Why blaming violence on guns is a subtle deflection away from the human condition.

MonacoMonkey's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,248

Humans, it seems, are extremely uncomfortable to admit that a member of their own can commit such vile and egregious acts against another of the same species. We try to attach blame to something, anything, as long as it's doesn't question the very sanctity of our species, and more importantly, our own self centered ego of what it means to be human.

You see it all the time, whether the blame is put on an ideology, religion, guns (as we are seeing in Vegas), lover betrayal, debts, or even a mental illness. Yes, all of these are "cop outs", a way for the average person to distance him or herself ideologically from the perpetrator, since physically, we are inescapably identical.

Why can't we come to terms with the truth and reality of human tendencies? The fact that we are all capable of such acts if we were put in certain circumstances (unknown to ourselves or others). And that any weapon used is not a separate entity with its own intentions, but merely an extension of our psyche. Most importantly, why can't we concede that there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent attacks on humans by humans?

Take away the shock, awe, anger, blame, and grievances, and understand "it's just another day at the office [of human evolution]".

We are highly flawed. Wishing [otherwise] won't make it untrue.

additional thoughts Would like to add. A lot of respect for the police and first responders. Running into fully automatic gunfire isn't trivial. I wouldn't do that for a Bill Ackman salary. They deserve to be paid much more.

Comments (173)

Nov 14, 2017

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Nov 14, 2017

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Oct 2, 2017

Choose VEGANISM, not MASS MURDER!

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Oct 4, 2017

hilarious because mass murder is also what we do to animals.

Oct 2, 2017

Imagine you're in a castle and there's a thousand men storming up the hill. You know for certainty they will breach the wall and have full intention of killing you. You have a dozen machine guns lying around, and lots of ammo.

I wouldn't be so certain that never means never.

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Oct 2, 2017

Mass shootings are a very minuscule part of gun violence. Most gun violence in the US is gang or otherwise criminally related, and it is mostly committed by certain subsections of the urban poor population.

If you factored out this population from gun crime statistics, the US gun crime rate would be comparable to that of Canada and the UK.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Oct 2, 2017

Only a sith deals in absolutes.

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Oct 3, 2017

I am sure the murderer in Vegas would've probably never murder 50 people either. He went 63 years without doing so (unless he had a pile of bodies stashed somewhere) and then one day pulled it off. No idea what would cause someone to switch, but it does seem to happen.

Oct 2, 2017

OP what if perp had 7 rifles instead of 10?

What if he did not have the ability to buy automatic assault rifles that have extra cartridge storage for additional ammo for shorter re-load times?

How many lives would have been saved? Not all. But isn't 1 justification for change?

We should stop hiding behind human philosophy to deflect away from tangible change- limiting the damage of real life actions.

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Oct 2, 2017

What if perp had 13 rifles instead of 10? What if next year, they invented a machine gun that magically reloads by itself?

Obviously it wouldn't make a different to you, since "1 is [enough] justification for change."

Guns are out there. people with vastly different "castles" are out there. debating whether he had 7 or 13 guns won't matter, as we both know and you've just admitted.

I'm sick and tired of idealists and their fairy tale ideology.

If I could snap my fingers and all guns disappeared instantly, you bet i'd do it. I hate guns. Unfortunately, we don't live in make believe.

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Oct 2, 2017

What is your course of action? Accepting mass shootings are the new normal?

We should embrace them and accept it's just humans being humans?

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Oct 2, 2017
REPE8:

How many lives would have been saved? Not all. But isn't 1 justification for change?

1) I'm fairly certain automatic weapons purchases are illegal and have been since the 1980s; 2) even if the guns used were legal, semi-automatic weapons, stripping the U.S. citizen of his or her freedom to preserve a tiny few lives is not a solution. Mass shootings constitute a statistically insignificant number of murders in a given year in the U.S.

A close friend of mine was murdered in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre--I'm no stranger to these types of killings, believe me. But I came to an important realization a decade ago when I looked around the world--the natural, common relationship between the government and mankind is tyranny, and that my friend, Brian, may be alive today if guns had been banned, but he may be living a life not worth living.

