This is a transcription of an episode from A Nation Divided Radio

A nation divided furnished by the Cochran firm. We are KABC talk radio 790. You are listening to a nation divided. Thank you for tuning in. We are coming to you live from Culver City. I am Brian Dunn sitting right across from my best friend in the world. Mr. James Oates. How are you doing brother? Privileged to be here today Brian, I do not feel entitled to be here. Privileged, privileged. I feel privileged. I’m grateful for being here. So folks, as we process certain complicated issues that pervade our American consciousness, we, uh, Jim and I like to think about why things happen the way they do. In fact, that’s about all we do all day, every day. Uh, but when we think about what makes us American, we think about our freedoms, baseball, all kinds of wonderful things that are unique to our political landscape. But one of the not so wonderful things about America is mass shootings. We seem to have a monopoly on this thing. It occurs more in this particular part of the world than anywhere else. Uh, and it’s not just because everyone has guns. Access to guns are so prevalent that it might have something to do with it. But the discussion that we’re going to have today in the wake of two horribly tragic events, one of which occurred most recently in Odessa and before that in El Paso, Texas. We really want to think about why these things happen the way that they do now. I’m sure we can all agree that this is a horrible thing and it’s a tragedy and it’s something that we should prevent. But it seems as though when something like this happens, the script is so familiar, you have a horrible tragedy and you have the voices of the victims, which are incredibly tragic. And then you have the issue of gun control that comes up. This seems to be a platform for those who are in support of gun control to come forward and say, we need to stop this. And then you have the other members of the NRA and their supporters saying, no, guns don’t kill people. People do. But the discussion that I want to have today with you guys, it’s not about guns. I don’t wanna make it about gun control even though guns are the most prominent mechanism of mass shootings, uh, or mass killings, the kinds of things that are caused by firearms. But I want to try to think about other things because I believe that when we focus the issue too narrowly on access to firearms, we may be missing some other very significant factors that are unique to the American psyche that caused this to happen so much here. And Jim has been looking at some statistics. Tell us a little bit about some of the things that you found brother. Well, I mean first I want to go back to just really clarify also for our listeners so that they understand we are not wanting to talk about gun control today. We’ve done, we’ve done it on that and we will come back and we’ll come back to it sometime and people are welcome to go on our website and they’ll hear all of the very interesting information that we pulled out. Brian’s written on it and we’ve got a lot of op-ed stuff that we’ve done. We’ve got our blog and you know Brian and I disagree on some of those points but, but what we both fundamentally agree on is whether you believe in gun control or not, any gun control laws are not going to stop this, this, this thing is not going to change. And so I think that Brian, what he was saying there, but it very succinctly again to say this is that we kind of have gotten stuck in this sort of revolving thing, this pattern that occurs where it’s, it’s press button repeat, we get one side comes out and says one thing, give us it all. It’s about gun control. Seems like we’re just going through this cycle over and over again. Insert the name of the location, insert date, insert time, insert the name of the shooter and then it’s still the same discussion. And no one’s really trying to explore this in a deeper way. And folks, we’re gonna want you to join the discussion if you have the stomach for it. It’s an abstract topic for today. Simply we’re trying to wrap our arms around why this thing happens, uh, without talking about guns and gun control. And there have been numerous studies and Jim is familiar with some of the most prominent findings that have been the result of the statistical analysis done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Tell us a little bit about some of the common denominators and some of these things may shock you, folks.

Well, I don’t know that it’s too shocking, but I think that one thing that probably people are looking for that they’re desperate, they’re desperately seeking it and they’re not going to get it is one statement, right? One sort of splash point answer for why people do this. It is not like a situation that has an easy answer. It’s this. Everyone wants to say there is a reason people go out and do these mass shootings. They want it. They want to have one thing. They want to say, Oh, they must be crazy. Right? Or they must be a white supremacist or it must be because had access to an assault rifle. You know, they come up with all these things that they want to assign one value to. And what the FBI says is, it’s pretty clear that that’s not the case.

So when we talk about the playing field network, discussing what is a mass shooting it was previously defined as a shooting in a public place that involved four or more people that were killed indiscriminately. In other words, this wasn’t something like a family member killing members of the family. That’s important to talk about too. I mean, even the definition of mass shooting is, it’s all over the place. The generally accepted rule was that it was four or more people indiscriminately killed in a public place. But that said, that number was kind of lowered for the department of justice purposes during the Obama administration to three. So anytime you had three or more people killed someplace, they wanted to call that a mass shooting and then maybe not necessarily in a public place, maybe not necessarily indiscriminately. So that starts to get really murky.

