#UnleashTheLion: final Walz-Quist debate creates great hashtag; Quist fears Obamacare will lead to more spree shootings


Reports about last night’s Walz-Quist debate are in from state and district media venues.

Mankato Free Press political reporter Mark Fischenich’s story, Walz, Quist debate fundamental differences, was picked up by the Rochester Post Bulletin under the head Walz, Quist debate before overflow crowd in Mankato.

Fischenich reports:

Talking about “the lion of free enterprise,” rarely accusing the other of lyin’, and demonstrating that their differences lie in fundamental philosophical disagreements about government’s role, Congressman Tim Walz and challenger Allen Quist debated before an overflow crowd in Mankato Tuesday night.

South-central Minnesotans once again showed they love a good congressional debate, filling the 350 seats at Minnesota State University’s Ostrander Auditorium with nearly 100 more standing in the aisles. And they heard a mostly civil but often intense clash between Walz, a three-term Democrat from Mankato, and Quist, a retired farmer and Republican former state legislator. . . .

As always,  it’s solid work, demonstrating why Fischenich sets the standard for political reporting in Southern Minnesota. Check it out.

KEYC-TV reported  in Walz/Quist Debate at MSU:

Meeting for their third and final debate tonight, Democratic Congressman Tim Walz and his Republican challenger Allen Quist bring the battle of their respective ideologies to the district.
MSU’s Ostrander Auditorium and its capacity crowd was the home to tonight’s debate, and the moderators on hand kept the debate focused like a laser on the economy, deficit and taxes, and how they intertwine. . . .

Quist says, “Unleash the lion of free enterprise.”

No more debates remain for these two. From now the race will come down to ads, voter interaction, and enthusiasm for the candidates running at the top of the ticket for the Presidency.

Quist’s repeated calls to  “Unleash the lion of free enterprise” unleashed the hashtag of the night from blogger Eric Pusey at MPP.

Over at the New Ulm Journal, Josh Moniz wraps up the debate in Walz, Quist agree on some issues, disagree on solutions, picking up on the emergence of new topics submitted in crowd questions:

Minnesota 1st Congressional District candidates Allen Quist and Democratic incumbent Rep. Tim Walz debated vigorously Tuesday at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

The debate focused on veterans and energy policy. It also featured a wide array of sub-topics on major political issues.

Unlike the fierce Sept. 27 debate in Rochester, Walz and Quist found several topics they could agree on. However, each led to spirited sub-discussion on the various aspects associated with each topic. . . .

One question was related to last week’s workplace shootings in Minneapolis:

The candidates were also asked about whether there was a need for change in gun laws to prevent violence. Both candidates said they did not feel changing gun laws would curb gun violence. Walz said the solution needed to focus on improving access to mental health care. Quist said that there was an increased correlation between gun violence and other social ills and the weakening number of married families. He said that it could be definitively determined it would help, but he said he believes strengthening married couple families would put a dent in things like gun violence.

This morning, The Uptake released footage of the question in Quist Blames Workplace Killings On “Deterioration Of The Family”.

Here’s the clip:

By mentioning how terrified “Obamacare” makes him feel, Quist implies that the ACA will make the problem worse. The Uptake reports:

“The problem is not the gun laws and the problem is not the guns”, said Quist. “The problem is the deterioration of the family in the United States of America. I grew up at a time when families were intact and shootings, like, have become commonplace in our day, were unheard of. You look at the correlations between the deterioration of the family and the onslaught of all kinds of social problems including crime, and the correlation is very, very strong. And we need to start having policies that encourage family strength. Not tear them apart. And this is why, the marriage penalty in Obamacare absolutely, absolutely terrifies me. Because BF Skinner said correctly whatever you punish, you get less of. And for us to have policies that further damage the family is unconscionable.”

On September 27, Andrew Endeldinger, walked into Accent Signage and killed five co-workers, wounded three others and then killed himself. A spokesperson for Endeldinger’s family said he had been struggling with paranoia and delusions. His family had tried to get him support for his mental illness, but he had cut them off.

“The family begged, and begged and begged to get that young man the help that he needed.” said Walz in response to Quist. “He didn’t get it and it manifested itself in this. So I don’t think the issue lies with weapons, it lies with how we treat mental health.”

Walz later told The UpTake the shooter “had two loving parents and came from a strong family but he had mental health issues that were untreated.”

Have spree killings become more common? Quist may lump them in with a host of woes, but the cause of them isn’t clear.  Harry Jenten writes at the Guardian in Colorado shooting: how James Holmes fits into the history of rampage killers:

Part of the reason you might think rampage killers are relatively young is because nightmares like Columbine stick with you. The truth is that 18.8% of rampage killings were committed by non-faculty at a school. While some of these heinous acts were committed by grad students, 50% were completed by those 17 or younger and 75% by 25 years old and younger. Many of these students believe they were bullied or were outcasts.

A higher 29.7% took place at person’s place or former place of work. The median age for these work-place rampage killings was 39, which is right around the now 41-year-old median age of the American worker. Some workplace killings, but by no means a majority, were part of the infamous chain of unrelated postman killings. Many were workers who thought they had been unjustly passed up for a promotion or fired.

More than half (51.5%) of mass murders were at neither a workplace or a school. Holmes fits into this group, but again he is younger than most killers. The median age for rampage killers that don’t commit their crimes at school or work is 35 years old. Many of these murderers, like Tucson shooter Jared Loughner, had a clinically diagnosed mental illness such as schizophrenia. . . .

One clear trend in the data is that these sort of rampage killings seem to, for whatever reason, occur at a greater frequency than ever before. There have been six mass killings in 2012 alone. This trend would make sense if the number of overall murders was also rising, but that’s not happening.

It turns out that murders have mostly been on the decline since the early 1990s, despite a rising population. Rampage killings, on the other hand, reached their peak in the late 1990s when the overall number of murders were reaching their lowest point since 1970. In fact, 75% of mass killings since 1960 have taken place in the past 24 years.

What’s the cause? That’s a big topic of debate. Twelve years ago, the New York Times looked at the data and believed that the rise in killings in the mid-to-late 1990s was because of a relaxation of gun laws. Gun rights proponent and academic John Lott disagreed claiming that the Times simply did not include a lot of data prior to 1995. My own finding concurs that the Times missed data, but that the gap between murders and mass murders from the mid-to-late 1990s onward still exists.

…The big question that will be asked in the weeks and months to come is why are mass shootings maintaining their levels while the overall murder rate is at its lowest level in decades?

So not all trend lines are negative: the  murder rate  is down.

Some suggest, like Walz, that the problem is psychological, not sociological. Conservative columnist David  Brooks writes in Spree killings: psychological, not sociological:

These killers are primarily the product of psychological derangements, not sociological ones.

Yet, after every rampage, there are always people who want to use these events to indict whatever they don’t like about society. . . .

The best way to prevent killing sprees is with relationships — when one person notices that a relative or neighbor is going off the rails and gets that person treatment before the barbarism takes control. But there also has to be a more aggressive system of treatment options, especially for men in their 20s. The truly disturbed have always been with us, but their outbursts are now taking more malevolent forms.

Walz has worked to achieve parity for mental healthcare. Quist? Just riding a hobbyhorse.

Image: Unleash the Lion, photoshop by Ken Avidor (top).