This is just a very good plan from the NRA to prevent further mass shootings.

An ad for a Bushmaster gun with the text "consider your man card reissued"

The NRA held a press conference today detailing their plans to prevent more mass shootings in the United States. Mass shootings now happen with some regularity, and your standard run-of-the-mill shootings where only one or two or three people are hit happen daily. As of posting this, 97 people have been killed since the Newtown killings (I’m sure that stat will be out of date in minutes, so check out this live tally). The NRA’s response? Put armed security guards in schools, and create a national database of mentally ill people (what this database will be used for is unclear). A few thoughts:

-There actually were armed security guards at Columbine high school when that mass shooting went down. Two of them. As it turns out, two dudes with handguns are no match for a dude who is wearing bulletproof clothing and wielding multiple weapons that spray a rapid fire of bullets.

-Schools are not the only problem. Mass shootings occur in movie theaters, shopping malls, and basically everywhere large groups of people congregate. Are we just going to arm everyone everywhere? (NRA: “Yes.”).

-The NRA is unclear if they want armed guards or armed police officers in schools, but if we’re talking cops, then we’re also talking several billion dollars in taxpayer money to cover this plan.

-Police officers are in many schools in the country, and not with good results. The psychological impact of turning a learning environment into a place where police roam the halls is pronounced; it doesn’t make students feel safer, it makes them scared. And it means that students are regularly arrested. In New York, the NYPD are in many schools, and they arrest an average of 11 students every day. A full 95 percent of the arrested students are black and Latino, and their arrests take them out of school and put them in the juvenile “justice” system. Kids are hurt, not helped, by increasing policing in schools.

-Y’all know that cops kill people pretty regularly, right?

-The NRA plan puts loaded weapons in schools. What could go wrong with hundreds of curious kids (and many rebellious and anti-authoritarian adolescents) in an enclosed space with a few loaded weapons nearby?

-Other people have suggested that we arm teachers. A week ago, the right was painting teachers as union thugs; now we want to give them guns on the taxpayer dime. I happen to like teachers quite a bit, but teachers are human beings and frankly some of them are violent and shitty or simply irresponsible, and I don’t particularly want all of them walking around school grounds with a gun on their hip. What are the chances that no teacher ever leaves their gun unattended, or that no student manages to steal the gun, or that the gun never goes off by accident, or that no teacher mistakenly perceives a threat that isn’t there? What are the chances that this plan goes off without a hitch in every single school across America?

-Hey remember Fort Hood? The shooter there was an Army psychiatrist on a military base. Two points: (1) He was a psychiatrist and not a “crazy person” and he still shot up a bunch of people, and (2) he was on a military base surrounded by people who had guns and knew how to use ’em and he still managed to kill 13 people and wound 29 others.

-The world isn’t a cop show, and there aren’t simply “bad guys” who kill people and “good guys” who defend them. There are a lot of “good guys” who accidentally shoot people or misperceive threats or leave their guns unattended or forget to put the safety lock on. The very presence of a hand-held weapon that is specifically designed to kill people with minimal effort significantly ups the chances that someone will, indeed, get killed.

-The NRA has also suggested making the armed school guards “volunteers.” Now what kinds of people do you think are going to volunteer to play police officer if it means they can feel important and wield a loaded weapon? Dwight Schrute and George Zimmerman.

-The NRA didn’t specify what, exactly, a national database of mentally ill people would be used for, or how “mentally ill” would even be defined (if you go to therapy, are you “mentally ill”? If you take medication for depression or anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder? If you have a developmental issue like autism?). But when it comes to mental illness and violent crime, we know that mentally ill people are significantly more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators, and that generally mentally ill people are no more likely than “sane” people to commit crimes. A small subset of mentally ill people with particular disorders (severe and untreated schizophrenia with psychosis, major depression or bi-polar mood disorder) are more likely to commit violent crimes if their illnesses are untreated. When those individuals get appropriate treatment and intervention, their propensity toward violence decreases. A national mental health database would almost surely increase the stigma already associated with mental illness, making it less likely that people with all sorts of mental health issues will seek treatment. Even worse, such a database could very easily be used by insurance companies to refuse to cover mentally ill people, making it even less likely that they would be able to afford treatment. And such a database could be used by employers to discriminate against the many people who have mental health problems but are managing those issues. I am sure the NRA will promise us all “privacy,” but what is the point of a national mental illness database if not to violate the privacy of the mentally ill and ensure that they are further marginalized?

-The NRA plan puts more guns in schools, glorifies the individuals who want to play cop and fetishize authority, places more stigma on mental health, and makes it more difficult for mentally ill people to get treatment. What could go wrong?


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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355 Responses to This is just a very good plan from the NRA to prevent further mass shootings.

  1. KayAy says:

    Ban video games, too. Not that it affects women seeing as, you know, we apparently don’t play games.

  2. Marni says:

    Thankfully I don’t live or raise children in America, and never will.

    • Henry says:

      Yes because these things never happen in places like Norway or Russia or England or Germany or Canada. Children are only senselessly killed by ‘mericans in ‘merica right? Because ‘mericans invented and perfected senseless violence.

      http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/

      Translation: please keep your nationalism-based superiority complex to yourself, wherever you live is not some master race land of perfect people.

      • LotusBecca says:

        Pretty presumptious of a USian to lecture others about acting superior (um, I think you are reading a lot into hir comment?) given the fact that for decades the United States has gone around dominating other nations and acting superior moreso than any other country. Also, it’s a fact that gun violence happens at higher rates than most of the other countries you mention. So yeah.

        • LotusBecca says:

          correction: “Also, it’s a fact that gun violence happens at higher rates in the United States than in most of the other countries you mention.”

        • Lasciel says:

          The point here is that it doesn’t matter that the U.S has a higher violence rate/incidence rate: just because you live outside the U.S doesn’t mean you should take your kids’ safety for granted.

        • Henry says:

          moreso than any other country

          Except for Germany, Japan, Russia and large chunks of African nations who did or are doing their fair share of dominating their neighbors via messy so-called internal civil wars.

          The USA is not the only country that has done crappy things, and as a USian I am tired of our country being spit upon everytime something bad happens here. Norway received the world’s sympathy when 71 of their kids were murdered by a right wing zealot. No one wrote “glad I don’t raise my kids in Norway and never will”

          Iceland gets a free pass from me, they haven’t done anything bad since the 1100s when they invaded Greenland. Though it’s more from lack of opportunity than any genuine better human-ness. People are shitty everywhere. When we realize this we can move on to buildign a better planet instead of pointing fingers.

        • Donna L says:

          Iceland gets a free pass from me, they haven’t done anything bad since the 1100s when they invaded Greenland.

          Time for me to be pedantic: it was the late 900’s. Even better for the Icelanders’ pristine reputation, the Inuit didn’t reach southern Greenland until a couple of hundred years later; it genuinely appears to have been uninhabited when the Norse arrived, and had been for centuries.

          I agree with you that Europeans can sometimes be insufferably condescending towards the US in general, particularly given the rather bloodthirsty history of that particular continent, but you have no idea where Marni lives, and in any event I read her comment as derived from very reasonable concerns about how safe (or not) it is to raise a child here — concerns which an awful lot of people in the US share — rather than from any attitude of superiority or condescension.

        • LotusBecca says:

          I am tired of our country being spit upon everytime something bad happens here

          Tough shit. You live in the dominant imperial power on the planet, whose government is actively oppressing millions of people around the globe. You passively receive immense privilege just by living here (as do I. . .I was born in the United States and have lived here my entire life). You’re just gonna have to suck it up and deal with foreigners occasionally saying mean things about our country.

          If you want people to stop saying mean things about the United States, then instead of jumping down the throats of people from other countries when they say innocent one sentence remarks (that you choose to read in the worst possible light), you should commit to activism that works to dismantle the imperialistic system of oppression that the U.S. is perpetuating worldwide.

        • The USA is not the only country that has done crappy things, and as a USian I am tired of our country being spit upon everytime something bad happens here.

          For all instances of chronic criticism-fatigue, apply a thin layer of rationality to any area afflicted by rancid exceptionalism. Rub in thrice a day and ingest perspective pills for complete healing.

        • Karen S says:

          A little history. The US became dominant as a result of two imperialist European general wars in the first half of the 20th Century. We were pretty much the only country whose economy wasn’t burned to ash, and our young men written off as a last generation. That said, here in the US, we may have yet to fully have learned the bitter lessons that Europeans had to learn about the futility of violence in our hearts. I pray we look to the European experience more carefully, and finally catch up in applying its lessons to ourselves.

      • Lusy says:

        Personally, the reason I’m glad I don’t have children in the US is because whenever something like this happens, the country once again proves that it’s unwilling to have a reasonable conversation about mass shootings and just devolves into a quivering hysteric mess. Both the pro- and anti-gun sides are at fault here. It’s like the second amendment makes it impossible for the country to think. If I were a supervillain, I’d make arrange events like this JUST to distract the country from my nefarious plans.

        When my country had a mass shooting a decade and a half ago, there was swift national consensus that something had to be done, and the government enacted stricter gun control laws. There hasn’t been a single mass shooting since, and gun deaths dropped by more than 22% in the four years following, compared to the four years preceding.

        • When my country had a mass shooting a decade and a half ago, there was swift national consensus that something had to be done, and the government enacted stricter gun control laws.

          Yes, but that would be reasonable, and America’s too sexy for its reasonable. Or something.

        • Tom C says:

          and its shirt, America’s too sexy for its shirt. Don’t forget that one.

        • EG says:

          American exceptionalism at its finest, mac.

        • and its shirt, America’s too sexy for its shirt. Don’t forget that one.

          Hee, you got it! I was hoping someone would.

        • Emma says:

          Lusy, are you in Aus and referring to the Port Arthur massacre? ’cause yeah, I agree, the clampdown on guns was one of the very few policies of Fucking Howard with which I agreed.

          I do, however, recall some *Australian* gun types complaining about the infringement on their ‘second amendment rights’. Which was fucking funny at the time and still amuses me now.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        You do realize that we (i.e. the US) have almost half of the top 10? And that if this is strictly based on numbers, we’d edge out a few of them with the Newtown massacre, giving us an even half?

        I don’t see how you don’t recognize that this is uniquely a problem in the US. PS, number 6 on your list lead to banning handguns in the UK. We won’t see that kind of reaction here, realistically speaking.

      • ellid says:

        No, because they happen SO MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES THAN ANYWHERE ELSE. Also, I wasn’t aware that there were gun lobbies in Norway, or the United Kingdom, or France, or any other industrialized society that doesn’t have an insane fetish with weapons.

        Jesus CHRIST.

    • elena says:

      Look. I think the Norway example is actually pretty fitting –

      “Thankfully I don’t live or raise children in America, and never will.”

      If someone were to say that about Norway after their tragedy the backlash would be swift and strong. It’s just insensitive and unnecessary.
      It’s a pretty condescending reaction to an absolute national tragedy. As someone living here whose friend was partially raised by Dawn Hochsprung, disdain without a purpose is just friggin unnecessary at this moment. Kindly remove yourself from your high horse and put forward some actual meaningful dialogue without looking down your nose.

      • Fat Steve says:

        Look. I think the Norway example is actually pretty fitting –

        “Thankfully I don’t live or raise children in America, and never will.”

        If someone were to say that about Norway after their tragedy the backlash would be swift and strong. It’s just insensitive and unnecessary.
        It’s a pretty condescending reaction to an absolute national tragedy. As someone living here whose friend was partially raised by Dawn Hochsprung, disdain without a purpose is just friggin unnecessary at this moment. Kindly remove yourself from your high horse and put forward some actual meaningful dialogue without looking down your nose.

        I find your comments even more insensitive, unnecessary, and condescending.

        Plus your comments don’t even make any sense. Why should there be uproar if someone doesn’t want to live in Norway due to the rise of right wing extremists and voices that opinion after the Brevik incident? Only a neo-nazi or sympathizer would react to someone saying that Norway was a worse country due to the latitude given people like Anders Brevik with anything approaching a ‘swift and strong backlash.’

        I’m astonished that you can pretend to be offended just because someone’s reaction to this horrible tragedy offends your personal patriotism. What a selfish person you must be,

  3. TomSims says:

    The NRA’s plan has no chance of working. Judging from Twitter and some other blogs I’ve read, there is a strong movement in Washington and across the country to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban the private ownership of guns in the USA.

    • Henry says:

      We need approval by three-fourths of the states to amend the Constitution. Sorry to piss on the parade, this is not happening, nor would it be effective as it will only address legal gun owners.
      Don’t count the NRA out, they are highly effective at altering the discussion in Washington. I would bet money they can get Washington focused on only one facet of the problem (the one that conveniently does not impact their members).

      We need to address school violence from all angles, prevention and proper protection. (not armed guards watching the smoking area of a high school ala Columbine (yes badly implemented security fails)).

      • TomSims says:

        “We need approval by three-fourths of the states to amend the Constitution. Sorry to piss on the parade, this is not happening, ”

        I’m not suggesting it will, but a strong effort by the anti gun lobby may Get a hearing in the Supreme Court to re define the 2nd amendment. There’s been a lot of chatter coming from CNN on this. And they are talking about hand guns, not just assault weapons.

        • Henry says:

          Awesome news. I hated the last Supreme Court ruling. Local conditions vary and areas with high violence can and should be able to outlaw problem weapons like handguns.

        • Donna L says:

          Anyone focusing on that is seriously wasting their time. The Supreme Court is not revisiting the Heller decision, which it just issued a few years ago — and already does permit certain restrictions — and the Second Amendment is not going to be repealed.

