Slowly but surely America is losing it.
In the aftermath of the San Bernardino mass shooting, which according to the FBI is now being treated as a terrorist attack, and since ISIS is at least indirectly related makes it the biggest terrorist attack on US soil since Sept. 11, the suggestions, proposals, if not outright threats on how to respond, show just how schizophrenic US society is becoming when it comes to this most sensitive of social issues: gun violence.
Case in point, yesterday afternoon, a sheriff from New York State's Ulster Country, Paul Van Blarcum, asked residents in his county to carry their legal guns in the wake of a mass shooting in California that has reignited a national conversation about gun control.
"In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO," Ulster County Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum wrote on Facebook Thursday. "I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm."
According to NBC, Van Blarcum's Facebook post, which also urged active duty and retired officers to carry guns "whenever you leave your house," had been shared more than 28,000 times by Friday afternoon. The post also drew more than 3,000 comments.
His appeal is addressed to a very small set of people: only about 10,000 people in Ulster County are licensed to carry handguns, Van Blarcum told the AP. That's about 5 percent of the more than 180,000 people. Which means if terrorism does strike in this otherwise sleepy country 100 miles north of New York City, it would the obligation of each gun-carrying citizen to protect 19 of their peers.
As could be expected, the responses ranged on both sides of the spectrum with extreme opinions prevailing: some posters thanked the sheriff, saying his message would help keep the county safe. Others said more firearms would only lead to more violence. "There were more positive comments than negative, but the negative ones are very adamant," Van Blarcum told The Associated Press.
What is most surprising is that Van Blacrum is, according to the AP, a democrat. In other words, he can't be blamed of being just another gun crazy republican, hell bent on forming his own militia.
"I'm not trying to drum up a militia of any sort," Van Blarcum said, according to NBC New York. "It's just a reminder that if you want to, you have a right to carry it. It might come in handy. It's better to have it than not have it. We're partners with the public in crime prevention."
Ironically, Blarcum's post came as many, especially fellow democrat President Barack Obama, are calling for stricter gun control measures following the recent string of high-profile shootings. "We're going to have to, I think, search ourselves as a society to make sure that we take some basic steps that make it harder — not impossible — but harder for individuals to get access to weapons," Obama said Thursday.
What is strange is that two ideologically similar people can have two such diametrically opposing opinions on how to deal with the threat of imported terrorism.
However, what is beyond debate and is demonstratively factual, is that as we showed earlier today, ever since Obama's election, gun sales have soared, mostly over concerns that the president, who has been very forthright with his anti-gun agenda, could make selling of weapons illegal with an unexpected executive order at any moment.
What we also showed, is that over the past 20 years, the murder rate in the US has steadily declined even as total new gun sales have risen. While correlation does not equal causation, in this particular case the case can be made that it is Van Blacrum whose response is fundamentally right.
However, where things get truly deranged, is that just 100 miles south of this update county, another democrat, this time NYC mayor Bill de Blasio is taking on gun makers directly, in a way he hopes to really make them hurt, by forcing New York pension funds to sell their shares.
According to the NYT, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged the city's pension funds on Friday to divest their holdings in stocks of gun makers after this week's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. This has precedent: two of the funds in the city's $155 billion pension system dropped their holdings in gun manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson Holding Corp and Sturm Ruger & Co Inc after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. This time de Blasio is targeting everyone.
Those two funds were the New York City Employees Retirement System and the New York City Teachers Retirement System. Funds for the city's police and fire departments and the city's board of education have not divested.
"I call on all government pension funds in New York City and across the country to divest immediately from funds that include assault weapon manufacturers," de Blasio said in a statement. De Blasio also appealed to private investors to dump gun stocks and funds that invest in them.
This is what happens when punitive socialism meets capital markets: "the mayor urged the city comptroller "to divest as soon as possible if no verifiable assurance is given that assault weapons will not be sold to civilians." The comptroller's office, which oversees the funds, said it was down to the mayor to present detailed plans to pension fund board members. "We look forward to receiving that proposal," said John McKay, a spokesman for the comptroller. "Gun violence is a real and constant threat to our children, families and communities."
Ironically, NY pension investments in gun makers across the three funds amounted to a paltry $2.1 million, as of Sept. 30 - in other words selling their stakes would maybe impact the stock price by 1 cent or so.
These two dramatically opposing reactions to the same "terrorist" event, which one can claim the US brought on itself with the CIA's creation of the Islamic State as a clandestine method to overthrow Syria's president al Assad, and by two people who are both democrats, shows just how ridiculous the gun control debate is set to become in the coming days.
At this point, if we had to forecast the final outcome, we would say that just as we accurately predicted the terrorist events in Paris two months earlier, so this time the "terrorist attacks" together with comprehensive 24/7 TV coverage, in the US will get worse and worse until one of two things happen, if not both: the NSA will see all of its surveillance powers reinstated legally in the coming months, while the US will see increasingly more escalating "attacks" until ultimately Obama's crackdown on gun sales and possession hits its breaking point and the president's gun confiscation mandate is finally executed. We hope we are wrong.