People Kill People

I’m sure we’re all stunned over the tragic events that took place in Colorado last night. Best thing to do is pray for the recovery of all the surviving victims and pray for the Lord to comfort the friends and families of those who didn’t make it. May God use this incident to draw people closer to him.

Something less than the best thing to do is complain about guns. Guns weren’t the problem; the clearly demon possessed individual that used those guns was the problem. Had he not had guns he would have had something else. The old adage is true: guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

But arguments such as this seem irrelevant in light of the tragedy itself. Regardless of the means of death; a lot of people are dead; and for that we should mourn.

B”H

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15 thoughts on “People Kill People

  1. While I agree with your basic point. Automatic weapons allow him to kill more people. It would not prevent people from killing. But it might be the difference of 6 to 10 being shot and 80 to 90.

  2. Adam: I hear ya, but he could have used common household items to fashion a bomb and kill more people than he ever could with an automatic weapon.

  3. Nick,
    Why then don’t we just make legal and easily available all means of weapons that can easily kill large groups if people?
    If he could have easiky killed more people with household items then why didn’t he? Are you suggesting his goal wasn’t to easily kill a large group of people and that’s why he went with automatic weapons instead of homemade bombs?
    All I know is that if all he had access to was muskets that many people wouldn’t have died.

  4. Bryan: What weapons do you know of that are illegal for everyone to own? Bomb makers often make their bombs out of perfectly legal materials. Other than bombs and firearms what weapons can kill large groups of people? So my point is that the means to kill large groups of people are already legal.

    And are automatic weapons really easily available through legal channels? Going the legal route makes it harder to obtain firearms. Going the illegal route makes them easier to obtain. I’d love to see some stats comparing murders committed with firearms that have been obtained legally and firearms obtained illegally. I have a sneaking suspicion that the illegal guns are used in more murders.

    I can’t speculate as to why he brought the guns to the theater and left the bombs at home to kill the cops who searched his house. I don’t know why demon possessed mass murderers do the things they do.

    I’m not suggesting that his goal wasn’t to kill a large group of people; clearly that was his goal. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Does anyone honestly think that if he didn’t have the guns he had that he wouldn’t have come up with another way to kill a bunch of people? We already know that he’s no stranger to bombs.

    And sure, it’s probably that less people would have died had he used muskets; no argument there (although it is possible that just as many could have died and less have been injured); but the weapons themselves weren’t the problem; the murder was. I know it’s anecdotal and there will be someone with another experience to contradict it; but most of the people I know who have guns have never killed anyone (any human at least).

    But let’s not pretend that mass murder is something that came along with the advent of the gun. People have been murdering groups of people since people were using sticks and stones. As I keep maintaining; the murderers are the problem; not their weapons.

  5. There’s plenty of weapons that are illegal for regular law abiding citizens of any age to own and really hard for them to obtain. Missle, Drones, Grenades, chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons…

    “So my point is that the means to kill large groups of people are already legal.”

    Sure, but lets not make it too easy for people to do that. Just because people can come up with all sorts of ways to kill doesn’t mean they’ll just go down the list once their preferred method becomes to difficult. People seem to be drawn to guns as a preferred method. Lets focus on that. If they switch to another method then we’ll look at that. The idea that people are going to do whatever they want so we shouldn’t try to make it harder for them to do so doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Accidentally hit “Post Comment” before I was finished…

    “I don’t know why demon possessed mass murderers do the things they do.”

    Why do you assume he had to be demon possessed to commit this crime. Do you think people only do heinous crimes when possessed by a demon? What does that mean? Are they not really responsible then for those crimes since their mind and body were possessed by a supernatural being? Do you think that in general when people do bad things there’s a demon behind it in some way?

    “I know it’s anecdotal and there will be someone with another experience to contradict it; but most of the people I know who have guns have never killed anyone (any human at least).”

    No argument from me on that. I’m not saying guns should be illegal.

    “But let’s not pretend that mass murder is something that came along with the advent of the gun. People have been murdering groups of people since people were using sticks and stones. As I keep maintaining; the murderers are the problem; not their weapons.”

    What mass murderer in history do you have in mind that killed a lot of people without a gun, bomb, or an army?

    I’d rather make it a lot harder for murderers to kill large groups of people at one time. Nobody is going to attack a crowd of 100 and kill 10 of them with just a sick and a slingshot. Imagine any of these recent rampages happening without guns. Columbine? Virginia Tech?

