day, there wasn’t huge rioting. If there was, the compliant news media is keeping a tight lid on it. I certainly didn’t see any acts of corporate violence. But then again, I was out in the Shenandoah valley all day Sunday.

There’s still time. If the DoJ doesn’t come back with an indictment, TS may yet HTF.

3. I thought that once the verdict was in that the malicious prosecution would end too. But the Obama administration has already announced a civil rights investigation. That law needs to be repealed. It is obviously only used to overturn local jury verdicts. There is no sense of the term “double jeopardy” that does not apply here. Notice that this law is never used to lock up a person of color who commits grievous violent crimes.

I absolutely figured that DoJ would go after Zimmerman in the event of an acquittal. But this time around, that is going to be difficult. This is not the Rodney King case. There are no incriminating videotapes. Getting a conviction on “civil rights” charges is no slam dunk. They may not even have enough of a case for an indictment.

4. Also I wish to point out that the verdict did not determine that Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin. It found that he was not guilty. A fine distinction but an important one.

I didn’t know that was one of their options. I was under the impression that their choices were either (a) Guilty of murder 2, (b) Guilty of manslaughter, or (c) not guilty.

There could yet be a civil suit, but–thanks to Florida law–there are marginal disincentives for pursuing this. Trayvon Martin’s track record–including his propensity to start fights–would be fair game. Also, Martin’s team would be on the hook for Zimmerman’s legal expenses if they lose.

But still, a federal civil rights trial is very probable.

5. What if…. When Martin pinned Zimmerman to the ground and bounced his head off the concrete, if Zimmerman had died of his trauma on the spot. Would Martin have ever come to trial for murder? Of course not. He would have fled the scene instantly before police arrived and no one would identify him. Just another unsolved murder in a state that has thousands of them. If the state failed to prove his guilt in a jury trial, would the Federal government get involved? Would the president make any statements at all about injustice? Of course not. Nor do we need to speculate on this. In the past year there were thousands of murders in this country where the presumed guilty guy got away with it. Our president has said nothing about any of them. Nor has he directed the DOJ to crack down on it.

I absolutely agree, and this is a freaking outrage.

Zimmerman Acquitted

I am glad I was wrong on this one: I predicted that George Zimmerman would be convicted, even though his acquittal should have been a no-brainer.

In spite of the overwhelming pile of evidence i his favor, the deck was stacked against Zimmerman:

(1) the Governor–Richard Scott–caved to pressure from the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice to ignore a detailed police report, that exonerated Zimmerman, and appoint a special prosecutor;

(2) the “random” jury was six middle-aged women, a demographic group that–short of an all-black jury–was most likely to convict him;

(3) the judge excluded evidence that was indicative of Trayvon Martin’s propensity to get into fights, which would have bolstered the premise that he, not Zimmerman, was the aggressor;

(4) Right before the judge handed the trial to the jury, she allowed prosecutors to add a reduced charge of manslaughter as a possibility.

But the judge did one thing right. In her instructions, she explicitly said, “George Zimmerman cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide

This is important because, at the end, the prosecution was stuck with arguing that Zimmerman was guilty merely because he got out of his car to follow Martin. While I would contend that Zimmerman was well-within his rights to do that, as there is no law against watching someone who might be suspicious, even if you think he was wrong, that particular act does not establish intent to do harm.

When I saw that instruction–about an hour before I read the verdict–I was convinced that Zimmerman would walk. The jury was going to do their best to get it right, because (a) there was much hanging on the outcome, and (b) they wanted to do be remembered for doing a good job in the midst of a difficult case. They were trying to convict, and their only hope was manslaughter.

But if the only wrong thing they could prove that Zimmerman did was get out of his car, even manslaughter was not going to stick. When the jurors finally talk, you will find that that instruction forced the acquittal.

As for those who INSIST on Zimmerman’s guilt, I will call your attention to this: if six middle-aged women, most of them having children of their own, unanimously said “not guilty”, then almost any other jury combination short of an all-black jury (which would have been unconstitutional, as Zimmerman was entitled to a trial in front of a jury of his peers) would also have acquitted him.

He was innocent, and this was a slam-dunk.

But now what?

At this point, Zimmerman is still a marked man. He will need to keep a very low profile. I suggest living off the grid.

At this point, Zimmerman still faces the prospect of a federal civil rights trial. While his chances of acquittal are very good, his legal costs are going to mount.

When one reads the Old Testament, one realizes that it is cases like these for which God specified Cities of Refuge. In Old Testament Israel, a man like Zimmerman–who killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense–would be able to flee to such a city and live in safety. He would be forced to remain there until the High Priest in his home city died.

