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December 16, 2012

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falnfenix

This isn't in defense of the NRA, but they're a completely useless organization. They make a lot of noise and don't actually do anything.

That said: the shooter should not have had access to his mother's firearms...particularly if he was known to have a mental illness. This isn't so much a gun issue as it is an issue on how we handle mental illness in this country. If he truly wanted to hurt people, he would have done so, regardless of the weapons available to him.

You know my position on firearms - I believe they are a right, provided those who own them are careful with them. I do not believe this individual's mother was careful with them. I do not believe she may have recognized just how broken her son was. And frankly, she needs to be held accountable for her son's behavior if she did not get him help.

The whole thing is a tragedy, and one that will cause problems for firearms owners and people with mental illness. It may cause further jail time for those with significant mental illness, and that is truly a shame. Jail is NOT treatment, and these people aren't necessarily criminals simply for having something wrong upstairs. I don't have a solution, but things need to improve.

I have been away trying to deal with my dog's health situation, so I am not up to date on all the facts of the story...it's just too much heartache to handle.

Cassi

I just totally, totally, agree with everything you said. There is absolutely no reason that guns intended ONLY for killing people should be legally owned by anyone except the police and military.

falnfenix

To further prove my point about guns vs. mental illness, this happened on the same day. No guns were used, just a madman on a mission to hurt as many innocents as possible. The weapon isn't the problem. The human behind the weapon is.

falnfenix

aaack, it ate my link. here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/man-stabs-22-children-in-china.html

Don Mills Diva

Falnfenix, that link doesn't prove your point, it proves the opposite.

Those 22 children in China are ALIVE because a knife does not kill people en masse. A semi-automatic gun DOES and that is the purpose for which it is inteneded. Your link proves the weapon IS the problem. Of course mental illness is a massive problem and it must be adressed but in the meantime let's reduce the actual body count by restricting individual accesss to weapons of mass destruction.

(and hi Jen, I'm still here and I still stalk your site regularly with silent admiration :)

Melanie

fainfenix, how many children actually died during that incident in China vs. the one in Connecticut?

Oh, NONE versus TWENTY.

Seems like the weapon makes a pretty big effing difference.

Karen

I read this weekend that Japan requires that people who want to own guns undergo psychological testing. This sounds reasonable to me. It also sounds reasonable that we not allow regular citizens to own semi automatic and automatic weapons. And, Falnfenix, I agree with the others: yes, China is proof that there are crazy people who mean to do harm everywhere. It is also proof that guns are better at killing large numbers of people than knives are. And I am with you, my juggling friend. I will no longer be silent about this issue or about the need for mental health care. I am ashamed that I have been silent so long.

Christina

There is a massive difference between the right to bear arms and owning a military weapon and enough ammunition to kill hundreds of people.
You want a handgun or shotgun or non-automatic hunting rifle in your home? That is your right.
Should you go through training and obtain a proper license (including background check) to own those? Yes.
Should you be limited in the amount of ammunition you have? Yes.
Should that ammunition be under lock and key? Yes.

End of story, your second amendment rights are preserved.

I like the Chris Rock idea of making ammunition so expensive that you wouldn't WANT to own more than you need.
I also like the idea of having to insure your gun the way you are mandated to insure your car.

Having a RIGHT doesn't mean it has to be completely unregulated.

Mental illness and how we treat it is worthy of a whole separate discussion, but since I have a dear friend dealing with this right now with her child I will say that is incredibly ASININE that the only way they could get recommendation for services for their child was to make him a criminal. Yes,your child has to go to jail before he or she can be helped.

So incredibly stupid we are. Easier to buy guns/ammunition enough to mow down dozens at a time than it is to a) get a driver's license and b) get medical care.

magpie

Yes, Jenn. Yes. Well said and thank you.

Deb D

I agree with everything you say Jen. I do believe very strongly that gun owners should be held responsible for keeping their weapons secure. This mother paid the ultimate price for not doing that but so did other innocent people. I have an acquaintance with a young son who has multiple behavioural issues (most likely mental health issues as well) there was a conversation where those of us with "normal" kids had the opinion that parents should be held responsible for their children's misbehaviour. Most in the conversation were unaware of her son's problems. She challenged us to take him for a day and "make" him behave. Then she said that she was afraid that he would grow up to be a mass murderer. This young man was 7 at the time. There appears to be very little in the way of help available for him because nobody has been able to get to the root of his issues. Imagine being apparent and thinking that of your young child (there are no weapons in the house) and this young man doesn't get internet use unless he is sitting beside his mother and she is very strict about what they read and see.

Bethany

Agreed, to all of your points. Gun control (and not a repeal of the 2nd amendment) is important. It is a complex issue with a lot of causes and variables.

The part I really want to stress it this... (and I may be preaching to the choir) The man that did this was human. He was not a mythical beast, he could have been your next door neighbor, the guy who bagged your groceries, perhaps he mowed your lawn last summer. He was not a monster (though he commited a monstrous act). He was ill. It does not excuse anything, it is but a reason. It takes responsibility off of society to think he was set apart from us; some demonic creature. We cannot allow that mind set.

The conversations about gun control vs. mental health cannot be mutually exclusive. The mental healthcare available today is pitiful. Laura's Law could help families and friends to get their loved ones the help they need but San Diego has not implemented it. Even once implemented, one must already be in the system, charged with a crime, or hospitalized on a 5150 in order to get it started. It boggles my mind.

