Mass Shootings and the American Experiment

In between bouts of outrage regarding the death of Roe v. Wade (the suffering of the world’s poor and the Ukrainians under artillery attack are insignificant compared to what is experienced by a pregnant American who must travel in order to get abortion care at 28 weeks of pregnancy), my friends on Facebook remain outraged about the fact that Americans remain able to buy and own guns that are then used in mass shootings (day-to-day shootings in major cities are not upsetting, by contrast).

My big take-away from the recent tragedies in the news is that Americans under 25 should neither be allowed to vote (unless they’ve worked for at least 8 years) nor purchase guns (see In the wake of Uvalde, can we abandon the fiction that today’s 18-year-olds are adults?). But since people keep asking Why Here? I thought it might make sense to look at what makes the U.S. unique among human societies worldwide and historically.

Let’s start with how we live: car-dependent suburbs. Many of us are probably the loneliest humans who have ever existed because, even before coronapanic, it required so much effort for a suburbanite to get together with another person. Note that one of my pet non-profit ideas for evil billionaires is “Latin American-style Towns for the U.S.”:

When computer nerds get rich, their charitable thoughts turn to helping Africans (see Bill Gates). They make a spreadsheet of the quantifiable aspects of the human condition, sort by misery, and the Africans come out on top. Peace Corps workers who return from a couple of years in small African villages tell a different story. They come home to their parents’ materially magnificent suburban homes and immediately suffer from loneliness and depression. Maybe we should feel sorry for Americans who live in suburbs and need to get in the car to shop or work and need to make an appointment before there is any possibility of seeing a friend.
What are the problems with suburban living, the dominant mode of American life? A shallow problem is that the car is required to accomplish any task outside of the home. Suburbanites waste their lives, and a lot of energy, driving to the strip mall to shop, driving to their place of work, driving to see friends or to an entertainment venue. Suburbanites cause horrific traffic jams that turn their nightmarish 45-minute commute into a hellish 2-hour commute. Giving how spread out houses are in the suburbs, it is impossible for a business that depends on pedestrians or bicyclists to succeed. A strip might might support a coffee shop, but it won’t be a place where people drop in as a casual part of their day. The more serious problems with the suburbs start with social isolation. You won’t have a chance encounter with a friend when you drive point to point. A suburbanite in theory could make an appointment to see a friend, but this is tough to arrange when everyone works 8-9 hours per day plus commutes for another 1-2 hours. Zoning laws ensure that nobody can run a business, even one that is clean and quiet, from his or her home. Thus the typical suburban youth will never see an adult at work. As far as suburban teenagers are concerned, cash is something obtained mysteriously by adults and brought home after an exhausting commute.

Latin Americans often come up near the very top of the world’s happiest people, despite a material prosperity that is very pale compared to that we enjoy in the United States. Nearly every small town in Latin America is built around a central plaza where the citizens gather at various hours to meet friends, play chess, eat meals in restaurants, etc. Small streets radiate from the plaza and hold all of the shops that are essential to daily life, including supermarkets and hardware stores. Housing is built up to a three story height, dense enough to support businesses, but not so dense that people are isolated in concrete towers with elevators. Smaller workshops are mixed in with housing, introducing young people to the texture of business.

The U.S. offers some enjoyable walkable neighborhoods, mostly developed before the rise of the automobile. Examples include many neighborhoods within New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. These neighborhoods, however, are small and can hold only a tiny minority of Americans. Consequently, houses within walkable neighborhoods typically cost over $1 million. As the U.S. population heads toward 500 million, these livable neighborhoods will become even more out of reach of the average citizen.

The market economy will not deliver Latin American-style living. We have to assume that building tract houses along the Interstate, served by strip malls a few exits down the highway, is the most profitable way to develop real estate. The handful of “New Urbanism” communities are not substitutes for the Latin American town. At Disney’s Celebration (near Orlando, Florida), for example, residents must drive more than 20 minutes to get to a supermarket, a hardware store, or a bookstore. It would be illegal to start a small business in most areas of Celebration.

