Slaughter of the innocents

Mass murder of little children! Matricide! Unfathomable evil. What can be said about the school shootings in Connecticut?

(I’m on the road, posting from my phone. Could someone post links to the story as it unfolds?)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Abby
  • Abby
  • Grace

    My heart is broken. I’ve watched this unfold all day long.

    I received this from AlbertMohler.com

    Rachel Weeping for Her Children — The Massacre in Connecticut

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    “Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” [Jeremiah 31:15]

    It has happened again. This time tragedy came to Connecticut, where a lone gunman entered two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire, killing at least twenty children and six adults, before turning his weapons of death upon himself. The young victims, still to be officially identified, ranged in age from five to ten years. The murderer was himself young, reported to be twenty years old. According to press reports, he murdered his mother, a teacher at Sandy Hook, in her home before the rampage at the school.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/live-updates-newtown-ct-school-shooting/

    God bless the families and loved ones of these dear baby children, teachers, and principle. This is tragic news.

  • Grace

    I believe this country needs to re-access gun control, but that isn’t enough, there is much more.

    Those who are mentally ill, or born with disorders who limit their ability to make decisions, must be evaluated by doctors. Mental hospitals must be re-opened, and used for those who are not stable enough to live in society. Our country (the U.S.) has closed or partially eliminated the use of “Mental hospitals” that should not be. The safety of our citizens should be considered before any facility is closed, or used in a minimal capacity.

    Whether drugs were part of this dastardly deed, I do not know. However drugs must be curtailed, their is no reason to allow marijuana to be legal, UNLESS, a doctor gives an RX to a recognized pharmacy – to be given the correct dose, by the doctors direction. All other uses for recreational use should be forbidden.

    ABCNEWS
    Dec 14, 2012 11:53am
    LIVE UPDATES: Newtown, Conn., School Shooting

    4:52 p.m:” Ryan Lanza, 24, brother of gunman Adam Lanza, 20, tells authorities that his younger brother is autistic, or has Asperger syndrome and a “personality disorder.” Neighbors described the younger man to ABC as “odd” and displaying characteristics associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/live-updates-newtown-ct-school-shooting/

    God bless and comfort those whose lives will be changed forever, missing a little babe, one who just learning to read, a teacher who had loved her little ones, a principal who delighted in teaching and helping children – all the parents who must look upon the empty beds of their dear children tonight, weeks and months to follow, the gifts that will never be opened, the hearts ♥ of those who grieve beyond belief. Let us pray for them, let us remember them and not think of ourselves.

  • Grace

    Dr Veith,

    Thank you for starting this blog. I had thought of breaking into one of your new blogs with this news, but then decided to refrain.

    Blessings to you and your family, and to all those tonight who can check on their children, call them, hear their voices, know they are OK.

  • Tom Hering
  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    All I know is that this is apparently not the time to discuss gun control, according to politicians, including Obama.

    For the record, these were also not the times to discuss gun control (figures do not include suicides):
    * July 20, 2012 (12 dead, dozens wounded)
    * February 27, 2012 (3 dead, 4 wounded at school)
    * January 5, 2011 (1 dead, 1 wounded at school)
    * February 5, 2010 (1 dead at school)
    * April 3, 2009 (13 dead, 4 wounded)
    * March 10, 2009 (11 dead)
    * August 21, 2008 (1 dead at school)
    * April 16, 2007 (32 dead, undetermined number wounded)
    * January 3, 2007 (1 dead at school)
    * October 2, 2006 (5 dead, 6 wounded at school)
    * September 29, 2006 (1 dead at school)
    * September 27, 2006 (1 dead at school)
    * November 8, 2005 (1 dead, 1 wounded at school)
    * March 21, 2005 (8 dead at school)
    * September 24, 2003 (2 dead at school)
    * April 24, 2003 (1 dead at school)
    * May 26, 2000 (1 dead at school)
    * February 29, 2000 (1 dead at school)
    * November 19, 1999 (1 dead at school)
    * April 20, 1999 (13 dead, 23 wounded)
    * May 21, 1998 (2 dead at school)
    * April 24, 1998 (1 dead at school)
    * March 24, 1998 (5 dead at school)
    * December 1, 1997 (3 dead at school)
    * October 1, 1997 (2 dead at school)
    * Feburary 19, 1997 (2 dead at school)
    * September 25, 1996 (1 dead at school)
    * February 2, 1996 (3 dead at school)
    * January 19, 1996 (1 dead at school)
    * November 15, 1995 (2 dead at school)
    * October 12, 1995 (1 dead at school)
    * November 7, 1994 (1 dead, 3 injured at school)
    * April 12, 1994 (1 dead at school)
    * February 1, 1994 (1 dead at school)
    * May 24, 1993 (1 dead at school)
    * April 15, 1993 (1 dead at school)
    * January 18, 1993 (2 dead at school)
    * May 1, 1992 (4 dead at school)
    * February 26, 1992 (2 dead at school)
    * November 25, 1991 (1 dead at school)
    * October 16, 1991 (23 dead)

    With any luck, this string of shootings will continue unabated, so that we can continue to not have a discussion about gun control.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think we SHOULD have the converstion about gun control. These ridiculous “gun free zones” continue to cost innocent lives.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Exactly. There’s a gun in every Israeli classroom. What has their body count been in the last 20 years?

    If some teachers had been armed at that school, most of those kids lives could have been saved.

    No….let’s just let the bad guys have them.

  • Carl Vehse

    Dan @8 you are right about the abomination of “gun free zones.”

    And as an imprecation, may those unrepentant 2nd Amendment traitors, especially the leftstream media anti-gun advocates and political leaders who took away the right of school administrators and teachers to defend themselves and their students, burn in hell twice as long as the piece of excrement that committed these murders.

  • Rose

    It appears Adam Lanza’s father walked off the job.
    And that it distressed Adam:
    http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/3140232-74/lanza-adam-kraft#axzz2F8BZB1gg
    It’s another reason to award custody of children to their fathers.
    Kids need to know their fathers want them in their life.

  • Hanni

    We have no idea of the facts of Adam Lanza and his parents. It is all media speculation on mostly rumors, i.e. interviews with neighbors and relatives. Are you sure that his father wanted custody?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Legislating away our rights will never solve the problem of people killing people or themselves. There is no need to talk about gun control. Because it is a waste of time and displays a complete lack of understanding of man’s fallen nature. You can’t stop man’s desire to kill and commit horrendous tragedy by taking away people’s guns. What you can do is limit people’s ability to defend themselves.

    If he didn’t have gun, we would be reading how theses poor kids bleed to death because he strapped on a bomb laced with rat poison.

    You may think me heartless, but I will keep my gun thanks.

  • Tom Hering
  • Dan Kempin

    For the record, I don’t really want to use the occasion of this breathtaking evil to discuss politics or gun laws. It is a discussion we should have, though, after the visceral shock of this slaughter has receded, with reason rather than emotion.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    There is no system man can devise that will fix people or make humans safe to be around.

    Our response to tragedy seems to be “what can we do to make sure such things never happen again.” But such a task is beyond us. Perhaps it would be wiser to simply mourn and renew our efforts to love our neighbors. By all means, restrain wickedness, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and visit the imprisoned. However, don’t try to replace these God-given tasks with the man-given tasks of winning wars on poverty, hunger, and crime.

  • Carl Vehse

    Dan Kempin @15: “For the record, I don’t really want to use the occasion of this breathtaking evil to discuss politics or gun laws. It is a discussion we should have, though, after the visceral shock of this slaughter has receded, with reason rather than emotion.”

    Unfortunately the radical leftists and leftstream media are already linking their anti-2nd Amendment agenda to this maniacal slaughter.

  • P.C.

    A prayer from “Time of Grace” Media Ministries Pastor Mark Jeske

    Dear heavenly Father,

    Your all-seeing eyes have witnessed much terrible human cruelty over the centuries, and today you and we had to witness all over again how deeply Satan has his hooks in the human race. How monstrous that an armed man should have forced innocent people in an elementary school to be part of his anger drama. How crushed are the hearts of parents who lost their children today in what was supposed to be a safe place. How long their grief will be. Our hearts are with them today and will be tomorrow too.

    Lord Jesus, you came to this broken world to be broken yourself. You wept at the graves of people you loved. Your human heart resonates with human grief. You know our sadness because you too are sad today. What great hope your first coming and your physical resurrection give us. You came to bring forgiveness of sins and immortality to all, and all who believe it have it. For the Connecticut families, for all the responders, and for all people who are experiencing death right now, we pray that the hope of resurrection in Jesus brings comfort to broken hearts.

    Holy Spirit, let your Word move at this time. Let Christians share hope and comfort, and may all those whose lives were invaded by death remember and believe the Scripture’s bold promises that our Redeemer lives. We eagerly look forward to the time when death itself will have to die and we will never be separated again. In the meantime, bring comfort and hope to sad families, and somehow use this dreadful disaster to work some good and advance your saving agenda.

    It is only through Jesus’ name that we can bring such huge requests to your throne. Amen.

    http://www.timeofgrace.org/

  • Abby

    @8: Amen.

    As a person familiar with people with severe mental illness: my question is why the guns were owned by the boy’s *mother*? Evidently he was staying with her. Woke up that morning, killed her with them and went off to the school with her guns to kill the rest. I am wondering if she actually had them as self-protection against him. If that is the case she was way off-base.

    The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) actually teaches caregivers what to do if a loved one gets out of hand or refuses to get mental health care (if one needs to be hospitalized). Particularly in the case of diagnosed Paranoid Schizophrenia.

    You go to the police, or in one case I know of –you are sent to a Judge who hears the circumstances, gives an order which is taken to the police. The police then go to the home and escort the mentally ill person to a mental health care hospital. After that the Judge reappears again and a “case” is “tried” (at the hospital) and the Judge can then give an order for detainment for several days (even against the will of the patient). And medication is ordered to be administered. The patient is then “locked down” until the medication is working and the patient is stable. If things are opperating the way they are supposed to, the patient can be released but with intense follow-up care by psychotherapists and “out-patient” care. The patient is closely monitored because of the high-risk situation that the patient is either a danger to himself or to others. If need be, the patient will be readmitted to the hospital.

    It is better to find a privately owned/managed mental health care facility over the government run agencies. In the latter, the patient is dismissed prematurely and practically nothing is done according to proper proceedure. If the family will not let the patient return home they are taken to homless shelters to fend for themselves. Which really solves a lot.

    The other huge problem with this — the mentally ill person has no healthcare insurance. So you have to go through the huge process of qualifying for Medicare/Medicaid in order to be admitted to a hospital or for follow-up care by an agency.

    No one is saying this is easy. This is incredibly hard and confusing. But I would think it is far superior to owning guns for self-protection — IF that is what happened. I just can’t help but wonder why the MOTHER bought the weapons, they were registered in her name, and she kept them in her home. Where her son stayed, at least sometimes.

    I’m not anti-gun. In fact, have thought about buying a small one and taking lessons at our local shooting range.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    The question of whether we should retain all of the Bill of Rights, is not a discussion that’s served well by emotional stress.

    In the aftermath of September 11th we passed the Patriot Act that restricted some of our freedoms for better security.

    I think those restrictions wouldn’t have passed in a period of calm nerves.

    Likewise I don’t think we’d restrict the Second Amendment absent emotionalism.

    However when the emotionalism has passed we ought to consider the dangers of gun-free zones and the mass killings they enable.

  • George A. Marquart

    Thank you P.C. @ 18. Amen.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Tom Hering

    The idea that a gun-free zone enables killings is an interesting conclusion. A logical person would conclude it’s the availability of guns outside the zone that enables the killings inside the zone. So expanding the zone, considerably, would be the most sensible answer to the problem.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @22

    How do you keep criminals from getting guns?

    That is the real problem.

    Let’s say we have minimal gun control and tons of people have guns. Supposedly criminals can’t get guns, but of course they do.

    Let’s say we have strict gun control and very few people have guns. Supposedly criminals can’t get guns, but of course they do.

    So, with or without gun control, crazies and criminals still have guns anyway, so what is the point?

    You can only effectively change the behaviors of those who follow rules. Those who don’t follow rules aren’t affected by a change in the rules.

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom Hering @22,

    A gun-free zone didn’t work in Connecticut, because, by definition, it is only obeyed by law-abiding citizens. Your vile suggestion to expand gun-free zones will result in even more defenseless people being killed. Shame on you!

  • Grace

    I am not against guns, meaning those used to defend your family if someone breaks into your home – I am against anyone being able to buy or own assault rifles and weapons.

    Those who own guns, and purchase them, should need to wait a period of time, so that the proper authorities can verify they are not a felon. Anyone who has a mental illness should never be able to own a gun. If their parents or guardian own gun/guns, they should be locked up, by law, so the mentally ill cannot take it at will.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #22,

    Since I am the one who threw it out there, I will respond.

    Your logic holds so far as it goes, but it only goes half way. If the “gun free zone” was really a gun free zone, the killings wouldn’t have occurred. Therefore expanding the defenseless zone (in response to a successful attack in the defenseless zone) seems rather illogical to me.

    I do not suggest that current policy enabled the killings, but rather that they create an environment where, in one of these mind-blowingly horrible situations, the killing can continue unopposed. The only hope those poor kids would have had is if someone in the school had risked a felony by bringing a defensive firearm into the school.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Mexico has extremely strict gun control laws.

    However like us they have a violent population. The laws on the book are irrelevant except insofar as they provide easier victims for violent criminals.

    When we create gun free zones we encourage criminals to kill the easy victims inside them.

    We don’t see killers successfully conducting mass shootings at gun conventions or NRA meetings despite the plentiful presence of guns.

  • Dan Kempin

    Grace,

    A waiting period is not necessary to do a criminal background check, which is already necessary to purchase firearms. The mentally ill are also generally prohibited from purchasing firearms, (though i am not an expert on the laws as they vary from state to state.)

