Circumstantially newsworthy

So. Another school shooting. Kid named — well, it doesn’t really matter what his name was, does it. ‘School shooter’, that’s the only way Karl Pierson will ever be referred to from now on. Far as that goes, Karl wasn’t really a kid; he’d turned eighteen. Not old enough to buy beer yet, but old enough to go out and buy the pump-action shotgun and ammunition he used.

This shooting took place around the anniversary of the Sandy Hook slaughter. Which, let’s face it, is why the shooting has been so widely reported. If it had happened, say, three weeks ago, it would have been a local story. The national news media probably wouldn’t bother to report it. It’s a circumstantially newsworthy story.

Name doesn't matter; you'd forget it soon anyway.

Name doesn’t matter; you’d forget it soon anyway.

Nobody famous was involved, the body count was low (just the school shooter Karl), and the entire incident took place in less than two minutes. Yes, a 17-year old girl got shot, but if it weren’t for the Sandy Hook anniversary thing, the national news media would probably have ignored it. Still, they did what they could with what they had. They emphasized the Cute White Girl Who Loved Horses angle, making her a classic innocent victim. They found some really nice high school photos of her. What was her name? Kaylee? Claire? Callie? Something like that — pretty sure it starts with a ‘k’ sound. She got shot in the head. With a shotgun. Nobody wants to hear about that. And nobody other than her friends and family will remember her in a couple of weeks. Same with what’s-his-name, the school shooter. Karl.

Poor Kaitlin/Carly/Courtney wasn’t even the target. She just happened to be sitting there. The guy — you know, Karl — fired five rounds from his shotgun. Three were apparently just random shots down hallways. One took Kirsten/Cameron/Kendall in the head. The last round went into his own. Ninety seconds or so from the first shot to the last, and it was all over. Well, except for the girl — Kassidy/Kimberly/Caryn — who’ll be fucked up for the rest of her life. However long that’ll be.

The local sheriff said he believed what’s-his-name…uh, Karl…shot himself because he heard the approach of the deputy assigned to the school (think about that for a moment; we live in a society that has to assign armed personnel to patrol schools to shoot school shooters — how incredibly fucked up is that?). I don’t know. It seems unlikely to me that in the chaos of those ninety seconds the school shooter Karl would hear — and able to identify the footsteps — of an approaching school cop.

Pump action shotgun; brand doesn't matter -- they all do the same thing

Pump action shotgun; brand doesn’t matter — they all do the same thing

I think it’s more likely he saw what his shotgun had done to Carmen/Kasey/Kelsey and couldn’t live with it. I’ve had the misfortune to see what a shotgun blast can do to the human head. It’s not like it is in the video games young Karl played. It ain’t pretty.

So what happens now? You know the answer to that. Nothing. Oh, politicians will look earnest and say something like “We must do something to keep our children safe,” but nothing will actually happen. Or maybe it will. Maybe they’ll try to find the money to make the doors to classrooms bulletproof, so children will have a secure location to ‘shelter in place’ when the next gunman goes roaming through the hallways. But that would mean raising taxes, so probably not. For certain, we won’t do anything about guns. Because, you know, it would be wrong to punish all responsible law-abiding gun owners because of the actions of some disturbed kid.

Of course, what’s-his-name…young Karl…was assumed to be a responsible law-abiding gun owner when he bought his shotgun. In fact, he was a responsible law-abiding gun owner until he carried his shotgun into the school. And that guy (I don’t remember his name) who killed all those people at the Navy Yard recently? A responsible law-abiding gun owner until he took his weapon out of the car. And the mother of the kid who murdered all those 2nd graders and their teachers in Sandy Hook? Adam Something? She was a responsible law-abiding owner of over a dozen firearms when her boy shot her four times in the head while she was asleep.

That guy at the Navy Yard, no longer a responsible law-abiding gun owner.

That guy at the Navy Yard, no longer a responsible law-abiding gun owner.

That’s the thing, isn’t it. Most mass murderers are responsible law-abiding gun owners up until the moment they start their mass murdering.

Oh well, freedom isn’t free as the gun rights advocates tell us. The occasional school shooting is just the price we have to pay for living in a free society. Well, it’s the price Kaylee has to pay. Chloe? Claire? Whatever.

172 thoughts on “Circumstantially newsworthy

    • Ban guns? No. I rather like guns. And I don’t think there’s anything we can do to insure that this sort of thing won’t happen again.

      I do, though, believe it’s possible to pass legislation that might reduce the incidence of these sorts of mass murders (and better protect the appalling number of victims of ‘accidental’ gun violence) without gutting the Second Amendment. I’ve written about that stuff before, and I trust you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to go into it all again. If you’re actually interested, you can just search the blog using the ‘guns’ tag.

      • And just how would banning weapons resolve this? The only people to comply with laws and regulations are law-abiding people. The criminal element could care less.

      • Jeebus on toast. Here we go again. Another fuckwit who thinks there are only two positions in regard to guns in the US. Allow them all or ban them all.

        Dude, maybe spend a moment reading the discussion? You’ll find there’s nobody here seriously talking about ‘banning weapons.’ That’s just a gun nut paranoid fantasy.

      • Quite the contrary, I’m not against guns, nor do I believe gun control is feasible or viable. What I AM against is irresponsible gun owners and Brother, we got a bunch of them around here!

        And please take a moment to explain to me why someone would want or even need dozens and dozens of high-powered, automatic or semi-automatic weapons, coupled with a roomful of ammunition? We have a bunch of them around here, too.

        One more thing. The idea of banning weapons altogether is little more than a “scare tactic” used by some along with an assumed violation of Constitutional rights. Most often I see it as a tool to arouse people and therefore make them favor a particular cause. To me, it’s nothing more than a “cat & mouse” game.

      • Sorry…my apologies. I’m so often accused of wanting to ban guns by folks who don’t bother to read the discussion that I saw your “how would banning weapons resolve this?” comment and assumed you were suggesting somebody here was seriously proposing that.

      • Actually, it was my snide little attempt at throwing stones toward those who think banning weapons is the answer to everything. It isn’t and, in fact, gun control only affects those who would otherwise abide by the law. The criminal element couldn’t care less.

        But I also question those who promote the open-carry stuff. To my way of thinking, allowing anyone and everyone to openly carry weapons is a recipe for disaster. How many people do you know that, upon encountering someone with a firearm, can instantly determine them to be friend or foe? Misjudgment in this case could prove deadly.

      • One way criminals get their hands on weapons is the result of irresponsible gun owners who fail to properly secure their weapons in gun safes, etc., that would make it more difficult for thieves to take them. Further, here in Texas not long ago, the carelessness of a father cost a child its life because Daddy-Dear came home for lunch, tossed his loaded pistol onto a bed and chowed-down on his meal. Junior (approximate age 6) wonders into bedroom, picks up the loaded gun and BANG! One dead child.

        Or how about the local character who now parks his car out on the driveway because his garage looks like a military armory inside? Racks and rows of automatic and semi-automatic rifles and handguns; and, a spare bedroom almost full to the hilt with ammunition. Ask him why and he’ll tell you it’s to stave off the government when they come to take his stuff. Right ….

  1. Just to correct a factual error and an apparent misperception:

    1. Most who go on killing sprees (I reserve the term mass murderer for yhe likes of Stlin, Mao, Hitler, etc,) do NOT seem like perfectly normal people prior to committing murder:

    Just a few examples:

    1. James Holmes said repeatedly to a psychiatric proffessional that he thought a lot about killing a lot of people. (Why was there no 72 hour psychiatric hold?)

    2. the navy shooter (who you reference) not only had a clear psychotic break in front of police officers weeks before his killing spree – but also had multiple prior instances of firing a gun irresponsibly.

    3. Karl Pierson threatened to kill the teacher that he hoped to kill a few days ago. (Why was there no effort to evaluate whether the threat was credible. )

    As to your comment that “in all the chaos” he wouldn’t have been listening for footsteps:

    It sounds like the teachers (well trained for such situations) were very efficient in getting students into classrooms and “locked down” so there shouldn’t have been that much chaos.

    The “footsteps” you refer to were 4 men charging down the hallway while one yelled repeatedly for people to “get down” and to identify himself as a police officer. Karl would certainly have heard them.

    What’s more the #1 common denominator when these killing sprees get cut short or result in no deaths at all (besides the would be murderer) is having someone nearby who has a gun.

    (Occassionally an unarmed person has also successful tackled the perpetrator)

    • Hey Andrea — you may reserve the term ‘mass murder’ for Stalin, Hitler and that lot, but there’s a standard definition used by criminologists: four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders. Spree killing and serial killing have their own definitions as well. It’s pretty important among professionals for everybody to be using the same terminology.

      As to the other, you’re correct. There were people running and shouting. Combine that with the effect of multiple shotgun blasts in an enclosed space, all within a time frame of 90 seconds — well, to me that sounds like chaos.