In the exurbs of a rapidly growing metropolitan area, such as San Francisco or Los Angeles, we build a Latin American town, complete with central plaza ringed by three-story high buildings, the ground floor of which holds shops. We offer free rent to supermarkets, hardware stores, and other essential services. We encourage residents to start small non-industrial businesses in their homes, partly to provide jobs within the community and partly so that young people can see what adult work looks like. Once completed, the buildings are sold off for market prices and the money is recycled into building the next one.

How many of today’s mass shooters are products of the American suburbs?

Let’s also look at family structure. No society anywhere in the world or at any time in human history has ever provided the financial incentives to breaking up children’s homes that the U.S. provides. Consequently, we have double the percentage of kids living without two parents compared to the typical European nation. If you told people in 1800 that it would one day be possible for a married parent to get paid to wander off and have sex with a new friend every week they would never have believed that would be possible.

How many of today’s mass shooters are products of the U.S. family court system? (i.e., children of “single parents” or “divorced parents”?)

Speaking of family structure, let’s look at the U.S. resurrection of polygamy in light of the fact that some of the mass shooters have been identified as frustrated “incels“. Pre-1970, the parents (two back then!) could tell an unlovable son “there’s a lid for every pot.” Because of enforced monogamy, women who wanted to reproduce needed to pick the best man that they could find for a long-term partnership. For about half of the women, therefore, this meant partnering with a below-average-quality man. With current social mores and family law, however, a woman will be far better off becoming a “single mom” by having sex with a married dentist (profits vary by state) than by marrying anyone remotely like the young guys who have recently perpetrated mass shootings. A polygamous society that produces excess men also produces violence, according to the academics (example: “Polygynous Neighbors, Excess Men, and Intergroup Conflict in Rural Africa”). H.L. Mencken predicted this in 1922:

… the objections to polygamy do not come from women, for the average woman is sensible enough to prefer half or a quarter or even a tenth of a first-rate man to the whole devotion of a third-rate man.

How about shared cultural values? Has there ever been another society that doubled its population via low-skill immigration without regard to cultural compatibility? (see “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065” (Pew 2015)) If so, what happened to that society? The latest and greatest immigration law favors those without any affinity for American culture and American society: a migrant stays in the U.S. if he/she/ze/they says “I was unsafe in my home country.” We sort by how dangerous and disordered the society from which the migrant came, not by the likelihood that the migrant will find or expects to find fellowship among his/her/zir/their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters here in the U.S. A person who says “I hate everything about the U.S., but my spouse 4,000 miles away is abusing me” has more entitlement to live in the U.S. than a person who says “I love the U.S. and thought this would be a nice place to settle after I got my M.D. in Zurich.” Thus, the U.S. will gradually become a random assortment of people from the world’s most dangerous and disordered societies.

We don’t care when people in foreign countries die, right? (sometimes we say that we care, but we act as though we don’t care) If the U.S. becomes a random assemblage of people from around the world, why is it obvious that we must care about our fellow Americans? Omar Mateen, a child of immigrants from Afghanistan, explicitly said that his primary allegiance was not to fellow Americans:

In a 9-1-1 call made shortly after the shooting [in the Orlando nightclub] began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month “triggered” the shooting. He later told a negotiator he was “out here right now” because of the American-led interventions in Iraq and in Syria and that the negotiator should tell the United States to stop the bombing.

Seung-Hui Cho was a permanent resident from South Korea who killed 32 Americans at Virginia Tech. Nidal Hasan, the child of Muslim Palestinian immigrants to the U.S., killed 13 people in Fort Hood in 2009 (sentenced to death in 2013, but many years of appeal remain). Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik waged jihad against non-Muslims in San Bernardino, California. After years of living at taxpayer expense in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the immigrant Tsarnaev brothers waged jihad on infidels running the Boston Marathon (not a shooting, but a mass murder). Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa came from Syria and became a jihadi in Colorado (killing 10). Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov immigrated from Uzbekistan before killing 8 infidels in New York City (using a truck as a weapon; he has been living at taxpayer expense for five years while awaiting trial). The same phenomenon seems to occur in other countries. A recent shooting in Norway was perpetrated by an immigrant from Iran (ABC).