    The point being that the common sense things suggest are already in place. Oh, and also the notion that an “assault rifle” is fundamentally different or more dangerous than any other firearm is false. Automatic weapons (machine guns) have been illegal to purchase without special (and ridiculous) permitting since 1934.

  • Grace

    Dan @26 – YOU WROTE: “The only hope those poor kids would have had is if someone in the school had risked a felony by bringing a defensive firearm into the school.

    There are those who are mentally ill, who believe they need guns to defend themselves, their minds are twisted, even though they may hold responsible positions. I certainly don’t agree with your unlawful, suggestion of any teacher bringing a gun to school. That’s a dangerous idea Dan. If I found out that any teacher had done such a thing, I would go straight to the Police Chief, and then to the school Superintendent making a formal complaint.

    Individuals need special training to use weapens in such a situation as yesterday.

  • Tom Hering

    So, with or without gun control, crazies and criminals still have guns anyway, so what is the point? (@ 23)

    States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths by gun violence. That’s the point. The debate isn’t about reducing violence in general, but reducing gun violence specifically. By restricting the availability of a technology that makes quick, mass killings possible. (The Connecticut shooter brought four of his mother’s many guns with him.)

    Yesterday, there was also an attack on elementary school children in China, by a knife-wielding man. 22 children were injured. How many of them died? None. Did restrictions on guns make a difference in that case? Yes.

  • Grace

    The LINK below will give you the laws pertaining to guns, in each State.

    Gun laws in the United States (by state)

    Connecticut

    Partial ban (selective fire weapons, some .50 BMG variants, an enumerated list of specific restricted features and certain brands of semi-automatic assault weapons and weapon “types”.)

    No restrictions on magazine capacity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_United_States_(by_state)

  • Stephen
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I am not against guns, meaning those used to defend your family if someone breaks into your home – I am against anyone being able to buy or own assault rifles and weapons.

    But what is an assault rifle? I mean, a 20 gauge youth model shotgun could have done the same damage this guy did. You don’t need assault rifles to bring down grade school kids.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @32

    Yes, well, everything works in Japan. Now, for us regular folk, it isn’t so easy.

  • Grace

    I believe many, not just on this blog are not zeroing in on one of the main reasons people committ such dastardly deeds.

    Often they are mentally ill – their parents have not sought out doctors to make decisions as to how the illness should be handled. Instead, it’s glossed over, the child is not integrating with other children, instead they are home entertained by insular activities that need no friends.

    As I stated earlier, last night @4 –

    “Those who are mentally ill, or born with disorders who limit their ability to make decisions, must be evaluated by doctors. Mental hospitals must be re-opened, and used for those who are not stable enough to live in society. Our country (the U.S.) has closed or partially eliminated the use of “Mental hospitals” that should not be. The safety of our citizens should be considered before any facility is closed, or used in a minimal capacity.”

    ABCNEWS
    Dec 14, 2012 11:53am
    LIVE UPDATES: Newtown, Conn., School Shooting

    4:52 p.m: ” Ryan Lanza, 24, brother of gunman Adam Lanza, 20, tells authorities that his younger brother is autistic, or has Asperger syndrome and a “personality disorder.” Neighbors described the younger man to ABC as “odd” and displaying characteristics associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/live-updates-newtown-ct-school-shooting/

    I wonder if he was ever treated by a doctor, or evaluated within a mental health hospital?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Didn’t they change the rules about committing people to psychiatric hospitals? I mean, it used to be that family members could work with public health officials to have a crazy family member evaluated, treated and locked up if necessary. I don’t think you can do that anymore. Does anyone know?

  • Tom Hering

    Didn’t they change the rules about committing people to psychiatric hospitals? (@ 36)

    They must have. We’re all here on Cranach every day. ;-)

  • Dan Kempin

    Grace, #29,

    I feel the need to point out that I did not suggest that teachers break the law and bring guns to school.

    I did not suggest that anyone break the law.

    Please be careful in what you accuse me of suggesting. Anyone can read what is posted here, and my reputation is connected to my name.

  • Grace

    It’s just been reported from CNN:

    “The victims of the Connecticut school massacre ranged in age from 6 to 56, according to information released by state police. Eighteen of the victims were described as female; eight were male. Twenty-six people died at the school, excluding the gunman. Twenty were children; six were adults. “

  • reg

    How about mental health testing to get a gun permit-a simple MMPI type test like many employers use. How about a law barring people with members of their household who are mentally ill from owning guns? How about banning assault, automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

    I think many of those objecting to any regulations or seeking to arm the entire populace are either confirmed crazies (Vehse) or suffer from sophomoric Ralphie delusions of how thy would take on Black Bart with their Red Ryder BB gun (Dan) or may be making up for other self-perceived shortcomings. The notion that we should not have a reasonable, rational gun policy in this country (not saying a ban, but regulation) is insanity and the notion that it is never the right time to talk about such restrictions is just a cop out to avoid dealing with the issue when the actual consequences of the no restriction side of the argument are apparent.

    BTW, until very, very recently the notion that the second amendment barred all gun regulation did not exist, oh you “strict constructionists”.

    Finally, as Christians, I think these paeans to gun ownership theologically/biblically questionable .

  • Grace

    Dan @ 38 and 26

    This is your post @26

    26 Dan Kempin December 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    Tom, #22,

    Since I am the one who threw it out there, I will respond.

    Your logic holds so far as it goes, but it only goes half way. If the “gun free zone” was really a gun free zone, the killings wouldn’t have occurred. Therefore expanding the defenseless zone (in response to a successful attack in the defenseless zone) seems rather illogical to me.

    I do not suggest that current policy enabled the killings, but rather that they create an environment where, in one of these mind-blowingly horrible situations, the killing can continue unopposed. The only hope those poor kids would have had is if someone in the school had risked a felony by bringing a defensive firearm into the school.”

    Dan, what part of your post above is incorrect? Your suggestion is illegal. Who might you have in mind to bring a gun into the school?

    38 Dan Kempin December 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    Grace, #29,
    “I feel the need to point out that I did not suggest that teachers break the law and bring guns to school.

    I did not suggest that anyone break the law.

    Please be careful in what you accuse me of suggesting. Anyone can read what is posted here, and my reputation is connected to my name.”

    This is what you wrote The only hope those poor kids would have had is if someone in the school had risked a felony by bringing a defensive firearm into the school.”

    What did you mean by that comment?

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 30 – Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun laws we have in the country. They obviously failed.

    I think the big issue is one of culture and changing norms. I would argue this incident may be more indicative of a permissive and indulgent culture that celebrates violence, insolence and general crudity. We have long had guns in our culture, yet even the legendary days of the Wild Wild West were not so violent as we have come to believe with the exception of the violence inflicted by, and upon, native Americans. The shootout at the O.K. Corral or the James Gang were aberrations to the norm such that they made national headlines. These occasional outbursts actually mask the prevalent violent crime endemic in large parts of our society. Detroit has seen its homicide rate grow by 5+% per year since 2009, even while crime rates overall have fallen; the option of excessive force seems to increasingly be the default setting for far too many people. Speaking of Detroit, they’ll surpass this horrific body count in a few weeks, and while the victims will be older than those in Newton, many of them will be under 20.

    We have come to love violence, to celebrate it, and to even encourage it and embrace it as one of our unique American virtues. When we look aghast at the spillover consequences of that ethical and moral void it becomes easy to focus blame on the weapons and tools of violence instead of our own tacit acceptance of the violent impulses coursing through large segments of our culture.

  • Grace

    EXCERPT from article below, (Reuters):

    Police find “good evidence” on motive for Connecticut school massacre

    By Ernest Scheyder and Edward Krudy
    NEWTOWN, Connecticut | Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:01pm EST

    “The woman found dead at the secondary crime scene was related to the shooter, a police news release said. Many media outlets have reported she was the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

    Nancy Lanza legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock, both handguns of models commonly used by police, and a military-style Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, according to law enforcement officials who also believe Adam Lanza used at least some of those weapons.

    “We’re investigating the history of each and every weapon, and we will know every single thing about those weapons,” Vance said.

    Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector who once showed him a “really nice, high-end rifle” that she had purchased, said Dan Holmes, owner of a landscaping business who recently decorated her yard with Christmas garlands and lights. “She said she would often go target shooting with her kids.”

    Newtown was ranked the fifth safest city in America by the website NeighborhoodScout.com based on 2011 crime statistics.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/15/us-connecticut-towns-idUSBRE8BD0U120121215

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I wonder what fantasyland Leftists live in where they assume you could take away guns from the criminal population. I’ll let them try that just after they finish ending the drug trade.

    Mexico has an extreme form of gun control and we see how that’s done nothing to effect the availability of guns. Prohibition and Drug Laws show the folly of trying to remove a freedom people have grown accustomed to.

    I’d rather we just keep the Bill of Rights and dispense with fantasy schemes for security like gun control or the Patriot Act.

  • Tom Hering

    Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun laws we have in the country. They obviously failed. (@ 42)

    Clearly not restrictive enough. Not even close. Clearly. And I thought the failure lay in an adult gaining entry to the school – carrying three guns, wearing body armor, and dressed in black (as other shooters have been). Even an entirely normal-looking adult shouldn’t have been able to get in.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    “Clearly not restrictive enough. Not even close. Clearly.”

    So they ought to adopt Mexico’s gun control laws which don’t allow the sale of guns except at one government office? That’ll clearly solve everything. Just like how you Statists have solved the drug problem with your war on drugs.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL @ 44, how many of these mass killings have been perpetrated by the “criminal population”? Hmm? This whole “only criminals will have guns” argument is bogus. In those countries where the penalties are severe enough, most criminals want nothing to do with guns, and their use in the commission of crimes is rare.

  • mikeb

    Let’s ban the guns already. After all, we banned drugs and that problem went away…

  • Dan Kempin

    Grace, #41,

    My point was to illustrate that if defending the children required breaking the law (which it would have, in this case), then the law is messed up.

    Reg, #40,

    The fact that you think that there are no regulations or that anyone is suggesting there be no regulations about firearms does not exactly inspire confidence in your analysis.

    I’m glad that you think we should reason this out on a biblical and theological basis, though I’m not sure how biblical it is to call me delusional and insecure because I may happen to disagree with you.

    Seriously, though, I think I’d best live up to my earlier comment and bow out of this conversation.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #47 “SAL @ 44, how many of these mass killings have been perpetrated by the “criminal population”?”

    100%. Murder is a crime here on most of Planet Earth.

    “In those countries where the penalties are severe enough, most criminals want nothing to do with guns, and their use in the commission of crimes is rare.”

    Apparently you’ve not heard of our lovely neighbor Estados Unidos Mexicanos? Killings carried out with guns are very common there despite the near total prohibition on the sale of guns.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL @ 46, Mexico? Mexico? American law enforcement isn’t in an all-out shooting war with domestic drug armies. Try an analogy that fits the sort of situation we’re actually talking about.

  • Grace

    Dan @49

    YOU WROTE: “My point was to illustrate that if defending the children required breaking the law (which it would have, in this case), then the law is messed up.”

    The law isn’t “messed up” as you claim. I doubt anyone dreamed, that what happened yesterday would come to pass.

    One could then claim it a good idea to carry a gun in their car, without a permit, which is a “felony” too. Of course one can state, that it’s ‘just in case someone tries to hurt them. It’s no different than your reasoning, which is wrong. I don’t think you thought that through Dan.

  • mikeb

    Now time for a serious question for those of you who advocate the right of people to own guns to protect themselves but with a restriction that they keep them locked up. How are they supposed to access the weapon when it’s time to defend themselves if it is locked up?

    And another serious question. One of the weapons involved was apparently a .223 caliber rifle. I have a hunting rifle of this caliber. It uses a small bullet and I’ve used it to deer hunt. One cannot make a legitimate claim that it is an “assault rifle” in my opinion. I’ve heard people say that large caliber weapons are bad. This weapon was one of the smaller caliber variety. How do you decide that one rifle is a hunting rifle and another an assault rifle?

  • Grace

    mikeb @53 – YOUR QUESTION: “How are they supposed to access the weapon when it’s time to defend themselves if it is locked up?”

    ANSWER: A combination lock doesn’t need a key – it needs only to be opened by the one setting the code, it would take only seconds.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Ok, Tom let’s give you a couple more examples though I doubt they’ll pierce your fantasyland.

    South Africa has much stricter gun control then we do (with more gun crime).

    Finland has stricter gun control then we do but significant amounts of mass killings.

    Thailand has stricter gun control than we do and still a high rate of gun violence.

    Brazil requires all guns to be registered with the state and has restrictive gun laws. It has as proportionally as much gun violence as we do.

    But by all means let’s make our citizens easier targets for criminals and crazies.

  • Tom Hering

    Mikeb @ 53, the type of rifle used in the Connecticut shooting was more than enough of a weapon. 20 of the victims were first-graders who, as the medical examiner reported today, were each shot more than once, up close. Clearly, a ban on assault-type rifles, alone, is an inadequate approach. Strong restrictions on other types are needed as well.

  • Grace

    This is an EXCELLENT VIDEO –

    Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: Obviously Not Well

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/connecticut-shooter-adam-lanza/story?id=17975673#.UMvaN0bDVSI

  • Tom Hering

    But by all means let’s make our citizens easier targets for criminals and crazies. (@ 55)

    We have almost one gun per American in private hands now. And it hasn’t done away with crime, much less mass killings. Are you suggesting two per American would work better? Seems to me our preferred approach to self-defense would only prove twice as ineffective.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #58 The problem is gun-free zones that encourage mass slaughter by disarming law-abiding citizens.

    If we allow concealed weapons in all settings we’ll have fewer of these incidents. As I said before a room full of guns at a gun show doesn’t cause mass killings. It actually discourages it.

  • Grace

    Sal @59

    YOU WROTE: “If we allow concealed weapons in all settings we’ll have fewer of these incidents. As I said before a room full of guns at a gun show doesn’t cause mass killings. It actually discourages it.

    A “gun show” has nothing to do with the tragedy yesterday.

  • mikeb

    Tom @ 56

    Strong restrictions needed on other types as well?