While he would have to suffer the penalty of being uprooted from his home, much of his family, and perhaps even his livelihood, his life would not be in danger. He would not face a lynch mob. He would not be in danger of being stoned to death. He would not face any prison time. He would not be sued.

That allows justice: on one hand, he gets to live; on the other hand, justifiable homicide is still homicide and there’s still a price to pay.

Ultimately, that’s the sobering truth: justifiable homicide is still homicide. It sucks all the way around.

Still, Zimmerman received the right verdict. Hopefully, his journeys through civil and federal court will have similar outcomes.

Why Zimmerman Case Should be No-Brainer

The tragedy here–other than the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin–is that George Zimmerman is even on trial for the death.

I have no joy over the demise of the 17-year-old Martin. I do not celebrate the pain of his parents or family.

It is easy to see where one would want someone to pay for this, as everyone wants answers anytime a teen dies the way martin did.

At the same time, the evidence is what it is, and–like it or not–Zimmerman, who is rightly under scrutiny, is entitled to Constitutional protections over which we fought a war to guarantee to the accused.

The evidence favors George Zimmerman. It’s not even close.

The Constitution requires that the prosecution prove that Zimmerman is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The “reasonable doubt” is so long, deep, and wide that I could land a Boeing 777 on it, at San Francisco International Airport, on my first try, without a flight instructor, without damaging the plane.

(1) Zimmerman was within his rights to follow Martin, even though the 911 dispatcher said, “We don’t need you doing that.” He was a neighborhood watch captain, and he was merely doing his job: he was following and watching. There is no law against that.

(2) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry a firearm. Aside from the Second Amendment, he had a valid concealed carry permit.

(3) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry his firearm “hot”: fully-loaded, with a round chambered. If he was concerned that he could be put into a situation where he needed to get a shot off–not having time to rack the slide–his approach was reasonable. That his Kel-Tec 9mm was a double-action pistol provided a modicum of safety.

(4) While it is understandable that Martin could have felt threatened by someone following him, that still would not be cause to escalate a confrontation. If Martin ran, then the evidence does not support Zimmerman–an obese tub of lard–pursuing him.

And that is what it comes down to: WHO escalated the confrontation from verbal to physical?

If Zimmerman did that–and evidence supports it–then he is guilty. Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

If Martin did that, then he is liable: it means he made a very tragic mistake–picking a fight with a grown adult.

But what does the evidence say about the confrontation?

(1) We cannot establish–from witnesses or video–who started the fight.

The eyewitness accounts–and hard evidence–points to Trayvon Martin being on top when Zimmerman shot him.

The wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head are consistent with him getting his head bashed into the concrete one or more times.

The wounds on his face indicate that he was punched. There is no evidence that Zimmerman even landed a blow on Martin.

The forensic evidence–from clothing to bullet path–is consistent with Martin having the upper hand at the time the shot was fired.

While none of those things establish who started the fight, they do back up Zimmerman’s account and not the prosecution’s theory.

In the absence of other evidence, this is clearly ADVANTAGE: ZIMMERMAN.

(2) In the absence of other evidence, the prosecution had to be able to make the case that it would have been in Zimmerman’s character to start a fight. They failed.

Zimmerman is about 5-foot-7, overweight, and not athletic whereas Martin was almost 6 feet tall and very athletic.

If Zimmerman started the fight, then that means he initiated a physical confrontation with a man who was almost a half-foot taller than himself, and who had a serious physical advantage.

Is that possible? Yes.
Is that rational? No.

In other words, in order to show–beyond reasonable doubt–that Zimmerman started the fight, they needed to show that (a) Zimmerman was prone to get into fights, and (b) that Zimmerman had a track record of being less than rational.

And yet, the portrait from the prosecution of Zimmerman was that of an otherwise intelligent, rational person who otherwise had no track record of getting into fights. They failed to produce one drop of evidence that showed irrationality. (This hurts their attempts at manslaughter as well as murder 2.)

That this case is even in court is the mother of all travesties.

Who needs to be on trial here: The judge and prosecution. They are in the same league as Mike Nifong.

Prediction: Zimmerman Gets Convicted

If this was just about the evidence, it should be a no brainer: George Zimmerman should walk. This case should not even be in court. The prosecution has no case, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Zimmerman, and the reasonable doubt in his favor is so wide I could land a Boeing 777 on it–at San Francisco International–without a flight instructor, and without crashing.

If the judge had any semblance of respect for the law, she would have already either (a) dismissed the case with prejudice, or (b) ordered a directed verdict of not guilty. There is no case, and–on the basis of evidence–this isn’t even close.

But George Zimmerman is going to go down. He will get convicted.

Why do I say this?

The verdict will not be a rational one. The prosecution–for all their incompetence and stupidity–played one card right: Trayvon Martin’s mom got on the stand and said that the screams were her son.

