Upon hearing that a man dressed in a military-style outfit was shooting people with an assault rifle at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California on Sunday, I imagine that there were at least some Californians saying to themselves, “That’s impossible. It’s illegal in California to take an assault rifle into a public festival.” Indeed, according to Wikipedia, “The gun laws of California are some of the most restrictive in the United States.” So, what are gun-control advocates in California going to do now? Make their gun laws even more restrictive?
For 20 years, I have been writing that people who are going to kill other people with guns don’t give a hoot about gun laws. After all, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, if a person doesn’t care about obeying a law against murder, he’s not going to care about violating a law against taking an assault rifle into a food festival.
But ordinary, law-abiding people do care about obeying gun laws. That’s because many of these laws make it a felony offense to violate them. That means jail time, big fines, and a serious criminal record. Even when it’s just a misdemeanor offense, oftentimes a conviction can also mean jail time.
For most people, violating the law in order to have a means of self-defense is just not worth the risk. The chances of being caught in a place where some mass murderer is indiscriminately shooting people is relatively low and, therefore, not enough to justify the risk of a felony conviction if caught with, say, a concealed handgun for self-defense.
Thus, as we learn, once again, gun-control laws destroy people’s natural, God-given right of self-defense by disarming them, while, at the same time, do nothing to dissuade a mass murderer from wreaking his deadly mayhem on innocent, disarmed victims.
Of course, the deeper question is why this sort of thing continues to happen in the United States.
Here is my personal thesis as to the series of mass killings in America, one that I have set out in previous articles. Keep in mind that I am not a psychiatrist and, therefore, that this is just a personal theory. But I remain convinced that it is a valid one.
I believe that America’s forever wars, sanctions, embargoes, and assassinations overseas are triggering some sort of mechanism within the minds of people who are bit off kilter mentally, which is causing them to wreak the same sort of violent and deadly mayhem here at home that the US government, specifically the Pentagon and the CIA, is wreaking in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
For some 30 years, US officials have led the American people into believing that all the death and destructive wreaked on people overseas would have no effect on American society. After all, since the killings happen thousands of miles away from American shores, how could that affect the American people?
For three decades, there have been two separate worlds. One world is thousands of miles away and entails constantly killing people with sanctions, embargoes, bombs, shootings, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, occupations, undeclared wars, coups, and alliances with violent dictators. Hundreds of thousands of people killed, maimed, or exiled or have their homes and businesses destroyed by US forces.
The other world is here at home. Americans go to work. They go on vacation. They go to sports events and concerts. They engage in their hobbies. And whenever they see a person in military uniform, they go out of their way to thank him for his service, which purportedly consists of protecting the freedoms here at home by killing people abroad.
But the truth is that the freedom of the American people has never been threatened by any of the hundreds of thousands of people they have killed overseas. At worst, Americans have been threatened by terrorist strikes in retaliation for the death and destruction the US government wreaks overseas.
Through it all, there has been a remarkable lack of concern for the sanctity of human life over there. Who cares, for example, about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed at the hands of US forces, beginning with the Persian Gulf War, continuing through the 11 years of deadly sanctions, followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq based on those supposed WMDs? The deaths of all those people just don’t matter.
During the many years of the Iraq occupation (labeled “Operation Iraqi Freedom”), church ministers all across the country exhorted their congregations to pray for US troops in Iraq but never for their victims, even though it is undisputed that neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States. Even while constantly reminding people of the sanctity of life when it comes to the unborn, church ministers have forgotten that in the eyes of God, the lives of the born, including the foreign born, is just as sacred as the lives of the unborn.
US sanctions and embargoes target innocent foreign citizens with death, with the aim of achieving a political end, i.e., regime change. And there is never an upward limit on the number of people who can be killed in the process of trying to achieve that political end. Any number of deaths is considered “worth it,” the words used by US Ambassador to UN Madeleine Albright to justify the deaths of half-a –million Iraqi children from US sanctions.
What does all this have to do with the California shooting and, for that matter, other instances of mass violence in America? I believe that when a nation’s government has been killing people continuously for three decades, all that death and destruction is inevitably going to seep into the subconscious of individual citizens, even though it’s happening thousands of miles away and even though the government tries to keep us immune from it. Most of us can handle it but my thesis is that there are some people who are a bit off-kilter mentally who cannot handle it. I believe that the massive death and destruction ultimately triggers something within them that causes them to mirror here in the United States what the US government is doing overseas. In their off-kilter minds, they are unable to do what US officials do — place a high value on the sanctity of American life and no value on foreign life. For the off-kilter people, all life is equally valueless. The fact that some of these mass killers are military veterans and may even have participated in the oversea death, destruction, and mayhem makes the psychological situation even more problematic.
There is an easy way to test my thesis: bring the forever wars to an immediate end and bring all US soldiers home immediately. Even if my thesis isn’t correct, it’s the morally right thing to do anyway.
Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is a project of Dr. Paul’s Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (F.R.E.E.), founded in the 1970s as an educational organization. The Institute continues and expands Dr. Paul’s lifetime of public advocacy for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties at home. Visit http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org