        • amblingalong says:

          I’m not suggesting it will, but a strong effort by the anti gun lobby may Get a hearing in the Supreme Court to re define the 2nd amendment.

          Absolutely not.

          Judging from Twitter and some other blogs I’ve read, there is a strong movement in Washington and across the country to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban the private ownership of guns in the USA.

          Also no. Who exactly is saying this and where are they getting their information? Not to sound like a jerk, but both assertions are wildly off base.

    • hellkell says:

      TomSims be trollin’ again.

      They’re not coming for your guns, Tom. But really, no citizen needs a semi or fully automatic weapon. Ban anything with a detachable clip or magazine, only cops or military can have them. Concerned about home safety? Buy a shotgun.

      • Tom C says:

        Shotguns are generally ineffective for home defense. They’re a heavy weapon that does not maneuver well and is hard to bring to target in an enclosed environment. It’s also been shown through studies that buckshot has a much higher degree of penetrating power than people originally thought. So you’re just as likely to shoot your neighbor next door as you are to shoot the bad guy.

        Recent studies lean towards AR style weapons with frangible ammunition as the best home defense weapon. They’re lighter and shorter than standard pump action shotguns and have a much lower chance of over-penetration.

        You realize that banning anything with a detachable clip would ban far more than AR’s and pistols right? I had a savage 30-30 bolt action rifle which is pretty much the text book definition of a “non-threatening hunting rifle” when I was 15 that had a detachable clip. So that should be banned?

        Seems to me a better solution would be to focus on the underlying socio-economic issues that drive people to do this stuff. If we want to make it tougher to get an AR style rifle, maybe make a permit process like we have for CCL with handguns, that may help.

        It’s been noted that with the recent shootings no additional laws would have prevented them. All the weapons were either stolen or purchased by someone with no criminal history who had no outward appearance of being a violent jerk off.

        As an aside, you say that no one is coming for OP’s guns then immediately say we need to ban a large majority of current guns. Uh, what?

        • EG says:

          It’s been noted that with the recent shootings no additional laws would have prevented them. All the weapons were either stolen or purchased by someone with no criminal history who had no outward appearance of being a violent jerk off.

          It is then an astounding coincidence that these shootings don’t happen in countries that more closely regulate guns, isn’t it? I wonder what could account for it. Tighter regulations and restrictions mean fewer guns floating around the streets available to be bought, stolen, or used.

        • ellid says:

          Recent studies by whom, the NRA? Sorry, but I’m not nearly that terrified, and I used to live in a neighborhood with gangs, burglaries, and shootings.

        • hellkell says:

          Got a link to these studies? Because this is sounding like some NRA manure.

          And what “underlying socio-economic issues?” What’s this a dogwhistle for? Most of these mass shooters are relatively affluent.

        • William says:

          hellkell:

          I don’t know what Tom C meant but if you really want to look at gun violence in the US, mass shootings aren’t it. Terrible as they seem to be, they’re a tiny drop in the bucket of overall murders in the US and little more than a distraction from the real problems that lead to violence in this country.

          Chicago just had it’s 500th murder this year. These murders aren’t mass shootings or “assault rifle” sprees, they’re the constant stream of violence that comes from concentrated poverty, lack of access to basic necessities, educational systems designed to deprive poor kids of opportunity, a ruinous drug war that has simultaneously crippled communities through draconian law enforcement and then created a powerful incentive for forcing people back into crime by depriving them of any real hope for rehabilitation, and the long-term effects of institutionalized racism. Gun violence is a socio-economic problem, its what we can naturally expect when, as a society, we make people poor, keep them poor, and then punish them for being poor. You could ban everything this side of a musket and you’d still have poor people denied every opportunity, cut off from every basic resource, and offered only the violence of a black market to make ends meet until they go to prison, die of a preventable disease, or get shot by someone else with as little choice as they had.

      • Donna L says:

        But a lot of major cities have similar problems; what is so different about Chicago that explains why it now has more total murders annually than New York City even though it has one-third the population? And why do you think it is that despite having similar issues, New York City has less than 20% of the number of total murders annually than it did 20 years or so ago? This isn’t a trick question; I don’t have an answer.

        • William says:

          The guess that I would hazard, and its only a guess, is that it might come down to some combination of geography and the startling degree of political corruption present in Chicago. Chicago is geographically huge and intensely segregated. There are still quite a few neighborhoods in Chicago that are basically entirely white or entirely black, and some of those white neighborhoods are actively dangerous for people of color. These neighborhoods have been more or less the same for, in some cases, generations and that has lead to some really uneven development. There are still lots in the city that haven’t been rebuilt after they were burned down during riots in the 60s and they’re ALL in traditionally black neighborhoods. White neighborhoods got grocery stores, road work, extensive beautification projects, planters, occasionally decent schools (because they’re funded by local property taxes), experienced cops (because assignments are dictated by seniority), and all of these things lead to more development, more stability, less crime, less aggressive policing, less consensual crime enforcement, less people going to prison, and better access to city services. Black neighborhoods, on the other hand, got none of these advantages and became areas of concentrated poverty with little in the way of business and poor access to basic city services. While this is a common trend, the geographic size of Chicago meant that you had whole cities worth of space where everyone was constantly kept on the ropes. Couple that with the incredible corruption in the city, corruption that actively disenfranchises black residents in ways that just don’t exist in other places (such as building expressways to create physical barriers between black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods, an extensive system of formal torture of suspects, two mobbed up mayors, and things like the Hired Truck Scandal) and you have a recipe for violence.

    • Fat Steve says:

      Judging from Twitter and some other blogs I’ve read, there is a strong movement in Washington and across the country to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban the private ownership of guns in the USA.

      I too have read this, though it was scrawled in feces on the walls of a public washroom, so a slightly more reliable source than yours.

    • kungfulola says:

      there is a strong movement in Washington and across the country to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban the private ownership of guns in the USA.

      I’m sorry, is that supposed to be scary or something? Sounds good to me.

    • William says:

      The NRA’s plan has no chance of working. Judging from Twitter and some other blogs I’ve read, there is a strong movement in Washington and across the country to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban the private ownership of guns in the USA.

      You’ll be hard pressed to find a more strident or less compromising supporter of 2A than myself. I say this not to start an argument about gun control with anyone on this thread, god knows we’ve been there before, but to provide you some context for what I’m about to say: the idea that there is a realistic movement for the repeal of the second amendment in this country is the most wild eyed, paranoid, politically ignorant, stupid thing I have heard in quite some time. The gun control crowd cannot maintain a ban on concealed carry in fucking Chicago. May issue states are likely to be forced to move to shall issue before the decade is up. State after state have not only strong pro-gun laws on the book but explicit constitutional protections in their state constitutions. The votes aren’t there for Feinstein’s assault weapon ban (assuming it survives the inevitable court challenge if it could pass), how on Earth can you imagine there are the votes for a constitutional amendment? You’re as detrimental to the discussion and intellectually useless as Piers Morgan.

  4. JBL55 says:

    By “very good,” you mean “predictably self-serving and idiotic,” right?

    Of course they want more guns. The NRA makes a ton of money from internet gun & ammo sales. See https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/07/23-4

  5. Stella says:

    “OMG widespread gun ownership is costing more lifes”

    NRA: “More guns and ban videogames!”

  6. Henry says:

    Your post demands that the school guards be 100% effective to be considered. Yes they failed at Columbine, but they worked at other schools. I’d be happy with a 50% reduction in school shootings. Just because the idea of police/guards for schools has now been hijacked by the right, does not mean we need to knee-jerk dismiss it. (ty NRA, but school districts with violence problems have been guarding students for decades before you “discovered” it).

    The NRA is trying to deflect debate into an approach that does not impact their members. Nowhere in their statement did they come out and say that they would even consider a licensing scheme for gun ownership. The NRA caused this problem by opposing every common sense gun control scheme ever proposed, they have zero business opining on it now. The proper solution is an armed guard at each school and real gun control. And yes it will cost money and yes it won’t be 100% effective. I like New York’s laws, you need to get a license to own a gun and local police have significant leeway in whether to issue that license.

    Databasing the “mentally ill” won’t work, it’s morally wrong, and will further stigmatze an already victimized population. I’d rather have a police officer ask the person why they need the gun and make an assessment.

    We could also ban or license body armor without touching the second amendment. There’s no need for most anyone to own this stuff, unless you work for an armored car company etc.

    1/3 of schools already have armed guards. Any stats on accidental shootings of children there? US courthouses have armed guards, and I have not seen a problem in 10 years of federal court practice where the marshalls did anything improper that resulted in a civilian death.

    • Erin says:

      So you place an armed guard at every single entrance to a school? Off the top of my head, my high school probably had/has at least 10, possibly more. Logistically, how would this work without costing hundreds of thousands of dollars? And keeping just a few guarded and the rest locked wouldn’t work because Adam Lanza just blew the lock off the door.

      • Henry says:

        Yes, it will cost. We are a rich country, we can afford this. Joint strike fighters cost a billion bucks each. Average police officer salary – $41,989 – $59,460. http://www1.salary.com/police-officer-Salary.html

        Tax gun sales to pay for it if you have to. When you can’t assemble an arsenal for a few hundred dollars gun violence will drop too. The very act of having visible police in an area reduces crime, it might stop some people from doing evil things.

        • Jill says:

          There are 98,818 public schools in the United States (and more than 33,000 private schools). Most schools have multiple entrances, but let’s go with a conservative estimate and say that they average two points of entry each. If we are hiring one police officer for each entrance (again a fairly conservative assumption) and averaging an annual salary of $51,000, we’re talking about $10,079,436,000.

          To maybe have a 50% chance of taking out a school shooter.

          Mass shootings are a huge problem. But they aren’t relegated to schools, and armed school guards to the tune of $10 billion seems… excessively wasteful. Especially when balanced with the potential safety issues that can arise when we place 200,000 loaded guns on school grounds.

        • Henry says:

          Total federal and state spending is 6,028,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2013. I don’t think there’s a safety issue when you use actual trained police, not rent a cops. I know it’s anecdotal, but I had armed police on campus in high school back in Galveston and it at least kept the gang violence off campus. I’d like to see the idea of better school security addressed and explored as part of the solution, NRA stupidity aside. Oh and the kids should get to keep their video games.

        • Kasabian says:

          Economics aside, totalitarian school security and ‘moar guns’ will never be the solution; for reasons that Jill addresses more eloquently than I do in her article. Jill points out that not only are police-in-schools ineffective, they are actively harmful to the learning environment of schools.

          The second amendment states that arms are only to be placed in the hands of a well-regulated militia. It’s a shame we’ve fallen so far from that.

        • PrettyAmiable says:

          I’m not fully against the armed guard idea myself. My high school had multiple police officers walking the halls. During the school day, you could only enter through the main set of doors, so there wasn’t an issue of anyone sneaking in. I know that they removed guns off of a kid at least once while I was there – and for that, I was thankful. Hopefully that kid got whatever help zie needed (though if memory serves, it was a guy). 14/15 year olds don’t have guns in urban settings unless there’s a distinct problem.

          We had one gang-related shooting at that high school in the 90s (while my sister was there). I have no idea if the police presence was in response to that or if they had been present beforehand.

          Regardless, if someone showed up to our school with the intent of killing an assload of teenagers, the three cops weren’t going to stop him/her, so even if I don’t think it’s a bad idea, I really doubt it would help solve the issue. Nice try, NRA.

        • LotusBecca says:

          Actual trained police kill plenty of people, except it’s usually on purpose, not by mistake. I would wager if you add up all the mass shootings over the past 10 years, and then add up all the violence perpetrated by the police, the police have killed/injured more total people. If you are afraid of a bee stinging you, the solution isn’t to swat it away with a chainsaw.

        • jennygadget says:

          “Most schools have multiple entrances…”

          “During the school day, you could only enter through the main set of doors, so there wasn’t an issue of anyone sneaking in….”

          fyi

          Many California schools (especially those built or expanded in the ’50s and ’60s) don’t have entrances at all. They are laid out open campus style the way US colleges are. Every single public school I attended in CA was laid out this way.

          The high school I attended even had a major city street running right through the middle of it – I had to technically step onto campus every time I walked from my parents house to the library. The property line also comes up right up to a residential area; putting armed guards watching all the chain link fences means putting armed guards within about 20 feet of where my parents sleep, and within inches of where my siblings and I used to play as toddlers.

          So, even aside from all the other obvious issues with the NRA’s plan – they are also assuming that every school is like the typical ones in the East coast and Midwest. Or modern ones where it’s all very self contained and bounded by streets and not other property.

        • Jill says:

          Many California schools (especially those built or expanded in the ’50s and ’60s) don’t have entrances at all. They are laid out open campus style the way US colleges are. Every single public school I attended in CA was laid out this way.

          My high school (in Washington State) was laid out this way too. There were probably a dozen buildings (or more?). Each one had at least two entrances. The whole thing spanned about two or three blocks. A guard at every door would be… a lot of guards.

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          I don’t think there’s a safety issue when you use actual trained police, not rent a cops.

          Ever hear of Johannes Mehserle? He shot Oscar Grant in the back while he was unarmed and laying on his stomach. That’s just one example. I can come up with more.

          Also, just a note on what my high school was like – it was multiple buildings spread loosely over two blocks. To hell with two entrances. Two streets ran through it. It would take about a dozen cops.

        • librarygoose says:

          There was a cop in my high school. When I was freshman his gun got stolen (empty) and found later. Then when I was a junior he misplaced it after they started making him lock it up while on school property.

