The Irenist Summarizes My Thoughts

What I’m hoping for… is for us to learn to think of gun crime (and drugs!) as a public health problem amenable to sensible regulation, rather than a form of Wal-Mart vs. Whole Foods identity politics where we argue about “Liberty!” and “Dead Kids!” all day without getting anywhere, just like we do (with Team Red’s and Team Blue’s kabuki roles reversed), spend all day arguing about abortion with those exact slogans (“Liberty!”, “Dead Kids!”) without, again, actually getting anywhere.

Yep. Resolved: the protection of innocent human life takes priority over liberty both before *and* after birth.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar

    It’s not like we could use the solution Golda Mier used to prevent school mass shootings, to wit: have legally armed volunteers, such as (retired) relatives of the children at risk, ready to shoot anyone showing up with a battle carbine and slaughter on his mind.

    • Mark Shea

      And when some nutbar teacher turns her gun on her snotty students after one too many insults and threats, do we arm the kids?

      One persistent meme of the gun culture that really doesn’t pass the smell test is, “The problem lies in the Hearts of Men and gun control advocates are shallow fools who want a *technological fix* to a *spiritual* problem. What we need to do instead is adopt *our* shallow technological fix: give *everybody* guns!”

      • dabhidh

        While possible, it is not necessarily certain or even likely that trained, vetted volunteers (not “nutbar teachers) will turn their weapons on the students they are there to protect, but it is certain that as long as there are “gun-free zones”, vicious killers will always know where to go in order to find helpless victims.

        • Mark Shea

          Of course it’s not likely. But it becomes more likely with the “We just need to turn America into a garrison state like the highly successful and sure-to-turn-out-well state of Israel” line of thinking.

          • dabhidh

            Well, it seems to me we have three possible solutions – change the population so that people will no longer wish to slaughter innocent people, forcibly confiscate every kind of gun that is currently privately owned, or provide some real living, breathing, thinking security at places where barbarians come looking to kill the innocent. To my mind only the last option seems doable.

            • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

              There is a fourth option — reasonable restrictions on guns, plus better care and treatment of mentally ill people, plus working to improve our culture, plus prayer. But this one is a lot more work than just giving guns to lots of people.

              • Stu

                What “reasonable restrictions” do you propose to put in place that aren’t already part of existing law? Please show how they would have stopped the incident in Newton.

                • Sus

                  If the shooter had been using hand guns or rifle, he would not have been able to shoot as many bullets as he did as quickly. Therefore a ban on semi-automatic guns and clips and/or magazines which hold more bullets than a handgun.

                  Banning gun shows will help to make sure the proper background checks and waiting periods are followed.

                  Will these things protect little kids completely? No, but criminals will need to work harder to kill a bunch of people.

                  • Stu

                    He WAS using a rifle and he could have done as much damage with handguns he had as well. In fact the majority of these incidents use handguns. Also, most handguns and rifles sold today are semi-automatic. The technology is over 100 years old. For instance, the handgun that I carry is a M1911 .45 caliber, named because that design was first used by the Army in 1911. It’s the not the weaponry that has changed. It’s something else.

                    The guns that Adam used were obtained legally by his mother who went through background checks. Adam had reportedly tried to purchase a rifle himself five days prior to the shooting but did not want to go through the 14 day waiting period.

                • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

                  Sus has one. Several other posters in this thread and the earlier one have also come up with restrictions that might have mitigated or prevented Newtown, or that would prevent other deaths. Then there is the variation among states in both the restrictions and their enforcement, a problem people in my city — NYC — know well. NYS has very tough gun laws, so criminals and would-be criminals travel to other states, like Virginia, or to gun shows, where the regulations and laws are not as tough and enforcement is lax, to buy the weapons they then use here.

                  Finally, as I said, it’s not just about gun control, we also need to address other factors that cause or contribute to these atrocities. Just because a lack of adequate gun regulations is not enough, by itself, to solve every problem ever, does not mean we throw up our hands and decide to do nothing.

                  • Stu

                    I’m more concerned with us simply doing “something” in order to say we are doing “something.”

                    Nothing Sus brought up would have stopped this event.

                    That is the goal, right?

                    • Mark Shea

                      Given that a lot of us are simply trying to think the problem through and clear our minds of cant, the pre-emptive ridicule directed at people who think that there must be something that can be done, but who are unclear as to what that might be comes off, yet again, sounding like the gun lobby saying, “Shut up. Pipe down. There’s nothing you can do, so give up, you utopian loon.” The whole weight and momentum of almost everything you say reads as though it is calculated to intimidate people into shutting up and not so much as asking, “Is there anything to be done.” Sorry, but that’s how it comes across.

                    • The Deuce

                      Who said anything about giving up? You keep dismissing the concrete suggestions given by others (even though you admit that you don’t have any yourself), then accusing them of counseling despair.

                    • Stu

                      Mark,

                      I was reacting to “Just because a lack of adequate gun regulations is not enough, by itself, to solve every problem ever, does not mean we throw up our hands and decide to do nothing,” which comes across as dismissive of my intent.

                      I’m happy to ask if if anything can be done. But I will then ask, “will it actually solve the problem?” Seems reasonable to me.

              • David K. Monroe

                I’m all for improving care for the mentally ill and I’m not in any way averse to reasonable regulation of guns, but neither of these options would have prevented the shooter from stealing his mother’s legally purchased and registered firearms and heading toward a gun-free zone in search of victims. Turning around the situation regarding the mentally ill is something that will take years, probably decades, to achieve, and really the only kind of firearms restriction that’s sure to prevent any more shootings is taking ALL the guns. But one armed individual within that school could have stopped that massacre long before 20 kids were killed.

                Stu has a point – a lot of this talk, especially regarding new gun laws, seems to be just proposing things for the sake of appearing to have taken immediate action, regardless of that action’s inability to have prevented this kind of crime.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Knowledge that the teachers are armed will, of course, not change student behavior one bit, nor will it change how principles treat disruptive students.

        Of course it won’t.

      • The Deuce

        And when some nutbar teacher turns her gun on her snotty students after one too many insults and threats, do we arm the kids?

        Well, Mark, there are already a number of places in the country where teachers can carry. Can you come up with any examples of this scenario? You could make the same argument about police. What happens when a nutbar policeman goes on a rampage all of a sudden and shoots up everyone else in the police station? Or what if the cops showed up at a school and one of them suddenly started shooting at all the students instead of the criminal? There’s a reason those things don’t happen, or are supremely rare.

        What we need to do instead is adopt *our* shallow technological fix: give *everybody* guns!”

