Guns started off as a necessity for food acquisition (hunting) and protection (from both human and animal predators).
The American Constitution grants the right to bear arms as protection against GOVERNMENT tyranny.
Case in point: Nazi Germany confiscated the guns of Jews and other politically incorrect citizens before enacting total tyranny.
(It is notably more difficult to oppress armed citizens than unarmed citizens. Not impossible, but more difficult.)
The US Constitution also provides this right for self-defense and defense against invasion.
Furthermore, widespread gun ownership doesn’t necessarily mean more mass shootings and the like.
Case in point: Switzerland (1 out of every 4 citizens owns a gun, yet Switzerland has a very low crime rate and hardly any mass shootings.)
What Did Quiet Yet Frustrated Male Misfits Do Before Mass Shootings became Popular?
No one thought anything of it and no mass shootings occurred.
When I was in high school in the 80s-90s, I knew of 2 boys who kept handguns in their lockers.
One was a gangsta-wannabee who had membership in a Crip-wannabee gang. He was a bit too cheerful to be a true thug and no one was scared of him. He kept a gun in his locker for the “coolness” factor and it was an open secret among the students.
The other boy fit more the profile of the mass shooters of today.
This boy didn’t really fit in anywhere. He was black but dressed like a hipster, which only 2 or 3 somewhat odd white people did in my school. (So he didn’t fit in with black or white students, although he hung out with white people more because they were less likely to comment on his weird style.)
At the same time, he was a great admirer of Malcolm X, which put off white students. The black students tended to be from a more Christian background and were more Martin Luther King types, so his Malcolm X fandom wasn't so popular with them either.
He self-defined as Christian, which should have given him a large group of like-minded peers in this predominately Christian student body, but he interpreted the Bible as hinting that women were innately evil. So that put him out of the mainstream church-goers.
Finally, the couple of girls who dated him complained that he kissed like a chicken. Not good.
While I never saw him bullied, people occasionally smirked at him or sniggered behind his back. Maybe he also faced comments to his face; I can't recall exactly.
On the other hand, it is hard for your average American high schooler to NOT snigger about someone who wears an attention-getting & odd style of clothes, adores Malcolm X, takes himself way too seriously, believes that the Bible proves that women are the root of all evil, and kisses like a chicken.
Admit it: It IS kind of funny.
So that guy sort of shares the same traits a lot of the mass shooters have had:
- …yet seething inside
- Attracted to extremist & narrow-minded ideologies
- Mixed feelings about females (i.e. thinks they’re the root of all evil, yet has a big taavah for them at the same time)
- Frustratingly unsuccessful with girls
Yet he never shot anyone and I was never nervous that he might.
Oh, and did I mention these were illegally acquired guns?
Did I mention that in addition being acquired illegally, they were also being stored and carried illegally?
Had I wished to acquire an illegal gun myself, I could’ve asked either classmate to show me the way. The cheerful gangsta-wannabee in particular would have been perfectly happy to set me up with his dealer, especially if he could get a cut.
The main problem is that American society has been making a series of major mistakes over the past couple of generations.
Follow Chazal to Stop the Media Contribution to Mass Shootings
The correlation between hyper-publicity of mass murders and an increase in mass shootings has been clearly shown.
(You can see an article on this HERE. Yes, there are more recent studies, but I like this one because it's so well-written with such good points, plus it quotes a 1801 article from an official who served in America's House of Representatives, who noted the problem of sensationalist media coverage of disturbing acts. Too bad no one listened to him all the way back then...)
For sickos, this kind of publicity is experienced as glorification. It makes mass murder seem MORE attractive.
Especially regarding their manifestos, the world seeks out and examines their every word. These sociopaths love that.
Looking back on my oddball gun-owning classmate, it could be that he would have carried out a shooting had the media (including social media and alternative media, which didn't exist back then) done then what it does now. I could see that having an persuasive influence on him.
Interestingly, Judaism forbids looking at the face (including photos) of evil people. Knowledgeable Jews also avoid saying the names of reshaim or plug in the traditional yemach shemo (may his name be erased) after saying the rasha's name.
But shamefully, even charedi media insists on posting full-face photos of psycho reshaim—despite the protests of its readers. I have no idea from where charedi media digs up their heterim, but once again, we see that adhering to halacha is not only the moral high road, but actually prevents bloodshed.
Way to go, Chazal!
Do People Realize that Homicidal Ideation is an Admittedly Uncommon Side Effect Hinted at in the Official Side Effects of PROZAC ("aggression" "hostility" "antisocial reaction"), VALIUM ("aggression" "paranoid psychosis" "rage"), ATIVAN ("aggression" "hostility" "rage" "psychosis" "abnormal thinking"), and Other Legal Prescription Medications? For Some Medications (ZOLOFT & PROZAC), the Uncommon Tendency toward Suicidal Ideation is Stated Outright
Most of the mass shooters had been taking legal doctor-prescribed medication (see HERE), which American society now considers The Responsible Way of dealing with undesirable emotional states.
While homicidal and suicidal ideation are NOT common side effects of psychotropic medications, it's impossible to dismiss these side effects when we see the results of the minority who do act out in deadly ways.
