The “Opportunity Cost” of Current Gun Debate Will Lead to More Deaths

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By Kevin Price, Editor at Large, USABR.

So the debate rages on about guns and the frequency of mass killings in our schools, as they only become more common.

The mass killing in Parkland, Florida almost seems, sadly, routine.   What is different this time is that the affected young people are taking a stand and demanding action.  This is commendable, of course and there are few things more compelling than a young person rightfully demanding protection.

However, what these students are calling for is the same thing we have heard before — gun control.  Yet no one, including these students, can argue these guns are causing these catastrophic events.  Just this week the Austin bomber killed himself when the police were about to close in on him.  Yet, I have not seen any calls for the designating of these bombs as illegal, because they already are. In fact, talk about prohibiting their production only embarrasses those who would propose good control as a solution.  Every mass murderer breaks dozens of laws in these acts of violence, if the gun he wanted was difficult to achieve, he would use another type.  Or, he would use a truck, or make an improvised bomb… the list goes on.

The opportunity cost of a debate on guns — which is the tool of only some of these killers — is devastating.  Let’s address the reason why they are murdering, not what they are using to do so.  Opportunity cost is an economic concept which means, simply, the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.  We are focusing all of our attention on the weapon, which will not change the behavior, rather than why these murderers perpetrate their crimes.

The problem with the entire discussion being on the weapons is that it ignores the most important realities about mass murderers. Limiting gun rights only impacts law abiding citizens who would never murder anyone, be it with guns, trucks, or other tools of mass killings.  The story of these spree killers includes the violation of many laws before the actual act.  Why would they care how they carried out the crime after often breaking dozens of laws?

Mass murderers are evil or sick, but they are not stupid. The argument that taking away guns from mass murderers would prevent them from happening defies all logic. There is no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, everything points to a different conclusion. One of the biggest mass murders in US history, the bombing of the Bath School, led to the death of 44 and the injury of many others.  This was done without a single gun involved, back in 1927. The same was true with the Oklahoma City bombing, which again was not done with guns, but found 168 dead and hundreds more injured. I think gun control advocates get confused about what these evil people believe they are doing. They do not see themselves as shooters, per se, but as killers.  The choice of weapon is not particularly consequential. In Japan, where gun laws are among the most restrictive in the world, poison gas was used to kill people in a subway. In France, we saw a truck plow down innocent lives. I am sure that some of these sick people love the challenge of pulling these murders off as part of a game. When it is more challenging, it might only be more interesting rather than a deterrent.

We should be discussing the “why” behind these events.  What is interesting is the number of people in these stories that suffer from mental health issues and take medicines with warnings of “leading to suicidal thoughts” or “violence.”  In fact, mental health specialist Dr. Linda Lagemann, has told my radio audience that the “vast majority” of these assailants, are on these type of drugs and their use should be reexamined.  It is important to note they were not on these drugs because of suicidal or violent tendencies, but developed them while on these medications. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. David Grossman, who is a best selling author and leading authority on killology, has told my audience about how the rise of incredibly realistic violent video games since the 1990s has fostered whole generations that are desensitized about killing.  Think about the rise of these games and the growth in this type of violence.  Evidence indicates there is a direct link between the rise of these games and these killings (particularly by young people in schools).

These young people are right in demanding protection, but we must focus on the cause and not the weapons of mass killings, or many more of these events will transpire.

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