Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, December 15, 2012

"The NRA and other gun lobbyists can take great pride..."

"We are in this life, it's been said, to help each other get through it. We do this with ritual and process. In the next days and week, there will be the rituals of wakes and funerals, memorial services and assemblies. They are there for a reason — they help, they are what we have, we must embrace them. 

There are few occasions as emotionally painful as a child's funeral, and few as necessary. And then there will be process, starting with the law enforcement and medical investigations, and perhaps leading to changes in public policy. Or — looking at recent mass shootings — talk of change but no actual new laws or policies. 

The first response to mass shootings usually has to do with gun control. With the country awash in handguns — 300 million by one estimate — it's not clear if guns can be controlled any longer. The National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists can take great pride; they've brought gun ownership within reach of every psycho and wing nut with a crazed rage to kill. 

 Yet we must try." --Hartford Courant

"In this country, you can legally buy assault weapons. What does that say about us? 

Think about it. We have a national legislative body that fears the clout of the National Rifle Assn. more than it worries about the consequences of allowing people to buy weapons designed for war."--Steve Lopez, LATimes

"Yes, the pro-gun forces have been winning lately. 

But their promises of a safer America based on more and more guns are proving to be empty. 

 Big change often starts with small battles, and we need to get aggressive about those smaller battles now. We can approve an assault weapons ban. We can write a stiff concealed carry law in Illinois in response to a judicial ruling tossing out our outright ban. 

 And we should keep going, developing and implementing new solutions until our nation is as safe as we can make it. 

 As Tom Mauser, father of a student killed in the Columbine High School shootings, says, “If you don’t start now, you’re not going to get anywhere.” --Chicago Sun Times

"...we will argue again about guns, or, rather, about why our politicians are hardly even arguing about guns any more. There are those who will object, who will say gun policy has nothing to do with any single event, that tragedies should not be exploited for political purpose. We know many of our readers are among this group. And then there will be others, ourselves included, who will say, whatever the facts of this case, that the country would be safer with fewer guns, that mass killings are more difficult with knives, that it is not the Second Amendment but political cowardice that precludes sensible regulation. That we are not supposed to exploit tragedy to talk about this issue, but that in the absence of tragedy it never gets talked about at all. 

 In the meantime new names will be inscribed on that peculiar American roll call of grief: Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook Elementary School. Names so ordinary, so American, so unthreatening, that in their very recitation they refute what we all would like to believe: It couldn’t happen here."--Washington Post


Silverfiddle said...

The right to keep and bear arms has been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, with them finally solving the argument over the 2nd Amendment. It's a right. And Michael Bloomberg be damned, it's in the constitution.

What we should be asking is what is wrong with our culture. Why do we produce such violent people, and people who suddenly snap and go on murderous rampages?

The guns belonged to the murderer's mother, and if he were not mentally well, she should have had them locked up so he could not access them. No one is for mentally unstable people handling firearms.

Have you seen how many knife attacks there are in China?

Would you feel better if the man had entered that kindergarten class and only slashed five or six kids to death before being stopped?

It's our sick culture, our society, how we treat (or don't) the mentally ill. Guns are a means, not a cause.

The deadliest school violence in the history of the US?

The Bath Schoolhouse Disaster

Here's more perspective Gun free Japan has a higher suicide rate than we do.

Unfortunately, there are some human beings who are hell-bent on destroying themselves or others. Take away guns, as if we could, and criminals will still find them, and those who can't will use knives, automobiles or explosives.

Switzerland is awash in guns, but enjoys a lower gun violence rate than 'gun-free zones' like the UK and Chicago.

It's the culture.

KP said...

Most Americans do not agree guns should be banned. However, the majority do believe gun purchases can be legally supervised in a way that is fair, even acceptable. Perhaps we ban assault rifles, license hand guns and make brain disease a factor that disqualifies gun ownership the way narcolepsy or repeated DUI takes away one’s legal right to drive.