Oct 2, 2017

actually, you're friend "may be alive today" if that nutjob Virginia Tech shooter was never born.

let's not confuse causality here, or try to deflect. you're indirectly supporting my original argument, which is unfortunate.

sad to hear about your friend Brian though. condolences.

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Oct 3, 2017

To your first point, you can own a fully automatic weapon so long as it was made before 1986. However, in order to purchase one you have to do an additional background check that is not normal for an AOW (similar for rifle barrels under 16" and suppressors). The only other way is to go through the process of getting your FFL, basically the Series 7 for guns. This is an incredibly difficult process and requires a very thorough background check and I believe an interview with the BATF. At that point you can purchase and own fully auto weapons.

Semi auto weapons can be modified to become truly full auto, however, that would be illegal. There are ways to make it like full auto, however, they are mechanisms that enable the trigger to be fired faster or allow the gun to fire with the squeeze and release of the trigger. These are allowed as the gun is not truly fully automatic.

Sorry to hear about your friend. It is a horrible thing when these events happen. However, there is no telling what the murderer may have done rather than shoot.

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Oct 3, 2017

If he didn't have guns, he would've had a car bomb or other IED's. This was a well planned attack, plane and simple. If you take away method A, method B will soon follow. Also, they have strict gun laws in France. This didn't stop the shootings there. If someone wants to go on a killing spree, they will go on a killing spree. Not too much is known about this asshole except that he was 64.

If you think banning a particular weapon or how many someone can own will work, you are high. Think of how many are on the streets and how many are already in the hands of responsible owners. Anyone who is uncomfortable with someone owning firearms is free to move out of the states.

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Oct 3, 2017

What if its just 1 nuke? This what if game is stupid.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Oct 4, 2017

What the hell are you talking about? These guns were illegal.

But you're right...mass shooters are extremely worried about owning illegal guns, that'll stop them...

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Oct 2, 2017

this is what happens when you have a culture where johnny starts a gun obsession right from middle school .

I don't get Americans and guns but my white friends in school were amazed by machine guns, Call of Duty, etcetera.

I don't think there is a more gun crazy nation than the US.

Best Response
Oct 2, 2017
papertiger:

this is what happens when you have a culture where johnny starts a gun obsession right from middle school .

I don't get Americans and guns but my white friends in school were amazed by machine guns, Call of Duty, etcetera.

I don't think there is a more gun crazy nation than the US.

And yet if you remove inner city African American crime from the books, violent crime in the U.S. is essentially on par with the rest of the developed world. As I've said repeatedly on WSO, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. This is yet another area where the statistics indicate one thing if you fail to look at the context of the statistics themselves.

Oct 2, 2017

find a source. saying there are damn lies and statistics doesn't make whatever you say automatically a statistic.

Oct 3, 2017

Middle school? You mean kindergarten.

Oct 2, 2017

Can we at least wait until the victims' blood has dried before we start trotting our arguments on motivations, policy changes and the like? Let's show some respect for the dead.

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Oct 2, 2017

Yeah right. I have much respect for Barry O, but the president at the time stood on the stage immediately after Sandy Hook to tote liberal positions for stronger gun laws.

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Oct 2, 2017

my point precisely is there should be NO policy change, NO grieving, NO search for motivation, and NO media coverage whatsoever.

like i said before and will say again, "it's just another day at the office [of human evolution]". let it be, sort of like a social laissez faire.

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Oct 2, 2017

Not sure why everything is always so black and white, in every. single. debate? It is totally possible, and likely, that both guns and people are the problem. The proliferation of guns and easy access to them + batsh!t crazy Americans running around shooting people can coexist simultaneously as two discrete problems. Not sure why people struggle with this.

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Oct 2, 2017

This is probably true. But I think OP has a point. While gun nuts probably need to allow some restrictions (NRA) the problem is deflected if libs decide they'll just wipe their hands clean by signing legislation away at guns. I think that's a poor strategy. There's leverage on both ends to get something comprehensive on the table.