          They never did fire him.

        • konkonsn says:

          Total federal and state spending is 6,028,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2013.

          I don’t know where you’re getting all this funding for schools. My state has cut funding for education by nearly half in the past four years. One of the elementary schools in my town wants to renovate for things like having enough electrical outlets for all the technology required to teach nowadays, getting air conditioning now that the weather is hotter than ever, and making it so the children don’t have to walk through the gymnasium while other classes are in P.E. just to get to the cafeteria. Can you guess how many members of the district have come to the school board meetings in support of these very necessary renovations? Nearly 40 people showed up to the last three board meetings, and not one said anything supportive. A lot had something to say about how concerned they were about taxes being raised (they weren’t) or the school spending recklessly the last four years (which wasn’t happening; they were losing money from the government as stated above).

          While I agree that not all teachers are great, good teachers still aren’t paid enough. Will they be compensated for the dangers now present in schools? For the anxiety and fear that will come with having to take care of a gun, of having one nearby all their students?

        • ellid says:

          Name one single school shooting that was prevented or stopped by the presence of an armed security guard. Please.

        • Caperton says:

          My middle school and high school each had numerous “portable classrooms” in trailers. A shooter wouldn’t even have to make it through the doors — just sit in the parking lot and wait for classes to change.

  7. Anna says:

    I wonder how many K-12 teachers would be thrilled with the requirement to have to learn how to use a gun and keep it holstered on their waist at all times. (Or whatever it is exactly they are being proposed to do.) And how many will seek a new line of work.

    • EG says:

      Right? I teach K-12 teachers. Not one, not one has expressed the desire to carry a gun to work. That is not an acceptable thing to require of teachers.

      • I plan to teach somewhere in the K-12 range, and if carrying a gun became part of my job requirements I would quit, non-negotiable. I signed up to teach people, not to be ready to kill spree shooters; if I’d wanted to do that I’d have become a cop.

        • EG says:

          Also, imagine what that would be like for the kids–“My teacher is in a crappy mood and blames everything on me and also is carrying a gun.” This is not an acceptable atmosphere to educate children in! It just isn’t. It’s not acceptable for teachers, it’s not acceptable for children/students, it’s not a building I would ever let my child walk into.

        • EG,

          Word, particularly given exactly how scary burnout rates are for teachers and how unpredictable people experiencing burnout can be (I speak from experience). I’ve seen some fucking disgusting teachers, too; wouldn’t give them a pet rock, let alone a gun. And if they even tried to pass something like this in Canada, I would be homeschooling the shit out of my kid. Holy fuck, I can’t even.

        • yes says:

          +1 to mac and EG. I remember a couple teachers from my high school days who, if they been armed, would have caused me to instantly dropped out of school. One was extremely volatile and aggressive, and the other drunk.

      • TomSims says:

        Not long ago there were not armed guards on airplanes.

        • And when airplanes are full of (otherwise) unsupervised children, I’ll pay attention to your steaming shits of comments.

        • Tom C says:

          I get the impression you don’t really like this guy.

          That, and I entertained the idea of agreeing that teachers should be armed. Then I talked to a few teachers, I no longer think it is a good idea.

    • (BFing)Sarah says:

      These are my thoughts, EXACTLY. I have at least one friend that is a teacher that has said she’d quit if she had to carry a gun and I wouldn’t be surprised if my other teacher friends felt the same way. In fact, I’d be FLOORED if one of them said they were okay with it. These are people who have never even gone hunting and you are asking them to carry a weapon to assess and respond to a human threat? I just don’t see how that could work. Plus, although my friends that are teachers are wonderful and patient individuals that love their jobs, but not all teachers are wonderful and I would honestly worry, as you stated EG and macavitykitsune, that a teacher would be burned out and angry and lose it on a kid one day. I would also worry that a kid could bum rush a teacher, take the gun, and shoot zir fellow classmates. I mean, so now they wouldn’t even have to bring the gun into the school–its already there?? How does that HELP? I do NOT want to homeschool for a lot of reasons, but this would push me over the edge. I’d have no choice. No way I’m sending my kid to a school with armed teachers. I’m already not super confident about the schools in our area and adding guns to the mix? Nope. Not happening. If its so dangerous in our schools that teachers have to carry weapons then why would I put my child in that environment?

    • Henry says:

      this arming teacers crap is being advanced by the concealed carry crowd who use it as an excuse when the real reason they concealed carry is because they are power trippers. you cannot have a learning environment where the instructor is armed. any security needs to be in the hands of professionals who are tasked solely with protecting students, not arresting them for drug possession or petty crimes. if protecting people is your thing, go become a cop. we could use a ton more decent humans doing that.

      • Tom C says:

        I think it’s pretty rude to say that CCL holders are all power trippers. Do you even know anyone with a CCL? I am a CCL holder and am far from a power tripper. I don’t like confrontation and try to be nice to everyone I meet. I imagine most CCL holders are of a similar mindset. Granted in every group of people there are power tripping douche bags, but that’s true of humans in general, not just CCL holders.

        Most CCL holders carry because if push comes to shove they feel like they should be able to protect themselves and the innocent people around them. Protecting others is typically a subservient mindset, not a power tripping one, at least in my experience.

        Tell me, do you also think that all black people are criminals? All bloods are dumb? Stereotypes are ugly things, I’m sure you don’t believe any of that, you should chose your words more carefully.

        A quick story; a CCL holder was present in the Clackamas Mall, when the shooters rifle jammed he confronted him with weapon drawn and after yelling at the shooter to drop his weapon he decided not to take the shot because he noticed innocent people in a store behind the shooter, he did not want to risk injuring someone, so he retreated. The next action the shooter took was to end his own life. We can’t know for sure that the shooters decision was directly related to the CCL holder challenging him but it would appear that way to me.

        For the record, I think the NRA’s plan is stupid, I am also not an NRA member as I think they’re position is too radical. We need responsible gun control, not bans, but not free shotgun Fridays either. It needs to fall somewhere in the middle.

        • Henry says:

          yes I do and the guy is scary. he’s waiting for someone to confront him so he can use it. good for me he lives in another state. CCL for the general public is the authorization of a vigilante system.

        • Tom C says:

          Well it sounds like that guy is an asshole and shouldn’t be carrying a pocket knife. What I was taught is that the gun is the last resort of defense for you and those around you. Even then you have to think long and hard before hand about whether or not you’re capable of taking a human life if it comes down it it, it’s not something that normal people undertake lightly. I know I didn’t. You’re not supposed to be a vigilante, you’re not supposed to go looking for trouble. Guys like George Zimmerman and that guy you know give the rest of us a shitty name. Just keep in mind that for every asshole and Zimmerman you hear about there are thousands upon thousands of CCL holders that either do nothing to anyone, or save innocent lives, not because they want to be Batman(best vigilante ever), but because they want to help and protect people.

          CCL holders are mostly just normally people, probably a lot like yourself in most regards. Don’t let ONE guy form your opinion of an entire group, that’s a really dangerous attitude to take about any group of people…

        • amblingalong says:

          To be fair, I’m pretty anti-gun, but I can’t think of a single spree killer or mass murderer in the last thirty years who had a CCL. I think the US would be a better place without so many handguns, but I’m a lot less concerned about people with CCLs than most other groups of gun owners.

        • Bagelsan says:

          Most CCL holders carry because if push comes to shove they feel like they should be able to protect themselves and the innocent people around them. Protecting others is typically a subservient mindset, not a power tripping one, at least in my experience.

          The cognitive dissonance, it burns. Planning on being the hero that saves everyone is a power trip, doll.

        • Fat Steve says:

          Most CCL holders carry because if push comes to shove they feel like they should be able to protect themselves and the innocent people around them.

          How on earth would you know what goes on in the head of millions of people you don’t know? Seriously, aren’t you embarrassed to make comments like this? I can’t imagine how someone could possibly make a statement that was so demonstrably untrue in an attempt to prove anything other than themselves being capable of making the most inane comment in the history of humanity.

      • konkonsn says:

        Tell me, do you also think that all black people are criminals?

        No. God-fucking-dammit, no. You do not get to compare racism against a group of people because of something they ARE with a judgement against a group of people because of their OPINION or something they DO.

        Not to mention the very different histories and treatment of such people in the USA.

        • Tom C says:

          Racism would have been me saying “do you hate all black people(a group) cause they’re black(something they are)?” A stereotype would be “do you think all black people(a group) are criminals(something they do)”

          Do you think all CCL holder’s(a group) are all power trippers(an action)? <- That good person is a stereotype.

          This little tangent is pretty much done and nooooobody else seems to think I was comparing racism to stereotyping, which is because I WASN'T.

        • PrettyAmiable says:

          It is baffling that you are presumably a grown man and do not understand how racism manifests.

        • konkonsn says:

          “Nobody else said anything, therefore it’s not racism!”

          I’m backing up PrettyAmiable here and saying you really don’t understand how racism works.

        • EG says:

          Yep. Racist absurdity.

    • jennygadget says:

      My mom teaches kindergarten, and the two things she has said to me about all this is that

      1) she keeps picturing the kids she teaches every time the shooting is mentioned

      2) and ranting at the stupidity of people suggesting that teachers be armed. The highlights of which include: “where do they think I’m going to put it?!?!?!”

      Which is not an idle question considering the fact that she works with four and five year olds.

      • Donna L says:

        Right. It has to be locked up someplace where it’s impossible for curious children to get at it, but it’s simultaneously accessible to her immediately, so she can retrieve it, aim it, and fire it, all in the millisecond between hearing the footsteps in the corridor stop outside the classroom door, and the door bursting open in a spray of semi-automatic gunfire. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

        • Henry says:

          According to the National Review we can train our kids to defend themselves….and with that the right wing in our country has finally jumped the shark. I’m just waiting for the NRA sponsored kid’s self defense shooting program.

        • Lolagirl says:

          Well, maybe if the huskier boys in those classes should be able to access it easily as well in case the teacher didn’t have the time to do so. You know, because those boys should be better able to rush at a mass shooter and take him down anyway should the necessity arise…

      • Anna says:

        Yup, just speaking anecdotally, but the handful of teachers I know would, I am pretty damn sure, be incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of being armed. A lot of people are, unsurprisingly, just not comfortable with guns, period, and would not want that foisted on them as part of their rewritten job descriptions.

        Plus, with the limited time teachers have for their professional development, I’d rather see them learn new pedagogical methods than spend their time learning gun safety and going to the shooting range to stay in practice. I mean, it’s not good enough to have a gun — you have to know how to use it, otherwise you’re an even bigger danger to those around you. I have no idea how much extra time it takes to become a good shot and maintain those skills, but discomfort with weapons aside, and the idea that more weapons = more oppressive school atmosphere aside, it seems like an awful lot to ask of someone.

    • miga says:

      The odds of a kid getting killed in school due to homicide or suicide are literally one in a million. School shooting deaths are .96% of all gun related child homicides.

      So the over 99% kids who are victims of gun violence are shot in twos and threes in areas near where they live.

      When school shootings DO happen, you know where two thirds of those shooters get those guns? Their parent’s or relative’s homes.

      I’m not arguing that there’s no need to make sure kids are protected. I’m not arguing that school doesn’t need to be safe. I’m arguing that the better way to keep kids safe is to a) make people’s guns harder for their kids to get to, and b) make the neighborhoods all kids live in safer from gun violence. But that would take a) angering the NRA and their supporters and b) caring about poor kids and kids of color. But it’s so much easier to throw money and guns at the problem, right? Money that we don’t have, and guns that could (and, as studies show, often do) end up in the hands of the “bad guys.”

  8. Roro says:

    -Hey remember Fort Hood? The shooter there was an Army psychiatrist on a military base. Two points: (1) He was a psychiatrist and not a “crazy person” and he still shot up a bunch of people, and (2) he was on a military base surrounded by people who had guns and knew how to use ‘em and he still managed to kill 13 people and wound 29 others.

    Actually, military bases are extremely prohibitive about people with guns. The only people who are able to carry weapons are military policemen. Regular troops only get issued guns and ammunition when going to the range, and then every single cartridge is accounted for. The weapons get turned back into the armory. Civilians or off-duty military aren’t allowed to carry loaded weapons, even if its legal in the state in which they are stationed.

    • Henry says:

      No attack is 100% preventable. If people are looking for 100% solutions they are dreaming. You can only take steps to reduce the incidence of gun violence, by limiting weapon ownership and having better security at places where people gather. My shopping mall has more security than many schools. In the USA Movado watches and diamond engagement rings are more looked after than our children.

  9. Radiant Sophia says:

    A national database of the mentally-ill will only serve to further marginalize us. We have, coming from all corners of this discussion, been told we need to be kicked out of our homes, institutionalized, and further degraded in every way humanly possible. The U.S. is looking for a scapegoat, and it has found one. People with mental-illness are not sub-human, we need a help and support structure that is already increasingly difficult to acquire. Every plan like this that is put forward for “protection from the mentally-ill” is simply an attempt to disappear us from society.

    • Tom C says:

      I think you are right and wrong. You are right in that the NRA is scapegoating the mentally ill. You are wrong in that most people in the US are looking at this incident and want to increase the care and resources available to you, not scapegoat you. We want to make sure you receive the care and support you need and are obviously having trouble finding. The other side of that coin is that those that are violent need to be identified, and honestly, they should be institutionalized. Having a mental illness is no excuse for wanting and trying to hurt others.

      I hope that if we accomplish anything after yet another senseless tragedy it is to make things in this country better for a group of people that need our help.