    A .223 is one of the smallest caliber firearms. Surely you’ve heard of a .22 — perhaps the most common of all long guns? In my area of the world we use those to hunt rabbit and squirrel. They’re often light weight and have little kick so usually they are a kid’s “first gun”; the one his or her dad or grandpa (or female relative as the case may be) uses to teach about shooting and firearm safety. My first .22 was given to my dad by his grandpa who gave it to me when the time was right.

    But I digress: The bullet for a .22 is just a little smaller than the .223. In fact, a .22 could have killed as many victims yesterday, unfortunately. (It was a .22 pistol that John Hinckley, Jr. used to shoot President Reagan and he nearly died.)

    The problem here isn’t the gun, its caliber, the length of the barrel, or the number of bullets in the magazine. We won’t make ourselves any safer by passing a law that says a .22 is okay but a .223 is not. Or making all rifles and handguns illegal but affirming shotguns are ok. Or even an outright ban.

    No, the problem is that the world is full of lying, murderous, thieving sinners. No amount of legislation can change that. And anyone who says that we need tougher gun control laws just doesn’t get that. They just don’t get that you can’t use the criminal code to force people to do the right thing–only to punish them after the fact.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL, we had school killings before schools were made gun-free zones (in response to those killings). The problem in Connecticut wasn’t a lack of gun-toting teachers. It was an unauthorized adult gaining access to a school building – a known type of target for mass killers.

    Has the presence of armed guards ended bank robberies? Has an armed police force patrolling our streets ended street crime? Didn’t think so. But you won’t stop proposing concealed carry as a panacea, will you?

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Well Tom honestly nothing will entirely stop gun crime in a well-armed nation. We live in the real sinful world not a fantasyland.

    However concealed carry laws are the only policy with vigorous evidence of a positive effect on gun violence in the American setting.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #62 “The problem in Connecticut wasn’t a lack of gun-toting teachers.”

    That’s a rather ridiculous statement. A teacher carrying a concealed weapon could have saved many children’s lives.

    People with concealed guns have limited the deaths from gun violence many times this past year.

  • Abby

    sg@36: Yes, a family member can get a person evaluated and locked up in mental health care. Read post 19. It is a hard process. The family member obviously would be one that would love and not give up the mentally ill individual. The system makes it very hard, but it can be done.

  • Grace

    Parents often times, don’t want to admit the fact that their child is mentally ill. For that reason, many young people go without the necessary evaluations and medication.

    Sometimes one parent will push for medical help, while the other doesn’t want to face the obvious facts that their child does need help.

    Many parents, they feel that if their child has a mental illness, it’s their fault.

    Often times mental disorders are handed down from from one generation to another.

  • Hanni

    I have never understood , and never will I guess, why anyone wants a gun (unless its an antique), wants to shoot a gun, and especially kill something with a gun. There is only one purpose for a gun that I can see and that is killing or practicing killing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I just want to make a point about caliber. The M16 uses about a .22 caliber bullet. The difference between a target practice .22 pistol or rifle load is how much powder is in the cartridge. So, if you google an image of the loads used in a little .22 vs an M16 you will see that although the projectile itself has about the same diameter, cartridge size is way different as is the size of the bullet.

    M16 cartridge image:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=image+m16+cartridge&hl=en&client=safari&tbo=u&rls=en&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=3RbNUNfrA4bQygGe94H4DA&ved=0CDIQsAQ&biw=891&bih=456

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • Grace

    Hanni @67

    People who have a normal desire to protect their families, buy guns to do just that – if someone breaks into their home, they are in a position to protect themselves and their children. I have no problem with that, in fact I believe it’s a wise choice.

  • Tom Hering

    … concealed carry laws are the only policy with vigorous evidence of a positive effect on gun violence in the American setting. (@ 63)

    Show us the evidence. From impartial sources, i.e., not the NRA. And more than one study, please.

    A teacher carrying a concealed weapon could have saved many children’s lives. (@ 64)

    I’m the one living in fantasyland? You want to fill our schools with people who are not only good teachers, dedicated to teaching, but who also have a proficiency with firearms, and the willingness – the right type of personality – to kill other people with them. Where are you going to find almost 4 million individuals like that (the approximate number of elementary school teachers in the U.S. today)? Could you, maybe, try again to come up with a realistic solution to the problem we’re discussing? I’ll be waiting, but I won’t be holding my breath. ;-)

  • rlewer

    from NBC news:

    According to NBC, the shooter left his rifle in the car and used only hand guns, supposedly four of them.

    Also he had been denied the right to buy a rifle earlier in the week according to the existing laws.

    Of course, NBC could be wrong.

  • rlewer

    On the other hand, the medical examiner is reported to have said the children were shot with a rifle. Strange.

  • mikeb

    Hanni @ 67

    You miss the point. Just because you don’t enjoy something or don’t want to participate does mean nobody should do it?

    I have never understood , and never will I guess, why my wife wants a sewing machine (unless its an antique), wants to sew, and especially make something with a sewing machine. There is only one purpose for a sewing machine that I can see and that is sewing things and why on Earth would she do that when we can just buy them at the store?

  • mikeb

    rlewer @ 72

    Of course, NBC could be wrong.

    Never!!

  • mikeb

    dang it!!! It didn’t allow my sarcasm html tags!!

    Post 75 should have read:

    [sarcasm] Never!! [/sarcasm]

  • Patrick kyle

    What are we finding out about the shooter and this heinous crime?
    1. The guns belonged to his mother whom he killed and subsequently stole her guns.

    2. He apparently forced his way onto the campus even after they implemented new security procedures. So you have a 20 year old kid (probably without prior military or weapons training) neutralizing campus security protocols.

    In addition to these facts, there are enough firearms in circulation in the US to supply every man, woman and child in the country with several guns.

    A couple questions for those in favor of stricter laws.

    Would/can these laws deter a motivated criminal from acquiring and using guns?

    Just how motivated are these school shooters?

    Illicit drugs are highly illegal. Has the ‘War on Drugs’ and the draconian sentencing laws for drug offenders stemmed the tide of drugs on our streets? Why would this work for guns?

    Given our culture over the last 200 years, is it a realistic expectation that the majority of gun owners would actually turn in their guns to the authorities if ordered to do so?

    Is it an even comparison to compare this country with Japan and other European cultures that are much less individualistic and freedom oriented?

    And for tODD. Why is it that so many people feel compelled to shoot up schools?

    Just some food for thought before the inevitable chorus of “It’s the guns, stupid!”

  • Grace

    Patrick @ 77

    YOU ASKED: “And for tODD. Why is it that so many people feel compelled to shoot up schools?”

    My answer is mental illness, there are many different scenarios, of combinations and several at a time. Check out my post @66.

  • Tom Hering

    Why is it that so many people feel compelled to shoot up schools?

    Because they provide an abundance of victims. Also, I suppose, because children are relatively weak, and so, are attractive targets. Unlike middle-aged men, armed or not. (Cf., SAL’s gun show example.)

  • Stephen

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    What I’d like to know is, where are all these well-regulated militias? And are all you gun owners members? Is there training necessary? Since, constitutionally, it is meant to be well-regulated, you’d think it would have some requirements of some sort. And since it is a matter of state security, it seems the state is responsible for doing the regulating.

    Maybe I’m reading that wrong. I see nothing in that amendment about hunting though. I guess that is assumed.

    Mt 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword.”

    America has chosen to live by the sword (“If only the teachers were armed! It’s brilliant!!!”). Doing so seems to be killing ourselves and our children.

  • Stephen
  • Stephen
  • http://bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    In related news, a series of knife attacks on schools in China has resulted in over 20 deaths and 50 serious injuries. Shall we ban knives now, too? Or do we confront the ugly fact that some people do evil things,and take concrete steps to reduce that evil?

    Like, say, arming teachers? Reality is that using firearms for self-defense does not require a whole lot of skill–you just need to hit center of mass at generally point blank range. Accidental deaths by carry permit holders are a LOT lower than they are for the police for this reason–the lawful citizen generally does not have any confusion over who is the bad guy, or about his intents.

    Sorry, but we’ve been pretending that unilateral disarmament has been the solution for decades now, and we see the results. It’s time to try something different.

  • Stephen

    I liked this:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/12/newtown_tragedy_how_the_school_shooting_could_finally_change_how_americans.html?wpisrc=most_viral

    @ 83

    Unilateral disarmament? What the . . . are you talking about? Oh yeah, arming teachers! That’s idiotic. When will people stop trotting out this horseshit “solution?” Yes, teachers should be armed just like the police. Teach them how to kill, just in case – EVERY TEACHER IN THE UNITED STATES!!! So when they’re done grading papers for the evening they can be cleaning their weapon for the next day. Are you insane! Why should my wife have to shoot someone when she’s trying to teach kids algebra? Do you know how much they get paid? You expect her to be a killer too? She’s not in the military. Let me guess, you’d also like to see her union representation have absolutely no clout as well. Are these the kind of concrete steps you are talking about? More like muddy footprints of stupidity traipsing across the carpet.

    “Accidental deaths by carry permit holders are a LOT lower than they are for the police for this reason–the lawful citizen generally does not have any confusion over who is the bad guy, or about his intents.”

    Any proof of this, especially the second part of that statement. 59% of all gun deaths are self-inflicted (google it – hint: CDC). That means that people who own guns for all those noble reasons – you know, hunting and self protection – are killing themselves instead. That doesn’t even account for all the other accidental deaths (plenty of those, and a lot of them are kids killed by other family members), murders, along with what now seems to be a fashion in this country of massacres.

    Guns allow for people to act with a very certain lethal force on impulse. They are designed that way, to be especially lethal in the blink of an eye and to wield an enormous amount of power in the hands of an individual, overcoming distance and number of possible targets substantially more than any knife or spear or bow or club, etc. Any comparison to these other weapons is silly. That is why guns changed history. That is also why they should be much more tightly regulated and very difficult to get. That is, if we want to live in a more civilized and peaceful society. Don’t tell me it can’t work. There are places where it does like Australia and Japan for instance. We just have to be willing to figure out a way to do it here.

    Mt 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    Personally, I think owning a gun for protection shows a real lack of faith in God. But that’s me. It would be different if there were a war going on right here. But c’mon . . .

    Philippians 4:5 “Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near!” He didn’t say “let everyone see your weapon,” did he?

  • kerner

    Tom H:

    Emotions are getting the better of you (perhaps of other people as well, but definitely you). Your own information doesn not add uo to supporting your position. That link you posted supposedly demonstrating a lack of guns in Switzerland; somebody in the comments section posted this link, basicly refuting the author’s claim:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

    You said above that staes with a high level of restrictions on firearms have lower violent crime rates. Really? Illinois (with it’s very restrictive gun laws) has a lower violent crime rate than Wiscosnin. How about Maryland? Heavy restrictions on guns,, perhaps. Yet Baltimore has been nicknamed “Bulletmore, Murderland”.

    You said that Countries with strict contols on firearms have less violent crime than those with less strict controls. But when somebody points out that Mexico has very strict controls, that have absolutely no aparent effect on the heavily armed criminals who commit an incredible amount of murders with impunity, you act like this is an unfair comparison. And, as cited above, Switzerland DOES turn out to be a place with lots of guns and little violent crime.

    The Nazi’s confiscated privately held weapons. I don’t know waht the violent crime rate was in Nazi Germany. But I do know that the Nazi regime’s strict controls on firearms probably had little to do with the crime rate.

    I don’t know whether getting rid of so called “gun free” zones (which are only gun free until some dangerous person enters one such zone and kills a lot of people) is a panacea or not. But the evidence shows that there seems to be very little correlation between strict gun laws and a low crime rate. You have not shown any such correlation. You merely seem to wish you could.

  • kerner

    Stephen @80:
    “Mt 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword.”

    That quotation is frequently raised, but most people take it completely out of context. It completely ignores the fact that, only hours before, Jesus had just told the disciples to go armed; See Luke 22:
    “35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

    36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

    38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”

    From this we learn at least 2 things. Two of the disciples came armed to the Last Supper, and Jesus encouraged them to continue going armed. Now we also know from your quotation, as well as a corresponding one in Luke 22, that Jesus did not want to be rescued from the people who we taking him to be crucified. This should come as no surprise since being crucified fur our sins was the whole point of coming to earth. But you can hardly hold up that passage as directive to all Christians to always be passive and unarmed.

    And now you are saying that going armed is a sign of a lack of faith in God? And that doesn’t strike you as being as much over the top as suggesting that we arm all teachers? Isn’t that a little like saying that life insurance is evidence of a lack of faith in God?

    As for massacres in Gun free cultures, How about those Japanese:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka_school_massacre

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akihabara_massacre

  • Patrick kyle

    Stephen @80 “What I’d like to know is, where are all these well-regulated militias? And are all you gun owners members? Is there training necessary? Since, constitutionally, it is meant to be well-regulated, you’d think it would have some requirements of some sort”
    A case can be made that the term ‘well regulated’ is a synonym for ‘well armed.’
    Also, there are all sorts of militias. Unfortunately, our government views most of them as domestic terrorists, and the MSM paints them as right wing nut cases.

    Stephen@84 said,
    “That is also why they should be much more tightly regulated and very difficult to get. That is, if we want to live in a more civilized and peaceful society. Don’t tell me it can’t work. There are places where it does like Australia and Japan for instance. We just have to be willing to figure out a way to do it here.”

    See my questions @70 and convince me we can accomplish what Japan has done with gun control.

  • kerner
  • Patrick kyle

    Some interesting stats on the leading causes of death in this country.
    Number two is really frightening and grabbed my attention.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151126591146536&set=a.10150723892366536.390275.599131535&type=1&theater

  • kerner

    This one goes back a ways:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuyama_massacre

    and he did use a gun for some of it.

    But, these events are not all that uncommon in Japan:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080611164249/http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080610TDY03104.htm

  • Patrick kyle

    Tom @79

    I think that there is a lot more going on than just an abundance of easy victims in school shootings. P0eople are angry enough to kill and a lot of them do their killing in schools. There is something to that.