Oct 2, 2017

so you're into eugenics and generally exterminating certain people. got it.
i mean. gun control is a pre req for people control, according to you.
ideal, but unrealistic and somewhat immoral.

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Oct 2, 2017

yeah totally agree. you can remove guns but the malicious intent is something at the very element of human-like behavior.

animals kill for food or safety. humans are the only species that kill for a third reason.
if not guns, it would be something else.

D.I.

Oct 2, 2017

It's unfortunate that 50+ people are dead and, without condolences, the first thread related to the tragedy are on the merits (or lack thereof) of gun control. Of course, the usual suspects will bandy about their usual viewpoint that is derived from their usual political stances. This thread is going to go nowhere and is basically the definition of Polarization and Anger: A WSO Story. It'd be great if this thread just gets shut down, it's going to end up pointless at best and callous/ straight up offensive at worst.

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Oct 3, 2017

Bob is right on this. It's just become tiresome and dispiriting watching people filter all these events through their political lens and then championing the same tired tropes.

MonacoMonkey initiates the thread with perhaps his most unintelligible, pseudo intellectual babble to date on the human condition and its susceptibility to pretend castle scenarios.

TNA discharging his typical misanthropy and nihilism.

Dachshunds using it as a platform to peddle his antipathy for urban America, with, no surprise, an overt emphasis on race.

I would have thought that the human element in a massacre of this magnitude would warrant a degree of reflection or solemnity. Instead, it's the typical hyper politicized bullshit steeped in MonacoMonkey's unbearable and incoherent moralizing.

The conviction and absolutes these arguments are framed in are galling. Gun control is a matter of individual liberties being at odds with a collective safety. The safety argument, if you rely on the actual data, is incontrovertible. But, depending on how you weight the two ends and where you fall on the continuum, a legitimate argument can still be made for ceding degrees of safety for some additional breadth in liberty.

It would be refreshing to have a thoughtful discussion on the dynamic above, but not if it involves wading through the bullshit that's already occupied this thread.

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Oct 3, 2017

1) the right to bear arms is enshrined in our bill of rights. It isn't nihilism. These freedoms have consequences.

2) all guns were purchased legally. Guy went through appropriate background checks, all guns were semi automatic.

3) individual apparently has no history of mental illness.

So all this posturing is simply using a national tragedy to advance freedom restricting policies.

Oct 3, 2017
Schreckstoff:

Dachshunds using it as a platform to peddle his antipathy for urban America, with, no surprise, an overt emphasis on race.

Are you mental? I didn't bring up anything. I was directly responding to a poster saying that white America's obsession with guns was bizarre and is what's leading to gun violence. If you can dispute the facts that I put forward then I challenge you to do so--go ahead and defeat the argument.

Oct 3, 2017

There's nothing more to say in this thread honestly. It's just becoming the same shit over and over. Zero appreciation for evidence or perspective, total absolutes, misdirection, and regurgitation of talking points. Truly unfortunate that this is what "debate" has become, even on a forum full of educated users like WSO.

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Oct 3, 2017

Society instantly went into the gun control debate after this event unfolded. Politicians and public personalities immediately pointed their finger and said "look at what has happened we must act." The debate is very real and very much at the very core of the the US identity as a nation. Saying that any discussion should not be allowed is simply putting your head in the sand.

Oct 3, 2017
Ehmerica:

Society instantly went into the gun control debate after this event unfolded. Politicians and public personalities immediately pointed their finger and said "look at what has happened we must act." The debate is very real and very much at the very core of the the US identity as a nation. Saying that any discussion should not be allowed is simply putting your head in the sand.

Exactly. The left started the debate around 3 am yesterday.

Oct 2, 2017
MonacoMonkey:

You see it all the time, whether the blame is put on an ideology, religion, guns (as we are seeing in Vegas), lover betrayal, debts, or even a mental illness. Yes, all of these are "cop outs", a way for the average person to distance him or herself ideologically from the perpetrator, since physically, we are inescapably identical.

