Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Horror Story

I'm not watching the news tonight; I don't want to see some idiot interviewing the friends or relatives of a dead child and asking them how they feel about it. The horror of the shooting in Connecticut is mind-numbing enough as it is. I don't need to hear about the mentally disturbed young man who killed his mother and all those children, I know what he is, we've seen his like before. 

Insanity manifested in mass murder. Words fail to encompass it.

Something needs to be done. Something beyond the knee-jerk responses from pro- or anti-gun people who offer that arming teachers or banning all firearms is the solution. Neither will fix the problem, the wound that is our culture is too deep for a band-aid to help.

Get rid of all guns!  

Good luck with that.

And armed society is a polite society! 

Really? I've said that one myself, but I don't think it is. I think that means you engender a society of backshooters. 

A trained person with a weapon in the right place at the right time might stop one of the loons, but there's no guarantee of that. 

What? What is to be done? We have to do something, we can't let our children get murdered at school, we fucking have to do something!

What? There is a laundry list and we all know what it is: Education, medical support for mental illness, enforcement of laws to keep the guns out of the hands of the crazies and the felons, but that's not enough.

If you gave every citizen in Japan a gun tomorrow, there would be more shootings, you can bet the farm on that, but the murder ratio wouldn't come within a parsec of the ratio in the United States. Anybody who says differently is selling something. We aren't the same culture, and ours is, despite their samurai heritage, bloodier than theirs. We are violent in the heartland, willing to reach for the weapon far too early in our anger. 

Shoot first, think about it later. 

How do we stop that? 

We have hundreds of millions of guns here, you simply cannot get rid of them all if you quit making them tomorrow. Yes, people kill others with guns, and that makes it easier, but making the magazines hold fewer won't fix it. Smaller capacity only means they will have to reload more often, and the fastest reload? A second gun. 

Go ahead, ban high-capacity magazines. It's a band-aid.

Ban black rifles? Sure, I don't care, there's no need for them, but a deer rifle is better-made and more accurate. If you can't get the former, you'll use the latter. Another band-aid. 

These things don't go to the cause. They won't even slow the bleeding.

The militia is supposed to be well-regulated, but it isn't, and the loons have hardware or can, as in the case of the one who opened up in a local mall day before yesterday, they can steal it. Make it illegal to put a gun where a child can get it? Already done that here. Doesn't stop accidental shootings, nor, as in in the case of a high school kid here a few years back, intentional ones. 

An eleven-year-old kid and his seven-year-old henchman tried to hijack a woman's truck in Portland a few days ago. The kid had a loaded, cocked pistol. Which he stole from his father, a convicted felon who wasn't supposed to have a gun. The woman drove off, the kid didn't shoot, but what kind of impulse control do you think a child like that has? The cops and locals knew the kid, he was a bad actor. No law anywhere allows him to have a gun. 

Laws are for citizens who obey them. Gun-free zones don't work. It's against the law virtually everywhere to take a gun into a school, that doesn't stop it. 

Still, I'd vote for better gun control legislation if they were the kind that would actually work. Which kind does?

Give me an example. Something I can support, because I will, with words and money.

Nothing will ever stop the lone crazy run amok. But something needs to be done.


I wish to hell I knew what. 


Maija said...

This is probably going to sound trite and ridiculous, but as a European arriving many years ago into my new adopted culture here in the US, one of the first things that struck me was how people here seemed to take offense really easily. They also did not understand self deprecating humor in that way that the Brits do and had a tendency to walk around much readier to hear comments as insults and feel the need to defend themselves.
I'm not sure why, but this lack of ability to laugh at oneself and let the comments wash over, or have a witty reply, is apparently not valued here as it is in the UK. My Canadian friends also have this ability and I don't know what makes this so.
Is it education? A culture that hates failure? One that is so competitive? That has stopped teaching that actions have consequences (thinking video games particularly)? Or just young and insecure?
The self identity, the tribal affiliation and personal 'worth', counted in things others say about you seems a toxic environment to live in, especially if you are naturally alienated (because of your mental make up or situation) from people AND cannot find the humor in the world or a way to interact.