        Our “technological fix” isn’t meant to fix the “Hearts of Men.” It’s meant to take them into account, and to come up with prudent means to limit the damage they can do given the reality of the situation. Furthermore, it’s not really a technological fix. Simply allowing licensed and qualified individuals to carry their registered firearms into places where they couldn’t before isn’t high-tech, nor is having guards already stationed in vulnerable places rather than waiting ten minutes for them to arrive after a shooting starts. Attempting to make 200 million guns disappear forever without creating a huge black market, however, is a “technological fix” (I would choose “fantastical” myself) par excellence.

        • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

          Has anyone here actually advocated getting rid of all 200 million guns in the country?

          • tz

            You have a Harry Potter world “magic wand” you can wave and make them disappear?

            I do not despair, but all the argument about “regulation” seems to be predicated on the psychos or criminals being law-abiding. (I argue with ultralibertarians who hate the constitution because the terms were violated that pieces of paper cannot protect or enforce themselves).

            If I will kill my own mother to obtain a gun, few rules, restrictions, or regulations will work where any weapon is permitted. If not a gun, there are other weapons or things which can be turned into weapons. On 9/11/01, it was box-cutters.

            Ordinary people manage to take defense into their own hands. This is subsidiarity. I should be the first one responsible for the safety of my home and family, then the police, then more remote levels of government. (I have no family so choose pacifism – were I to desire a gun, I would have to spend an inordinate amount of time training to use it properly and insure its safety). Many times crimes are prevented or mitigated by armed citizens. And ought we to abandon “innocent until proven guilty” so lightly?

            You have a psychopath, sociopath, and/or terrorist who wants to kill lots of people in any way possible. How do you keep Him/her from getting a weapon – guns, explosives, poison, or even a monkeywrench at an amusement park or schoolbus? If you can play Screwtape for a few minutes, you can probably think of a way to kill as many as at the school, and you are good. Then think what you would need to do to prevent it. You probably won’t be able to. Destruction is always easier than creation. Death easier than life. Breaking easier than fixing. Maybe it is just the 2nd law of thermodynamics combined with the fall.

            Can you make it harder for evil while not making it even harder for good people to mitigate or prevent evil? Can you do much of anything to prevent the effects of the fall short of making YOURSELF a saint?

            It is a hard problem. That cannot be changed.

            But we should stop to consider what is the root cause.

            Guns?

            (untreated) Psychosis?

            Evil?

            Treating the symptom usually has worse side-effects than leaving things alone. Worse, in every case I can think of, people go away self-satisfied they have fixed everything by treating only the most superficial thing. But evil simply assumes another form. Evil routes around the “no nasty” sign.

    • kenneth

      What the hell are we paying taxes for and incurring generations of debt to support humanity’s largest military establishment ever if we have to live on wartime footing in our own backyards at all times? If kids need armed escorts to go to the hallway drinking fountain or chalkboard, and if the rest of us have to go around strapped to the nines each morning to have a shot of coming home for dinner, seriously, what’s the point of civil society? We could do just as well in Somalia. Meir’s Israel was a 20-year old postage stamp of a country carving out a pioneer existence in a war zone. Basic conditions of civil order and who is in charge of the streets should be way settled here by now.

      • TMLutas

        Martial law sucks. The expenditure doesn’t carry over to the very different security task of domestic safety in case of rampage.

    • Steven Cornett

      There is no reason not to do so. However, if we want to put a correct spin on the 2nd Amendment, how about connecting the right to bear arms with the duty to aid in the provision of the distributive good of public safety?

      What I am suggesting is that, for example, the license to concealed carry be connected to the willingness (and by implication the ability) to aid in the safety of the community as a deputy or public militia (as the Founders intended BTW) for disaster relief and national protection along the border.

      The second purpose, while covered over in spin and identity politics, is a vital issue because the narco-gangs that murder thousands of Mexicans also have control of vital points of the U.S. Southwest, especially Arizona. I mention the later to note that we do have real national security threats that we as an armed citizenry can impact if brought together to do so, and perhaps in a way better than our present leadership (not just through the criminal treachery of Fast & Furious) is now providing.

  • Harpy

    I don’t know Mark. Respectfully, it seems a little inconsistent for you to acknowledge the trend towards a police-state, and that Caeser has a predisposition to try and push out any competition for ‘charity’, and then still be in favor of increasing legislation at the federal level. It seems like they (Ruling Class=GOP & Democratics) have already shown no appetite for actually caring for the unborn and are using all the power at their disposal to oppose it. Why do you believe that in this instance any legislation would do anything other than to consolidate Caeser’s power over us, as opposed to actually accomplishing the goals you would like to see met.

    I don’t know, I am all in favor of taking action to make our culture a better culture – but I am not sure I agree that ceding action to a Federal Government that has already demonstrated that its primary goal it to accrete power (as opposed to authority) is the right coarse of action. Thoughts?

    • Mark Shea

      As I say, I have no program at this point. I’m simply looking at the gun culture memes and asking whether they are in contact with reality. So far, it’s not looking good. Am I aware that a disarmed population is part of what a police state likes? Sure. But I’m also aware that the gun culture meme about armed patriots fighting The Man is insane and radically out of touch with reality. So the notion that a Montana Militiaman and his buddies are going to successfully mount a resistance to the Rising American Hitler in command of the 101st Airborne is midsummer madness. The whole “John Brown declaring war on CIA/NSA headquarter and staging a bloody campaign of righteousness against the Police State” vision of gun rights is pure fantasy. Dead children in a Newtown classroom is not fantasy. Prudence says to address the real problem, not the imaginary fantasy of lunatics.

      • Harpy

        Although (surprisingly enough to me) I largely agree. The thing I am struggling with is your very last sentence: “Prudence says to address the real problem, not the imaginary fantasy of lunatics.”

        I think that this is where there is a huge disconnect between groups and individuals in that (subject to confirmation bias) everyone thinks that they have supporting proof and the right way of thinking. Your assessment of many of the gun culture memes may be accurate, but there are many “memes” on the other side of the issue that are equally “full of that which does not smell of roses”.

        Like you, I am at a loss for a specific “program” or direction that accounts for my desire to have a culture that adores life and abhors violence. I guess I am still wondering (aloud in the blogosphere) whether a solution that calls for U.S. Federal Government involvement will (can) actually make an impact, and even it does will the cost in unexpected outcomes in other areas of our lives be worth the impact it does make. I am at the point I just want to be like an ostrich and stick my head in the sand, and only come up for Mass …. ;)

        • kenneth

          The federal government should not be thought of as an alien occupying entity. To the extent it has become so, we, collectively are to blame. It is supposed to be a direct extension of us, the voters. I’ll be the first to agree its drifted too far from that ideal in many regards, but at least there are still functional mechanisms and long historical precedent for the federal government to be accountable to our needs and wishes. I think perhaps we can agree that on their worst day, they’re still more accountable to the public welfare than guys like Adam Lanza, who we’ve conceded huge power to. If we’ve given up entirely on the promise of representative government, our only hope is to hope for mercy from guys like Lanza or devolve into an every-man-for-himself state of nature or warlord society where the best armed and fastest draws determine justice. That seems to be the fantasy of a sizable minority of the gun-right crowd, and certainly the extremists among them who have defined the terms of the debate for a couple of decades.

