Penn Jillette went on the Wendy Williams show (which I’ve never even heard of) to pimp his new book Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday. He’s caught up in the roundtable discussion:
If you were able to make it through that video, Penn makes some great points. We don’t know enough right now to make judgements on how to stop these types of murders. So why are we so willing to punish people who had nothing to do with it?
Most people who own guns, even AR-15s, do not murder people.
Most people who who play violent video games do not murder people.
Most people who suffer from mental illness do not murder people.
Yet, there is a cry to punish each of these groups because someone did something horrific and we think these might have contributed to the horror. We can discuss the lousy state of treating mental illness and the stigma of having mental illness. We can debate if letting children play video games for long hours without supervision stunts emotional and social growth. We can talk about if the availability of guns has an effect on these types of murders. The problem arises when we are willing to punish these groups with ill-thought-out legislation in a rush to “do something.”
Why would we ever assume collective guilt of a segment of our population based on the actions of one individual?