An awful lot of voices are raised in alarm these days, and that makes sense to me. There are wars, earthquakes, plagues, famine, and economic tough times, and they’re all stacking up a price that society will need to pay sooner rather than later. Our debt to our future keeps growing, and when it finally comes due, the day of reckoning will be painful indeed.
But that’s not people are alarmed about, curiously enough.
Judging by news coverage and the comments, there are two primary schools of thought about the recent train derailment in Ohio: first, that the government is concealing an orchestrated campaign of sabotage against our national infrastructure, and second, that the Powers That Be are using disasters and balloon alerts in order to distract us from the fact that we’re deploying combat troops in Somalia and hundreds of “military advisors” in Ukraine. Apparently, either we’re under attack from a powerful enemy or we’re about to invade somewhere in order to swing the next election.
There was a massive earthquake on the Turkey-Syria Border, a huge rail spill in Ohio, and Russia is still invading Ukraine (or vice-versa, to hear Russia tell it). It’s a busy time in the news, and as is usual, if we pay too much attention to the top headlines we’re naturally going to miss a lot that’s going on outside of the immediate spotlight.
Enter the Update: Your source for news every couple of weeks, whether there’s anything to talk about or not!
Every time we have one of these highly-publicized mass-shooting events, or Heaven forfend another rampage killing, there’s always a sententious opinion piece on every news outlet asking “When will it end?”
And yes, the answer is “Never”. In Australia, a single event was enough to inspire the whole country to turn in their guns; New Zealand was similar. In the United States, we’ve had a dozen major shooting rampages, including in elementary schools, and public opinion is fiercely divided. It’s not too much of a stretch to conclude from this that the inevitable continued shootings will convince only scattered individuals while inspiring others to resist what they would term “government overreach”.
So let’s stop asking that particular question and move on to something a bit more proactive.
Excerpts from the radio news: …shooting of a jogger early this morning on a secluded beach in an apparently random attack… …rioting following services which were held in memory of a man who died in police custody… …who were apparently planning to fly to Syria and join the army of the Islamic State… …make an arrest in killing of six, including baby…
Some things that happen are so terrible that you have to ask yourself, not just “Why?”, but “How could a human being even do that?” The statistics on violent crime in this country show a steady decline, but on the other hand, at any given point in time, nearly 3% of the adult population is either in jail, in prison, or under some form of correctional control (probation or parole). Because of the gender gap in prosecution and sentencing, that works out to one in eighteen adult males.
Once again the world has changed on us, and policy, as usual, remains several steps behind.
One solid move made by the Biden Administration has been the recognition of gun kit manufacture as a loophole in crime weapons laws and its subsequent closure. Companies like Polymer80 have been selling build-it-yourself kits without serial number stamping or tracking; i.e. ghost guns* — and doing so legally. Several thousand Polymer80 kit guns have been identified as crime guns. It’s only recently that the rule to treat kits like these as legal pistols has gone through, and even then there are ways around it — such as the 3D printing of homemade, rather than factory-produced, ghost guns.