When Johnny's foot knocks over a plant pot, Johnny is to blame. There is no cop out. Johnny is at fault, his foot is the reason the plant pot fell and broke.

On the same note, there is an underlying reason for this man's behavior. There was a chain of events that happened to this person likely involving increases in stress causing a reaction in his mind to take place likely leading to psychosis and irrational behavior. Mental illness is likely the core reason.

I don't know how you think we are 'inescapably identical'. If our bodies look different from one another, our brains are vastly more complex and different from each other. This has to be one of the worst assumptions of humans I have ever heard. Did you even study science?

MonacoMonkey:

Why can't we come to terms with the truth and reality of human tendencies? The fact that we are all capable of such acts if we were put in certain circumstances (unknown to ourselves or others). And that any weapon used is not a separate entity with its own intentions, but merely an extension of our psyche. Most importantly, why can't we concede that there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent attacks on humans by humans?

Nothing we can do to prevent attacks? Are you daft, man? This statement is lacking significant logic.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Oct 2, 2017

I sure didn't study science, but I'm sure the folks over at the National Human Genome Research Institute did.

And according to them, the similarity between the human genome (DNA) share:
80% similarity with a cow
90% similarity with a cat
96% similarity with chimpanzees
and yes, unfortunately for your thesis,
99.9% similarity with another random human.

humans are remarkably identical. the next time someone tells you how special you are, remember to smack them.

and to your last bit of nonsense. well, I have no words. it's so foolish I don't know what to say. the day humans stop harming/killing other humans is the way we're extinct. i didn't study science (that's not my job), but did you "even study life"?

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Oct 2, 2017
MonacoMonkey:

And according to them, the similarity between the human genome (DNA) share:
80% similarity with a cow
90% similarity with a cat
96% similarity with chimpanzees
and yes, unfortunately for your thesis,
99.9% similarity with another random human.

You said 'we are inescapably identical'

Now you're all talking 'similar' 'percentages'. and DNA, when I'm referring to human behavior.

Nice try, good stats,

but, thank you come again.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Oct 3, 2017
MonacoMonkey:

I sure didn't study science, but I'm sure the folks over at the National Human Genome Research Institute did.

And according to them, the similarity between the human genome (DNA) share:
80% similarity with a cow
90% similarity with a cat
96% similarity with chimpanzees
and yes, unfortunately for your thesis,
99.9% similarity with another random human.

humans are remarkably identical. the next time someone tells you how special you are, remember to smack them.

and to your last bit of nonsense. well, I have no words. it's so foolish I don't know what to say. the day humans stop harming/killing other humans is the way we're extinct. i didn't study science (that's not my job), but did you "even study life"?

Did you consider that if the 4% difference is distinct enough to render something an entirely different animal, that a .1% difference is still extremely vast? Obviously we're all similar, however the value in articulating our existence is found in understanding the nuance of the differences.

To be honest though, I'm just impressed you were able to say something dumber than your original post.

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Oct 3, 2017

Lets not forget how many people Timothy McVeigh killed (168) people and injured (over 600) without pulling a single trigger.

So many just want to look around the real root cause which is most often mental illness.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

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Oct 3, 2017

Idk if I believe in this mental illness theory anymore. I mean, if a person doesn't think there is a god, what kind of peace do they need once they're dead. These shooters almost always take their own life and probably always planned to do so. People used to think it was inappropriate to act out this way, given their belief in forever being cursed in the afterlife. But isn't that the whole theory in the 'other' religions. No afterlife, no god, no peace, no limits in the universe. I think people are scared to admit that this is probably the likely cause of these insanely scary acts. I read a line today that police were searching for a cause after they found this guy was a penchant retiree in his mid-sixties with no links to terrorism and no history of mental issues. Let's be real here.

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Oct 3, 2017

Wait, you honestly believe a lack of belief in a god/afterlife is why these nut jobs kill all these people? What the actual fuck?

