Confronting the Reality of their Choices

From the NYT:

Officials said the killing spree began early on Friday at the house where Mr. Lanza had lived with his mother. There, he shot her in the face, making her his first victim, the authorities said. Then, leaving her dead after taking three guns that apparently belonged to her, he climbed into her car for the short drive to the school. Two of the guns were semiautomatic pistols; the other was a semiautomatic rifle.

There you go, gun nuts. Ms. Lanza was a gun owner, exercising her 2nd Amendment rights. As is often the case, the guns she presumably had for her own protection were used to kill her. That would be a sad irony usually, but in this case is a brutal tragedy because the guns were then used to murder an additional 26 innocent people.

So, how about this proposal: You know how “pro-life” people always want women to “confront the reality of their choices” by showing them ultrasounds and pictures of fetuses? Well, maybe we could make it a requirement that people buying guns be forced to watch a slideshow of the crime scene pictures from Newtown (or Aurora or any of the thousands of other gun murders per year). Maybe that would drive home the reality of the choice gun owners are making by indulging their gunfighter fantasies.

 

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90 replies
  1. 1
    dr. bloor says:

    That would be a sad irony usually, but in this case is a brutal tragedy because the guns were then used to murder an additional 26 innocent people.

    Ironic, but not uncommon. Gun owner being shot by his/her own weapon, which is then used in subsequent crimes, is quite an ordinary story. The only thing unusual about the present case is the compression of the timeline.

  2. 2
    The Dangerman says:

    Each mass shooting incident this week was from stolen guns; it would piss off the NRA (Good!), but I’d make the gun owner equally culpable for crimes committed with stolen guns. Fat lot of good that would do in this matter, but, fuck all, they can have guns, but fucking lock them up in a safe or have trigger locks or similar.

  3. 3
    gravie says:

    You’re absolutely right. I’ve been really disheartened by the kneejerk responses from my gun-loving relatives who are essentially good people — some even pretty liberal — but who have a blind spot when it comes to guns.

  4. 4
    Jay S says:

    @dr. bloor:

    The only thing unusual about the present case is the compression of the timeline.

    As well as the age of the victims. ETA and the number.

  5. 5
    bleh says:

    Most of the gun nuts I know are paranoid, emotionally stunted, or both, and their guns are so central to their identities that separating them would take Soviet-style psychological coercion.

    And Obama can’t do a thing about it. He’s a black man. He’s the very embodiment of the psychosexual terrors that motivate the gun nuts. Whom are they protecting themselves against? (Hint: consider the frequency of use of the word “urban.”)

    Only Nixon could go to China. We’re going to have to wait for a (sigh) President Christie or some such before there can be any meaningful leadership on controlling weapons in the US.

  6. 6
    mclaren says:

    Alternatively, we could use the available technology to insure that a gun only fires if it’s in its owner’s hand. Fingerprint scan or palm print scan or whatever built into the gun’s handle. That’s well within current technology.

    Of course, this wouldn’t do anything to stop shootings by people who bought the guns themselves.

    As for Bernard’s suggestion of a slideshow, that’s a disastrously bad idea:

    You know how “pro-life” people always want women to “confront the reality of their choices” by showing them ultrasounds and pictures of fetuses? Well, maybe we could make it a requirement that people buying guns be forced to watch a slideshow of the crime scene pictures from Newtown (or Aurora or any of the thousands of other gun murders per year).

    Nothing excites and delights an American more than watching pictures of people being murdered and tortured — especially innocent people being murdered and tortured. In fact, this makes up the vast majority of the blockbuster movies Americans pay $10 a head to watch today. Americans would fight over the privilege of seeing a slideshow like that. In fact, they’d pay to see it.

    Probably not the reaction Bernard was hoping for. But then, that’s the sick twisted mind of the Americano for you…

  7. 7
    RobertDSC-PowerMac 466 says:

    Reason enough to revoke the 2nd Amendment. Forever.

  8. 8
    burnspbesq says:

    Gunz and slutz ain’t the same thing, so don’t you go conflatin’ them.

    /wingnut ignoramus (is that redundant?)

  9. 9
    pk says:

    The responses from the usual suspects has been: 1) there should be more god in school
    2) There should be more guns in school
    All that is left is somehow to throw the gays in (or out) and we’ll hit the trifecta.
    Right wingers will be the death of us yet.

  10. 10
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    An observation-under the Bill of Rights there are 3 classes of citizen who enjoy extra rights and special constitutional protections, above and beyond what the rest of us get: the press, gun owners, and religious practitioners. Now normally I think of rights and responsibilities as being two sides of the same coin; with special privileges come the responsibility to use them wisely and prudently or to suffer the opprobrium and displeasure of others, and if the abuse is severe and protracted to be threatened with withdrawl of those special rights. But recently it seems all 3 of these protected groups are not very interested in this moral calculus and prefer to enjoy their power without taking any responsibility for its use and abuse, and show no interest or inclination to engage in self-policing to restrain their worst elements.

  11. 11
    MikeJ says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I’d make the gun owner equally culpable for crimes committed with stolen guns

    The 2nd amendment doesn’t mean you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions. Also, since we require insurance for cars, why not for guns? I wonder where the invisible hand would price the risk?

  12. 12
    mclaren says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Gun owner being shot by his/her own weapon, which is then used in subsequent crimes, is quite an ordinary story. The only thing unusual about the present case is the compression of the timeline.