          • TMLutas

            The problem is that we, mostly unknowing, are felons. We avoid prison because we do not have saturation law enforcement coverage to catch us all. To fix this would strip out a majority of the criminal code.

      • Stu

        Why does it have to be against the 101st Airborne and on a Federal level? Ever heard of the Battle of Athens?

        My having MY firearms is for my personal protection from a variety of possible threats, some much more likely than others. People can glibly tell me to simply rely on my Rosary and then assert that I am somehow a follower of Glenn Beck because I would dare to defend myself OR MY FAMILY in such instances. It’s one thing for an individual to choose to take a non-violent stance in the face of tyranny and meet their own death, but it’s another thing to tell me that I need to let my wife or children suffer such a fate. Not going to happen on my watch.

        The Faustian Easy-Button of increased gun regulations will make everyone feel good about doing “something,” but it’s not gong to stop the problem.

  • David

    In the one case, the debate is over whether to make the actual killing of innocents illegal. In the other case, the debate is over whether to make the ownership of tools that may be used to kill innocents illegal.

    • Harpy

      Hi David – not sure if you were responding to me – if not perhaps I can hijack your comment to try and clarify my question. My fundamental concern is that if (generally) Caesar uses every legislative opportunity to accrete power and marginalize opponents; and if the Catholic church is rightly seen as an opponent – why would anyone be in favor of “powering up” the legislative engine knowing that the result won’t come out as they believe it will?

      It is sort of like having this car that when you get into it, it starts taking you in the direction you are going – but you *never* end up where you intended to go, and the destination is always a gas station at the end of a tank of gas where you have to fill up the car instead of doing what you had intended to do. And now, you spend all your time trying to figure out how to trick the car into at least getting close to where you want it to go by driving it where you don’t want to go but in a direction that based on the last trip would then put you where you want to be. (sigh) … OK, my analogy sucks – but maybe another nutcase like me would understand it …

  • Mike Petrik

    Yes, this whole liberty thing is getting way out of control. When it comes to saving the lives of the innocent and vulnerable, some countries understand this better than ours:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ssctlLNys (language alert)

    Sometimes the ends just have to justify the means for crying out loud. It’s not like the Constitution is a papal encyclical!

    • Mark Shea

      “Protection of innocent human life takes priority over a ‘woman’s right to choose’” equals common sense.

      “Protection of innocent human life takes priority over a ‘a gun owner’s right to guns” equals Ends Justify the Means Tyranny.

      Interesting to see how Americans all use the same tactics depending on whose ox is being gored.

      • Sherry Weddell

        Yes! Being pro-life is always costly and it always means that someone has surrendered some of their rights to protect that life. A woman who chooses to give birth rather than abort her child (and her family, friends, or adoptive parents, etc.) will be paying in various ways for that child for many years to come. Loving adults have always sacrificed some and often, many of their rights, for the sake of the young, the innocent, and the vulnerable. Its what adults do. Except when asked to give semi=automatic weapons for hobbies like hunting or shooting, I guess. (I speak as someone who grew up around a shooting father who made his own bullets and who shot her first hand-gun at the same age as those 20 children who were murdered on Friday.)

  • Anthony

    The right to life does trump someone’s right to firearms, however the right to firearms is framed by supporters in the right to self defense and therefore the right to life. It’s not a simple equation here. If we give the State the right to take our arms, how do we protect ourselves from the State, or from other people who violate the law? Is taking arms necessary to protect life, or is it just an easy (and lazy) principle to project? Is opposition to arms based on reasoned reflection or is it an emotional knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy?

    • Mark Shea

      Who said it was a simple question?

      I get that somebody who feels threatened by crime might want a gun. I totally don’t get the Montana Militiamen vs. American Hitler fantasy scenario that so many keep indulging as a sane rationale for our present gun culture.

      • http://geeklady.wordpress.com GeekLady

        May I inquire which side Texas farmers, ranchers, and wildlife conservationists fall in this divide?

        You may not like guns. I don’t like them either. But they are still tools which have a legitimate use (the particular case I’m thinking of is dealing with feral hogs, but there are certainly others) and neither “threatened by a crime” nor “crazypants resisting tyranny” acknowledges this.

        • Mark Shea

          What divide? I don’t have any feelings about guns per se. I have very strong feelings about making them readily available to large numbers of violent unstable sociopaths, which is our current policy. I assume most Texas farmers, ranchers, and wildlife conservationists are not violent unstable sociopaths, just as I assume most air travelers are not terrorists. Still and all, I think taking precautions against another mass death 9/11 event is smart. So is taking precautions against another Sandy Hook, if possible. To find such solutions, rubbish rationalizations for maintaining the status quo, such as “We have to maintain that status quo or else I will have no gun to fight off American Hitler in the Militia that will save us from tyranny” need to go.

          • Michael

            “I have very strong feelings about making them readily available to large numbers of violent unstable sociopaths, which is our current policy.”

            Which is why we employ background checks and disqualify potential buyers who have been adjudicated mentally ill, committed to institutions or have been convicted of domestic violence or a felony. Yeah, we are just giving them away to the crazies.

            • Ed

              There are no such background checks at gunshows, my friend, and the mental health system in this country is far too broken to place any confidence in it to identify psychopaths before they commit atrocities.

              • Jacob

                Are you sure about that? I’ve seen background checks being performed at gun shows. Definitely not on craigslist, though.

                • Ed

                  Private parties are not required to perform background checks under existing Federal law. Seven states require checks under state law. Licenced dealers must always perform checks. I believe there should be uniformity there – it makes everything more fair for everyone.

            • kenneth

              Our system of regulation is much more hole than net, especially where the issue of mental health is concerned. Virtually no one is adjudicated insane anymore until after they’ve gone off the deep end and killed somebody. Many of the registeries rely on things like institutionalization, but we have no more institutions. We have so little access to mental health services and so many uninsured people that many mentally ill folks never even get properly diagnosed. We place zero burden on people to prove that they’re at all sane when they want to purchase military grade hardware. We’ll put such things under a microscope before we give out security clearances or a pilot’s license or a job carrying a gun on the public’s behalf, but it’s considered impolite to do so when any random unknown guy wants to buy tools capable of effortless mass casualties. We allow them to be bought and sold so casually that they have saturated our society to the point that access for lunatics or criminals is pathetically easy, often requiring nothing more than a trip to a closet in a master bedroom or basement cabinet. We have no limits on how many guns can be bought and no requirements on secure storage, so opportunities for diversion via straw purchase and “theft” are boundless.