After age 18, we can't help those who are too sick to see they are sick unless they ask and continue to ask for treatment. Mental Illness is quiet, it is the only type of illness where you have to convince the patient they are ill. Many adults refuse treatment because they are afraid or because they can't see their need.

God help us. We can do better.

Green Girl in Wisconsin

I live in a house with a guy who hunts, but neither of us see any sporting or humane reason to own semiautomatic weapons.
SHAME on our nation's leaders for being so afraid of the NRA when the percentage of gun owners in our population is on the decline. Time to step up with common sense solutions.

Mandy

I hate guns. I don't even think, frankly, hunting is a reasonable way to pass one's time. However, the American obsession with gun ownership says a lot to me about the very real limitations that American society will always have. As long as a significant number of Americans feel the need to own a gun in order to use it against other citizens and/or a rogue government speaks to a disturbing mindset. How can America, as a society, ever move to a place where it looks after everyone when many of you are looking over your shoulder for the need to take someone out?

Martha Mc

First of all, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said, Jenn. Thank you for starting the discussion.

I respectfully disagree with you, falnfenix, about the NRA. They spend huge sums of money lobbying and in my humble opinion, I happen to believe it's more for the benefit of the gun manufacturers than upholding the 2nd Amendment. According to Bob Schieffer, they are the lobby most feared by Congress. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-33816_162-57559390/schieffer-nra-the-lobby-most-feared-by-congress/

I live 1/2 mile from the high school referenced in this article. This student was arrested in the early morning hours before the Connecticut shooting.

http://examiner-enterprise.com/sections/news/local-news/police-bhs-shooting-planned.html

On November 1, Oklahoma's open carry law went into effect. It's a red state full of rougnecks, rednecks and Republicans, so it was no surprise to read this article this afternoon about teachers being allowed to carry guns in schools. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121217_336_0_OKLAHO168827

As my 6 year old granddaughter would say, "That's just crazy!"

PS ... I'm a blue in a sea of red.

suburbancorrespondent,

I think I prefer open carry to concealed carry. At least you know there is a weapon around!

There are mentally ill people the world over. Only here can they get their hands on weapons that can do such insane amounts of damage. The first responders got to the school in 10 minutes. When the shooter saw them, he turned his gun on himself. Think how many fewer children he could have killed in those 10 minutes if he had had a plain old hand gun that he had to reload.

I agree with you, Jenn - suddenly, I feel as if it would be wrong not to speak up. The NRA has held us all in its thrall for long enough.

suburbancorrespondent,

Also, I checked the requirements for concealed carry in my state. Because I was honorably discharged from the military (20 years ago!), I simply need to complete an online gun safety course and fill out an application. That is all. What's more, the permit is good for 5 years and is renewable without my taking any other training whatsoever.

Seems to me that, seeing how guns are NOT toys, more rigorous training/safety requirements should be in place here.

gary rith

I am with Mandy, fuk ALL guns. And the first commenter is not correct that the NRA does nothing, because as jen points out, they use money and political influence to silence the dialogue and promote guns as a NORMAL thing Americans might have, like pencils or a car. It is not the individual insane person to worry about but an American society that is insane itself as a whole, where movies show violence and get an easier rating than a little nudity, and where anybody anywhere can have a house full of guns quite legally. I am a Quaker, a very quiet and shy one, and as we say "we abhor violence in any form" and I will never apologize or compromise in wishing that all guns could be melted down in farm equipment, bridges, pre-schools....etc...

Brightside-Susan

I am witrh you and agree with Gary. I just feel that we are hopelessly lost in this issue and it will never get fixed. If we even manage to get legislationin place to make it harder to get a gun for crazies - there are so many guns out there that they will manage to get one.

This recent kid had guns in his home - and the number of guns in people's homes has done nothing but increase over the past 40 years.

As I said - it seems beyond fixing. We are reaping what we have sown.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen

Considering that the second amendment was written when muzzle loading shot guns were the weapon of choice, I find it repulsive that people us it as an excuse to have any and every sort of weapon they want. If that's the case, why shouldn't I have a tank or an anti-aircraft missile in my yard. Yes, I'm being ridiculous. However there are restrictions on citizens being able to own weapons of mass destruction. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons are just as dangerous and capable of killing as many people and should be banned. Other countries have banned these weapons and worked out retroactive buy back programs. Will it get all the guns? Probably not. But we have to start somewhere. And yes, mental health screenings need to improve too. Doing nothing is no longer an option. Thanks Jenn for your thoughtful post.

Kirsten

This is the best article I've read on gun control a bit long but worth it

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/

"The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started."

"There were four mass killing attempts this week. Only one made the news because it helped the agreed upon media narrative.

Oregon. NOT a gun free zone. Shooter confronted by permit holder. Shooter commits suicide. Only a few casualties.
Texas. NOT a gun free zone. Shooter killed immediately by off duty cop. Only a few casualties.
Connecticut. GUN FREE ZONE. Shooters kills until the police arrive. Suicide. 26 dead.
China. GUN FREE COUNTRY. A guy with a KNIFE stabs 22 children."

Karen (formerly kcinnova)

Jenn, I full agree with you and I want to hug Christina for her comment.
I had a gun owner who enjoys target shooting with an assault weapon argue his case on my facebook page. (I posted, he joined the discussion.) While I think he is a safe gun owner, I do NOT buy his argument for allowing guns.
Kristen, I respectfully disagree with the point you tried to make. Your last two comparisons are clear to me: DEAD children vs. injured children. There are mentally ill people everywhere; the difference is in the availability of the more lethal weapon.

Kirsten

Karen, what about the shootings in OR & TX?

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