Both Gendron and Ramos were very obviously mentally ill. The people around them knew that. Both killers had told other people they planned to commit a mass shooting and then they did. So, what can we learn from this? Well, the first most obvious answer is that the system in place didn’t work. Gendron’s teacher sent him to a mental hospital for evaluation. They knew he was a threat. They tried their best. He committed a massacre anyway. So, we know for a fact that what we’re doing isn’t working, but we should also be honest enough to acknowledge that it’s very hard to know what to do instead.
Despite what you may have heard, the problem isn’t that we don’t care enough. There’s not a person in this country who was not horrified by the sight of murdered children. It’s the worst thing, and everybody thinks that. The problem is that the human mind is much more complex and harder to control than we like to admit.
A person who is intent on committing violence is very hard to stop under any circumstances. An act of Congress isn’t going to do it, neither will gun control. There are more guns in this country than there are people. There always have been. However you feel about that fact, you can acknowledge that we will never get rid of all of those guns. The Constitution prohibits that, and you would set off a civil war if you tried to do it.
So gun control, whether you find the slogans appealing or not, will not stop the next Payton Gendron or Salvador Ramos and every rational person knows it. The only way to stop these killings is to figure out why American society is producing so many violent young men. There is a reason they are acting this way. What is that reason? And it’s not just mass shooters, by the way, the ones you see on television. It’s gang bangers and carjackers and armed robbers and indiscriminate haters who put strangers in front of subway trains. We have a lot of people like that in this country all of a sudden, more than you like to think about.
Why are they acting this way? That’s the only question that matters. Of course, it’s the only question our leaders hate to address because there’s nothing in it for them.
Last night, the president of the United States went on television just hours after 19 small children had been murdered. He didn’t do that to uplift or unite the country, which was already united in its sorrow. Instead, he took the opportunity to once again harangue anyone who didn’t vote for him, and he did it, as always, with a series of stale talking points leftover from the 1980s. It was a shameful display. Here’s part of it.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: As a nation, we have to ask: When, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When, in God’s name, we do we all know in our gut needs to be done? What, in God’s name, do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? The deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick and the gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.
Children are dying because the gun lobby is profiting. It’s disgusting he would say something like that. It’s also untrue. It’s mindless. The New York Times, by the way, said the same thing within hours of the shooting. The gun lobby. Please. The NRA declared bankruptcy last year. The NRA is a husk. In 2021, for example, the tech company spent more than $ 70 million lobbying Congress.
Big Pharma spent $ 92 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter of 2021 alone. The NRA spent just $ 2.2 million total lobbying in all of 2020, a presidential election year. Spare us. Whatever the problem is, it’s not the gun lobby. They’re not the reason those children were murdered yesterday. It’s insulting and divisive and stupid. This is too serious a moment for nonsense like that. Stop.
But over at MSNBC, they were completely convinced. Watch.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And again, as President Biden said, I thought he did an extraordinary job last night and I really do. I feel sorry for those who actually saw that and were actually forced to say something really s—– about him after he did it. I mean that that’s how they make their money. It really makes me really sad for them that they have that dark of a soul, that they’re that twisted.
Oh. Joe Scarborough said a naughty word on TV. This must be serious. And fact, i is very serious. In fact, it’s too serious for tired partisan platitudes from the Reagan era. Update your profile. Politicians offering solutions to the tragedy that in the end serve only to make their political party more powerful should be excluded from this conversation. It is too important. They are speaking in bad faith, obviously, and so is anyone whose bodyguards carry extended magazines or other so-called weapons of war. They’re hypocrites. They have no standing.
Get back to us when you follow your own demands and anyone on TV who’s been accused of a crime should also take this opportunity to be very quiet. No wants a moral lecture from you, but unfortunately that’s essentially all we’re getting, more wind, at a time when we need more than that. Beto O’Rourke, who is running for office again because he has no marketable skills, just stormed a press conference to berate Texas officials. He did this in front of the families of some of yesterday’s victims. Watch.
DAN PATRICK: Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.
