Alaska doesn’t get a lot of mass shootings. As probably the most armed state in the union, you’d think our easy access to guns would turn us all into homicidal maniacs with a desire to shoot up gun-free zones, but it doesn’t happen. Go figure!
We’ve had a couple of mass shootings. Two were back in the 1980s. Louis Hastings, a rabid environmentalist who was angry at miners in Alaska, shot up McCarthy in 1983. Michael Silka, a serial killer, shot up Manley Hot Springs in 1984. Both men were mentally ill. Both communities had plenty of guns already in the community and probably still have lots of guns (I know for sure that Manley does). In both instances, the town folk had to wait hours for the Alaska State Troopers to show up. In Manley, Silka had already fled upriver before the townsfolk even knew he’d killed six (including a 2-year-old boy and a pregnant woman), but in McCarthy people hunkered down in their homes with their guns and prayed they’d be able to get him before he got them. In both cases, the killers used hunting rifles with limited capacity. In Manley, the troopers went after Silva with M16s with 20-round clips and he still managed to kill one of them with a 30-06. That’s right. The standard hunting rifle of North America was far more effective at killing than the military-grade automatic weapon.
Here in the very armed state of Alaska, mass shootings are extremely rare. Why? Shouldn’t the guns be whispering in our deranged ears that we should shoot our nice neighbor Alice and her cute little dog Toto? How can we resist?
Because guns don’t talk to you unless you’re insane and owning guns — even owning a lot of guns — does not make you crazy! Guns do not shoot people. By themselves guns are incapable of shooting anyone. It’s not the guns that massacre people in gun-free zones. It’s the people using the guns who do the killing.
I pray I am never in a situation where I need a gun to protect myself, but it happens and when it happens, I don’t want to be huddled on the floor of a movie theater praying a bad guy shoots the guy next to me and doesn’t shoot me instead.The cops have no obligation to protect us. Their job is to clean up the mess afterward and assist in the prosecution of the murderer. The more victims the better actually. There is nobody who is going to protect us except us.
In the 30 years since I took ownership of my mother’s 357, I have never wanted to shoot anyone, but I’ve known people who have. You can identify those people pretty easily. If you google the men I’ve profiled, you will find that they were mentally ill and most of the people around them knew it. Why didn’t someone do something? The system is broken. Fix the mental health system, and mass shooting will all but disappear. And, then we can concentrate on criminals … but that’s a different story.