      But let’s say he did hear these people approaching the library. Why shoot himself? If he wanted to die, why not have the armed officer do the shooting? Suicide by cop is a recognized phenomenon. I’m sure the officer would have been willing to oblige (hell, if I were in the officer’s position, I’d have shot the kid my ownself). The kid still had ammunition, he had a machete, he had at least one more Molotov cocktail — he could have tried to increase the body count. Instead, he shot himself.

      We can’t know what he was thinking, of course. But I prefer to think he killed himself because he saw the horror of what he’d done. That may be wishful thinking on my part.

      • This – as we both know – is not an isolated incident. There are multiple instances instances of one of these type killers becoming aware of another person present who has a gun (The Clackamas Mall for example) and promptly deciding to finish off by killing themselves.

        Why? I don’t know why this particular type of killer often seems partial to taking their own life- and often jumps straight to doing so when faced with the possibility of armed resistance. But it is a repeated phenomena. Maybe part of the mentality of suicide- for some people- is wanting to end things on your own terms.

        I think you are using wishful thinking– but, more than that, I think you are bending over backwards to ignore the probability of something you just don’t like (namely that having a deputy at the school probably saved lives. )

        I notice your post still has a picture of the navy yard shooter with the words “no longer a responsible gun owner”. He never was a responsible gun owner– at least not for years prior to the shooting.

        I’ll limit myself to a very brief comments on your tone in this blog post: I find your cynicism cheap, and unjustified. Everyone locally that I have talked to since Claire Davis was wounded not only knows her name, but also her day to day condition. Concern for her is real. Not a pretense.

        And Gabby Giffords came back from a gun shot to the head– it’s not a given that Claire will be f—–d up. And to talk about her in the way you did while she is in a coma is just….wrong.

        I further don’t think that most people have gotten desensitized to murders in schools– which are a place where people rightfully have an expectation of safety. That is why, in my opinion, murders or attempted murders using a gun at a school are so heavily publicized by those pushing gun control. (Though – admittedly – a kid recently killed a teacher with a box cutter and that did get reported too)

        What I think too many people are desensitized to are the murders (that happen more than daily on average) in cities like Chicago. They are underreported as they serve no political agenda and – despite the fact these murders are largely gang related (though complete innocents get caught in the cross fire) there seems to be (AFAIK) no increased effort to dismantle gangs.

      • Andrea, ‘responsible law-abiding gun owner’ is the default position when it comes to selling firearms. Everybody is assumed to be a responsible law-abiding citizen UNLESS a background check suggests otherwise. Aaron Alexis, despite his psychiatric issues, legally purchased a Remington 870 Express Tactical 12-gauge shotgun and two boxes of shells two days before shooting up the Navy Yard.

        The gun dealer who sold him the weapon acted legally in selling the shotgun, Alexis acted legally in buying the weapon — and that’s part of the problem. It’s just too easy for anybody to buy a firearm.

        You say having a deputy at the school probably saved lives…and I agree. The question, though, is why do we NEED deputies at schools? One reason (and note I said one reason, not the only reason) is because it’s so easy for nutjobs to obtain weapons.

        You say you don’t think the public has become desensitized to school shootings. You say people will remember the name of Claire Davis — but there have been 22 school shootings so far this year. Can you, without checking, name two other of those school shootings? Can you name any of the other 19 fatalities from those shootings? Can you name any of the other 34 wounded?

        You accuse me of being cynical. What I am is outraged at the level and frequency of the violence that takes place in our schools. I’m merely pointing out that if we, as a society, really cared about school shootings, we’d do something about it. And turning schools into armed camps is not, in my opinion, a good solution.

      • Does this mean your weapons are locked inside a vault, have locking trigger guards on all of them, and are stored unloaded and away from your supply of ammunition? I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but for some reason I just don’t think so.

  2. “9 Potential Mass Shootings That Were Stopped By Someone With a Personally Owned Firearm” on buzzfeed gives examples of would be “mass” shootings that were unquestionably stopped by somebody who was on (or came onto) the scene with a gun.

    It’s short and clear– there are better articles too, but I just googled quickly.

  3. So not reading about every horrible thing that happens in the news is being desensitized now? The only other murder in a school I’ve heard of recently was that horrible murder of a teacher with a box cutter.

    I said her community will remember her– her classmates.

    Summer before 3rd grade, my first grade teacher was horribly murdered. I still remember her very well- There was a Christmas ornament I forgot to bring to school the last day before Christmas break- I still have it and hang it on the tree each year in her memory.

    There was a freshman who committed suicide at Arapahoe when I was a sophomore– I still remember her too. And grieved for some time despite not having known her very well at all.

    I agree more should be done to prevent school shootings. Threats should be taken seriously, and children and teenagers in public schools should be guarded in the way it seems that kids in private schools already are. With armed guards who are trained to respond.

    You alluded to some other solution – but declined to explain it. I’m not going to read all your old posts to look for it.

    • I’d like to know the solution – Maybe homeschooling. In light of this conversation and the quality of public school education overall, I’d say those “crazy” folks who educate their kids at home may have seen the handwriting on the wall long before the rest of us. Meanwhile, we’re arguing about armed deputies and shooters in schools…doesn’t anyone else but me (and the homeschoolers) see something wrong with this picture?

  4. Are banks “armed camps” ? How about Sidwell Friends School (which has at least 11 private guards)

    I dislike the practice of simply phrasing something in a negative sounding way as though somehow that in itself were an argument. It isn’t. It’s just a variation on name calling.

  5. And again with the “we’d do something about it” well, here in Colorado a LOT has been done.

    Why is hiring armed security not a “good solution” ?

    • Do you hear yourself? What are we teaching our kids? If someone threatens you with a gun, baby, you go buy a BIGGER gun, or get MORE guns. Why because buying guns is faster, easier than talking it out. Abdicating the responsibility of protecting our children to law enforcement takes a lot less time and resources than teaching them patience, endurance, self-control, consideration and respect for themselves and their fellow man.

  6. And with regard to the Navy Yard Shooter he did previously irresponsibly use guns before– those incidents apparently were not properly documented – and perhaps that needs to change. But there WERE warning signs. Multiple warning signs.

    Done with this thread I think.

    Thank you for considering my POV to at least some extent.

  7. Actually one more thing:

    To me you come across as just another person willing to insult and smear people for not agreeing with your political views — there has been A LOT done in response to school shootings (which maybe you don’t know about- I don’t know) but because the response hasn’t included the wholesale adoption of all the gun control type measures you would like — you blanketly smear our country (culture) in as uncaring.

    • I’m sorry to have upset you. I don’t expect that everybody will agree with my views, but I’m always willing to hear other perspectives. I hope you at least feel you had a fair opportunity to express yourself.

    • A lot done? Are you insane? Nothing has been done, in fact, gun controls have even relaxed in some states since the sandy hook shooting. It’s a disgrace, American republicans should be ashamed

      • Actually, Andrea is partly correct. Colorado is one of the few states that did strengthen a few gun safety laws. They now require background checks for all private gun transactions, a $10 fee charged the buyer for such checks, a ten round magazine capacity limit, a requirement that individuals seeking a concealed-carry permit take training classes in person (previously they allowed them to do it…and I’m not making this up…over the Internet), and finally a requirement that anyone subject to a domestic violence protection order or convicted of domestic violence must surrender their firearms within 24 hours.

        None of that would have prevented the tragedy at Arapahoe High School, of course, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  8. What needs to happen is, bags need to be checked as students enter the school. It doesn’t matter if people feel like that is an invasion of privacy. My privacy can be invaded because I have nothing to hide. I love my life and children and teenagers shouldn’t have to loose theirs so soon. This is getting so ridiculous. Schools need way tighter security.

    • This will, for sure, invade privacy and violate the amendment against unreasonable searches. But will it prevent shootings? What will prevent a shooter to break into school through a window? We can install grates on school windows, surround them with walls, barbed wire and patrol them with dogs. We can turn the whole country into a jail or a concentration camp where police will stop random citizens and search them in the name of “public security”. This will, for sure, destroy our freedom, but will it buy us security?

      I think, freedom comes at a cost. Accepting the fact that some people will abuse their freedom is part of it. We cannot take freedom from everyone because few individuals abuse it.

      • However, in my opinion, I feel its necessary to make sure students are not carrying weapons. That is all I’m saying. I’m trying to get people to see that anybody can easily put a weapon in their bag, purse, or hell, even a school lunch box and put a bullet through the person they’re sitting next to head. Like I said, I hear what you’re saying and I even agree with some of your view points. You’re pretty much exaggerating what I’m trying to say though. I’m not saying turn our whole country into a security scanner. A little more security in schools can’t hurt. Take a look in bags and that’s it. “We’re not doing this to be a**holes and invade your privacy because we think it’s fun, we’re doing it to make sure you’re not going through something and want to kill the person who put you through crap the other day.” Whether what I’m saying makes sense or not. My point is that WE NEED to do something to prevent these kinds of things from happening. I know we’re not God himself. Never will be. I just hope something will be done. It may not prevent them from breaking in a window but it may prevent them from simply walking in the school like everything’s normal and shoot up everything.
        It’s something.

