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The gun thread

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Re: The gun thread

Postby pjbogart » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:16 pm

I blame gun advocates for the deaths of these 27 people. America will never have a shortage of mentally unstable people, and in fact many ordinary people go through stages in their life where stress or frustration push them to the edge. People who demand that guns be freely available provide the vehicle that mass murderers need to commit their crimes. Gun advocates are directly to blame for crimes such as this. Without their advocacy, such crimes could not be committed.

I think forons would appreciate this short article on mens rea and its relationship to culpability. Think of it in terms of how advocacy for gun rights directly or indirectly leads to crimes such as today's school shooting.

I think most gun advocates fall between knowingly and recklessly. They are quite aware of the dangers which firearms pose, yet their obsession with firearms causes them to act with wilfull disregard for life. Essentially, not only does their desire to own firearms trump the safety of others, they advocate for gun rights with full knowledge that such rights will lead to a great many lost lives. They simply do not care, or don't care enough to surrender even the most reasonable restrictions on their gun ownership.

This issue should have no political component. It addresses the safety of the citizenry, which all people should strive to protect regardless of political affiliation. We need sensible gun laws and we need them now.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby david cohen » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:28 pm

IMHO, the gun problem can't be solved. There are too many weapons already out there to make a meaningful effort to get rid of them. Sorry...shit like this will continue to happen.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:34 pm

PJ, I agree more sensible gun laws are necessary, but any solution that focuses purely on guns and ignores the societal issues is going to fail, because there are far too many easy ways for a human to hurt other humans.

Ned's story about the knife attack in China is hardly a legitimate reason to not think about better gun laws, but the fact that it wasn't an isolated incident is a clear indicator that we need to start thinking about what causes this behavior rather than just blaming the easy availability of weapons. Even if we outlaw guns completely (and somehow manage to collect them all) easy methods of killing others will still be readily available to those who think that ending other peoples lives is the best way to deal with their anger and frustration.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby bdog » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:44 pm

As I've said before, a nice old testament plague will solve this problem and several others.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby HawkHead » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:58 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:PJ, I agree more sensible gun laws are necessary, but any solution that focuses purely on guns and ignores the societal issues is going to fail, because there are far too many easy ways for a human to hurt other humans.

Ned's story about the knife attack in China is hardly a legitimate reason to not think about better gun laws, but the fact that it wasn't an isolated incident is a clear indicator that we need to start thinking about what causes this behavior rather than just blaming the easy availability of weapons. Even if we outlaw guns completely (and somehow manage to collect them all) easy methods of killing others will still be readily available to those who think that ending other peoples lives is the best way to deal with their anger and frustration.


So where does the money come from? We have one party that wants to cut a lot of government spending and one wing of that party that wants to cut almost all government spending.

My ex-father-in-law was a huge hunter and rifle collector. He had over 100 rifles in his collection but would not join the NRA. He stated the only purpose for semi-automatic weapons was to kill humans and any organization that supported allowing them he would not join.

I call for the ban on semi-automatic weapons and clips with more than 12 bullets. Screening for all gun purchases no matter who is selling the gun and where the sale occurs.

I call for increased spending on the mental health system in America.

The next shooting at a school could happen in Madison. Let's do what we can do to lower the chance of that happening to our community and to all communities in the USA.
Last edited by HawkHead on Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:00 am

I'm not jumping on Meade's side here, but there is definitely something to be said about the way the media turns these things into a 48 hour extravaganza complete with it's own lead-in graphic and a few chords of somber music. It's The Tragedy Show, and nobody does it better than CNN, bringing you every excrutiatingly inane comment from every on-site would-be reporter with a smart phone.

Thanks to a multitude of short videos on their website, we learn crucial pieces of the story. Such as:

"it was a living hell"
parents waited, kids didn't come out.
Student: "we heard lots of bangs"
Kids need support after trauma

Another story/video exposes us to some of the tweets going around among residents of the town.

Clicking on one link will get you a photo of the suspects brother in handcuffs.

And did you hear that the president got emotional while talking about it? Click on this link and you can watch several replays of him pausing and wiping his eye.

If you'll just step over here we would like you to consider this timeline of U.S. school shootings in the last ten years.

And here's some more video of people crying...


Maybe just maybe, these multimedia monuments to the deeds of sick and evil people could be seen through the eyes of the next shooter as a twisted kind of "15 minutes of fame".

Maybe we don't really need to know what the suspect was wearing and what the make and model of each of his fucking guns was and what was his exact path through the school and who gives a flying fuck that a former schoolmate described the suspect as...BIG SURPRISE HERE....."quiet" and "reserved".

Maybe we just need to know that it happened and that an entire fucking community will never be the same. Maybe we just need to get the fuck out of their face and let them contemplate tomorrow in private.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Igor » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:08 am

pjbogart wrote:I think most gun advocates fall between knowingly and recklessly. They are quite aware of the dangers which firearms pose, yet their obsession with firearms causes them to act with wilfull disregard for life. Essentially, not only does their desire to own firearms trump the safety of others, they advocate for gun rights with full knowledge that such rights will lead to a great many lost lives. They simply do not care, or don't care enough to surrender even the most reasonable restrictions on their gun ownership.


I haven't shot a gun since scout camp, and am unlikely to ever own one. I don't have a problem with reasonable gun regulation.

However, it appears that this kid had a history of mental issues, and was a big gamer. Do we also get to have any reasonable restrictions on the freedoms of people with violent mental problems? How about reasonable restrictions on violent video games and movies? Or perhaps, reasonable limitations on the press that cover these incidents 24x7, thus ensuring there will be more? Yeah, I didn't think so. THOSE amendments are not to be messed with, no matter the cost to our society.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby pjbogart » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:37 am

Drunk post alert!