Anonymous said...

At the same time this is taking place, there have been a number of attacks by individuals with knives in China. No one knows what to do there either (or even why, although some speculate that the fast changing culture has something to do with it). Horror is the same whether my kid is on the receiving end of a gun or a knife or a car or whatever.
I think a place to start is with education and involvement instead of demonizing mental illness...

Anonymous said...


It should be pointed out that all 22 children in the primary school KNIFE attack in China were only wounded and were NOT killed by their attacker.

Anonymous said...

Whether it is a gun or a knife or something else, attacks upon helpless human beings (including children) are unacceptable.

Yes, a gun did kill twenty (20) children and six (6) adults one attack.

This is as horrific as pointing out that there were twenty one (21) murdered and ninety (90) injured in nine attacks between 2010 and 2011 in The People’s republic of China. Mental illness was thought to be the cause.

I believe that we, as a people, must become better educated in recognizing the various forms of mental illness AND in dealing appropriately with the mentally ill. I believe that we should build an effective safety net, just for their benefit but for ours, as well.

I believe that right now, to be seen as mentally ill is to be treated dismissively, condescendingly and disrespectfully. It is my opinion that this is rather like treating someone with a broken leg as a slacker because they will not get up and walk.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the end of the second last paragraph should read, ” I believe that we should build an effective safety net, NOT just for their benefit but for ours, as well.”

Here is an organization dedicated towards that very purpose:

Sunny Day said...

One thing that should be noted when looking at the cultures outside the USA, all of them have grown out of a history where the peasants were not allowed to have weaponry.

Steve Perry said...

This is not a simple problem, and any attempt at a solution needs to address it on multiple fronts. We'll never be able to eliminate a madman who runs amok. We can look at a bunch of things that might lower the numbers.

Mental health treatment in this country is inadequate; ask anybody who has come into contract with the system. There are people who need treatment who can't get it, and this puts them and those around them at risk.

It is too easy for somebody bent on deadly violence to get his or her hands on a gun.

Three choices you usually have when the guns go off are to run, hide, or fight back, and against the civilian version of an assault rifle, a shotgun, or even handguns, fighting back without a gun is last-ditch and generally ineffective.

If you can't run, can't hide, can't effectively fight back, then you are completely at the mercy of somebody who has none.

It would be better to stop them before they pick up a gun. Once they do, it is much harder to survive if they step into your life.

Yes, knives kill people. And somebody bent on mass murder can use gasoline or pipe bombs or his automobile, but a knife is not nearly as efficient a weapon in the hands of most as a gun, and it requires a lot more nerve to use when the blood spatters on the killer. A fire is hard to manage, and your car doesn't work well inside.

Were I in the mall or classroom, I would want a gun with which to shoot back. And it might not be enough, but unilateral disarmament doesn't strike me as the way to go.

Jim said...

It's a hugely complicated problem, and there is no easy solution. But, one thing we've seen about most of these incidents is that they choose soft targets, and they quit, surrender or kill themselves as soon as resistance is encountered. This asshole capped himself when the cops pulled on scene, we've learned today.

So, what does that lead us to?

Let's harden the targets. Kids can't defend themselves, so lets make it lots harder to get into a school with nefarious or monstrous intent. Better access control, more effective security at the school, and the like.

Then, let's increase the odds that they're going to encounter resistance a damn site quicker.
That includes faster ways to alert the cops, and more willing, trained, and armed people at the school. I'm not saying every teacher should be armed. But let's let them carry if they want to. Let's make schools "illegal gun free zones" not "no gun zones." Prosecute people who bring guns onto school properties without legal authority, absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Chinese and American societies have one thing in common. They leave people behind.