      • Quite honestly, I did not read through the whole article before I responded to your comment. The article is very good. It anticipated both your and mine comments:

        “Oh, politicians will look earnest and say something like “We must do something to keep our children safe,””

        “…you know, it would be wrong to punish all responsible law-abiding gun owners because of the actions of some disturbed kid.”

        “Oh well, freedom isn’t free as the gun rights advocates tell us. The occasional school shooting is just the price we have to pay for living in a free society. Well, it’s the price Kaylee has to pay. Chloe? Claire? Whatever.”

        But, honestly, I don’t see a solution. I don’t think that searches, bans, armed deputies, etc. will work. All we have is to sit and reflect on what happened and be more mindful of each other.

      • The Supreme Court has ruled that students have only a limited 4th amendment protection against searches and a reduced right to privacy while on school grounds.

        We cannot take freedom from everyone because few individuals abuse it.

        Sorry, that’s a bullshit argument. Legislating some minor restrictions on the conditions under which a firearm can be purchased or limiting the size of an ammunition magazine isn’t ‘taking freedom from everyone.’

      • I agree that it is strange that getting a driver’s license is more difficult than purchasing a firearm in this country. This does not seem right.

        I also agree that the government is free to implement any policies in public institutions to which schools belong. I’m aware that students do not enjoy the freedom of speech in schools either.

      • agrudzinsky:
        One person gets on a plane with explosives in his shoe and now everybody has to take their shoes off to be searched. Are you complaining about your freedom being violated for that, or is it “just” guns?

      • Yes. That too. What TSA makes everyone to go through in the airports is quite outrageous as well. There was a bomber who tried to carry explosives in his underwear. The bomb did not explode by chance. I hope, you don’t suggest…

        I think, Southpark has a point in their “Toilet Security Administration” episode.

        I also do not like the idea of declaring U.S. citizens “enemy combatants” and stripping them of their right to due process as was suggested in Boston bombing case. It is ironic that it was suggested by the same people who defend the 2nd amendment right.

        I don’t think that 1942 Japanese internment improved U.S. security.

        There are many other things that don’t make sense to me.

        America is not “the land of the free and home of the brave” any more. People today are eager to give away their freedom out of fear fueled by media, for an illusion of safety and security. “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” — B. Franklin

        I know, this sounds rhetorical and we do not live in 18th century. So, let them do what they must. But I think, we should not forget the roots and reasons why these amendments are in the Constitution.

      • we should not forget the roots and reasons why these amendments are in the Constitution.

        Oh, I agree with that. The problem is, most folks don’t know very much about the roots and reasons for the US Bill of Rights.

    • In the American Old West, after the Civil War, there was a saying: “Abraham Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal.” There’s an uncomfortable truth there. One reason we’re seeing so many school shootings is because kids who are mocked and teased and bullied have access to tools that will put a permanent end to it. It’s more likely that bullied kids will commit suicide, but some decide to take their tormentors with them.

      The thing about guns is they’re really efficient and effective at providing a solution, so long as that ‘solution’ involves killing somebody.

      • Keep in mind that we didn’t really have a school shooting until 1974 and it was in Canada if I remember right. We have had firearms around for a long time. What else was around in the 1970s that was different? Could it be drugs, or a failure of the mental health system? We have to find something else but the weapon used. In China there was a knife attack on students. There has to be a deeper reason than just prohibit guns which will next lead to knives. Just look at the UK where you have to show ID to buy flatware.

      • Very few people are talking about banning guns. That slippery slope notion — that strengthening gun safety regulations will lead inevitably to firearm confiscation, which will lead to banning knives — is paranoid nonsense. And by the way, there’s no regulation in the Uk that requires anybody to show ID to buy flatware. There was ONE incident in ONE town in which a store policy was misconstrued ONE time. This is exactly the sort of absurd exaggeration gun rights advocates use to keep people afraid.

      • If you google “do you need to show id to buy a knife in the UK”. Several sites come up. One site is the yahoo answer board. You have to be 18 to buy knives. In some cities police require 21 years old to buy a knife. This is after a larger group of people have turned in their guns. So the UK went against knives after they took guns.

        I am still under the impression that we are attacking a symptom and not the real point. We do have issues with mental health. Look at our prisons where many people have deep rooted issues. The sick person is just using the most efficient tool. They could use swords, knives, bats, etc. We are in error on picking on the tool instead of looking at the mental health of the shooter we are not solving the problem. Why did we go most of our history with guns to just recently have this change occur? Is it video games and mental health? We have to exclude the weapons since they were common in the 1950s where people took them to school.

      • Let’s look at your original comment: “Just look at the UK where you have to show ID to buy flatware.” Like I said, that’s nonsense, and exemplify the tactics used by some folks to dismiss any sort of reasonable gun safety legislation. Now you say “You have to be 18 to buy knives.” No, you don’t. You have to be 18 to buy knives of a certain blade length. Did you bother to actually read the law regarding knives in the UK? My guess is you didn’t. Take five minutes and educate yourself.

        This is the problem with so many gun rights advocates. You hear some wild comment, see it repeated on pro-gun sites, and accept it as fact without bothering to actually investigate.

        We do have issues with mental health

        Yes, we do. And why? Because conservatives press for smaller government and the mentally ill don’t have an effective lobby, so mental health services get cut. You want better mental health treatment, but you’re unwilling to pay for them.

        Look at our prisons where many people have deep rooted issues.

        Same thing. Prisons, at one time, were about rehabilitation rather than punishment. But in order to appear ‘strong on crime’ conservative politicians raged against ‘wasting’ money on convicted criminals. Programs that taught them employable skills were cut, programs that gave them anger management skills were cut, programs that were designed to help criminals NOT be criminals were cut. Now the people who go to prison almost always come out worse than when they went in.

      • kevinmills: “The sick person is just using the MOST EFFICIENT tool.”
        Um, that’s the point in gun control! By 1974, are you referring to the shooting in Montreal in 1989? “He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the male and female students….” (because he wanted to kill women). Do you seriously think he could have done that with a knife?!?!

      • A Chinese man this year attacked a class room of children with a knife. Over twenty were hurt. The problem is not the weapon used but the mental state of the person. We no long put our broken people in special places. I am not suggesting the return of asylums. We just medicate them. But who really sees they take the pills.

      • Oh, and regarding what happened to change things in “1974″. Well, I think you have to go past that to Columbine which was in 1999 and all the press that got, which gave many disturbed people the idea that they too could do that (copycats) and go out in a “blaze of glory” as media stars. They could also order guns and ammo online, rather than being seen walking into gun shops, They can post manifestos and correspond others with similar sick ideas. No, I’m not saying ban the internet – again, the gun is the destructive tool.

  9. I read this post with interest. Not just because it`s a completely different angle on a subject we approach in the same nonfunctional way, but because I live in a country where these things rarely happen (except from 22 of july, we have our problems too), and have read about other countries were this rarely happens. I can give many theories, but it will probably not lead to any changes. So I ask the readers here instead: Do you care enough to engage in society? To protest when it`s needed? To vote for the right people and demand that they take action? I am glad you write about something we SHOULD and HAVE to take seriously. We must stop feeding our fear. We should rather look it in the eye, see reality (even if that means seeing gun wounds at terrible places) so that we are motivated to take action. Amen.

    • I think you’re right in that free-floating irrational fear has a lot to do with the preoccupation with firearms. Most law-abiding gun owners live in relatively safe areas; the odds of them being victimized by strangers is a lot lower than the odds of being victimized by somebody living in or visiting the house.

  10. Maybe this thing doesn’t really happen in Europe because beer and alcohol are legal from 16-18 years old. You see, only after boys (when was a girl the shooter?) start drinking do they start having philosophical debates, debating theorical physics, history…

    Without alcohol the conversation theme is much more primitive and testosterone induced: girls, sports, cars and guns…

    So of course it’s not how easy it is to get a gun in the hands of teenagers.

  11. This post, as Andrea point out, is filled with factual errors.
    What I don’t understand is the offense that law abiding gun owners take to stricter gun laws and having bags checked at schools, and etc., because let’s face it…we live in a society where this happens and occurs. We need to equip our teachers, schools and so forth with what they need to protect our children. If that means,
    To check bags upon entering, a buzz system to let in visitors, bullet proof classroom doors then so be it. If law abiding gun owners are just that and therefore have nothing to hide, then why oppose stricter gun rules and regulations? Not to be philosophical, but we live in a “free” society with “free” will yet we were told what laws we have to abide by and what we can and can’t do….why all the uproar over amending the gun laws?