Yeah, Igor, I agree that we'll never get rid of crazy people, which is why I specifically pointed out that we'll never get rid of crazy people. The problem may be crazy people, but since we can't do anything about that, let's discuss how crazy people can do so much damage. The ease of purchasing deadly weapons is a start.

Is it such a terrible thing that people be required to jump through a few hoops before they purchase a deadly weapon? Apparently it is, because the NRA will fight any gun legislation anywhere for any reason. They get their money from gun manufacturers, people who profit from selling guns, particularly after tragic incidents like this when people think, "hey, I need a gun to protect myself from crazy people". It's a vicious cycle... more deadly violence comes from more guns and that encourages people to buy even more guns. Pretty good if you happen to sell guns, but it sucks for the rest of us.

I'm not suggesting that we ban all guns, I'm saying that buying a gun should be hard. Harder than getting a driver's license. And buying an automatic weapon should be really hard, harder than, um... getting a driver's license.

And the people who insist that it should be super easy... easier than turning 21 and buying a six pack of Bud Light, share in the responsibility for these tragic shootings.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:08 am

narcoleptish wrote:Maybe we just need to know that it happened and that an entire fucking community will never be the same. Maybe we just need to get the fuck out of their face and let them contemplate tomorrow in private.


I fully agree. I starting watching the news because, well, the tv was already on. I chose not to watch for that long. It only took a short amount of time to see the story and that's all I needed to know that it was a sick crime. Apparently by simply watching a little bit of news, I am now part of the problem according to one. Maybe I should just close my eyes and pretend bad things don't happen.

Oh, and if I'm a rubbernecker, what is the person who posts a video of the news story on their blog for all to see. Doesn't that perpetuate rubberneckers? Talk about being part of the problem.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:33 am

I wasn't trying to fault you at all Stebben. I obviously watched/read my fair share too, to write my post.

I just can't imagine how many reporters, both professional and self-anointed, are running around that town grabbing anyone they can find who might have seen something, heard something, known someone.....getting their unique little video together and sent off to CNN.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:45 am

narcoleptish wrote:I wasn't trying to fault you at all Stebben.


I didn't take it that way.

I think the worst thing the media did was interview those kids. That was in such poor taste.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Meade » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:03 am

Stebben84 wrote:I think the worst thing the media did was interview those kids. That was in such poor taste.

This is the informed opinion of someone who claims he "[started] watching the news because, well, the tv was already on. [And] chose not to watch for that long."
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Re: The gun thread

Postby snoqueen » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Not having a TV, I didn't watch all the coverage. It's all over the internet though, and I read my share. I ended up with one big question.

The shooter's guns belonged to his mother, who was (maybe -- it's unclear) a substitute teacher at Sandy Hook school. This is not one shooter's gun we're talking about, it's plural. The shooter's father (divorced from the mother) also owned numerous guns, which were not involved.

Now, I'm wondering what kind of family that kid grew up in. I've got no problem with hunting and I am aware owning guns is legal, but it's a distinctive personal choice to own a whole bunch of 'em. Nothing says these people were collecting, say, antique firearms. They apparently felt the need to be very armed-up.

Did this kind of family life encourage the shooter to think the way to solve stress was by using the family guns? When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

In a larger sense, this shows exactly how our gun-violence problem is cultural. I am starting to wonder if when people are that gun-focused and paranoid, it might not be better to just encourage them to bury land mines around the perimeter of their houses. That's not illegal either, after all, and with enough chain-link it might even be safer for the rest of us.

The American gun discussion is starting to settle around three focal points: first, guns, gun culture, and violence culture; second, mental illness and availability of treatment; third, political and financial forces, the gun industry, and the gun lobby. This third item does not include all gun owners and that is why I list it separately from item one.

I agree with the posting above that notes we have so many battlefield firearms in circulation that even if we outlawed them today we'd see little or no decrease in availability for decades.

And while I agree mental illnesses need readily available treatment (try that on your insurance policy), by common sense any mass murderer can be declared mentally ill just by definition. We need a little more clarity to use this information in a practical manner. In other words, how can you tell someone is mentally ill before they kill 20 people? What do you do next?

What I want to see is something like the consensus that has emerged around drunk driving: it's wrong. Sounds stupid, but 40 years ago there was no such consensus. MADD, annoying as they can be, made it happen. We need to work on a similar consensus around guns. I don't have any clever wording available, but when the statistics show something like 30 accidental or criminal gun deaths for every one instance of effective personal protection via gun, we've got a place to start. The widespread presence of guns causes more deaths than a lack of guns ever will.

We could also start with a revisiting of our ambiguous second amendment. That portion of society not represented by the gun lobby has been outshouted.

I don't remember if this was posted earlier (in the "gun thread") but here's a link to a New Yorker article filled with statistics and some startling history:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012 ... act_lepore
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Re: The gun thread

Postby ouroborus4 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:09 pm

pjbogart wrote:I blame gun advocates for the deaths of these 27 people...



To blame anybody other than the gunman is irresponsible and offensive. There are many many factors that led up to this incident and to focus on guns is naive. In fact why assign blame at all, especially without each and every one of those factors. Yes, there is no shortage of mentally unstable people in America, and the numbers are on the rise quite drastically. Why is that and what do we do about that?
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Re: The gun thread

Postby ouroborus4 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:16 pm

snoqueen wrote: In other words, how can you tell someone is mentally ill before they kill 20 people? What do you do next?




I agree that this is the vital question. This is where we start, and it is not an easy or straightforward answer (quite frankly I know enough to know I don't know the answer). Once we figure this out, particularly 'what do you do next', then you begin to look at gun policy. I am of the opinion that if you solve this problem, there won't be much of a gun violence issue, there won't be a need to regulate guns further, and the second amendment can continue to serve our society without being an issue.
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