      • PeggyLuWho says:

        The other side of that coin is that those that are violent need to be identified, and honestly, they should be institutionalized.

        Who exactly gets to decide who is violent or violent enough to be institutionalized? What’s the basis of this? You sound like you think therapists and psychiatrists are magical infallible unicorns. This might come as a shock – a lot of them suck at their jobs. So, yeah, when you start saying shit like this, those of us that have some sort of experience with dealing with mental health providers get a little prickly.

        But awesome therapists are awesome.

        • Tom C says:

          I understand where you’re coming from. I certainly don’t blame you for getting prickly. I don’t profess to have a fail-proof way to figure out who should be institutionalized and who should. I suspect those that frequently threaten others should be put on the short list but beyond that I’m no mental health expert.

          While I stated my opinion I don’t profess that I have a fair and “not prone to shitty therapists fucking it up” way of determining how it would be done. So like a lot of my ideas I leave to people smarter than myself to implement, or more likely, to just remain my opinion and not turn into anything concrete.

          Again, I do understand and in no way take offense to your prickliness, you have very valid concerns over such an idea :)

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          I understand where you’re coming from

          No, you really don’t. I don’t expect you to, so whatever, but don’t assume.

        • Tom C says:

          By dictating that I don’t understand you yourself are assuming.

          Perhaps we can just agree that I “recognize” your concern and appreciate it’s validity though I may not be able to understand the depth, or the experiences which cause you that concern.

          Fair enough?

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        When you have been institutionalized or forcibly sterilized for having a non-violent mental-illness, then you can tell me I’m wrong, and that most people just want to help.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          Sorry, that came out as more hostile than I intended. It is impossible to know what living with a mental-illness is like, unless you have, and the events of the last week have brought out a lot of people telling other people what should be done with us. Right now it is very scary to be a person diagnosed with mental-illness in the U.S.

        • (BFing)Sarah says:

          I agree with that. You can’t know what its like unless you are in that position. But, as a human being, I detest the idea of identifying someone as a violent potential criminal and institutionalizing them before they have committed a violent criminal act or attempted to do so. Lanza may or may not have been diagnosed with a mental illness (I have heard both), but he had not previously committed a crime so what, exactly, would have been the basis of putting him in an institution? There isn’t one. So how are we going to prevent these kinds of crimes when you can’t figure out WHO would commit these acts of violence and who wouldn’t? One potential way to do that is to make sure that no one can get a hold of these huge magazines and “drums” for guns. Why you would need a magazine that shoots 30 bullets is beyond me unless you are literally fighting in a war. There is no reason for anyone to have access to guns like the ones that Lanza’s mother had in her home. We need to stop pointing the finger at people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and start thinking about practical ways to make sure that no one can get their hands on these ridiculous weapons.

  10. Kristen J. says:

    Arrggghhh….I can’t come up with the words to respond to this pompous windbag.

    Guns don’t kill people, but video games do? The media is blowing gun violence out of proportion? A database of people who have sought treatment for mental illness? ARGH!!! Just. Fucking. ARGH!

  11. chava says:

    I can’t tell you how many times over the last few days I have heard some variant on “we just to have all those dangerous people locked up forever.” A list just seems like a stepping stone to that goal.

  12. I for one totally approve of this national database of mentally ill people and can see no reason for this to go wrong in any way, shape or form.

    • Erin says:

      Wayne LaPierre goes to the top of the list: Paranoia, Delusional Thinking, and probably NPD.

      • amblingalong says:

        Wayne LaPierre goes to the top of the list: Paranoia, Delusional Thinking, and probably NPD.

        So what you got out of all of this is that the most effective way to criticize the NRA guy who said something dumb is to accuse him of being mentally ill?

        FFS.

    • Henry says:

      WTF? there’s a huge problem – they won’t work very hard in the planned concentration institutional housing. We’ll never turn a profit off them.

      • Tom C says:

        The companies that end up running the institutions being paid for out of the tax payers pocket will turn a very hefty profit I suspect.

    • miga says:

      I mean, if we’re getting treated like X-men, we should then gain those powers, right? Then we can stop shooters on our own!

      The NRA doesn’t hate us- It just wants us to become superheroes!

  13. Marksman2010 says:

    May I ask, Jill, how you would solve this problem, meaning the gun violence in the U.S., if you had the power to change existing laws any way you wished?

    • Jill says:

      Good question. I’m not interested in completely outlawing guns, but if it were up to me, I would basically institute an application and background check process that would require people to justify why they want/need a gun and would require them to continue that justification on an annual basis. So if they need it for their job and can provide the documentation for that, fine. If they’re avid sports hunters, and they hunt in season and with a license, fine. But if they want a gun just because they want one, then no. And the type of weaponry available would also need to reflect a justifiable need — why anyone needs the kinds of weapons used by the Sandy Hook shooter is beyond me. The process to get a gun should be at least as difficult as, say, getting a license to practice law or drive a car — it should require a test to prove you know how to properly and responsibly use your weapon, mandatory insurance in case something goes wrong, and a thorough background check that would deny ownership to anyone with a history of violence.

      • Datdamwuf says:

        Jill, I’m no gun enthusiast but your solution leaves me with giving away or destroying my Mom’s gun. She was a hunter and fisher, she used this revolver for scaring bears and shooting halibut before they were brought on a boat (big fish can break bones). She specifically asked me to accept the gun from her and left the gun to me when she died and it represents some of the most important things about who she was. I keep it and I shoot it on the gun range sometimes.

        I can extrapolate this personal issue to people I know who enjoy target shooting and are in no way violent. I do believe we need a way to limit gun ownership to responsible people and I’d like to come up with something that is workable.

        I know answering you this way without a good plan of my own is not great, I have tried to find a such a thing and I’m just throwing this out hoping to hear some more ideas.

        • EG says:

          OK, for real? These people who enjoy target shoot and are in no way violent–they wouldn’t be willing to give that up in the name of lowering the number of killings of schoolchildren? Then they’re assholes. I have a fountain pen. I love my fountain pen. I like reading about fountain pens, I like writing with fountain pens, I enjoy buying the ink and filling fountain pens, my fountain pen has significant sentimental value to me, there is nothing about fountain pens I don’t like. But if giving up that hobby made it significantly harder for assholes to murder schoolchildren, I’d suck it up and use rollerballs instead.

          What the actual fuck?

        • To get really starry-eyed about this… it occurs to me that in situations like yours, there could be a system for leaving dangerous guns at a shooting range (if that’s the only place you plan to fire it, and it sounds like it is), in a locker system, like banks – you’d need an employee AND the locker owner to open it, etc. Of course, this doesn’t account for people going berserk AT shooting ranges after collecting their guns, but I imagine that chance to be fairly slim.

        • Kasabian says:

          EG has the how of it. I love me some video games; but if I thought for a second that banning them would save even a single child, I’d throw them all in the trash.

        • (BFing)Sarah says:

          I like the idea of keeping guns locked up at a shooting range. I know lots of people who own lots and lots of guns and it seems to me that their obsession with collecting dangerous objects is pretty damn selfish. I have no problem with even owning a gun for protection. But owning ONE gun is different than owning an arsenal of semi automatic weapons. I don’t see why you’d need multiple handguns…what are you really planning to do with them? Are you planning for apocalypse?

        • Henry says:

          +1 Mac and Sarah. There are adult summer camps you can go to in Europe if your thing is blowing crap up with fully automatic machine guns, RPGs and tanks and you want to play Rambo. You can even fly a Mig fighter jet. But they don’t let you take the toys home. We can easily do the same with the fun stuff like assault rifles, high capacity magazines etc. that do not need to be in people’s homes where people prone to violence have access to them. CNN asked owners of these weapons why they owned them and the overwhelming answer was “because they are cool”. (and they are cool – I get it) What’s not cool is when they are bought, borrowed or stolen by violent people.

        • Lusy says:

          Jill’s proposal sounds similar to what Australia has. Being part of a shooting club is considered acceptable reason for having a gun. Owning a gun “just coz”, or for self defence, however, would not be considered adequate reason. Our laws for gun storage are such that any gun that is legally secured is unlikely to be readily accessible should there be a home break in.

        • Tom C says:

          EG,

          A better analogy would be maybe that you love your car, but cars are incredibly dangerous and kill a lot of people every single year(more than guns in fact) and I guarantee you if we banned cars that a lot more than one life would be saved. So are you on board? Should we start the petition writing?

        • Tom C, I am convinced. Your brilliant and novel argument has completely revolutionised my outlook on life. Tomorrow, I, too, shall head to the nearest gun store to purchase an assault weapon for all my transportation needs! Just in time for my Christmas trip to the in-laws’, too ♥

          Thank you, thank you, o mighty persuader!

        • Tom C says:

          The car analogy is just as valid as EG’s fountain pen analogy, why again are you being a jerk to me and not them? Both arguments are equally absurd in the context of semi-automatic rifles, you just happen to agree with their opinio…. oh wait, I get it now.

        • Both arguments are equally absurd in the context of semi-automatic rifles, you just happen to agree with their opinio…. oh wait, I get it now.

          Because, Tom C, I have a readymade alternative to fountain pens (ballpoints, computers, quills, stone carvings). I have an easily available alternative to assault weapons (handguns, which are still legal and which neither EG nor I were arguing against owning, the last I checked). Your argument that guns are exactly as necessary as cars is fucking ridiculous, because I can’t exactly pile my groceries into the empty chambers of an assault weapon, or pick up my kid from school on a machine gun, broomstick-style. I don’t need a Rolls-Royce to ride to middle school; you don’t need an assault weapon to shoot Bambi. Okie?

        • Tom C says:

          I use my AR to hunt hogs, it’s the most effective rifle to use, it has a purpose for me, just like most guns do for most responsible civilians. I like deer so I don’t hunt them, we even are lucky enough to have a few herds that live in our neighborhood. It’s pretty cool to watch them graze in the backyard. They’re beautiful creatures.

          So the part I don’t get is this. You are arguing against the ownership of assault rifles when hand guns kill way more people every day, in fact, even if we just talk massacres it was a hand gun that was used in the worst shooting in US history. I don’t get the logic behind this, well actually, I think I do. You’re upset because of what just happened, coupling that with the fact that you obviously don’t see the value or use for a semi-automatic rifle means that you feel we should go ahead and ban them! I don’t see the point of smoking, yet I don’t want to ban cigarettes, I don’t drink all that frequently but I’m not in favor of alcohol prohibition(again). Cigarettes and alcohol kill even more people than cars and guns put together! I guess since they’re just killing themselves(except for second hand smoke and drunk drivers) that makes it ok.

          The shame of it is, I’m looking at your other comments and I suspect we would probably get along just fine on most topics. This one seems to be a sticking point for us though.

        • You’re upset because of what just happened, coupling that with the fact that you obviously don’t see the value or use for a semi-automatic rifle means that you feel we should go ahead and ban them!

          I see the value of semi-automatic rifles… in war zones, during riots, or incidents of terrorism. You’re right in that I don’t understand why someone would want to own a weapon whose sole (exclusive) use is to murder as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Handguns might cause more deaths, it’s true, but they’re also actually multipurpose, and serve the purpose of self-defense without being necessarily geared towards killing the maximum people in the minimum amount of time. (This is also the reason why, though crystal meth kills fewer people than cigarettes, we’re not all out chucking smokers into rehab and outlawing nicotine – I never heard of anyone smoking two cigarettes and stealing a tank, did you?)

          I come from a country (and, luckily, live in a country) where guns are pretty much regulated to hunters/athletes and cops, and maybe it’s because of that, but the rate of gun violence in the US scares the shit out of me, because I have family and friends there. It’s not even the gun culture; it’s the cavalier attitude towards gun sales, the creepy-ass entitlement of many gun owners, the MRA types you yourself declared to be assholes. If anything, you (and William etc) guys on these threads seem to be the fringe by being responsible! And I understand the temptation to go “well, we’re not all like that”. But it rings just as hollow as when Catholics tell gay people they’re not all like that, or when Mary Daly fans tell trans folk they’re not all like that. Maybe if you paid more attention to the people who ARE like that, you’d be willing to give up a few of your privileges for others’ security.

          (FTR I would be incredibly uncomfortable with a gun ban even in a population that never had many guns to begin with!)

          The shame of it is, I’m looking at your other comments and I suspect we would probably get along just fine on most topics.

          Eh, Tom, I don’t think it’s a big deal. There’s issues with which I disagree with literally any person here you can name, and I respect the hell out of most of them anyway.

        • Tom C says:

          I guess it does speak to our different point of views on guns since you mentioning riots as a place of value for a semi-automatic rifle sent chills down my spine. I guess I’m accustomed to US riots, which are pretty weak by international standards, but the thought of the police actually firing lethal weapons at rioters is appalling to me.

          Back to the rifles, I could go on and on about why a semi-automatic rifle is perfect for hog hunting but I probably wouldn’t change your mind. They are just as multi-purpose as hand guns, specifically for hunting, I promise. Just youtube “Texas hog hunts”, it really doesn’t work that great without a semi-automatic rifle and the hogs are considered vermin here since they cause so much crop damage and breed so prolifically”)

          As for hand guns I think you’re being a tad idealistic in regards to how they really differentiate from semi-auto rifles. If Lanza had used a pistol in that school I imagine just as many kids would have died, in fact, depending on the caliber of pistol used he may have killed more. The only real difference between a semi-automatic pistol and rifle is effective range. At close range both are devastating. A rifle is a bit more controllable, but when the targets are that close and not going anywhere, it’s pretty much a moot point. For example a .45 pistol is far more damaging at the same close range than a .223 round due to being physically larger. Frankly this perception that semi-automatic rifles are murder machines is ridiculous, they don’t fire any faster than a semi-automatic pistol and at close range actually do less damage that larger caliber pistols.