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass shooter, was a white native-born person. But he lived in a city that is roughly 40 percent immigrants and children of immigrants and where even the native-born Americans have come from somewhere else. What is the shared cultural value that ties people who live in Las Vegas together? A belief in slot machines? A native-born shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, explicitly stated that his motivation for killing Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue was taxpayer-funded Jewish organizations, such as HIAS, that bring migrants to the U.S. Returning to Norway, the native-born Anders Behring Breivik said that he was motivated to launch the 2011 shootings by Muslim immigration.

This is not to say that open borders are bad. Certainly they are not bad for the rich (Harvard analysis) and certainly our open borders give us a wide array of bodegas and breakfast tacos from which to choose (Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.). But our open border policy is unique so maybe our open borders policy contributes to our unique position with respect to mass killings.

We’re not unique in the world in terms of having Internet. But having Internet is unique when considered against the history of the human race. Internet is arguably good for adults. An adult can use Grindr to find a sex partner, Amazon to shop for a variety of delightful items, a smartphone to find proof of car insurance and avoid a second trip to the DMV if he/she/ze/they forgot to print it out, Google Maps to find all of the “essential” cannabis retailers in Massachusetts, etc.

But what does Internet give young people as they’re developing? Distracted parents. Social media bullying, 1.5 years of school closure (would the school bureaucrats have dared to keep schools shut for more than a month if not for their ability to promote the fiction that kids could learn at home via Internet? Incidentally, the same magazines that promoted lockdowns and max coronapanic are now decrying “learning loss” (example: Atlantic)). To the extent that people think that mass shootings are more common today than in 1970, for example, adjusted for the fact that U.S. population was only 205 million in 1970, maybe we could blame Internet.

I’m not sure that the rate of mass shootings is more than one should expect in a country of 333 million (and growing by “one person every 26 seconds”) in which the right to own a gun is enshrined in the Constitution. But I do think that current U.S. society is a radical experiment when measured against traditional human societies and also fairly radical compared to what many other nations are doing.

43 thoughts on “Mass Shootings and the American Experiment

  1. I have to say, Phil, you are dangerously close to losing the bemused ironic distance that you usually exhibit when you talk about this stuff. Has it gotten bad enough to strip it off yet?

    • Jimbo: I am not sure if things have “gotten bad”. There are some drawbacks to a traditional society! In an amoral culture such as ours, I am not willing to say that one lifestyle is better than another on an absolute basis.

  2. One of your best posts yet. Interesting that your ideas for better living in the United States are based on idyllic family and community-based Latin American social values, and your argument against immigrants is based mostly on events of internalized conflict/resentment between Western cultures and Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures. Yet, your objection to lax immigration policies seems to be focused on “low-skilled” immigrants from Latin America, and not on highly-educated, highly-“skilled” immigrants from the Middle East and Asia. And, no, I am not advocating for Trump’s Muslim ban. Most humans want the same things, plain and simple. When the basics (water, food, shelter, companionship, sex, meaningful work, practical education, help with child care) aren’t met, and there exist great discrepancies and inequities in those areas, anger and violence prevail. Angry/frustrated/tired/malnourished (this includes food-desert [junk food]-caused obesity) people (mostly males) with access to guns are the problem. And, by far, the greatest number of shootings in the United States are domestic-violence related and not the mass shootings widely covered by the media.

  3. we need our guns in case the Russians invade. Which might happen if the Ukraine folds and the “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” strategy fails.

    dumping Roe v Wade means birth rates can increase the population faster than the occasional (suburban) crazy with an unhealthy obsession guns can reduce the population.

    “H.L. Mencken predicted this in 1922:
    … the objections to polygamy do not come from women, for the average woman is sensible enough to prefer half or a quarter or even a tenth of a first-rate man to the whole devotion of a third-rate man.

    Checking H L Mencken’s wiki page, he may have been a prolific and impressive writer with unparalleled satire, but he doesn’t appear to be a ladies man. Marrying an ill lady at age 50, and producing no children. Hinting at a deplorable “third-rate man”.