  7. Bryan: Seems like we both have to keep adding qualifications. But I suppose that’s always going to be the case. I’m sure I’ll add a few more before this comment is done:

    There’s plenty of weapons that are illegal for regular law abiding citizens of any age to own and really hard for them to obtain. Missle, Drones, Grenades, chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons…

    True, but not illegal for government agencies and military outfits, who sometimes are responsible for mass murder (and I’m not talking about war) as well.

    People seem to be drawn to guns as a preferred method. Lets focus on that. If they switch to another method then we’ll look at that. The idea that people are going to do whatever they want so we shouldn’t try to make it harder for them to do so doesn’t make any sense.

    But make it harder how? Again, obtaining firearms legally is not the simplest process in the world. That’s why so many criminals go about it illegally. Plus, going the legal route means the authorities knowing who owns the weapon and subsequently if they (or someone else) has used it to harm/kill someone. Short of eradicating guns altogether, what would you suggest?

    Why do you assume he had to be demon possessed to commit this crime. Do you think people only do heinous crimes when possessed by a demon? What does that mean? Are they not really responsible then for those crimes since their mind and body were possessed by a supernatural being? Do you think that in general when people do bad things there’s a demon behind it in some way?

    Lotta questions; I’ll number my responses. (1) I assume that people who commit mass murder are demon possessed because the devil was a murder from the beginning and because I can think of no rational justification for mass murder. Now a single spur of the moment killing, I can conceive of that without demons being involved. (2) More times than not, but I suppose my answer would depend on which crimes we’re considering heinous. (3) It means that the person was under the influence of a demon, which is not to say that the demon takes control of the person. The Bible says “resist the devil and he will flee.” Anyone can resist. (4) Yes, they’re responsible as per my last answer. (5) Again, that would depend on what we’re considering bad. Is it bad to watch illegal streams of sporting events online? Yeah, probably. Demon behind it? Doubtful. ;-)

    What mass murderer in history do you have in mind that killed a lot of people without a gun, bomb, or an army?

    Why’d you have to take armies away from me? I was thinking in particular about Pharaoh killing firstborn Israelites when I initially made the comment. I suppose Herod would fit the category as well. But the more I think about it, the more I’d add Jim Jones to the list. He manipulated 900 people into killing themselves with cyanide. Sure; they died at their own hands; but he orchestrated it through mental and spiritual manipulation so he’s just as guilty.

    I’d rather make it a lot harder for murderers to kill large groups of people at one time. Nobody is going to attack a crowd of 100 and kill 10 of them with just a sick and a slingshot. Imagine any of these recent rampages happening without guns. Columbine? Virginia Tech?

    I guess the sticking point for me is that I don’t really see making it harder as a possibility. And then I wonder where it stops. If law abiding citizens want to own automatic weapons to shoot for sport and fun and all of a sudden they’re not allowed to because criminals and maniacs use them to kill people, then what’s next, not allowing people to own 8″ or 10″ chef’s knives because someone used one to kill an entire family in a home invasion? The weapons of choice are useless apart from their users.

  8. “True, but not illegal for government agencies and military outfits, who sometimes are responsible for mass murder (and I’m not talking about war) as well.”

    But we’re not talking about atrocities governments commit. That’s a completely different discussion. As you would say apples and oranges. We’re talking about individuals who go on rampages and kill lots of people like Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tuscon, Norway, University of Texas, and now Aurora.

    “But make it harder how?”

    That’s the thing, is that a discussion you even see as worth having? Do you even support that idea that it should be more difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them, to the point that it actually causes a drop in violent crimes (no one is saying you can completely eradicate it). If so then it’s not enough to consider it for a few minutes and then dismiss it because we can’t think of anything that would work off the top of our heads.

    Regarding demon possession I see no reason to add it as an extra explanation for heinous crimes. Some people are just evil or sick and adding a demon to that doesn’t seem to help anything. At the same time I don’t really have any objection to you attributing it to demon possession as long as it doesn’t prevent us from looking at other potential contributing factors. I just don’t want to see demon possession used to short circuit really looking into the causes of these events.

    Pharaoh? Herod? Jim Jones? Apples and oranges. We’re not talking about leaders of nations commanding their armies or cult leaders and mass suicide. Who are these individuals with sticks and stones that were committing mass murder like we see in modern times? That was your point wasn’t it? If you think without guns or bombs the only people that committed mass murder or went on rampages were people commanding armies then it does seem like the weapons are also the problem not just the murderers.