  • kerner

    Patrick Kyle:

    Check that last link @90.

    Japan had 67 knife based massacres in 10 years.

  • John C

    http://overland.org.au/blogs/new-words/2012/08/when-the-burning-moment-breaks-gun-control-and-rage-massacres/

    According to this essay, tighter gun control legislation is not as straight forward as it seems. Over the years both Left and Right have sought more or less legislation.
    After the civil war, blacks were disarmed and to enforce the ban, white posses terrorized black communities. One hundred years later. the Black Panthers saw guns as a means of liberation.

  • Tom Hering

    Emotions are getting the better of you (perhaps of other people as well, but definitely you). (@ 85)

    Show me where in my comments, kerner, I got emotional. You can’t, so you can’t dismiss my arguments quite that easily, though you’d obviously like to.

    And you’re the one who brought up Nazi Germany (@ 85)! Tell me again which one of us is being a little too emotional. :-D

  • Michael B.

    It always seemed to me such a contradiction of how much the government regulates things like driving and drugs, as compared to guns. You want to buy a drug for your own personal use, well then you need an okay-slip from a government-approved doctor, and then you’re only allowed the drug in amounts the government sees as necessarily. On the other hand, you want a gun that you could potentially use to kill multiple people? Well then, just go to a gun show. Buy as much ammo as you like.

  • Rose

    “Why is it that so many people feel compelled to shoot up schools?”
    The demented mind doesn’t distinguish between killing the preborn or postborn.
    This school tragedy consumes the public space for days.
    Abortion is rarely photographed, videotaped or mourned publicly.
    But perhaps the violence of it seeps out.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael @ 95 – There is a rational argument to overturn most pharmaceutical and medical prescription laws. Those laws exist as measures to protect, not the general public, but the medical and pharmaceutical professions. Safety is an excuse, but it is not the reason.

  • P.C.

    Veith posted, “Mass murder of little children! Matricide! Unfathomable evil. What can be said about the school shootings in Connecticut?”

    Quite simply, January 22, 1973. That was the day that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that human life in the womb could be murdered. That is the date that legally dehumanized individuals in our country.

    Sure, there have always been mass murders in America (St. Vallentines Day in 1929 among many) and the terrible and sad tragedy of the little children in Newtown, CN was just one of the massacres that day. Last Friday in every large metropolitan city in America twice that number of children were murdered in the confines of a doctor’s office.

    No red herring here, folks, just the absolute truth that “the world is very evil, the times are waxing late.”

  • Tom Hering

    P.C., can you say, “I’m using this tragedy for my completely unrelated agenda”? I know you can.

  • Abby

    Dr. Keith Ablow, Forensic Psychiatrist, stated that he gives the Mental Health Industry in the U.S. a D-. It is almost virtually non-existent according to him. As I stated in post 19, the system is very difficult. And the government agencies are the worst. However, I believe Adam Lanza did not just “snap” — he planned this. As soon as friends and relatives heard the news about the incident, they immediately knew it was Adam who had done it. I believe him to be mentally ill, and someone should have recognized the signs and aggressively sought to get him to get help. However, that does not eradicate his own responsibility of choice. Another forensic psychiatrist said that some sociopaths have absolutely no ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Even though these individuals can sell themselves out totally to evil, I emphatically do not believe that they are not aware of the line between right and wrong. God said that He has written His Laws into man’s hearts. If God said this, then it is so.

  • Grace

    This happens all too often. I hope you click the LINK and read the rest.

    I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother
    Liza Long

    “Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

    “I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
    “They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

    “They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
    “You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
    I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

    A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan-they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

    That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

    We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

    http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother

  • P.C.

    Tom @99,

    As if you aren’t, sir?

    This is my agenda if it wasn’t perfectly clear, Tom, that the world is very evil because of sin. And, oh by the way, Rose at @96 said it so much better than I. This tragedy is a much bigger picture than what you may assume.

  • Grace

    Abby @100

    YOU WROTE: “I believe him to be mentally ill, and someone should have recognized the signs and aggressively sought to get him to get help.”

    A parent often seeks help, but the mental facilities are no longer available, either because there is no room, or because they are CLOSED.

  • Tom Hering

    As if you aren’t, sir? (@ 102)

    P.C., I’m talking about the issue of gun control, which is directly related to what happened in Connecticut. The issue of abortion isn’t.

    Grace @ 103, let’s be careful here. While a good number of mass killers have turned out to be mentally ill, the majority – the vast majority – of people with a mental illness are not violent, and never will be.

  • P.C.

    You’re right, Tom, I did get off the direct issue. My original posting at #18 is still where my heart is.

  • Carl Vehse

    For all of the anti-2nd Amendment/gun-hating leftists, here’s your solution, “Gun-Free Zones Stopping Crime.”

    On the other hand, those who hold a sane view may get a kick out of it, too.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @80

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    If you want to be picky about that statement, it really is calling on citizens to stockpile actual military equipment like artillery and to organize themselves for defense. It is promoting a system more like the Swiss have with pretty much universal military service requirements including storing military weapons in their own homes.

    There are folks like that here but uh, let’s just say it isn’t encouraged.

    The tribes of the Helvetii have made it work, but hey, we aren’t the Helvetii, now are we?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    While a good number of mass killers have turned out to be mentally ill, the majority – the vast majority – of people with a mental illness are not violent, and never will be.

    That is the problem. We can’t predict who will be a mass murderer.

  • Grace

    Tom @104

    “let’s be careful here. While a good number of mass killers have turned out to be mentally ill, the majority – the vast majority – of people with a mental illness are not violent, and never will be.”

    I never stated that “vast majority” are “violent” –

    You took what I stated @103, and your comment concerning my statement which is:
    A parent often seeks help, but the mental facilities are no longer available, either because there is no room, or because they are CLOSED.”

    Tom – mental illness is a subject that most people don’t want to talk about, or deal with. Just LOOK at this thread, it’s full of arguments over guns.

    We have a lot of mentally disturbed young people, either born with disorders, or they have become ill, by the drugs they ingest. Mental illness is no small problem – our country has chosen to ignore it. Parents make excuses, or are ignored when they try and seek help. OR, teachers and others bring the problems to the parents attention, but nothing is done.

  • Trey

    This guy was hellbent on murdering, there are other mechanism besides guns to do such things. The problem is not the lack of gun laws rather the lack of gun carriers and the restriction of where they can carry guns. There ought to be a government mandate that all legal and sane citizens must carry a concealed weapons or face a tax. This would help deter gun crime and crime in general. This idea is never mentioned because the leftist don’t want to think realistically. The problem is the breakdown of the family and personal morality (civil righteousness). The teaching of evolution-blind indifference to life, and its logical end moral relativism is more responsible than guns.

  • Grace

    Trey @110

    “There ought to be a government mandate that all legal and sane citizens must carry a concealed weapons or face a tax.”

    That is one bone headed, unthought out comment – either that or you’ve resorted to a strange brand of sarcasm.

  • helen

    Pat Kyle @ 89
    “Number two [cause of death] scares me” .

    My father died of “medical error” at 36; my mother at 52, in the same hospital, “error” also.
    I am told that anyone in southern Minnesota with more than a bad cold or hangnail,
    goes to Rochester which has a reputation for being safer.

    SKP @ 97
    I have some chronic medications… once I could buy a six months supply with a prescription; today the insurance company has total control and doles it out 30 days at a time. But overseas, I could buy as much as I wanted of the same American produced drug, OTC and a lot cheaper.

    PC @ 98
    I don’t think you are as far “off base” as you are accused of being. I have listened to a 20 year old boy who was extremely bitter about his perception of “women holding all the cards”. Particularly he was complaining that “she decides if we have sex; if she gets pregnant, she decides whether to keep or kill the child with no input from its father; she decides about marriage…. It went on, but the post “Roe vs Wade” world was obviously a problem to him.
    For others it may well be, “anything she can do, I can do better”.

    Along with that, we have violent video games which make destroying people a sport. I don’t really think that is harmless for anyone, but obviously the person who has no moral compass is more likely to wonder what it would be like to shoot up “the real thing”.

    But I think this morning’s Adult class had it right. Publicity! People who don’t expect to ever do anything of note guarantee themselves “’15 minutes of fame” by taking a number of other people out with them. And, of course, the less likely the other people are to defend themselves, the more you can take. So, schools, theatres, busy cheap restaurants and such are the targets.

  • Abby

    “A parent often seeks help, but the mental facilities are no longer available, either because there is no room, or because they are CLOSED.”

    Grace, you aren’t familiar in the system. I lived in 2 large cities. Mental Health Care abounds in both. Lock- up is possible. The problem is with both the parents and the patients and with health coverage for the patient. If the individual has no health care there will be NO treatment or very little. The patients like to refuse treatment. Get started on it and drop it — all the time. It’s an endless circle. Parents are ill-equipped to handle it 1)Because they may not want to and the patient is probably using drugs and will not give them up, 2) They get tired and quit, 3) They lack commitment and training for the process. Number 3 exists in NAMI if caregivers really want to try to help their loved one. If it becomes impossible, then the next resort is they can not return home to live.

  • Grace

    Abby @ 113

    YOU WROTE: “Grace, you aren’t familiar in the system. I lived in 2 large cities. Mental Health Care abounds in both. Lock- up is possible.”

    I am familiar with most all the major hospitals in California. I have lived in all most all the major cities in Califoria, except San Diego County.

    I am aware of what is possible, and what no longer exists. The mental hospitals that were once open, are either closed, or they have downsized their facilities, in which there is no room, for the growing need for mental health patients

    I am a pastors daughter, in so being, I was privy to the needs of the community, and the churches my father served. At that time, there was help, there were mental health hospitals available, that is no longer the case today. My father visted with those who’s family members were living in “mental hospitals” –

    My background is in medicine. The hospitals which serve the community about twenty years ago, including all illness, ER, etc., also had an area for those needing mental health treatment. It no longer exists. There are only a few hospitals that serve the mass community with any illness, that have kept the mental health ward OPEN.

    Parents have the option of seeking help for their children, or they can turn a ‘blind eye. Children can be helped, or they can at least be turned in the right direction. It’s up to parents, teachers and others in the community who witnesss behavior which is abnormal, to speak up. We also need to REOPEN MENTAL INSTITUTIONS in this country, and take responsibility for a group of people who are mentally ill.

    As for cost – those who are mentally ill, fall under ‘disability, and more often are able to receive Medicad.
    National Alliance on Mental Illness

    Here are some important facts about mental illness and recovery:

    – Mental illnesses are serious medical illnesses. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence. Mental illness falls along a continuum of severity. Even though mental illness is widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion-about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 Americans-who live with a serious mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that One in four adults-approximately 57.7 million Americans-experience a mental health disorder in a given year

    - The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 10 percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school and with peers.

    - The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.

    - Mental illness usually strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.
    Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.

    - The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports. ”

    http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=about_mental_illness

  • Grace

    Abby,

    Mental Health care, if it’s just to be seen is not always enough. All too many patients need hosptial care – that is the part you and most others don’t understand.

    The Mental Hospitals are downsized or closed. That’s why you see so many homeless people, they have been in that situation for years. It’s not that they ALL cannot work, they CANNOT FUNCTION. Lots of them began that lifestyle when they were very young, ie; teens.

    When I opened the organization to help the needy, hungry, homeless, those needing medical care – I saw the situation first hand. It’s pitiful!

  • Abby

    “. . . that is the part you and most others don’t understand.”

    I don’t understand?! I went through this WHOLE process with my child for 10 years.

    “I saw the situation first hand. It’s pitiful!”

    I didn’t just “see” cases, I lived in it. I know the NAMI material — I was in the training and support groups for caregivers. And thanks be to God, my situation is a turned-around miracle given to me by God — due to the whole process I listed in Post 19. My child is now on the serving end in the same Hospital he started out as a patient. (And this hospital is a Christian-based Mental Health Care Hospital. The Government agencies we had to initially deal with were worthless–like Dr. Keith Ablow said.) He is a fulltime employee, with benefits, and just received his State certification to be a Peer Support Leader. He started out on Medicare/Medicaid and he himself wanted to get out of that as a point of honor. He wanted to work.

    And he started out as Paranoid Schizophrenic with delusions. He was classified as severe. And everytime the hospital asked if he could come home, I said yes. But not without some gut-wrenching work on my part. I did not sit by and let him fend for himself. I had to involve the police and a judge 3 times in his commitals. Now how hard do you think that is for a mother to bring the police to make her adult son do something he is refusing to do? (And this was shortly after my husband had died. So I was doing it alone.) But I didn’t just bring the police and hospital to bear on him. I stayed with him every step of the way. There were times I thought he would never want to come home again. But he always did because in his heart he knew that I was trying to help him and he had enough honesty to keep trying. And this is an important key — he was raised in the church and church school. He had personal faith.

    His sisters asked him at Christmas two years ago how he liked his job. He said he liked it except the bad part was that the patients he sees were acting “like he used to. They won’t stay on their medications.” I nearly fell off my chair. Because all denial was finally gone. He is so in control of his situation now that I feel confident if I died right now, he knows what to do and will stay with the proper care. And he really KNOWS what to do. I am very proud of his tremendously hard work. And I am endlessly thankful to God for this miracle. People who watched this whole situation with me agree.

  • Abby
  • Grace

    Abby,

    I have seen what you describe, in different venues.

    Sometimes young people or adults take the right turn, and many times they don’t. I’m happy for you – but for all the others, who put in all the hard work, and have been left with holes in their heart didn’t fail. An individual has to WANT to CHANGE. Loved ones, parents, pastors and doctors can only do so much.

    Keep in mind, that often times a mentally ill child causes one or the other parent to leave, and then blames the one left taking care of the mentally ill child/teen or a young adult, just as you did, as you stated your husband passed away. That must have been very difficult.