    Today’s Chicago gang banger with a penchant for guns and the illicit pharmaceuticals “business” is much more likely to sire a half dozen kids by age 25, without worrying himself about tedious legal issues, such as child support. By that standard, a “first rate man”.

  4. The lion kingdom has no opinion on gun control, abortion control, immigration. It only believes while the news was covering that, Elon sold all his twitter shares for a 17% profit after pumping up the stonk with false claims of a buyout offer & then pulling out. He then bought back his tesla shares in the last week, pumping that up 17%.

  5. “Peace Corps workers who return from a couple of years in small African villages tell a different story. They come home to their parents’ materially magnificent suburban homes and immediately suffer from loneliness and depression.” – why can not they in their new found homes in African villages? Are they being deported by local authorities. No human is illegal!

    “The U.S. offers some enjoyable walkable neighborhoods, mostly developed before the rise of the automobile. Examples include many neighborhoods within New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. ” – I agree. I walked through them and enjoyed them when I did not have enough money to buy a car. But I could not figure out why they had such bad crime statistics and why folks walked away from me when I tried to make an eye contact.

    “A shallow problem is that the car is required to accomplish any task outside of the home.” – false. I shop once per month at most now. I used to shop few times per week and had to carry/drag groceries to my flat. I am saving a lot of times by shopping by trunk-loads.

    As for shootings – US is a large country, almost matching western Europe in size. Just in prior week I read about at least 2 mass shootings in Europe. Indiana and Virginia are like different European countries. US experiment is the great success and a hope for many in the world. More freedom will limit scope of shootings like it happened in Indiana and eventually, by glorifying saviors and ridiculing murderous looser, like it is happening with Indiana, reduce copy-cat shootings and make nut cases be more like savior. Indiana enacted permit-less carry just 16 days before the shooting, and it helped to stop it.

  6. “The U.S. offers some enjoyable walkable neighborhoods, mostly developed before the rise of the automobile. Examples include many neighborhoods within New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. ”

    I live in an older golf course community in a mid-sized city (pop. 80,000) on Florida’s east coast. While I frequently dodge traffic and walk the one mile to CVS and to Publix, oppressing humidity and the threat of torrential rain make it very impractical to walk the mile-and-a-half to my office job.

  7. BTW, in Florida are you in walkable neighborhood? Are there walkable neighborhoods in Florida in general?

    • SK: kids walk all around our neighborhood to socialize, usually without parental escort even at 6 or 7. We can walk to the neighborhood gym or common meeting areas. It is 7 minutes walking to a CVS, restaurant, or independent supermarket. The Publix is a bike ride, not a walk.

  8. I’m gonna let this one simmer until tomorrow because I have some hot stuff to say.

    • Basically, I think all your observations are valid to some extent. I was Captain of my high school competition rifle team in 1988, eleven years prior to Columbine, and so I’m a product of the late-80s cultural milieu in the suburb of NYC. Most of the kids on the team came from nuclear families that had not radioactively decayed.

      We had no such thing as the Internet, which was still mostly confined to academics, the military, and so forth. I ran a big RBBS PC bulletin board system but that’s not close to the same thing. I think the copycat factor of the modern Internet has greatly facilitated a lot of the disturbed people who commit these kinds of (usually) SUICIDAL crimes in the sense that they can spend a lot of time carefully studying each other and planning how to copy each other. That was just impossible in 1988. You knew there were violent people, but taking the time to go and spend 10 or 20 or 30 hours immersing yourself in their murderous fucked-up crimes was difficult or impossible.

      We’re not doing a good job spotting the people who fall into a few clearly identifiable patterns, or stopping them once they decide to go through with it.

      It’s too late to take the Internet back, now! (lol.) Changes in how we construct families and raise children take a generation or more to occur. Unless we get a handle on the warning signs, and do a better job of intercepting these people before they get the chance to commit their murderous acts, we’re going to see more of them. And when you have someone like the man in Indiana who shot back and killed the scumbag after 15 seconds, saving many lives in the process, you should honor that person and not belittle and disparage him. My $0.02.

