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Thread: Should US have gun control?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFish View Post

    Unfortunately, however, I'll never understand why Nancy Lanza kept a gun collection, even locked and hidden, in a house where a clearly disturbed individual was also residing--especially after she expressed worries about his mental state of being. It could be argued that in young males (ages 10-25), a fascination with guns and other weapons is expected--healthy, even, because it demonstrates a testosterone level in correlation with pre- and post-puberty. It wasn't so long ago that my own companions of the XY-chromosomal persuasion were enthusing about upcoming hunting trips and going weapon-shopping with their fathers. But Mrs. Lanza may have unknowingly contributed to her son's actions by keeping high-power firearms on hand and teaching her children how to shoot (it's my understanding that, in Connecticut, Adam was not yet of the legal age to purchase a gun), and for that, her name will tragically be associated with this carnage forever.

    Like those before me, then, I leave you with several questions to consider: In the case that gun control laws are passed, do you think that enforcement would prove effective, or are people determined to latch onto their familiar notions of protection? Could a gun on one of the adults at Sandy Hook realistically have stopped the shooter from taking so many innocent lives? And do you think that, following the vilification of Nancy Lanza by the media, parents will cease to provide weapons training for their children?
    From what I read Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector, and she was concerned about her son's mental health. He had a form of autism. So far we have not heard whether her worries included her son wanting to kill others. Mental illness covers a very wide range. I feel fairly certain that many gun owners feel it is safe for them to store guns at home, that nothing can go wrong (until it does- an accident or a theft of the weapon by the wrong person, like in this case). She did contribute to the tragedy, including her own death, but it is quite possible that she did not see her son as a potential killer. I am giving her the benefit of doubt until further details emerge.

    About enforcing the gun control laws (if they get passed)- nobody said it would be easy. Enforcement is rarely 100% but it is still better than 0% enforcement (meaning no gun control laws). It will take time, training and efforts to implement it, and even a small success is progress when you compare it with what's going on right now. It is hard to predict whether an adult carrying a gun at Sandy Hook could have prevented the loss of so many lives. We are talking of possibly a single shot gun vs an assault rifle that was military grade. I don't think that would work. IMO the more important thing is to not encourage people to buy even more guns because of gun violence. The real need is to get away from violence, and not let it increase exponentially (IMHO it already has).

  2. #32
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    Another factor of the argument is being discussed today, and that's mental illness. Some very good points are being made that we need to pay attention to. For example, a lot of mental health care isn't covered by insurance. This is pretty silly, because something like cancer isn't "catching," but a mental illness can have a dreadful effect on the surrounding population, as we've seen.

    Like gun control, this is not an easy problem, either, but it must be confronted. Because of the early awful history of the mentally ill being warehoused in asylums, the law now makes it very difficult for a mentally ill person to be confined against his or her will. Many family members live in fear of what could happen next but can't do anything about it. Yet an expert on TV this morning said that many mental health issues can be dealt with effectively with early intervention. (Obviously I'm not talking about full-blown schizophrenia, which Holmes, the Aurora theater killer, clearly has, but there are other disorders that lessen people's impulse control, and those show up earlier and can benefit from both pharmaceutical and behavioral intervention.) Years ago I read that there would never be a poster child for schizophrenia, meaning that a cute picture wouldn't ever be used to raise money for mental illness research the way Marlo Thomas can use the brave and lovely children who help motivate us to donate funds to St. Jude's Hospital. (And it's paid off; St. Jude's has developed many new treatments for pediatric illnesses, and it treats children who couldn't afford such help.)
    Last edited by Olympia; 12-17-2012 at 08:30 AM.

  3. #33
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    People are doing more than arguing. There's a lot of movement right now. The time may be ripe for hard work and improvement. Additionally, there was a news story about a man who threatened his wife's school, and she reported him to the authorities. They took him in. People are starting to take their fate into their own hands. Also, public figures such as Joe Scarborough are beginning to rethink their stance on all guns, all the time. His opinion piece on his morning show was astonishing in its eloquence.

    http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/12/17/scarb...feel-helpless/

  4. #34
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I couldn't believe it when I read a recap of the NRA's press conference. Last week, they seemed like they might at least try to have a real conversation. The press conference was totally resistant to the concept that not everyone should be able to obtain guns.

    I know guns by themselves aren't evil....however, that doesn't mean it should be easy for anyone to get a gun - especially one that can kill so rapidly.