So as we defined that discussion, folks, I’m going to tell you about some common denominators. These are some of the things that have been determined to be consistent. These are things we can agree on and some of them may shock you. Crime hasn’t gone down universally, right. In, in our nation. Right? It has consistently, there was a slight uptick. I think it was the year before last, but it has generally gone down in our country and it’s way below where it was, say in the 70s or even the 80s. And we’re, we’re making a lot of progress. That’s broad crime rate too. They ever make, make sure people understand that’s murder, that’s all the other sort of violent crimes, burglary, all these kinds of crimes. So, but one of the things that we’ve noticed is that since we first started documenting these mass shootings it was an incident that happened in 1966 on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin famous one. Right. Uh, the rate of mass shootings has not changed. It has been about the same from the 70s on. It stayed the same. It hasn’t changed. Yeah. If you do that and that gets complicated too because you’re talking about the number of mass shootings per capita. The number of machines is not necessarily the number of people killed, which is a separate matter. And a lot of folks like to think it’s just white men that are doing this. But in reality, if you really look at the rate they have, every shooting documented by the race and age and the, and the gun, that was your interest. The great database actually I had downloaded for people who are interested to find it, they go to mojo. If they can go to mojo.com and they can download this mother Jones and they can get this data that’s all compiled. And there’s a great big massive database. It’s pretty telling. Then generally what we’re seeing is that, again, this is not statistically 100% accurate, but it follows around similar to the distribution of the racial proportion within the country. That’s right. I mean, when I went into this for eight first, and you and I talked about this a lot this morning, is that I went into it thinking it’s white males doing this, right? I mean, you look around, I think it’s LA. It’s guys that looked like me doing it. Well, there has been an uptick in white males doing it recently due to the outright and some of these high-profile shootings that have involved.that’s actually not true by the numbers. There’s been an uptick in people associating with, all right, they do the mass shootings, but the number of the desk, you know, the number of, you spread it out across population. It basically tracks the population of the United States by race. But the kick is we’re not going to be talking about guns or gun control. So as we move forward, the average age of the mass shooter is 35 years old. 57% are single at the time of the offense, 35% had criminal convictions. 62% had a history of acting in an abusive or harassing way, uh, of the shooters that could be communicated with that actually survived 77% a whopping 77% said that they planned the shooting for at least one week before it happened. These are some statistics. Why do they happen and what can we do about it? And we’re not going to talk about guns and gun control.

We are KABC talk radio seven 90 or listening to a nation divided today. We’re talking about mass shootings and why they occur. We’re not going to be talking about gun control and gun violence. We’re going to be talking about guns of course, but we’re not going to be talking about laws and gun controls and access to guns. We’re going to be talking about deeper issues because we want to know why this happens here. Canada, for example, has the exact same, uh, accessibility to guns. You can get any gun in Canada that you can get here doesn’t happen. They’re like, they just don’t have this problem that even close to it. And why is it us something about being in America? Jim, you were gonna say something. Well, you know, going back to the FBI study, just to make sure that we, and we got some of the callers already calling him, we can see some of the things they’re going to say so that before we get into that and go into the weeds on some of the things that’ll be said, let’s make sure we understand at least what the FBI says. Right. This is pretty hard data. So as very broad, it’s a very broad generality. This is what they do know about mass shooters. They’re male. 94% of mass shooters are men. They know that. They know that they’re single. The number he gave is not quite right. 57% completely single, another 11% divorced, right, or 13% divorced. And then others that are like in quads I relationship. I know you and I are right in the middle, but so again, just to recap this, that they’re, they’re male. They are single. And one of the things that they did find in the FBI study is that they are people that feel that they’ve been personally wronged right across the board. They feel, you see it now, whether they will or it’s a manifesto actually only about like one quarter write a manifesto or put something on Facebook actually. Yeah, like the majority don’t even want to, they don’t really care that they ever get this attributed to their name, but here’s what they do know that when they do study these people or they have them still living afterward, they, they can interview them. They find out that there are people that had some sort of political or social agenda that they felt personally wronged by. Oftentimes we’re not. So it’s not like they were actually a terrorist crime on American soil was Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma felt personally wronged by Waco. Anyway, phone before and before we get to that, there’s the last thing. It’s gotta be said. It’s really important to say this. It’s not people that were watching video games, right? It’s not people that just copy candidates per se. Although there is a, there’s a component, there’s a copycat component. They study it on how to do it and it’s not anyone ideology with folks. We want to know what you think. Lynette, thanks for being so patient. A welcome to a nation divided your own with Brian and Jim a long time caller. We certainly appreciate hearing your voice. What are your thoughts on that?