        • Mel

          I don’t think larger scale semi automatic weapons of the Bushmaster rifle variety should fall in the functional category. Maybe i am missing something here, but why do citizens need a weapon with the capability of such rapid fire and such large magazines? It seems outside of the self defense realm (zombie apocalypse notwithstanding), and I can’t think of a working use for them that isnt just about a level of convenience.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Actually, an automatic weapon is impractical in the zombie apocalypse because you are more likely to panic and blow all of your ammo too quickly.

            Blades don’t need reloading.

  • Andy

    I am not sure that this response belongs here – but here is my 2 cents.

    Well as we look at owning guns as a defense – what makes anyone think that a person under duress, under threat with minimal training is going to be effective? A quick search pointed out that int eh military to be a marksman does not require a perfect score. Police are notorious for not being “good shots” – ask the folks this fall near the Empire State Building, where the police fired 16 shots and hit 9 civilians not involved in the crime. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law says a person with a weapon is not required to retreat – so we see how many people shot because a gun-owner feels threatened?
    I own two guns – a shotgun for deer and another for skeet (a gift from son). I am not advocating banning guns. But damn, to say you are going to protect yourself with a gun – doesn’t really add up. I guess if someone had had a gun at Sandy Hook – s/he could have shot the murderer – that is assuming that the “good” guy was an accurate shot and that Lanza stood still for a bit. Better the shooting in Colorado – a dark theater, someone opens fire – and those civilians who are armed return fire – the police arrive and have no idea who is the good guy or the bad guys and how many other innocent bystanders would have been shot. By the way – a semi-automatic or automatic is needed to shoot lots of bullets – you really don’t have to aim well – only sweep the gun back and forth and odds are you will hit your target.

    The issue is not using a gun for self-defense. It is a mental and social health issue. We live in a culture of rage. We bemoan the presence of the activities associated with rage – violence, anger and injury to another – whether it is emotional or physical or both. Yet what is our favorite SUnday afternoon pastime – the NFL – where we watch huge men act as gladiators for our amusement. Turn on the radio and listen to talk radio – it is full of anger and rage. Movies glorify rage in so many ways, computer games glorify rage. Look at the com-boxes on various blogs or purported news organizations.

    The idea of the second amendment response to Obama’s election and then re-election is symptomatic of our fetish with using guns to settle This response is symptomatic of a severe fantasy – one based in anger and fear -= which lead to rage.

    The mental health issue is psychological drive to dehumanize those who are not like us. It is based on one of six causes – deindividuating practices, impaired personal agency, dissimilarity, mechanization, empathy reduction, and moral disengagement. Given the culture we live in is it any wonder rage – violent, uncontrollable anger – is present. To deal with rage is a social problem – how do we help people move away from that anger, from the dehumanization of others? I do not know.

    To the current debate – we most likely will never be able to identify people who will be mass murderers. before they commit their crime. However, if we can make the tools used harder to obtain and harder to use we might at least minimize their impact. If we as a culture cannot see the need to do this then the rage I see sweeping the country will be its demise. If we cannot put away our “romantic dreams” that we can use a gun to protect ourselves and families we will continue to see an increase in the deaths of innocents by crazy people. If we see the need for second amendment responses to governmental actions we are doomed to die by our own folly.

    We cannot ban guns, nor should we. We need what prior to the mid-80s the NRA supported – reasonable controls. We need to invest in mental health treatment and move it from the shadows, where only those people go and to the light where there but for the grace of God… Above all we need as a culture to find a way to defuse the rage that is burning through the roots of who we are.

  • Ed

    Caesar has nuclear weapons. Pistols and rifles will never, ever defeat Caesar militarily and gun-rights advocates have been disingenuous in the extreme to even suggest such a laughable scenario is possible. Meanwhile we have dead children. Citizens of the U.S. wil always have the right to own guns, but like every other right enshrined in the Constitution, it’s not an absolute and unlimited right. Restrictions on high capacity magazines and armor-piercing rounds would seem reasonable to at least slow the pace of the carnage when the next selfish lunatic gives in to his anger.

    • Timbot2000

      Exhibit A:
      The success of Ceasar’s legions in Afghanistan, opposed by….pistols and rifles.

      • Mark Shea

        Um, the argument “I want an America that looks more like Afghanistan” does not strike me as a persuasive tool for the “We must keep things exactly as they are now because it’s all so perfect” crowd.

        • Nick R

          I think the implication is “I would rather live in Afghanistan than Soviet Russia, so if the SU turns into Soviet Russia I want to still have the ability to resist, even if it is a costly and bloody effort.”
          I’m not sure I totally agree with the argument, but it isn’t the strawman you make it out to be. It’s definitely the intention of the founders, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good practice unless you think the founders of the country were incapable of doing any wrong and set up rules that would last until the end of the world (I don’t think this).

      • DTMcCameron

        Pistols, rifles, and stinger missles. Those were…important. Much less so now that an oppressor can deploy an indefatigable force of robots.

  • http://www.patheos.com Deacon Tom

    Senator Schumer of all people may have suggested a way to actually get something done in our do nothing House and Senate:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-schumer-after-newtown-pursue-a-middle-ground-on-gun-limits/2012/12/19/69e36a98-4964-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html

    • Mark Shea

      Good! It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

    • Sherry Weddell

      Looks really hopeful!
      (How many words do I have to type in order to get my comment accepted?)

    • Michael

      “The gun debate of the past two decades has devolved into a permanent tug-of-war between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and advocates of gun safety. ” – Chuck Schumer

      Um, the NRA is a big advocate of actual gun safety. Schumer has always been an advocate of prohibition. It is good that he is claiming to back off of that goal but the every gun control measure has been passed under the description of reasonable limitations.

    • Stu

      Schumer didn’t actually propose anything. He simply pointed the current lay of the land.

  • Jessica

    “Romantic dreams” that we can use a gun to protect ourselves and our families? I don’t’ imagine I can save myself from a government intrusion, but I sure as heck can at least try to defend myself in the rare event there’s a violent person at the grocery store.

    Teachers shooting children? Do you really think that low of average people? Satan is playing your fears. The gun owners I know are exceedingly upright, moral, responsible citizens, who acknowledge the weight of the responsibility they have chosen. They are not filled with “anger and rage.”

    It is entirely possible that an armed teacher could have walked up behind Adam Lanza and ended the whole ordeal early. Look at the brave men and women on 9/11. But if only the bad guys are allowed to get guns, than how do the good guys even stand a chance?