      • The gun rights advocates are correct in this regard: gun safety laws will have little or no immediate effect on school shootings — or other mass murder incidents. Reducing magazine capacity will have some small effect, though that effect will grow larger over time (if high capacity magazines are banned, then gun rights folks will buy them up and hoard them, and over time that will remove a lot of them from circulation).

        The thing is, the sooner we start, the sooner the effect will take place. It’s just going to be a long, slow, bloody process.

  12. i’m going to go ahead and weigh in on this one.

    i live in japan, where it is extremely difficult to acquire a gun. in fact, there are .6 guns for ever 100 people according to the data in 2007 (as opposed to the us, which has 89 per 100 people). do kids bring knives to school? sometimes. are there incidents at school where children and teachers are injured? yes, such as the osaka school massacre in 2001. but never (to my knowledge, of course) have such incidents occured at anywhere close to the scope of those in the united states. i’m not sure if this is a cultural issue, a political issue, or a societal issue.

    regardless of how experiential or anecdotal my evidence may be, i don’t think it is a ridiculous solution to just get rid of guns. the bad far outweighs the good.

      • you are correct. i think it would violate the current commonly accepted interpretation of the constitution. but the constitution shouldn’t be isolated from the context in which it was written. the “right to bear arms,” in my humble opinion, should be interpreted as an abbreviated form of “the right to bear arms against our oppressors” (e.g. the british empire in 1790). we shouldn’t be needlessly bearing arms against each other.

        and sadly, i think it is impractical. but it has been done in history. societal mass disarming requires flawless infrastructure and intense public backing, however. of which, in the united states, it has neither.

      • I typically do not comment on heavy subjects as I tend to keep my opinion to myself unless asked. In this case I feel the need to share. I was raised around guns and hunting. My home town was small and it was common around deer season to see about half the school out of class for a couple extra days. We also had a good deal of fighting. Luckily never have the two met.
        I feel very strongly about both sides of this issue and I think that both have valid points and both have flaws. Do we ban guns or do we hold on to them? It seems there is little room for compromise. One thing that I have experience with is that people with extensive training and supervised experience tend to be more responsible with guns. Great, this helps reduce “accidental” gun deaths to some degree. What about the intentional gun deaths? Background check? Sure, but there needs to be more to support the intent of this. Records of all gun purchases and valid US citizen IDs? this would help shed some light on gun purchase patterns that could be considered odd or suspicious. What about psychological evaluations? This may seem extensive but lets get real here, do you want unstable minds to have the ability to buy gins freely? Some of these things could help some may not. I often get slammed for offering intrusive solutions but the truth is you should not worry if you are sane, safe and not a criminal.
        In short, if you take required training in gun safety(this should also require a refresher), get a background check, receive a clean mental bill of health and go through a purchase waiting period you can have a gun. Besides it’s not like anyone who is safe, sane and responsible should ever have anything to hid or be i rush to buy a gun.

      • I have to disagree with the notion that ‘there is little room for compromise.’ There’s a great deal MOST gun owners agree on. Universal background checks, for example, has the support of the majority of gun owners. There are things that can be done to reduce the body count resulting from gun violence. Compromise is only a problem for legislators, not with most of the public.

      • Greg’s statement is false “There’s a great deal MOST gun owners agree on. Universal background checks, for example, has the support of the majority of gun owners”

        This is absolutely not true. Real Gun owners realize that the only way to implement universal background checks is a National Gun Registry. And gun owners do not support this. The liberal left i.e. Führer Bloomberg lies all the time saying that NRA members and Gun owners support “Universal Background checks’. It’s a complete and total lie.

      • A Quinnipiac national poll of gun owners in March of this year showed nearly 85% supported universal background checks. Of those gun owners who were members of the NRA, 53% supported universal background checks.

        A Pew Research Center poll in January of this year showed similar result (85% of gun owners supported universal background checks), as did a McClatchy-Marist poll done in March/April (81%).

        Don’t take my word for it. Check the polling data yourself.

  13. Pingback: Violence in Schools | Reviews and Ramblings

    • That is the biggest load of rubbish! I’m from a family where my dad left when I was a small baby and I have never gone and acquired a shotgun and shot my classmates. I’m sure if you look at statistics the marital status of the shooters parent’s has no impact. I believe that the people that do this are obviously mentally disturbed. The fact you allow guns in the USA only makes it easier for them to show this mental disposition and act upon it. Banning gun’s wouldn’t necessarily help as they would turn to knives etc but increasing the measures to purchase a gun would. The person should have to undergo strict psychological tests and have a valid reason for wanting a weapon. Here in the UK we’re allowed shotguns but you have to apply for a licence and have strict rules about storage of weapons in locked cabinets or gun holders. When was the last time you heard about a shootout in one of our schools? I can’t recall any off the top of my head. I think the USA would do well to look at how other countries operate and take note and act upon it! I’m not saying the UK is perfect, we may have increased knife crime but not on anywhere near the scale!

  14. I read this post and wondered at its shallowness. From the outside in the UK all I know is an audience drenched in non-existent, somehow absent blood of thousands of fictional victims must take something from the decades of 100′s of detective and cop TV & film characters (very trendy for women at the moment, to be seen holding weapons in straight arm stance). On top of that 10 years of the most violent simulations of war or even street violence, celebrated when the newest version appears. Gun violence is not unknown in the UK and police do carry weapons when prompted. But the argument that a constitution written for or to include frontiersmen in the 21st century to help protect themselves does not account for the visual violence I see imported from the US. The argument “that is what our viewers or the market wants” explains all. The attitude of the media industry is I don’t care how many children or teenagers kill people in school as long as I get my fortune from my movie. TV or computer program. Recently research showed the reason for teenagers emotional surges and grumpiness, introversion & extroversion is that teenage years trigger a total rewiring of the brain which to that point has acted as a sponge, absorbing everything, particularly 4 inches from their nose.
    What a fright they would get if millions cancelled the cable, satellite, movie visits and most lethal the computer game. Do mom & dad really KNOW what happens online, in game?

  15. Being an ex reservist here in England It’s amazing this can happen and negligent that the American people and government don’t take responsibility. I have no problems with gun clubs and a like. But no individual should have the right to have a gun the thought of civilians accessing guns with such ease is barbaric and beyond stupidity it’s self.

    • It’s shocking, isn’t it, that the US has allowed itself to come to this situation. But this IS the situation. There are something like 300 million firearms owned by the public in the US. We can’t just wish them away.

      All this is exacerbated, of course, by the fact that the firearm industry has to continually find ways to convince the American public to buy more guns. That leads to the oxymoronic position that the solution to gun violence is more guns.

  16. Well written piece, I like the clever nonchalant manner in which the tragedies (I meant news stories) were laid out. My only input is this, you get what you pay for, you reap what you sow—etc…

    We live in a culture that condones violent video games, glorifies explicit violence in movies, that makes stars out of musicians that recite lyrics that demean and cheapen life, our big screen TV’s spew 24 hr news (entertainment) where newscasters blandly feed us our daily diet of death and destruction—-WTF do you expect. Our children have been taught to solve problems through violence. Hum??? What variables might we change to alter the current outcome? Freedom of speech without accountability is like “cause without affect” —-The new normal in our culture is to raise monsters on poison and then scratch our heads and wonder WTF went wrong. We need to overhaul not only the gun laws, but also take a long hard look at what our culture allows itself to become desensitized too.

    • I mostly agree…but I’m uncomfortable with the notion of possibly legislating ‘what our culture allows itself to become desensitized to.’ Certainly parents ought to be paying attention to the forms of media and entertainment their children participate in, but I’m also something of a First Amendment absolutist. I think it’s probably good for society in the long run if people are exposed to information and material they find objectionable.

  17. I interviewed 104 men, women and teens across the U.S. for my book about women and guns in the U.S.

    It’s an insanely messy, complicated issue and all the hand-wringing and argumentation isn’t changing a thing. Into a mix of Second Amendment rights, (which tends to stop many potentially productive conversations at the start) and mental illness (undiagnosed, ignored, untreated), add an ever-changing patchwork of gun laws — municipal/county/state. You will find 100% divergent views on the issue of gun ownership/use within a 100-mile drive in New York State alone.

    I see it as a Venn diagram no one can fix: it’s said that 25 percent of Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime and 30 percent (some say 40 percent) of American homes now contain a firearm (often several.) Lethal combination.

    How can any law effectively address the despondent teen whose parent is a cop (access to a legal gun) or the husband ashamed of his three-year fruitless job search (suicide by Boomers is frighteningly higher since the recession) or the wife who — knowing three women are killed every single day by their intimate partners — finally shoots to kill to save her own life?

    The notion of turning schools into armed fortresses (whiteboards as shields, for eff’s sake) is abhorrent.

    I’ve never owned a gun, and did a lot of handgun shooting as research.

