Saturday, 25 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Occam’s Razor Is Needed To Explain Murder-Suicide in America

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 14:33 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The response by gun advocates and religious fanatics to the murder of children in a Connecticut school is by itself another tragedy. Forget the search for motives, the arguments assigning blame, and the inevitable “God moves in mysterious ways” and begin legislation to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition. Require background checks and ID from gun owners. If we don’t find a solution we’re going to lose our humanity.

It is a fool’s errand to search for the cause of extremes in deviant behavior of Americans. Under the best of conditions, human behavior has more variables than any other problem faced by science. The best of conditions have come and gone, never to return. In the past century Americans, in the pursuit of wealth, have subjected themselves and their children to so many man-made toxins and mutagens  that it is not possible to determine if bizarre and self destructive behavior is a result of nature or nurture.

If it weren’t for the fact that Americans can be distinguished from all 33 other civilized societies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by their proclivity for violent behavior, the three most ambiguous words written into our history would be “We the People”.

Who the hell are we? What are we?

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, author of a book on gun violence.

All of the children killed by the gunman in the atrocity in Connecticut were shot multiple times, according to the state’s chief medical examiner, who said that it was the worst scene he had witnessed in three decades examining crime scenes.

The tragedy isn’t one school shooting, it’s the unceasing toll across our country. More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

Where did American’s unique love for guns come from? None of the common folklore about our violent breakaway from Britain, our fighting “savage” native Americans, our settling the Wild West or the too numerous to count excuses invoking the Second Amendment for protection of home against other hostile gun owners holds up to scrutiny.

Mother Jones staff set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. They identified and analyzed 61 of them. In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. “Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public. And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed.”

We are the only barbarian “civilization” that is going to have, along with millions of “Peace on Earth” signs, buttons, magnets  bumper stickers and lawn lights, more guns than people by Christmas of 2022.

The responses to the disaster in Connecticut by gun advocates, religious fanatics, and supporters of NRA, has added further evidence that too many Americans are outliers on the curve of sanity.

The Less You Know The More You Explain-Touting and Spouting

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, on Cavuto's show on Fox, first touted the NRA's talking points that there aren't any laws that could be passed to prevent something like this from happening, then spouted-

HUCKABEE: “Ultimately, you can take away every gun in America and somebody will use a bomb. When somebody has an intent to do incredible damage, they’re going to find a way to do it… People will want to pass new laws, but unless you change people’s hearts, they’re our transition to the pastor side. This is a heart issue, it’s not something, laws don’t change this kind of thing. ….Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability -- that we're not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment.”

Explain This You Dumb Bastard

March 12, 2005. A Living Church of God meeting was gunned down by 44-year-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI. Ratzmann was thought to have had religious motivations, and killed himself after executing the pastor, the pastor’s 16-year-old son, and 7 others. Four were wounded.

September 15, 1999. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He killed 7 people and wounded 7 others, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook committed suicide.

August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran and “White Christian” Wade Michael Page opened fire in a Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page killed himself.

April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA.

On July 27, 2008, a politically motivated fatal shooting took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gunman Jim David Adkisson fired a shotgun at members of the congregation during a youth performance of a musical, killing two people and wounding seven others. Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.

Motives and Misinformation-Guns and Depression

On Sunday Dec.16, at 11.50 AM, 3 days after the school killings, Connecticut State police in an interview with TV media, said “At this time, most of the information given by the media to the public is misinformation”.

Dave Cullen, in his analysis of the massacre at Columbine writes

 “My big surprise was that most of what we "know" about Columbine was wrong. It wasn't about the jocks, goths or the Trenchcoat Mafia. The killers didn't even see themselves as school shooters: their primary focus was the bombs.

“Teen depression is the great unlearned lesson of Columbine. Six percent of U.S. adolescents suffer clinical depression. That’s 2 million kids. We keep getting wake-up calls, but it's time to act. Readers tell me they don't know where to begin, so I created Teen Depression 101 to share what I've learned and help get you started. It includes warning signs, resources, discussion-starters, etc.”

Overall, about 8.7 million people in this country received treatment for depression. Three groups of people accounted for much of this increase: older Americans, African Americans, and males.

According to a report published by the Associated Press, nearly two million teens in America are depressed and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to routinely screen all teenagers for depression. The government-appointed task force findings, reported in the April issue ofPediatrics journal, state that 6% of teens are clinically depressed.