(And actually...aggression, confusion, delirium, irritability, panic, and paranoid psychosis are officially COMMON side effects of Valium, affecting 1-10% of users.)
But ultimately, there is no psychotropic drug for narcissism or immorality or self-pity, which are at the core of these murders.
Immorality: Why You Can Have High Rates of Crime & Murder without Guns
In Russia, the rate of guns is 8.9 per 100 people.
In the USA, it’s 120 per 100 people. (30% of Americans own at least one gun; many gun owners own more than one gun, which is how you can have 120 guns per 100 people.)
Yet as of 2017, Russia’s rate of intentional homicide was twice that of the United States.
How can that be?
Obviously, it comes down to an issue of morality & value system. Guns are not the only means of homicide.
But England has Great Gun Control & Very Little Gun Violence! Let's Be Like England! (Do You Really Want To?)
Many Americans wish America would follow England's example: unarmed police & unarmed citizens.
After all, when do you ever hear of a mass shooting in England? You don't!
England has very strict & well-regulated gun laws. Even your average British police officer doesn't carry a gun.
There are also only 4.6 guns per 100 Brits.
Does that mean England has less crime? Less murder? Is England safer than America?
Interestingly, surveys from 2019 revealed that knife crime is on the rise in England—up by 80% since 2011.
So there is less likelihood of getting shot in England, but a rising likelihood of getting stabbed, chas v'shalom.
(And there has actually been an 11% increase in gun crime—but I thought guns were illegal in the UK! How can it be? How dare violent criminals break the law!)
British hospitals have shown an 8% increase in admissions for knife wounds, with doctors reporting that the knife injuries are now more severe and involve younger people and more females than before.
If you look HERE, you’ll see that despite the UK’s ban on guns (including for police officers)...:
- the UK has 3 times as much crime as the USA.
- the UK has twice as many rape victims.
- the UK suffers 18% more murders than the USA.
- the UK has twice as many assault victims.
- the UK has 22% more property crime victims.
- the UK has twice as many robbery victims.
- the UK experiences 35% more car thefts.
- Brits are a smidgen more fearful of being attacked than are Americans.
Now, when you’re talking about the number of victims, the higher percentages could indicate a higher likelihood to report a crime or it could indicate a society with a higher police presence (that catches and reports crime).
In other words, a higher number of victims doesn't necessarily mean a higher level of crime. If a society generally doesn't report crime or they lack police officers, then they could have a reported lower number of victims, but more victims in actuality.
Yet this doesn't seem to be the case for England.
In fact, British people are more likely to report crime than Americans.
On the other hand, England has 208 police officers for every 100,000 people while the USA has 217 police officers for every 100,000 people. (Respectively, that’s 1 police officer per 480 people and 1 police officer per 460 people.)
So England has more victims reporting crime, but somewhat less police around to catch crime and report it. Is that enough to explain the discrepancy in the crime statistics? I’m not sure.
- UK society also suffers more software piracy, drug offences (327 times more than the US), fraud, and embezzlement than American society.
- British criminals also receive longer prison sentences than American criminals, which should be more of a deterrent, but apparently is not.
Finally, the disclaimer here is that the British collect crime statistics differently than the Americans, making it look like British crime is MUCH higher than American crime, but some guesstimates say that, taking into account the discrepancies in collection, British crime is still almost twice as much as American crime, despite the source above that claims it to be 3 times as much.
The truth is, that when you break it down by specific crimes (as done above) instead of looking at overall crime stats, England still comes out with more crime.
It's not even clear whether the USA really suffers more murder than the UK because England does not count uncharged homicide while the USA does count uncharged homicide. So England's official homocide stats are lower than its actual homicide stats.
Even if it's only a little more or exactly the same as American crime, it's still clear that gun bans do not automatically lower overall violent crime.
Overall, according to these statistics, you are more likely to be a victim of crime (especially knife crime) in England than in America.
(Don't forget that in the USA, guns scare off intruders 498,000 times a year and 40% of felons avoided harming a potential victim when they thought that potential victim was carrying a gun. So yeah, fewer victims. For more nifty stats on guns in the USA, please see HERE.)
But yes, it's true that in England, you are most unlikely to be a victim of GUN crime.
A victim of a knife, machete, or bludgeon? Yes. A victim of a gun? No.
And that's a fact.
What's the Real Problem?
And that is something that a rational person cannot deny is the very serious problem with gun availability in America.
(Also, Rav Avigdor Miller felt that a gun, or any kind of weapon, sometimes makes a person overconfident and LESS likely to avoid a confrontation & MORE likely to come to harm. He doesn't seem to be wholly against gun ownership or carrying, but he does seem to advise caution & extra thought before making that decision. See HERE & HERE.)
Anyway, Americans can yammer back and forth about gun laws and Constitutional rights, but the big problem is that society has changed.
The mainstream value system has changed.
And you can take away the legal guns, but you can’t take away the violence and the narcissism and the self-pity.
(Although media outlets and social media could at least STOP publishing names and photos of mass-murdering psychos and doctors could take a lot more care when dispensing psychotropic medication…)