BETO O’ROURKE: The time to stop this was after Santa Fe High School.
TED CRUZ: Sit down.
PATRICK: You’re out of line and an embarrassment.
CRUZ: Sit down and don’t play this stuff.
O’ROURKE: It was after El Paso, Texas. The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing. You are offering us nothing.
UVALDE MAYOR DON MCLOUGHLIN: No, he needs to get his a– out of here. This isn’t the place to talk this over.
O’ROURKE: You said this is not predictable. This is totally predictable when you chose not to do anything.
MCLOUGHLIN: Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you’re out of line. Sir, you’re out of line. Please leave this auditorium. I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a b—- that you would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.
O’ROURKE: It’s on you until you choose to do something about it.
MCLOUGHLIN: It’s on a——- like you. Why don’t you get out of here?
Oh, come on. That’s saving lives? That’s making us a better country? Beto O’Rourke sounds like one of those lunatics from the Westboro Baptist Church, gets off on making a scene, but that’s essentially the answer we’ve gotten to how to fix and prevent what happened in Uvalde. Please, anyone who talks like this should be quiet for a minute and leave it to everybody else to figure out why this is happening and this is bigger than a single mass shooting or even two of them in 10 days. There has been a huge increase in violence in America on our streets, on public transportation, in our schools. It’s not a guess, it’s measurable.
From January 1st to April 10th of this year, robberies in the New York transit system are up more than 70% year over year. Felony assaults in the subway have increased by 28%. Grand larceny, according to NYPD, is up by more than 100%. Those are all crimes of violence and that’s just underground. The same thing is happening on the streets and if you don’t know it, you just got back to the country after a while.
According to ABC News, “about 11% of violent crime in the city of Los Angeles involved a homeless person in 2018, 13% in 2019 and 15% in 2020.” If that was a graph, it would look like that. Keep in mind, the homeless make up about 1% of the total population of Los Angeles, but they’re involved in nearly a fifth of all violent crimes in the city. Oh, but ignore it. It’s not happening. And yet everyone who lives here knows that it is happening because the numbers go up every year and if you have kids, you know what’s happening because it’s the same story in the schools.
The executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, Mo Canady, told Fox Business that schools are, “seeing more aggression in terms of fights. Sometimes they’re shoving matches and sometimes they’re flat-out assaults. It’s more misbehavior, thefts and those kinds of things” in schools. It didn’t used to happen. It’s happening now. Why? It’s not guns. It’s not a gun lobby.
More American families had guns at home 50 years ago than they do now. According to the Rand Corporation, which studied this, 45% of American homes had a gun in 1980. In 2016, that had dropped to 32%. So the problem is not that we’re more armed than we were. The problem is that people have changed. Young men have changed. They are more violent. Why?
That’s the bipartisan conversation we need to have now. And that conversation has been drowned out by lunatic attention seekers who are hoping to win the next election, but we don’t need them now. Never mind your election. There’s something really wrong and we can figure it out if we try.
There are probably a lot of causes. The use of antidepressants in this country is increasing dramatically. Between 1991 and 2018, total SSRI consumption increased in the US by more than 3,000%. 3,000%. Remember, these are supposed to reduce mental illness. Now, that’s a real stat. It was published in the medical journal “Science of the Total Environment” and it’s not just this country.
In Canada, state-funded antidepressant prescriptions for young people doubled over the last decade. Then during the lockdowns, SSRI prescriptions increased even more. A pharmacy group called “Express Scripts” reported that antidepressant prescriptions went up by more than 20% during COVID. According to latest figures, more than 40 million Americans are now taking psychoactive drugs. That’s roughly 1 in 10.
So, again, the point of these drugs is to make you healthier mentally, to reduce suicide and violence, and yet suicide rates and rates of violence are spiking. Now, we don’t know that that’s causation, but it’s worth looking at. Of course, it’s immoral to criticize Big Pharma. Could we use an honest conversation about this? Yes, immediately. Clearly, something’s going on. Watch.