In a recent anonymous posting “‘I Am Adam Lanza's Mother' - Let's Talk About Mental Illness”, the author writes,

“I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”

“When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

“I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.”

 “Gone Boy: A Father's Search for the Truth in His Son's Murder”

“On December 14, 1992, Gregory Gibson’s eighteen-year-old son Galen was murdered, shot in the doorway of his college library by a fellow student gone berserk. The killer was jailed for life, but for Gibson the tragedy was still unfolding. The morning of the shooting, he learned, college officials had intercepted but not stopped a box of ammunition addressed to the murderer. They were also anonymously warned of the intended killing but failed to call the police. After years of frustrated attempts to find peace, Gibson woke one morning to a terrible vision of his own rage and helplessness. He knew he had to do something before he destroyed himself, and he resolved to discover and document the forces that led to Galen’s death.”

Conclusions

At 2:40 PM on Dec.16, three days after the Sandy Hook massacre Huff Po’s headline was

GUNS IN AMERICA: Indiana Man Arrested With 47 Guns After Threatening Local School... Gunman Kills 3 In Alabama... Shooter Opens Fire In California Mall Parking Lot... HOTEL HORROR: Murder-Suicide On Vegas Strip... Man Accidentally Shoots Himself While Playing With Gun... Chicago Man Shot Dead... North Carolina Man Fatally Shoots Wife, Elderly Mother-In-Law...


Obama's Justice Department Shelved Ideas To Improve Background Checks

There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.

In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 60% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.

The number of gun purchases in America are continuously increasing while the number of gun owners are continuously decreasing. How many guns do advocates need to satisfy “the guns in the home” allowance of the Second Amendment?

Most Americans disagree with the NRA and want gun control, while most politicians refuse to support gun control legislation.

In science, when you don’t know, or can’t control, all the variables involved in solving a problem, you invoke Occam’s Razor which states that  “among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions accounting for the observations is most likely to be correct.”

Access to guns, the lack of background checks, depression, and insanity are four inarguable variables contributing to murder-suicide in America. Evidence shows America cannot control depression or insanity effectively. As of this writing Obama put the kibosh on background checks.

Occam’s Razor demands removing access to guns. If we can’t develop legislation to remove or reduce it, we are going to be blackballed from humanity.

 
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Occam’s Razor Is Needed To Explain Murder-Suicide in America

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 14:33 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The response by gun advocates and religious fanatics to the murder of children in a Connecticut school is by itself another tragedy. Forget the search for motives, the arguments assigning blame, and the inevitable “God moves in mysterious ways” and begin legislation to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition. Require background checks and ID from gun owners. If we don’t find a solution we’re going to lose our humanity.

It is a fool’s errand to search for the cause of extremes in deviant behavior of Americans. Under the best of conditions, human behavior has more variables than any other problem faced by science. The best of conditions have come and gone, never to return. In the past century Americans, in the pursuit of wealth, have subjected themselves and their children to so many man-made toxins and mutagens  that it is not possible to determine if bizarre and self destructive behavior is a result of nature or nurture.

If it weren’t for the fact that Americans can be distinguished from all 33 other civilized societies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by their proclivity for violent behavior, the three most ambiguous words written into our history would be “We the People”.

Who the hell are we? What are we?

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, author of a book on gun violence.

All of the children killed by the gunman in the atrocity in Connecticut were shot multiple times, according to the state’s chief medical examiner, who said that it was the worst scene he had witnessed in three decades examining crime scenes.

The tragedy isn’t one school shooting, it’s the unceasing toll across our country. More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

Where did American’s unique love for guns come from? None of the common folklore about our violent breakaway from Britain, our fighting “savage” native Americans, our settling the Wild West or the too numerous to count excuses invoking the Second Amendment for protection of home against other hostile gun owners holds up to scrutiny.

Mother Jones staff set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. They identified and analyzed 61 of them. In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. “Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public. And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed.”

We are the only barbarian “civilization” that is going to have, along with millions of “Peace on Earth” signs, buttons, magnets  bumper stickers and lawn lights, more guns than people by Christmas of 2022.

The responses to the disaster in Connecticut by gun advocates, religious fanatics, and supporters of NRA, has added further evidence that too many Americans are outliers on the curve of sanity.