If we bring down the decibel level and come up with specific, realistic solutions that might actually survive Congress we might avoid the gun issues equivalent of the fiscal cliff ideological stand off (a farce).

Anything short of reasonable discussion will rally the majority of Americans to resist and maintain the status quo. As a centrist I can tell you there is nothing that dissuades me faster from a far left or far right political position than a poorly thought out, emotional, ideological response.

Both the left and the right need supporters and voters (and lawmakers) that can agree on more than what they want. How about discussing specifics of what we can realistically get done? More voices need to adopt pragmatic views to the myriad of problems we face.

We could begin discussions using pragmatism. The result? You would find that the far left and far right have a lot more in common than not. 1) Simple solutions are no solutions. 2) what happened to the victims and families of those lost could happen to any us. Those are good starting points for discussion. Next, what can we realistically get through Congress to address a combination of mental health and responsible gun supervision.

Silverfiddle said...

Here is a good WaPo article:

US Gun Violence Compared to Other Nations

Shaw Kenawe said...

No one is advocating taking away 2nd Amendment rights.

But something HAS to be done about the 300+ million firearms in this country that make it far too easy to massacre men, women, and children when someone is unhinged or enraged.

We have limits on our 1st Amendment rights to speech and to religion.

We can put in limits on the 2nd Amendment as well, starting with the ban on assault weapons and extended magazines.

Silverfiddle says it's the culture, not guns that produces violence.

I say the idea that anyone, crazy or sane, has the right to buy and own any weapon, assault weapon or extended magazine weapon is part of the violent culture that produced the massacre of children.

The uncompromising cult of the NRA and other fanatical gun owners--not all agree with the NRA--is the sort of culture that delivered us what happened on Friday.

Even among the NRA membership, there is a strong conviction that we should do better background checks before a person can buy a weapon.

We should ban the sale of weapons through the internet and gun shows.

Weapons sales and gun laws should be controlled by the federal government. Some states have put in place their own laws, but nothing is uniform.

I don't think it flatters us as Americans to be compared with China, or a third world country and how they handle their violence.

Aren't we supposed to be the "exceptional" country?

Exceptionalism does not include making our schools, churches, theaters, and malls, armed camps or places of national massacres.

Since we have failed at being responsible sellers, buyers, and owners of weapons, we relinquish that part of our "right." IMO

As I said, we accept limits on the right to free speech and the right to practice religion. Why should the second amendment be different?

As a parent and grandparent I no longer want to see children--or any other American--murdered in a massacre, ever again.

This has shaken me to my very core. I will not accept it anymore. Nor will the hundreds of people I've been in contact with through social media, telephone, and email. I've told them it's time to stand up against the thugs in the NRA and the feeble politicians who do nothing about these killings year after year.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Here's a reader over at Andy Sullivan's blog with another perspective:

"Guns don't kill people - people do. By the same token, planes don't kill people - people flying them into buildings do. And yet, I recall that we immediately and decisively worked to keep deranged people from gaining possession of planes when a handful of those people used them as tools of mass murder; indeed, we made it much more difficult for the overwhelming majority of peaceful, law-abiding citizens to board a plane."

Shaw Kenawe said...

"A look at every mass shooting by Mother Jones came to the complete opposite conclusion as Coulter. In September, Mother Jones examined every mass shooting the the United States over the past 30 years, and found that armed bystanders don’t prevent the incident, but become victims themselves, “In 2005, as a rampage unfolded inside a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, a civilian named Brendan McKown confronted the assailant with a licensed handgun he was carrying. The assailant pumped several bullets into McKown and wounded six people before eventually surrendering to police after a hostage standoff. (A comatose McKown eventually recovered after weeks in the hospital.) In Tyler, Texas, that same year, a civilian named Mark Wilson fired his licensed handgun at a man on a rampage at the county courthouse. Wilson—who was a firearms instructor—was shot dead by the body-armored assailant, who wielded an AK-47. (None of these cases were included in our mass shootings data set because fewer than four victims died in each.)”