    Sure - put an armed guard at the door or inside the school. The gunman will know to look for the guard and get rid of him/her 1st. The gunman will have the element of surprise. Will the armed guard have an automatic weapon, as well? What happens if there are kids between the gunman and the guard??????

    Bullet proof glass? I can see that as something that should be done. However, it won't protect the kids when they are outside for gym or recess. Do you put up walls around the schools then?

    Then you have 'inside jobs'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster Who's going to be monitoring the guards to make sure that they are mentally competent?

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    I was pretty astounded by the NRA guy's approach as well. An armed guard in every school, really? And these are the folks who believe that the government spends too much money as it is. Maybe they can close school lunchrooms and fire the kitchen staff to make up the costs.

    More significant is your point about the element of surprise. The shooter, after all, came into that school ready to kill. If the principal (may she rest in peace) had been carrying a gun as she rushed out of her office to confront the guy, what would she have done in that split second? Would she really, truly have plugged him between the eyes without a second thought? What if he turned out not to be a shooter but just the janitor? Or, as you say, what if a child was between him and her? If she had hesitated for even an instant, she would have died with her gun in her hand.

    Or maybe the point of the armed guard is that a shooter won't go somewhere that has an armed guard. Well, gee, I guess that means no one ever shoots at a cop....

    By the way, Mr. NRA, police don't really like the idea of automatic weapons in the hands of civilians either. Guess why.

  6. #36
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    The shooter was wearing body armor and packing a 30 bullet magazine semiautomatic weapon. Chances are the guard or teacher would have shot for the body, and the guy would have mowed them down in short order.

    A guy supporting the NRA position was on, and clarified it to say that all schoolteachers should be required to be armed, and be trained to kill, and be ready to shoot at all times. If a teacher objected to being trained and ready to kill at all times, they should be fired.

    At least he resisted the suggestion that students should have guns, however, he then opined that all college students should be armed.

    How else, he said, can they protect themselves?

    I'm ill. Do these people even listen to how crazy they sound?

  7. #37
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    I share your nausea, Doris. And the sad thing is, they're not protecting themselves from drug lords or terrorists. They are protecting themselves mostly from young white men from good families. Because they can't defang the threat of young white men from good families any other way except by arming us all to the teeth? It can't be figured out when they're eight or twelve or fourteen that they need help, so they have to kill them when they're nineteen or twenty?

    This is the first I've heard that they actually have come out and said that they want to make the ability to shoot to kill a requirement to teach. Instead of being good at math and reading, I suppose. The thing is, school shootings are relatively rare. How will these trained killers keep in shape in between attacks, I wonder?

    Now, here's another wrinkle. Yesterday a crazy man with a gun killed several people in Pennsylvania. One was apparently putting up Christmas decorations when shot. If this person had been carrying a gun, how would that have protected him/her from being shot from some distance away? Is the mere possession of a gun a shield?
    Last edited by Olympia; 12-22-2012 at 07:50 PM.

  8. #38
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    It's about deterring people - they're less likely to go into a well protected area. Will it work 100% of the time - probably not - but it won't make it more dangerous either.

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    Toni, if I thought you were right, I'd be warmer to the idea. But it will make things more dangerous. You're assuming that everyone who has a "deterrent" gun will be sane.

    Also, what is a well-protected area? A person with one gun? A teacher in every classroom with a gun? If that is so, how does the teacher keep the gun safe all day, every day? Can't put the gun down, certainly; too risky. So: wearing the gun when standing close to five-year-old children with grabby hands? Wearing the gun when changing the diapers of toddlers in preschool? Wearing the gun when helping kids in the bathroom? Wearing the gun when tying kids' shoes? Wearing the gun when doing circle dances with the kids? Wearing the gun when dealing with a kid having a tantrum? Possibly an autistic kid having a meltdown?

  10. #40
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of the idea of teachers having to deal with it as much as an "armed guard". It'd be no different than the air marshalls on the planes.

    And just the idea of every school being protected will deter folks who want to cause damage. More so than a TSA type system where they wand kids and adults alike to let them in the building. I don't feel any safer getting felt up, especially since people do go in.

    I think fear of guns and knee jerk reaction is where we are now in teh discussion. The way the experts talk it's amazing I'm alive at nearly 28 because I grew up in a house with guns - yes some with magazines and "semi-automatic". It's also amazing - apparently - that I am not a mass murderer because I was taught how to use a gun as a child. I almost want to make a tshirt so I can be that "one out of all" who "broke the mold". When really most gun owners are more like me than they are the madmen that shoot up the schools, malls, etc.