    Making it harder for good guys to get guns does not make it harder for bad guys to get guns.

    The “real problem” is not the tool the madman used. The real problem was the madman. And the federal government, and you, and I, have no direct way of anticipating or preventing him from doing horrible things. People close to him may have – so we have to be careful that we don’t tie their hands, or make sweeping judgments after the fact.

    Maybe we require regular training. Maybe we expand background checks. I don’t know, but it seems like the only acceptable answer for some folks is for all guns to disappear altogether, which is equally delusional.

    • Andy

      Teachers shooting children? Do you really think that low of average people? Satan is playing your fears. The gun owners I know are exceedingly upright, moral, responsible citizens, who acknowledge the weight of the responsibility they have chosen. They are not filled with “anger and rage.”

      It is entirely possible that an armed teacher could have walked up behind Adam Lanza and ended the whole ordeal early. Look at the brave men and women on 9/11

      Ina time of duress trained professionals may be able to walk up and shoot Adam Lanza – an untrained teacher, trying to protect the children in their care not so much. Most of us do not respond well to situations of duress. I think highly of average people – I am one – and that is why I am suspicious of saying we can protect ourselves with guns.

      hey are not filled with “anger and rage.” – No they are filled with fear and terror – not really the emotions that lead to making sane and safe decisions or acting a way that is always correct.

      The real problem is the tool – it is harder to commit a mass killing with a single shot rifle than a semi0automatic; it is hard to commit a mass killing with a knife than a semi-automatic. It is the tool – the specific tool – the size of the magazine, the ease of rapid fire that makes the need to control guns necessary.
      People close to him may have – so we have to be careful that we don’t tie their hands, or make sweeping judgments after the fact. – Are you advocating the idea that Adam Lanza should have been shot before he went on his rampage – than you are being played by Satan and not me.

      • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

        The truth is, if instead of schools having signs such as “guns banned on these premises”, they had signs such as “security provided by Smith and Wesson”, cowards like Adam Lanza would never have shown up. For crying out loud, he killed himself at the first sign of armed resistance arriving. And if he did show up, even if armed security onsite weren’t a great shot and didn’t neutralize the threat outright, being shot at requires ones full attention and that causes time to lapse which means less killing before police arrive.

      • beccolina

        If people seriously expect to arm teachers like soldiers, then they need to give teachers the training and respect which soldiers receive, and do regular mental health screenings. I think putting trained police officers/security on a campus, and basic security features like alarms on doors and windows, makes more sense. If I heard the reports right, Lanza broke in through a window in an unoccupied part of the school. Having a security alarm that would alert the office and an on-campus officer of a break-in seems sensible.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          I think it’s very likely that 90%+ of schools already have one or more people on permanent staff who are at least adequately trained in the use of a firearm and would be willing to defend the school (or other public building) in the case of emergency. As far as mental health screenings for school staff, that might be a good idea anyway, no?

          • beccolina

            Considering some of the folks I taught with, yes, mental health screening for people teaching might not be so bad. Also, some of the parents could use them too, right before PT conferences. I taught in a district that had two student-with-gun scares in less than a year, one at my campus (nearly in my classroom) and another at the HS. Both were stopped before shots could be fired, but the thought of what I would do to protect my kids was a serious consideration of mine. Me with a gun, though I grew up hunting and very comfortable with firearms, was not what I would consider optimal in the classroom. What worked was developing enough rapport with students so they felt comfortable confiding that their friend brought, or talked about bringing a weapon to school. Both potential shootings in that district were stopped before the fact because a friend of the potential shooter confided in an adult, authorities were notified, and the students with the guns apprehended, peacefully, by the local police.

            • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

              Totally agreed about the idea of rapport being the most important and best method of minimizing situations like this. Still, some slip through, and though defending via gun usage certainly is sub-optimal, it doesn’t strike me as nearly as sub-optimal as being in roughly the same position as ducks in a shooting gallery.

          • Andy

            I suspect your 90+% is a dream – I would guess that it is closer to 0%. This evening while talking ot a couple of friends, both combat veterans from Viet Nam – they both stated that teachers or non-highly trained folks would not be able to respond in a manner that is going to limit the carnage. Please look at the statistics about the average soldiers or police officers marksmanship while involved in a fire-fight – it is depressingly low arming teachers or whoever is not the answer.
            Assuming that people will respond in a manner that limits carnage is at best a fantasy and we cannot afford fantasies anymore.

            • Dave

              At the very worst, being shot at requires one’s full attention and the ensuing delay will save lives. Out of probably an average of at least 20 staff at each school, you don’t think any of them, on average, would know how to use a firearm? Maybe it depends where you live. Here in Minnesota, I’d estimate at least 1/3 of people have some training in using a gun.

              • Andy

                I live in an area where there are lots of hunters and retired vets. Yes being shot requires full attention – however, for a teacher the kids will require full attention – arming teachers will only create greater amounts of confusion and the possibility of collateral damage from friendly fire. The whole idea that a civilian can use a gun effectively to defend himself/herself when being shot at is a dream. Professionals – military and police find it difficult to respond appropriately.

                • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                  Sure, it is very difficult. No argument there. I’m not sure why it necessarily has to be the teachers. Ideally it would be either paid security or at least a member of permanent staff who is not responsible for a group of children.

                  However, in my opinion, even if it were a teacher, this is still vastly preferable to the “ducks in a shooting gallery” scenario we just saw. But I’ve come to the dawning realization that even having to have discussions like how to protect elementary schools means that we’re pretty much screwed as a society.

                  Time to re-read “A Canticle for Leibowitz”

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    By the way, what guarantee would there be that the security staff or other trained person would be at the other end of the school when the shooting began and/or difficult to reach for any reason? Then you would need another armed person to cover for that situation… And what if all those people were together having a discussion about something?

      • kenneth

        Arming teachers as a first-line solution is a stupid idea for reasons more fundamental than the possibility of teachers flipping out. It is a stupid solution because it concedes the inevitability of what is likely preventable disaster, then proposes to try to intervene at the last possible stage in the most dangerous way. It’s like surgeons refusing to wash their hands or glove on the theory that nothing is perfect, and then trying to salvage patients in raging sepsis with high powered IV antibiotics.

        Most teachers are responsible most of the time. That said, it is not a profession that selects for or trains people toward the rare temperament needed to use deadly force under fire. Teacher suffer depression, bi-polar, substance abuse etc. like everyone else. Tensions between teachers and administration are also at all-time highs these days, with people constantly in fear of job security and livelihood. Moreover, a gun on a teacher’s hip or desk is a wonderful way for a school shooter or criminal to arm himself. Cops, who are much better trained for such encounters, are still disarmed and shot with their own guns from time to time. Some of the inner city schools where my wife taught were full of gang members. If they knew there were guns in the school somewhere, they’d be on it like flies on dung and rivals would have been shot on sight in the classroom or after school that day.

        • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

          Moreover, a gun on a teacher’s hip or desk is a wonderful way for a school shooter or criminal to arm himself. Cops, who are much better trained for such encounters, are still disarmed and shot with their own guns from time to time.

          I’ve been reading through this thread to see if anyone made this point. The very last thing harassed and overworked teachers need is the additional responsibility of keeping track of a gun. Good grief. The doors to various offices in my school are almost always open or unlocked. With all teachers have to keep track of and deal with, keeping a firearm around where it is both reasonably accessible in case of a nut and absolutely safe from theft, loss, or misuse strikes me as a little foolish.

          • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

            Oh, for crying out loud! Of course any guns would have to be in a secured safe, or have some other means of foolproof security such that only the designated person/people could use them.

            • Andy

              ANd if they are locked up how long will it take to unlock them and arrive at the scene. BTW there is nothing such as foolproof security.

              • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                Less time than it takes the police to arrive….if they are the digitally secured guns where the gun will only work for a specific person, it could take very little time indeed. You are very right that there is no such thing as foolproof security. All any of us are talking about (on any side) is increasing the chances.

    • Mark Shea

      Making it harder for good guys to get guns does not make it harder for bad guys to get guns.

      People always say that. Is it true? Had Nancy Lanza not provided her son with easy access to guns, would he really have rushed off to the Newtown Underworld and bought an arsenal from Guido the Enforcer?

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        Perhaps. It’s happened before. And if all guns were banned, and her son was determined, he would have found some means of accomplishing the horrible thing he did. Yes, I’m fine for looking at regulations of certain firearms as long as it’s effective and doesn’t open the door for problems down the road. But I’m also reminded that those who were pushing hardest for such regulations by Friday afternoon are, as often as not, the ones pushing hardest for things like the HHS mandate, too. That’s one of the reasons so many oppose any regulation – not because they think an 88mm in the backyard will save them, but because they see a very real trend in what is happening across the board, not just with guns. They also notice that many countries with stricter gun laws are getting strict with speech and religion as well. In the end, we can’t stop such things. Long before there were assault guns there were mass killings. But people can come together and try to find a solution for this particular brand, while hopefully being clever enough to avoid this being the great next step in the march toward that Police State we hear so much about.

      • Nick R

        Crazy people will find a way to do terrible things: http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/18/bath_school_bombing_remembering_the_deadliest_school_massacre_in_american.html

        We can’t know if he would in this instance, and it might be as I pointed out below that we can stem these occurrences, but absolute safety is something we will never have.

      • kenneth

        Lanza didn’t seem all that street-smart. He, like most of these guys, were barely able to maintain a conversation or contact with another human being, let alone cultivating the relationships one needs to deal with the black market. The underworld is not some drive-up window in the inner city. Criminals who buy street guns know who to ask and how, usually though a lifetime of cultivating such contacts in their daily work and in prison stints. It’s also not true that real gun regulations can’t trip up criminals. Look at the laws for silencers and fully automatic weapons. They’re highly restricted to the point that they are in very short supply and highly watched. It’s not impossible for criminals to get them, but it’s risky and difficult and expensive enough that the average thug can’t do it. In a similar vein, restrictions on cold medicine purchase haven’t eliminated the meth problem, but they have brought it down to a more manageable size, and the laws have effectively pushed the small time idiots and pikers out of the game.

        • Mark Shea

          Yep. That was the point of my question. The whole “Lanza would just have gone off to get more artillery from his criminal buddies” narrative seems not to pay attention to much beyond simple slogans.

          • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

            Don’t dismiss the real possibility that he might have found another way to kill – even a single child, which would still be a tragedy. Plus, remember there is more than one way he could have accomplished something this tragic that didn’t involve being a Type A personality with a network of friends throughout the underworld. Remember, the worst school massacre happened long before modern assault weapons were invented. Sad to say, but it could probably happen again long after any restrictions we can imagine. There’s nothing wrong with looking at regulations in light of such a horrible crime. I’m all for it. But it calls for realism on all sides, not just one.

          • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

            Well, yeah, if you want to regulate guns from being kept in any home where mentally ill people reside, I’m all for that. Nancy Lanza was, to be blunt, a complete moron in this matter. She paid the price that complete morons sometimes pay for their cluelessness.

            If we hear that the lunatic stayed up all night cutting through her gun safe with an acetylene torch, I’ll withdraw my statement….but until then the catastrophic failure was with her stunning inability to realize that guns and mentally unstable young men do not belong anywhere near each other.

            I’m not sure that the semi-automatic ban, or large magazine ban, solves much. It simply means lunatics will have to bring more guns or death dealing devices. The Colorado shooter apparently had quite a cache of guns with him.

            I agree with the sentiment that it seems that people just want SOMETHING, ANYTHING to be done (which is understandable) to prevent such a massacre. But let’s make sure it is reasonable and has an high chance of actually working.

            • Mark Shea

              I think “Something must be done” is a moral instinct that is so fundamental in reaction to this tragedy that any attempt to quell it comes from hell. The only thing to be discussed is *what* should be done, not whether. What raises my hackles is when the gun lobby instantly poo poo that moral instinct by dismissing it as idiots running around vainly saying, “Do Something!” as though the very thought is a stupid waste of time. Grrrr….

    • rachel

      Actually it can happen. Only recently, at a gas station that my husband and I had frequented in the past, a man, returning from his son’s wedding got into an argument with some young men about their music being loud. They were not armed but this man, returning from a happy event got angry, took out his gun, and shot several times at the SUV, killing a 17 year old man. The parents of that man will NEVER see their son get married nor go to college, etc. He snuffed out his life because he complained about the music and when they wouldn’t turn it down, he pulled out his gun. So, yeah..it is possible that normal people can resort to violence over the smallest things. Of course it doesn’t help any that here in Florida we have that “stand your ground” law which as you know gained notoriety after Zimmerman shot Travon Martin. I don’t think its worth it. Carrying a gun at all times, especially if one is prone to anger :(.

  • Will

    I question the personal need for semi-automatic guns that have magazines with more than 10 rounds.

    • kenneth

      You know, that’s the question that sits at the center of my thinking on this issue. My brother and I have a small collection between us that leans toward the historical: A Mosin-Nagant bolt action that was the terror of the Nazi officer corps on the Russian front, and which the Viet Cong used to knock down our helicopters with fair regularity. The crown jewel is an M-1 Garand, a mere 8-shotter. I have real trouble getting my head around the argument which says weapons which were good enough to break the Third Reich’s back are not sufficient to the self-defense needs of civilians in a peacetime nation.

