To fully understand this article, first read The Newtown massacre: We need nut control, not gun control.
How to prevent school and other shootings
Another law won't work. Shooters not deterred by myriad existing laws will ignore new ones—or laugh at them and the people who think more laws will magically solve the problem. So what will work?
Assume the impossible: that all criminals would comply with a law banning all guns (which is not possible with the current Constitution, thankfully). That would undoubtedly save lives, but cost them, too, and catalyze fear in some people who now use guns to protect themselves from thugs and wild animals, such as women, elderly folks, and me.
It's time for a little down-to-earth talk. My land is visited by bears, packs of coyotes, wild boars (larger and more ferocious than most black bears), wild dogs, and some kind of cat-like creature that looks big enough to be at home in Africa. I don't know what it is, but it is big enough to shred me.
I need to go outside at various times of the day and night to care for my chickens, and let me tell you, when I'm walking down the trail from my house to the chicken coop in the dark, it is mighty comforting to know that if I am attacked, I can use my Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum to defend myself. I am morally opposed to hunting (long story I'll tell some time), so I would not take a life of anything smarter than a mosquito except in self-defense, but if it is him or me, it's him.
You city slickers and gun haters might pooh-pooh the need for guns to protect people from wild animals. It may not happen in your world, but it does in the real world. Don't believe me? Ask Anne Hjelle, who is probably the only woman in the world who is still gorgeous after being mauled by a mountain lion, causing severe hemifacial injuries that multiple surgeries could not fully undo. When such a predator pencils you in on its lunch menu, you're in a heap o' trouble. Dial 911 or Homeland Security if you want, but if you don't have a gun, your life is gonna change real soon. No highfalutin words here; just straight talk, ya dig?
I could never fully relax walking the streets of Detroit during medical school. I usually arrived in the morning when it was still dark and left in the dark—precisely the most dangerous times to be alone. A fellow student (studying for his Ph.D., not M.D.) and his wife and baby were slaughtered in a way surely more agonizing than being shot to death (I told that story elsewhere so I won't repeat it here). I never had a chance to ask him if he were pro-gun or anti-gun, but if he could speak from the grave, he'd surely answer, “Hell yes I'm pro gun! I could have saved my life and the lives of my wife and child!”
After working years as an ER doctor, I could write a long book or two about patients I had who wished they'd had guns, including young women who were raped, subjected to sadistic sexual acts even more twisted than ordinary rape, beaten, stabbed, tortured, and on and on. When I worked in Detroit, the number of dead kids who came in could fill a graveyard; their deaths broke my heart—so young and so dead for such stupid reasons: usually some thug wanted their cool shirt, jacket, or shoes, which was usually soaked with blood.
I learned to shoot years before I left sixth grade, and had I attended elementary, junior, or high school there, I would have considered sneaking a gun in my book bag, never using it, of course, unless it was me or some thug who wanted to kill me. Then it'd be him. One less scumbag in the world; one more student who can go home to study or do what I usually did: eat cookies. Or starve.
If you've never been assaulted in such a violent way you wonder if you are about to be killed (and I have, by my electrician, of all people!), you don't know how terrifying it can be. My father was killed by two thugs with a pipe—a terribly painful way to die, I'm tellin' ya. If he had a gun to defend himself and not been killed, he might now be working with me on various inventions instead of rotting in a grave.
Working in my yard late one evening, I heard one of the most god-awful sounds I've ever heard. Trees, hundreds of feet, and impending darkness kept me from seeing what was going on, which seemed to be a woman desperately trying to get away from a rapist or killer. I knew I had to act fast, so I didn't call 911 (our county usually has one deputy sheriff on duty, on the other side of the county; they responded to my assault too slowly to be of any use); I grabbed my .44 Magnum and went to investigate, stopping a crime. My years in the ER exposed me to a slice of humanity and inhumanity most people never see, but I'd never seen anything like this. While I believe in protecting women and all that, I also believe in protecting myself, so I wouldn't have voluntarily entered the twilight zone of horror unless I had a couple of friends with me: Smith and Wesson.