    The Mental hospital shortage dilemma is very difficult. When you mention patients not taking their “medication” that too is a hard task for anyone to keep pushing the ill. They almost always want to stop taking their meds. I once asked a very bipolar individual why he would stop taking his medication – his answer: “I don’t feel the inspiration to create art, when I’m on meds” – that’s not the first time I’ve heard that answer. They often feel their talents are not within reach when they are taking medication.

    God bless you Abby -

  • Grace

    I read my post over, I’m not to sure you mentioned a patient not taking their medication. That is however, one of the problems.

  • Abby

    Grace, thank you also for your work in this area.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The teaching of evolution-blind indifference to life, and its logical end moral relativism is more responsible than guns.

    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread – it is going into regions where I don’t trust my temper. But I have to say – it was only a matter of time before someone made such a boneheaded, idiotic comment. Congratulations Trey!!

    In general I think comments 40 & 42 are close to the mark. And I wish to commend Grace for her obviously heartfelt concern for the mentally unstable. I might agree with everything she said, but the signs of sincere concern are there.

    Oh, and SAL, before you go and make uninformed comments about South Africa, learn something about the background of the violence first! As it is, you are just showing off your profound ignorance…

  • Tom Hering

    Looks like Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy, was part of the “prepper” (survivalist) movement, and taught her son to shoot. No doubt to help him survive the coming economic collapse that preppers fear:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/mother-of-sandy-hook-gunman-adam-lanza-was-a-gun-obsessive-living-in-fear-of-societys-collapse-16251468.html

  • andrew

    Australia had one large massacre in the mid 90s. The prime minister shortly thereafter changed the gun laws. many categories of guns were outlawed, and recalled. availability of gun licenses was restricted.
    This was in a society where already gun ownership wasn’t that widespread, and handguns were rare outside of shooting ranges.

    It has helped reduce the number of massacres. Also, fewer guns means fewer deaths by gunshot (normally suicide). those people may well find other ways, but a gun is a rapid and very fatal method and perhaps more prone to impulsive action.

    an article by the deputy leader of the conservative party over here.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/loss-of-innocents-must-change-gun-laws-in-us/story-e6frezz0-1226537899453

    The PM who implemented this was among the most conservative in the recent history of australia. not a closet commie. Australian culture is different to america when it comes to attitudes towards the state, and what we will and wont tolerate, but gun control has helped here. There are still criminals with guns, but most crimes are undertaken without the need to use firearms. It is nice to live in a society where gun crime is rare.

    It might not work in america, or mexico, but there are parts of the world where there is the correlation of gun control and low gun crime. even in cultures that aren’t a million miles away from the english speaking western culture of america.

  • Grace

    Tom @122

    I agree.

    I posted an article yesterday saying ““She said she would often go target shooting with her kids.”

    43 Grace December 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    EXCERPT from article below, (Reuters):

    Police find “good evidence” on motive for Connecticut school massacre

    By Ernest Scheyder and Edward Krudy
    NEWTOWN, Connecticut | Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:01pm EST

    “The woman found dead at the secondary crime scene was related to the shooter, a police news release said. Many media outlets have reported she was the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

    Nancy Lanza legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock, both handguns of models commonly used by police, and a military-style Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, according to law enforcement officials who also believe Adam Lanza used at least some of those weapons.

    “We’re investigating the history of each and every weapon, and we will know every single thing about those weapons,” Vance said.

    Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector who once showed him a “really nice, high-end rifle” that she had purchased, said Dan Holmes, owner of a landscaping business who recently decorated her yard with Christmas garlands and lights. “She said she would often go target shooting with her kids.”

    Newtown was ranked the fifth safest city in America by the website NeighborhoodScout.com based on 2011 crime statistics.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/15/us-connecticut-towns-idUSBRE8BD0U120121215

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    I sincerely hope that everyone on this thread agrees that we should do all we can to avert these kinds of tragedies in the future. I believe that also includes a conversation about firearms management. Unfortunately, most people continue to be governed by fear instead of reason, which is compounded by bad information that the media continues to propagate. For example, Nancy Lanza was not in possession of a “military style M4″. She was in possession of a Bushmaster XM15-E2S, a weapon that mimics the barrel length and feed ramps of an M4, but which is semi-automatic (M4 has full-auto and 3-rd burst modes). In this case, an “assault weapons ban” wouldn’t have changed the availability of this rifle. It isn’t an assault rifle, it is a regular varmint rifle disguised to look like an assault rifle. I would also add that it is chambered for .223/5.56, which is a very hot .22 caliber round. Although deadly, it doesn’t have nearly the power of a hunting rifle. This is why so many people in the Colorado shooting were injured but not killed. Had the shooter been using a hunting caliber (7mm WMS, .30-06, etc.) with a full length barrell, every shot would have likely resulted in death. These are some reasons why Obama has insisted on “meaningful” action.

    Other reasons include the available statistics relating weapons laws to murder/suicide rates (Europe as a whole has an identical mass public shooting death rate per capita as the United States, despite generally much stricter gun laws), as well as the relationship between practice and outcome (in Israel, for example, citizens do not have a right to own and bear arms, but laws have been put into place allowing arming significant sections of the population. These permits can be revoked at any time, but Israel currently has a lower murder-suicide rate than all of Europe, the United States, and Japan).

    While I understand the reactionary call to action, I agree with the President on this one. We need to think through actual facts and come to rational conclusions if our goal is to actually reduce these kinds of events. Unfortunately, if history is any indicator, Congress will just pass a placebo (Sarbanes-Oxley comes to mind), claim that action was taken, and these things will keep happening.

  • Bill

    Think, PLEASE. Do we REALLY believe that making firearms illegal will take them away from the people who use them for such heinousness? Please consider illegal drugs. They are illegal. They are used by those who violate the law. Why in the world would we think that making firearms illegal (banning assault weapons would only be the beginning) would do anything differently?! The problem is the HEART. We cannot legislate people to change their hearts. We can only call people into account for their sin, and tell them of the provisions made by the God of the bible to deliver them from their slavery to sin. Any “societal change” starts with the individual.

  • Stephen

    Kerner,

    What Jesus did not say is “Put away your sword because I need to go get crucified now.” That seems to be your reading of it. You really think that was the point of what one might call a life or death teachable moment? You want to gloss over “Those who take up the sword will perish by it.” Tell me what you think that means. Or did you already do that? If so, I missed it.

    Okay, so yes, we have that instruction in Luke to go with swords. Two is enough. Among how many? 12? Or maybe more than that? Hundreds of people could possibly be counted as disciples (pupils). We are disciples. How many weapons do we need.

    I have never once said that there isn’t a time and a place to be armed. We have police, the state police and national guard. Could these possibly serve as the “well-armed” militia that is in the interests of the people rather than a handful of vigilante groups that have been mentioned here that are, instead, antagonistic to the elected government of our land?

    A rancher probably needs a rifle and a shotgun and maybe a small varmint gun. Who needs a Glock? My pastor? Is that what you mean by citing Luke? Pastors and missionaries ought to carry a handguns? And teachers?!?! Lord have mercy on us!

    You are completely passing over vocation. Some have the vocation to carry a weapon. And we are to trust God in this. That is what I meant. I do not have that vocation, even as a parent, given my situation in the country. We are not at war, for instance. I don’t live on the prairie with Indians and mountain lions threatening my families well-being. Look at the statistics. Do all these defensive weapons in closets and nightstands actually save more lives than they take? The simple answer is an emphatic NO. If they were a life insurance policy people should be asking for their money back because they are doing exactly the opposite.

    And why is that? When Jesus tells his apostles to put away their swords I think he was talking, as he always was, about where we put our trust. Luther taught that this is the entire matter of idolatry. Consider your station. A life insurance policy is prudent for someone with a vocation to care for their family. But do I really put my trust there? Should I? That is what, I think, you are missing.

    We make a fetish of many things. I’ve been thinking about mine. Books, tools and musical instruments. That last one began when I worked in a pawnshop for the first ten years of my adult life. Hundreds of guitars. I used to own several, now only four. Four! guess what else we sold there? Bingo! I have held and cleared the chamber on more weapons than most gun owners. Sold hundreds perhaps back before the background checks came into effect. Fired quite few too. I’m actually a pretty good shot last time I checked. I’ve even been hunting more than twice.

    I know the difference between a Bushmaster and an AR-15. A fetish is an object of power supposed to offer that power to the one who possess it. What is the power of guns?

    “Those who take up the sword will perish by it.”

    I’m not even suggesting that there isn’t a legitimate reason for an individual to keep a defensive weapon in their home. There may be. But we can’t even have a conversation about what that might be, or can we? What I said is that guns need to be tightly regulated and difficult to get. I’d add to that that they need to be seen as a necessary evil only in the most extreme circumstances. We need to stop making a personal freedom fetish of them as if they somehow symbolize our personal sovereignty. I suggest that the unwillingness to bend on gun control is quite possible a grave sin of idolatry for a Christian. And to be fair, I probably sin by spending too much on books and tools because I think the power of knowledge and/or the power to make and create things will save me. But can’t we agree that guns hold only one power, killing, and that possessing them increases the likelihood that power will be unleashed?

    It’s coming out now that this man’s mother was a survivalist of some sort who was stockpiling weapons and food. Where did she put her trust? What is the example that owning guns, especially handguns, for protection sets for children? What would be the message of a teacher with a gun in her holster? Besides, I thought women were not fit for battle. ;)

    I never said either that we could be just like Japan or that we would stop all incidences of random violence. Nor did I suggest that guns could or should be rounded up against the will of citizens. I did mention Australia where buy-back programs seem to have had an effect. I think your comparisons with Japan don’t hold water. The numbers indicate the fact that things are better and safer against this kind of thing in places, unlike here, where guns are more difficult to acquire. Not 100%. And I think trotting out the fact of sin is a diversion. That sounds positively antinomian – “You can’t stop people from doing bad things so why even try?” Of course, bad things will still happen. What I said is that we need to be willing to figure out how [to make things safer against gun violence] in way that works here. But we cannot even have an exchange of ideas, not even in the face of this tragedy, just like we couldn’t in the face of the laundry list tODD gave us. The “cold, dead hands” philosophy reigns supreme. Why?

    “Those who take up the sword will perish by it.” Deny it all you want, but he did say it.

  • Tom Hering

    I guess it’s a good thing that the prospect of losing their guns and ammo makes some people more eager to spread the Gospel. But are they seeing the Gospel as a way to make people law-abiding? And is that the Gospel?

  • Stephen

    Patrick Kyle,

    There’s some stuff in # 127 for you too. I meant to address it to both you and kerner. It’s pretty much all I have to say in the matter except that I hope all you Obama haters will watch our presidents words from last night – the whole thing. I pray he can lead on this somehow and we are not stuck with this as a frequent and familiar feature of our society from now on.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    I think you answered your own question.

  • Bill

    Hi Tom.
    Sorry if my post came across that way. (assuming you may be alluding to it). I simply mean that we cannot legislate people to obey laws (civil or Biblical). I think that is self evident. By denying the true issue, and by trying to “fix” it by legislation is not the answer. That is turning things on its head. “As is the family, so goes the church, so goes society.” Preaching the gospel for the purpose of changing society is not our purpose, I agree. Changed hearts would lead to that fruit, however.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Good comments by Neil Macdonald, senior Washington correspondent for the CBC:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/12/16/f-rfa-macdonald-guns.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Aren’t we really appalled by this specifically because we have been able to establish a fairly (not absolutely) orderly and safe society by locking up those who disrupt order and safety? Once you have enforced a certain level of order, you have to sacrifice intolerable levels of privacy and freedom in an attempt to obtain the unobtainable level of order and safety we fantasize about. Obviously the correlations to gun control and safety in some nations aren’t cause effect relationships because in other places the same laws don’t have the same effects. So, we are right back to the fallen humanity problem. We cannot create utopia. We have taken the reasonable steps to get the highest levels of safety possible, but that is not absolute safety.

    Like many other conditions that we find intractable, how do we know when we have achieved the theoretical maximum? We know we will not reduce murders to zero, so what is the lowest rate we can acheive without totalitarian regulation of every minute of our lives? Have we achieved acceptable levels of safety? I mean, before this freak occurrence, this Connecticut town was considered extremely safe. It probably still is. I would also suggest to you that there probably are enough weapons and ammo in the hands of the citizens of that little town to kill everyone there five times over. There just aren’t the crazies to do it.

  • Abby

    “As is the family, so goes the church, so goes society.” That is what I thought was missing in the Obama speech. He pretty much said that big government needs to fix this. Big government takes over for the role of family and the church. Always looking at governement as the savior. That is not possible.

    “Preaching the gospel for the purpose of changing society is not our purpose, I agree. ” But preach. We don’t preach to change behavior — moralistic, therapeutic, deism. We preach not to make people better, but to make dead people live. An excellent quote I heard yesterday: “Someone asked Martin Luther how he could defend the Bible. He said, “Defend the Bible?! You don’t defend the Bible. That is like trying to defend a Lion. You don’t defend a Lion, you turn Him loose!” I love that!

  • Bill

    Abby – amen and amen…
    (I’m not the best at putting thoughts to words – I depend on you all to improve on them – you did). :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Preaching the gospel for the purpose of changing society is not our purpose, I agree. Changed hearts would lead to that fruit, however.

    It is not our final purpose, but preaching the law does affect the interim purpose of serving our neighbors.

    I simply mean that we cannot legislate people to obey laws (civil or Biblical).

    We can, we do, and we must. We elect legislators and law enforcement officials for that very purpose. All of our laws are based on protecting people from evil deeds. We fine, incarcerate and execute offenders.

  • Bill

    sg – passing laws does not MAKE people obey them. That was my point.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    “We have taken the reasonable steps to get the highest levels of safety possible, but that is not absolute safety.”

    What makes you think that? Thine thing is, this kind of crime is not “freak.” It is becoming commonplace. Even if the odds are still small of any one individual suffering from this kind of crime, it is still happening almost every week in our country. And I mean this random shooting business, not to mention all the gun accidents, impulsive murders and suicides. The numbers (your favorite, right? :)) seem to suggest we have big problem, bigger than any other comparably “civilized” society.