          As for the rate of gun violence, I dunno. I guess it is easy for me to say it’s “not that bad” I’ve never been near a shooting, involved in a shooting, or really had one happen that close to me. Does it happen a lot? I guess, the media certainly makes it seem that way. I don’t think it’s anything to be scared that bad over. I’m more scared when I get on the highway in the morning to drive to work than I am of gun violence.

          I’m sure you guys have the same issue in whatever country you live in with the vocal minorities, those loud mouth assholes like the NRA that are pretty radical, but radical sells, so that’s what the news reports. You won’t really hear much from the silent majority until something happens to mess with them. We’ll see what happens with the proposed gun control laws that Obama wants from the task force he created. If they’re reasonable I’ll certainly give them my support, for whatever that is worth.

          As far as giving up my privileges for others security, if I legitimately felt like banning assault rifles would prevent someone from breaking into a school and killing a bunch of kids, I’d be ok with it, but I know that if it isn’t an assault rifle it will be a pistol, if it isn’t a pistol it will be a shotgun, if it isn’t a shotgun it’ll be a pipe bomb. I’d rather we focus our time and effort on figuring out how to stop them before they do something, or better yet, make sure they don’t want to do it in the first place.

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          Why do pro-gun people always want to bring up car accidents in these conversations? Do you know what the difference is between a car and an assault rifle or handgun? Assault riffles and handguns are designed to kill people. It is the only reason they exist.

        • Tom C says:

          We bring it up because I think is telling that the thing that’s designed to kill you is less likely to hurt you than the thing that hauls you from point A to B.

          For the record, Assault rifles are heavily regulated.

          As for hand guns, I’ve owned one for 6 years and never once fired it at another human being let alone killed someone. In that same time period I’ve been in 3 car accidents(1 major) and 1 motorcycle accident, none of which were my fault.

          So the things that are designed to just move me around have been far more detrimental to my health than the things that are designed specifically to kill me. You don’t see how that’s ironic? You don’t see why we would point that out when people cry that guns are so dangerous and kill so many people? There are a ton of uses for guns; hunting, sport shooting, self-defense, culling varmints, all of which occur everyday without any people getting killed. All of which apparently go against the guns designed purpose of killing people. Yet a car, which is designed to move people, as safely as possible mind you, kills more people every year. Yet I don’t hear calls for tougher drivers education classes(which we really need in the US, like badly), I don’t hear calls for driver’s licenses having to be renewed every year with additional safety training. I guess since cars weren’t designed to kill people that makes it all ok. After all the only thing that matters about something is what it’s designed for, not what useful things it does, right?

        • Peggy,

          I personally think they watched “Christine” at too impressionable an age, myself.

        • Tom C says:

          Yes, because it’s completely ridiculous to say that cars kill people, but it makes perfect sense for people to say guns kill people.

          I’m sure neither one of those two things have anything to do with the person controlling either inanimate object.

          Stupid devil cars/guns making people do bad things.

        • EG says:

          A better analogy would be maybe that you love your car, but cars are incredibly dangerous and kill a lot of people every single year(more than guns in fact) and I guarantee you if we banned cars that a lot more than one life would be saved. So are you on board? Should we start the petition writing?

          1) Actually, that’s a lousy analogy. Most people in this country need their cars in order to get to work and do other necessary daily chores. Almost nobody needs combat rifles or other types of guns to get to work or do other necessary daily chores. My fountain pen example is far more apt.

          2) I loathe cars. I am about as anti-car as you can get. They’re dangerous, terrible for the environment, and impractical. I have no problem with radically restructuring this country so as to obviate the need for cars. The only reason this country is so car-dependent in the first place is because of the auto lobby. So by all means, I’m on board.

        • EG says:

          Yes, because it’s completely ridiculous to say that cars kill people, but it makes perfect sense for people to say guns kill people.

          So the vastly lower rates of death by violence in countries where guns are not so readily accessible are, what, coincidence?

          Guess what? Guns do kill people. That’s why Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary with a shitload of guns and ammo, rather than a bunch of fountain pens. He was planning to kill people, and wanted to do so effectively.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          Go anti-car Movement! Neither I, nor my roommate own or drive a car. I’m not allowed, but he has actually made a choice to live his life without an automobile, and all that entails. He walks to work (it’s less than a mile), and we walk to the grocery store (about half a mile). If we need to go someplace further, we use public transport. I live in Iowa, and everything is fairly spread out, and it’s still possible.

        • EG says:

          You’re upset because of what just happened

          Yeah, mac, sheesh. You’re just upset because some 20-year-old murdered a bunch of elementary schoolers with an assault rifle. Stop being so emotional about things.

        • Datdamwuf says:

          macavitykitsune and a couple of others, that is a good solution – clubs & having to keep the gun locked up at a the club/shooting range. Also the deactivation for guns not used but that have sentimental value or are antiques.

          The various analogies were interesting, however saying that if giving up XYZ would save one child doesn’t really address the issue. You can find a million analogies, about 25 kids drown in buckets every year – that is why the warnings are on all those buckets. I’m pretty sure we all have a bucket in our house anyway. Guns are in a class of their own, they are not a car, a pen or a bucket. We need to regulate them somehow.

        • EG says:

          The fountain-pen analogy addresses the issue of gun-owners acting like their hobby is of equal importance to people’s lives. 2,793 children died from gun violence in 2009, according the Children’s Defense Fund. That some people think the response to that should be “but how will I go hog-hunting if you take away my assault rifle” rather than the equivalent of “gee, I guess I’ll have to get used to writing with a roller ball” showcases just how entitled gun-owners in this country have become.

          If buckets were largely for unnecessary purposes, if bucket-collecting were some kind of hobby, I would feel the same way about people claiming that their collection of zinc-coated ultra-buckets was necessary, because how else could they be expected to keep drinking water handy? Empty your goddamn buckets so kids don’t drown and stop acting like you shouldn’t ever have to change any aspect of your behavior for the good of other people, you selfish, whiny, entitled brats.

        • EG says:

          By the way, I never said “if giving up XYZ would save one child.” There will always be freak accidents of one sort or another. But we’re not talking about freak accidents. If loads and loads of children were dying because of the use of fountain pens, I would throw out or trade in my fountain pen without a second thought. The idea that somehow hog-hunting or your sentimental attachment to your mother’s gun makes doing that unthinkable is just absurd. Plenty of hobbies are fun and plenty of objects have sentimental value–neither of those things are so all-important as to trump actual ongoing death.

          We’re not talking about 25 deaths from bucket-drowning a year. We’re talking about over 100X that, and that matters. It matters more than hog-hunting, and it matters more than your mother’s gun.

        • igglanova says:

          Why do pro-gun people always want to bring up car accidents in these conversations?

          To distract us. The funny thing is that they don’t even realize this is basically an admission that they don’t have an argument.

          ‘You think guns are bad? Look at CARS, bitchez! You don’t see people lobbying to license, register, and restrict THAT shit in this country. Checkmate, gun control.’

        • We bring it up because I think is telling that the thing that’s designed to kill you is less likely to hurt you than the thing that hauls you from point A to B.

          I’d love to see a public transportation network in North America that’s as coordinated and efficient as India’s is. If I could never sit in a car again, believe me, I wouldn’t – they scare the shit out of me. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of driving doesn’t result in a ten-car pile-up.

          In that same time period I’ve been in 3 car accidents(1 major) and 1 motorcycle accident, none of which were my fault.

          I don’t get the logic behind this, well actually, I think I do. You’re upset because of what just happened, coupling that with the fact that you obviously don’t see the value or use for a car means that you feel we should go ahead and ban them!

          (Yes, your argument to me made about this much sense.)

          Yet I don’t hear calls for tougher drivers education classes(which we really need in the US, like badly), I don’t hear calls for driver’s licenses having to be renewed every year with additional safety training.

          So, instead of instituting those methods and being harsh on risky drivers, which is something I would dearly love to see, by the way, you…want gun owners to be allowed to be irresponsible dickbags? Wow, talk about missing the point. o_O

        • Lasciel says:

          You want a better analogy? Food allergens. Food allergy reactions kill about 200 people a year, and half of the food allergy deaths occur in restaurants. 90% of those are caused by the 8 most common food allergens.

          If we were willing to ban just peanuts, the allergen that is said to cause the most severe reaction, from all restaurants, who knows how many lives could be saved? If we banned all of the eight common ones we could save 90 people a year.

          But nope, people got to have their PBJs and their peanut butter cookies. Inevitably some overworked minimum-wage worker will use the same knife in the jelly jar as they did the peanut butter jar, and then the unlucky allergic SOB who orders a jelly sandwich is up a creek.

          I think that’s a pretty clear case. Availability of peanut butter cookies and PBJs in a restaurant is a luxury somewhat akin to availability of violent video games or non-essential gun ownership.

          I would give up my restaurant peanut butter cookies to save 90 people a year.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          Except both the peanut-butter cookie, and guns kill people, while the violent video game does not. A whole lot more people watch violent movies than play violent video games, they have been proven to induce the same level of violence (none), why aren’t you attacking them?

        • William says:

          Assault riffles and handguns are designed to kill people. It is the only reason they exist.

          I’m consciously trying to avoid the gun control debate here because I don’t think its the right thing to be doing right now, so thats not a derail I want to get involved in. But….for the record, that is the only reason the Second Amendment exists. It is there because our country is built upon the belief that sometimes people need to be killed. Its not there for hunting or target shooting or sportsmen, its there because a group of people who had recently completed a violent overthrow of the government felt that it was important that everyone have a more or less equal ability to kill one another. When you strip away the rhetoric, thats what self defense is all about and thats what the McDonald, Heller, and Shepard cases are about. If your problem is with weapons designed to kill other human beings your problem is with the core right protected by the Second Amendment, not really with handguns or certain kinds of rifles as a special class. This is a legislative and judicial dead end. What you mean to be saying is that you want to repeal or alter the Second Amendment. Its a constitutional discussion, not a public policy one.

        • jimbeam says:

          Forget cars – how about alcohol? Unlike cars nobody needs alcohol (except for some people who’d die of withdrawal), and it kills a lot of people, directly and indirectly. If you’re hypothetically willing to give up a fountain pen, or whatever else, as a hobby to save people, would you be willing to give up drinking? And what if it wasn’t all alcohol we were talking about banning, just hard liquor?

      • Perci says:

        This sounds a lot like the UK’s gun licencing laws – Effectively, if you’re a member of a shooting club, you’re allowed the calibre of rifle that you shoot there. If you’re a farmer, you’re allowed a shotgun for dealing with vermin. If you go deer or pheasant hunting, you’re allowed guns of the correct (legally mandated) specifications to hunt them as well. All of these licences have to be renewed fairly regularly, and most of them also require that you have a gun safe in the house.

        It seems to work fine for us. Yes, we don’t get to keep guns for sentimental reasons (Though there are exceptions allowed for antiques, things with collectors’ value and stuff that’s been deactivated) but on the other hand we have far less shootings per year than the US.

        • Bunny says:

          Yup! Other half’s grandpa was a keen clay pigeon shooter and occasional hunter-of-pheasant – no big, loud men-on-horseback, just him solo with his gun when he wanted to treat the family to a pheasant dinner. He owned a couple of guns.

          Never saw them, never held them, never even heard him talk about them, but I know he owned them just because the family debated what to do with them after he passed away. In the end they were passed on to an uncle who had the same hobbies and the requisite licences, but if that hadn’t been possible they would have been deactivated and kept as sentimental items.

        • Henry says:

          You do now. Correct me if wrong, but my understanding is that the UK’s laws were in response to a horrible incident in the 1950s, similar to what we have here now. I like the licensing approach. It means another human being gets to assess the person who wants to own a weapon.

        • William says:

          Perci: the UK’s licensing laws do a very good job of making sure that only wealthy, privileged types have access to weapons. The US’ history of laws with similar ends that tended to be supported by rich guys in white hoods wanting to make sure they could terrorize they’re recently-freed neighbors without having to worry about getting shot at.

    • A4 says:

      “Excuse me, but may I JAQ off here?”

      Please don’t?

  14. What I haven’t heard discussed after the Newtown shootings. Getting rid of the loophole at gun shows allowing buyers to avoid a background check. Conservatives are suddenly talking about mental health. Health programs are the first thing cut by Republican legislatures. The NRA Presser was merely for PR. I fear the same thing about President Obama’s recent statements.

    • Donna L says:

      Eliminating the loophole for gun show sales, along with banning high capacity magazines, are two of the things I’ve seen discussed the most, in terms of what the White House has indicated it supports including in whatever gun legislation it proposes.

      • Tom C says:

        Those would be good things to do in the grand scheme of things. I imagine all we’d really get out of those two laws would be a sense of accomplishment. Implementing either of those two laws wouldn’t have prevented any of the recent shootings. So while I think they’re reasonable things to do it’s sort of silly that we’re holding up these school shootings saying we need to do something and then talk about doing something completely irrelevant…

        But hey, if it makes people happy.

        • Rhoanna says:

          But who knows, they might prevent some of the other ~20 daily gun homicides. Or the twice that many daily gun suicides. I’d rather try to prevent those, than the statistically rare mass shootings.

        • Miriam says:

          It’s unclear if banning high capacity magazines would have affected Newtown or Aurora since both shooters did use high capacity magazines; the conservative judge who penned an op-ed in support of the ban argues otherwise. But even if banning high capacity magazines and closing the gunshow loophole wouldn’t have affected any of the recent spree shootings, they’re still sane, logical things to do.