    I beg to differ. The unusual feature in this case involves the fire discipline. This guy used only 3 guns to murder 26 people. That’s tremendous weapon control. This guy must have practiced a lot, and even then it probably required extraordinary skill and nerve.

    Typical after the first couple of shots in these types of situations, reports say everyone scatters, and it becomes difficult-to-impossible to kill anyone else. If you check most of these kinds of reported incidents, the shooter is typically so hyped up on adrenaline that he only hits one or two people, typically wounding them, and then misses everyone else.

    It’s truly remarkable that this guy was able to murder 26 people with only 3 guns. The Columbine shooters had much more weaponry but if memory serves they only killed a couple of people.

    This guy was either an unusually good shot, or such a stone cold sociopath that his heart rate never elevated and his adrenaline never started pumping after he began shooting. Or perhaps both.

    There are many other instances of lone gunmen opening fire on schoolyards, and to my knowledge, they’ve never hit more than a couple of kids. This case is extremely unusual in that regard.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    @pk: The ones who blame God (they kept Him out of the schools, so He’s doing what He has to) are particularly disgusting.

  14. 14
    Incitatus for Senate says:

    I’m all for gun control, there is no legitimate need for a barely legal version of an M16, like the 223 Bushmaster. But there is no way we can have serious gun control without changing the second amendment. When you look at these horrible events two things stand out, guns and mental health. Unlike guns, there is no constitutional problem with providing decent mental health services. It just costs money.

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    Well, maybe we could make it a requirement that people buying guns be forced to watch a slideshow of the crime scene pictures from Newtown (or Aurora or any of the thousands of other gun murders per year).

    Absolutely. And they should do it just like that scene in Clockwork Orange. Nothing stopped Alex like non–stop viewing of the old ultra vi.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    @mclaren: There’s an article up at Slate saying Lanza’s mother regularly took him to practice at the rifle range.

  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    Just had a case in in rural MN – no not that case.

    Guy owned a gun. For protection. Guy had a plan. In case of break-in retreat with wife to bedroom. Shoot only in necessary.

    Then, late one night this week. Sounds of someone at the door. Maybe trying to get in. Grab gun. Confront shadow. Shoot 16 year old granddaughter who was staying there.

    Funny how these stories, even though they are all too common, never get covered in “The Armed Citizen” feature of the NRA’s magazine

  18. 18
    KT says:

    If people want to carry a concealed handgun in public, they should be required to pass a live fire exam with rubber bullets in several stressful environments. If they can hit a gunman, and nothing else, every time, they deserve to carry a concealed weapon because they might actually do some good. If they miss with any of their shots, they don’t get the gun.

    This test should be administered every 3 years.

  19. 19
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Bernard, Bernard–

    Not graphic images of mass slaughter. Most of them wank to that stuff.

    Graphic images and blurbs about gun owners slaughtered with their own guns.

    Gun ownership is also correlated to suicide by gunshot, but again I question the deterrent effect there.

    ETA
    @mclaren: I see you beat me to it. I swear we don’t have “gun nut pathopsychology” in the standard Physics curriculum. Synchronicity!

    AETA: is that psychopathology? god damn, haven’t finished my first coffee of the day.

  20. 20
    Incitatus for Senate says:

    @KT: Most cops would fail that.

  21. 21
    Tyro says:

    @mclaren: It’s truly remarkable that this guy was able to murder 26 people with only 3 guns. The Columbine shooters had much more weaponry but if memory serves they only killed a couple of people.
    This guy was either an unusually good shot, or such a stone cold sociopath that his heart rate never elevated and his adrenaline never started pumping after he began shooting. Or perhaps both.

    No, the Columbine shooters killed 13 people and injured 21 more. The VA Tech shooter killed 32 people and injured 29. The common thread with these three incidents was that they occurred in schools: that meant that the perpetrators could enter classrooms and kill people, because the targets had nowhere to run. This was also the case with the École Polytechnique massacre. More open venues like malls give people more room to run away and scatter. Classrooms mean that the shooter can block the exit and shoot everyone at relatively close range.

  22. 22
    Elizabelle says:

    @bleh:

    Only Nixon could go to China. We’re going to have to wait for a (sigh) President Christie or some such before there can be any meaningful leadership on controlling weapons in the US.

    The hell you say.

    We can use our jiffy organizing skills, honed through 2 successful Obama campaigns, and our social networks for work for change.

    I know I will go door to door to get support for gun safety laws.

    I bet a lot of people here will do so.

  23. 23
    MattR says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Gun ownership is also correlated to suicide by gunshot, but again I question the deterrent effect there.

    In 2006 the Israeli army made a change which forbade soldiers from taking their weapons with them on weekend leave. Weekend suicide rates dropped by 40% (while weekday rates were unchanged)

  24. 24

    As I said yesterday, a person’s right to keep and bear arms should not trump a parent’s right to drop off their child at school and not have to pick them up in a body bag. Why are gun owners right MORE IMPORTANT than my right TO LIVE?

  25. 25
    Hal says:

    Ironically, a friend just posted on Facebook last week how unfair it was that we never here of all those folks out there who used their guns to protect themselves and their families from home invaders etc, and how the media only focuses on people who commit crimes with guns.