  • Stephen

    Abby,

    Okay, so you think there is some link here with abortion and the state of the family. Then why is this not happening in Europe on the scale we have here? Lots of loose morals and abortion. I’m willing to go along with much of what SKP said @ 42 (though we might have a healthy disagreement about the wild west). But why stop short of taking a look at the fascination and, dare I say it, fanaticism over gun ownership. Do they really make us free? Free from what? Certainly not this kind of thing, and a lot of other things gun ownership is meant to prevent but instead seems to incite.

    And in the president’s defense, he talked a lot about families and what “we” can do together. But we hear what we want to hear. I wanted to hear that something must be done and that he is willing to take leadership in that regard. That is what I heard.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The numbers (your favorite, right? ) seem to suggest we have big problem, bigger than any other comparably “civilized” society.

    Honestly, I don’t know. I saw one person assert that these kinds of random attacks by crazies are not higher here than say Europe, but I don’t know that for a fact. Anyway, my post was more of question than statement, including those questions phrased as statements. So, yes we have taken reasonable steps. The shooter was denied purchase of a gun. But are we satisfied that we have done enough? And where is the line? Can we agree that absolute security is not possible? If so, can we discuss practical changes that don’t impinge on the freedoms of normal people? Maybe it comes down more on how much it costs us to allow mentally ill people their freedom? I am just speculating and not committed to these suggestions, just entertaining ideas, not embracing them all.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    passing laws does not MAKE people obey them. That was my point.

    My initial reaction to that is, “yes, it does.” I obey the laws because they are passed. But maybe you are getting at something else, like some people are not going to obey laws anyway? Is that it? Because we punish those people, quite severely in some cases. If you mean that it is some sort of other force or will that makes people compliant to group norms, uh, okay, but changing the norms changes their behaviors, so…

  • DonS

    I missed this thread on Friday, thankfully. It’s too soon for this kind of discussion. Now is the time for grieving and reflection, and for those of us who believe to offer up the Hope of Christ. Government and law cannot solve the problem of the malevolent heart and the diseased mind.

    Later, it will be time to review our de-institutionalization policies, which have placed countless of our mentally ill on the streets without the tools to function properly in society, and our Hippa protections which make it very difficult for databases, including those available to firearms sellers, to reflect an adjudication of mental illness. Changes in these laws might help to lessen the ability of the mentally ill to have access to firearms. It will also be time to review our firearms laws, including magazine sizes which perhaps could at least lessen the magnitude of these kinds of tragedies somewhat. But these measures need much study by cool heads, with an understanding that they will, at best, have only a limited impact on the problem of sin and evil. Now is not the time.

    God bless the families and friends of each victim of this unimaginable tragedy. May the Hope of Christ somehow give each of them comfort during this blessed season. May some come to know the risen and living Christ this Christmas, that life might come out of seemingly senseless death.

  • Stephen

    sg @140

    Bravo! I’m right with you all the way there. All questions I am asking myself. A truly frank discussion is in order, one that attempts to look at what is a two-fold problem – mental illness and the prevalence of guns and ease with which they can be obtained.

    I read a good article over the weekend about the history of why mental institutions closed and people were let out. One thing is that the rise of dependence on better medications led to the belief that we did not need these places. And it is true that there were people institutionalized who did not need to be. Add to that a move toward helping business interests rather than social concerns during Reagan and you have the beginnings of what we have today – few, if any, places for people go. On top of that, accessing mental health services is not so cut and dried simple. For one thing, most psychiatrists will not see people who cannot pay cash. They don’t even take insurance!

    I think we have to start from where we are. It begins with a lot of questions perhaps. That is why I liked the thinking going on the article I posted @ 84.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Yes, later it will be time to offer our opinions . . . and here’s mine now.

  • Abby

    Stephen @139: I forgot to include that President Obama’s speech was the best I have ever heard him give. He was not being an orator, but a person. I am thankful and do admire his witness to the country regarding his love for his wife and children. And, yes, connecting the dots backwards — our corporate mindset regarding life has an impact here. Also, the vitriol of violence coming from big Hollywood and violent video games is not helping. But the real bottom-line problem — closest to Adam — is/was his family. And then, obviously himself and what seems to be coming out, his own inner rebellion.

  • Stephen
  • Stephen

    Abby,

    I thought the president hit it out of the park. I am reminded of Bush’s speech right after 911 as a matter of fact.

    The first use of the law is to reign in sin. It can be reigned in to some degree. I just found this article in Lutheran Forum (by a woman no less) and it was really quite prescient. I especially love the Luther quote at the end. Seems on the money for this discussion.

    http://www.lutheranforum.org/blogs/desperately-seeking-the-first-use-of-the-law/

  • Abby

    ” . . .by a woman no less. . .” What does that mean :)

  • Abby

    Stephen @147: Good article. But poor Adam was not acquainted with God’s Laws, except as what was written on his heart by God. His mother and he were not church attenders/God worshippers. She seemed more bent on protecting her million dollar plus mansion. And taking her video games obssessed and mentally ill son target practicing with her gun collection. All great for his decreasing mental health. And she would most certainly would not have institutionalized him — had they been available.

  • Abby

    Forgot, I just did hear a several week series preached on the 10 Commandments by a LCMS pastor. Very well done.

  • Stephen

    Abby @ 148

    You know . . . women are not supposed to teach and all that. I was being tongue in cheek.

    The mother does seem to have put put her faith (which is more a mark of despair) elsewhere – stockpiles of things to save herself. Maybe someone who has an adjudicated mentally ill person in their home should not be allowed to purchase a gun. Maybe that would not have worked here, but it might be part of a solution to cut down (dramatically – the goal I’d say) on this sort of thing.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Well, another thing is that anyone who becomes a “survivalist” / doomsdayer would likely be already a fringe personality. All the ones I’ve known are certainly “out there”. That kind of environment would be really unhealthy for a kid already on the edge.

    That is why I think that a psych analysis be mandatory at ALL gun sales. It is possible that the mom might not have passed herself.

    I’ve known, and still know, many people, otherwise ok, that should not own guns. Some of them actually did own guns – even small pistols. While a firearm is not evil in and of itself, it needs a competent, balanced, trained and wise handler.

    But I do have to say: Nobody other than security personnel has any business owning a semi-automatic weapon with large magazines.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But the real bottom-line problem — closest to Adam — is/was his family. And then, obviously himself and what seems to be coming out, his own inner rebellion.

    No. The real bottom-line problem was Adam. His family did not sufficiently restrain him, probably because they could not have imagined he would do this. But they are not the real problem. Adam was the real problem. His family did not make him crazy and they couldn’t fix him. They could possibly have stopped him, maybe, but that is really hard to say.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I’ve known, and still know, many people, otherwise ok, that should not own guns. Some of them actually did own guns – even small pistols.

    That is pretty vague. Can you explain it? They have guns and they don’t shoot people. So, what is the problem? How are they more dangerous than other people who have guns and don’t shoot people?

    Cuz it looks to me like people who don’t shoot people are the same as people who don’t shoot people. You know, the identity property.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Well, another thing is that anyone who becomes a “survivalist” / doomsdayer would likely be already a fringe personality.

    Don’t you think that the USA has a disproportionate amount of such fringe personalities because of our history? My husband does a lot with cross cultural communication and he says that the general profile of the USA in aggregate is an outlier. Other nations are kind of on a spectrum and the USA is “out there”.

  • Abby

    The first things Adam did was to smash his (all-consuming) computer and kill his mother–shooting her *4* times in the face. He was “armed” with bullet-proof vest, a first indication of his “plan”. (Why? Since he planned to kill himself anyway. Maybe to keep someone else from killing him prematurely during his act. Another indication of his determination to exterminate many of these innocent little ones.) Then he went off to kill women and babies at the school where his mother (sometimes) worked. His anger was exceedingly intense. Love inside himself was dead. He had only hatred left. My perception: this was targeted towards his mother, at least in large degree. In the article above, his brother Ryan said upon hearing the news: “It was my brother. I think my mother is dead.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg@154 – quite simple: They were more nervous in disposition, with bad judgement, leading to a greatly increased likelihood of using the gun inappropriately. None of them would have been mass-murderers, but more of the “I shot them and then realized they were two municipal workers” type.

    sg@155: I’d rather not say.

  • Bill

    @sg 141 -”but changing the norms changes their behaviors, so…” Then why did this atrocity happen? Is murder not against the law? Is not that law the norm?

  • kerner

    Stephen:

    I don’t have a lot of time right now (maybe later) but why don’t we agree to try to put our Lord’s words in context? You accuse me of trying to deny that Christ said “he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword”. But, I don’t deny it. You, however, seem to want to entirely ignore that Christ also said, “He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.”

    Unlike you, I DON’T want to make a fetish of EITHER of these. If I did I would be suggesting that all good Christians should be selling their clothing to buy firearms, including YOU. I almost want to suggest that just to see you react, but even I am not that much of a slave to temptation. Hey Steve, better go sell that shirt and buy a gun, y0u aren’t a Christian if you don’t… :D …No, just can’t.

    Yet you can’t help yourself from going overboard. Having a weapon is a sign of a lack of faith?!?!? oh please. The reason Peter had that sword in the first place IS BECAUSE JESUS TOLD HIM TO CARRY IT!!! There must have been some kind of a good reason.

    So, maybe a balanced approach is appropriate, ya think? Maybe, just maybe, we ought to stop fixating on inanimate objects as being good or evil. Maybe, just maybe, we ought to stop thinking up ways to restrict our neighbor’s right to protect himself and his family, because the almighty government according to Stephen always knows better than a a free individual person.

    Every time somebody does something dramatically bad, we try to pass a law restricting the freedom of the whole country. Look at the patriot act. We keep throwing away out freedom for the sake of supposed safety that we never really get anyway.

    You completely blow off the statistics from Japan. But let’s compare them. Tom H’s article, when you dig into the sources cited in it, cites 62 mass killings in the USA over a 30 year period. My article indicates that there were 67 mass killings, all with knives, over a 10 year period in Japan.

    We can learn at least a couple of things from this, and foremost is that strict gun control laws, and even real scarcity of guns, does not prevent mass killings. Some of those mass killings in Japan also took place in a school, I think. The killers simply (just like here) sought out a place where there would be a lot of comparitively helpless people and attacked them at random (again, just like here). But in Japan, this apparently happens more than 3 times as often as it does here.

    All I am saying is that we need to address the underlying causes of this sort of behavior, rather than fixating on the superficial aspect of the instrumentality. Why do mass killings happen 3 times as often in Japan as here? Why do they happen more here than other places? It OBVIOUSLY is not the presence or absence of guns. Get at the underlying causes.

    Like so many “liberal” solutions to problems, increased gun control makes us FEEL better, even though we are accomplishing nothing at all. But we’ve shown that we CARE, so that somehow allows us to claim that we’ve done something.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @158

    Okay, one piece at a time.

    In response to, “passing laws does not MAKE people obey them.”

    I said, “If you mean that it is some sort of other force or will that makes people compliant to group norms, uh, okay, but changing the norms changes their behaviors, so…”

    Can we agree most people actually do obey the laws? And since that is the case, there is some reason. So, what is the reason? If it is the norm to follow group norms, then that is what normal people do, right? So, when they reduce the speed limit in front of the school, I slow down because I follow the rules, whatever they are. Changing the law makes me obey it. Now, does that work for everyone everywhere? No, it doesn’t. But it does work for normal people. Okay, so what about those who aren’t so normal? Punishment. It increases compliance, but not absolutely. There seems to be this recurring problem of seeking the absolute on a distribution of human behavior. We are not going to see that. So, the general case is just that, the vast majority, not absolutely everyone without exception.

    Now to the question, “Then why did this atrocity happen? Is murder not against the law? Is not that law the norm?” It happened because this guy was an exception, by definition, not the norm. In general, people do not murder. That is the law and the norm, but there are exceptions. This guy was the exception. That is how human behavior is distributed. There is the vast normal range, and then the exceptions.

  • Grace

    Many of you are talking about the LAW – people who are mentally ill, don’t always EVEN THINK of the LAW. They don’t think like normal people, their compassion and empathy are no where to be found. Without that, they have no feelings of pain, or remorse.

    When you try and compare the mentally ill with those who are normal law abidding citizens, you are missing the point.

  • kerner

    KK @152:
    “But I do have to say: Nobody other than security personnel has any business owning a semi-automatic weapon with large magazines.”

    Then who will guard the guards?

  • Grace

    There was an article on DRUDGE this last Saturday, in Southern CA, which stated there had been a man who shot 50 times, some in the air, threatening people in a crowed mall, in a restaurant and stores. The man had been a Security Guard, and had a permit to carry a weapon, until 2001.

    A SECURITY GUARD? That’s right.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Look at the patriot act. We keep throwing away out freedom for the sake of supposed safety that we never really get anyway.”

    But isn’t that because we are trying to get to an unobtainable level of absolute 100% security? Which goes back to the diminishing returns argument. I mean we have reasonable gun regulations. If I commit a crime, it goes on my record. When I go to the sporting goods store to buy a 9mm, I give them my license, they check it out and I am denied. That is reasonable. Now, if my friend mentions his brother has a gun and I secretly follow my friend to his brother’s house, wait for them to leave and break in and steal it, exactly what kind of law/enforcement is going to stop that? That is my question to those who want absolute security.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner: And who will guard the guards that guard the guards?

  • Stephen

    kerner,

    Ha! Now I get to tell you to calm down (“Calm down man, take a pill . . .”)

    Whose vocation is it to carry the sword then? You say (I think) not everyone perhaps but some people. I don’t know. Peter did, as the Lord told him, but then Jesus turned right around and told him to put it away. What to make of that? Things were about to get dicey for the apostles. Jesus is issuing two kinds of warnings. But I’m not aware of any place in the NT, however, where the apostle’s felt the need for self-defense other than that moment in the garden.

    We seem to agree that not everyone should carry the sword. I think I said that, we just disagree on degrees. Please look into the nuance of what I was saying. There are people with that vocation, and we are to trust God in this. Rulers do not bear the sword in vain. It is for our good. So your distrust of police and the national guard is surprising. Is it time to take up arms against our oppressors?