The right wing fairy tale that more concealed carry permits will reduce mass shootings is based on several flawed assumptions. The right assumed that the person who is carrying is at the ready. They assume that the individual with the gun won’t be targeted first. They also assume that the rampage shooter will have no element of surprise. They assume that those who find themselves in a mass shooting situation will be in a position to retaliate."

KP said...

@Shaw Sounds like we agree on a lot. Not surprising.

<< No one is advocating taking away 2nd Amendment rights. >>

In fact, there are lots of hysterical far lefties calling for the ban of all guns. They are just as many in number as the "The uncompromising cult of the NRA " as you called them.

You and I and SF could probably put legilation together that would come close to what we may see in America. None of us would get everything we wanted but it would be a good start!

Lets start by avoiding speaking in ways that identify us as one of these two fringe groups. Our audience dwindles quickly and proportionally to name calling and finger pointing.

You don't have to be content with everything you sign your name to when it comes to legislation, see the ACA as an example. However, if you ever want to be able to sign your name, Shaw Kenawe, to new legislation you are well served by keeping some powder dry (sorry :-)and not alienating the people you will be forced to compromise with.

When you go to the table bring along a person(s) who can 'hear' both sides!

KP said...

Let me know when you, me and SF can get together and knock this thing out.

Lets meet where is is sunny :-)

Tao Speaks said...

"Its the culture" is one of those arguments like "does the egg or the chicken come first?"

Is it the culture that effects how we use guns or is it guns that create the violence in our culture.

Then to throw out "Gun Free Japan has a higher suicide rate than we do." Does that mean that if Japanese had guns they would not commit suicide? Or does it mean if the US banned guns all of the sudden we would quit killing other people and focus on killing ourselves?

Criminals use guns in the execution of a crime while as everyone else uses guns to kill innocent people randomly.

SF, have you ever thought that maybe deranged crazies would not be so deranged and or crazy if we had gun control?

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that no matter what we attempt to do SF will find someway to be against it.

I also know that now our children face a future of schools that look like prisons and without an effort on our part to come to grip with meaningful gun control governments will only have to spend more money and create more debt to protect our schools, our movie theaters, and our churches....

BB-Idaho said...

Silverfiddle correctly identifies our culture a a significant problem. But, the NRA has provided that culture with modern weaponry
the 'founders' never dreamed of.
The NRA has pushed for 'concealed
carry' and now it is found in almost every state. The reason most
CC hobbiests give is self-protection, although it seems reasonable to assume that at least some are police/military wannabees.
The cornerstone logic of CC preventing crime is contravened
by a review of the data-it has some problems .

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: There are also incidents where armed people did bring down the perp.

This murderer did not use an 'assault weapon and did not have high capacity magazines. They were handguns with normal clips.

I'm with KP. Let's hear some proposed solutions.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Four 9mm handguns, one made by Glock and another by Sig Sauer, were recovered inside the school. An AR-15-type rifle also was found at the scene, but there were conflicting reports Friday night whether it had been used in the shooting, NBC News reported.

Officials told both news agencies that state police records show the woman had legally purchased five firearms and all were registered in Connecticut. Authorities are still trying to account for all the gun

Shaw Kenawe said...

Reports now are saying he also had an assault weapon. --NBC News

Anonymous said...

this is for the silverfiddle person here:

According to CNN, the murder of these 26 people occurred in roughly 2 minutes. This is only possible with semiautomatic weapons equipped with high capacity magazines, 30 bullets per magazine. This lets the shooter fire off 30 high-velocity bullets in 15 seconds, then take 3 seconds to attach a fresh magazine (clip) and do it again. We must ban assault weapons and we must make posession of large magazines illegal.

If anyone is against this please state your reasons for being against banning this sort of lethal weapon.

Silverfiddle said...

Anon: A 30 round magazine for a 9 mm pistol? I believe you may not know what you are talking about.