          I know very little about guns, so I’m interested in explanations or opinions from people who do about how gun control laws can/should be written to balance the needs of hunters, target shooters, or people with an interest in self-defense (and this latter category, I’m skeptical of but I’ll go with as being legit for now) with the needs of the rest of us to not live in the Wild West. But it seems like a lot of pro-gun people are just speaking up to shut down the conversation rather than offer refinements to make the laws more effective. Gun control laws work. We have a whole big wide world of countries with gun control laws and far fewer gun-related injuries and deaths per capita. So it’s ridiculous and disingenuous to say that the US has to just accept our insane amount of gun-related injuries. And I’m not just talking spree shootings because murders, murder/suicides, suicides, accidental paralysis, accidental murders, etc. are all also worth preventing.

  15. EG says:

    You know what? I literally cannot imagine a stupider response to the Newtown murders. I just cannot.

  16. EG says:

    I just want to point out that on the one hand, gun-fanciers are always rabbiting on about being able to defend ourselves against an oppressive government, but it’s their organization that is advocating arming even more agents of that government (public school teachers), posting armed guards to watch over schoolchildren, and creating a national database of the mentally ill. It almost sounds like having lots of guns around is what necessitates an oppressive government, huh?

    • Kasabian says:

      The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

      We must have guns to protect us from the government!

      We must have more government to protect us from “crazy” people wielding guns!

    • LotusBecca says:

      Another irony, I think, is that the sort of people whom the gun lobby is OK with not being allowed to own guns (mentally ill people, formerly incarcerated people, undocumented immigrants) are actually the sort of people who are most likely to be targeted by an oppressive government, and therefore, most likely to actually need guns to defend themselves. Contrary to the paranoid fantasies of the NRA, an oppressive government is not going to be coming after Joe Sixpack anytime soon. Although Joe Sixpack might just vote that government into office.

    • olympia says:

      Exactly. The NRA is willing to throw everyone else’s liberties under the bus so they can keep building arsenals.

      I’d like to know how exactly this mentally ill database would work. If you’ve ever been treated for a mental illness, you’d be banned? Would sober alcoholics/addicts be banned?

      • Donna L says:

        Obviously, if you’ve ever taken an anti-depressant or an anti-anxiety drug, you’re out of luck. No guns for you. (Which rules out just about everybody I know — I’ve obviously spent too much of my life among neurotic New York Jews like myself.) And clearly you can’t be a teacher, if they’re going to have carry guns from now on.

        • olympia says:

          Legions of people would be banned!

          Come to think of it, the most fervent gun enthusiasts I know are alcoholics- wonder what they’d think of this?

        • Meowser says:

          It’s not just not being able to own a gun. That sort of thing already exists; I was 5150’d in California about 12 years ago (suicidality, voluntarily turned myself in), and was basically told I’d be ineligible to buy one. Since I don’t give a shit about owning a gun, I didn’t investigate the details further about how long I’d be ineligibile and so forth.

          No, this LaPierre crapburger wants to ban us from LIFE. He wants people to be able to look us up in case we have the nerve to apply for jobs, school, housing, whatever, because anyone with a DSM diagnosis is liable to go postal at any moment (and of course, nobody without a DSM diagnosis ever would), so we must be kept out. Of everywhere. Except the loony bin.

    • PeggyLuWho says:

      EG – I frequently think you’re a genius, and comments like this are the reason why.

      The NRA is not an organization for gun enthusiasts. It is not an organization for patriots or people who are interested in civil liberties or freedoms. It’s just a lobby group for gun manufacturers. Plain and simple. They want more guns bought. So, they’re trying to convince the American public that they need to fear the mentally ill and arm kindergarden teachers. More cops means more sales.

      I am so not shocked.

      • TomSims says:

        “It’s just a lobby group for gun manufacturers. Plain and simple. They want more guns bought.”

        I agree. And at my local VFW post, most members are combat vets and gun owners and I don’t know any that are NRA members

    • Tom C says:

      For the record I am a “gun fancier” and I feel like the NRA is more like that crazy uncle that drinks way too much at Thanksgiving and then goes on about how much easier it is for us kids these days.

      I cringe every time they have a press conference.

      I’m with PeggyLu, at this point the NRA represents the gun manufacturers. Not the everyday responsible gun owner. I’d happily abide by stricter background checks and a ban on high cap magazines if that is what will help.

      I just don’t think making my hog hunting rifle illegal is very nice, I’m responsible with it, why should I be punished for what some asshole does across the country? I guess as long as it is grandfathered in like the last assault weapons ban it’s ok.

      • I feel like the NRA is more like that crazy uncle that drinks way too much at Thanksgiving and then goes on about how much easier it is for us kids these days.

        Which is nice and dandy, of course, if you’re not the black kid that crazy uncle’s gunning down for getting Skittles, or the gay boy who winds up strung on a fence because he’s just a little too feminine.

        • Which isn’t to say, of course, that you’re remotely like that yourself, but just to point out that your position might be informed by identifying with gun owners, where a lot of us queer/POC/trans/women folk might be more concerned with being the targets of said gun owners. You’re right to mistrust the NRA in my opinion. (Also, if you’ll note, I also suggested measures upthread that would accommodate your hunting without making those weapons available to, say, a child in your home.)

        • matlun says:

          I also suggested measures upthread that would accommodate your hunting without making those weapons available to, say, a child in your home

          That should really not be much of an issue if the weapons are stored in a good gun safe. (Which many gun safes in the US are not, but that could be addressed by creating some reasonable minimum standard they have to meet.)

          I guess a requirement to have a gun safe in your home would also be off the table in the US political situation, though.

        • amblingalong says:

          I realize I’ve been taking an opposing view a bunch, so it’s worth mentioning I basically agree with both your proposal and your reasons, but I know a fair number of POC and women who own handguns specifically because they are worried about being targets. Not that that is an argument for gun ownership- rather, its just proof of how fear and gun culture self-replicate- but this isn’t the first time you’ve suggested that gun ownership is solely a straight-white-male thing and I don’t think that’s at all accurate.

        • Tony says:

          Of course it’s not *solely* a white male thing, but statistically it is. Among voters, 47 percent of whites, but only 29 percent of Hispanics, 21 percent of blacks, and 15 percent of Asians are gun owners. Among Democrats, 37 percent of whites, 28 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks, and just 5 percent of Asians ate gun owners. Men are far more likely to own than women. For those of us who don’t inherently want a gun, but feel psychologically compelled to buy one solely because of all the other nuts out there who are armed? That’s effectively a tax on our finances and health, and we still would be less safe than if society would just limit the number if guns out there, either voluntarily or by law.

        • Confused says:

          Since you brought race up, how do the gun crime demographic stats break down? If white males are disproportionately responsible for gun violence shouldn’t we see that they are the perpetrators in a disproportionate number of gun crimes as compared to their share of the population (or their share of gun owners)? I honestly don’t know how the numbers break down.

        • Tom C says:

          I honestly don’t know if stats have been collect for that. The Feds release stats for the race of perpetrators by crime but they do not specify the weapon used that I’ve found.

        • amblingalong says:

          There are potential response bias issues here, but for what its worth, the National Crime Victimization Survey, which samples people and asks if they’ve been the victim of a crime/ to provide details, suggests about a quarter of “assaults with a deadly weapon” in the US are committed by black people, and about half by white people, ten percent by ‘other (thanks a lot DOJ, that super helpful)’ and fifteen percent ‘not known/unidentified.’

          The NCVS has some problems, but the good thing about it is that it sidesteps problems like selective policing, bias in prosecution, etc and gets you a much clearer picture of crime rates than if you just looked at arrests or convictions.

        • Confused says:

          Are Latinos considered “white” for this purpose do you know? Or are they “other?”

          Very interesting info, thanks.

        • Tom C says:

          Yeah, I’m still not sure how much you could gather from those stats. A “deadly weapon” is really broad. So it would be hard to tell anything about gun ownership vs gun crimes which was the original question.

          Overall we still have a huge problem in this country in that minorities are way over-represented in violent crime. We need to fix that somehow. Having zero statistics to back it up I would speculate that minorities are over represented in gun crimes vs legal ownership as well but that’s just speculation.

          To Confused; no, Latinos are considered their own race, usually referred to as Hispanics I believe.

        • Henry says:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ushomicidesbyweapon.svg

          It’s handguns, hands down, that are killing the majority of murdered humans in the USA. Followed by the second place ties between knives, other guns and the mysterious “other” <- which I assume are the cases discovery channel uses for it's "true crime documentaries"

        • Tom C says:

          other also includes crimes where the weapon wasn’t reported. Which apparently happens.

        • amblingalong says:

          Um, if approximately a third of POC in the US do something, it’s misleading at best to say it’s ‘statistically speaking’ a solely white thing.

          Similarly, 43% of men and 26% of women own guns; a significant gap, but a quarter of women is also a significant number, so it’s not solely a ‘man thing’ either.

        • amblingalong says:

          Oh, and my numbers are from the ATF- not sure where you got yours, though they seem somewhat different. Point stands either way, though.

        • Tom C says:

          Last time I checked the NRA, nor a majority of gun owners, are bigots. What exactly is your point? That the NRA likes to shoot blacks and gays?

        • Henry says:

          Is there even enough data to say who is more likely today to commit spree killings?

          For serial killers we know the white male charge is a myth: “according to the FBI, based on percentages of the U.S. population, whites are not more likely than other races to be serial killers. Criminal profiler Pat Brown says serial killers are usually reported as white because the media typically focuses on “All-American” white and pretty female victims who were the targets of white male offenders, that crimes among minority offenders in urban communities, where crime rates are higher, are under-investigated, and that minority serial killers likely exist at the same ratios as white serial killers for the population. She believes that the myth that serial killers are always white might have become “truth” in some research fields due to the over-reporting of white serial killers in the media”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_killer (so sorry white male bashers)

          Does anyone have data on spree killers and mass murderers?

          A spree killer is someone who kills two or more victims in a short time in multiple locations.

          A mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders.

          (I use FBI definitions here)

          I just want to be careful before we give yet another award to white males

        • konkonsn says:

          Among Democrats, 37 percent of whites, 28 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks, and just 5 percent of Asians ate gun owners.

          I don’t have anything important to add, just thought this was a great sentence.

        • Among Democrats, 37 percent of whites, 28 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks, and just 5 percent of Asians ate gun owners.

          ASIANS.

          Y SO UNDERACHIEVING.

          I R DISAPPOINT.

      • Li says:

        I just don’t think making my hog hunting rifle illegal is very nice

        You don’t think it’s very nice?

        • Tom C says:

          I was raised to be polite to people and treat them and their property with respect. If some asshole does something terrible that’s not a cause to come knock on my door and take my shit. I am a responsible rifle owner who uses said rifle to hunt hogs and shoot the shit out of some paper targets. So yeah, it’s not “nice” to mess with me and the hundreds of thousands of people like me who own these same rifles that have never hurt anyone because of a few assholes.

          You want to make it harder to get a gun? great, I’m squeaky clean so it won’t affect me. You want to close the loopholes in the gun purchasing laws? great, cause I’m still squeaky clean and you won’t affect me. You want to start banning a rifle because it has a pistol grip and a folding stock, or because it is semi-automatic? That’s ridiculous.

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          In the world according to PLW, you’d have to have a license to own your rifle, which you’d have to renew every year with a signed physical from your doctor and an inspection of your gun safe, and complete a four hour safety course, also every year. And an annual registration fee.

          Is that nice?

        • Tom C says:

          Would I accept a permit process for a semi-automatic rifle, sure.

          Should it involve safety education, like the CCL classes do? sure, that’s ok.

          Would I accept a more thorough background check process, sure(I’ve already been through some pretty pointed ones with the Feds, not really worried about it).

          Would I accept renewing that permit and retaking safety classes and paying for it every single year? no, I only have to renew my driver’s license every 7, and that doesn’t even require a proficiency exam, yet I use my car far more often and it is far more dangerous to the people around me. However, If you were to make the permits good for say, 10 years I would probably be ok with having that in place, education and all.

          Would I accept a “tag” system where I pay a fee every year for actually having the rifle(I’m assuming this is separate from the permit, like a car registration vs drivers license?) Maybe, if it was small, maybe $5 or $10? I only pay $100 for my car and it cost me $30,000, so I can’t see paying much of anything to register something that only cost me $1000.

          On a related not, several states have pretty much exactly what you’re describing, sans the training. When I lived in Illinois I was required to get a FOID card (Firearm Owners ID) which expires every ten years, you fill out the paperwork, send your check for $10 to the state police, they run a background check and if you’re not a felon or have some other reason that would bar you from owning a gun you get a card. It is illegal to possess or transport a firearm(of any kind) in Illinois without being a FOID card holder or being in the presence of such a person. So while your proposed system is a bit more draconian, it’s already out there.

      • EG says:

        I just don’t think making my hog hunting rifle illegal is very nice, I’m responsible with it, why should I be punished for what some asshole does across the country?

        Oh, well, if you say you’re responsible, that’s different. We’ll just ask all the assault-rifle owners who say they’re not responsible to give theirs up, shall we? I mean, nobody who thinks they’re responsible would ever let their gun fall into the wrong hands, or themselves behave dangerously, or anything like that.

        What an amazingly selfish whine: “Why should I have to alter my life in any way whatsoever just to prevent lots of people from being killed?”