    Here’s a link to my book, for those who want a nuanced and balance look at the many complex issues of gun violence in the U.S.; I hope you won’t mind (?) the link. It’s been bought by all the Ivy law schools and even by FLETC, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

  18. I just read your article and I see your point and the point of people who are pro gun. The issue to me is more along the lines of there is nothing we can do to limit violence like this from happening. If we ban one weapon another will pop up and somebody else will do something similar in place. It is just the reality of things. The larger issue is that a lot of children die from playing with their parents guns who are irresponsible and kill themselves by accident. I believe even more than school shootings. We are never going to pass “responsible gun laws” in this country because our whole political system including us will never agree on what is or is not responsible.

    NRA could advocate gun safety and really train people, we could take the stigma away from mental health illness which the media likes to portray as “whack jobs” “weirdos”( though I’m sure our anchors are no saints behind close doors.) We could also look at ourselves collectively as the problem.

    No one thinks any of those things could happen to them, no one ever makes the connection and they’re right for that. If every psychiatrist put a 72 hour hold on somebody who threatened to kill somebody, or if every person reported someone who threatened to blow up the school then we would start jumping into invasion of rights and it would be a whole ‘nother issue.

    I’m saying we really can’t know. Instead of having a conversation about right or wrong or about laws or violent video games maybe we can start having conversations as individuals with each other. We can start sharing how we feel about our problems openly with our family members instead of trying to control everything. We could try looking at our expectations for ourselves and how they effect others. We could start being more aware.

    That’s the only thing any one of can do to “limit” violence by nipping our own tendencies in the gut.

    Just some thoughts

  19. Despite the depressing subject matter, I enjoyed this very much. I have always thought too much focus has been given to the weapons being used in tragic incidents like the above. Instead, we should focus on the reason the person pulling the trigger did what they did. I suppose doing that would take too much effort and many individuals would have to take some blame….sigh. No wonder we allow silly gun control debates to take center stage. Again, thanks for sharing.

  20. In countries other than yours, we’re dazed by your gun-lovers. We’re knocked sideways by people who say “the only satisfactory response to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun”. We can’t come to terms with the NRA’s claim that you must all have guns in order to prevent any of your governments attempting to … ahh … take over? (I don’t remember the term). How did this happen? Where did it all go so wrong? What turned so many of you into gun-lovers? I’m not claiming for a moment that we have no-one like you Dowunder: but by and large they’re kind of … on the outer, you know?- they’re not ‘the norm’. They’re a real section of our society, too – but a small one; and it’s only the vagaries of our preferential vote electoral system that mean we have in NSW a Shooters’ Party. All I can add is that the more Americans who are sickened by the gun culture and who speak out about it, the better: but I fear it’s gone much too far for you to be able to actually do anything.

    • It isn’t just guns: it’s also religion and socio-economics. The devisiveness in the U.S. has never been greater (something they’ve been saying for years yet keeps getting worse). Unfortunately it is greatly fanned by the right-wing media and extremely welathy conservative lobbyists.

  21. Have you noticed that all these shooting always take place in a “Gun Free Zone”. Crazy people always go to a place where guns are banned to do their killings”. The 2nd Amendment as stated by the US Supreme court says that American have the right to own guns for self defense. It does not matter how the constitution is interpreted by some of these posters. A few months after the shooting in New Town last year, New Town voted to have armed security guards in their schools. It is been reported that the shooter heard a law enforcement officer was about to confront him, when he shot himself. Several of the posters here tried to tear that argument because it conflicts with their no guns belief. Too bad. Law Enforcement in schools will lead to less deaths in schools. I feel better knowing that there are several police officers ( with GUNS) in my sons school.
    The morons here that want to ban guns will end up on the list…..

    • Mass shootings take place where people gather in numbers, which also tend to be ‘gun free zones.’ They’re gun-free because the property owners recognize that having firearms in crowded places is risky and leaves them open to lawsuits when accidents happen (and accidents with firearms tend to cause serious injuries).

      The fact is, most of these mass murderers (and would-be mass murderers) don’t expect or intend to survive the event. They either take their own lives or are gunned down by police. The ‘gun free zone’ argument would carry more weight if the shooters had some expectation of survival. But basically, they just pick a target rich environment.

      And by the way, SCOTUS recognizes that the 2nd Amendment isn’t absolute. They’ve repeatedly ruled that restrictions can be placed on firearms and on the people who can legally own them..

      • Scotus has said that you can’t ban or restrict any class of weapon that is commonly in use by Americans. On the subject, The right of Self Defense is a Human right, not granted by the 2nd amendment, but confirmed by the 2nd amendment.

  22. Polling is a funny science. You word the question the right way, you can get your results.

    53% of the people in the poll “Who said they were NRA members ” said Bla bla bla. The majority of the NRA members (over 5 million paying members) Do not want any more gun control. Anyone who says anything else is a liar or is quoting a liar.

    Doesn’t mean they are NRA members. The liberal left quotes this all the time as “The majority of NRA members support universal background checks. No they don’t. Big Fraking Lie.

    and they other poll. the question was Do you think we should have backgrounds checks on gun sales.. Nothing about expanded background checks. Liberal gun banners quote this all the time. Complete and total garbage. You can’t get 90% of Americans to agree on anything.

    If 90% of Americans actually wanted expanded background checks or even to ban guns, then it would have happened. The reality is that millions of Americans have told their representatives that they don’t want more gun control. Gun Control is not about Guns. It’s about control of the citizens.

    The creator of this blog, is just another liberal gun hater.. For a real view on life. come to

    • Well, you’re right that I’m a liberal — but I like guns. Always have. They’re very efficient tech, and fun to shoot. I just think we can reduce the level of gun violence by passing a few simple laws, and I think we can do that without gutting the Second Amendment.

      As for polling data, even a poll conducted by Frank Luntz (who is the Republican pollster of choice, and no friend of gun control) found that 74% of NRA members favored universal background checks.

      But you don’t appear to be interested in actual data. You seem to be here simply to pimp your own blog. Which is okay with me. Maybe this will drive some traffic to your ‘real view on life.’

      • I am a NRA member. Internal polls of NRA members by NRA do not back up your statement. NRA members do not support expanded background checks because it would require a National Gun Registry. And NRA members hate the idea of a national gun registry. It’s just not true. And I think anyone that reads your blog will pretty much hate my blog

      • How were those internal NRA polls taken? Were they done anonymously? After a meeting? I imagine people in the NRA would vote one way just because they don’t want to be ostracised because they know everyone expects them to vote against background checks. There also could be a mob mentality – especially if they just had a meeting to rile up all the members so people would vote with adrenalin and not with their actual beliefs.

      • How about to the over 70,000 that showed up at their annual convention. Also the NRA sends mails to its members several times a week and sometimes has poll questions. Hyla is trying to create something out of Nothing. The NRA and it’s members do not support any new gun laws. Now or Ever. On the recent Plastic Gun law, they did not comment either way.

      • Universal background checks won’t do any good though. You need strict interview processes and make it more difficult to obtain firearms. A ban would just lead to a lot of illegal firearms. If you make it more difficult to obtain them then a lot of people won’t bother and will question whether they actually need one. There have been studies to show the reactions of people carrying guns and those not to different situations. The ones carrying guns were more likely to react in a violent manner whereas the non-carrying person is more likely to try and irk it out or walk away.

        Using a different analogy. If you have a chocolate bar on your desk and you fancy chocolate you’re very likely to eat it. If you fancy chocolate but you’d have to go to the shops then you’re more likely to either not bother or find an alternative. the same principal can be applied to this situation. If you have a gun on your hip you’re more likely to turn to that rather than try and work things out in a sensible manner.

      • I see Danny is another guns are bad. no one should have guns person. Danny, I carry a gun everywhere. If I am in a situation where their is violence, I have to think about. Is there a undercover policeman behind me who is going to shoot me when I draw my gun, because he sees only me with a gun and not the terrorist over there? If do use my gun, is there a liberal district attorney that will go out of his way to put me in jail, even though I did the right thing?
        If I shoot a criminal with a gun that is pointing it at a store clerk, will his family terrorise me after the shooting or even sue me in a civil action, that I will win, after I spent every dime I have on lawyer fees. You might think these are far fetched, but every one of these things has happened in the last year to people who used a gun to stop a crime or a murderer. Carrying a gun is a big responsibility. People who carry guns think about these things. Now there are always wackjobs that will use a gun, a knife, a hammar, or anything else and love confrontation. These people are in the minority.

      • I didn’t say that they were all bad. If you actually read my comment I called for stricter measures of controlling who has access to them. I fully took in to account that they can in some situations save lives etc. But for an 18 year old to be able to purchase a ‘long gun’ and a 21 year old to be able to purchase a hand gun is bordering on ridiculous. People haven’t finished maturing at that age. Even if this was increased to say 25 when people had grown up a bit more and have a more responsible head on their shoulders I feel this would help dramatically reduce the amount of incidents.

        Granted that statement is correct if someone is a nut job and wants to kill someone then they would turn to other weapons as you listed but these are a lot less damaging than a gun that can be used at distance. With knives, hammers baseball bats etc they are short range and more one-on-one. If someone is attacked with a knife then the people around have a much higher chance of finding refuge than if someone is stood at the end of a hallway firing aimlessly into a crowd.

