Clay and Buck

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What Sparked America’s Wave of Violence and How Do We Stop It?

5 Jul 2022

BUCK: Obviously, over this weekend there were shootings that happened, the big shooting Highland Park shooting that occurred, which is getting a lot of attention, and then when you look at the number of people who were also shot in the city of Chicago, Clay, it is mind-blowing.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: We thought there’d be a lot of shootings over the weekend just because historically there tend to be. This was Chicago city, not including the mass shooting that occurred in Highland Park, which I think is a little bit north of Chicago. I don’t know the Chicago area that well. In the city itself, Clay, over the Fourth of July weekend, 71 people were shot, eight were killed — 71 people.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: I remember when I was looking at what’s going on in the war zones at the CIA, if we had had a weekend where we took 71 military casualties —

CLAY: Would have been unheard of.

BUCK: — people would have said, “Oh, my gosh.” It would have been a major battle. We would have been in the middle of the battle of Fallujah or something. That’s a lot of people to get shot over a weekend, and we just had a, quote, “bipartisan” gun bill. A number of senators went along with this, and what did we say? “It’s not gonna stop shootings, and it’s not even gonna stop Democrats from demanding that we do more the next time.” It’s never like, “Okay, we’ve gotten the laws right. We now just have to enforce them better.”

CLAY: Their goal is to end the Second Amendment.

BUCK: Totally.

CLAY: That’s their goal.

BUCK: That’s it, and we know this. So that’s why when we get the moral lectures and the virtue signaling from the Mitt Romneys and Lindsey Graham who went along with it. I hope people remember who went along with this. Not only are we now hearing more calls for gun control, the gun control package that just passed would have done effectively nothing to stop this mass shooting, and clearly didn’t stop the 71 shootings — or 71 people from being shot and eight killed — in Chicago over the weekend.

CLAY: Well, and it’s symptomatic of the overall violence in which this country is descending into. And, Buck, I’m afraid — and I bet you also have this same fear — that, to your point, the shootings overwhelmingly increase in the summer. There are a lot of reasons for that. It’s hot, people are out of their houses, kids are out of school, there’s a lot more free time and free time for idle hands that often creates more issues in many of these cities. We’ve had a lot of police officers retiring. Many of these police officer corps are not strongly staffed right now so there’s fewer officers on the street.

We continue to arrest and return all of these vigilantes who are being arrested constantly for violent acts that are being permitted to go back out in the streets. And, Buck, I try not to name ever the shooters in any of these mass shooting events because I do think that’s the one thing that people who are like us, media, can do to help. But I have to say, every time one of these guys shoots, you look at their social media profile and you can watch bun two-minute video and say this guy — they’re almost always guys — is mentally unstable. And I can’t impress upon you how often this occurs where you watch the video — and even if this kid wasn’t gonna be a mass shooter, you’re like, “This kid is seriously mentally out of touch and something bad is going to happen,” and I watched that guy’s videos and I feel the same way.

BUCK: Clay you look at shooter — and by the way, I agree, yes, I do, with your general position. There’s no need to name. The name, his name, doesn’t matter in a good way.

CLAY: A lot of these guys are trying to get famous —

BUCK: Trying to get famous, that’s right.

CLAY: — so we try not to name them. Obviously if there is a situation where there’s somebody, we’re on air and there’s a mass shooter who’s loose on the city —

BUCK: That’s right. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

CLAY: — there are some exceptions, but yes.

BUCK: But so, you look at this individual, the photos of him, and this — and I’m not trying to be, you know, judgmental in a way that goes beyond in instance. But you say, “Well, that guy is crazy.”

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: You look at him, he’s got blue hair, tattoos all over his face. You just look into his eyes — and I mean this — there’s something about the eyes of these shooters. The kid’s a psychopath. All right, he’s 22 years old. He’s a psychopath, and so now we’re gonna have a real conversation. He bought it legally. He’s 22. So, none of the discussions in recent weeks about how we’re gonna stop, unless the position of the left is, “The Second Amendment only covers muskets.” We’re gonna take all your guns, which some of them you see this all over social media. They will say that. It’s crazy.

CLAY: Which I respect, ’cause at least they’re being honest about what they want.

BUCK: That’s the truth, yes, but it’s crazy in terms of a policy ’cause it’s never gonna happen and I think it would lead to I think government confiscation of all firearms would lead to a very, very, very bad state of affairs in the country. Just putting it mildly. But so, none of the things they’ve talked about would have changed the situation with this individual except the mental health angle. Now, let’s look at this. You and I anyone listening could have looked at a photo of this kid and certainly if you sit down and chatted with him and spoke to him a little bit and law enforcement was aware of him —

CLAY: Watch his videos that he was posting on social media; he’s clearly unwell.