    • And of course, nothing else really matters when you have a Chief of Police in a town like Uvalde who tells his heavily-armed officers to wait almost an hour before engaging the shooter. Everything else is worthless when the cops themselves refuse to engage and stop a guy they KNOW is still still shooting children.

  9. Some friends reported on their stay in Seaside, Florida, the archetype of New Urbanism. The beach was within walking distance. The second story front porch overlooked the tree-lined street. I asked about shopping. There are some chic but expensive boutiques in the town center. For groceries, well, you can Instacart them from a Publix down the street. That ain’t right.

    • I live 30 miles east of Seaside and go there occasionally to visit tourists or eat (we prefer Rosemary Beach or Grayton Beach for dining). Seaside is the artificial New Urban “town” made famous by the Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show”. In NO WAY is it an affordable, livable town. The “properties” are California-priced and entirely short-term rentals, too valuable to live in but admittedly walkable for a short visit. This is an interesting post but the walkable-town lifestyle – that train left in the 1950’s, and much of it is not missed (no airconditioning, no seatbelts, widespread smoking, enforced segregation…)

  10. Great post. I can add that Big Pharma is happy to assist depressed Americans with drugs (nevermind that mass shootings have been linked to SSRI’s), opioids and alcohol help keep folks sedated to deal with the stress, and Starbucks/coffee purveyors provide the uppers to get employees through the AM commute. Food industry does its part to encourage snacking/mindless eating while watching TV.

  11. The threads you’re trying to weave mass shootings together with are tenuous. I’ll counter with these threads: religion, racism, bigotry, and a belief that guns are the answer to every problem. What group of folks could be loosely described by that list?

    Assault weapons have zero legitimate, practical use for private citizens. I grew up in a hunting region, with a hunting family. No one desired an assault rifle or semi-auto pistol for hunting. They’re not the best tools for the task.

    I also experienced the time before, during and after the assault weapons ban expired, when it was near impossible to own an assault rifle. No one cared that assault rifles were banned, even gun aficionados. They just weren’t ever readily available and so no one missed them. The dam burst with imported, AK style Russian designed military rifles, which even the knowledgeable gun aficionados admitted were a frivolous novelty.

    Gun culture is for the paranoid and insecure. They’re pacifiers. You want to “protect your family?” Take a CPR and defensive driving class, get regular checkups from a doctor, maintain a healthy weight. The entire gun culture is based on childish, delusional hero fantasies. Guns are killing machines, period. They serve no other purpose. Even the seemingly benign, ancillary hobbies or pastimes still revolve around the collection of, or becoming proficient in the operation and use, of these (killing) machines. America’s fascination with killing machines is bizarre. America needs to grow up. No one missed assault rifles when they weren’t available. No one needs that shit.

    • @Senorpablo: Is an M1 Garand or an M14 a dangerous weapon that should be banned? What about a Ruger Mini-14? As far as I can recall, AR-15s were available for purchase throughout the 60’s, ’70s, 80’s and 90’s at a store that was in a strip mall in my home town. They were Colt guns, semiautomatic, and anyone with a clean criminal record could purchase them.

      But more generally, if you think AR-15s are dangerous, what about semiautomatic weapons like the others I mention above? They fire much, much more powerful rounds, and I personally know dozens of people who own them.

      Most of the people I know who own weapons also know how to do CPR, get regular checkups and maintain a healthy weight. I don’t understand where you’re going there.

      The AR-15 is a very widely-used sporting rifle in this country because of the modularity and interchangeability of its parts, meaning that the gun can be customized according to the owner’s wishes. That also doesn’t make them unhealthy or “paranoid.”

      When weren’t “assault rifles” available? Please tell me when someone couldn’t get one if they wanted one since the AR-15 (or the AK-47 and its derivatives, for that matter) were designed and made?

      It’s true that a lot more people own AR-15s now, because they’re great guns to shoot and the new ones are easy to take care of. What’s your particular beef with their owners? You group them together and call them disparaging names?

