As I went to bed last night, there were two things that weighed on my mind. The latest mass shooting happened at a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. This is such a sad thing that continues to happen across this country. It is obvious that we, as a nation, have a tremendous problem with firearms as well as a tremendous problem with people who consider violence as the answer to whatever troubles them.
These two problems are linked, but one of them can be dealt with in the immediate future if we have the national political will to do so. It is obvious that we have too many firearms in this country, and that there is a complete lack of control over them. This makes it easy for the weapons to end up in the hands of some deranged person with a grudge against someone.
Strict gun control will help to alleviate this problem. I am talking about the problem of mass shootings. It won’t address the issue of mentally unbalanced people wanting to hurt others. That has to be addressed separately. I believe that the people and politicians who are in the pocket of the NRA and who suck at the money teat of the NRA are unwilling to confront this issue of gun control because it is a profit item for them.
I found myself thinking about this as I was on Twitter Thursday night and I began to think about what could be said to people who claim that guns are not the problem. I wish that I could shake them out of their basically correct position that guns don’t kill people. The problem with that perspective is that it ignores the problem that people who do kill people use guns to do it. A gun has no conscience, it has no sense of right or wrong, but most importantly, a gun does not decide on its own to shoot someone. A gun is a tool for a person to use. Stopping the flood of guns will not stop murders, it will not stop every instance of mass murder. It will dramatically decrease these tragedies, and that is a starting point.
Someone for whom I have a great deal of respect on Twitter surprised me by coming to the defense of the RWNJ gun lobby. I suggested that if the killer in Lafayette had been armed with a knife that this tragedy would not have been nearly as awful. Sadly, this person then took the extremely juvenile argument that if guns were outlawed and the killer used a knife, that knives would also be outlawed. That logic is extremely flawed.
The same flaw can be found in the argument that if everyone was armed with a gun that these tragedies would not happen. I find this ridiculous. An unbalanced person doesn’t reason their actions out for something like that. If the killer entered the theater and proceeded to open fire and the audience responded with opening fire back, there would be a total bloodbath with people shooting at anyone and everything that moved that they didn’t recognize. The death toll would be catastrophic.
Like a gun, a knife is a tool that functions at the whim of its possessor. Unlike a gun, a knife can be used to perform other tasks, such as when we eat. This pretty much stops the argument. But as I remembered all of these tragedies that have occurred, I also remembered some of the reading that I have done about the entire epidemic of gun violence. I am not a medical or psychiatric professional, just someone with some observations.
The motives that drive people to mass shootings have never become clear. There are tons of theories out there, but none seem to capture the basic problem, none allow us to identify who these people are before they act out. I submit that if one of these people could NOT get a gun, that they might not follow through with their intended action. Of course they still might choose to do so, no one is sure. But having to perform these horrible acts with a knife rather than a gun begins to uncover some interesting theories.
A gun is a clean weapon, it is a clinical kill. The killer does not have to come into physical contact with their intended victim. This seems to give the killer a sense of safety. Everyone runs from them because they have a gun. I believe that killers are basically cowards. Having a gun gives them the control that they feel is lacking from their own lives. They take charge as they have never done, and others suffer and die.
A knife is, for lack of a better term, a weapon of passion. You have to get physically close to someone to kill them with a knife. This means that the killer has to select a victim one at a time. This puts the killer at risk because the intended victim might overpower them. It also presents the problem that they have to focus on one victim at a time in order to seriously injure or kill them. This increased the likelihood that others will descend on the killer to disarm him. This seems to be something that none of these killers wants to encounter. They prefer the cold, clinical killing from a gun that puts them in very little danger from their victims.
These killers always seem to go in with plenty of ammunition for their guns. Ammo is easy to carry and almost all guns have the capacity to hold multiple rounds. Once again, this gives the killer the advantage.
A knife is a singular weapon. While a killer can carry multiple knives, the act of reaching for the next knife is extremely unsettling to someone who wants total control to feed whatever fucked up shit is in their head. To be true, a knife can be used again and again, but that also involves the physical proximity to the victim, and an enormous amount of effort to stab, withdraw and then stab again.
Having said all that, why are there not more knife mass killings? I think I have put forth some good reasons, but the main reason is that the killers can get guns far too easily and they will always take the easy way like the cowards that they are.