To the Editor:
This is in response to John McClaughry’s commentary “Futile Gun Control Schemes Back Again.” So is John’s favorite fantasy: suspending the corpse of the shooter, then letting it rot in a cage, followed by allowing passers by to urinate on the remains. He liked the idea so much four years ago, he feels it bears repeating. McClaughry adds, “That will strike some people as disgustingly medieval.”
Yes, it certainly does. McClaughry’s medieval solution is sick and twisted on its own merits, but it wouldn’t even serve as a deterrent: the vast majority of mass shooters die in the kill off, usually self-inflicted. And, just curious, if the author fantasizes over mutilating mass shooters, what does he have in mind for the CEOs of the pharmaceutical companies responsible for peddling opioids that kill 70,000+ Americans each year, and the pharmacists who liberally dispense them? And then there are the pedophiles… . Pull out the stops Mr. McClaughry. Let’s go dark.
McClaughry writes that “Trump recognizes that guns don’t pull their own triggers…” The “guns-don’t-kill-people, people-kill-people” mantra reemerges. Yes, guns don’t kill people. People kill people, with guns: they kill lots of people, with guns. The mow down dozens of innocents, quickly, with guns. Assault weapons designed for that purpose. That’s a description for a battlefield, not a shopping mall.
McClaughry claims that “The big challenge here is to locate and get inside the head of a prospective mass murderer, to influence him to decide against committing the act. That’s a task for psychiatrists… .”
Arthur C. Evans, Jr., CEO of the American Psychological Association, reminds us “Blaming mental illness for the gun violence in our country is simplistic and inaccurate and goes against the scientific evidence currently available.” This isn’t about mental illness as McClaughry claims. It’s about anger. While true that males exhibit antisocial personality disorders at a rate three times higher than women, we should still, then, expect to see one-third of all acts of mass murder committed by women. We don’t.
Treat these mass murderers as the domestic terrorists they are, and employ all the tools we use against international terrorism. It has worked to protect us from international terrorists since 2001. I don’t see us leaving it up to psychiatrists to “influence” international terrorists to decide against committing their acts. With 327 million Americans on our soil, we require more than a phalanx of shrinks to control the hatred and organized white nationalism on the rise.
And we need Donald Trump to stop encouraging it, although there are unsubstantiated claims that he’s fond of being urinated on. Again, not a useful deterrent.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont