Will Focusing on ‘Contagion Effect’ Reduce Mass Shootings?

Hyperbole aside, a deadly contagion is not characterized by isolated, statistically rare incidents. (Tableau de Michel Serre (1658-1733) représentant l’hôtel de ville de Marseille pendant la peste de 1720. Robert Valette This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “One mass shooting can inspire another, leading to a cluster of shootings in quick succession as like-minded individuals are spurred to action,” The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, quoting Northeastern University professor and “mass killings” scholar James Alan Fox “It plays right into the mindset of a few people who would love to replicate that in their own community. There is a contagion effect.”

That sentiment enjoys widespread agreement, both in terms of cause and solution.

“We know that mass shootings are socially contagious and tend to occur in clusters,” NBC News quotes criminology professor Jillian Peterson.

“Media platform could affect violence,” ABC 17 weighs in, quoting journalism professor Katherine Reed.

“How the media can fight mass shootings: Don’t mention killers by name,” The Los Angeles Times offers.

The agreement is not just confined to the DSM. So-called “conservative media” has joined the “contagion” chorus.

“Back-to-back mass shootings highlight ‘contagion’ effect,” WND.com echoes, citing “a 2015 peer-reviewed study titled ‘Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings,’ published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.”

“Identify the terrorism by name, but not its perpetrators,” Townhall recommends.

Even the National Rifle Association agrees, citing numerous other studies. Those aren’t hard to come by, as a simple Google search produces links to articles with titles from the American Psychological Association, the National Institutes of Health, and others.

And Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has been promoting its “Don’t inspire evil” initiative and gaining allies along the way. I agree with JPFO’s admonition to “Refrain from gratuitous or repetitious portrayal of mass murderers’ names and images,” by the way, and have even followed that advice myself on occasion.

Ever the contrarian, though, my concern is that in our earnestness to not inspire evil we don’t unwittingly protect and enable it. And I’m not comfortable embracing the same rationales that are used to hyperbolize and demonize gun ownership: treating it as a public health “pathogen” and forcing changes on the behavior of all due to the aberrance of a few.

I am skeptical that anyone evil and deranged enough to commit mass murder won’t just be triggered by something else, and in any case, there is no way that everyone who comments on the news will ever agree to act in unison. And while the keyword JPFO uses is “gratuitous,” the horse is already outside the barn.

By NOT identifying the mutant, we are dependent on what “officials” and their approved media megaphones tell us, cutting off independents from doing their own fact checks. If anything, I’d like to see the perps’ social media sites and everything about them left up so we can see for ourselves the mindset they had and from what ideologies they sprang, instead of what we see happening with increasing frequency – those accounts are taken down before the names of the killers are even released.

While some will argue that shouldn’t matter, political sentiments, even when they involve an unjustified stretch, are used to great effect by would-be totalitarians and their useful idiot followers.

All you need to do is look at how the Democrats and the gun-grabbers (but I repeat myself) are screaming about “white nationalists” being the engine for the Trump machine in their El Paso blood dance. Just look at MSNBC headlines like “Will Trump recognize existence of ‘white supremacist terrorism’?” and “’Jesus Christ, of course he’s racist’: Beto O’Rourke says Trump’s open racism is an ‘invitation to violence’.” Then ask yourself why despite even “left-wing” Snopes admitting it’s “true” that  MSNBC won’t tell you the Dayton monster was “a pro-Satan leftist who ‘supported Elizabeth Warren.’”

In any case, such measures taken after the deed is done do nothing to deter future acts of evil, nor to stop them in progress. Nor do after-the-fact concessions on further citizen disarmament orders, something our president and “bipartisan” Republicans are leaning toward with renewed talk about “extreme risk protection” edicts.

You’d think they’d get a clue from Ohio Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, who told Face the Nation he “wouldn’t start” with those and then demanded Trump sign an “assault weapon ban.” You’d think they’d take a hint from Nancy Pelosi’s “slippery slope” admission.

You’d think they’d make the connection from recent admissions about the Parkland degenerate, known to be such a threat he was searched every day by his school for weapons. You’d think they’d finally recognize that some people are broken and can’t be fixed, and after receiving full due process (not the fake “red flag” kind) be kept away from the general populace.

You’d think they’d grok that, in El Paso and in Dayton, what stopped the killing rampages were men protecting themselves and others with guns.

So yeah, when it makes sense, minimize gratifying the notoriety cravings of a handful of reptiles because it’s the decent thing to do. Just let’s not kid ourselves that this will have any meaningful impact on future incidents in a society that denies what’s really needed, or that it will keep those who would control us from blaming you and me and demanding we be disarmed when they happen again.

About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.