    Gun advocates really do believe that there are just thousands of people pulling Dirty Harry’s every day, saving lives with a single shot between the eyes, no collateral damage.

    I just don’t see people who are so committed to such a preposterous fantasy ever looking at guns and gun laws realistically.

  26. 26
    dr. bloor says:

    @mclaren: Stolen guns float around for years, being passed from person to person. Not all of those crimes are murders, obviously, but the half-life of the lethality of a gun (not a particular shooter) is on par with uranium.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    Clearly it’s her fault for not keeping her weapon armed and ready and carried at all times.

    Guns can only keep you safe if you (a) always have the weapon armed and ready (in the toilet, the shower, the pool, you name it); (b) shoot anyone first and don’t ask any questions later; and (c) define accidentally shooting yourself or someone else as just a natural outcome of being “safe”.

  28. 28
    Cargo says:

    It’d just give them a boner.

  29. 29
    Alison says:

    I also had the idea (though with the obvious caveat that the families likely wouldn’t want it, and this is just fantasy anyway) of making the NRA leaders and the politicians who kowtow to them watch video of all the funerals of these children. With the sound cranked way up so they will hopefully hear the families’ tears in their fucking nightmares.

  30. 30
    El Cid says:

    @Hal:

    Gun advocates really do believe that there are just thousands of people pulling Dirty Harry’s every day, saving lives with a single shot between the eyes, no collateral damage.
    __
    I just don’t see people who are so committed to such a preposterous fantasy ever looking at guns and gun laws realistically.

    Because what they care about is the opportunity to shoot someone and not about keeping anyone safe.

    That part is what shills tell legislators and say in PR and what ordinary folk tell themselves so as to feel good about their love not of guns but of the dream of using that gun to kill someone who gives them the opportunity.

  31. 31
    beltane says:

    @El Cid: In other words, in order for a gun to keep you “safe” you must live as a crazy person with no life to speak of.

  32. 32
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Why are gun owners right MORE IMPORTANT than my right TO LIVE?

    Because shooters are deeply embedded in the semi-mythological story of how we came to be as a nation (the Revolutionary War, the Western Frontier) and you are not. American Exceptionalism is our civic religion, and like many religions, from time to time it demands blood sacrifice.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    @Hal:

    Seriously – The American Rifleman, the NRAs magazine has a regular column of this shit titled, “The Armed Citizen”. The stories fall into a few categories. Obvious bullshit bordering on letters to Hustler level crap, maybe/maybe stories “Heard a noise, grabbed my gun guy got scared & ran away” and a few John Wayne stories. But the constant drumbeat has its effect on reader.

  34. 34
    gene108 says:

    @pk:

    1) there should be more god in school

    Is it me or does anyone else feel it is a sad indictment of your God that a local government, such as a school board, can keep your God out of a building?

    Shouldn’t all powerful beings be able to find a way into said buildings, if called upon by the prayers of the faithful?

    Really, why would anyone want to worship such a weak God that can be so easily deterred from answering the prayers of the faithful?

    All the more reason for Christians to convert to Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or even Shinto, since none of the adherents to these religions complain their God is kept out of school by the local school board.

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @pk:

    I’ve been surprised at how quiet the Facebook Wingnut Barometer has been, actually. Either expressions of generic sorrow and God-prayer (the right wing version of a hippie drum circle, I guess) or just… silence. Even the outcrys from Facebook liberals about how “how many more times does this have to fucking happen? What the fuck is wrong with this country?” that I’ve seen haven’t motivated any wingnuts to rise to the bait, even in cases where I’d been almost sure they would.

    Maybe some of them actually can either feel shame or be temporarily shell-shocked into shutting the fuck up.

  36. 36
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Incitatus for Senate: But it goes beyond paying for mental health services. Pretty sure I’ve seen figures on mental illness incidence and the US is an outlier. It’s like our society makes us ill.

    In French society, for example, family members, friends, classmates, all touch each other. Touch is inversely correlated on a societal level with violence. In the US if a preschooler hugs another preschooler the parents are called. Simple touch is so abnormal in our society we assume that sexual abuse is involved.

    But touch requires trust which is quite lacking, particularly in the poorest and most socially unequal parts of the country. Social inequality (of which, the US is a massive outlier among 1st world countries) is strongly correlated with societal violence. It’s not poverty, it’s the inequality, stupid. And the South is ground zero. Why? Because of the Big Fail after the Civil War, when the US government failed to impose land reform, keeping the whole American encomienda system in place. Not to mention allowing racial terrorism to resurface quickly. (There was a racial backlash up North, but the real structural damage there didn’t occur until the Wilson presidency–the flower of Southern academe–spreading apartheid ideology nationwide, using the power of the US government in mortgage underwriting to tear communities apart and institute racial segregation (and violence) where it had not existed in such measure before and in doing so, dispossessing Northern and Western middle class African-American communities and destroying them. Would this have even been a question if the US had redistributed land fifty years earlier? Rather than leaving the mess in place and letting it fester and infect the host?)

    The stress of inequality and all the other social ills that follow make us sick and ill, make us more violent, make us all these things. Paying more to identify and treat adults later is chasing symptoms. Let’s attack the disease. TAX THE RICH. Especially FEDERAL ESTATE TAX. Break that shit up and give it over to more productive use. Especially when these fucking state govs won’t institute an estate tax.