    • @Senorpablo: We’re also aware of the nutroots nation voter suppression efforts.

      “Second, Nutroots Nation is happening in a few weeks in Pittsburgh. Nutroots is the leftwing highly online activist conference. One of their topics, hilariously, is how progressives can talk conservatives out of voting. For all their screaming about voter suppression, they’re going to do a panel designed to teach skills on voter suppression, or as they put it, “This workshop will show you how to have cooling conversations with people who strongly disagree with you to help them process their negative emotions and reduce their hostility. The purpose of these dialogues isn’t to persuade red voters to vote blue, but to reduce their activism on behalf of extreme right-wing candidates and causes.” Good grief.”

      Are you Nutroots?

    • @Senorpablo: The only bigotry in my gun club that I’ve ever experienced is against people who don’t like shooting guns. But nobody who doesn’t like guns has to join! It’s totally optional, man!

    • @Senorpablo, extremely uninformed post. Not sure what you call assault rifle, but rifles with large capacity magazines were always available, even during so-called “assault weapon ban”. Magazines were perfectly legal if they were made prior to the ban. And were sold everywhere.
      You think you wish well but this supposedly well – wishing line of leftist technocratic government never worked, it always falls apart and becomes either lawless land or hard-core communist dictatorship

    • Alex, LSI – not interested in firearm whataboutism. I’ll be happy to get into a theoretical discussion about the specific details of what should and shouldn’t be banned, guns and magazines, once you concede that assault weapons in general should be banned. Up to that point, it’s a moot exercise in esoteric firearms taxonomy. It’s the kind of disingenuous nonsense only killing machine nuts get involved in, or are impressed by. Not unlike the tens of thousands of forum posts devoted to debating the merits of 9mm vs 45 ACP vs 40 S&W. Reasonable people understand the contemporary meaning of the term “assault weapon” without resorting to mechanical semantics as a means of deflection.

    • @SP, ” tens of thousands of forum posts devoted to debating the merits of 9mm vs 45 ACP vs 40 S&W” – looks like @SP is heavily armed and just puling everyone’s leg here. According to so-called “law” (criminal code that has no roots in US Constitution) in blue states whatever was used in attack or self defense is a weapon, be it a bottle or a key-chain. Not defying “assault” weapon vs regular weapon you set your goal to destroy 2nd Amendment. Anything remotely that could used by assault troops such as airborne units is already illegal to purchase without lengthy licensing and paying large fees. So just wandering.

    • Senorpablo knows very little about AR-15s and the “assault weapons ban”. Before the ban AR-15s and the like were most certainly “readily available”. And during the ban, AR-15s could easily be purchased. The only obvious thing different about them than most of the AR-15s you see these days is they did not have folding or telescoping stocks – they had the same fixed stocks that you can see in every Vietnam war movie ever made. The lack of a flash suppressor, a bayonet mount, or a grenade launcher (any of which would have caused them to suddenly become banned weapons) is pretty insignificant.

  12. @Senorpablo: Finally, since you’re a self-professed “expert” at what what the “right tools for the task” are…..why don’t you list some of your tools?

  13. @senorpablo zero reason to engage folks on this forum with any common sense. averros believes private citizen should have access to nuclear weapons. These are not sane people.

    • Everyone who disagrees with me is insane and, for his/her/zir/their own protection, should be placed in a secure mental hospital.

    • Anonymous, how bad could it be? American Democrats endorsed apocalyptic Iranian mullahs having nuclear weapons, Putin has them, our dementia Joe has them… I do not endorse individuals having nuclear weapons, but much worse dudes then average Joe already have them.

  14. @Senorpablo, @Australia Anon,

    Based on [1] there are 24,911 gun related death in the US *just* for 2022 — so far. Let’s take away 13,530 (suicides) from this number and you have 11,381 gun related death. So you want to take away guns used in mass shootings, but what’s your plan to stop those non mass shootings? I’m sure you know far more children are killed in those non mass shooting, right?