Thus there are very legitimate reasons to have guns, and very legitimate reasons to reject simplistic knee-jerk reactions that start with, “Oh, no, not another senseless shooting!” and end with “OK, now it's time to ban guns, or restrict them, or pass another law on top of the zillion we already have” even though anyone nutty enough to shoot his mother multiple times in the face, kill dozens of other innocent adults and children, and then shoot himself, as Adam Lanza did—do you really think such a nutcase gives a frigging hoot about one more gun law? Who believes that? Children who still believe in Santa Claus? Or politicians who do the same? Why don't they just waste our time and give more false hope?
Lemme tell ya, from workin' in the ER and bein' a doctor in some really rough areas, I met all kinds of people: homeless folks, Main Street folks, world famous sports stars and celebrities, stunningly beautiful women who offered me their hot bodies and lots of cash in exchange for me writing narcotic prescriptions for them, and countless criminals, including some psychopaths who ate parts of family members—or friends.
Most criminals were sharp enough to figure out that in a war of power between them and the ER doc, the doc would win. Ah, but the inevitable exceptions. Some off-the-scale jerks thought they could get away with murder by judging what the ER staff could do and could not do in response.
For example, two patients screamed profanity for hours. The usual responses didn't work; neither did bribery (offering them a pizza in return for peace and quiet) or charm—I'm a whole lot nicer in real life than I seem on the Internet, where I vent my spleen so I can be a super-nice person in the real world, where it counts. By the way, there's a connection there: you folks who never vent now and then are the ones most likely to go postal, followed shortly afterward by neighbors telling reporters that you “seemed like such a nice guy.” It's called catharsis—oh, shoot, I promised to keep this down-to-earth! Speaking of shooting: Christopher Dorner, the liberal-loving ex-cop from Los Angeles who went on a shooting rampage, “kept his emotions bottled up,” “seemed like a really nice guy,” and was frequently smiling—until he began his bloody vendetta. BTW, he “wants stricter laws for assault weapons.”
People who don't vent are also more likely to die early. Researchers found that “releasing your anger can lead to a healthier, longer life.” I suspect the same is true of any strong emotion, not just negative ones. Bottling up emotions is contrary to human nature. People innately want to express emotions, not hide them. Indeed, that is one of the primary joys of being human, as opposed to being a sheeple coerced into fitting inside the increasingly restrictive box of acceptable behavior prescribed by a society hell-bent on controlling people.
The leaders of society and their PC police enforcers stupidly believe they can control people by controlling expressions of their emotions. Confronting negative emotions can be unpleasant, but it is markedly less stressful than perpetually stewing about something that's bothering you.
Venting isn't only good for you personally; it can also facilitate constructive solutions that solve problems—something our overly controlled society sucks at. Americans once excelled in solving problems, which is how we became an economic superpower in record time. The USA now can't solve any problem; it just sweeps some under the rug, papers others over, and expects everyone to believe this sick game will have a happy ending. Dream on, sheeple.
I'm pretty good at solvin' problems using creativity, so after hearin' the profanity spew from two patients for hours, and after hearin' mothers, children, and even grown men wince in disgust, I decided that when the rules wouldn't control such freaks, it was time to change the rules. So I did.
When I did, it shocked the hell out of the patients, both of whom immediately complied and were perfectly cooperative thereafter. I restored the proper balance of power: me in charge of the emergency department, and them as patients there for treatment, not to be a menace to others. Thus I know how to get through to the uncontrollable crazies—to put the fear of God into them even if they don't believe in God. And they don't.
Those and other experiences taught me that the bad guys exploit the reverence of the good guys for rules that let bad guys be very bad. So screw the rules and go for the best end result; if that means I have to say something that makes the eyes of bad guys as big as saucers, so be it. I want peace, and I'm not spineless enough to let rules stand in the way of doin' the right thing.