    Btw, those cons were wrong. It’s not the racial heterogeneity of US society that makes a social welfare state impossible (the 1980s answer to ‘well, Europe’s doing nicely on standard of living so what’s wrong with us?’). It’s that the demon meme of racism makes people STUUUUUPID and makes the rational pursuit of our collective self-interest impossible. Like the Boers in South Africa, live by the toxic meme, rot your brain by the toxic meme.

  37. 37
    Incitatus for Senate says:

    I’m sure it must be terribly traumatic to these guys, to have such a tiny penis, but can’t they just buy bigger trucks?

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    An observation-under the Bill of Rights there are 3 classes of citizen who enjoy extra rights and special constitutional protections.

    In some state constitutions, one class is privileged above all:

    Maine State Constitution; “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”

    No such protection is extended to the rights of the press, or to adherents of religion.

  39. 39
    Jay C says:

    @mclaren:

    It’s truly remarkable that this guy was able to murder 26 people with only 3 guns

    [OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER]…

    No, wait, lemme finish my comment first:

    It’s really not all that “remarkable” when you consider that 20 of the 26 Newtown victims were elementary school children under the age of 10. Cowering under their desks, no doubt, in their elementary school classroom. No exactly a situation where a great deal of “fire discipline” (sorry to piss on your attitude of admiration there, dude) is necessary.

    Oh, and [OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER]…

    Fuck you, asshole….!

  40. 40
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Why are gun owners right MORE IMPORTANT than my right TO LIVE?

    Denmark Vesey. Nat Turner. H. Rap Brown…

  41. 41
    gene108 says:

    @bleh:

    Most of the gun nuts I know are paranoid, emotionally stunted, or both, and their guns are so central to their identities that separating them would take Soviet-style psychological coercion. And Obama can’t do a thing about it. He’s a black man. He’s the very embodiment of the psychosexual terrors that motivate the gun nuts. Whom are they protecting themselves against? (Hint: consider the frequency of use of the word “urban.”)

    This +1,000,000

    The level of paranoia in gun nut circles is ridiculously high.

    The people with conceal carry permits, for the most part, are just paranoid or think having a gun on them makes them safe cool.

    Crime in most parts of this country is really, really, really low.

    The places that have high rates of crime are avoided by damn near everyone, who can avoid them as to not expose yourself to danger.

    I really wish someone would tell people to chill the fuck out about needing a gun to protect yourself, because you probably aren’t getting mugged in most parts of this country.

  42. 42
    Tehanu says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Graphic images and blurbs about gun owners slaughtered with their own guns.

    Yes, yes! We can’t start with laws because the cavemen in Congress will just scream about FREEEEEEDUMB! We have to start with public shame and ridicule and advertising and media images. We have to give gun nuttiness the same bad image as smokers polluting the air in hospitals and restaurants and everywhere else.

  43. 43
    Jill says:

    I understand CT has strict gun laws and the mom legally owned the guns. But doesn’t the fact that her son, who had psychological or emotional problems, was living with her, have any impact on her responsibility or ability or the legality of her having those guns in the house?

  44. 44
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    An observation-under the Bill of Rights there are 3 classes of citizen who enjoy extra rights and special constitutional protections, above and beyond what the rest of us get: the press, gun owners, and religious practitioners. Now normally I think of rights and responsibilities as being two sides of the same coin; with special privileges come the responsibility to use them wisely and prudently or to suffer the opprobrium and displeasure of others, and if the abuse is severe and protracted to be threatened with withdrawl of those special rights. But recently it seems all 3 of these protected groups are not very interested in this moral calculus and prefer to enjoy their power without taking any responsibility for its use and abuse, and show no interest or inclination to engage in self-policing to restrain their worst elements.

    Until very recently, gun owners as a class did not enjoy such protections as they enjoy today. Gun control in the Wild West was greater than gun control today. We can see this clearly in how other kinds of weapons are regulated, since they don’t have quite the lobby behind them. (Hell, I was told at a media convention in Virginia, a state that brags on the billboards on the way in about their concealed carry laws, that if security saw me with an un-peace-bonded FAKE sword, I could be shot on sight.)

    The protection of religious practitioners is a protection for practitioners of MINORITY religions. It is also a ban on state religions. I guess the case above should serve as a warning for all of us who believe in freedom to not let David Barton fantasies about the Founder’s intent infect the meme pool too broadly. The Dominionists want to create a state religion, exactly and explicitly what the Constitution bans.

    The press is protected with the understanding that they will use this protection to serve as the 4th branch of government, vigorously pursuing and spreading the truth. However, that too is in danger as press protections are being extended only to certain journalists (a 4th estate, indeed) and not to others, who aren’t “real” journalists, even though the kind of English laws these protections are in reaction to didn’t care if you were a “real” journalist or not, they just cared that you talked shit about the King.

    The radical conservative takeover of the judiciary, while not complete, has done terrible damage so far.

  45. 45
    sdhays says:

    @Incitatus for Senate: I don’t know about that. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms”, but it doesn’t say anything about guaranteeing the right to obtain arms. It doesn’t say anything about any type of weapon under the sun being available to anyone. It doesn’t say anything about everyone having the right to quickly, easily, and conveniently obtain a deadly weapon.

