Op-Ed: Murder Motivation - Why Most of America is Immune to Gun Violence

What was your motivation for the murder you committed yesterday?

If you can't answer that, then you are in the 99.996% of the population that also assassinated nobody.

When it comes to guns, we already know that the largest cluster of gun deaths (61%) are suicides, and that suicide is a mental health problem than no gun or magazine ban prevents. The next largest cluster are gun crimes (35%), with the remaining deaths being accidents or justifiable (even meritorious) homicides. Clearly, focusing on criminal misuse of firearms is the public policy objective, alongside of better mental health care for seriously depressed people.

But as a wise old doctor once quipped "You don't treat cancer pain with aspirin. You cut out the cancer." This is where gun control addicts differ from doctors and rational people: the latter group is focused on the disease (crime and mental health) and not the symptoms (what type of weapon may have been used).

Since you have admitted to an utter lack of motivation to commit murder, society needs to examine the other 0.004% of the population that wants to kill (actually, since violence is largely a repeat offender activity, it is quite a bit less than 0.004%).

Any street cop will tell you that thugs don't think the same way as you do. Sociopathic tendencies are a hallmark of criminals. So much so that the dictionary defines sociopath as "a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience." You find murder to be repugnant. Contrarily, members of the Black Dragons or White Fence street gangs might find killing people a recreational diversion, or a rite of passage.

It's important to isolate criminal killings. Identifying the murder cancer tells us which type of chemotherapy to apply. In the long run, curing the cause of sociopathic tendencies is better than simply tossing all thugs in jail. But in the short term, filling prisons with violent criminals is a damn good idea.


First and foremost, we need better mental health care. Seriously depressed or traumatized people kill themselves and are the largest block of gun deaths (61%). After that we need to focus on the single largest source of gun homicides, namely the nexus of gangs and drugs in the inner-city. To reduce those deaths, we need to understand what creates fraternal sociopathy in gangs and defuse that. Our best first step is removing repeat violent offenders from poor neighborhoods. The next step is to police those same neighborhoods and encourage safe/sane self-defense. Lastly, we need to deglamorize gangs.

The one thing that won't work - that failed during the 1970s and 1980s – is gun control. Guns are a symptom of a disease. Let's treat the disease.

Click here to read the entire op-ed at CalGunLaws.com.

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