Justin’s note: On February 14, 17 people lost their lives in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Sadly, tragedies like this routinely happen in the United States. Every time they do, Americans demand radical reforms. And for once, the government’s delivering.

President Trump has already said that he wants to ban the sale of bump stocks. And he thinks teachers and coaches should carry firearms in schools.

That’s a controversial suggestion. Some people think Trump’s a lunatic for saying this. Other people think it’s a brilliant idea.

But I couldn’t help but wonder what Doug Casey thinks. So, I called and asked him myself…

Justin: Doug, what do you think of Trump’s latest suggestion?

Doug: It’s an OK temporary solution. First of all, everybody has a right to be armed. Historically, a major difference between a slave and a free man was that a free man could be armed. The slave couldn’t. The right to be armed is primarily a moral issue, not a legal issue. It’s a matter of principle. Which means it’s not open to compromise.

But there’s also a practical aspect to this. If you can’t arm yourself, you’re at the mercy of anyone who is. I believe the people who want to confiscate—i.e., steal—or restrict weapons are actually both dangerous and stupid. Why stupid? Let’s define the word. Being stupid doesn’t necessarily mean having a low IQ. Anti-gun nuts sometimes have high IQs—but IQ is surprisingly irrelevant in daily life.

A better definition of stupidity is “an inability to see only the immediate and direct consequences of actions, not the indirect and delayed consequences.” Among those, being unarmed is putting oneself at the mercy of a stronger miscreant. An even better definition of stupidity is “an unwitting tendency towards self-destruction.” If an anti-gun nut suffers a home invasion, perhaps then he’ll realize how stupid it is.

Anyway, it’s not just a question of guns. If bad guys aren’t using guns, they’ll use explosives, or vehicles, or poisons, or edged weapons just as effectively. The guy who committed this latest shooting could probably have done just as much damage with a machete.

That’s because it’s harder to disarm somebody with an edged weapon than it is a gun. Yeah, it’s true that you don’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight. But edged weapons are just as devastating as guns in close quarters, which is where these things usually happen.

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Justin: So you don’t blame guns?

Doug: No, I don’t. It’s ridiculous to demonize guns. Any weapon can kill lots of people.

The Rwandans proved that you can kill almost a million people in a matter of months just using machetes. Think about that…

The problem is that society has become so degraded that the average man feels he doesn’t even have a right to defend himself. They’re like sheep, expecting some shepherd to keep them safe. It’s magical thinking. They think that the government—which is by far the most dangerous and destructive force in society—will protect them from anything and everything. Furthermore, the elite think they know what’s best for everybody.

So, teachers should, of course, be able to carry guns in school. And they shouldn’t need permission to do so. But this leads us to an even more basic question: Why are almost all schools run by the State? If schooling was 100% private, each one could find its own solution to this, and any other possible threats. The whole system should be flushed…

Justin: But Doug, what about AR-15s and other military-grade weapons? Should the average person have that much firepower at their disposal?

Doug: Of course they should. Guns are just metal tools.

You’ve got to remember that before the Roosevelt administration, anybody could buy a fully automatic weapon. They could even purchase a belt-fed machine gun if they wanted to. No problem. Of course, you still can. It was quite easy up until about 10 years ago for anyone to become a gun dealer, including a Class 3 license for automatic and suppressed weapons. It’s harder today—but still not hard to do.

But automatic weapons, or bump stocks on semi-autos, are a strawman. Soldiers only rarely use their assault rifles on full auto, for a number of reasons.

The real question is: Why are we having all these problems now? The average American used to be familiar with guns. Many more Americans owned them in the past and used them regularly. But, oddly, the current problems didn’t exist.

When I was in high school in the ‘60s, everybody owned a gun. We’d often just grab our 22s or shotguns, and go out walking in the fields and woods, shooting.

One time, I flew from Chicago to D.C. on United Airlines, and I had two guns with me. One was a rifle. The other was a pistol. I was a 17-year-old kid. I threw them in the overhead compartment. It was obvious that I was armed. Same thing on the way back. There was no hysteria. Nobody cared.

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Justin: You still own many firearms, right?

Doug: I used to, but sold most of them, just keeping some favorites. But I don’t hunt with them. I gave that up. I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t like killing things. In fact, I don’t even like deep-sea fishing anymore. Nothing wrong with it. But blood sports aren’t for me.

Justin: Are your guns for protection then, or do you own them mainly as collector’s items?

Doug: Guns are fun to play with. They’re like stamps and coins, both of which I also used to collect.

Guns are for both amusement and self-defense. It’s idiotic to try to say the Second Amendment is just about hunting. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s about defending yourself. As I said, if someone invades your home in the middle of the night, you don’t want to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Even if the intruder or intruders were unarmed, it’s insane to think you could deal with them without a gun.

Justin: Got it. If guns aren’t to blame for these tragedies, what’s the problem?