    The US Court system currently has a ridiculously expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment that is simply not supported by a straight reading of the text. A Supreme Court with that view could make a whole world of difference without changing the Constitution. IANAL, but between “well regulated militia” and Congress’ explicit power to regulate inter-state commerce, it seems to me there’s a lot that could be done if Congress had the will.

    So, really, “all” we have to do is destroy the power of the NRA.

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @mclaren: You stupid motherfucker do you ever think before you type?

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    Horror movies almost never show the actual aftermath of the violence — they’ll show the action and the cool spurting of the blood, but it’s very rare that they’ll show a realistic version of what a room looks like where someone has had their throat slashed. Even our horror movies are sanitized for our protection.

    But you’re probably right that even crime scene photos wouldn’t be much of a deterrent. Maybe what needs to be shown is Gabrielle Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

  48. 48
    Jay says:

    When I think of how powerful the weapons were, and the fact that I haven’t heard of alot of late middle – age female gun enthusiasts, I just…I don’t know. How likely is it that this Lanza kid forged a bunch of paperwork?

  49. 49
    gene108 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    You want to address mental illness in America you need to acknowledge:

    (1) The poor have a higher rate of mental illness than other segments of society and therefore anti-poverty programs are essential to improving mental health outcomes;

    (2) Job security, wage security (no loss in earning power, stagnation of income level), and overall economic security and upward mobility would help reduce stresses that can trigger episodes of mental illness in people;

    (3) Many people with mental illness “self-medicate” and therefore the mandatory sentencing guidelines for drug use funnels them into the prison system, rather than rehab and does not help society in any significant way;

    (4) Somehow reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, so people would be willing to talk about their existing diagnosis or be more willing to seek treatment. I don’t know how to do this, but the people have negative views of the mentally ill that don’t exist with people, who have high cholesterol, type I or II diabetes, cancer, etc.

    I think these things are just the type of ice berg and much of it is predicated on us, as a society, acknowledging mental health is a problem and taking steps to reduce the stresses people have in their lives; many of these stresses are directly linked to the lack of economic stability we’ve carved out for ourselves over the last 30 years.

  50. 50
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jill: I understand CT has strict gun laws and the mom legally owned the guns. But doesn’t the fact that her son, who had psychological or emotional problems, was living with her, have any impact on her responsibility or ability or the legality of her having those guns in the house?

    Why are we protecting this meme of the legal, “responsible” gun owner? Gun ownership is positively correlated with family violence involving guns, period. The involvement of guns makes it more deadly. Period. While shooting a bunch of children is unusual, the homicide/suicide is common.

    The subject was in his mid-20’s. This is when schizophrenia begins to become apparent (if that was a factor). How are we supposed to screen for an emergent condition?

    Are we going to be scrutinizing everyone for “mental illness” now? Taking away people’s rights (again) for something out of their control? And while there is a debatable area here with schizophrenics specifically (ie, you give this person total freedom, they don’t take their meds, bad consequences ensue), in general do you, what, treat anyone with a severe mood disorder as a felon? After all, they might shoot themselves or a close relative. But then again, perfectly “normal” people commit crimes. Come on.

    It seems like gun control, even a few rational, not very intrusive measures like: gun show loophole closing, background check with retention, registration, assault weapons ban, and more law enforcement directed to preventing illegal guns being smuggled into the country, is just totally off the table and taboo and now we’re trying to find an “other”, a scapegoat that we can deprive of liberty and dignity in order to expiate our horror/anger/fear.

    Fuck that shit.

  51. 51
    Pongo says:

    ABC is reporting that mom took this kid out of school to home school him and purchased guns because she felt unsafe in her big house alone. So unsafe, apparently, that five guns were needed. Not one, not two–five. I think a picture is emerging of what sort of environment this kid was raised in and it isn’t very pretty.

    There have been reports that he may have had Asperger’s syndrome (a term that is being retired in favor of austism-spectrum disorder). One aspect of high-functioning autism that is often overlooked is that one or both parents of affected individuals often exhibit some mild symptoms themselves, making it very difficult for them to recognize and appropriately deal with their children’s needs. I read in one report that a friend described this mom as ‘rigid.’ It’s kind of starting to sound like this family was a toxic mix of personality issues, mental health issues and lethal weapons.

  52. 52
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: Exactly. We have to redistribute the wealth, both income and property, to fix this problem.

    Stigmatizing the mentally ill and using them as a scapegoat for gun violence when the stats show clearly that IT’S THE GUNS is irrational, dangerous, and utterly illiberal.

  53. 53
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gene108:

    Crime in most parts of this country is really, really, really low

    One of the posts running around in the last day, I think it was Ezra Klein’s, had a chart of the murder rate in the US over the last 60 years, compared with other OECD countries. It showed a background level about twice the rest of the world in 1960, a frightening climb upward in the 1960s and early 1970s to a level many times that of our peers, and then a drop off from our peak during the mid-1970s starting slowly in the 1980s and 1990s and accelerating during the 2000’s, down to a level today more or less where we started at back in 1960. I’ll see if I can find the chart to link to it. From eyeballing the chart I’m guessing the explanation is mostly demographic, based on the age of the Boomers.

    ETA: here it is: point #5 in: twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the US

    In other words homicide is way down here in the US. The question is, has fear of violent crime gone down as well? Anecdotally, I’d say not, not even remotely. Wonderful. Yet another toxic meme that’s embedded itself into our culture, like an emotional Prion, and seemingly will never go away.

