Dinner table discussions
International gun crime statistics were cited (how do they know such things? The boys, I mean, not the statisticians) and it seems that the UK is quite low down the list of gun-related homicides. So, despite being a libertarian Tom is in favour of gun laws. I'd say I'm ethically not, because a law is a law and it seems incongruous to suggest that some can be effective and others not. I was trying to remember the points Sarah Fitz-Claridge made in one of her essays on this subject, but couldn't. Can't even find it now. Oh well here's some debate about it. I'm not sure whether that was her post in the first place.
Ali mentioned the unusual fact that although it's legal to bear arms in many American states, silencers or suppressors are still outlawed. I found the semantics of this quite interesting and we got into a great discussion about what constitutes premeditated crime. The boys got really technical about guns and how they work, (Again: how on earth do they know?) but Zara and I were more interested in the psychology of such a crime and the boys did eventually leave the mechanics alone long enough to join us in wondering about the causes of psychosis and whether certain people do feel empathy or not.
Ali queried the point that, if a person has no empathy and is therefore unable to comprehend another person's pain - what would be the point of them going on a killing spree? - which got us into the realm of narcissism and sadism and wondering what caused those states of minds. We also got into discussing the effects of drugs (both prescribed and illegal) and diet on the mind, but I was more interested in this than the others I think.
I do feel very strongly that whenever something like this happens the main consideration afterwards, when everything physically practical has been done, has to be to work out exactly how and why it came to pass. I don't subscribe to the 'sometimes things just are' school of thought, I don't think.
It's also interesting that Zara and I wanted to discuss the psychology of the crime, whereas Tom and Ali were more interested in the mechanics of it. Is this because of our respective genders, or just our individual interests? We didn't get around to discussing that.