Doug: Several things. I think the two big ones are psychiatric medications and the lack of a father in the families of the shooters.

I don’t know if you saw this list that was published recently, but almost all of the attackers in these recent shootings were either on or had recently come off of SSRIs. Antidepressants, things like Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, and so forth. And it seems half the boys in grade school today are put on Ritalin. All these drugs are very dangerous, especially for brains and minds that are still being formed. These things can make people unstable and crazy. And yet, people are blaming guns.

They’re not even considering whether there’s a medical cause for these atrocities. Even worse, you have to dig to find that most of these kids were on psych meds. Maybe all of them, for all we know. Shootings were never a problem until the ‘80s when huge numbers of kids were put on these things.

The other cause may be cultural. When boys grow up without a father or a strong male influence, it may leave a moral vacuum. This is part of the PC trend towards thinking men are unnecessary and dangerous. It seems almost all of the shooters grew up with their mothers only. And this is equally true for black kids. Although in their case, it seems to evidence itself in street shootings and gang violence.

Justin: If it’s a mental health issue, then what should be done?

Doug: Well, certainly not put more kids on antidepressants. And you won’t solve the problem by illegalizing guns. It’s hard to solve the cultural element of this. Political correctness, hatred of Western Civilization, neo-Marxism, and the rest of it seem to have won the day. For just that reason, my guess is you’re also going to see more, not less, people on psychiatric drugs.

But it’s not just that people think pills can provide an answer to their psychological problems. Most people only take these pharmaceuticals because their insurance pays for them. Government programs and insurance pay for them, removing any possible disincentive to take them.

If people had to pay for their Prozac and its 100 look-alikes out of their pocket, not as many people would use them. I suspect the number of crazy shootings, in schools and anywhere else, would plummet.

We’ve discussed the economic, political, and cultural decline of the US before. School shootings are just part of a syndrome, shades of Rome in the Third Century. A huge number of distortions have been cranked into the way society works by the government. “Solving” the most topical ones with new laws is like taking aspirin for cancer.

Justin: If shootings are merely a symptom of a degrading society, what, if anything, could repair it?

Doug: Well, I’m not sure this can be reversed until we have a genuine crisis. And unfortunately, things usually get worse during a crisis. And a real crisis is coming to the US.

We’re almost there. It’s almost reaching the stage of France before 1789. I would’ve been enthusiastic about getting rid of Louis XVI, but then it got worse after the revolution. They got Robespierre, and then Napoleon. And the same thing in Russia. I would’ve supported the overthrow of Nicholas II. But with the revolution, things got worse. Then came Lenin, and it got even worse with Stalin.

I’m afraid when the crisis hits, Americans will go for a domestic version of Robespierre or Lenin to solve it.

School shootings aren’t a gun problem—that’s ridiculous. It’s a cultural problem. It’s one of many symptoms of the degradation of civilization itself. And I’m not sure there’s a solution for that. If you started to roll back all the huge distortions that government has cranked into society, that in itself might be a match to the tinderbox.

Massive social upsets have a life of their own. I sometimes really wonder if the US isn’t on the ragged edge of a civil war.

Justin: You’ve mentioned that before. I remember our discussion about the US breaking apart along racial lines?

Doug: Yes. The Social Justice Warriors, identity politics types, and leftists in general—they’re also the anti-gun fanatics—are making race a real issue instead of just an accidental characteristic of being a human. Worse, you can’t even talk about it unless you’re part of some supposedly suppressed minority and blame your alleged problems on “the patriarchy” and Western Civilization.

Making new laws against inanimate objects like guns is like welding shut the lid on a pressure cooker. It’s a serious mistake. Banning guns isn’t the solution. In fact, I suggest that when the world is going crazy, every self-respecting person should be well-armed.

Justin: Great stuff as always, Doug. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.

Doug: My pleasure.

Justin’s note: Doug was recently interviewed on The Jay Kim Show. It’s a fantastic episode and we urge you to check it out.

In it, Doug discusses what sparked his interest in investing… which country he believes is the next good bet… his views on cryptocurrencies… what it takes to be a speculator… and much more…

Click here to start listening.

Reader Mailbag

Today, a reader asks for strategies in a bear market…

Hi, I hope I get your attention here, I’m a Platinum subscriber. How about some strategy and recommendations for protection of our long positions? Some puts that could act as insurance against all the long positions that some of us have acquired and may be temporarily out of the money! Like precious metals miners, cannabis shares, and recent cryptos. I don’t really think that most of us need more investment ideas for medium and long-term speculations. We and/or I need to get through the next half year with potential of big drops. Thanks.

– Terry

Thanks for writing in, Terry. We recently put together a comprehensive report that shows how to prepare for a coming crash. It’s called the Ultimate Crisis Playbook, and it’s filled with specific strategies to survive and thrive. It seems like what you’re referring to is best covered in Section 4. You can access it here.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.