Good afternoon guys. You’d have to, good afternoon Lynette. I don’t know how you guys think we’re going to talk about this without talking about gun control, but we tried to, we tried to set up the rules Okay. All right. Another elephant in the room is the fact that this country was from the inception built upon violence.
Yes. We can’t really make the argument that every country was built upon, okay. As Dr. King put it, we are the largest pros there of war on the planet. Okay. Something about America that you associate inherently with, with crime and violence. But I might have disagreed if you’re living in maybe 17th century, I don’t know, India or someplace. But any country that has been colonized, It’s almost always is associated with violence. But Lynette, you are bringing up some good points. So we live in by the floor and we’re dying by it. Unfortunately, God helpless, you know, and uh, you know, with Stoneman Douglas, I mean that man that just really just set me, I mean, I’m for the second amendment okay. But we always talk about the rights and not the responsibilities of carrying firearms. But like I said, when I saw the Stoneman Douglas situation and really parking back to Columbia and, and we still don’t have any legislation to regulate these guys. Nothing. And enough thing. And I feel like this, if the kids were 17-year-olds with the right to vote, we would not be having this conversation right now to change the whole trajectory of gun control. Right now
I’m gonna put you on hold on hold. There’s something about the numbers on that too. Just to say it’s disproportionately 18 to 20-year-olds that commit these crimes. Now that desperate, disproportionately average age is 35, that disproportionately is the word I said. So people need to get really, again, this is the problem with understanding statistics that people get jacked upon, that we gotta be really clear on if you took the number of 18 to 20-year-olds in the United States of America, that they’re the total population, right? And compare it to the population of all other age groups, right? The number of 18-20-year-olds that do commit a mass shooting is disproportionate by a factor of four.

Wow. Uh, Bernice from long beach, uh, we’re talking about mass shootings, uh, why they occur, why they are unique to America and why they keep happening. Uh, we all know that crime has gone down, uh, since pretty consistently for the last decade and a half. Uh, but mass shootings just seem to remain constant. Uh, why is this Burness or Bernice, I apologize, talk to me. Well, I was going to bring up the, I was gonna bring up the video game thing, but I listened to her and in you and um, you know, we haven’t, we have men coming back from, from war and a lot of them are troubled with posttraumatic stress disorder and a lot of them are fathers. Yes. There are 24% of documented mass shooters had at least, some military experience. So do you want to do something there? Go ahead, please. Yeah, so we have gangs, too many gangs in America, the Crips, the blood now in this 13 from God knows where. And I’m not, not saying that video came, are not part of the problem because I think they are because they might, my grandson said one time that when he was watching his dad playing grand theft auto. And he was only nine at the time. Yeah. And what Bernice is saying, I have to just get, get straight to it. If these are, the gangs now are different than the ones that we had when we grew up. We grew up with games like pong, but, but they’re, they’re actually active shooter games where you commit crimes. Uh, the purpose of games, grand theft auto is to basically commit crimes on the highest level. We’ll pause it to kind of help out Bernice a little bit here and jumping on her side of it. Sort of so to speak. Yet Brian and I were having this conversation earlier and there’ve been a lot of studies, Bernice, a lot of very detailed studies that pretty definitively state that there is no link between playing of video games and increased aggression. Now hang on before you say no, but hang on beyond, this is the thing that Brian and I were talking about earlier. Perhaps one of the problems we’ve got with even talking about video games when we talk about a mass shooting is that we’re looking for the solution there that’s not there, but we’re not talking about what the relationship could be. In other words, all the studies talk about it not leading to aggression. What the studies don’t talk about is if you take a person that was going to commit an aggressive act one way or the other, why would they maybe choose to do it one way versus another? But what we are hitting on again and what Bernice is nailing, I think is that there’s something violent about our culture. There is some form of Trinsic violence that just doesn’t seem to exist everywhere. Bernice, so I want to put you on hold for a minute. Um, now, uh, Charles, I’m going to get to you in a second. Mike, we’re gonna hang with you for quite a bit, probably in segment three. Dylan, I think I like what you’d come in with this. Talk to me. You’re on a nation divided with Brian Dunn and James oats. How are you guys doing? We are doing wonderful brother. Thanks for calling. Yeah, good. Um, so the way I’m seeing things is the way the media reports these mass shootings, it’s not, it’s not reported as a tragedy anymore. So much as it is a sportscast, right? I mean every time it happens, they literally put up a scoreboard. You see the shooter’s name, where he was, how many people he killed. Right. And one of the things that I was thinking of, and I’m a civil rights lawyer by trade, but I would like to experiment with a rule that says the next time one of these happens, we will not mention the shooter’s name. We will not publish his picture. There will be no identity associated with this there thereafter.

Yeah, I think definitely. I think Dylan, you really are into something. Brian and I were talking about this quite a bit earlier because you know, one of the things that the FBI study does make pretty clear is that these are people that have something to say, right? Right. They feel like they’ve been wronged and they want to make an impact somehow. And they do learn how to do this thing that they do from other people. So they’re seeing it on the news, they’re seeing it in media. And here’s the other thing that the FBI thing made very clear. Even for my own part, we have a lot of prejudices in terms of what we get from the media that are not accurate at all. Like for instance, that it’s mostly white males or whatever else. So if we get those pieces of information wrong and we’re normal, ordinary people were like, well-adjusted people. What do maladjusted people get from it?