    Here is my plan but I would like to hear yours:

    1) Just like COVIDFear, force lockdowns on residents in neighborhoods where gun shooting is rampant.
    2) Just like COVIDFear, force “jab” educational classes on gun violence on residents in neighborhoods where gun shooting is rampant.
    3) Just like COVIDFear, take away all “entitled” benefits on residents in neighborhoods where gun shooting is rampant.

    Those are the same things our government and leaders forced on us to combat COVIDFear, stay-at-home, get the “jab”, get fired if you don’t “jab”.

    Can we now engage in common sense discussion?


    • 1) why would you discount deaths by suicide? it’s proven easy access to a firearm increases the success rate of suicidal behavior. I don’t know why you’re under the impression people don’t care about non-mass shooting related firearm deaths?

      2) if COVID caused in excess of 1m surplus deaths, why would you compare it to something causing < 50k?

    • @Anonymous,

      1) I excluded suicide death because you can bucket them into the same group as conservatives who don’t want to get the “jab” and thus deserve to die per our liberals friends statement.

      2) Last I check, our liberal friends consider 1 death to be too many death. Are you suggesting COVID death is more important then gun and other kind of related death? And if COVID related death in the US is now over 1 mil, have you been counting other non COVID related death in the US beside guns, such as smoking, alcoholism, overweight, drug usage, car accident, et. al.?

      Btw, I still haven’t seen what’s your actionable plan on avoiding 50K gun related death a year in the US that are not mass shooting related. I shared my plan and modeled it after COVIDFear, what’s your?

    • George A: you expect people to seriously debate your nonsense, bad faith “plans”?

  15. @Alex: “Recent news is that depression is not caused by a “serotonin imbalance” and SSRIs are almost total bullshit.”

    About 20 years ago, after the back-to-back deaths of two family members, family conflict, and a job setback, I was grieving, often angry, and had difficulty sleeping. My PCP prescribed Wellbutrin (buproprion, an NDRI, also a successful smoking cessation solution). It worked wonders w/o any side effects and may have saved my life!

    • @Dr. Feel Good:

      I worked for almost a year in the outpatient psychiatry department of a large hospital in a big midwestern city. Every day I interacted with at least half a dozen psychiatrists and more than a dozen psychotherapists. I helped keep patient records, answer the phones, run to the mail room, basically office administrative tasks. I was good friends with one of the psychiatrists who dealt with “chronic” patients and managed their meds. I watched first hand how hard the big pharma. companies pushed all their new SSRIs by sending BEAUTIFUL AMAZONIAN six foot tall FEMALE representatives on about a monthly basis, usually with a box of a dozen Dunkin Donuts, low cut blouses showing cleavage, medium-high heels in skirts and also usually a dozen bagels.

      I’m glad the Wellbutrin worked for you. Thank God it did, and I’m happy you’re alive and in a better place. But if you think these drugs are *under* prescribed or quite often going to people who do not really need them, because they are sometimes dispensed LIKE CANDY, you are wrong, and I know that, because I WATCHED IT HAPPEN.

      I’m not saying that they don’t help *some* people. I’m saying that they are widely overprescribed and it has taken several decades for the data to come back and show that. Not good.

    • @Dr Feel Good: BTW, just as an aside, I was good friends with one of the MDs because he also had an interest in computers and used to build PCs for other doctors and people who worked for the hospital. So we had a lot of fun talking about things like processors, memory, graphics cards, modems, the beginnings of good networking gear, how to use this thing called the Internet, etc., etc. I was in his home on several occasions and talked with him often about how he made decisions regarding what to prescribe to various patients and why he did it. It was a complex subject and he was doing his best to keep his patients stable and at least semi-productive. But to say it was a “science” is a stretch – despite all the articles in medical journals that he read, and had piled up in his office. It took a great deal of judgment and sometimes good ol’ “Kentucky Windage” intuition and guesswork. And I don’t think he would say that’s an unfair characterization. He was doing the best he could with the equivalent of Primitive Tools.

  16. @Phil: “should be placed in a secure mental hospital”

    But liberals keep telling me that Ronald Regan closed all the mental hospitals in 1981.

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