Connecticut shooting open thread.

If I see one more reporter pressuring a traumatized kid or their parents, I’m going to kick humanity square in the nuts and leave.

I’m mostly disgusted, and trying to focus on other work.  However, I see everybody on the web talking about this, so here’s a place to do it with other WWJTD commenters/readers.  I don’t expect I’ll be getting into the comments.

Some people are mentally sick (I’m one of them though, thankfully, not in a way that makes me a threat to others).  The broken human mind is one of the most dangerous things on this planet.  Power has no allegiance.  Nuclear power checked by empathy and reason, qualities a healthy mind is capable of, increases the overall well-being of humankind.  That same power, unchecked by those forces, can end countless lives.  It’s hard for me to focus on power as the problem and much easier for me to focus on finding and treating broken minds.

I very much feel for the victims and their families.  I also feel for the survivors.  I will likely go apeshit when believers inevitably start calling it a miracle that some people survived, as if god liked them more and decided to save them rather than the ones who died.  Honestly though, I also feel for mentally sick people, religious or not, whose brains may not have the normal capabilities with regards to empathy and morality, and who do something like this before they get help.

Anyway, talk among yourselves.

Jesus fucking Christ…


Politicizing a travesty.  To some people the deceased will appeal to their opportunism more than their compassion.  Is it too much to ask to have some time to mourn and pay respects, without jockeying for political advantage for our pet causes? vReligion, guns, politics, put that shit aside for a day and give your compassion some exercise.

Seriously guys, the issue will be alive tomorrow.  Right now, there’s a lot of people grieving in that community, who are being handed the additional burden of worrying that their misery is being used to advocate against their political positions.  I don’t buy this line that if we take a moment to come together as humans before re-dividing ourselves politically, that nobody will care come tomorrow.

What’s more, I know how much I despise theists who are far more eager to capitalize on travesties to win political points than to think about the victims (or who consider scoring political points for positions they held before the travesty to be thinking about the victims).  I have no desire to emulate them.

Don’t be this guy.

By all means, chat amongst yourselves here, but let’s try and keep it off the interstate of the web, at least so far as we’re able, for a few hours.

MENTAL ILLNESS: BDSM or Neuroscience?
MENTAL ILLNESS: Today's session.
MENTAL ILLNESS: Time to go be a lab rat.
MENTAL ILLNESS: I see affection as a competition.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Art Vandelay

    This happened only about an hour from me. I’ve never wanted to hug my kids as bad as I do right now. They’re hopefully safe in school. For your viewing pleasure, I give you the 2 most ignorant things posted on my Facebook so far…


    2. More than one gunman, typical government psy op. Communist President wants to ban guns by executive order overriding the Constitution. Stop being a cunt and grow a set and know this is a setup. Psychopaths have no problem killing to get what they want. In fact they enjoy it.

  • Jessica Murphy

    Yeah, I keep seeing, “This is what happens when you take God out of our schools! We need to take back our children’s education!”

  • Terry M

    This, and so many other cases of gun violence (whether they’re covered on the national news or local stories that get glossed over), is why the US needs to own up to its obligation to provide serious resources for mental health, to restrict gun ownership (personally, I think we should get rid of all of the damnable things), and actually work to prevent anyone from being a victim.

  • John Evans

    I’m a bit disgusted with some of my fellow atheists who have posted facebook messages slavering over the possibility that the perpetrators might have had religious motivations. That’s just crass. Something terrible has happened so some of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Is it too much to ask to have some time to mourn and pay respects, without jockeying for political advantage for our pet causes?

    • EdBuckner

      It’s never a good time to tell shell-shocked, grieving parents that “prayer is not the answer.” But there’s never a bad time to scream loudly at demagogues like Mike Huckabee for claiming this carnage might not have happened if we hadn’t kicked God out of the public schools. That is dangerous, stupid bullshit and the Christian leaders who promote it should be called on it, firmly.

  • John Eberhard

    Well said, John Evans. Religion, gun control, politics……….we need to put that shit aside for a day and just give our compassion some exercise.

  • Cunning Pam

    I’m originally from the Fairfield County area of Connecticut; I even know where this particular school is. It’s as quiet and “normal” as any town you can imagine. My heart is breaking for the parents and families of those killed. As a parent, I just can’t fathom sending your child off to school and having something like this happen…crapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

    Side note: Eric Hovind needs to just shut the fuck up. What an unbelievable piece of douchbaggery.

  • Watry

    The Onion pretty much sums up what I’m thinking:,30743/

    Then shortly thereafter assures me that my urge to hide under the bed until the world stops being horrible all the time is okay.

  • Hilary

    My first thought, when I heard that he killed his mother and targeted his mother’s classroom, was mental illness beyond functional. I’m not saying this to dis people with mental illness, I know a few, got some in my family. I’ve been accused of being autisic/aspbergers only half in gest (I’m not) But I follow the blog of a woman who’s adopted children some that work out ok, but some too violent to have in a family. The resources for families with violently mentally ill are so slim, and yes our culture has too much violence as entertainment in it. Violent mental illness+violent entertainment+guns = tragedy.

    And this happened before Christmas. That’s just going to make this worse. If this had happened at any other time of the year it would still be jsut as terrible, but I know how this will devestate these people like nothing else. My father in law died on Christmas Eve, and every fucking year as the Christmas Creep hits it can trigger me. Not as bad each year, but there are certain songs I still can’t sit through. It was snowing when he died, and the first blanketing snowfall still makes me sad.

    Those families probably already have Christmas gifts for children who are dead. What the fuck do you do with them? In 10 days they are going to have the most family and kid intense holiday of the year with their families ripped to shreds, and regardless of what religion they are or not this will be inextrictably woven in with Christmas, decorations, commercials, music, that fucking time of year. There is no escaping it, and now it will be a trigger of death and greif that permiates our culture for 2.5 months that they will never be able to not associate with thier child being gunned down at school.


  • Joyce Perkins

    The problem is not the is the people behind the triggers. Also even if we banned all the guns the kinds of people behind the trigger of events like what happened today will still get weapons and the innocent people who would and do use them in ways they are meant will be defenseless and without any means to defend themselves and their families from being attacked. The kind of people who go in a shoot up a school or shopping mall or church would still find guns illegally to do there horrible acts of violence. So please realize it is not the guns it s the people using the guns. Just like the people who use bombs, or knives, or any other object that can be turned into a deadly weapon…its not the weapon…its the people using the weapon. Banning guns wont work and sounds just as silly as it would sound if we started hearing people call for all knives to be banned….so we punish all the innocent cooks and people who are preparing a meal because of a handful of people committing a mass stabbing!

    • Azkyroth

      Don’t worry, no one’s going to try to take your lethal pacifier away today.

    • unbound

      Always hate this argument. If we can’t eliminate the problem, there is no reason to try? At least that is the way these arguments always end up sounding.

      Maybe putting in gun control measures won’t eliminate the problem, but can we at least start trying to eat away at the problem? Shouldn’t it be harder to get to a gun than it is to get a driver’s license?

      We got sick and tired of people getting killed in car crashes, so we made the cars safer and we continue to require better training for our new drivers. I see no reason we can’t start doing the same with the guns.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Joyce Perkins: The problem is not the is the people behind the triggers…

    It is oversimplistic to think there is just one problem.

    Chinese man attacks 22 children, 1 adult with knife outside primary school

    Wow, that sounds eerily similar to the Connecticut story. But get this:

    No deaths have been reported.

    So as terrible as it is that crazy people are running around attacking children, it is actually much much harder to kill a large number of people with a knife instead of a gun.

    • Rory

      The depressing thing, Reginald, is that when I was on Slashdot’s thread on the shooting earlier many people were referring to the incident in China as an example of why gun control was pointless, because obviously if you took away all the guns then bad guys would just carry out mass stabbings. I’m not sure if they chose to address the fact that no one in China was killed.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Joyce Perkins: to point out one more flaw with your argument, fully automatic weapons do not have any purpose other than to kill people. Banning, or controlling AR-15 rifles won’t keep anyone from cooking, AR-15s are not used for cooking! They are not even used for hunting game.

  • Mark

    “Is it too much to ask to have some time to mourn and pay respects, without jockeying for political advantage for our pet causes?”
    This may be the only thing on which I’ve ever agreed with you. There will be plenty of time for Monday-morning quarterbacking, no need to rush to it.

    • RuQu

      I disagree. With a 24-hour “news” cycle, this will be the top story until something shiny comes along and everyone switches gears.

      How well did “this is not the time” work after Aurora? Pretty well for the NRA and gun industry. Not so well for these kids.

      What I do strongly agree with, though, is that it is not the time for political posturing. It isn’t enough to say “yeah, some gun control would be nice.” We need some concrete ideas put forward, not just the promise to think about maybe starting to talk about considering some concrete ideas when the time is less emotionally charged.

  • Drakk

    Remember old Thomas MacDonald, featured here not too long ago? He’s being a clueless twit again too.

    • JR

      Tragedies like this always bring up the worst emotional arguments on both sides of the religious divide. Senseless violence cannot ‘prove’ anything – it is senseless. Evil is neither proof of God’s existence nor his non-existence, since it’s obviously a reality accounted for in both worldviews. It should also not be co-opted by any agenda – eradicating evil will take the combined effort of every human on earth, religious or not. Whether we love our enemies or not.

  • John Eberhard

    Pond Scum
    Huckabee, Hovind, Fischer, and all of the fundies who are using this tragedy as another excuse to attack church/state separation with another bowl of “Put prayer back in schools” are nothing but pond scum. What exacerbates the tragedy is the number of dimwits who actually buy the dreck these pond scumbags are selling.

    “Now we have spent, since 1962 – this, we’re 50 years into this now – we have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’” Fischer

    Why isn’t that same God protecting the children in churches from pedophiles? It isn’t as if he has been kicked out of churches. What’s your excuse there? Why didn’t that same God protect people in the 633 deadly force incidents and 255 deaths in CHURCHES between 1999 and 2011?
    Why didn’t that same God protect schoolkids from school shootings before 1962 when school led prayer was the norm? Any of you fundies who don’t think it happened can relieve your ignorance by clicking on the link.

    Don’t you fundies who are always carrying on about love understand that the right response to something like this is coming together with empathy and comfort instead of divisive displays of ignorance? Don’t you understand we have a real world problem that needs real world solutions instead of using a vulnerable moment for you to push your religious agenda?

    The lack of empathy and the political expediency of these religious leaders should be enough to make a dog puke.

  • Reginald Selkirk