Oct 4, 2017
iBankedUp:

Idk if I believe in this mental illness theory anymore. I mean, if a person doesn't think there is a god, what kind of peace do they need once they're dead.

So if a person doesn't believe in God, one day they might decide to shoot people up innocently standing there for shits and giggles? Yeah that sounds like a neurological issue to me.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 3, 2017

Obviously, anyone that wants to kill a large amount of people is mentally ill. However, the danger in using that as the only logic is it opens a lot of doors. People who are experiencing mental illness for the first time may avoid treatment because they are afraid of losing their rights (i know for a fact that this happens). This then leaves someone who is not seeking help and now has access to a weapon. The other side of the coin is bringing up with your doctor that you have been down, they then mark it as depression, boom you are now mentally ill and may have sacrificed your rights.

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Oct 3, 2017
Ehmerica:

Obviously, anyone that wants to kill a large amount of people is mentally ill. However, the danger in using that as the only logic is it opens a lot of doors. People who are experiencing mental illness for the first time may avoid treatment because they are afraid of losing their rights (i know for a fact that this happens). This then leaves someone who is not seeking help and now has access to a weapon. The other side of the coin is bringing up with your doctor that you have been down, they then mark it as depression, boom you are now mentally ill and may have sacrificed your rights.

There are two issues I have this position:

  1. No one is capabable of self-diagnosing a mental disorder. Even if they tried, you're right Pandora's box is opened. And what if they took it to that place and then found out later that it wasn't actually the true case.
  2. If someone is mentally ill, what control will kick in so that they actually seek help? It won't happen in the real world. Some 2nd person would need to speak up and step in, which again is dangerous.
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Oct 3, 2017

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson:
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of innocents."

Americans need to be honest with themselves. It's just the price you have to pay for your principles, nothing more and nothing less.

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Oct 3, 2017
Martinghoul:

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson:
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of innocents."

What?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 3, 2017

What what?

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Oct 3, 2017

Go away troll
1) your quote isn't even accurate
2) this is not remotely what he was referring to

Oct 3, 2017
FrkWhite:

Go away troll
1) your quote isn't even accurate
2) this is not remotely what he was referring to

1) I said I was paraphrasing, rather than quoting. Hopefully, you're familiar with the term.
2) My comment echoes what other people have said in this thread. I am agreeing with the sentiment expressed.

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Oct 3, 2017

Clearly, I was being misunderstood here...

The statement I made paraphrasing Jefferson was not to convey some sort of a judgement. I was agreeing with comments posted by, among others, TNA earlier in this thread. The death of innocent people from time to time is simply the price to pay for the freedom enshrined in the Constitution. Whether the price is too high or too low is for the American people collectively to decide.

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Oct 3, 2017

Vox has an interesting series of charts showing basically that more guns no matter what country /state = more homicides.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/...
Which isn't hard to understand, give people the best tool to kill others and it will inevitably happen.

Oct 3, 2017

We have been through this time and again. The issue of gun violence is largely an issue in the inner city poor communities. You're presenting these statistics where the purpose is to 1) show the problem and then 2) suggest the solution. The obvious inference is that to reduce gun violence the U.S. needs to continue to regulate gun ownership more. The actual conclusion should be that in order to reduce gun violence, the inner city communities need to remove the Democratic party from power. And yes, even then, the U.S. will have more gun violence per capita, but that's the price of freedom.

Oct 3, 2017
Dances with Dachshunds:

The actual conclusion should be that in order to reduce gun violence, the inner city communities need to remove the Democratic party from power. And yes, even then, the U.S. will have more gun violence per capita, but that's the price of freedom.

You are a smart enough guy, but this is the kind of vapid, incendiary posturing that undermines your credibility on anything with a political undercurrent. Gun violence in the inner city has to do with population density, the primacy of poverty, and a tenuous relationship with law enforcement in many of the communities in need. I'm sure you recognize this but would rather firebrand at the expense of your credibility than engage in actual discussion.