In front of a jury of all women, that sealed it. None of the facts matter.

Now That We Nabbed the Boston Bombers…

On Friday night, the FBI called a press conference–with the Boston PD and told us:

(a) The Boston Marathon bombers are both accounted for;

(2) they are brothers, raised in Idaho;

(3) they were Tea Party activists, the older brother being a teacher at First Baptist Church;

(4) they were planning additional attacks on abortion clinics, and a large finale at a federal building, in order to make a statement on Tax Day.

Oh, wait, that narrative didn’t pan out, much to the chagrin of the left.

In actuality, it was more like this:

(a) they were brothers, born in Chechens born in Dagestan;

(b) the older brother–a Gold Gloves boxing champ in Massachusetts–was a recent convert to a radicalized Islam;

(c) the FBI–told by Russia that the older brother had been in bed with radical Islamists–investigated the lead and found nothing (or so they claim);

(d) the younger brother became a Naturalized Citizen last year, on September 11 of all dates.

When I saw the pictures last Thursday, I immediately had them pegged as Middle Eastern or Southern European. I had the latter part correct, and this angle makes it tougher for us: a lot of those Dagestanis, Khazaks, and Chechens can be just as radical as the Jihadist from Mecca, only they don’t “look the part”. Being Europeans, they can blend in with other Eastern and Southern Europeans: Greeks, Turks, Russians; Hungarians; Bulgarians.

At this point, I’m not of the opinion that these guys were part of some larger anti-American conspiracy. The more I read of it, the more I’m convinced that (a) the older brother–Tamerlan–went ballistic over having his Olympic aspirations dashed, and (b) Tamerlan influenced his younger brother to join him in his envy-fueled rage.

Their attack was not particularly well thought-out;. While the bombs were placed strategically, they apparently gave little thought to their exit strategy. Had they the brains, they would have been on a plane for Russia within two hours after the blasts. They would have been in the remote portions of Dagestan or Chechnya by the time the FBI released the photos. They’d be long gone, and–by the time the feds figured out who they were–they’d be way behind the curve.

Now what about the conspiracy theories?

(1) While the FBI may have dropped the ball, I would not be too hard on them here. It is likely that the Russian government provided enough information to let us know that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a problem, but not enough information to amount to actionable intelligence.

(2) A reputable source–University of Mobile coach Ali Stevenson–indicated that he was told it was just a drill. This, of course, has added fuel to the conspiracy fire. My take: the folks who told him it was a drill didn’t know what they were talking about; they could have been stunned by the surreal nature of what was transpiring. Coach Stevenson received bad information.

(3) Some photographs indicate that Navy SEALs–current or former–were working security. This means nothing. It is likely that some current or former SEALs were working for xE (formerly Blackwater) or a similar private outfit to provide security for what was a high-profile event. I doubt these guys would intentionally allow a terrorist attack to happen. Special Operators tend to be a very patriotic bunch, and would have a marginal interest in taking out bad guys. It is what they do.

(4) as for the Saudi guy, he could easily have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. While deporting him was probably not the wisest move, that does not make a compelling case that this was an inside job.

Hopefully, we’ll get to the bottom of things. What did the FBI know, and when did they know it? What did they do with what they knew?

And while law enforcement is getting good marks for tracking these guys down, some of us also have taken note of their warrantless searches of homes, their confiscation of property, and their imposing of martial law on an entire locality. Hard questions need to be asked, and appropriate folks need to be held to account. Apologies need to be made, and appropriate properties–including firearms and munitions–returned.

But the group with the most egg on their faces is the American Left: they were convinced that the bombers were white, Christian Tea Party activists, when in fact the bad guys were Islamist thugs from a region of the world known for Islamic thuggery.

That leads me to another question: why the hell are we taking in people from these parts of the world?

Gun Control Meets its Match: Technology

In one of the most valiant efforts at attacking windmills, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is trying to ban the production of ammunition magazines with 3-D printers.

Aside from the Constitutional issues–Rep. Israel’s efforts are an infringement not just on the Second Amendment, but also the First Amendment–this is an exercise in both futility and stupidity.

First of all, 3-D printer technology has the potential to be a great economic game changer. How? It will soon be possible for almost anyone–with sufficient skill–to become his or her own manufacturing company with low capital investment. This will spawn innovation on so many fronts, and drive real economic growth by literally creating home-grown manufacturing in ways no one would ever have thought possible.

Secondly, the 3-D printer will become for firearms what the World Wide Web was/is for pornography.

For those who are old enough to remember, there was a time that both sides of the pornography debate were in a stalemate over the “community standard”. As a result, more liberal communities allowed lots of “adult bookstores” whereas others used zoning laws to keep such establishments in check. When people wanted to purchase porn, they had to buy it in public unless they could afford to pay through the nose for cable television.