  • Grace

    KK @152

    I just read what you wrote @152 “But I do have to say: Nobody other than security personnel has any business owning a semi-automatic weapon with large magazines.

    On such person, who from all reports was a “Security Guard” and it appears until just this last weekend he could still apply for such a position – however his permit to carry a gun had expired as of 2001. The story was on DRUDGE.

  • Stephen

    sg -

    No one has suggested absolute security here that I am aware of. Could that be a straw man?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    It seems that reason has left the building:

    We cannot have 100% security. But we also cannot have 100% freedom – because no rules limits freedom – anarchy is oppression.

    So, somewhere there is a middle ground, and optimal point.

    Think of it as traffic laws: Near perfect safety? Sure, we can legislate that everyone drives a small armoured vehicle at 2 mph.

    Total freedom? No speed limit, no licensing, freeways open to bicycles, Porsche’s, roadtrains and light aircraft alike.

    Reason and sense people. Please.

  • Bill

    @158 – Taking my original post into account… and using your premise of “normal” people, etc.”
    “Normal” people obey the law.
    Therefore, those who do not obey (all, or selected ones?) laws must be “abnormal.”
    If laws are passed to take away firearms, the “normal” will obey (including myself – reluctantly).
    The “abnormal” will not. THEY will have the weapons. Their “behavior” will not change due to a law being in place.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace @ 167 – I was using “security personnel” as a collective noun for official security forces – ie Military, Police, Agencies (FBI etc), not private security personnel. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Grace

    Connecticut School Shooting Doesn’t Deter Crowd At Gun Show In Montgomery County

    December 16, 2012 6:53 PM
    By Pat Loeb

    OAKS, Pa. (CBS) — “A gun show in Montgomery County drew a huge crowd on Sunday, despite calls for stricter gun control after a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

    If gun control advocates were hoping the scale of death at Sandy Hook Elementary School would dampen enthusiasm for the purchase of guns, the line of people waiting to get in to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center was evidence to the contrary.

    “It’s more crowded than it has been in the past.”

    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/12/16/connecticut-school-shooting-doesnt-deter-crowd-at-gun-show-in-montgomery-county/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “No one has suggested absolute security here that I am aware of.”

    Okay. We have some level of safety now and it costs us something that we are accustomed to. Now, between here and 100% there is some more desirable level of imperfection that will cost us more. So, will a majority support laws that increase the cost (not necessarily $ cost) in the hope of getting the benefit? That is the question. I don’t know the answer, but it is probably related to how much confidence people have in the actual measures. If they don’t believe the measures will be effective, they probably won’t want to pay the costs, whatever they may be, not necessarily just monetary costs.

  • Stephen

    Sg @ 173

    Good points all. Think of it like airport security. When they started scanning our luggage and telling us not to even say “hijacking” in airports we have mostly learned to go along. Now it’s body searches and scans. I’m okay with the former and having a hard time with the latter. Maybe that is because, for one, thing, it’s different. The point is, as the president said “We can do better” and we should. We are talking about kids in school, people shopping, folks at work doing their job. I’d say we are not even at midpoint right now. It’s still too easy to get guns, too many guns.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The schools in our area lock all of their doors so you have to go in through the main doors. You can go out any door, but only in through one or two main doors. That puts you at the main office where you have to sign in and give your driver’s license. Now, lets assume we could put a metal detector at all the schools at this main door like some have done. It would be pretty convenient and effective at alerting staff/campus police of someone entering with a gun. That seems like the kind of security that would cut down on an assailant’s ability to access the building. And it is not burdensome on regular folks.

  • Stephen

    sg-

    We have those here too. It’s a step in the right direction, though it sounds like this guy shot his way in through a similar locked entrance. We probably need some design whizzes on that aspect of it. Bullet proof glass of the type they have on a bank drive-thru.

    I think there has to be a number of things we can do beyond shaking our heads and saying “well, it’s a free society.” It’s largely about the willingness of the American people to examine this problem well and start figuring out a better way. It can’t go on like this (or, I guess it could).

    I talked to a coworker who said what bothered her most about it was her own response – “Oh, another one. Hmm.” What if , for instance, this blog committed to this issue instead of letting it drop with the news cycle? That too is part of the problem, though it is getting to the point where there is always one of these random shootings in the news.

  • kerner

    Stephen @166:

    I don’t think vocation has anything to do with it. Peter’s vocation was Apostle. Apostles were the forrunners of NT clergy. What has the vocation of the clergy per se to do with weapons? Per se, nothing. Therefore, Jesus directive to Peter to carry a sword had nothing to do with his vocation. It also had nothing to do with protecting Jesus from the temple guards as they arrested Him. And I would also conclude from this (as well as Christ’s clear statement that His kingdom is not of this World) that He did not want the Apostles to turn the Church into a secular political or military force. Yet Our Lord STILL wanted the disciples to go armed.

    While the Bible does not record Christ’s reasoning in detail, there are only two purposes for carrying weapons: offense and defense. I can think of no reason why Christ would want his Apostles to carry weapons for offensive purposes. That he wanted them to be armed for defensive purposes (i.e. to protect themselves from robbers, mass murderers who prey on the helpless, etc.) is the only reasonable interpretation that I can see.

    I have never heard of Biblical NT figures using their weapons to defend themselves. Maybe they rarely had to. Maybe, if they ever did have to, it was considered unremarkable.

    But what is pretty clear from Christ’s admonition to the Apostles to go armed is that He did not consider it unusual for private citizens to carry defensive weapons.

    Which brings us to your earlier question: Does your wife (presumably a teacher) have to carry a gun in addition to all the other responsibilities she has? I join you in your dismay that such a question even has to be asked. But the answer is a function of how dangerous the people around her are, not what inanimate objects they carry. It has become a cliche to point out that “people kill people”, but it’s true. If that murderer in Connecticut had smashed the school window by other means and brought a knife into the school like they do in Japan, “should” teachers have to worry about things like that? No, the “shouldn’t”. But in today’s crazy, narcissistic society, they seem to have to worry about it whether they “should” have to or not.

    As I said before, we need to start thinking about how we are going to make people less murderous in this culture. The band-aid solution of restricting access to certain inanimate objects does not address that problem.

  • Stephen

    kerner @ 177

    I think your speculations about why an apostle would need to go armed into the world are a little off. Two swords was enough. What does that mean? I don’t know except perhaps that in the context of the passages you cited there seems to be an eschatolgical significance for the coming age (which is what I think) and is therefore more symbolic than prescriptive. In other words, it’s not a practical suggestion. After all, how good would two swords be among 12 men? Not exactly outfitting them for individual personal security. But they did have a dangerous road ahead, I’ll grant you that.

    I also think that you are following a line of reasoning that is sound insofar as the 1st. c. Roman world is similar to the 21st c. USA. But they are not nearly the same. “Private citizens” would not apply to Jews in Palestine in the 1st c. They were conquered people with no citizenship or rights at all. And yet St. Paul says even at that time that God has instituted government and given people a vocation to carry weapons to protect citizens and the general peace (bearing the sword in vain and all that). This is the first use of the law. Pay your taxes and obey authority. Military people should have guns. Cops. Private citizens. hmm? Maybe, under certain restrictive circumstances. So they can defend themselves? Against what exactly? Enemies foreign and domestic, which could be one way to understand the 2nd Amendment – in order to be prepared to defend the republic. Not working for that purpose anyway, its seems to me.

    Again, I am not saying the government should round up weapons people already own. Closing loop holes might be a step in the right direction, as well as a better way to determine who is capable of owning/using them through a very limited and limiting legal process.

    I looked at your Japanese statistics a little closer by the way. The # of mass killings with guns in the US is a government figure that is only used to count incidents where four or more people are killed.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

    The number you cite for Japan does not follow this rubric, and at least some of those Japanese attacks were far less lethal. The overall body count (yuck!) is greater with guns as one would expect. So is that really a fair comparison except to say that crazy people do crazy things? You certainly aren’t suggesting knives are every bit as lethal as guns are you? Tell you what, I’ve got a really nice collectible Case hunting knife. Trade you, and we’ll see whose weapon is more lethal and effective at killing. Maybe cops could just as well carry big knives. Same for the Army and Marines. I’m kidding of course, but you know what I mean. That “inanimate object” has some inherent qualities that are undeniable.

    And what do you think of 59% of the gun deaths being suicides? My concern with guns goes in a few directions. The ease with which they can be obtained, there almost certain lethal character, and the impulsiveness with which these kinds of random crimes are committed.

    And yes, my wife has taught in the inner city and the rough schools for fifteen years. Guns there would be very bad and she would quit. I’d make her (well, I can’t really ;)) thank the Lord she is currently home with our tow kids. But even if she were to teach at a good Lutheran school (maybe someday!) I would be really alarmed and concerned if teachers had guns in a classroom. We can do better than that.

    Yes, people kill people. The number one killer with a gun in the home is a brother killing a family member. Sometimes it’s by accident and sometimes it is an impulse. Unintentional killings happen a lot,more than people killing in self-defense, and as I said on the other thread, there is no reason to expect they would not begin to happen in schools should guns be carried by teachers. The very thought of it is just bizarre.

    Vocation has everything to do with everything. Do you seriously think the vocation of teacher must now include a sidearm because we can’t come up with a better solution? Tough for them, but that’s the reality. It is the police and government’s job to protect citizens from lawlessness. Isn’t that a fundamental conservative value? Citizens should not have to do it for themselves. Thinking that they need to is part and parcel of the mess we find ourselves in. A society where everyone is armed in order to protect themselves from everyone else is not a civilization. It’s anarchy. Which is also why I say it is a matter of faith to trust that government is God’s gift, and some people have the vocation to carry and use a gun and others simply do not as a general rule.

    Hey, I love you like a brother. Really. I bet you are a good lawyer. No hard feelings.

  • Tom Hering

    Jesus told his disciples to carry two swords because he approved of weapons for self defense? Oh good grief!

    The context is the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.

    “… whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

    Jesus next says “for,” which means “for the following reason.”

    “For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘and He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”

    So it’s about his coming treatment as a criminal.

    They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

    It is enough? Enough for what? Certainly not to defend against a mob that’s also armed with swords. So maybe the point in the disciples carrying the two swords was to make a point.

    When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

    When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them [without waiting for his Lord to answer] struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.”

    So the whole point of the disciples carrying two swords was to show the mob that Jesus’s followers weren’t going to use them. Because it was important for everyone to know that Jesus and His followers weren’t like robbers, though He Himself was now being treated like one.

    “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber?”

    Really, I’m beginning to think that gun proponents are like drug addicts, who see everything in terms of the drug they’re addicted to.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay someone said that teachers in Utah can carry guns in schools. I googled and found this, but don’t know any more about it.

    http://utahconcealedcarry.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12499

  • Stephen

    Tom wins the Bible Award of the Day! It has to do with prophecy and a change in the situation for the disciples that is imminent. I never have looked very closely at that “two swords” verse, but I did find it peculiar in the past, which usually means there is a symbol or figure there that needs more careful understanding. Now it makes perfect sense!

    I was just consulting the notes in the Lutheran Study Bible. These passages go under the heading “Scripture Must Be Fulfilled” There they reference the persecution that lay ahead for the disciples, that hospitality which they had been enjoying was over. This makes sense when considering that Jesus also says it’s time to carry money when before they carried nothing and lacked for nothing. Along with the “carry a sword” it means that a difficult journey lies ahead for the disciples and this commentator says “Jesus likely speaks figuratively .. .” which is indicated by the blunt ending in v. 38. He also then points to the same verses Tom cites later on beginning at v. 50 to indicate the fulfillment of scripture.

    Good on you Tom!

  • Stephen

    sg -

    Oy! Leave it to the Mormons :)

    But I guess we have the only school district right here in Texas that allows Concealed and Carry:

    http://www.facilitiesnet.com/educationalfacilities/article/Does-Concealed-Carry-Make-Sense-In-Schools-And-On-Campus–10070#

    Not the best writing, but some interesting arguments and info on the matter. The whole thing makes me ill.

  • Michael B.

    @Tom Herring

    “Jesus told his disciples to carry two swords because he approved of weapons for self defense? Oh good grief!”

    I think there’s some confusion here between Jesus and Jeezus. Besides being a strong advocate to bear arms, Jeezus was also very concerned with high taxation.

  • Patrick kyle
  • Stephen

    Patrick,

    The page is unavailable when I clicked. I’m not Facebook-ista. Please share.

  • kerner

    Tom:

    “So the whole point of the disciples carrying two swords was to show the mob that Jesus’s followers weren’t going to use them.”

    That is the most ridiculous thing you have ever said. It may be the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever said. I’m sure that the reason everyone carries guns, the military, the police, criminals, is to show that they AREN’T going to use them. Oh sure. Perhaps I’ll buy a car to show that I’m not going to drive it. Maybe 2 out of 12 Orthodox Jews should buy bacon to prove that they aren’t going to eat it. And I’m certainly going to make wine to show the world that nobody should drink alcohol.

    Of curse there is always the possibility that Christ told the Apostles to have swords for the same reason he told them to carry money. Because having both would be useful in the NT world, and they should use both as needed. Nah!! Our Lord could not have possibly meant what He actually said. ;)

    Yours is exactly the kind of backwards logic that pietists use to argue for abstinance from anything that the Bible says we are free to do. They, like you, become so convinced that eschewing a particular thing entirely is the only way to go. Then thay take any number of Bible passages that say “go ahead and use these things appropriately”, and try to explain them away. The pietists, and aparently you and Stephen, know so much better than Jesus, you can just blue pencil a few of the things He said till his words meet with your approval.

    Stephen:

    You whole attitude is summed up by your multiple statements that equate “no guns” with “Civilization”. Having guns equals anarchy. And of course, you are wrong.