I know the words Glock and Sig Sauer sound scary, but these are not 'assault weapons,' which is an arbitrary definition anyway.

The murderer murdered a class of kindergarteners. High capacity, low capacity, whatever, he went after the most innocent among us, and they type of weapon in such a situation is irrelevant.

So I'll as again, gently, because this is a very sad topic: What is the solution?

Shaw Kenawe said...

SF: I agree it is immaterial what sort of gun the killer used. Those first graders and kindergarten children are dead. Forever and ever.

I know nothing about guns. No one in my immediate family nor my extended family has ever owned or now owns one.

It's probably difficult for you, or anyone who owns firearms, to understand that, because I'm probably the minority in this country that is soaked in gun culture.

What to do? I've given my opinion:

Restrict gun ownership.

The 1st Amendment has restrictions on freedom of religion [polygamy is unlawful, even if it is part of a sincerely held religious belief] and speech [threatening to blow up an airplane or kill the president is unlawful--even if it's "only a joke."

Why should the 2nd Amendment be different.

I read Finntann's piece at your blog today, and his suggestions for keeping firearms locked up are good ones.

I know my second suggestion is one that you and others would not agree with at all:

Take the sales of firearms away from private business. They have done a miserable job of background checks on selling to individuals and their lobbying for looser and losser requirements for what sort of weapons can be sold as well as the conditions for carrying and ownship is part of what causes these massacres.

Ban the sale of automatic weapons and extended magazines.

You asked for solutions? I've come up with a few. Whether they're feasible is another question. Whether this country is serious about doing something is still another.

I have young grandchildren. You have to understand that parents and grandparents are now terrified of sending their children and grandchildren to school.

I had plans to take my grandson to see the new movie, The Hobbit, last night. The theater was teeming with people. What do you suppose flashed through my mind as we waited in line to get tickets? I actually looked over the crowd, trying to see if there was a nervous, single male with a long black coat waiting to get into the theater. Why do you suppose I did that. PS. The movie was sold out, and the next one was too late. We didn't go. I was relieved.

Emotional? Dammit, yes. Being cool-headed and detached from unspeakable tragedies in order to effect change has brought us nothing except more death and carnage.

Shaw Kenawe said...

This statement is on SF's blog's comment section:

"But the gun control nuts don't want to admit to themselves that when you look at it, we really are virtually helpless to stop the madness.

That's exactly the wrong sort of thinking. Other countries' populace have guns in circulation and yet we have THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF GUN DEATHS.

To say we can't stop this is to say we are a feckless, helpless society of fools.

skudrunner said...

"Take the sales of firearms away from private business. They have done a miserable job of background checks"

In fact every purchase from a gun dealer requires a federal background so to say private business did a miserable job is not true, maybe the government was culpable.

Like the fiscal cliff this to will pass and be kicked down the road. If you look where the most deaths are from guns it is cities who ban guns so what is the answer.

Jerry Critter said...

The type of gun is relevant. Would as many kids been killed if he had a single shot gun? Probably not. High capacity, rapid fire guns kill much more quickly and result in more deaths per minute.

We need a two prong approach. One, limit the high capacity killing guns to people whose job it is to kill people. Tow, discover and effectively treat people inclined to go on such an outrage.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"In fact every purchase from a gun dealer requires a federal background so to say private business did a miserable job is not true, maybe the government was culpable."


In 33 states, criminals and terrorists can buy military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips from “private dealers” on the Internet or at gun shows without showing ID or completing a background check. No ID, no background check, no restrictions, no detection. It is perfectly legal for private gun dealers and individuals to sell an unlimited number of firearms to anyone, including domestic criminals and international terrorists, cash and carry.

In addition to neglecting public safety and contributing to the 30,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. each year, current gun laws fly in the face of public opinion. Most citizens, members of law enforcement, gun owners and even a majority of NRA members agree that we need more restrictive laws governing the buying and selling of firearms.

