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Saturday, October 10, 2015

My solution to gun rampages

Charles Krauthammer weighed in on Friday with a column on the Umpqua Community College shooting rampage in which a gunman killed 10 people, including himself. Dr. Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training, pointed out the futility of President Obama's call for universal gun checks which Oregon has and which the gunman complied with.

Krauthammer also touched upon the psychiatric side. Again there is not much one can do about that either. Krauthammer wrote: "There are 320 million Americans. Schizophrenia affects about 1 percent of the population. That’s about 3 million people. Only a tiny fraction are ever violent — and predicting which ones will be is almost impossible."

We know what will work. We tried it in the 1970s with skyjacking. Remember? In the Nixon-Ford-Carter presidency, the crazies hijacked planes. It became a national fear. Washington had to do something, right?

Well, the federal government did do something. For the sake of the passengers, they ordered pilots to not fight the hijackers -- which is why on 9/11 three airliners became missiles (a fourth plane did not because the passengers ignored the rule, and stopped the hijackers).

But what stopped the skyjacking was a change in the news cycle. People became bored with the stories. TV news noticed that and stopped giving these events as much notice. Eventually, they petered out.

The Umpqua incident is a step in the right direction. No one is discussing the name of the shooter. This started with a sheriff who refused to say the guy's name. What we reward with notoriety we get more of.