  54. 54
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Incitatus for Senate: They try to kill people with trucks for sport, too (at least in the rural South they do), but sometimes you miss. Homeless guy can really run when he wants to, etc.

  55. 55
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: Don’t worry, the NRA is experimenting with making even asking about gun ownership illegal in Florida.

    La la la, if we don’t know about it, it’s not happening, not listening, not listening!

  56. 56
    Cassidy says:

    I’ve decided that I’m done feeling impotent rage about these things. I’m tired of that hopeless feeling that even the slaughter of young children won’t change these assholes and I can’t go shoot up the NRA HQ. I’ve started trying to locate local gun control advocacy groups and next week I plan on contacting the Brady campaign to find out what’s in my area. If their isn’t one, I’m not sure, but I’m done feeling this way.

  57. 57
    rageahol says:

    @Another Halocene Human: THIS

    I was just talking with my partner about how Newtown, sad as it is, is just going to suck the air out of any negotiations on taxing the fucking rich or making a more equitable society. If anyone in the GOP gives an inch on anything their NRA puppetmasters tell them to do, that marker will be called in to undermine more substantial measures to address inequality. And honestly, there isn’t that much movement on that front to begin with, so I am wary of any, ahem, “grand bargains” that would allow the gap between rich and poor to expand even further.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Violent crime to a big dive under President Clinton.

    If you’re into random ‘causation-correlation’ results, you could ‘seriously’ suggest the Assault Weapons Ban helped reduce violent crime, but no Very Serious People ever raise that argument.

    I think the biggest tragedy of all the Conceal Carry laws and people continuing to push them is the fact it keeps people on edge about violent crime.

    We really need to a dose of positive happy thoughts, but some in this country benefit too much from fear and paranoia to let that happen.

    Which is one reason you had and have gun nuts making runs on ammo, because they believe President Obama was going to take their guns away, but since that didn’t happen because he needed to be reelected he’ll take them away now.

    In short, the right-wingers, who keep talking about the ‘slipper slope’ and gun ownership need a kick in the nuts, because they are fueling an unhealthy level of paranoia.

  59. 59
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Actually, they always thought it was demographic, but then the violent crime rate failed to rise when the baby boomer’s kids came of age.

    Nowadays the cool kids think it was all that lead from leaded gasoline. Rates of lead exposure in young children are precipitously down from a generation ago.

    The other thing to realize is that reporting is probably on an uptick over that entire period (which is part of why the drop is so extraordinary… also why our overcrowded prisons make no sense). So in the 1950s and 1960s a lot of crimes, especially those committed by juveniles, never made it in the stats. Or perpetrated on juveniles, as law enforcement and society in general tended to bury, not prosecute, deadly child abuse. Assault on an intimate partner which would have you in and out of jail/court for months today bore no consequences until the bitch bought it back then. (No worries, though, Camille Paglia tells us that in the good old days your brothers or dad could be counted upon to avenge your death. History as recounted by Roman era-of-classical-antiquity fables, and I do mean to use the word fable, because that’s exactly what it was.) And crimes by cops? Fuggedaboudit.

  60. 60
    gogol's wife says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    This.

    And as the relative of a murder victim, I resent the idea of using pictures of murder victims for social engineering.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    IIRC, as far as anyone can tell, the biggest factor in the surge in crime (and the receding of it) was the Baby Boom. We had a huge cohort of people who all got to be of statistically crime-committing ages at the same time who are now all aging out of committing crimes (or are dead or incarcerated).

    Yet another of the weird statistical anomolies that accompanied the Baby Boom that convinced us that everything was going to hell in a handbasket for no reason.

  62. 62
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Chris:

    I’ve been surprised at how quiet the Facebook Wingnut Barometer has been, actually.

    My Facebook Wingnut Barometer said it’s not fair to introduce politics to this tragedy (meaning, don’t dare talk about gun control) and then, in the very next sentence, said the real culprits are violent video games and–you guessed it–abortion.

  63. 63
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Speaking of the press being broken:

    Reuters: Tales of heroism emerge from “evil” school shooting link

    Which editor decided to put scare quotes around “evil” in this headline, I’d like to know? Why?

  64. 64
    celticdragonchick says:

    @RobertDSC-PowerMac 466:

    Reason enough to revoke the 2nd Amendment. Forever.

    Followed by Civil War part 2. I would rather not do that, personally.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    The poor have a higher rate of mental illness than other segments of society and therefore anti-poverty programs are essential to improving mental health outcomes

    Off on a tangent, but I wonder how much of that is causation, not correlation. Mental illness can make it difficult for one to get a college degree or hold a steady job or any of those many other things that make it possible for people to stay middle-class.

    I’m also thinking of my nephew’s father family, where all three of his father’s brothers have died of accidental drug overdoses and probably the only reason his father is still alive is that he’s been in and out of jail most of his adult life, making it difficult for him to get really heavily into drugs. And all of the kids this guy has fathered have been severely ADHD with possible bipolar issues as well even though he’s technically “normal” because no one’s ever bothered to screen him for mental illness. (After all, he’s a career criminal, so why bother to do anything other than throw him back in jail?)

    We talk about the “cycle of poverty” — can we also talk about the cycle of untreated mental illness and the way it leads people into a cycle of poverty, particularly when they pass those untreated issues on to their kids?

