Anger – Danger – Anger

Guest Author
Guest Author

This is the latest post on Keep the Joint Running, a column by Bob Lewis aimed at business leaders in IT. Normally, he writes about technology issues, but this week he addresses gun violence. I asked if I could share it, and he agreed.


A week ago, the then-one-week-old shooting in Buffalo, New York was appalling. It’s been superseded by this week’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas. In Buffalo the victims were targeted because of their race. More people died In Uvalde than in Buffalo, and all but one were school children.

Who targets school children?

Last week I cited experts who say anger, not hate, is the root cause of most mass shootings. This week’s perpetrator, allegedly an 18-year-old high school student, was, we’ve learned, a loner and high school dropout who was subjected to frequent ridicule and bullying.

Seems to fit. If you’re the parent of a teenager, let them know that, given a choice between taunting classmates and vaping, vaping is the safer choice.

Hell, heroin might be a safer choice.

Once again we’re hearing the same, tired old reasons we can’t, or shouldn’t, do anything about gun violence. I have no choice but to write about this. The why-not memes are, at this point, tired. I’ll try to avoid boring you with the same tired old memes on why we can and should.

Do-nothing meme #1: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

They do. 79 percent of the time, the people who killed people killed them with a gun.

Do-nothing meme #2: Thoughts and prayers.

If thoughts and prayers were of any value, by now we’d be seeing fewer mass shootings, not more of them.

Do-nothing meme #3: Relatively few gun fatalities are the result of mass shootings.

This might mean something if those who make this point continued by suggesting ways to curb other forms of gun violence. But they don’t.

Do-nothing meme #4a: If guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns.

That would mean children wouldn’t have guns. I’m thinking this would be a net improvement. I couldn’t find any statistics on the subject. Google did deliver some headlines, though, all variations on a theme. A sampling:

  • Toddler Shoots Playmates At Michigan Daycare
  • 6-Year-Old Shot by Playmate, 4, in Critical Condition
  • 5-year-old killed in Lithonia home was shot by playmate
  • Girl, 8, Is Killed as Playmates Imitate Film’s Shooting Scene
  • Boy, 4, shoots and kills playmate, 6
  • A four-year-old boy in New Jersey has shot dead a playmate aged six with a .22-calibre rifle in what police have said was an accident.
  • Prince. George’s shooting involves 4- and 5-year-old playmate
  • US boy (4) shoots playmate (6) dead
  • Three-year-old boy shot by playmate in Washington state – police

Do-nothing meme #4b: If guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns.

I guess nothing should be illegal, then. For example: If drunk driving is illegal, only drunks will drive. Or something.

Do-nothing meme #4c: If guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns.

Nobody is suggesting making guns illegal. It is, however, tempting to make strawman arguments illegal.

Do-nothing meme #5: [Solution] won’t stop all shootings, for all values of [Solution].

As always, perfect is the enemy of better. Just because a proposed course of action won’t fix everything that doesn’t mean it won’t improve the situation.

Do-nothing meme #6: District of Columbia v. Heller guarantees the individual’s right to “bear arms.”

When does it stop being an “arms”? I mean, if assault weapons are arms so far as Heller is concerned, are Molotov cocktails okay too? How about hand grenades? Rocket launchers? Tanks?

Do-nothing meme #7: The solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

And when the good guy with a gun isn’t properly trained, shoots anyway, and misses the bad guy with a gun, where do you think the good guy’s bullet ends up?

Bob’s last word: I try to limit KJR to subjects about which I have some expertise, and which you, as a business leader or IT professional might find useful. I hadn’t planned on a second column about mass shootings in as many weeks.

But I really had no choice.

I expect some subscribers will write this off as just more evidence, as if any were needed, that “Bob’s liberal bias is showing.” Maybe it is. If so, I’d be interested to know what of the above is characteristically liberal, or antithetical to conservative political philosophy.

Bob’s sales pitch: I’ve got nothing this week that’s worth selling. Instead, if your senators and congressional representatives might be influenced by what their voters want them to do … even if it’s just a little … then please take the time to write them. Gun control laws will only get passed if legislators think voting for them won’t get them voted out of office.

Or, more to the point, if legislators think not voting for gun control laws will get them voted out of office.

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