  17. Kasabian says:

    My favorite response so far was provided by a friend of mine, which I’ll be reposting here:

    I’d actually really like to see a conversation started on par with how some conservatives talk about climate change now

    of like “listen, there is no longer a question about whether things are gonna get fucked up. aight? they’re fucked up and this is just how it is”

    “our laws state that we basically are going to have a mass murder every couple of months, and that’s just the way it’s gotta be if we wanna keep ‘murica as awesome as it otherwise is”

    “so if you don’t wanna live in a country where sometimes a few dozen people die for no reason, maybe you better just pack up and move to Canada, comrade”

  18. DSJ says:

    Ugh, I promised myself to stop writing about this, but here are some things I’d do—

    First, change the culture. The Bushmaster ad on this post is a great example of what needs to change. The number of hunters in this country is supposedly at an all time low. Crime is down. Guns are not very utilitarian– in a lot of places, you can’t shoot them outside of a designated range– and they’re very expensive. So why do so many people have them? A lot of people have guns because they think it’s cool in some way. That it somehow gives them membership in the wild west, it’s something to brag about in social circles, it’s perceived as being rebellious, it’ll ensure your survival in the apocalypse, or whatever. That is what needs to change. The fact of the matter is that having a gun makes you more likely to get shot. They’re a net negative in terms of safety for most people. It’s also a public health issue, as we’ve learned from these mass shootings. I say treat guns like we started treating cigarettes almost half a century ago. End the glorification, and begin social ostracism of being a gun enthusiast. Make it ‘uncool’ to have a gun. I realize this is not going to change overnight but ultimately if we can do this it will be efficacious in areas that no laws can touch.

    Secondly, if we can’t enact new legislation, we can at least stop repealing existing gun laws. Look at the Michigan bill to allow guns in day cares– that was passed just the day before the Sandy Hook shooting. Groups like ALEC are pushing these unpopular bills beneath the surface in state legislatures, and they need to be called out. Some of these bills have nothing to do with the Second Amendment– I remember there was an article here several months ago about a Florida bill that even prohibited doctors from talking to their patients about the potential harms of unsecured firearms in the home. That was a First Amendment issue, not a Second Amendment issue, yet the NRA was more powerful than doctors. The whole bill was seemingly passed so that gun owning patients wouldn’t have to have their feelings hurt by a doctor giving them advice on safety. Similarly, Stand Your Ground laws have nothing to do with the Second Amendment, because they’re about the right to kill, not the right to bear arms. All of these things have only very marginal effects, but when you’re talking about someone potentially getting shot, it’s still a big deal. And together they feed into the general gun culture.

    Finally, I’d like to see the government recommit itself to studying gun fatalities and how to reduce them. In the 1990s, the NRA got Congress to kill CDC funding for studying the public health impacts of guns, particularly after a study was released that they didn’t like. Again, this is about the First Amendment and the right to know, not the right to bear arms. How can we have a discussion if we can’t even have the research we need? How can we pass effective gun control laws if funding for studies that might give us the answers are quashed? As a result, the academic discussion out there becomes disproportionately dominated by those approved of by the gun lobby (John Lott, etc.) and this does change people’s minds.

    Those are three things that we can do without even enacting a single coercive restriction on firearms ownership (I think the latter is necessary as well, but given the power of the gun lobby I’m looking for other ways to tackle this).

    • Clytemnestra's Sister says:

      Dogs are not very utilitarian– in a lot of places, you can’t keep them in your apartment– and they’re very expensive. So why do so many people have them? A lot of people have dogs because they think it’s cool in some way. That it somehow gives them membership in the dog whisperer cult, it’s something to brag about in social circles, it’s perceived as being mature, it’ll ensure your survival in the apocalypse, or whatever. That is what needs to change. The fact of the matter is that having a dog makes you more likely to get bitten. They’re a net negative in terms of safety for most people. It’s also a public health issue, as we’ve learned from these rabies outbreaks. I say treat dogs like we started treating cigarettes almost half a century ago. End the glorification, and begin social ostracism of being a dog enthusiast. Make it ‘uncool’ to have a dog. I realize this is not going to change overnight but ultimately if we can do this it will be efficacious in areas that no laws can touch.

      I didn’t rewrite your paragraph to make fun of you. I am extremely serious.

      You can take just about every argument for keeping firearms–personal protection, property protection, livestock husbandry, sport/enjoyment, and hunting–and turn it into an argument for keeping dogs.

      Dogs that are trained or used for security purposes are as much of a force multiplier in a situation as a firearm. Poorly trained dogs, loose dogs, dogs with screws loose, or dogs specifically trained to be violent are just as dangerous as firearms….nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year and of them, almost a million require medical attention and 31,000 need reconstructive surgery to fix damage from dog bites. People who live in homes with dogs are much more likely to be bitten than people who live in homes without dogs, and people in homes with more than one dog are much more likely to be bitten. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/biteprevention.html)

      We as a society keep, house, and breed dogs for many different reasons. Some are herding dogs. Some are foxhounds. Some are trained hunting dogs, especially for hogging or for retrieving waterfowl. Some are herders, but livestock guardians, keeping coyotes and cats away. Some assist the disabled, acting as their eyes, their ears, or a cry for help. Some help keep agricultural pests from being introduced at airports, some find missing people, some go into combat. For some dogs, the height of their existence is being a beloved friend and companion.

      So why can’t we regulate guns the way we regulate dogs? And why can’t we, like you mentioned, use societal pressure to get people to accept regulations on gun ownership and good gunkeeping like we do with dogs?

      We have laws against dogfighting, laws against cruelty and neglect, leash laws, licensing laws, laws for dealing with dangerous dogs, even banning some breeds that are known to be much more aggressive and bite more often than others. We fine owners who do not control their dogs, and we euthanise dogs that are a serious and profound danger to other humans (such as rabid dogs or feral biters). We have noise laws and laws related to cleaning up dog poop. Insurance companies refuse to insure dog breeds or crosses that are known to be more likely to bite, maim, maul, and kill. Business owners and housing landlords bad ownership of dogs except service dogs on their private property. None of that–NONE of that–makes owning a dog more difficult and none of that makes owning a dog somehow a social pariah. And you know, the government is not going to come in and take your dogs.

      For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people to regard pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any other, no matter how much they may behave like other dogs under ordinary circumstances.

      Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed–and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.

      Source: http://tinyurl.com/d4qj2kf

      You can replace “dog” with “gun” in every instance, and “pit bull terrier or Rottweiler” with “assault weapon or weapon with an extended clip” and the entire paragraph will remain true and relevant.

      So why can’t we regulate guns like we regulate dogs?

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Um, the government DOES come take your dogs, and many many times, those dogs die screaming because fucking morons breed profile.

        Do you have any clue how many pit bull types are killed each year? And because of this hysterical bullshit, dogs that remotely resemble pits are slaughtered as well. Innocent dogs that have been attacked by other breeds and have the gall to fight back like any other dog would are immediately labelled as aggressive and killed.

        Dogs that have never harmed a fly are removed from the homes every time a breed ban is enacted in a town or city. Innocent dogs, and they’re placed in the pound where they will not be fostered or adopted out. Period. They die. Horribly.

        If THATS your example of legislating guns you need to find a better one. It does, as a matter of fucking fact, make owning dogs more difficult and is one of the fucking reasons certain breeds are seen as rebellious machismo on steroids. Good job. Not.

        Have whatever opinion on guns you want, but stop spreading harmful bullshit that gets dogs killed, thanks.

        • Jill says:

          Um, also? Dogs of all breeds are not primarily bred to kill and injure (yes, including pitbulls). Domesticated dogs are bred to be domestic companions. Guns are created for the purpose of killing. So. Not really comparable.

        • chava says:

          I love pits, and I love rotties, but yes, you want to exercise some more caution with these breeds. All breeds with strong prey drives should be watched carefully around young children and small animals, period. A good friend’s rottie killed her cat while trying to play with it (the poor dog was depressed for months. it was awful for all concerned), my akita put a serious puncture wound in my cousin’s arm (he was provoked, fwiw).

          If a beagle goes off the rails, it might seriously hurt you, but it isn’t going to do the same damage in the same amount of time that a scared, tweaky, or (much rarer) aggressive pit/akita/rottie/shepard will. That’s not “hysterical bullshit,” although the random sweeps, kills, and breed outlawing most certainly is.

          Anyway, I think you could draw some parallels between “gun control” that disproportionately affects minorities and POC more, and dog control that tends to target breeds favored by low-income families.

      • DSJ says:

        Clytemnestra,

        Fascinating points, but there are some big differences between guns and dogs that were assumed in my post, which just replacing my words with other words misses. First and foremost, as has been pointed out in this thread elsewhere, the debate over guns increasingly revolves around their role in doing violence to other human beings. Yes, some people collect guns the way others collect coins, some people modify guns as a hobby, some people are hunters/shooters, some people just have a piece that was passed down to them. But what’s new in the past 10-15 years (concurrent with the exploding power of the gun lobby) or so is a culture of people who, misleadingly, think that it makes the average person safer to have a firearm. The new gun culture, unlike the old gun culture, is specifically about the ability to shoot another human being (or threaten them with being shot). That’s what I mean by “glorification”.

        As far as I know there’s no massive new upsurge in people buying dogs solely to hurt or threaten to hurt others. Most people still buy dogs to have another warm body around to play with, be a companion and to form an emotional bond with. If that’s your metric, then dogs are a lot more utilitarian than guns, because you can play with your dogs every day in your own home. You can’t shoot your gun every day, especially at another human being. Also, when it does come to attacking humans, dogs are a lot less deadly than guns. 31,000 people a year being injured by dog bites is a lot less of a problem than 31,000 people a year being killed by firearms injury. If the children at Sandy Hook were merely injured and required surgery, this story wouldn’t be a fraction as horrific as it is.

        “why can’t we regulate guns like we regulate dogs?”

        Because culturally, the two are treated differently, and that was the point of my paragraph. Guns are practically worshiped. Dogs are treated as much of a part of American culture as motherhood and apple pie, but they aren’t defended as ferociously and as self-consciously as guns are, despite the regulations on them. The right to bear arms is in the Second Amendment, although I’d argue that’s misleading because the current cultural position of guns which is why the gun lobby is so powerful is really only about 10-15 years old. It’s very, very new.

  19. PrettyAmiable says:

    This is somewhat tangential, but the night of my trauma (i.e. the cause of my PTSD and the reason I would probably be on a list somewhere had the NRA their way), there was a boy who took me in because I was fleeing the assaulting douchenozzle. He’s actually the one who texted me about the NRA response to Newtown, but somehow left off the crazy list. At first, I wondered if he wanted to protect me, or if he didn’t think it was worth mentioning – but it looks like in CNN’s lead article on this, they’re not even mentioning the mental health registry.

    The worst part is that I can’t figure out if I’m pissed that this isn’t a greater focal point of discussion for the news media (because honestly, who didn’t know that the NRA was going to say “MOAR GUNS”), or if I’m happy that people aren’t getting the chance to weigh in in ways that disappoint me.

  20. Rachel Barnes says:

    I was so upset by the NRA and the whole list of the mentally ill myself being a mentally ill American that this evening I didn’t know what to do cry or be angry so I was sorta both. This kind of thinking only pushes us (the people with these conditions) back to not getting help or not asking for help. How is that going to stop these mass killings if we continue to treat those who have issues among us like well what did LaPierre call us monsters? Geez, what a tool. I wish I could so easily dismiss him and his like but since Newtown many have been calling for such things on the internet. Have they ever had a loved one suffer with something so serious as what I have bipolar? If they did I highly doubt they would want them to be locked away or this registry LaPierre is calling for. I am disgusted by the whole speech by the NRA.

  21. Jaime says:

    Here’s a radical idea: Why don’t we start at the source of the problem and get help for our kids who need help before they turn into mass-murderers? Adam Lanza had extremely obvious signs of Asperger’s syndrome. This is NOT a mental illness. It is a developmental disorder. His brain is literally wired differently. Most people with Asperger’s syndrome are not violent. However, something triggered this kid to behave this way. It’s monstrous what he did but it could have been prevented.

    What I want to know is what steps were taken to get him the help he needed? Did his mother help him? Did the school step in? It’s so easy to blame the “evil killer” after the fact but what could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place? Again, I say, we need to pay attention to our children and change the way we raise them. If there is a problem, you don’t ignore it, you treat it and you don’t stop until you get the answers and the help they need. THAT type of action saves lives. ALL of them.

    • Adam Lanza had extremely obvious signs of Asperger’s syndrome. This is NOT a mental illness. It is a developmental disorder. His brain is literally wired differently. Most people with Asperger’s syndrome are not violent. However, something triggered this kid to behave this way. It’s monstrous what he did but it could have been prevented.

      Well…the validity of your armchair diagnosis aside, I feel like I really should point out several things:
      1) I have known dozens of autism-spectrum people. Most of them were not remotely violent, you’re right there, but the ones who were were usually low-functioning autists, and frankly, when they were violent (which was usually because something had upset or terrified them) they didn’t have the calculation to walk across the room and switch off lights, let alone get across a town and shoot up a school. They were terrified, upset, and hurting, and lashing out from that in the immediate moment, without real thought.

      2) Asperger’s is not a magical free pass from other disabilities or mental illnesses (it’s possible to have more than one atypicality – revolutionary, I know). If a mental illness caused Lanza’s shooting spree – and I reckon there was some sort of psychotic break or something happening, anyway – it wasn’t the Asperger’s. In the same way that my fibromyalgia had nothing to do with that one time I graffitied a public bathroom, but my anxiety sure did.

      3)

      Did his mother help him?