  66. 66
    jp7505a says:

    @Another Halocene Human:Almost all of the mass shootings have been committed by people who, until they fired that first shot, were considered to be ‘responsible gun owners’. The Mafia and the drug dealers tend to kill their own not shot up schools, malls and churches.

  67. 67
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: If you’re into random ‘causation-correlation’ results, you could ‘seriously’ suggest the Assault Weapons Ban helped reduce violent crime, but no Very Serious People ever raise that argument.

    Can’t explain all but could explain some. The correlation between SYG and a rise in gun murders IS statistically significant, and it’s only been a few years.

  68. 68
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jp7505a: The Mafia and the drug dealers tend to kill their own not shot up schools, malls and churches.

    Let’s not overstate the case. The late 80s early 90s saw a LOT of very young children killed by stray bullets during drug gang turf wars (especially b/c playgrounds were used a street dealing locations, but some kids have been shot inside houses, walking to school, etc).

  69. 69
    jp7505a says:

    @Another Halocene Human: true but they were stray bullets, not intentional planned attacks

  70. 70
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: The plural of anecdote is not data and America today has very little social mobility, which would tend to weaken your thesis.

    Also, plenty of bad health outcomes for children born to pregnant mothers in poverty–epigenetics, yo. They can compare first child born in extreme poverty to younger siblings born into better circumstances, living in same household, big difference in achievement.

    But also look at diabetes and obesity research.

  71. 71
    Juju says:

    @Tyro: I was getting ready to reply to Mclaren, but you already did a beautiful job. Mclaren needs to take a walk through just about any school to see that the layout of most classrooms have only one entrance/exit. Those children and teachers were most likely trapped in their classrooms with the gunman. I suspect this may be one of many reasons that the gunman chose a school as the target.

  72. 72
    Pongo says:

    @Incitatus for Senate: Why would it have to be changed? We abridge the rights of people who would try to have human sacrifice protected under the First Amendment as part of their freedom of religion. We didn’t have to alter that amendment to figure out that that right has limits where it impinges on the rights of others. Ditto with the presumed right to ‘liberty’ found in the Declaration of Independence which is waived when someone is a danger to others in society. Essentially, we agree that their right to liberty is limited by the rights of their potential victims when we lock them up or commit them to institutional care.

    It is only the Second Amendment that gets treated as somehow sacred and immune to common sense limitations in our culture. If you are mentally unstable and a potential threat to others, your rights are–by consensus–already limited in our society, except in this one area. Why is this acceptable?

    We don’t need to change the amendment. We need to change the fact that the NRA and gun advocates have for too long been allowed to glorify this amendment as sacrosanct and define it to suit their ideology.

  73. 73
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jp7505a: There was a certain depraved indifference to human life, however. As opposed to the yakuza in Japan (a society with much lower inequality and much lower violence)–some yaks killed some civilians because of a case of mistaken identity.

    They turned themselves in and apologized on national tv for the pain they had caused and the shame they had brought on themselves and their organization.

    I think it’s a mistake to minimize the corrosive effect of gang violence on the communities in which it occurs, especially as we were experiencing during the height of the crack war. (Kinda like Iraq.)

  74. 74
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Pongo: It is only the Second Amendment that gets treated as somehow sacred and immune to common sense limitations in our culture. If you are mentally unstable and a potential threat to others, your rights are—by consensus—already limited in our society, except in this one area. Why is this acceptable?

    But is this even true? I thought the last time we had this discussion it came out that some states do limit some people from bearing arms due to mental incompetence or however they frame it.

    NRA doesn’t go after these laws because they know that pathologizing and stigmatizing people for their brain chemical patterns has been and is highly correlated to things like power, privilege, race, class, and gender.

    Hm, I think I’m starting to get what Angela Davis was getting at when she talks about bodies.

  75. 75
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Pongo: It is only the Second Amendment that gets treated as somehow sacred and immune to common sense limitations in our culture. If you are mentally unstable and a potential threat to others, your rights are—by consensus—already limited in our society, except in this one area. Why is this acceptable?

    But is this even true? I thought the last time we had this discussion it came out that some states do limit some people from bearing arms due to mental incompetence or however they frame it.

    NRA doesn’t go after these laws because they know that pathologizing and stigmatizing people for their brain chemical patterns has been and is highly correlated to things like power, privilege, race, class, and gender.

    Hm, I think I’m starting to get what Angela Davis was getting at when she talks about bodies.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    The plural of anecdote is not data and America today has very little social mobility, which would tend to weaken your thesis.

    How does that weaken it? Bad health of parents leads to bad health of children, whose children also have bad health, and the breakdown of our social safety net makes the spiral tighter and tighter.

    It’s not only bad mental health, but it’s also foolish to assume that people in poverty only suffer from bad physical health and are somehow immune to bad mental health, or that someone with poor mental health isn’t also in poor physical health (which leads to its own chicken-and-egg problem since chronic physical illness can lead to chronic depression that does not necessarily lift if the physical health issues are treated and complicates trying to treat the patient’s physical health).

  77. 77
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Jay C: Thank you for addressing that! And I would say that many of those children were not even hiding under their desks and were most likely standing cared stiff, unable to move from fear. The image keeps popping into my head of children with frightened eyes and shaking bodies. For ten years I have worked in education and child care. Most of those years with small children around the same ages as the victims. This was one sick fuck who knew he had these children trapped with nowhere to run, even if they’d been capable of trying to flee.