The obvious inference is obvious because the data is self evident. Guns beget gun violence. Your inability to accept this point without incessant hedging, modifying, and minimizing clearly demonstrates your own personal dissonance on the issue.

There is an obvious price to pay for additional liberties. In the instance of guns that includes higher rates of mass shootings, homicides, and suicides. As I've maintained, a cogent argument can still be made that individual liberty and the principles that under-gird it must supersede these costs. But an outright refusal to acknowledge and entirely own the price we pay as a society is just craven dishonesty for the sake of less personal dissonance.

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Oct 4, 2017
dlrulz:

Vox has an interesting series of charts showing basically that more guns no matter what country /state = more homicides.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/...
Which isn't hard to understand, give people the best tool to kill others and it will inevitably happen.

I actually think this is important. I wanted to return to this topic because I conceded something earlier that I shouldn't have conceded based on the bad data you presented. If you remove suicides, there is essentially no mathematical correlation between gun deaths and gun ownership in a U.S. state. What these cherry-picked charts do is conflate gun deaths and gun murders.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/no-states-with-h...

Oct 3, 2017

so this got out of hand real fast.

the funny part is, it was NEVER intended to be a gun debate, but rather, one which questioned the underbelly, gritty nature of the human condition. one which we are all inescapably a part of.

again, we all live in our own "castles". fortunately for us, it looks idyllic. for a small group of people, it's impending apocalypse. imposing your perspective/speculation is ignorant and quite dangerous.

humans will always harm and/or kill other humans. it's been happening since the beginning of time. quite honestly, as an economics major, im quite shocked there aren't 10x or 20x the amount of homicides in the US.

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Oct 3, 2017

More guns, more homicide? Not exactly

Oct 3, 2017

Sad that so many died for feeedoms so many desperately want to give away.

Oct 3, 2017

I agree that you can't blame guns, and that the problem America faces with gun violence is much more complex than a quick fix, however, even if it only provided a small benefit, isn't it worth it?

I Just don't understand what value American's derive from gun ownership. I could understand not wanting to give up your car, as many of you have pointed out, that's an equally capable weapon, but what benefit does gun ownership provide you?

Genuine question from someone that lives in a country with low/no gun culture.

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Oct 4, 2017

I'm an American and completely agree. There's no point to owning weapons in the 21st century. I, along with the vast majority of people, dont hunt for daily sustenance. If I were to be the victim of a crime or were to have a dispute with somebody, I would call the police or go to court.

I'm not in favor of draconian gun bans, I just wish Americans would wake up and realize we don't need to be such a gun obsessed nation.

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Oct 4, 2017
Bonds.Aye:

I agree that you can't blame guns, and that the problem America faces with gun violence is much more complex than a quick fix, however, even if it only provided a small benefit, isn't it worth it?

I Just don't understand what value American's derive from gun ownership. I could understand not wanting to give up your car, as many of you have pointed out, that's an equally capable weapon, but what benefit does gun ownership provide you?

Genuine question from someone that lives in a country with low/no gun culture.

Look around the world. Tell me what you see. What I see is that the common relationship between mankind and government is tyranny. There are literally no active tyrannies on Earth where the citizenry is armed. And that is the entire point of the 2nd Amendment. It has nothing to do with the right to kill intruders in your home or to hunt for food. The 2nd Amendment that enshrines the right to keep and bear arms is for one purpose alone--to be the ultimate check against a tyrannical government.

If the gun-free country you live in isn't a tyranny today, you just wait long enough and it will be. I'd also argue that the "freedom" that you believe you have would be considered foreign to Americans. The British, for example, think they are free yet they can't publicly criticize Islam without coming under government scrutiny. Australians think they are free and yet if the government ever turns on its people the citizenry literally has no recourse to violently retaliate. What you really have is a dictatorship in the making, veiled under a false sense of freedom that was won with American blood and treasure.

Oct 4, 2017
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Oct 4, 2017
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"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Oct 4, 2017