By Bill O'Reilly
Having done extensive research on Lee Harvey Oswald for my book "Killing Kennedy", I know something about violent evil. I actually saw it firsthand in El Salvador and the Middle East and I sat across from it when I interviewed a former SS Guard who worked at the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany.
So when I first heard that 20-year-old Adam Lanza had murdered 27 people, including 20 little children, I pretty much knew a few things about Lanza. Number one, that he was deeply angry. Number two, that he was alienated from most other human beings. Number three, that most likely he was deeply involved with the Internet.
All of those things have now been established. Adam Lanza simply could not live his life in a normal way. There has been speculation that he had Asperger's Syndrome, but that has not been established and it is deeply unfair to Americans who do have that personality disorder, or autism, to diagnose Lanza without conclusive proof. I give money to autism charities.
Very few people who have that condition are violent. Those folks have enough to deal with. They don't need to be stigmatized.
Let's get back to Lanza. What can be done about people like him? The answer is very little. We're a reactive society here in America. Our freedoms dictate that we cannot warehouse people who are strange. They must commit a crime or do something destructive to themselves before they can be taken into custody.
Apparently Adam Lanza did not do those things until the day he committed mass murder. And so attention turns to the guns Lanza took from his mother whom he killed before the school rampage. And there is no question that America does have a gun culture.
Right now there are nearly 300 million guns in circulation in this country. Children ages five to 14 are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns here as children in other industrialized nations.
Last year more than 18,000 people committed suicide with a firearm in this country. And more than 8,000 were murdered with guns. But simply passing laws against gun possession will not stop mass murder. It would be like England banning knives after Jack the Ripper's killing spree.
The U.S. Constitution allows Americans the right to arm themselves, no question about that. But we can now expect President Obama to get behind legislation that would limit what kind of firearms the public can buy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: The President speaking last night in Newtown, Connecticut. He did not specifically say he would call for stricter controls on heavy weapons like the AR-15 rifle Lanza used. But it's clear he is heading in that direction.
But before Congress takes any action, it should study the situations in Eastern Europe and Russia where most guns are banned. It hasn't cut down on gun violence, however, as those countries have a higher murder rate than the USA. Also the gun murder rate here in America has almost been cut in half in the past 20 years.
"Talking Points" wants a sane country with smart public safety measures. Do we need semiautomatic rifles to be easily available? That's a worthy debate. And there are strong points on each side. But clearly we the people, have to take a tough look at our violent society and find some effective solutions without violating constitutional rights. A very difficult situation, but we have to try.
And that's "The Memo."