      • Stu

        I have an M-1 Garand as well. Much more potent weapon than a Bushmaster .223.

  • Evan

    I’ve never given that much thought to the gun debate, but being fairly conservative, I’ve usually been in favor of the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership rights. Reading this post and the other one, along with the comments, has made me reconsider some of my views. I can’t think of any legitimate reason for someone to own a high powered assault gun, but I do think it should be legal for hunters to own a rifle(s), and if someone is concerned about their safety from home intruders or dangerous animals, they should be allowed to purchase a gun for their safety. (I personally know a family that had a rattlesnake problem outside their house, and they used their guns to shoot the snakes.)
    I do think it is fair to regualte guns the same way cars are regualted, (by state governments, not the federal government) but I do not think an all out ban on guns would solve any problems. (And I do know people who are advocating that.) The prohibition reduced neither alcohol consumption nor crime, the war on drugs has not significantly reduced drug consumption, and I cannot imagine how a gun ban would prevent determined psychopaths from acquiring lethal weapons; it might make it harder, but certainly not impossible.
    If that last sentence is a cheap conservative talking point, I apologize, but I really see those issues as related. If it’s insensitive, feel free to delete it, Mark. And I welcome any disagreement/discussion over this, because I am mulling these issues over.

    • Irenist

      Evan, thanks for your thoughtfulness and open-mindedness. I agree with the substance of all your comments, which is one reason I think an outright ban (i.e., Prohibition) would be counterproductive, and thus I, too, prefer a harm-reduction public health model for guns like the one I wish we used for drugs.

      That said, I really want to commend you for reconsidering some of your views. Prior to Newtown, I was very much looking forward to buying a gun or two myself, now that I’m living in West Texas. It seemed to me like the virtuous thing to do, in a small-r republican sort of way, and it also seemed like something I would really enjoy–the target practice and whatnot. What I’ve written here is a product of my own very recent rethinking on that, prompted in large part by reading the article on the Church’s position on guns I linked to in the last post, which I came across in a discussion of the tragedy in Newtown. (Possibly related: Prior to my conversion to Catholicism, I was a pretty standard-issue pro-choice atheist, and changing my views on abortion took me some real mental and emotional work. Open-mindedness can be painful, that’s for sure.)

    • beccolina

      Define “High powered assault gun”. Is the .50 cal my father used to hunt bear a high powered assault weapon or a hunting rifle? What about the semi-auto .45 he carries when hunting? If you are hunting in mountain lion country, it’s a good precaution to carry an extra side arm. Not to be snarky with you, it’s just that “assault gun” is not a certain class of firearm. Automatic weapons are banned. If you mean semi-auto weapons, that needs to be said specifically. One of greatest frustrations among knowledgeable and responsible gun owners is the obvious lack of knowledge of firearms on the part of those calling loudly for gun control.

      • Evan

        beccolina – I’m no expert on guns, and as I said, until now I’ve never given the matter much thought, other than pretty strong support of the 2nd Amendment and the NRA. When I said assault gun, I was thinking automatic and semi-automatic weapons. And maybe there is a legitiamte reason to own one; I just can’t think of one. I’m not trying to call “loudly” for more gun control; I do think it might be wise to regualte guns the same way other potentially dangerous machinery is regulated, but it should be discussed. (I do not believe a gun is inherently any more dangerous than a car.) And I can’t believe I’m suggesting more regulation; my political beliefs before this have been: deregulate.

        Irenist – Thanks!

        • beccolina

          Sorry, I was snappy & shouldn’t have been. The term assault weapon is tossed around so often in the media, with no definition of what it means. You were actually being very sensible.

      • Irenist

        beccolina, I agree that “assault weapons” is an incoherent category. Given that automatics have been practically banned for years, what if any guns or gun accessories (high capacity clips, e.g.) would you ban or not? Why? What other new reasonable regulations, if any, would you recommend?

        • beccolina

          Off the cuff, I would say: keep the ban on automatic weapons, ban clips larger than ten for semi-automatic weapons (I don’t see the reason for these; they aren’t sensible for a hunting scenario), and I wouldn’t necessarily mind requiring proof of a hunter’s safety class or gun safety class being presented when someone is purchasing a firearm. I think semi-auto firearms have a place in the field and in home defense. I live in an area where mountain lions and possibly wolves are a danger, even on the edges of town. We have coyotes and rattlesnakes within city limits. If I end up confronting a dangerous animal while hiking or hunting, I would prefer a semi-auto handgun instead of a rifle. If someone breaks into my house and is determined enough to make it though my older dog (German shepard-ridgeback mix), I consider them dangerous enough that I need to defend my family and myself with whatever I have. First choice would be the pump action shotgun because just the sound of it will often have the desired effect.

          • Stu

            Small point of order.

            You mean “magazine” and not “clip.”

            There is a difference.

            • beccolina

              Oops! Yes, you are right. Oh, the shame to my father.

          • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

            What about high-powered, small caliber rounds? Are these anything other than anti-personnel rounds?

  • Irenist

    It seems like many here would agree to the following:
    1. Gun ownership for hunting, shooting, and self-defense (including at home and possibly concealed carry) is a legitimate part of the prudential ordering of our present society.
    2. A complete ban on all private gun ownership in America is unlikely, and would be troubling in many ways in the very unlikely possibility it were attempted.
    3. Some kind of regulation of firearms can be both sensible and helpful in reducing deaths from accidents, domestic violence, and murder, regardless of whether it is effective w/r/t mass-murder specifically.
    Where some of us seem to disagree is:
    4. Private guns are an important bulwark against tyranny, which some folks here believe in with great sincerity, and which Mark and I, among others, do not.
    *
    Personally, I’m more interested in coming together on the third of these than in further debate about the fourth. Frankly, I think the third is an area where gun owners have a LOT of practical wisdom to contribute, if we (including me!) can stop arguing about the other stuff.

  • Nick R

    This was a very interesting article on some methods that have been used, apparently successfully, in Australia to curb mass slaughters: http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/16/gun_control_after_connecticut_shooting_could_australia_s_laws_provide_a.html

    It seems quite reasonable to me, evidence supported, and does not go too far towards “amg ban all guns” (which we’re pretty sure doesn’t work) nor “guns for everyone!” (which also…doesn’t work too well).
    Also, regarding everyone who says “if only we had armed guards everywhere!” you don’t even need to bring up the chances of that going wrong with PTSD or anything. Two words: “Fort Hood.”
    If a mass shooting can happen on a heavily guarded military base, guards aren’t going to save you in schools, in addition to being intrusive and expensive.