        I have no problem with having someone in a school that does have a gun and is trained to use that gun with a governing authority to respond to any incidents that may arise, but any tom dick and harry to walk around with a handgun strapped to their hip or under their jacket is just asking for trouble and increasing the likelihood of said weapon being used. I’m fully in favour of being able to have a gun at home to protect yourself. We had a shotgun in the house from my dad’s old hunting days for years incase of intrusion. We live in a fairly decent area so don’t see the need for this anymore. As such we handed the weapon in to the police and it was repurposed. As said I have no problem with the holding of a firearm for protection of your own property.

      • Universal background checks won’t do any good though.

        I’m sorry, that’s just not correct. Even the current background checks, weak as they are, have prevented people from buying weapons. Will universal background checks stop gun violence? No, of course not. But they’ll make it more difficult for some folks to obtain firearms. Right now it’s perfectly legal for somebody whose name is on the terrorist watch list — people who aren’t even allowed to board public aircraft — to buy a gun in a gun shop (unless, of course, they have an arrest record). It’s only been a couple of years since an al Qaida video was discovered that encouraged people to go to gun shows where they can buy firearms without any sort of background check at all.

        Just because universal background checks won’t solve the entire problem is no reason to dismiss the idea. It can have an effect.

  23. Yeah it may put a few people off because they are unaware of just how basic they are. But if there was strict interview process or requiring an initial application for a firearms licence from which you were then allowed to purchase firearms then this would stop a lot more. Have you any response to the other points made in my comment?

    • A strict Interview process does not work. It actually prevents honest people from getting a gun permit.. Massachusetts has a strict interview process. They can prevent you from getting a gun license if you are not suitable. It’s left up to each town to what is suitable. The result is some Police Chiefs in some Mass towns refuse to issue Carry Licenses. In you live In Cambridge Mass, you will not get a permit to carry a gun unless you move to neighboring Watertown, which they do issue gun permits. When Mass changed the law they revoked everyone’s lifetime gun permits, and put in the new process. The result is many less people have guns. And by the way,according to the Boston Globe (the liberal newspaper) Gun crimes and crime went up after they changed the law. You see now only criminals have guns. Yet, in neighboring New Hampshire, hardly any gun laws. Many people have guns and very little gun crime compared to MAss

      Danny you are only 21, so you are still under the mind control of your liberal education. Please keep your opinions to yourself until you are over 30.

      • The only reason that the gun crime rates went up is because carrying a gun would then be considered a crime without a permit. Hence the statistics for gun crime increase. Surely that is what Americans need, people being declined a permit because they are not deemed suitable to have one. You’ve basically just said that you think people who aren’t deemed fit to carry a gun should be given one. Granted a few honest people may lose out on having a gun but I’m sure if there was an appeal structure in place if they really felt the need to have a gun they could appeal to this decision and it would be looked into closer. The result of many less people having guns is a positive result. Surely that is what you should be aiming to achieve, if not then hell why not just hand them out at the supermarket.

        In regards to your final comment my age has no influence on my opinions and believe it or not I am capable of forming my own opinions. ‘The mind control of your liberal education’ Get a grip of yourself, education gives you the tools you need to make your own decisions, not brainwash you.

      • Most teachers in high school and college are liberals. They influence their students with their beliefs. Everyone starts as a liberal. As they get older, many turn more conservative when they have more life experience

      • It takes time for crime to go down because gun laws have to be in place in all States since bad people can still cross state lines for purchases. Why are you commenting on Danny’s age? First of all, there are PLENTY of people over the age of thirty who disagree with you. And secondly, your blog goes on about how you kids love your guns and your kid loves his Uzi (which frightens me to my core). Apparently age only matters if the person agrees with you.

      • A strict Interview process does not work

        According to you, nothing works. Except more guns. Very clever.

        Please keep your opinions to yourself until you are over 30.

        You’re allowed to control who can and cannot speak on your own blog, but you’re not allowed to do that here. I find it rather sad when folks are unable to tolerate opinions and views that are different from their own.

    • Danny, I’d like to see a Canadian style process implemented in the U.S. It’s a more rigorous approach, but still allows people to buy and own weapons.

      • I’m not familiar with the Canadian approach, what does this involve that differs to the American approach? As said I’m not opposed to gun ownership but stricter measures as to the access of guns do need to be implemented.

    • I just read that post on the blog and was mortified too. That is just plain irresponsible. It’s legal for a parent to give their children wine but most don’t go and give their child a case of it and let them go to town with it! That’s just completely irresponsible. there is no way that a child that age has the mental capacity to realise the severity of any damage caused or injury caused as as result of his actions. I agree about age. I have met many people over the age of forty who haven’t a sensible bone in their body and haven’t the ability to make their own decisions. Age has no impact.

  24. Thank you for this. It sounds like you are getting a lot of flack but I think you are brilliant – from the comments about cops in schools to the head injury of ol’ what’s-her-name. Info-tainment has the world in its jaws. Thank goodness there are thinkers like you who can pinpoint an issue so well.

    • Thanks, but this is MUCH better than the last time I ended up on Freshly Pressed. Even the folks who disagree with me (and wouldn’t it be dull if we all agreed?) have been mostly civil. That’s pretty good, I think, for a discussion about guns.

  25. It is sad that this had to happen to both the shooter and the other victims. There are times in life when it is healthy to learn about living in the gray areas of decision making. It is also important to have the ability to deal in absolutes. Both as individuals and society. Many of you can explain your ideas about such premise as religion, economics and such being the problem. This is simple. Bad things happen. This kid made a bad choice for himself and it created a bad ending for others who did not deserve it. Creation is always set in motion and it is our free will to make decisions that either help us/help others/ or hurt us/hurt others. Nobody deserves pain. Pain and suffering is just part of life. A firearm in the hands of this kid is just as dangerous as someone with destructive tendencies being behind the wheel of a car. A firearm in the hands of this kid has just as much destructive power as say a young teenage girl being pawned off as a prostitute by her mother so her mom can get those drugs she is so addicted to. The victim in this case is a young girl who has to remember her temporary demise and need help to move beyond the pain if she has the help from others to do so. The solutions to these issues are met by simply helping the individuals and families of victims find safety and/or healthy resolution and opportunity in the face of failure and tragedy. Instead of concentrating on what you think is the solution, how about asking the victims who do survive or the communities what small simple steps will help right where they live. Perhaps, this could be a start.

      • Acknowledged. I remember though when the Brady bill was passed into law. All due respect to Sarah Brady. I watched and listened to her state that if it was not for such a bill, all of these gun owners are just the very people who would eventually have tanks in their back yards. Really. I was in my early twenties when this was stated. I am now 47. I have many friends who, like myself, fish, hunt, target shoot, carry concealed at times. Whether the bill was passed or not, many of us are wildlife conservation minded, take part in raptor rehabilitation, teach kids about gun safety and responsibility, etc. I have no use to own nor support such a thing as a tank in my backyard. The premise for the bill was rightly justified by Mrs. Brady and others. I simply did not appreciate the scope of opinions which I felt were mis-guided. It was a bill which was passed for good reason; however, feelings were at the height of why the bill should go into effect. How does this compare to facts now realized years later that such a bill did not help in some of the tragedies we have experienced. The firearms were obtained and used by individuals who simply had access in the home to firearms that were purchased legally by someone in the family. In contrast, many crimes which happen on the street are done with firearms purchased under the table from one individual to another during anything from a drug deal trade to being stolen in a domestic situation. Such an above mentioned gun law does nothing to protect you nor I from exposure to this type of scenario. In conclusion, it is the user, not the gun which does the harm. A gun sitting there can do nothing any more than a tire iron sitting on the ground at a station, a butter knife on a counter in a diner nor a piece of wood or scrap metal on an inner city street.

  26. Greg,
    I enjoyed the way you wrote this blog. We probably do not see eye to eye on this matter, however, that means very little. In my opinion (humble, of course), I think that the lack of accountability and push for people to medicate ALL emotions could play a bigger part that the object (gun, knife…) itself. When I grew up, we never had random shootings like this. Kids were not put on drugs, they were made to deal with their emotions. They did not have A.D.D, they were brats! We participated in games where there were winners and losers, not everybody was told they were great, because they weren’t.

    My point is that with all the bullshit that is being shoved down these kids throats, they do not learn to deal with ups and downs. They have no clue how to pull themself up from a fall, instead they stay down and blame others. Their parents are too wrapped up in their own selfish lives to take notice that “whatever his name” is a fucking whack job!

    As far as guns are concerned, I’ll give ours up as soon as the police/Government give theirs up!

    • I agree. Teaching accountability is missing. Not enough of it. Parents should let kids know that you are not always going to be first. Sure, all kids are special, but there is only one first place. All my kids know that it is ok to be in second and third and even fail. This only means you have room to grow. Complaining and not trying is not an option.

