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Separate people and handguns

Naughty Korner column with QT columnist Andrew Korner
Naughty Korner column with QT columnist Andrew Korner Rob Williams

IT SEEMS like not all that long ago they were blaming Marilyn Manson for American high school massacres.

Some things have changed since the turn of the millennium - for one, Marilyn Manson's career is not what it was in the late 1990s - but some things have stayed the same.

Unfortunately, in that time, incredibly stupid people haven't disappeared off the face of the Earth, as I'm sure many of us would have hoped they would.

As Frank Zappa once famously said - back in the late 1980s - when we go stupid we go BIG STUPID - "like people who shoot at you on the freeway, or the Rambos and Rambo-ettes who blow people away in shopping malls and fast-food restaurants with automatic weapons".

The Isla Vista massacre is a sad reflection on the human race, but I don't believe you can put the blame on any one thing - apart from the perpetrator himself, of course.

Behind nearly every mass shooting, there is a story of the outcast loner - a person who took about as much crap from the world as they could before erupting in a storm of irrational gunfire.

From his manifesto I think you could safely assume that Elliot Rodger was a disturbed boy, who needed supervision and counselling rather than being left to his own devices with several handguns and a luxury vehicle. That's easy to say in hindsight, of course.

It is natural for people to speculate on what exactly is to blame for these continuous mass killings. Moral panic is often directed away from guns and stupidity and aimed instead at easy targets, like popular music, movies and video games.

One of the stranger theories I heard this week came from Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, who singled out the work of Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow as a possible breeder of discontent within the male population.

While I reject the theory entirely, it is really no more unfair than blaming the likes of Marilyn Manson for the Columbine Massacre. To suggest we should somehow censor certain music, films or any other sort of artistic expression, based on the possibility that it could indirectly lead to another massacre, is ridiculous to say the least.

The killings didn't end with Marilyn Manson's career, and my prediction is that they won't end with Judd Apatow's or Seth Rogan's either.

So who do you blame?

Well, to start off, I don't have an answer to mental illness, misogyny, psychopathy, narcissism, or whatever combination of conditions you might think led to Rodger's stabbing and shooting spree.

But how about we look at the ridiculous situation in which a deranged individual can get his hands on not one, not two, but three semi-automatic handguns - all without the authorities batting an eyelid?

I'm not anti-guns but I am anti-hand guns because I think the only people that truly need handguns - apart from police and security guards - are criminals.

Correct me if I'm wrong but they have no valid use in general society - apart from a strictly controlled firing range.

The psychos and the loose cannons will continue to roam among us and, like Rodger, they'll probably use whatever weapons they can get their hands on.

Rodger stabbed three of his victims and ran down several others in his car, so getting rid of guns won't stop the killing completely.

But you might be able to reduce the number of people - especially in these regular American mass shootings - that are needlessly taken out.

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