By Miguel A. Faria, M.D.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the man accused of killing 10 people at at the King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado, supermarket now faces 10 charges of first-degree murder for this heinous terroristic act. Nine civilians and the courageous police officer Eric Talley, who first answered the call, were killed in the attack.
We still don’t know the motivation for the shooting, but, as is usually the case, demands for more gun control were made before the basic facts were known. The Democrats and their gun prohibitionist allies in the media capitalize on every tragedy to push their citizen disarmament agenda.
We are only beginning to study psychopathy and unprovoked human aggression with biochemical and genetic markers, radioisotopes, and neuroimaging techniques. Much work still needs to be done with these techniques to add to what we know from neuropsychiatry and clinical psychology. These studies need to be carried out with all possible speed.
In my investigations of mass shootings and their media reporting, I believe these shooters are either deeply deranged individuals, prone to criminal insanity, who seek celebrity status, even if achieving it ends with their death…or they are disturbed or malcontented persons who have a bone to pick with society and blame others for their personal failures and shortcomings in life.
They take it upon themselves to hunt down and kill innocent victims to find deadly outlets for their pent-up resentments, satisfy their own sense of dissatisfaction, and even fulfill their morbid fantasies in the process.
The public health model for the study of gun violence was applied — or rather, misapplied — for over three decades and was found wanting, riddled with faulty, preordained, politicized gun research masquerading as science.
Mental health research needs to be intensified with a multidisciplinary approach in the study of mass shootings, including not only psychologists, but also sociologists and criminologists. Just the fact that we stigmatize the shootings as a mental disorder, subject to medical investigation, may serve as deterrence to those seeking notoriety while inflicting punishment on society for their personal failures.
Mass shooting deaths, enormous in human pain and suffering and tragic as they are, represent approximately one percent of all homicides in the U.S. The infamous 2017 Republican congressional baseball practice shooting in which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and wounded along with three other people, represent clearly a political crime. Others are carried out by deranged madmen as previously mentioned.
But was this most recent mass shooting in Boulder the work of a deranged madman or a political terrorist? With the name Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, many wonder if this was a terroristic, Jihad-inspired mass murder.
Alissa’s motives are yet to be ascertained. Yet these shootings, whether motivated by derangement or terrorism —which in our day is almost always Islamic terrorism inspired by jihad, whether home grown or foreign — must be thoroughly investigated before kneejerk responses to civilian disarmament are elicited.
Regardless of the motive, before we call for more gun control, which affects law-abiding citizens disproportionally more than criminals and madmen, we need to find ways to identify these deranged individuals before they strike. The simple parroted solution of the gun prohibitionist movement — i.e., banning “assault weapons” and enacting more gun control laws — is not the answer. We have had plenty of guns in American society, and yet, this type of mass murder at one time was far less common.
Still, Colorado legislators are furiously calling for more stringent gun control laws before all the facts in this case are known.
Reportedly Alissa used a Ruger AR-556 pistol during the shooting. This type of gun apparently would have been banned under the Boulder’s “assault weapons” ban law enacted in 2018. To add drama to the this act, the ban had been overturned by a local judge just days before the attack because it clearly violated a 2003 state law that prohibit municipalities from passing such ordinances in contravention of state law.
Among the “solutions” being proposed, Colorado lawmakers have called for another statewide ban of “assault weapons” as well as more draconian firearms storage laws and more requirements in reporting lost or stolen guns.
We must find effective alternative mental health and law enforcement solutions to mass shootings, whether they’re carried out by madmen or terrorists, without curtailing the God-given rights of citizens and ending freedom in pursuing false security.
Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He was appointed and served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002-2005. His recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).