      • I teach my kids the same way. If you do not come in first then work harder! On sports fields, I hear parents tell their kids that they are the best and “deserve” to be in top positions. DESERVE! Inevitably these are the kids that are mediocre and crumble at the first bit of struggle. Oh, Timmy is on he new medication, he just isn’t himself. Ugh, yea no kidding, he is a shell of himself because he is medicated you idiot! These are the same parents that serve their toddler soda in their bottle! Geez, wonder why your kid is unmanageable? Accountability starts with the parents and is learned, not inherent! My kids are held accountable for every action they make. This way they know it is up to them to succeed or fail. There is plenty of things that I have screwed up on as a parent, but this is not one of them. I can whole heartedly say that my kids will never randomly shoot anybody. Imagine this is something to brag about. God help us!

      • Better yet, let’s cram sugar down our kids at the very last minute drive through while we teach them to be late for school so they have to run into class and worry about being made fun of. So many parents are kids themselves and just don’t understand what it takes to prepare kids appropriately at an early age so they can be prepared with some kind of legitimacy when they read the middle school years when they really need the developed esteem and independence to become their own person. Kids soak up early what they see and hear, including emotional instability. Don’t matter if they play chess or shoot hoops or target shoot, they learn respect for themselves, others and the ability to help themselves and others.

      • Absolutely! The kids can be smart as all get up but if they are not respectable and respectful, they will be without friends as well as employment when they get older. I have an Executive placement and coaching company, I see this epidemic of unaccountability daily! I want to choke these candidates!

      • I’ve been too busy today to respond to everybody, but I love it that you two are having a conversation. It cracks me up AND it leaves me feeling good about the Intertubes.

      • Just my personal opinion, I think society as a whole has forgotten what it is like to just have a conversation. Too many people these days go into conversation developing an agenda while they should be listening. How else are we supposed to, um, know and learn about each other. It seems like it is so hard for people to converse with out letting their differences get in the way. Although the very individuals in the faith community I associate with are good listeners, there are just as many that are not. How unfortunate. This is why I have just as many friends outside the church as I do inside. We are made to learn and people work so hard at doing the opposite. Cognitively speaking, it is often a paradigm. Others listen to us, when they know we are just as genuinely interested in them often more than we are of ourselves. Ok. I have exercised my brain today. Thanks for the comment.

      • I wonder if members of the NRA and other gun supporters have seen what their guns do to these people. From what I read, she was shot point blank in the face. And she didn’t just die; she and her loved ones were tortured by the wounds for over a week before she died. I just find saying someone died is far too simplistic and easy to ignore.

      • I’ve had the misfortune to see what happens when a person gets shot in the head with a shotgun. It’s pretty horrific.

    • It would be more accurate to say that armed guards tend to reduce the body count. The sad fact is, there have been armed guards present in several of the mass murder events in recent years.

      But why not take other steps to reduce the body count in addition to armed guards? Why not limit the capacity of ammunition magazines? That will also reduce the body count. Why not require stricter background checks before letting a person purchase a firearm? Why not require states to report and share mental health records?

      None of those things will stop mass murders, but each of them will have some effect on the body count — and by combining several (or better yet, all) of those measures, we can reduce the body count even further.

      • Yes, because reducing the capacity of magazines is going to do a whole lot of good when the mass murderer comes in with a shotgun. Or multiple guns. Or multiple magazines. These maniacs don’t usually use high-capacity magazines.

        I have no problem with requiring states to share mental health records. It’s a good idea. Not just for the issue of guns either.

      • If you look at the actual data, nearly HALF of all the mass murders between 1984 and 2013 involved shooters with magazines holding more than ten rounds. The percentage might be higher, because the records prior to 1999 don’t always mention magazines.

      • I’m not sure what your point is. Are you suggesting we shouldn’t limit magazine capacity because half of the mass murderers didn’t use them? My point, I think, is clear. I want to reduce the body count, and if that will make a difference (and we have plenty of anecdotal evidence that it does), then I’m all for limiting magazine capacity.

      • That;s because most modern guns have more ten rounds. What you and the liberals call high capacity is actually standard capacity magazines. Like when New York came up with the arbitrary magazine limit of 7 and then found out, there were not any 7 round magazines for most modern guns. Magazines limits are a backdoor to gun banning. Now I will actually agree about the 70.100 and 150 round drum magazines that are out there. No need for them. But my beretta m9 comes with 15 rounds and every ak and ar came with 30.

      • Freddy: You keep saying “you liberals” but you right wingers don’t want to pay taxes, so who is supposed to pay for the armed guards? And you want smaller government – except you want to add armed guards. How is that smaller government? The right wing philosophy seems to be “smaller government except when it benefits me”.

      • Costs for school security should be paid on the local level via local government. Voters have more control in local spending in local governments.

        Conservatives are against the big bloated nightmare that is our federal government. Where everything costs 100 times more it should and hardly works or doesn’t work at all.

      • You mean not working as in the Republicans shutting down the government? You mean as in the Republicans refusing to vote for ANY democratic initiative even if it’s in the best interest of the American people? You mean wasting taxpayers dollars fighting against gay marriage?

  27. I actually think the republicans and democrats are mostly scum. And No I don’t like the Tea Party either. My views on guns are conservative. I agree with rpinksten42. How much money did the government spend on the Obamacare website.. A Private company could have built that for a fraction of the cost and it would have worked.

    • Oh you posted this while I was writing a reply for your previous post. It actually was a private company that created the Obamacare website. And yes, the website was a disaster and I doubt you will find any liberals who would disagree with that – unlike Republicans who cannot admit to any faults and blame everything on everybody else. However, it would have worked better if the Republican governors were willing to administer it at the state level, but they refused. It is working better in California, which supports Obamacare. The best thing is universal healthcare. (btw I’m Canadian.) It’s your private insurance system that bloats the prices because they (over)charge whatever they please as it’s greedy for-profit, unlike universal (single payer) healthcare.

      • A private company that was given fault orders and specs by a non-functioning government agency.

        So you are a left wing social Canadian. Ah.. Ok. So I am gong to stop responding to your comments,, because you are a left wing social Canadian and are completely and total clueless and useless. What don’t you just have some molson, bacon, and donuts and go watch some hockey games.. Eh.

      • Freddy Ramone, you can express your views here if you want, but you’re not allowed to insult folks with different views. Sorry…but that’s it for you.

  28. We in europe, say Belgium, don’t understand the fire-arms freedom in the US. The more arms in private homes the more security you have? Even a child in our primary school can’t believe such a nonsens. I am sure in my street you will not find any arm. I can’t think of a fire arm in my house. It should make me feel very insecure.
    The US fire arms policy it’s all about big money and the outside packing is security it’s like selling cocacola in bottles for babyfood ;-)

  29. I believe guns are neutral, especially in this incident. One guy with a gun goes bonkers . . . one guy with a gun stops him from doing more damage . . . AND if anybody thinks the guy stopped because of the gory head shot? . . . you have no understanding of ‘crazy’

    Lets face it, a really doable ending to this kind of acting out would take a lot of effort, a lot of being in one mind, a lot of unity, a lot of real concern about the gaming industry, the video industry, all the sex and violence movie industry, as well as the gun issue . . .

    Knowing none of that is going to happen . . . let’s just bitch and cry and point fingers at each other as we look for an easy fix . . . or just kick the can on down the same old road we are getting so good at doing . . .

    • Guns are neutral in that the same what all technology is neutral. But all technology has a function. An X-ray machine is neutral, but its primary function is to provide a diagnostic aid. A gun is neutral, but its primary function is to damage or kill. The neutrality of technology ceases to exist once that technology is put into use.

  30. Claire died and a entire community cares. My daughter was in that school. Many students will have post traumatic stress disorder due to this shooting. We care about this and it has nothing to do with the media. You came across very callous in this post and whatever you tried to communicate got lost in that.

    It is beyond a gun issue. It is a mental health issue. Colorado has lack of funding in mental health and I believe it starts with that for things to change. Healthy people don’t make choices like this and impact lives that your post diminished.

    • I’m so very sorry for Claire and her family and her friends and for the entire community.

      And I’m sorry for the victims and the friends and families and communities involved in all school shootings, and all workplace shootings, and all mall shootings, and fast food outlet shootings, and drive-by shootings. I’m sorry for all the children and adults who are accidentally killed by guns left unattended, and by guns people thought were unloaded, and by guns improperly handled.

      I agree with you that we need to improve our mental health system, which has been in decline since the 1980s. But it’s also a gun issue, because it goes beyond mass shootings. Mass shootings account for only a small proportion of gun deaths.