But most people are so cowered by rules that you let the ones who break 'em terrorize you and loved ones. There's been yet another school shooting, great people and precious kids have now joined my father in the graveyard of murder victims, and there's gonna be another school shooting, and another, and another. Spineless folks care more about their pathetically ineffective rules than they do the next dozen or two schoolkids who will be turned into hamburger.
So screw the rules. If President Obama wants to end such violence, he can pass all the new laws he wants and the nutjobs will ignore 'em, and more children will die, and then more kids, and even more. President Obama has a unique power that could end this violence: he could promise to give me a pardon for havin' a little one-on-one time with the next shooter. Then we'd have a show-and-tell session to show and tell the next would-be shooters what awaited them. Not rules.
You armchair theorists might not think it'd work. It wouldn't be 100% effective, but it would be vastly better than what we're getting now, which is too many dead bodies because too many spineless people want to play by the rules.
Rules mean nothing to many of the freaks I met in the ER. Logic, niceness, and even free pizza (for heaven's sake!) meant nothing to them. They live in a world dominated by primal instincts that make the savage animals in my yard seem civilized, so to get through to those monsters, you have to reach them on their primal level. That would be justice, for a change. Our justice system perpetuates injustice by never giving the monsters the deterrent they so desperately need. Someone either has to have the spine to break rules, or we'd better get used to kids being shot to pieces.
It's your choice, Mr. President: the civilized way to ensure more bloody incivility by following the rules in dealing with monsters who loathe them, or it's time for a little change. How 'bout it?
More rules, or more dead kids? Not a very tough choice, is it?
What's iconoclasm got to do with this?
Everything. One of my professors often asked to walk with me after class. He wanted to pick my brain about why I was the only student who understood the subject: Advanced Development Biology, a 400-level course I took in my second or third year (I never made it to the last year; I had high enough grades and MCAT scores to skip it and enter medical school). I couldn't answer the prof's question because I could not understand how anyone couldn't comprehend what was utterly simple to me. My class included students with masters degrees pursuing Ph.D.s in biology—and they couldn't get this child's play? That didn't compute in my mind, and evidently not theirs, either.
The prof still wanted to walk with me after it was clear I had no grand insight into the failings of the other students because he seemed fascinated by my iconoclastic lack of reverence for second-rate scientists and their snail's pace of innovation.
Most students seem to think that professors adore (and reward with high grades) students who worship the altar of accepted wisdom in science, but any prof who equates bootlicking with a worthy collegiate pursuit is not a very good professor. And that one was. Everything he said made complete sense, and when I'd read the textbook at 100 mph (figuring I had better things to do), that made sense, too. Speed was never my forte (except in organic chemistry), but when I missed half of the Advanced Development Biology final exam, I still aced it while covered in icy mud after working under my car that broke down on the way to class.
Most would-be iconoclasts lack the courage to stand up to a world that often ridicules innovative thought, so they shed their originality and embrace mindless conformity, becoming another sheeple in the pack so mind-numbing stupid they think another rule will miraculously control nuts who think scratching the itch in their trigger fingers will make them feel better. And will that additional law be the long-sought solution to violence before or after Santa Claus pays off the U.S. debt? Thinking that another law is the answer isn't thinking because it is less realistic than most Disney movies.
One of my friends was a member of Al Gore's staff when he was Vice President. Her job mandated that she accompany him everywhere, so she went to the White House and attended meetings with him and President Clinton. During one meeting, Clinton was yukking it up so much that Gore lost his patience, screaming at him to “Get with the %*@%#&^ program!”
I'd say the same thing to anyone proposing another law as the band-aid that will finally control nuts who care nothing about rules. Magical thinking is excusable in children, but it is contemptible in adults who live in la-la land, not the real world.
