Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Violence is Not Left or Right. It is Violence.

In the wake of the GOP ballpark shooting, politicians and pundits have been warning about the dangers of "left wing violence" and calling for restraint.  Which is fucking balderdash when you consider that in the past 10 years right-wing extremists have been responsible for about 74 percent of murders committed by domestic extremists in the United States

But more important than left- or right-wing violence is the fact of violence itself.  Violence is violence, an unfortunate human trait that is not always easy to predict or prevent.  What we can do, though, is look for the clues.  One clue is a  history of domestic abuse.  Maybe, just maybe, their previous violent behaviors could disqualify them from owning a weapon, especially weapons of mass destruction such as assault rifles and high-capacity automatic handguns.  That way, even when we miss all of the clues, the carnage is likely to be much less.

One of the enduring lessons of my military service is how easy it is to kill another human being.  Walking through the jungle in Vietnam with an M-16 in my hand it was disturbingly obvious that I could kill the guy in front of me just by pulling the trigger.  Any number of reasons, including the fact that such an act would be just plain wrong, kept me from acting on that thought.  You don't need any imagination to know what carnage an individual blinded by ideology, well-armed and acting with the element of surprise can inflict.  We have too many actual examples.

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