A murderer killed eleven people in the Pittsburgh massacre. In response, CNN made it a point to only focus on the eleven people and not on the murderer. This is a good choice and a very ethical choice.  The victims are the issue and not the murderer.  Anderson Cooper should also be applauded for this move.

The older people that were killed all lived full and rich lives.  They ended their lives while they prayed to God.  The murderer did not.  They all left this world as Jews in the midst of worship.  However, the murderer will be remembered as a mutant who chose to bring death into a place of holiness.

Will this be an exception or the beginning of more?

Is this the path that we will continue to experience in the United States?  That of occasional mass murder?  Or will this be an aberration that will hopefully never recur?

It is very easy to think that this comes down to more strict gun laws.  After all, without guns, how can mass murder be accomplished?  Well, we need to remind ourselves – less than 20 years after 9-11 – that the Twin Towers were destroyed with thousands of people inside of them – without any guns.  Just some box cutters and a willingness to destroy and kill.

Guns Also Save Lives

Perhaps a few more security precautions on planes – including another guard or two with a gun may have prevented one or more of the attackers.  In addition, there have been some mass attacks that were indeed prevented by security guards or other people who had a weapon.  Guns are used to attack, but they are also used to save people from attacks – and from tyranny.  The argument whether or not semi-automatic weapons should be easy to purchase is a real argument.  But it does not deal with the core issues.

What drives mass murderers?

It is ideology – more than anything else – that drives most mass murderers.  The most dangerous thing is not the proliferation of weapons.  It is the proliferation of dangerous ideologies.  The United States has an excellent track record of open-minded liberal openness towards different religions and ideologies.  This needs to continue to be a banner for all Americans – live and let live.  The problem is when there is a specific ideology that does not believe in letting other people live.  That is when there needs to be a clear statement.  If somebody subscribes to a set of religious beliefs that prays and acts on a set of beliefs that believes that violence against other religions is the right thing, then we need to be very careful with that specific religion.

Common Sense

This is not about liberal or illiberal.  It is simple common sense – life and death.  We all want to live.  Nobody normal wants mass murders.  The Pittsburgh massacre was committed out of ideology that was probably much like the Nazi ideology of World War II.  We should not be scared of outlawing and tracking people who subscribe to these kinds of dangerous ideologies.  These people should not be able to get their hands on any weapons.  We need more good people with weapons and more dangerous people on no-weapons lists that are strictly enforced.