BUCK: So what can we do about this? And, now, I ask this because I don’t have an answer, but if we want to have a discussion to stop this. I believe this is the pathway you go down. Are we willing to take someone like this who has, until this instance, until this mass murder, I don’t believe he had ever… Had he broken the law? Was there any criminal record of any kind?

CLAY: Not that I’ve seen.

BUCK: I haven’t seen any criminal record. He had done nothing criminal before this. Are we willing to say, “This guy is a psychopath. We’re going to lock him up for being a psycho under a mental health issue.”

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: And, by the way, how long do we hold him? Is this a life sentence for being a psychopath? And I’m not asking this rhetorically. I really don’t know. But that’s what we’re dealing with. This is someone who was deranged, and there’s seven billion people plus in the world, and there are going to be evil, deranged maniacs. So what do we do?

CLAY: I think it’s a fabulous discussion that an adult country would have. I also think a part of this discussion — and I know there are some exceptions — is, “Why did the mass shooter phenomenon basically start, to a large extent…?” I know you had the shooting from the tower in Texas at the University of Texas, and there are exceptions out there.

BUCK: Yeah, there’s the Scottish school massacre in the nineties and there have been shootings stretching back for a long time.

CLAY: But, by and large, this is something that seems to have started around the time Columbine, right, the early nineties where people just started to take weapons. We had widely available weapons in the United States for hundreds of years. Buck, you know guns way better than I do, but we’ve had high-capacity guns. We’ve had the ability to do this in the fifties and the sixties and the seventies. It didn’t happen, by and large. Why have mass shootings — and again, I want to point out, too, the data that you shared be, 71 people got shot in Chicago. Most of those were not mass shootings. Mass shootings are a small part of the overall acts of violence.

BUCK: It was gang and criminal violence in Chicago, which is 99% or 95% of the murders that are occurring in Chicago on a regular basis.

CLAY: But the way that we cover these, by and large, is a mass shooting, because of the fear factor, right, because anybody can think, “Hey, I’m at a July 4th parade.” What if somebody brings out a gun? We saw a shooting in Philadelphia. We saw the shooting in the Chicago area. Why have the mass shootings, despite the fact that guns were extremely prevalent, like you said, in the fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties? Why have they started in the nineties and spread? And I’m not claiming to know the answer. I would love to hear from people out there. You can tweet us. You can call in 800-282-2882. Do you have…? I’m sure it’s many things. Do you have a thesis, Buck, on why in the nineties, after 200 years basically of limited mass shootings, why does it happen?

BUCK: The problem — and maybe it would be good to have on the guy that I know who has the data cold, knows the numbers, would be John Lott. So maybe we invite John on to talk about this because when we talk about mass shootings, there’s also a lot of ways they expand the numbers, right? They say it’s two or more people shot. If there’s a gang dispute on the corner and the guy fires off a bunch of rounds, that’s a mass shooting but it’s not a mass shooting in the context of a mass murder by psychopath that you and I are talking about —

CLAY: He was targeted like in a fight.

BUCK: Totally different.

CLAY: You can see that in a shooting. Right.

BUCK: It’s still murder, but it’s a different circumstance, a different situation. We’re talking about these random acts of mass murder shootings, they’re statistically still —

CLAY: Very rare.

BUCK: — and anytime this happens, everyone says, “Oh, how could you say this?” It is a fact. They are statistically very rare. I think that a big part of it is our perception is driven by the access that we all have to constant news and information sources to believe that they are considerably more common than they actually are statistically. And you’re right. I believe there is an incline, even John, I think, John Lott would tell us there’s been a bit of an incline over the last 15 years, but it’s from 12 mass shootings to 15 mass shootings.

CLAY: Right.

BUCK: So you’re talking about a very small number overall, and now you’re asking, how do we stop this? It starts to be a little bit like, how do you stop a super-low probability but high impact event? And that’s incredibly complicated.

CLAY: Yeah. And I don’t know what the solution is, but I understand why events like what happened in Chicago — and, on a smaller scale, what happened in Philadelphia — they capture the public fear in a way that, to your point, Buck, two guys who get into an argument and are 18 years old and end up shooting at each other, that’s a targeted act of violence. You can avoid, in theory, a targeted act of violence that you’re not involved in. You can’t avoid, if some crazy guy decides to start shooting at you from a tall building at a public event like a July 4th parade.

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