The real world is beset with myriad real problems because too many people are either too stupid or too spineless to utter the solutions that would solve problems. If it's not politically correct and approved by committees composed of robots who never had an original thought in their lives, that solution will be discarded in favor of repeating old ideas proven not to work.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Based on that definition, it is insane to think another gun law will work. Maybe, but not on this planet, and surely not in the real world.
Executing shooters and bombers obviously has insufficient deterrent value. Life sentences? Ditto. When they're out of sight, they're out of mind. We need a better solution. Here's one of mine: Put them in a steel cage, perhaps in Washington, or better yet in the town they terrorized, so people can creatively make their lives an endless living hell. If you think this public imprisonment with a 360° view of the cell might violate the constitutional provision against “cruel and unusual punishment,” keep in mind the iniquity of criminals guarantees there will be cruelty—the only question is who will receive it. Them or us?
I vote them.
Want to see cruelty? Watch this video of a home invasion in which “a young mother [was] brutally beaten by a burglar in front of her 3-year-old daughter”:
The Supreme Court has no problem trampling the Constitution when it reduces our freedom and tightens the noose around our necks. Ezra Pound was arrested for treason for making radio broadcasts criticizing the United States during World War II. For exercising one of his freedoms, he was held “in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage … lit up all night by floodlights” for 25 days and then “incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.”
The freedom to criticize the government is arguably our most important freedom. Our leaders are not angels who always do the right thing; many of them are scoundrels who need constant monitoring and criticism, which must often come from ordinary people now the press is largely in bed with the politicians.
But that's another story. What's relevant here is that there is precedent for using outdoor steel cages as a deterrent. It is a gross miscarriage of justice to use them for people exercising their right of free speech—but for monsters who shoot kids in school? Or monsters who blow up people watching the Boston Marathon? Lock 'em up, in public, so the public they hate so much can give them punishments bound to make the next would-be shooter or bomber think twice.
Our inside-the-box criminal justice system obviously does not adequately deter such crimes. Now it's our turn.
- Obama in Newtown: ‘We can’t tolerate this anymore’
Excerpt: “We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. In the coming weeks, I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents, and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have?”
Comment: Agreed. But more gun laws aren't the answer. President Obama is a genius who can do better than that. The United States is so chock-full of laws that I fear I might break one by giving free chicken eggs, free firewood, free microhomes, free medical care, a free ER cookie and Jell-O mold, and a gift to my mail lady that substantially exceeded the maximal allowable federal limit. (read more about that) People can violate a federal law for selling stuff they legally purchased at Wal-Mart and other big stores that have the right to sell us toxic junk (1, 2) that we cannot legally sell, thanks to dumbo George W. Bush, the conservative who cared about our rights. Hogwash! By the way, George, if you care about doing the right thing, why don't you give $10 million to the family of the man your wife killed?
Our gun laws are so onerous that when I grabbed my .44 Magnum to stop the crime described above, I was more worried about what the prosecutor might do to me (nothing, it turned out, but I didn't know that at the time) than what the criminals might do to me—yes, criminals, as in more than one of them. Without a gun, I would have been … dead?
In 2008, then-Senator Obama said one of the most incisively brilliant comments ever uttered in politics by ridiculing the idea of mandating healthcare or a solution to homelessness. You can mandate a solution to anything, but if signing laws could solve problems, we wouldn't have any. Solving Problem A with Law A often creates Problems B and C, which is why we have more problems now than we did a few decades ago even though those busy little legislative beavers have since enacted countless laws.
Virtually all commonsensical laws (prohibiting murder, rape, theft, etc.) were written long before you and I were born. In the decades since, we have millions and millions of more pages of new laws and regulations, but more problems than ever. Is this legislative control working? Did the National Do Not Call Registry stop “Rachel from Cardholder Services” and other telemarketers of that ilk? Did it stop the men who beat my father to death with a pipe?
- Get Mad, Live 2 Years Longer
- The Anger Advantage: The Surprising Benefits of Anger and How it Can Change a Woman's Life