GILLIAN TURNER: Three major medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have together declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health caused by COVID. Parents report grief, anxiety and depression among children, citing school closures and forced isolations as the primary culprits. Suicide attempts among adolescents are rising sharply, most acutely among 12 to 17-year-old girls by 51% since the start of the pandemic.
Oh, so the lockdowns dramatically increase the incidence of mental illness among young people and in 10 days, we’ve seen two mass shootings by mentally ill young people. Could there be a connection? Now, that’s not finger-pointing. It’s not to blame Fauci for yesterday’s shooting. We’re not that low. We’re not Joe Biden, but if people are becoming mentally ill because they’re disconnected from others, what can we do to connect them to others and thereby reduce the incidence of mental illness? That’s a real conversation. Is there a more important one?
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people just died of ODs and the pandemic is responsible for some of that. Watch.
GEOFF BENNETT: New numbers out today from the CDC show how drug overdoses have surged during the pandemic. More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021. That’s the highest annual death toll ever recorded and a 15% increase from the year before. Deaths involving fentanyl, meth and cocaine rose sharply.
Ok. So, people are doing more drugs, they’re more unstable, they’re killing themselves more often and in some rare cases, they’re killing others. Now, what kind of mindset would it take to go murder children in an elementary school? You are so disconnected from other human beings that that seems okay to you. What could be adding to the feeling of disconnection we have from one another?
Well, in 2020, adults in the United States spent an average of 8 hours every day on digital media staring at a screen. The lockdowns made it worse. They’re not the only cause, but they definitely exacerbated it. That’s a 20% jump from 2019.
One of the people who spent an awful lot of time online during the pandemic was the shooter in Uvalde. He reportedly played a lot of Call of Duty instead of going outside. The shooter in Buffalo also spent a lot of time online as well. In fact, he blamed the Internet for radicalizing him: “I spent almost a year planning this attack,” he wrote on April 26. “Oh, how time flies. If I could go back, maybe I’d tell myself to get the f off 4Chan and the worldtruthvideos and get an actual life. Too late for that now.”
Now, that’s not an argument for censoring those or any other sites. It’s an argument for experiencing real life, nature, other people, animals, anything but a screen. Staring at a screen all day puts you into your own world, and in some small number of cases, it drives you insane. It makes you mentally ill and violent. That’s very obvious. That’s one of the reasons that people in Silicon Valley, the tech executives, don’t – their own kids – lose themselves in their stupid iPads.
Back in September of 2013 after a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, the late Charles Krauthammer identified the problem. We have a lot of mentally ill people and we need to stop ignoring them. Obviously, we’ve ignored that warning, so here it is again.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: He needed help. 30 years ago, the cops would have brought him to a psychiatric emergency room. He probably would have gotten antipsychotics and he probably would have been hospitalized for a couple of weeks. That’s the way it was done in the seventies when I practiced psychiatry, but today that doesn’t happen. The cops left. He was left on his own. He was a man who shouldn’t have been on his own. He should have had the state looking after him and he ended up killing people in a way that. Look, you want to respect the civil liberties of everybody, but there is a point in which if you don’t take control of people who are clearly out of touch with reality, you are damaging them, exposing them, and, of course, tragically exposing a lot of innocents around them.
Yeah, exactly. The stuff is complicated, the human mind is complicated and if the environment changes, so does the mind. People can’t go outside or talk to other people or spend 8 hours a day staring at a screen. If they’re on brain–changing chemicals in huge numbers, tens of millions of people, you think that has an effect?
Yeah. What effect? Well, is anyone studying what murderers, not just mass murderers, but all murderers, have in common? Apparently not. It would be nice to know. Instead of telling us about the gun lobby. Please, no one believes that. And why, by the way, is the answer to mass shootings always universal gun confiscation?
Shouldn’t we be focused on the people who did it, on the dangerous people? It’s like forcing the entire population into drug rehab in response to the fentanyl crisis. Probably better to focus on the addicts. Why did they get addicted? How can we help them?
Let’s be serious about this. Children died. It’s real. Stop with the talking points. Be honest.