    It is the police and government’s job to protect citizens from lawlessness. Isn’t that a fundamental conservative value? Citizens should not have to do it for themselves. Thinking that they need to is part and parcel of the mess we find ourselves in. A society where everyone is armed in order to protect themselves from everyone else is not a civilization. It’s anarchy.

    First of all, the government does not protect citizens from lawlessness. The police do not do that. What the police do, except in cases of very good fortune, is show up after a citizen has been victimized and try to catch and punish who did it. The best the police can do to generally prevent crime is to make a show of force to give criminals the impression that they will be caught and punished. But even that is virtually impossible without the cooperation of citizens. The reason we have high crime areas in this country is not because alot of people have guns there. There are plenty of low crime areas where everybody has guns. The problem is that those areas have a population which feels divorced from the larger society and its rules.

    The example of Switzerland has been tossed around and ignored during this conversation, and it may have changed a little bit recently in an attempt by the Swiss to enter into a treaty with other European nations for the purpose of guarding against terrorism, But even if the Swiss do change their practice, it does not negate the facts so far. Switzerland is one of the most civilized places in the world, but its military is a true militia system. That means:

    1. Every Swiss male between the ages of 18 and 32 (and a lot more older than that) has an assault rifle kept at home.

    2. Switzerland has a very low crime rate.

    3. Switzerland has not been in a war in approximately 500 years.

    This is the best track record of any civilization I know of ever, and it is also the most universally heavily armed civilization in history. The Swiss would be the first to tell you that all those years of peace are BECAUSE of their guns, not in spite of them. They believe to this day that their militia system, coupled with their mountainous terrain, is the main reason Hitler and Napolean and so many much larger nations left them alone all those centuries.

    The on place I agree with both of you is that Christ’s words, both in encouraging the disciples to go armed, and encouraging them not to use them indiscriminantly, were prophetic. During Christ’s munistry on earth, it was a special time. Miracles would take place that would prove who He is. None of His followers would be harmed, and they would always have enough to eat (sometimes food for thousands of them would appear from nowhere). But in the coming age, that was going to end. The disciples would need money, but they were not to be slaves to it. They would need weapons too, but they were not to be slaves to those either. There is nothing particularly virtuous in having no money, but a crazy “fetish” about money can corrupt any individual or society. Likewise, there is nothing particularly virtuous or “civilized” about having no guns. But a fetish about violence can corrupt an individual or society.

    But you guys treat guns like an asthete treats material goods and like Carrie Nation treated “demon rum”. They were wrong and you are too.

  • kerner

    As usual, I now see a lot of typos. Please excuse them.

  • Stephen

    kerner @186

    The government does not protect citizens from lawlessness? Isn’t that one of the arguments for “being tough on crime” and ever more punitive punishments like the death penalty – that such measures will not only punish but prevent crimes? Be honest.

    The death penalty notwithstanding, certainly the presence of government and the laws it enforces protects citizens from lawlessness TO A DEGREE in any number of ways. Does government/law enforcement or the mere existence of laws NEVER thwart crimes and/or tamp them down before they escalate into something worse?

    Paint things in black and white if you like, but it is a mischaracterization of the arguments at hand. I never said NO guns. But LESS guns in the hands of FEWER people who obtain them through STRICTER measures will amount to LESS random and lethal gun violence. Hence, a more peaceful and safe society – more civilized. Australia is a case in point.

    If you want to spin that bible verse as license to go into the world carrying a gun unhindered by God-given authority then fine. Maybe it ought to be “two for every twelve” instead of every teacher and citizen armed against their neighbor. Or maybe we should just let cops teach school and vice versa.

    “Likewise, there is nothing particularly virtuous or “civilized” about having no guns.”

    Sure there is. We’ve known this for a long time. Leave them with the sheriff before you come into town. People who are armed tend to use those weapons. Where there are guns there is shooting. The very presence of a gun in any setting implies the threat of lethal force and power over others. That is appropriate for some given their vocation – sheriff, cop, etc. Teachers?

    Switzerland has a national policy of neutrality. They also do not make allies or declare war on anyone. That may explain why they haven’t been in a war. It also has a geographic element that makes it nearly impossible to invade, which has as much to do with Hitler and Napoleon as anything else. And yes, every male is prepared too serve in the military BECAUSE THEY DON”T HAVE ONE. And yet they only allow 2000 men to be supplied with ammunition for the militia. Would that work here? No National Guard, US Army, Marines, Navy? Maybe we make every fit male serve in the Guard. Conscription? Maybe that IS the true intention of the 2nd Amendment. Okay, now we are off on a tangent.

    Your turn.

  • kerner

    Switzerland does not “not have a military” They are ALL in their military. And until about 5 years ago, they ALL had ammunition in their homes for their assault rifles. Still very little crime. Not to mention all the ammunition available to civillians generally (the civilian round .223 will fit in to the military 5.56mm weapon chamber)

    And we’ve known for years that we shouldn’t abuse alcohol, and we known how dangerous it is, but we don’t strictly regulate who can get it (among adults at least). Pietism is not the answer.

    Look, I never said that Jesus told the disciples to arm themselves and attack whomever they want. I say that Jesus showed clearly that there is no virtue in going unarmed anymore than there is in going without money. Arms and money, both normal tools to use appropriately in a sinful world. Both things that shouldn’t be made idols or demons, as you seem to want to.

  • Stephen

    You are putting words in my mouth. Arms have a place, but there is absolutely no relationship between what Jesus said and your desire to own guns. All he was essentially saying is “be prepared for a tough rode ahead after I am gone” and that’s pretty much it. He was speaking figuratively.

    Alcohol IS regulated, and strictly by some standards (ask the French). Accuse me of piety if you like. Nice trick. but what we are arguing is what makes sense in our society. Or so I thought.

  • Stephen

    kerner,

    To make the point about the biblical text more clearly “tough road ahead” is also a figure of speech that we understand in our day just as “a sword and a purse” was one in Jesus’ day that they would understand. It is not prescriptive but descriptive. There’s a difference you seem unwilling to acknowledge.

  • Stephen

    Hey, Cereberus is selling off the AR-15 part of their investment portfolio. How about that?

  • Tom Hering

    Of curse there is always the possibility that Christ told the Apostles to have swords for the same reason he told them to carry money. Because having both would be useful in the NT world, and they should use both as needed. (@ 186)

    Which is why, I guess, when it came time to use the swords, Jesus said, “Stop!”

    Nah!! Our Lord could not have possibly meant what He actually said. (@ 186)

    Nah, He couldn’t possibly have meant “stop!” to mean “stop!” Those crazy apostles who were beheaded, and crucified upside down, and sawn in half, and all the other early Christians martyrs, clearly misunderstood Jesus, or just plain forgot to carry and use swords as they’d been told to do. But perhaps martyrdom is a special matter, and Jesus only meant His followers should defend themselves against common criminals – against beatings and robberies. “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.” Oops! There Our Lord goes again, confusing us about protecting ourselves. Thanks be to God we have 21st century American gun nuts to set us straight!

  • Stephen

    Look at that passage again kerner. Like I said, Jesus is speaking metaphorically about the time ahead when he is gone. So, taking him literally, the disciples pull out a couple swords and ask him if this is what he means. He says “it is enough.” Did they get it? No. Once again the disciples misunderstand the Lord. And so later he must once again try to instruct them. He does so with an aphorism.

    “Those who take up the sword will die by it.” Easy enough to remember.

  • Stephen

    Paul also suffered numerous persecutions and beatings. Is that because he didn’t have a sword handy when he should have? Hebrew 10:34 says:

    “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

    Why didn’t they just run those bandits through with one of their sidearms?

  • Stephen

    Make bandits “government, high tax, nanny state bureaucrats who can’t protect me.”

  • Abby
  • Abby

    If that article is true, it is too bad the process for commital was taking so long for her. In all 3 of my circumstances, it happened on the same day.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Kerner (@186), so you want us to be more like Switzerland, eh? Yes, by all means, let’s emulate them:

    To carry firearms in public or outdoors (and for an individual who is a member of the militia carrying a firearm other than his Army-issue personal weapons off-duty), a person must have a Waffentragschein (gun carrying permit), which in most cases is issued only to private citizens working in occupations such as security.

    Conditions for getting a permit involve, as stated, plausible justification involving a specified danger, as well as passing an examination in both weapon handling and weapon laws.

    I’d be happy if our gun laws would rise to that level of common sense. Would you support our being more like Switzerland, Kerner?

    Oh, and you also said that “Switzerland has a very low crime rate.” Indeed. But not the lowest. No, according to Wikipedia, Switzerland had a firearm-related homicide rate of 0.52 (per 100,000 population per year) in 2010. That’s pretty good, and certainly better than the US’s rate of 3.7.

    Here’s the thing, though. Nearly every other European nation had a lower firearm-related homicide rate. Here’s the list: Malta (0.48), Portugal, Macedonia, Belarus, Italy, Ireland, Ukraine, Estonia, Belgium, Finland, Lithuania, Cyprus, Georgia, Bulgaria, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Spain, Hungary, Czech Rep., Germany, Slovenia, Norway, United Kingdom, Romania, Poland (0.02), down to Iceland, which gets an NA.

    I’m too busy to look up the gun policies in every one of those (many!) nations, but I’m kind of gonna bet that their gun laws aren’t as liberal as Switzerland’s.

    So it kind of looks like, relative to its neighbors, Switzerland actually has quite a lot of firearm-related homicides! Go figure.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    At last, somebody wants to base an argument on facts. Thank you.

    I got this from Wikipedia as well re Switzerland’s gun regulations:

    Conditions under the 1999 Gun Act
    To purchase a firearm in a commercial shop, one needs to have a Waffenerwerbsschein (weapon acquisition permit). A permit allows the purchase of three firearms. Everyone over the age of 18 who is not psychiatrically disabled (such as having had a history of endangering his own life or the lives of others) or identified as posing security problems, and who has a clean criminal record (requires a Criminal Records Bureau check) can request such a permit.[citation needed]
    To buy a gun from an individual, no permit is needed, but the seller is expected to establish a reasonable certainty that the purchaser will fulfill the above-mentioned conditions (usually done through a Criminal Records Bureau check). The participants in such a transaction are required to prepare a written contract detailing the identities of both vendor and purchaser, the weapon’s type, manufacturer, and serial number. The law requires the written contract to be kept for ten years by the buyer and seller. The seller is also required to see some official ID from the purchaser, for such sales are only allowed to Swiss nationals and foreigners with a valid residence permit, with the exception of those foreigners that come from certain countries (Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Albania, Algeria), to whom such sales are not allowed even if they do have a residence permit. Foreigners without a residence permit or from countries on the ban list must ask for a special permit.[citation needed]
    After turning 18, any individual can buy singleshot or semiautomatic long arms (breech-loading or muzzle-loading) without a permit (so-called “free arms”). Likewise, members of a recognized rifle association do not need a buying permit for purchasing antique repeaters, and hunters do not need one for buying typical hunting rifles.[citation needed]
    Basically, the sale of automatic firearms, selective fire weapons and certain accessories such as sound suppressors (“silencers”) is forbidden (as is the sale of certain disabled automatic firearms which have been identified as easily restored to fully automatic capability). The purchase of such items is however legal with a special permit issued by cantonal police. The issuance of such a permit requires additional requirements to be met, e.g. the possession of a specific gun locker.[citation needed]
    Most types of ammunition are available for commercial sale, including full metal jacket bullet calibres for military-issue weapons; hollow point rounds are only permitted for hunters. Ammunition sales are registered only at the point of sale by recording the buyer’s name in a bound book.

    And the gist of that is that it is not that difficult for a Swiss adult to obtain a firearm, especially a “long gun”, but when they do buy them, the Swiss keep pretty good track over who purchases what, etc. And for certain kinds of firearms and for certain kinds of activities, citizens need special permission. Believe it or not, that doesn’t strike me as such a terrible system. Even the concept of treating firearms similarly to the way we treat motor vehicles, with titles and registration and operator’s licenses (although licensing implies a priviledge rather than a right, which disagree with) and the need to take safety courses or pass an operator’s test…I would consider any of that in a reasonable discussion if I weren’t so convinced that those things were just a pretext for getting guns out of the hands of most people, just because.

    Seriously, tODD, the biggest obsticle to talking common sense on this issue is that far too many people think that being unarmed makes that person more civilized and morally superior to someone who owns guns. People like that think of regulation of guns the same way pro life people think of regulation of abortion. It isn’t about sensible regulation at all. For them, it is about suppressing the activity until it goes away entirely. And if gun owners agree to some sensible regulations, they won’t leave gun owners alone, tODD. You know they won’t. They will simply consider those regulations one step in a long term campaign to pretty much eliminate guns from our society.

  • Tom Hering

    Fact-based arguments are very good things. Unless they’re made by a lawyer whose skill is the manipulation of facts. ;-) But seriously, I suspect gun proponents now want to turn the discussion to studies and statistics – and away from their usual rights-based argument – because they know it will get us all down in the weeds, and stall the momentum for gun control.

    A combination of common sense and outrage is a perfectly fine basis for demanding change. The common sense judgment that the easy availability of guns equals the easy perpetration of slaughter. The outrage over a national group with deep pockets (the NRA) keeping little children at risk in order to protect its special interest – and justifying this with the bullsh*t assertion that it’s the price of freedom.

  • kerner

    Tom:

    You are pretty skilled yourself, amigo. ;)

    Or is the assertion that giving up our freedom is the only way to keep little children safe the true bullsh!t?

    We seem to be going round and round on this.

  • Tom Hering

    We seem to be going round and round on this.

    Not really. And I’m not talking about giving up freedom. That’s the gun proponent’s scare tactic. I’m talking about limits on a particular freedom, and what those limits should be. A civilized society, including a constitutional America, places limits on every freedom.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    What can I say, Kerner (@200)? You seem intent on making this all about the scary straw man, and not what people here are saying.

  • Carl Vehse

    If not censored, here’s a link to a Washington Examiner news story, “69,548 sign White House petition to deport Piers Morgan,” for the leftwing media propagandist’s attacks on the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Second Amendment.


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