Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Yes, it was terrorism

I just realized I missed my blog's birthday, which was three weeks ago. I've now been writing this blog for eight years. This is post 3060.

Another mass shooting, this one in San Bernadino. And it was nasty. I'll let you read other sources for details. I'll only discuss the issues swirling around the shooting.

In response to the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs the conservative media sphere did all they could to blame everyone but the shooter (gosh, you wouldn't think they'd blame gay people, would you?) and the straight white male supremacy that guided his actions. In contrast, after the San Bernadino shooting all the GOP prez. Candidates can manage is offering up thoughts and prayers. That prompted a string of tweets pointing out how much each GOP candidate has received from the NRA. And a front page from the New York Daily News saying "God isn't fixing this."

Melissa McEwen of Shakesville is annoyed that the San Bernadino shooting was talked about as an act of terrorism only after the shooters were tied to the Islamic State. Why wasn't the shooter at Planned Parenthood also described as a terrorist? Did one incident get the label because of ties to Islam? Did the other not get tagged by that word because it is in support of patriarchy?

Yup, another vote in Congress fails to do anything about controlling guns. A commenter suggests a headline like this might work: "Speaker Ryan Wants Terrorist to be Allowed to Buy Guns."

Also as usual, the GOP blamed the recent shootings on mental illness. Ryan even promised to move on legislation dealing with mental illness – as in reducing the funding to treat mental illness, restrict the rights of the mentally ill, and authorize coercive treatment programs. These provisions will not treat mental illness. They will only frighten the ill away from treatment. Besides, there is no research linking the mentally ill to gun violence. All this is a way to deflect attention from inaction on gun control.

A small ray of hope: The Supremes refused to hear a case about a ban on assault weapons. Back in 2013 Highland Park, Illinois banned residents from owning assault weapons. The Illinois State Rifle Association challenged the ban in the 7th Circuit and lost. They appealed to the Supremes. Since the Supremes aren't taking the case the ban is upheld. Only four justices are needed to accept the case. They may have gotten only two – Scalia and Thomas, who objected to not taking the case.

A month ago I wrote a post about evolution. As part of it I wrote that the peacock with the showiest tail gets the most mates. Frank McAndrew, professor of Psychology at Knox College and writing for Huffington Post expands on that idea. Young human males, about ages 17-30, are looking for status, a way to prove to mates they are worthy of mating. They compete with other males to show off their ability to acquire resources, show strength, and defeat challengers. Even reckless behavior was rewarded with status. To some extent modern sports is a safe way to demonstrate status.

For those without status and mates there is another way to come out on top – the gun. Elliot Rodger, who before he went on a rampage in 2014 said this about his first gun.
After I picked up the handgun I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power. Who’s the alpha male now, bitches?
That means there is a precarious manhood and a Young Male Syndrome – men in their 20s are six times more likely to be murdered than women of the same age. Would that be the same if they simply didn't have access to guns?

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