    “I guess the sticking point for me is that I don’t really see making it harder as a possibility.”

    How much have you looked into it? Again do you even think it’s a discussion worth having? The immediate goal isn’t to necessarily eradicate all violent crimes committed with a gun but to reduce them.

    “then what’s next, not allowing people to own 8″ or 10″ chef’s knives because someone used one to kill an entire family in a home invasion?”

    Why the need for the slippery slope? Maybe all we can do is lower gun violence. It’s not an all or nothing issue. If some gun laws are put into place that means a mass murder only kills 4 and injures 10 people before being tackled and disarmed rather than killing 20 and injuring 60 that doesn’t mean those laws were a failure.

    Thanks for the discussion. Always stimulating.

  9. I think we should get rid of airplanes. Those seem to have killed more people at one time than any gun the last time they were used.

  10. Bryan:

    But we’re not talking about atrocities governments commit. That’s a completely different discussion. As you would say apples and oranges. We’re talking about individuals who go on rampages and kill lots of people like Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tuscon, Norway, University of Texas, and now Aurora.

    Well, actually, I was talking about the ineffectiveness of weapons without users. Again, I don’t blame the guns, or how easy or difficult they are to procure; I blame the people shooting them. They’re the problem.

    That’s the thing, is that a discussion you even see as worth having? Do you even support that idea that it should be more difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them, to the point that it actually causes a drop in violent crimes (no one is saying you can completely eradicate it). If so then it’s not enough to consider it for a few minutes and then dismiss it because we can’t think of anything that would work off the top of our heads.

    Yes and no. Sure, it’s worth having; it’ll just be a really short discussion. Short of completely eradicating guns, or presciently arresting people for crimes that some weird psychic twins see that they will commit (like the Minority Report reference?), what’s the plan? To reiterate, it’s already difficult to get guns the legal way, but no matter how difficult the legal way is made, people can/will always resort to the illegal route. In other words, even the best solution is going to be non-effective.

    Regarding demon possession I see no reason to add it as an extra explanation for heinous crimes. Some people are just evil or sick and adding a demon to that doesn’t seem to help anything. At the same time I don’t really have any objection to you attributing it to demon possession as long as it doesn’t prevent us from looking at other potential contributing factors. I just don’t want to see demon possession used to short circuit really looking into the causes of these events.

    That’s the thing; I don’t see it as an “extra” explanation and I do see it as really looking into the cause of such events. I believe that all people are evil (i.e., we all sin; we all rebel against God; therefore we need Christ; etc.) but it takes something extra to turn the general evilness that we all have and turn it into mass murder or something of the like. I can’t see an explanation I’d find convincing without reference to satanic/demonic influence.

    Pharaoh? Herod? Jim Jones? Apples and oranges. We’re not talking about leaders of nations commanding their armies or cult leaders and mass suicide. Who are these individuals with sticks and stones that were committing mass murder like we see in modern times? That was your point wasn’t it? If you think without guns or bombs the only people that committed mass murder or went on rampages were people commanding armies then it does seem like the weapons are also the problem not just the murderers.

    How is that apples and oranges? If I cited examples of actual sticks then couldn’t you claim the same since sticks aren’t machine guns? Again, my point now, and what I’ve been talking about all along, is how the people behind the weapons are the problem; not the weapons themselves. Jim Jones’ weapons were manipulation and cyanide. Herod and Pharoah’s weapons were their underlings. But manipulation doesn’t always result in death; cyanide just sitting in a bottle won’t kill anyone; underlings can be commanded to make peace or build bridges. But since they’re off limits, although I’m still not sure why (can I only refer to lone gunmen?), I’ll bring up another example or two. As Hodge just pointed out, the 9/11 attackers used airplanes. The planes weren’t the problem. How easy it was for them to get pilot’s licenses wasn’t the problem either. They were. Or how about Julio González (the guy responsible for 87 murders in the Happy Land fire)? He killed a lot of people without the use of guns. Fire wasn’t the problem in that case either; just the maniac setting it. About 3 or 4 years ago there was a guy in Japan who drove a truck into a bunch of pedestrians then jumped out and stabbed 7 to death and injured another 10. But vehicles and knives, both of which are completely legal and easily obtainable, weren’t the problem. The guy using them was.

    How much have you looked into it? Again do you even think it’s a discussion worth having? The immediate goal isn’t to necessarily eradicate all violent crimes committed with a gun but to reduce them.