    • Stu
    • The Deuce

      “Two words: “Fort Hood.”
      If a mass shooting can happen on a heavily guarded military base, guards aren’t going to save you in schools, in addition to being intrusive and expensive.”

      FYI, Fort Hood was a gun-free zone. They had to wait for the police to show up and end the slaughter. So it’s actually a further piece of evidence *against* the point you’re trying to make here.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    A good marksman can ably use a non-automatic handgun to defend himself, and a good marksman can ably use a non-automatic rifle for sports hunting, a hobby which many people legitimately and safely enjoy. If people own these weapons they should know how to use, clean, and store them properly.

    Persons with mental problems that make them murderous have rarely chosen weapons which require discipline and training to use. (JFK’s assasin, former Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, is a notable exception) Persons with mental problems that make them murderous have tended to choose semi-automatic and automatic weapons that make them a one-man firing squad, allowing them to indiscriminately spray dozens and dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds seconds, striking anyone and anything within their sights.

    I believe it is these sorts of firearms – automatic and semi-automatic firearms – that should be gotten off the streets and out of our basements, attics, and garages. These should be classified as military and police ordnance.

    • Stu

      Automatic weapons have been highly regulated since the 1930s. Very few people own them. They are not the issue.

      Semi-automatic weapons have been around for over 100 years. They aren’t the cause for this recent problem. Something else is. Go after that.

  • Harry Piper

    I think you have to first of all ascertain what the arguments are from the pro-gun perspective. At the moment, it seems to be-
    1) Self defence
    2) Protection against tyranny
    Pro gun people, what say you? I think you could add wildlife/farming uses to the list, but that doesn’t really apply to the general public. Right now, those two are the most popular arguments for public access to guns.
    I don’t think protection against tyranny really stands up under scrutiny. Survivalists vs US Army/Air Force/Navy isn’t a fair contest. And anyway, the US is a democracy with elected representatives – I can’t really see it morphing into a sinister dictatorship overnight, with every state and military division following suit.
    That leaves no.1. But I think it relies on a circular argument – “More guns! We need them to protect ourselves from the maniacs who are taking advantage of all the guns we’ve made available!” And when a tragedy happens, the call goes up again – “More guns!”.
    And then you would have to allow things like armed assistants on hand in every school to make sure a maniac doesn’t try something – that is not the picture of a healthy or sane society.

    • Stu

      Do you think any country that has fallen into tyranny thought it could happen to them?

      As a military officer, I absolutely believe armed citizenry could make a good fight against an oppressive government force. Many of those citizens are former military with ample training plus more guile and wisdom.

      • Sus

        Ample training plus guile and wisdom is going to do nothing against drones and nukes.

        • Stu

          There are ways to defeat drones. Trust me.

          So your foresee the use of nukes by the government on our own soil? And people have asserted that my scenario is far fetched.

          • Sus

            Please don’t misunderstand. There is lots to be critical of our government. However, I do not believe our citizens will have any reason to defend themselves with fire power against our government.

            • Stu

              Well, I’m not one that believes in “American Exceptionalism.” I see no reason to think that we can’t fall into a gross decline just like other places in the world. I’m also quite confident that most don’t see it coming (not that I am predicting it).

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    “Knowledge that the teachers are armed will, of course, not change student behavior one bit, nor will it change how principles treat disruptive students.”

    “Of course it won’t.”

    This is perhaps the most astute comment here. A society which arms elementary school teachers is a society which is losing its grip. I am not competent to advise on a course of action, but we can all contemplate what seems to be happening to us.

    Arming teachers will set a tone, determine the way young citizens feel about their society and their own security, and their personalities will respond in ways that might horrify us.

    Comparisons with other societies may not be relevant. Each one is different.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Do the young citizens even have to know that there is a gun in the school? My suggestion would be that there would be at least one gun somewhere in the school, carefully secured, and that at least one or two people on permanent staff are trained in its use. I agree that our society is losing its grip, but that was clear last Friday, if it wasn’t evident before that.

      It seems to be that allowing schools to have some means of defending themselves if the worst happens is better than what happened last Friday, and has a lot better chance of success than expecting that guns can be regulated in such a way that lunatics won’t get a hold of them. Your mileage may vary, of course.

      That’s not to say that there isn’t some reasonable regulation of guns that may close loopholes and may help. Not sure how you regulate against dads who abandon their children, and moms who lack even the slightest amount of common sense in training mentally unstable children to use firearms.

      • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

        They will know. How would you keep them from knowing?

      • beccolina

        Both schools I worked in had armed police officers as part of the staff. On also had a drug dog on staff. The officers did routine drug sweeps along the lockers, dealt with problems that were larger than just school issues (threats that might be happening off campus, where the school could do nothing, but the officer could), and did the drug prevention presentations. Students knew there was an armed officer on campus, but an armed police officer is not the same as armed teachers. They play different roles in society.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    “A society which arms elementary school teachers is a society which is losing its grip. I am not competent to advise on a course of action, but we can all contemplate what seems to be happening to us. “

    The world has gone quite mad, I decided, as of a few years back.

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed?

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      I think a lot of us have.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    “Not sure how you regulate against dads who abandon their children, and moms who lack even the slightest amount of common sense in training mentally unstable children to use firearms.”

    I think we have to recognize that these are effects, not primary causes. The primary causes are old.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    A FACE AT THE WINDOW

    A celebration and the house is lit
    Outside on the snow the shadows of the window grilles, the trees
    A figure standing there, and then it sits

    Invite the stranger in? Where else can he go?
    The visitor Elijah shakes his head -
    That man you see is War, sitting in the snow

    A face comes to the window, and the figure shivers
    Let me in, it says, I freeze and need
    Your fireplace to stand in or I suffer

    As hot as you can make it, I was lost
    And then I saw the light across the drifting snow
    But cold and deathly is the winter frost

    Cold and deathly is the winter frost, as I
    Am cold without a flame to heat me up
    Fire is my blood, thick blood is in my eye

    My flesh and bone is solid, will not flow
    Because I feed on fire, and I starve
    Because I am a rover through a world of snow

    But only let me in and I will live and move
    Burn the tinder of the boards, the beams
    Turn the house itself into a glowing stove

    Let me through the door and I will burst with bliss
    Into the glory of incendiary walls
    And then I will apply to all the guests a joyful kiss

    Pavel
    December 20, 2012

    • rachel

      Wow, chilling poem but very good.

  • beccolina

    As a note to those who are certain that our government will never remove private citizens’ legal firearms without cause, I would like to point out that they already did. During WW I, they took away my great-grandparents’ guns because they were German immigrants. Many gun owners worry about restrictions, even sensible ones, because of slippery slopes and history like this.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      A small note, Gov. Cuomo has spoken recently of the possibility of firearms confiscations.


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