      As for the tone of my blog post, yes it was callous. It’s no comfort to anybody, I know, but that was my point. We’ve become callous as a society when it comes to gun violence. Poor Claire got a great deal of attention because she was shot near the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. There have been dozens of victims like Claire over the last year — innocent kids with bright futures, loving parents, good friends. They’re mourned by their families and friends, and the fact that we DON’T KNOW THEIR NAMES is tragic. But we can’t know their names because there are so many of them. Their names never make the national news because gun violence is so common. We hear it on the local news — another school shooting, another workplace shooting — and we turn the channel and watch Dancing with the Stars.

      • I understood the tone you used, and I think it fits perfectly. As a Canadian, I am sometimes shocked at what seems, at least from a perspective a few steps back, of the lack of regard that people have for all the shootings. The big ones, they get reported, because it makes for some great tragedy porn for the masses, but the “ah, only one or two people got shot” stories, that don’t happen on anniversaries of other shootings, are all but ignored.

        We have shootings in Canada from time to time, of course, it’s not perfect, but our populace seems to react with a far greater shock and dismay at it. There are stricter gun control methods in place here, and honestly, the “restricted freedoms” makes for a better society, at least from my standpoint.

        I know that there are many, many Americans that truly want to do something about all the death and injury at the hands of guns. And I know that it’s not so simple as banning all guns (although try and imagine a world where nobody had them. Sounds good to me.)

        Well done, sir.

    • “and whatever you tried to communicate got lost in that.”

      Perhaps it’s that you are too close to appreciate the tone? I take it that you are a gun supporter? Yes, it partially goes beyond guns, but it also goes beyond mental health (and bullying) and into the rich not paying their share of taxes so everybody could have access to mental health care. But then not everybody with mental issues is willing to get help and those around them don’t know they are a danger to themselves or others until it happens (as Greg has said in that people are law abiding until they’re not, and then it’s too late) so they can’t be committed. So, yes, it does go back to guns (as I don’t believe he injured anybody with his machete or Molotov cocktail, though even that is just in this one, very sad, instance).

  31. Guns are not the cause of violence in society. The gun is a tool used to express thoughts or carry out actions. Guns are not the problem. The problems are the desperation and and the extreme differences in income. These facts are proven in studies done with the billions of dollars in studies. Bloomberg has been granted to study the facts. Look it up ” What causes violence in society?” You will find Bloomberg has been granted billions to study these facts. Not in any of the studies did they find that guns are the cause. They are not. Now this is personal. I think people rely on the government to fix every thing in their lives. That is wrong in my opinion. Laws laws and more laws. That messes things up much worse than they were. If government did their job and tried to do what society expects of them. Violence would drop. That would mean a balanced budget. Health care for at reasonable costs. Good healthcare is something this country has never had. Yet we pay 10 times more than almost the next closest country. We get less health care and have worse health. Because of people that think above all cost they should profit. McDonalds and Walmarts paying more to investors than the employees. And they get waivers from the government from Obamacare and opt out of giving their employees benefits. That right there is the cause of the violence. Its not guns. You can’t connect the dots with the desperation these thing cause. But that is the cause. If you look at countries that are not having the problem we have with violence. You’ll notice the main difference is the whole country makes good money and they all have great health care that is very reasonably priced. So I’m wonder what you think about that? Its really not guns that cause the violence in society. The shootings get you upset. Yet they are only a small fraction of the violence going on in this country.

    • Saying ‘Guns are not the cause of violence in society’ is accurate but misleading. What guns do is make violence easier and more lethal. Yesterday at a bar in New Jersey 5 people were shot, 3 of whom died. The gun didn’t cause the violence, but without the gun there’d almost certainly be fewer dead people in that incident. Also yesterday, a guy standing in his yard in Florida was shot and killed by a stray bullet apparently fired from a homemade shooting range in another guy’s yard. The gun didn’t cause the violence, but it certainly made it possible for the gun enthusiast to accidentally kill his neighbor.

    • You are right that the cause is so much greater than guns, but the acute answer is guns, because in this case, it is about school shootings unrelated to socio-economics.

      Aside from that, It really does need to start with a good public school system for all (often incredibly inadequate in inner cities), jobs and universal healthcare. That is such a huge thing to tackle but may never happen so in the meantime, you can try to control guns. You are incorrect that in other countries everybody makes good money. It’s unfortunate that so many Americans think universal healthcare means socialism – that the next step is everybody making the same $10 an hour wage. In Canada, we have the few at the top with most of the money, just like the Americans (wish it were fairer here, too). We also have very many poor and homeless. But at least they have healthcare and our worst schools aren’t as bad as the States’ worst schools. Racism is also not quite as bad, though we do have it.

      But yes, decent paying / union jobs. All you have to do is look at Detroit before and after the auto industry left.

  32. I wrote up research in 1968 for congress after the kennedy and king assassinations, showing from WHO data the absolutely clear data on lower deaths from homicide, suicide, accident by gunshot in countries with gun control laws. Breaks my heart how far we have NOT come.

  33. I think that if someone wanted to find a gun, he/she may do so regardless of the law. High school students especially like the adrenaline rush of doing something forbidden. In an ideal world, I would devise a system that could screen people and detect if they were likely to act violently. Then the potential criminals could be helped through some sort of therapy. Nevertheless, we don’t live in an ideal world. People are unpredictable, especially teenagers with a strong urge to prove themselves. That is never going to change. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone.

    • You’re right — firearms are so prevalent in US society that a person who seriously wants one can find one. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to make it more difficult to get one. Even if all we can do is make it marginally more difficult, that will have a small effect on the body count.

      • You are right, of course. Even a small number can make a big difference because if one person dies, the entire family suffers.

    • A few years ago the New York Times Magazine ran an article about suicide and how if you take away access, you reduce the numbers. I think you can correlate this with acquiring guns (and mass shootings) – it’s possible that many of these kids, if you cut off legal supplies, are not going to go into rough areas looking for firearms. It talks about “the British coal-gas story” (when they switched away from coal stoves, an easy method of suicide, suicide rates dropped), jumping and, mostly, about guns.
      “The Urge to End It All”

      a couple of excerpts:

      “At the risk of stating the obvious,” Seiden said, “people who attempt suicide aren’t thinking clearly. They might have a Plan A, but there’s no Plan B. They get fixated. They don’t say, ‘Well, I can’t jump, so now I’m going to go shoot myself.’ And that fixation extends to whatever method they’ve chosen. They decide they’re going to jump off a particular spot on a particular bridge, or maybe they decide that when they get there, but if they discover the bridge is closed for renovations or the railing is higher than they thought, most of them don’t look around for another place to do it. They just retreat.”….

      “What was immediately apparent,” Rosen recounted, “was that none of them had truly wanted to die. They had wanted their inner pain to stop; they wanted some measure of relief; and this was the only answer they could find. They were in spiritual agony, and they sought a physical solution.”

      etc., etc.

      • I admire your passion. This is precisely why I want to study psychology. Human mind is an intriguing mystery. I would be content even if I could prevent just one person from committing suicide.

  34. As a non-American I find it insane how regular school massacres are in the U.S.
    I would say that I am desensitized to all reports because they seem to happen every month. Even more strange is that I can’t think of a single other country in which similar phenomenon occur.
    I hope for the safety of people in the U.S something is done about gun legislation, but sadly there is a vast section of your population that cling to a piece of legislation which has long since outgrown it’s original intention (second amendment) because “guns”.

  35. No one cares as long as the guns are still there, no one cares until it excites them to hear the news. These violent blurbs are just like that ticker at the bottom of some talking head on CNN or such. Another one, another one, another one forever and ever. i don’t remember who said it but I think it is a quote from a scientist involved in the big bombs-there has never been a weapon invented that we have not used…or something like that. Some people will do anything to make sure someone knows they were/are powerful.

  36. I would burn the first amendment before letting you take the second. I’m a liberal, yes, but I’m not going to be closed minded because of a couple if people. The second amendment could reinforce this problem. Shooter in your school? Teachers could have firearms and training is they wanted. That’d fix your fucking problem! But NOOOOOOOOOOO! You want to take the guns and or regulate them. Stop the drug trade. ONLY then will I believe that you even could regulate firearms.

    • Oh lawdy, another one. Show me where I’ve ever suggested taking the guns. You clearly didn’t read the post, you clearly haven’t read any of the other comments, you just make the usual idiotic leap that ANY attempt to reduce gun violence MUST automatically and inevitably lead to mass confiscation of guns. That’s just stupid.

    • “Teachers could have firearms and training is they wanted.”
      Unbelievable! Teachers want to educate and help children (doesn’t get much more peace-loving than that) – not join the military. Even if they learned martial arts, how hard could it be for a 6′ 18yr old to tackle a teacher from behind and take their gun. So many people are killed by their own guns during altercations.

  37. Unless I missed the comment, the real problem isn’t guns, it is the Fact that so many show little or no Value for Human Life!!! None of us should take a life, unless threatened to lose their own life. I happen to own guns to protect my home and loved ones from anyone who may do me harm. Living in a rural area, police response time can take some time. I want to at least even the odds against an armed intruder. I pray that it never happens.

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