The heart bleeds for those children suddenly killed, apparently by Nikolas Cruz, a teenager with a fascination for guns and for no reason yet known. Unlike several mass killers, he didn't kill himself as well, so it will be possible to put him under the microscope and discover his motives. Whether that will actually be done, and whether the findings will be published, is another matter. Until last week it was not reported that the Cruz home was visited by police 39 times to answer complaints about his behavior, and when four cops arrived at the school after the shooting began, they stayed outside under cover instead of going in to "protect and serve" those who were about to die.
There is rumor of mental illness, see below, and I've seen neither confirmation nor denial that he was affected by drugs prescribed by a government-licensed doctor, as was the case with very many others who have slaughtered humans at random.
So there's a lot that's not yet known or reported; that has not stopped the hysterical shrieking of the gun-grabbers, who have this time got the student body at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Fort Lauderdale well and swiftly ochestrated; see for example this headline by PBS:
"Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump"
They are hollering for the President to ban AR-15s, or guns generally, or some such. Seems their education at MSD hasn't covered the Constitution too well, and the philosophy of human rights not at all. Even if he wanted to (and fortunately he doesn't) he could not just wave a wand and cause semi-auto guns to disappear from non-government ownership.
Contrary to these monumentally stupid outcries, those 17 people were not killed by Cruz's gun; it did not carry itself to the school, take aim and pull its own trigger. These 3,000 victims of government child abuse are looking for an explanation in the wrong haystack.
Such abuse happens at every government school; the interns are compelled to attend (unless their parents can afford both school taxes and the fees for an alternative) and made to sit still and take what is stuffed into their heads, for twelve years. But at the M S Douglas academy, it may have been more brutal than the average; Ms Douglas was a lefty's lefty, a feminist environmentalist of the 19th Century, whose lifetime achievement was to keep the Everglades out of the hands of real owners, who would otherwise have arranged their use in ways the market actually demands. Ironic indeed, that in a State where the R/D split is rather close to 50/50, Fort Lauderdalian children should be indoctrinated with Leftist archism, not even balanced by Rightist archism. Hence the present deafening chorus.
The school had expelled Cruz, evidently for bringing a knife to class; clearly he proved a menace so that is one thing it did right - and expulsion can't be easy when attendance is compelled by law and enforced by truant police. One very good reason for tearing up the entire system and leaving education to competing, for-profit institutions, who know very well how to maintain high standards of conduct and to deal with troublemakers. But what then moved Cruz to sneak in carrying a large and visible gun, after a fire drill, and create mayhem? Nobody knows, or if they do they aren't telling. In this town-sized institution there was one guard authorized to carry a firearm, and he never saw Cruz arrive. Had any teacher who so wished been packing a piece, the body count would have been lower; coach Aaron Feis for example had time to throw his body over some kids and save them at the cost of his own life, so had he been armed he for one could have brought the attacker down.
Still, armed teachers in a school... it's a terrible commentary on the system, that such an idea is even being discussed. A mere two or three generations ago, the only weapon in sight was a cane - and kids were usually free to bring a gun to school, have it cared for during lessons, reclaim it at day's end and so some hunting on the way home. This system that Horace Mann began in 1840 has become a lethal monster, and genuine learning, if any, happens in spite of it.
The tragic incident has prised open the matter of mental illness. It is loaded with implications.
Half a century ago, Thomas Szasz reasoned that mental illness does not exist. There are of course some unfortunate few whose brains suffered a defect from birth, or are damaged by Alzheimer's in senility, but he proposed that there is no disease of the mind comparable to those of the body. If a person "goes gaga" what's happening is that he or she is taking refuge from circumstances that seem too harsh to handle; and as such, it's a perfectly rational response. Consequence for Cruz: he is as sane as you or me (well, you, anyway) and should be tried for his krimes as a responsible adult. It will even so be interesting to learn what circumstances drove him to take refuge in the pretense of being mad.
If Szasz was mistaken and Cruz does have a genuine defect of the mind so that he is incapable of telling right from wrong, then for sure he ought not to be held accountable at all. Moral responsibility begins with that ability; if there is no free choice, there can be neither blame nor praise. And in that case (that there is such a thing as mental illness) then yes, I'd have to agree that it would be cruel, in the coming zero government society, to allow the afflicted person access to a gun; for should he point it at someone, even without intent to harm, the result may well be that the apparently threatened person would very justifiably draw and shoot him dead. Telling, in advance, who is and is not sane and responsible would in that case be one the most difficult problems that society will face. So I hope that Szasz was right.
Meanwhile there is ample evidence of mental deficiency, at least, in the relentless drumbeat of demand for a legal ban on certain weapons, just as if laws were in some way useful. The perfectly obvious fact that someone bent on murder will ignore all lesser laws such as weapon prohibitions seems to go clean over the gun-grabbers' heads; they are not open to reason. Such is the madness of crowds.
What's actually needed is what will be delivered before the coming zero government society begins: a process of universal re-education whose primary lesson is that every person has the right of self ownership, and therefore that his life may not be taken by another. The reasons we humans generally do not go around killing each other are (a) there is a strong taboo against it built in to our genes, and (b) a reinforcement of that taboo in the form of ethical lessons, drawn from religions or other sources. Religion is less effective now than it used to be, but that understanding of rational ethics will be even more powerful. Nothing more is needed, and nothing less will do.