A Misogynist Asshole Without a Gun Is Just a Misogynist Asshole

Unfortunately, mass murder is so commonplace that we can develop standard reactions to it. One thing we should learn is that understanding the psyche of a shooter mere hours after the shooting is difficult at best, and often subject to later revision. While Saturday’s horrific shooting at UC Santa Barbara seems to involve a disgusting amount of misogyny, it’s also worth noting that every gun he had was purchased legally–and that the weapon used was a handgun. Moreover, his family called the authorities and the police even investigated (though they seem to have neglected an online ‘background check’)–there was an attempt to intervene. But without a gun, Rogers is just another asshole (and, verily, they do walk among us). With a gun, he’s a murderer.

If we view mass murders like these as public health problems, this is both predictable and predicted:

Given that we are an exceptionally violent society, the obvious solution would be to limit access to guns, especially those guns that whose primary purpose is to kill people.

Yes, the overwhelming percentage of guns are not used to kill people. But if you have enough guns, and enough violent people with access to those guns, massacres are inevitable. To deny otherwise would be like arguing that even if people don’t get their pertussis shots, we won’t have whooping cough outbreaks. We’ve tried that. Hasn’t worked so well.

What will be infuriating during the next week is that there will be no explicit statements by Very Serious People that we have decided that the occasional murder spree is an acceptable component of U.S. life…

We make it far too easy for people filled with rage–which too often is based in misogyny or racism–to acquire instruments of mass murder.

It goes without saying something like this will happen again soon.

Related: David Atkins writes (boldface mine):

But it’s also important not to focus too much on this one man’s motive. The motive is less important than the common denominator between this crime and all the other massacres that have become a dull roar in America: easy access to guns….

The single common denominator in all of these incidents is the gun. It’s that simple. Most of the shooters either obtained the firearms legally (as the Isla Vista shooter did), or had easy access to them by living in a household with someone who had obtained them legally.

Without the gun, these killing sprees would have been far less deadly. Yes, the Isla Vista shooter killed his first three with a knife, but it would not have gone much farther than that had it started at all. Knife sprees are extremely rare and extremely difficult to accomplish. Guns depersonalize killing, embolden deranged killers who might otherwise be on the fence, and make their jobs infinitely easier once they decide to go through with the grim task. They also provide an easy blaze-of-glory suicide mechanism for them, when otherwise they might be looking at the possibility of a far less glamorous lifetime in prison.

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8 Responses to A Misogynist Asshole Without a Gun Is Just a Misogynist Asshole

  1. NewEnglandBob says:

    The title of the article is incorrect, the first three people he killed was with a knife.

    As I said over at WhyEvolution IsTrue, 20% of the problem is the lack of mental health facilities which the US dismantled the 1960s and 70s.

    • Dbp says:

      If you read the article, it says knife sprees are rare and even if he did go on a knife killing spree, he couldn’t have gotten as far and the risk would have been greatly diminished and the chance of capturing someone wielding a knife is much higher than capturing someone with a pistol.

  2. jrkrideau says:

    I just heard of the mass murder in Santa Barbara on the morning news today and I hate to say it but my first reaction was, “Ho hum, another American massacre”. I immediately felt guilty about it but to some extent it has become so common that it’s hardly noticeable.

    We have had a few massacres here in Canada but they tend to be rare and it looks like the usually are not random attacks, that is strangers are not usually targeted except as the occasional collateral damage, http://www.guncontrol.ca/English/Home/Works/Cdn_Massacres.pdf, with some exceptions like the horrible l’École Polytechnique incident.

    Probably one reason is that guns, particularly handguns, are strictly controlled. While I probably know some people who own handguns and don’t mention the fact, other than police and military, I think I only know three people who have handguns and they are all fairly dedicated recreational shooters. Long guns are fairly common but the concept of settling a dispute with guns is almost completely foreign to Canadians.

    As a friend pointed out, it is pretty hard to do a drive-by axe murder. It, also, appears that the USA is just culturally a more violent place.

    My sympathies to the victims’ families.

  3. Pingback: How Not To Talk About Mass Murder. | The Domino Theory by Jeff Winbush

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