“Mass Shooting”

I see that after the events in San Bernadino (actually, in several politician’s cases, during the events in San Bernadino as they felt no need to actually wait until they had an understanding of the situation), a number of people have decried “gun violence” and many others have vehemently argued that “mass shootings” are horrible (absolutely true) and that Something Must Be Done About All These Mass Shootings.

(If there was a font available that adequately conveyed the sense of smug self-righteousness combined with cloying fake concern and elitist condescending behavior most often demonstrated by people who Talk In Capital Letters about such things, I’d use it.)

It is everywhere—“310th mass shooting in the U.S. this year,” “we must take action to stop gun violence now, what happened in San Bernadino must not be allowed to happen again,” and my personal favorite “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” (…which was great since Obama said that while standing in Paris.  Ahem.  Mr. President, do you know what happened several weeks ago in Paris?  Just curious.)

Seriously, comments like that are everywhere.  Suddenly (and again) many people who have no understanding of crime and violence (hint:  being alive in a city in which crime occurs doesn’t actually give you an understanding of violence) have The Solution (or at least a serious complaint that Something Must Be Done!) for “gun violence” and “mass shootings.”

So many comments.  Attempting to refute them all using actual facts seems like the labors of Sisyphus, particularly because the minute you try, an emotional reaction is what you get back, instead a discussion.

Here’s the thing:

If you think “gun violence” should be an issue about guns,

and/or

…if you think “gun violence” is something that can be solved by removing guns from law-abiding citizen’s hands,

and/or

…if you think “mass shootings” as a category adequately covers terrorist acts, gang-related drive-by shootings outside of clubs, AND murders by mentally disturbed people all at the same time, and also believe that there is a single fix for this category, then…

…you are too ignorant to discuss this with respect to the topics of crime, violence, and mental health.  (Whether you are stupid or not depends on your reaction when faced with your ignorance:  If you attempt to find facts to reduce your ignorance, you are not stupid.  If you attempt to argue emotionally from the depths of your ignorance, you are stupid.)

There isn’t anything wrong with being ignorant, per se.   Ignorance is fixable.  However, thinking that even though you are ignorant regarding the subject matter 1) your opinion is valid, and 2) your opinion should be respected by others, is ridiculous.  (And you should probably stop blathering until you reduce your ignorance.)

Terrorist actions, gang activity, and mental health issues leading to violence are all huge subjects, and incredibly different in terms of causes, actions, and possible defenses/solutions.  If your blanket “solution” for all of these things while calling them “mass murders” is “more gun control” then you LITERALLY are too ignorant to have a conversation with on this topic.  You know so little about any of those topics that attempting to discuss them with you would require starting from from square one, because you currently don’t know anything.

The question is, knowing that you are ignorant, are you going to fix your ignorance?

Or are you going to be stupid?

(By the way, love the idea that a “mass shooting” is defined as four or more people shot when you count the criminal as a victim of shooting, and also can’t apparently count all the way up to four when tallying your numbers.  Excellent work, reddit.  This, by the way, is why crowd-sourced “facts” aren’t considered good enough for anything remotely scientific requiring precision and accuracy.)

 

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