    Not much, but I’ve managed to form an opinion anyway. And we’ve been having the discussion, so it’s been worth having at least to this point. But the goal is unrealistic for the reasons I keep saying. The legal means is pretty hard. You can’t just walk into a convenience store and get a machine gun. They’re expensive, they require paperwork and background checks, they require permits; they have to be registered; etc. How would you suggest making the process harder? I’m still wondering where you come down on that question. And you obviously realize that people gets guns illegally already. Making the legal means harder, if that’s even possible, will just make the illegal means more popular.

    Why the need for the slippery slope? Maybe all we can do is lower gun violence. It’s not an all or nothing issue. If some gun laws are put into place that means a mass murder only kills 4 and injures 10 people before being tackled and disarmed rather than killing 20 and injuring 60 that doesn’t mean those laws were a failure.

    What you’re calling a slippery slope I’m calling consistency. 87 die in a fire set by an arsonist. We don’t try to make stricter fire laws. Why not? 7 are killed and 10 injured in a vehicular/knife crime. We don’t make getting a driver’s license or a knife harder. Why not? Terrorists fly planes into buildings killing thousands (!) and no one even once suggests that planes were the problem. Why not? Why the inconsistency? It’s gotta be something deeper than just “guns kill people.” No, people kill people in all types of ways, but somehow guns get the worst of it, why? Isn’t blaming it all on guns a subtle way of letting the shooters off the hook? A way of passing the buck? As if not having guns would have kept them from killing. And I’m sure the families of the victims in the reduced crimes wouldn’t think the laws were so successful. Even one death is too many. But this still assumes that stricter laws would actually reduce anything. Again, I’d like to see some stats comparing the number of murders committed using firearms that were obtained legally as compared to those obtained illegally. I think having that information would go a long way in this type of discussion.

  11. Bryan: I’ve been basing my responses on my knowledge of NJ gun laws. It just hit me that different states have different laws. I can see that we’re much stricter here than you are in Texas. That might account for some of the disagreement.

  12. Nick,
    I think what I’m having trouble with is that your argument seems to be that gun laws and regulations ultimately don’t matter or make any difference. That seems to lead to the conclusion that we shouldn’t have any gun laws or regulations including the ones already on the books (based on the logic of your arguments).

    Please tell me if I’m misreading you and how as I don’t think that could really be your position. As in most of these debates I think the multiplication of words only serves to confuse the issues and real areas of disagreement.

    Thanks.

  13. Bryan: Two things; maybe three.

    First, I live in a state with strict gun laws. I’ve been arguing based on what I know. After looking around a little bit I saw that they have much more lax laws in the southwest. So my comments about how tough it is to get guns was based on NJ laws.

    Second, seeing that my argument has been based on what I know of NJ gun laws, I don’t think stricter laws would help. Why? Because we have plenty of gun related murders here every year and our laws are very strict.

    Third, my argument is really that people are the problem; not guns; not gun laws—whether strict of lax—but people. Make owning all firearms totally illegal and people who want to kill people with guns will get their guns illegally, which is not difficult to do.

    So I have no problem with gun laws, but let’s be honest, they’re really for the law abiding citizens. The criminals don’t care about any gun laws. They’re already operating outside of the rules and regulations so making them stricter won’t matter a bit.

  14. The numbers correspond to your points.

    1. It seems the murder rate in NJ is lower than most of the US so it seems like all those strict gun laws in NJ you mentioned are making a difference.

    http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=113&cat=2

    When I sorted this list y’all had the 5th lowest firearm death rate.

    2. Maybe it wouldn’t help that much in your state but it might in other places. But as I’ve said, just because gun related deaths haven’t been eradicated doesn’t mean all the laws in place are worthless or that there would be as many deaths were there no gun laws.

    3. I just read today that Japan has very few gun related deaths (11 in 2008) and most guns are illegal over their and the ones that aren’t have lots of restrictions.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

    Maybe there’s something else that explains it or you can show why their system is undesirable but it does seem that if you made them totally illegal (I’m not arguing you should) that not everyone who wanted to get them and use them would be able to as you suggest. But if there were completely illegal in the US where would people get them from. You think they’d be just as easy to get as weed? Are illegal weapons that easy to get now?

    4. I don’t agree that laws only affect law abiding citizens. The harder it is to get something you want the less people do. Just because some people still can obtain illegal things doesn’t mean everyone can and that the laws are useless.

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