  78. 78
    Lojasmo says:

    I enjoy shooting firearms. I have owned a firearm, and at some point I will own another one.

    I would enjoy it much more, however, if we had rigorous testing, backround checks, and licencing/tagging laws.

  79. 79
    jp7505a says:

    @Another Halocene Human: All true and I guess my comment was an oversimplication. The point I was trying to make was whither it’s a mass murder, Tryvon Martin or just two guys in a fight over a parking space, these were all resonable citizens. Folks that you go to church with, work in the next cubicle, whatever. I don’t want to use the word ‘snapped’ because it implies to much of a point in time event. However, if there was a requirement that each responsible gun owner renew his permit every three years, the state would be hard pressed to pick out which one(s) would use that gun to kill during the next three year period. Yet given our experience we know that some of them will.

    That was the point I was trying to make. We can’t slander the responsible gun owners, which is true, but some of them do commit violent acts and then cease to be ‘responsible gun owners’. No one ever brags about being an irresonsible gun owner

  80. 80
    Incitatus for Senate says:

    @Pongo: Perhaps a constitutional change isn’t necessary, but at the least we would need a supreme court willing to change what has been the generally accepted interpretation.

  81. 81
    Lojasmo says:

    @mclaren:

    Gunman in a schoolyard is different from gunman in the doorway of classrooms.

  82. 82
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Off on a tangent, but I wonder how much of that is causation, not correlation. Mental illness can make it difficult for one to get a college degree or hold a steady job or any of those many other things that make it possible for people to stay middle-class.

    I think it runs both ways. Mental illness makes it hard to hold down a job or become financially secure. Being poor just causes stress other segments of society don’t have that makes mental illness harder to manage and so getting your act together just becomes harder.

    From my anecdotal experience it is some kind of loop.

    Poverty creates stresses that are not as a vivid to the not poor, such as your car needs repairs, but you can’t afford it and are taking a risk every time you drive to get groceries or for a job, so if you are susceptible to mental illness that sort of stress doesn’t help you out.

    You end up in a sort of Catch-22 because things that would be needed to get out of being mentally ill, like the financial security to repair your car aren’t available and without a fully functioning car, you don’t have the means to seek better job opportunities, because you don’t think you can manage the commute.*

    *Our lack of mass transit is also something that would need to be addressed as a means to combat poverty.

  83. 83
    Schlemizel says:

    @gene108:
    The one truly great Cosmic Muffin – The Flying Spaghetti Monster (all blessings be upon him)

    There has never been a single death in any place protected by His noodly appendage.

    These weak Hairy Thunderers who can magically be defeated by a court order or public sentiment! Who would praise them? I shall now pray to FSM, you try to stop me! Come on! Get a court order or whatever you want HA! Not even the all powerful ACLU can stop me from praying! I am so sorry for you who have fallen for a lesser idol.

  84. 84
    dan says:

    The guns were registered to the mother. There is no reason to believe they were purchased or possessed by the mother.

    I used to drive a car that was registered to my father.

  85. 85
    RSA says:

    @Hal:

    Ironically, a friend just posted on Facebook last week how unfair it was that we never here of all those folks out there who used their guns to protect themselves and their families from home invaders etc, and how the media only focuses on people who commit crimes with guns.

    The media also don’t spend a lot of time on the millions of people who drive safely to work and home again each day. And yet it’s still reasonable for us to talk about required licensing and training courses for drivers. I can’t think of any other situation in which the existence of responsible people means that we shouldn’t do something about irresponsible people.

  86. 86
    jp7505a says:

    @Schlemizel: Not much of a god who will let 20 innocent children be gunned down just because he is pissed off at Earl Warren!

  87. 87
    debbie says:

    If anyone in the GOP gives an inch on anything their NRA puppetmasters tell them to do

    Poor dears. It must be so tough for them if you think about it. Practically seven times the number killed in Benghazi and they can’t even make a peep.

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    This pretty much destroys the entire “if X had a gun X would still be alive today” theory forever.

    Not that it will stop gun nuts from continuing to make that insane-ass argument.

  89. 89
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    One note about drug dealers: one of the things that drove drug violence was successful interdiction efforts. Drive up the price of cocaine to the point at which you can make tens of thousands as a middle-man, and a person might take crazy risks to make that money – make it so you can only make a few hundred, and people will only take much milder risks, and become unwilling to face people with guns and unpleasant personalities. Simple economics – people value their lives and will take smaller risks for smaller amounts of money.

    Now that the prices of drugs are lower, drug violence is down.

    Federal attempts to increase the price to decrease usage helped bring about the violence; treating it as a medical issue would reduce the harm all around.

  90. 90
    Neo says:

    The massacre in CT was a response to the coming economic collapse

    Last night it also emerged Nancy was a member of the Doomsday Preppers movement, which believes people should prepare for end of the world.
    Her former sister-in-law Marsha said she had turned her home ‘into a fortress’. She added: ‘Nancy had a survivalist philosophy which is why she was stockpiling guns. She had them for defense.
    ‘She was stockpiling food. She grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. She was skilled with guns. We talked about preppers and preparing for the economy collapsing.’

    … a ‘economy collapsing’ ? … trillion dollar deficits ? .. but who is responsible for that ? … the Mayans ?

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