Posts Tagged ‘“Assault Weapons”’

Second Amendment & Public Safety

March 9, 2018

Second Amendment & Public Safety

I fully support the following video about the Second Amendment, gun control, gun free zones and the protection of Americans of all ages.

I judge that it is a superior presentation because it summarizes nearly all of the relevant thoughts and historical events on this topic I have found in my research on this topic; and it does so in a single short presentation!

How this society handles this horrifying complex problem, literally, is a matter of life and death for countless future innocent American victims. 

It is essential that America find effective ways of balancing the need to keep our citizens safe from harm with the need for law-abiding adults to protect themselves, and their children in an increasingly barbaric society. 

The goal of reestablishing a more moral and civil society is a far more complex matter, well beyond the object of this particular blog.

Please evaluate this video. Ignore the solicitation that follows, if you wish.

To this presentation, I would add just several of ideas.

  1. The federal government cannot know all of the existing designs of all of our schools. Therefore, it cannot know the very best ways to protect all of the students in all of the schools; in every city, hamlet and hollow across America.
  2. The federal government can only insure the preservation of the existence of the Second Amendment and the Constitutionally based freedom of the states and municipalities to experiment with many ways to increase and preserve student and citizen safety from violence.
  3. The federal government can then collect and broadcast these findings to state and local governments so they can select from among those protective tactics most suitable to their own circumstances. 

The protective tactics best suited to local or regional conditions may be metal detectors, iron classroom doors, bullet proof glass, local police security, paid ex-military security, armed and trained special teachers, or many more ideas distilled from both proven and experimental efforts. Seemingly good ideas often fail. Experimental validation is with data collection is the best way to proceed. 

Protected States Rights are the genius of our Founding Fathers. States Rights provide for the benefits of a diversity of local “experimental laboratories”. This amounts to a “free market of ideas”. This approach will most likely produce the wonderful successes of America’s famed free market economy admired and imitated around the world.

A central government dictated one-size-fits-all approach, with limited exceptions, is notorious around the world for its tragic failures.

Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 3/9/18

Fix America’s Self-Destructive Cultural Designs: It’s Do or Die!

December 21, 2012

Fix America’s Self-Destructive Cultural Designs: It’s Do or Die!

Everyone is saying the problem is the existence of evil. Well evil is just a another word used to describe things and actions that are bad, immoral, or wicked, etc.. Evil has been described as a force of nature that leads to wickedness and sin (the breaking of God’s laws…i.e., “Though Shalt Not Kill”!). For the religious, the word evil suggests “The Work of The Devil”.

For the secular humanist, evil is just a word that they snitch from religion in order to describe something that is horrible beyond the ability of their secular language to describe. It is most instructive to observe how they try to borrow the word, without its true meaning, in order to have an emotional impact upon their listeners that they wish to influence in some direction. It is the distorted mirror image of a secularist who wishes someone “God’s Blessings” in order to achieve some strategic behavioral or emotional goal with them.

Every radio and T.V. station is featuring pundits (supposed experts) who blame guns, especially so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines for the carnage that is so much a part of  our modern American culture. But, of course, high-capacity semi-automatic pistols and rifles have existed well before the escalating rates of our contemporary so-called “senseless”,  but truely horrific mass murders of innocent men, women and children

I often hear people say, it’s not the gun, it’s the person. Of course it is “the person”, the gun cannot shoot by itself!  But that smug and dismissive rejoinder to the gun critic does not answer the key question.

The key question is: What in hell causes people to perpetrate such horrendous violence upon their defenseless and innocent fellow citizens, even children, for no identifiable material gain!?

My life-time study of the behavioral and social sciences leaves me with some distressing news for you. In the final analysis, if you are looking for the single cause for any behavior, let alone these senseless complex mass-murder rampages of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, you will never find it.

There are no single causes of human behavior. Rather there is a massive confluence of interacting causes/influences that include Genetics-Biology; the Learning history of the individual; the Current State of the Person; and the Current State of the Environment.

But if you are looking for one word that subsumes nearly all of the relevant causes and interactions that produce the dramatic increase in these murderous rampages, look no further than the word Culture.

There are many definitions of the word culture. But the definitions that I find most useful are the ones that emphasize the formal and informal rules for good behavior and the sanctions for bad behavior adopted by society in question.

Such rules and sanctions are normally imposed through government (laws, regulations, rewards and punishments; through various Commandments for moral and ethical conduct taught by the population’s religions with promised spiritual rewards and punishments such as God’s love, God’s Care and versions of Heaven and Hell; Refinements in Medical Practices that change which people within a population (gene pools) survive to propagate and which ones do not; And, there are also the products of technology that alter various  advantages and stressors that impact the population (technology in all its forms; entertainment, conveniences, weapons, and conveyances, etc.).

Finally, there are the “informal” (More’s and folkways) expectations that are imposed by the friends, families, neighbors, and fellow workers upon the individual in the forms of grass-root expectations, rules, and social and material rewards and punishments that form the fabric of our every-day existence.

All in all,  these are the contingencies (I.e., the antecedents, contexts, behaviors and the consequences) that select our most important behaviors  in or out-of frequent existence (high or low rates of occurrence within a population).

But there are many more scientific principles that effect our cultural behaviors, These many principles comprise the mechanisms that drive a societies’ cultural changes. The many behavioral principles involved in this process are beyond the scope of this short blog. But, taken together they comprise the mechanisms of behavioral/cultural change, the outcomes of which, I call Behavioral  Contagion.

I define behavioral contagion as the spread of particular behavior patterns within a population via scientifically validated biopsychosocial mechanisms. And yes, dear reader, just as there is good and bad behaviors (no matter what the secular humanists tell you) There is also good and bad behavioral contagion.

Good behavioral contagion strengthens the viability of the culture in which it occurs and bad behavioral contagion weakens its viability.

At some point, failing cultures have probably always known they were in decline, and they have normally attempted to reverse the process. Given the complexity of the many interacting behavioral principles that spell success or failure, it is not a wonder that so many have failed to save themselves.

It appears to me that the evolution of individual cultures recapitulate the evolution of the countless species that have evolved to life and then devolved into extinction. For cultures in a changing and “selecting” universe, failure is the general rule: Successes are short-lived and cultures have normally destroyed themselves.

Not a hopeful picture! Especially if we, as our own cultural designers, continue to do dumb,  self-abusive and self-defeating things to our selves. Perhaps the dumbest and most maladaptive things that America has done is to fail to use the products of its own behavioral sciences. And where such useful products are not yet available, America has failed to  use of the wisdom of the ages available in the teachings of the world’s greatest benevolent religions.

Coming now in my blogs will be a discussion of some of these failings that I judge to have come into strong confluence and catalysis to produce the murderous carnage among America’s citizens that we are now suffering.

In short, we have designed our modern American culture in ways that have dramatically increased bad behavioral contagion and the result is a dramatic destruction of our viability.

Stay tuned folks, I am about shiver-your-timbers with the truth that I see.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Health Services Provider in Psychology


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