But the World Wide Web fundamentally changed the game: pornography became easily-accessible to the masses. Today, a large amount of it is available for free. In fact, the pornography industry–for many years–literally drove the development of technology for the Web. Early advancements in e-commerce, for example, were driven by the demand for porn on the Web.

(NOTE: I am not defending porn here; just stating the reality for what it is.)

3-D technology is that same type of game changer for manufacturing of all types, including firearms. While the technology is itself very pricey and still in its infancy, it will go the way of computer technology: precision and potential will increase dramatically and prices will also fall.

This will spawn a whole new wave of innovation in a variety of products, including firearms. The production of all-polymer weapons, customized ammunition, and accessories of all types, will be possible for anyone with the imagination.

And it will be almost impossible for the gun controllers to contain.

That is because if you cannot control the printing press, then you cannot control what one produces with that press, no matter how hard you try.

And given that the government will soon run out of money, their capacity to regulate anything will greatly diminish, as the capacity of the masses to innovate and produce will expand.

It will be checkmate.

The Speech Wayne LaPierre Should Have Given

My fellow Americans,

First, let me take this time to express profound sorrow and empathy for the families of the children, teachers, and school staff who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is an absolute catastrophe that any child–let alone twenty–would be forced to leave this world through such a violent, cowardly, unconscionable act.

In the midst of this tragic event, let us also take some time to recognize those involved who represent the best of America. Several teachers and staff–who literally threw themselves into the line of fire–performed acts of extraordinary bravery and heroism. In the military, they award the Medal of Honor for such acts of valor. We must recognize such actions, which are above and beyond the call of duty.

It is from this standpoint that I raise a most important issue: I would rather be here celebrating lives saved, rather than mourning lives lost. And I would venture to say that most Americans feel the same way.

While the teachers and administrators were heroic in every sense of the word, I would rather be here to recognize them–living and unharmed–for having stopped the Sandy Hook shooter before he had a chance to enter the school.

Sadly, that was not possible in this case, because Sandy Hook Elementary School–like so many schools throughout America–is a so-called “gun-free zone”. As a result, no one at the school was equipped to protect others from a determined, active shooter.

It is my hope that, as a country, we would rethink this issue, as–irrespective of your views regarding gun control–not even the most Draconian legislation that is being bandied about would have stopped this shooter. He had no criminal record, not even a misdemeanor; he had not been adjudicated as mentally defective. While much has been said of his use of a semiautomatic rifle, the fact is that he could have done the same damage–with fewer pulls of the trigger–with a standard pump-action shotgun that is used by hunters and target shooters all over the country.

Yes, we must do a better job equipping ourselves to deal with such shooters.

At the same time, it is also imperative that we embrace the very principles that make the United States a unique country. Not the least of these principles is the fact that we are founded on personal responsibility.

While we at the NRA oppose governmental gun control, we also take personal responsibility very seriously.

If you own firearms of any type, safety is your responsibility.

Sadly, the Sandy Hook shooting was a tragic failure of personal responsbility. While I do not wish to pile onto the mother of the shooter–after all, she is among the dead–the fact is that she did not lock her weapons even though she knew she had an adult in her home who had social and mental issues.

If you choose to own firearms, you owe it to yourself and your community to take care of them responsibly. That means keeping them locked if you have children in the home. That also means either locking them away–or not having them at all–if you have mentally-defective or irresponsible people living in your home.

As we uncover the details that led to the shooting, there will undoubtedly be liability issues. Some of those may be ultimately decided by judges and juries.

Still, it should not have come to this. As a country, we must take such tragedies as this and apply the hard lessons here. Safety is your personal responsibility.

While policy wonks and representatives from various organizations will take this opportunity to call for more laws, I would encourage Americans to look at this soberly and consider: is more government the answer here?

Toward that end, I would answer with an emphatic no.

Cutting through the raw emotions and the hysteria created by 24-hour news outlets, it is established fact that, in spite of expanded gun rights in almost every state in the union, gun-related homicides are down–over 30%–over the last 32 years.

This is in spite of a diverse country, with more firearms per capita than most countries in the free world.

It would do us well to provide a more sober examination of the firearm-related homicides, and I would call on Congress to have full public hearings on this issue, and allow for the truth to be told.

I also call on states and local governments to revisit this “gun-free zone” paradigm, and consider ways–that require no federal intervention–to provide more robust security for schools, theaters, malls, and other public venues.

It has been proven that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a firearm is a good guy who has a firearm. Our Second Amendment was written in order to ensure that good guys could arm themselves.

Had the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary had such options, we would be here celebrating their heroism, not mourning their loss.

It is my hope that such heroes–who live among us–would have the ability to save even more lives.

As Americans, we owe them that.