    I do think there needs to be reform, but taking guns away is not the answer.

  11. #41
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    I understand that a lot of people handle guns responsibly. I wouldn't hunt myself, but I understand that many people do. Is that what you use the semiautomatic weapons for?

    Is there any reason that you feel you absolutely can't live without semiautomatic weapons? A regular rifle and a revolver or two aren't enough? Are you in that much danger up by you?

    Let's consider another aspect of the gun issue. Is there a way to be more certain that mentally ill people can't get guns? Police in some cities are thinking of treating the possibility as they treat terrorism: by proactively monitoring internet chatter to see if anyone uses certain key words. That might help, I guess.

    I guess if there has to be an armed guard in front of every nursery school and kindergarten, we will have to find the money from somewhere. Since we can't raise taxes on everyone, though, finding the money for that position will be difficult.
    Last edited by Olympia; 12-22-2012 at 08:57 PM.

  12. #42
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I understand that a lot of people handle guns responsibly. The question is, why do you feel you absolutely can't live without semiautomatic weapons? A regular rifle and a revolver or two aren't enough? Are you in that much danger up by you?
    if I am being charged by a 2000+ animal - yes I want a semi automatic. again, I think it's the lack of knowledge of what we're talking about that causes the fear. a semi automatic is not the same as a fully automatic... I still have to pump the lever of the gun, a fully automatic I just hold the trigger until nothing's left.

    now a completely manual gun I have to put the cartridge in, pump the action, aim, fire, expell the cartridge, reload, pump and go again... when a bear or a moose is charging I might as well just let them have me.

    anyway, I think it's best to step out of this discussion, I'd rather not get to the point where I come off as the crazy gun lover. I own several guns, they are stored and used properly and will remain as such.
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 12-22-2012 at 09:04 PM.

  13. #43
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    Toni, it helps me to hear what you have to say. I have no way of finding out how these things work, and we've known each other long enough to understand that diverse opinions are a good and healthy thing. Nobody who spends two minutes listening to you would see you as crazy in any regard whatever. (I can't speak as confidently about my own sanity in some areas!) The one thing we should all be unafraid of is talking to one another.

  14. #44
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    It's about deterring people - they're less likely to go into a well protected area. Will it work 100% of the time - probably not - but it won't make it more dangerous either.
    But sane people, who are deterred by sane considerations, are not the people we are talking about.

    We are talking about a guy who thought the school was pretty well guarded, so he wore body armor and was carrying a Bush Ranger & a Glock.

    BTW, I am not for banning guns, but I think we could get along without 30 bullet magazines. Canadian hunters seem to be OK
    with 5 bullet magazines for long guns (like Lanza's Bush Ranger) and 10 for handguns. I think that would be reasonable for both hunters and give some protection to regular folk.

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/faq/index-eng.htm#a6

    Q7. What is the maximum number of cartridges that a firearm magazine can legally hold?

    A7. As set out in Criminal Code Regulations, some large-capacity magazines are prohibited regardless of the class of firearm to which the magazines are attached. As a general rule, the maximum magazine capacity is:
    • 5 cartridges for most magazines designed for a semi-automatic centre-fire long gun; or
    • 10 cartridges for most handgun magazines

    A large-capacity magazine is not prohibited if it has been permanently altered so that it cannot hold more than the number of cartridges allowed by law. Acceptable ways to alter a magazine are set out in the regulations.

    There is no limit to the magazine capacity for semi-automatic rim-fire long guns, or for other long guns that are not semi-automatics.
    And this time, large magazines should not be grandfathered in.

  15. #45
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    Yes, I can't envision any civilian use for large magazines. Certainly in hunting they're of no use, because how could you eat something that's been more riddled with bullets than a pomegranate is with seeds?

    Joe Scarborough was more eloquent than I could ever be stating the issue.

    I also would like to point out that it's ridiculously easy for ordinary people to purchase combat body armor. If people had to show up in just a jacket and jeans, maybe they'd be less intrepid about striding into a public place with armaments. As far as I know, there's no second-amendment right to wear Kevlar from head to toe.

    ETA: I just turned to a news site and found this report of a 36-year-old baseball player who took his life with a gun--his own, presumably. He left a wife and three daughters.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-bi...1288--mlb.html

    While I understand that people with a wish to die will find a way, they might be less able to honor the impulse if the means wasn't right there. As Chekhov said, if there's a gun on the wall in Act 1, it will probably be fired by Act 2.
    Last edited by Olympia; 12-23-2012 at 03:35 PM.

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