Jerry Critter said...

Individuals are not allowed to sell alcohol. Why should they be allowed to sell guns?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Very good question, JC.

And the answer is probably because the well-funded NRA and other firearms associations lobby the lawmakers so that it is THEY who write the laws so that the arms manufacturers make as much money as possible.

They have managed to dupe the millions of Americans who actually believe nothing can be done about controlling guns and that the 2nd Amendment should have no restrictions on it.

skudrunner said...


You are referring to the private sale of guns, my comment was gun dealers are required to do a background check and you cannot buy a gun mail order from a dealer, it must go to someone who has a FFL.

I don't know who you buy from but I always have to have a background check done when I purchase a gun, but I always buy from a dealer.

Shaw Kenawe said...


I don't own guns.

Silverfiddle said...

Automatic weapons are already illegal, and banning high-capacity magazines will help very little.

A determined murderer will just walk in with more smaller-capacity magazines.

If gun store owners are breaking the law, then they need to be punished. The law says they must perform a background check before handing over a weapon. Period.

I also like your analogy to other parts of the constitution, we do indeed circumscribe other rights, and gun ownership should be no different.

I made the comparison to the 4th Amendment at another blog, and it is apropos. I was one who cheered as Bush jackhammered the 4th Amendment, and it is practically nonexistent now, to the point where Jefe Maximo Bloomberg can stop and frisk whoever he thinks needs frisking.

We brought it upon ourselves. Government trampling one right sets a legal precedent that applies to all others.

I am making a real effort to not be belligerent or provocative, because this is a sad topic, but I ask everyone to craft their solutions in light of our natural rights and the US Constitution (what's left of it).

Shaw Kenawe said...

Do not fear for our natural rights or our Constitution just because half of the country wants some sanity where gun rights are concerned.

The leaders of the NRA and other gun associations have promoted a gun owning culture where even disallowing guns to be sold to people on a terrorist list and mentally unstable people is blocked.

See my comment above @2:02 pm.

That's insane.

President Obama has said this slaughter cannot continue.

You and a number of people on your blog say it must because people will always find a way to slaughter other people.

I believe that's a losing mentality, and our children do not deserve that defeatist attitude.

Their lives depend on us to do better than that.

skudrunner said...

So instead of enforcing laws to their fullest we should ban guns.

That didn't work real well for prohibition and doesn't work well for illegal drugs but controlling gun ownership will work I guess.

I don't see the need for a 25 shot clip but double stack pistols are readily available so where do you go. If you outlaw them, they will be available.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner, no one has said we should ban guns.

Your attitude, and the attitudes I've read on other conservative blogs is that we'll just have to live with this slaughter, cause any crazy person can get a gun.

So instead of coming up with stricter gun control laws that are uniform, we'll just wait for another group of 6 year olds to be slaughtered and accept that as part of our American way of life?

You may find that acceptable. I don't.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Sarah Brady: ‎"Most Americans don't know how weak our guns laws are. Gun owners aren't licensed. Guns aren't registered. Why not? Because the NRA said so.

The Brady Law, named for my husband after he was shot in the 1981 attempt to assassinate President Reagan, required background checks for gun purchases from licensed gun dealers. Most private sales, including those at gun shows, don't require background checks. That's insanity. The background check system needs to be improved to insure that all prohibited purchasers are, in fact, prohibited from obtaining and possessing firearms.

And, yes, we need a real ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and on magazines of more than ten rounds."

Understand that? Not ALL GUNS.

skudrunner said...


I am not saying this is acceptable but lets ban semi automatic assault weapons. What is the difference between an assault weapon and a semi automatic rifle. Maybe it's the Rambo effect but the rate of fire and caliber is not different.

Congress will take swift action on this because it is a tragedy. Like most things they do in a rush it will be ill thought out and ineffective. They have a history of acting swiftly and making things worse (dodd/frank, tarp, obamacare)