A 99% solution to stop mass murders

I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want more mass-murders. We want to stop them, but the question is how. I’ve studied armed defense for about a decade. While I admit there is more to learn, that makes me an elite subject matter expert compared to the journalists and politicians who shape public policy. We can stop most mass-murders today. There are the solutions we should use, the solutions we could use, and the non-solutions that politicians have used already. Let me bring you up to speed in a hurry.

The bad news is that we built this problem of mass-murder and celebrity-murderers. The good news is that we can fix it. Society changed in significant ways over the last 5 decades. We destroyed families so many young men grew up without fathers. No one taught these young men how to control their strength and their anger. We closed our mental-health facilities and put mentally ill patients out on the street. Recently, we refused to prosecute, convict, and incarcerate violent criminals. Each of those factors certainly contribute to our problem of mass-murder today.

We can disagree about what we meant to do as we changed our public policies but there is no argument about the resulting outcome of increased mass-murder in the last several decades.

Each of those are contributing factors, but they are not the main cause of the increase. We have to address the elephant in the room.

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Something else changed in our society. We’ve read the journals and the interviews of mass-murderers and they told us exactly why they kill. They are willing to die so that they can be famous. The biggest problem is the dozens of 24-7 news channels who now give each mass-murderer a 10-million dollar publicity campaign if the murderer kills enough innocent victims. Those are not my words, but theirs. You don’t have to believe me but you should believe them. We created celebrity-murderers, and we should demand that the news media stop turning these mass-murderers into instant celebrities.

We should, but we won’t. The media will continue to sell shock and outrage in order to deliver our eyeballs to their advertisers. The murderers will keep on killing..if we let them.

The situation is far from hopeless, but we first have to turn our back on the things that don’t work.

We were told that mass-murderers would stop killing us if we limited the weapons they could legally use. We were told that we would be safe if we put up plastic signs that declared our schools, our churches, and our businesses to be “gun-free” zones.

We obeyed those rules. The good guys gave up some of their guns. They left their guns at home. Today, politicians get to put out great sounding press releases when they announce another “gun-free zone”.

The mass-murderers may be crazy, but they can read. These celebrity-murderers deliberately go to “gun-free” zones to hunt us.

Mass-murderers are not like us. They want to kill us and they do not want to get into a gunfight. They deliberately attack innocent victims where we are disarmed. Let me repeat that so I’m sure you understand.

Mass-murderers attempt to attack us in “gun-free” zones 49 out of 50 times.

Think about that. 49 times out of 50 is called a clue. The so-called “gun-free zones” that we created are where mass-murderers go to murder us and rack up a body count so the mainstream news media will make them famous.

Yes, things changed, and we didn’t have as many “gun-free” zones 50 years ago as we have today. It hardly matters what firearm the murderer has in his hands once he faces a group of unarmed victims. History proves that point since some of our worst mass-murders were committed with a revolver. The revolver is a firearms design that is almost 150 years old.

The concentration of disarmed victims in “gun free zones” explains why the states with the most gun-control laws have some of the highest rates of attempted mass-murder. The weapon the murderers use doesn’t matter once we’ve given the celebrity-murderers their perfect target to make themselves famous. As horrific as that sounds, it also tells us how to stop mass-murderers. We can stop mass-murderers if we are willing to listen.

Mass-murderers told us what frightens them. They are not afraid to die but they are deeply afraid to fail. We don’t have to stop every mass-murderer but we have to put every attempted mass-murder in doubt. The great news is that we’ve already done that.

It isn’t obvious yet, but we are closing the chapter on the brief history of mass-murders in the United States.

We stopped them. Ordinary people like you and I stopped mass-murderers. We learned to attack the murderer if he attacks us in a bar where we are disarmed. We learned to shoot the attacker if we are armed. We found out that shooting back works really well.

Where we are allowed to go armed, ordinary armed civilians stopped attempted mass-murderers over 104 times since 2004. An armed citizen isn’t there at every attempted mass-murder. If he is there, the armed citizen doesn’t choose to intervene every time. In the last few years we were effective at stopping mass-murderers 94-percent of the time when we tried. We stopped more than half of the attempted mass-murders where we were allowed to go armed.

This wasn’t the mass-murder they planned. Mass-murderers run away or shoot themselves when we shoot back.

Stopping half the mass-murderers is another vitally important clue and we should pay attention to it. To us it might feel like we let half of attempted mass-murders succeed. That is because you and I don’t think like a mass-murderer. Mass-murderers already feel like they are a failure.

Mass-murderers are not willing to take the chance and get shot in the back by grandma who was carrying her handgun in her purse.

Passing more laws and putting more ink on paper is easy but it hasn’t worked to stop mass-murderers. We know how to stop them if we are willing to listen. We should take down the plastic “no guns allowed” signs and stop disarming the good guys.

It turns out that thin plastic “No Guns” signs protect the property owners but they don’t protect the public. “No-guns allowed” signs stop lawsuits but they do not stop bullets. Taking down the plastic sign stops 49-out-of-50 mass-murderers. A 98-percent solution is far more effective than anything the politicians have proposed so far.

The rest is up to us. Ordinary citizens like you and I can take care of the next few percent. One-out-of-a-dozen adults are legally armed in public today. Unfortunately, we won’t stop every attempted mass-murder. The great news is that we don’t have to. We stop half of them today and we do enough so that the outcome is always in doubt if armed citizens are present.

Nothing is perfect. We will still have people who want to commit suicide and take innocent people with them. As I said earlier, mental health services are important. I wish we lived in a perfect world where we could eliminate evil. Until then, a 99-percent solution is good enough for me and it is good enough for most of us. It is certainly good enough to change the behavior of most mass-murderers and that is all that matters.

We should start with a 99-percent solution and make improvements from there. Take down the plastic signs.

Rob Morse writes about gun rights at his SlowFacts blog and hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast.

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