The Less You Know The More You Explain-Touting and Spouting

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, on Cavuto's show on Fox, first touted the NRA's talking points that there aren't any laws that could be passed to prevent something like this from happening, then spouted-

HUCKABEE: “Ultimately, you can take away every gun in America and somebody will use a bomb. When somebody has an intent to do incredible damage, they’re going to find a way to do it… People will want to pass new laws, but unless you change people’s hearts, they’re our transition to the pastor side. This is a heart issue, it’s not something, laws don’t change this kind of thing. ….Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability -- that we're not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment.”

Explain This You Dumb Bastard

March 12, 2005. A Living Church of God meeting was gunned down by 44-year-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI. Ratzmann was thought to have had religious motivations, and killed himself after executing the pastor, the pastor’s 16-year-old son, and 7 others. Four were wounded.

September 15, 1999. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He killed 7 people and wounded 7 others, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook committed suicide.

August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran and “White Christian” Wade Michael Page opened fire in a Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page killed himself.

April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA.

On July 27, 2008, a politically motivated fatal shooting took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gunman Jim David Adkisson fired a shotgun at members of the congregation during a youth performance of a musical, killing two people and wounding seven others. Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.

Motives and Misinformation-Guns and Depression

On Sunday Dec.16, at 11.50 AM, 3 days after the school killings, Connecticut State police in an interview with TV media, said “At this time, most of the information given by the media to the public is misinformation”.

Dave Cullen, in his analysis of the massacre at Columbine writes

 “My big surprise was that most of what we "know" about Columbine was wrong. It wasn't about the jocks, goths or the Trenchcoat Mafia. The killers didn't even see themselves as school shooters: their primary focus was the bombs.

“Teen depression is the great unlearned lesson of Columbine. Six percent of U.S. adolescents suffer clinical depression. That’s 2 million kids. We keep getting wake-up calls, but it's time to act. Readers tell me they don't know where to begin, so I created Teen Depression 101 to share what I've learned and help get you started. It includes warning signs, resources, discussion-starters, etc.”

Overall, about 8.7 million people in this country received treatment for depression. Three groups of people accounted for much of this increase: older Americans, African Americans, and males.

According to a report published by the Associated Press, nearly two million teens in America are depressed and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to routinely screen all teenagers for depression. The government-appointed task force findings, reported in the April issue ofPediatrics journal, state that 6% of teens are clinically depressed.

In a recent anonymous posting “‘I Am Adam Lanza's Mother' - Let's Talk About Mental Illness”, the author writes,

“I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”

“When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

“I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.”

 “Gone Boy: A Father's Search for the Truth in His Son's Murder”

“On December 14, 1992, Gregory Gibson’s eighteen-year-old son Galen was murdered, shot in the doorway of his college library by a fellow student gone berserk. The killer was jailed for life, but for Gibson the tragedy was still unfolding. The morning of the shooting, he learned, college officials had intercepted but not stopped a box of ammunition addressed to the murderer. They were also anonymously warned of the intended killing but failed to call the police. After years of frustrated attempts to find peace, Gibson woke one morning to a terrible vision of his own rage and helplessness. He knew he had to do something before he destroyed himself, and he resolved to discover and document the forces that led to Galen’s death.”

Conclusions

At 2:40 PM on Dec.16, three days after the Sandy Hook massacre Huff Po’s headline was

GUNS IN AMERICA: Indiana Man Arrested With 47 Guns After Threatening Local School... Gunman Kills 3 In Alabama... Shooter Opens Fire In California Mall Parking Lot... HOTEL HORROR: Murder-Suicide On Vegas Strip... Man Accidentally Shoots Himself While Playing With Gun... Chicago Man Shot Dead... North Carolina Man Fatally Shoots Wife, Elderly Mother-In-Law...


Obama's Justice Department Shelved Ideas To Improve Background Checks

There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.

In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 60% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.

The number of gun purchases in America are continuously increasing while the number of gun owners are continuously decreasing. How many guns do advocates need to satisfy “the guns in the home” allowance of the Second Amendment?

Most Americans disagree with the NRA and want gun control, while most politicians refuse to support gun control legislation.

In science, when you don’t know, or can’t control, all the variables involved in solving a problem, you invoke Occam’s Razor which states that  “among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions accounting for the observations is most likely to be correct.”

Access to guns, the lack of background checks, depression, and insanity are four inarguable variables contributing to murder-suicide in America. Evidence shows America cannot control depression or insanity effectively. As of this writing Obama put the kibosh on background checks.

Occam’s Razor demands removing access to guns. If we can’t develop legislation to remove or reduce it, we are going to be blackballed from humanity.

 
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus