Because really, if someone in the theater had had a gun, he or she could have stopped someone wearing full body armor.
Because really, if someone in the theater had had a gun, he or she could have stopped someone wearing full body armor.
That's what I meant. (You all know I was being sarcastic, right? You can't stop someone wearing full body armor. That's why this guy Holmes wore body armor. He wanted to be the only one shooting fish in a barrel.)
Additionally, a lot of people who use guns for hunting or target shooting only think they would react correctly in what is essentially a combat situation. They probably couldn't.
1. Just standing up and yelling, "I've got a gun!" isn't going to make the likes of this monster turn and run.
2. Shooting the correct person in a crowded, DARK theater probably won't work out.
3. And, repeat after me, carrying a gun doesn't make you impervious to bullets. This week, we have another sad example, the white supremacist who shot up the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Someone actually did have a gun in that situation, a combat-trained cop. He exchanged gunfire with the attacker and was shot five times. It was another cop who disabled the criminal. And now it turns out that neither cop fired the shot that killed the guy. He shot himself.
I understand that people feel they have a right to own guns here because of the Second Amendment. I have no quarrel with people who hunt or keep a gun for self defense or do target shooting or whatever. But can we draw the line at assault weapons? I can't remember which Supreme Court Justice it was, but one of them once said, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Yes, Blue, that one is heartbreaking.
"We don't control birth with pills; we control our population with guns," said an American. The other day my Okie brother-in-law went home and triggered the burglar alarm by accident. His wife, wakened from sleep in fear, thought it was an intruder and almost shot him. The Newtown shooting is another testimony that guns are more efficient than pills--able to kill 20 cute little babies at once (+ 6 adults) with a widely accessible gun.
Last edited by skatinginbc; 12-15-2012 at 12:20 PM.
I've been in and out of tears for two days.
I understand that many people feel that it's important to be allowed to own guns for protection. But should they be able to own assault weapons? What good does it do to have those floating around in society?
There are people online who have said that if even one person in that school had been carrying a gun, this shooter would have been stopped. I have several questions in that regard.
1. Which of those elementary school teachers should have been carrying the gun?
2. If you had been the teacher with the gun, could you have plugged the shooter between the eyes fast enough to have stopped him? Remember, he has the equivalent of a machine gun, and in this case, it was actually a long-distance rifle, not a close-up revolver. Would you have had to be toting a rifle in your class of five-year-olds?
3. If anyone suggests a security guard with a gun for every nursery school, how soon do you think budget cuts would eliminate that position? Would you care about this if it were a community other than your own?
4. If you are the teacher carrying the gun, where do you keep it when you (a) go to the restroom; (b) must physically break up a fight between two five-year-olds?
I will also ask one more question, not to do with guns.
5. The shooters in these situations seem always to be young suburban men, aged 17 to 24--and if I may mention this factor, white. In other words, they are not foreign terrorists or those inner city "criminal elements" we've been taught to fear. Why do we have to be afraid of our own sons? What forces are shaping them?
Last edited by Olympia; 12-16-2012 at 12:44 AM.
There were questions about his mental status though, which might have been caught in a background check...or not.
His mother apparently told another teacher that she was worried about her son before this happened. If someone has guns in the house, and has this kind of worry, I hope they take the guns somewhere else and lock them up-a locker, a storage unit, a friends house.
Unfortunately, this is not the sort of thing you can enforce with laws.
No, it's not, and I agree that you can't necessarily make a law for everything.
It's hard when you bring in the issue of mental illness, because you get into the issue of diminished responsibility. But at first glance, the kind of personality decomposition, if you will, that was clearly suffered by Holmes or Lochner doesn't seem to be present here with Lanza. He made certain choices. There's a point in Milton's Paradise Lost where Lucifer decides that he will follow a different path, and he says, "Evil, be thou my good." While a lot of bad events in the world result from cross purposes or thoughtlessness, some do seem to result from what I can only see as malice--an enjoyment of the suffering of others, a hunger for the rush that comes from causing the agony of others. Some commentators say that Lanza might have had an uncontrollable rage; well, it wasn't always uncontrollable. By the end point, it possessed him, but he didn't start out in its grip. He called it up in himself; he nursed it; he cherished it.
So the question I ask of us is, do we as a society somehow provide the kindling for such people and their actions? We do indeed glorify violence--not all of us to the same degree, of course, but look what sells commercially in the so-called entertainment industry. We also glorify self-gratification and excess. What can we do to change things? Is it out of our hands and in the hands of these lovers of violence? Must we live in an armed camp to protect ourselves because we are afraid of our own sons? As BC says, are guns our form of population control? Are they how we cull our herds? I like to hope we have more power than that over our lives.
I guess some of you have heard the story about a crazy person beheading a neighboring passenger on a greyhound bus with a knife in Canada. Had guns been widely accessible in Canada, I'm afraid it would have been a massacre of all passengers, not just one single passenger. There is an old Chinese saying: "Even thieves have codes of behavior." 盜亦有道. In other words, the collateral damage from criminal activity is usually limited and predictable. Those that randomly kill a great number of innocent strangers in a rampage are usually not criminals. They are simply crazy.
A large part of the arguments for guns concerns protecting oneself from the criminals. Sounds good. But is the crime rate actually lower in the US compared to that in countries that do not allow guns? Is the percentage of casualty resulted from crime lower in the US compared to that in countries that do not allow guns? My impression is actually the opposite.
It is kind of ironic that Lanza's mother, allegedly an avid gun enthusiast, was killed by her own gun, one of her collection. "If even one person in that school had been carrying a gun, this shooter would have been stopped." Agreed. I think everyone should be allowed to carry guns to everywhere they like, and wear bullet-proof vests, and, after that, carry chemical weapons for protection. US citizens should be allowed to carry whatever weapons the government has to counter-balance the power of the government, including weapons of mass destruction. Sounds good? It is so much in harmony with the spirit of the US constitutions.
Weapons of mass destruction is a relative term. To me, 20 babies constitutes a "mass".
Hunting as a sport sounds so barbaric. Having raised my intelligent, loving cat, I have a hard time to distinguish the difference between hunting mammals from hunting human as a sport. Even primitive peoples say thanks and pray for the animals they hunted. They hunt for food, not as a sport. To me, those that hunt a deer for fun and then discard its body on roadside are barbaric criminals. Killing for fun is one of the most disgusting things that the US citizens widely treasure.
Last edited by skatinginbc; 12-16-2012 at 11:36 AM.
I agree that things escalate when people think they need to have protection--first it's a gun, then a stronger gun, then it's two guns, to one-up the possible bad guys. In any case, being armed doesn't necessarily guarantee protection. For one thing, notice that most of these guys who stage commando killings like this make sure to show up in body armor as well as with an overkill supply of weapons. If someone even had had a howitzer, he or she probably couldn't have stopped this monster. So should kids wear armor to school? What does that say about our society if it comes to this?
I think the statistics about killings in other countries will probably bear out your supposition that death rates from violence are lower per capita than in non-gun countries. While there is the occasional mass killing in a place like Norway or Japan, it's not nearly as common as here.
One difference with a gun is that you don't have to stand right in front of someone and put yourself in that person's range. You can inflict death from a safe and uninvolved distance.
I had to laugh (not in a delighted way, mind you) when I read the comment by some self-righteous gun owner. He said that in his house, all his guns were kept in a safe that only he and his wife could open by fingerprint recognition, so the kids or intruders couldn't get at him. Did he not notice his illogical statement? If they were that hard to get to, how could they be available for his protection in the case of a home invasion? Does he think that home invaders phone ahead to let you know they're on their way?
I reiterate my point: if you are really carrying a gun for your protection, you must have it with you at all times. You must sleep with it. And if someone wakes you and takes it before you are fully conscious, you can get it buried with you in your coffin.
Interestingly, the most law-and-order people around, the cops, are for gun control. Guess why. Who wants to be wearing nothing but a twill shirt and a pistol and be faced with a semi-automatic rifle?
Last edited by Olympia; 12-16-2012 at 11:35 AM.
A bit eerie that the Newtown shooting happened on the same day as the stabbing of 20+ people in China (all of whom are thankfully alive as of the writing of this post). It goes to show, IMO, that in a country where firearms like semiautomatic rifles can be legally purchased from your local sporting goods store, the propensity for irreversible tragedies increases exponentially. Like one news network said, it's difficult to cause mass destruction with a knife.
My heart breaks for the families of the children and the adults killed. What really got me in tears was
1. Hearing first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig's account of how, while she and her students were barricaded inside of a bathroom, all they could say was "I just want Christmas. I want my mom."
2. The official release of the victims' names and photos. For me, it exacerbated the reality of the incident, if that makes sense.
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.
That being said, convincing gun-owning Americans to toss their weapons into a bin marked "Constitutional Change" is an impossible task, IMO. Two hundred and fifty years of legal ownership (find me a majority of citizens willing to alter the Bill of Rights and I'll find you more who oppose it to their last breath) has left us too paranoid and mistrustful of others who may be prone to violence, and instinct calls for self-preservation by whatever means possible. It reminds me of a rule we bemoaned in grade school--"One person ruins it for everyone." What a nasty reminder, not only after Friday but throughout this year, that that will never be true. And we know that in the wake of this horror, some deranged person with access to a gun will think, "Well, I can beat that."
I do believe that the appropriate way to honor those slain is to remember their names and accomplishments, not those of the shooter. I read a great quote attributed to Morgan Freeman in response to the tragedy, drawing back to the Columbine shooting--Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are household names, but how many of the victims do we remember? Freeman said, and I second, that the only way to reduce the likelihood of sick fame-seekers is to deny them the swarm of media attention bent on satisfying public demand for morbidity.
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?
Regarding gun control, I have no idea what the US should do. The attachment to the 2nd amendment and the way some people interpret it is not something that I, as a non-American, can truly understand or really relate to. In response to what Olympia wrote, I don't think it far-fetched to have armed security at the entrance to every school (not in your face, SWAT-like forces; just trained guards). There are places where this is just what you see in schools, including in places not as well-off as most US communities. If it's a matter of allocating funds, that's really just a question of priorities.
As others have noted, a lot can also be done to help people with mental health issues, which might help prevent some of these horrific shootings. I highly recommend reading "I am Adam Lanza's Mother", for anyone who hasn't yet.
As someone once said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Could it be possible to limit ownership of, say, Uzis without violating the spirit or the letter of the Second Amendment?
As for whether one of the adults at Sandy Hook could have changed the outcome with a gun, that person would have had to be able to shoot a moving target in the head before getting taken out first. The guy seems to have had body armor on, as did the guy in the Colorado theater. Then, suppose the shooter were in front of a classroom of kids.
Where would someone aim to hit just the shooter?
Then, suppose the one person with the gun had been taken out by the shooter, who had the element of surprise on his side. Should there have been two people with guns? Five people? Who would those people have been? School budgets are tight. Five security guards, five salaries. So maybe the teachers should have had the guns. Loaded and ready? Would they have been wearing the guns during class? With the six-year-olds?
I don't mean to be difficult, but I really need to know. I work in educational publishing. If I decide to go into teaching, how adept do I need to be with a firearm in order to do a good job in the classroom. If I'm not good at eye-hand coordination, should I not consider teaching children?
Last edited by Olympia; 12-16-2012 at 02:30 PM.
Certainly, with the torso protected, the most logical place to aim an incapacitating shot would be the head. I've been to a shooting range exactly once in my life, and let me tell you that it was a significant accomplishment to even hit the outer ring of the target.
All this talk about teachers or administrators carrying guns is well-founded but unfeasible, IMO. I would no more have a firearm in the proximity of a five-year-old than I would personally present one, fully loaded, to a five-year-old. Such legislation would inevitably change the very environment of public schools, which is to provide safe and free education for children--add guns, even solely for self-defense, to the equation and it creates an atmosphere of fear and danger by virtue of their only function, which is to kill. All it would take is for one careless adult to leave a gun unattended on a desk or in a halfway-opened drawer.
I can sense the argument coming that this leaves our schools vulnerable to attack, which is why I do advocate the posting of guards or police officers at schools. I know that, where I live, the schools all have campus police whose main job is to keep the students safe (usually from themselves). However, in the event that an outside threat appears, having people who are trained to use these weapons puts a sense of security and reassurance into the minds of parents and teachers alike.
You've made many of my points for me. It's not just impractical but dangerous to expect teachers to be the defenders bearing arms. You can't keep a loaded gun around kids. As Daniel Moynihan once said, "I'd rather keep a live rattlesnake around." This is why I keep bringing up the practicalities of the suggestion that "if just one person in the school/theater/mall had had a gun, the shooter would have been stopped." Maybe not.
I don't know whether every school has an armed security guard already, or whether these guards are more than nominally trained to deal with an armored invader with multiple weapons. Also, is one guard enough to patrol a school the size of the Newtown school? The aerial view showed a pretty large complex of buildings. The elementary school was only a small part of it.
I have thought a great deal about the issue of sanity. Some people are clearly not sane, for example the Aurora shooter, Holmes. But I don't think that every teenaged boy or young man with a gun and rage is nuts in either the legal or medical sense. (Legal insanity is a more stringent definition than medical insanity.) Thinking that everyone who mows people down with a gun is insane implies that we are slaves to all our impulses, and that I cannot believe. That being said, I wonder whether there is some way to prevent people from giving in to such impulses. Maybe by the time Lanza reached the school, he had a diminished ability to make such a choice, but surely he had choice earlier. In fact, maybe he still had decision-making capabilities. Apparently he had much more ammunition, but he decided to end his life when law enforcement personnel entered the building. There's a quote in C.S. Lewis's book That Hideous Strength that comes to mind: "If you call the devil, he will come." If you embrace this path, you will go down it, and it will pull you further and further in.
IMHO, an armed guard would not have made a difference in Newton. Lanza shot a spray of bullets to gain entry to the school - the guard would likely be another casualty.
I still do not understand why some people think that one person trying to aim a handgun at a moving person with an semi-automatic or automatic weapon would have a chance. The only possibility of that is if the handgun person was able to approach the assailant from behind. As mentioned, one of my co-workers claims he would shot the Aurora shotoer in the dark with a roomful of people running away from the shooter, which would be likely between himself and the shooter. That's how thoughtless IMHO this opinion is that anyone who might have a handgun might be able to take out someone with weapons of mass destruction without killing others and without putting themselves in the line of fire.
Personally, I feel that the general public does not need to own semi-automatic nor automatic weapons. IMHO, your 2nd amendment rights means that you have the right to the same weapons that existed at the time that the Constitution was written, which should be enough for basic hunting and basic defense of your home.