Friday, July 27, 2012

Thoughts on Aurora and Holmes

There is one thing we should recognize, although there is a large segment of our population that has closed their minds to it: the only way to stop such a massacre would be for a permit-holder carrying a firearm to have shot him once he started shooting, and Aurora has gun control laws that prevent law-abiding citizens from possessing such a permit and firearm.

May I remind everyone that since states began issuing Concealed-Carry permits the overall gun-crime rate has dropped precipitously, and in every state that has begun to issue such permits, the state rate has dropped as well – with absolutely no increase in gun-crimes by permit holders. These are the facts. Those driven by emotion, and not by reason, want to ignore these facts, but they cannot be ignored.

We are shocked by such incidents, but, again, a little perspective:

From the Huffington Post:

“If there is one saving grace it is to be found in statistics. Fox has collected data on every mass murder in the United States going back to the mid-1970s and, though we certainly see and hear about these incidents more quickly today, the numbers of such incidents have not increased over time. He counted 19 in 1976 and 18 in 2010, with the range going from a low of seven in 1985 to a high of 30 in 2003. The FBI defines a mass murder as one in which four or more people are killed.

In fact, he and others noted, overall homicide rates in the United States have fallen to their lowest levels in decades.”

And from the National Post:

“Mass public killings create a huge psychic impact but are actually a small percentage of all U.S. mass murders and a miniscule portion of all murders in general, an American criminologist says.

Grant Duwe, who works for the Minnesota State Department of Corrections and is the author of Mass Murder in the United States: A History, has looked at 1,202 mass murders between 1900 and 2009. Of those, 12%, or 142 incidents, were massacres in public such as the Denver shooting early Friday morning and at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Columbine in 1999.

But those kind of mass public shootings accounted for less than one-tenth of 1% of all murders in general, he said.

“This is no consolation to those who have lost loved ones, but it’s important we keep these events in perspective.”

The reason society believes these mass public shootings have become more prevalent is in part because of media coverage, Mr. Duwe said.”
There is a long article by a psychiatrist named Mark Ragins that is well worth reading by those who believe that mental health professionals can spot people like James Holmes and are actually responsible for not preventing the Aurora massacre. Here are two excerpts:

“Murders - especially random mass murders -- are frightening. And when we're frightened, we look for explanations that will restore some sense of safety to the world. That's one reason so many people are speculating about whether James Holmes, the suspect in Friday's horrific Colorado shootings, is mentally ill.

In some ways it would be reassuring to find out that he is. Then we could begin figuring out new ways to keep ourselves safe. Some people would argue for better outreach to the mentally ill, for providing more and better mental health services or strengthening involuntary commitment laws. We would have something to blame and something to do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again…..

I'm a psychiatrist who has spent my life working with people who have severe mental illnesses, and murder is no more sensible in my world than in yours, and it's just as frightening. Murder is unpredictable, extraordinarily rare and shocking. That's as true in those with mental illness as it is in those without it.”

Go here to read the entire article.

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At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many mass murders, if any, have been stopped by an armed citizen?

If you do not know the answer to this question then ask yourself this question "Why don't I know the answer?"

Reflect upon this for a while.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

For a start, how about the Appalachian School of Law shooting that occurred on January 16, 2002 where a mass murderer was stopped by an armed student after the killer had shot to death three people. The rescuer did not have to fire a shot, just showed his gun.


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