      As far as I know there’s no shortage of people blaming his mother; she’s even been taken off the list of victims!

      I agree with the main thrust of your argument, I just…am REALLY uncomfortable with the general trend of people who are conflating the Asperger’s that he may/may not have had with his spree killing. People with Asperger’s don’t need that shit on top of all they’ve already got.

    • Meowser says:

      We don’t even know for absolute certain that that was his diagnosis. And even if it was, we also don’t know whether it was an educational diagnosis or a medical diagnosis (there is a difference), or at what age he received it. (I received the diagnosis at age 44; it didn’t exist as a DSM entry when I was under 30. Even among younger people, there is a very broad age range of initial diagnosis, and some still aren’t getting diagnosed until adulthood.)

      Could a lifetime of bullying and abuse for being different have been a contributing factor in building up a cauldron of murderous rage? Yeah. Although it’s still going to be very, very rare for someone with AS to respond that way — probably rarer than someone without AS, in fact. Big difference between spontaneously lashing out when directly threatened (which even the vast majority of autistic adults don’t do anyway) and deliberately planning a mass murder/suicide. I mean, night and day difference.

      But the kind of scapegoating that’s been rampant since the shooting is just going to increase bullying and ostracizing of AS kids (and adults), and really, of anyone who’s even suspected of being the slightest bit neurologically atypical in any way. Frankly, if we wanted, as a society, to create more Adam Lanzas (autistic or not), we couldn’t possibly be doing a better job.

      • Bagelsan says:

        I think the bullying thing is a red herring in this case. I haven’t heard anything that suggests that Adam Lanza was bullied or ostracized; it certainly wouldn’t cause most 20-year-old people to shoot 5-year-olds, anyways.

        • Meowser says:

          If he was in fact autistic, unless he had exceptional passing privilege, it’s a pretty safe bet he was bullied and/or abused early and often. There are very few Temple Grandins out there who were fortunate enough to have been largely shielded from that sort of treatment.

          However, his neurotype is far from established, and actually, it’s a little disturbing that so many people are so eager to believe that about him, and in turn eager to believe that any of us (autistics) could have done such a thing. We had a shooting just a few days before Sandy Hook here in the Portland area, where they arrested a guy for randomly shooting and killing two people (and then himself) in a local mall. From all accounts, the guy had everybody fooled; he was popular in high school, had lots of friends, nobody had a bad word to say about him until now, and he was not considered neuroatypical in any way. Of course, nobody’s going to start preemptively wringing their hands over the future murderous instincts of extroverted popular NT teenagers.

          And like I said, it’s going to be exceedingly rare for anyone — anyone at all — to even consider gunning down a bunch of little kids, or even adults. But if you added sustained bullying and abuse to the toxic macho stew that was already brewing inside his head, it could well have been the last straw. Most children of alcoholics aren’t going to turn into Charles Manson either, but it surely didn’t help.

        • tomek says:

          it is interesting to me what some feminists are quick to attack the asperger people. because asperger is very male disability, and such it conflict with what some feminist believe about all males having all the power in society.

          asperger disprove that, as asperger male come lower on society than woman, which make feminist uncomfortable. so feminist are disparage of asperger male… just like non-asperger male are disparage of woman. can anyone see pattern?

        • EG says:

          asperger male come lower on society than woman

          No. No, they don’t. And you can see that by how many people will rush to “defend” sexual harassers by claiming that he has Asperger’s and so “doesn’t know” that his behavior isn’t OK, and if only women would be nicer to “socially awkward” men, everything would be OK–the implication of that almost-always bogus defense (the harasser is question is usually perfectly good at reading social cues, which is how he knows how to harass women) is that the interests of men with Asperger’s should outweigh the interests of any woman. And I am unaware of any studies demonstrating that men with Asperger’s don’t benefit from the wage gap, or have to be concerned about rape culture, or have to be concerned about any of the numerous ways society’s contempt for women is expressed.

          And that’s not even touching on the issue of women with Asperbger’s, who do exist, you know.

          I would like to know, though, where you see the trend of women showing contempt for people with Asperger’s.

  22. Valoniel’s take on people who own assault weapons: When they say “I WANT TO BE FREEEE” I just hear “I want to be an asshat with no regard for the social contract” .

  23. Meowser says:

    Okay, I’m autistic, and as someone who perpetually has her brain on inside out, I naturally went here:

    Whatever else is true or not true about Adam Lanza, one thing we know for sure is that he wanted to die at the end of this. He planned it that way. That’s more common than not when there is a massacre of this nature, they are suicide missions in addition to being homicide missions. So wouldn’t the presence of someone with a gun be more of an attraction to someone on a suicide mission than a deterrent?

    And the database of PWMI — yeah, that won’t deter anyone from seeking help (or seeking it for their kids) for fear of having DSM alphabet cookies stapled to their foreheads forever, no no never.

    • Tom C says:

      The NRA’s point is that if you have an armed guard they may be able to stop the killer before they hurt anyone, or at the least reduce the number of people killed. If someone had reacted in 5 minutes to Sandy Hook because they were somewhere inside the school instead of the 10-15 minutes it took the cops to arrive how many more kids might be alive today?

      As to the attraction part it certainly doesn’t appear that way, all the recent massacres have happened in gun free zones, the killers are specifically picking areas where they can inflict as much pain for as long as possible before they then kill themselves, mission complete, adding an armed guard makes this harder as they might not be able to hurt as many people as they want before someone takes them out. Make sense?

      As for the PWMI database, there is already something similar called the “do-not-sell database.” A therapist can submit someone’s mental health record if they feel that person may become violent. Being in this database prevents that patient from purchasing a gun when their background check is run(we need to fix the background check loopholes), in both the VT shooting and the Aurora shooting the therapists failed to submit their patients records, they then both legally purchased the weapons to commit their respective atrocities.

      We want to make it harder for people who want to commit atrocities to get guns, well the framework is there; we just need to fix a few loopholes and actually use it.

      • EG says:

        As for the PWMI database, there is already something similar called the “do-not-sell database.” A therapist can submit someone’s mental health record if they feel that person may become violent.

        Yes, sure, because having a mental illness means you’re more likely to be violent. Those two things are obviously so very similar.

        The NRA’s point is that if you have an armed guard they may be able to stop the killer before they hurt anyone, or at the least reduce the number of people killed. If someone had reacted in 5 minutes to Sandy Hook because they were somewhere inside the school instead of the 10-15 minutes it took the cops to arrive how many more kids might be alive today?

        First of all, people inside the school did react. You mean “had pulled a gun.” Those are two different things. Second of all, again, the idea of children having to spend all day under the eye of gun-toting guards is appalling. The potential for abuse is appalling. The potential for one of those guns to be used for harm is staggeringly high–look at the stats about guns in the home. That’s not a building I would let my children walk into.

        • SlipperyWombat says:

          Second of all, again, the idea of children having to spend all day under the eye of gun-toting guards is appalling. The potential for abuse is appalling. The potential for one of those guns to be used for harm is staggeringly high–look at the stats about guns in the home.

          I had a police officer present on campus from my sophmore year through graduation and my high school experience could hardly be characterized as “appalling.” Maybe there were some kids with weed in their lockers who were sweating bullets, but as far as I can tell my high school was as normal as can be. They just had a zero tolerance policy – you got into a physical altercation or engaged in anything illegal/assualt-like on campus and you were handcuffed, charged, and went to jail.

          The administration then nailed you more after the police and your parents were done with you. As near as I can tell it worked like a charm. There were virtually no fights on campus or anything of the kind; people bound and determined to do dumb shit did it after school and off-campus and the rest of us didn’t have to deal with it.

          By contrast, there was no cop in the school I went to freshman year and I saw at least one firearm while on campus, another student was caught with one the same year, and fights and pseudo-gang type activity was common. I’ll take the cop at a school any day thank you very much. And amazingly, he totally never shot or brutalized anyone on campus. Thimply amathing…

          The stats for guns in the home are bullshit, or at least highly misleading, by the way. The most oft-quoted statistic is formulated as follows, “having a gun in your home makes it X times more likely for you to be the victim of gun violence.” Note it doesn’t say that your gun is actually being used against you.

          This means that people in shitty neighborhoods with lots of gang, drug, and gun violence – who own weapons out of a legitimate need for self-defense – become statistical fodder for arguments like this. Yeah, you are more likely to get shot if you live in the kind of neighborhood which compels you to own a gun in the first place than if you live in a nice, gated community…shocking.

          Also, historically, the majority of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. The idea that your own gun is likely to be used against you or that you are likely to accidently shoot yourself is what the statistic implies, but that conclusion is completely without a basis in reality.

        • amblingalong says:

          Yes, sure, because having a mental illness means you’re more likely to be violent. Those two things are obviously so very similar.

          You really don’t think the existing do-not-sell list is a good idea? To be clear, you don’t automatically go on it if you have a mental illness- your therapist can recommend you for listing if they specifically believe you’re likely to attempt to cause someone (or yourself) harm. That seems reasonable and not knee-jerk anti-mentally ill.

          Not sure if I misread your comment or if I’m just missing something (which happens all the time- this was an honest question).

        • amblingalong says:

          Yes, sure, because having a mental illness means you’re more likely to be violent. Those two things are obviously so very similar.

          You really don’t think the existing do-not-sell list is a good idea? To be clear, you don’t automatically go on it if you have a mental illness- your therapist can recommend you for listing if they specifically believe you’re likely to attempt to cause someone (or yourself) harm. That seems reasonable and not knee-jerk anti-mentally ill.

          Not sure if I misread your comment or if I’m just missing something (which happens all the time- this was an honest question).

        • EG says:

          Sorry, no, that wasn’t what I meant to convey. What I was trying to convey is that a “do not sell” list of people likely to become violent is not like a list of all people with mental illness, and that the existence–and good idea-ness–of the former does not at all justify creating the latter. Sorry that wasn’t clearer.

        • Tom C says:

          I couldn’t agree more. If anyone inferred otherwise that was my mistake.

        • amblingalong says:

          Sorry, no, that wasn’t what I meant to convey. What I was trying to convey is that a “do not sell” list of people likely to become violent is not like a list of all people with mental illness, and that the existence–and good idea-ness–of the former does not at all justify creating the latter. Sorry that wasn’t clearer.

          Gotcha, with you 100%.

        • EG says:

          And those zero-tolerance policies are bullshit, in my opinion. They involve penalizing both parties to a fight as if they’re equally responsible regardless of the actual circumstances. Nice it worked for you, but I’ve read enough new stories about them to know they suck on an epic level. I do not believe that kids should be arrested and charged in school for every infraction. I don’t want cops in the schools.

      • Meowser says:

        As I mentioned above, I had a psych hold once for suicidality and was told I would be prohibited from gun purchase. So I know that already happens. But do you really think a national database of all people with DSM diagnoses whether they had ever been hospitalized or not, like the one LaPierre advocates, would be accessible only by gun sellers? Hah. They’d use it for everything, you can count on that.

        Besides, last I looked, Lanza didn’t own the gun he used for the murders. His mother did. So having that database would not have prevented him from committing the murders, unless he was preemptively locked up. Which is probably more the sort of thing LaPierre has in mind. Institutionalize millons of people, just in case one of them is a killer.

      • As for the PWMI database, there is already something similar called the “do-not-sell database.” A therapist can submit someone’s mental health record if they feel that person may become violent.

        And if you lived in a society where everyone afford to could go to therapy, or there was a mental workup done on everyone who wanted to buy guns (thus snagging at least some of the potentially violent), that would work. However, you do not. There’s also loopholes in the background checks, as you yourself admit. There’s also the fact that gun shows don’t check shit.

        • Tom C says:

          What you said is what I personally think should be fixed. Mental health services should be covered under insurance plans. If you want stricter background checks for buying semi-automatic rifles, that’s fine.

          I’m in favor of closing the loopholes. I would also point out that the only sales at gun shows that are not subject to background checks are those between private individuals. That is the “gun show” loophole they talk about. It’s already been closed in California. I see no reason we can’t close it federally. To say that they don’t check shit at gun shows is a flat out lie.

          I don’t know if you just stopped reading after that post or what but I have already said that I’m in favor of making the existing framework work, closing the loopholes and getting people to actually submit to the “do-not-sell” list. Doing just that would have stopped, or at least made much more difficult to commit, two of the massacres that have happened.

  24. How will a change in the law help? Laws are obeyed by people who are law-abiding, not folk bent on mass-murder. You’d end up with a situation where the only people with the guns were the lawbreakers.

    • EG says:

      Sure. I guess that’s why it hasn’t worked in any of the other first-world countries that have banned guns. They still have to contend with mass shootings in movie theaters and schools and–oh, wait. They don’t.

    • SlipperyWombat says:

      How will a change in the law help? Laws are obeyed by people who are law-abiding, not folk bent on mass-murder. You’d end up with a situation where the only people with the guns were the lawbreakers.

      Bringing this argument has got to be the biggest metric for determining the stupidity of anyone attempting a pro-gun rights position. I mean rapes are only committed by people willing to break the law, therefore it is pointless to make rape illegal because rapists will simply disregard the law…

      We could use this brilliant line of rhetoric to dismantle any system of justice anywhere. I suggest you write a book on the topic titled “My Tautological Solutions to the World’s Problems.”

  25. Alexandra says:

    Why are my fifth amendment rights not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law less important than an NRA member’s second amendment rights?

    • Because you’re just a crazy lady person, while all gun owners are Proud Strong Manly Murkans in Captain America outfits who were baptised in founts of eagle tears.

      • Tom C says:

        If you are the NRA maybe…

        • Well, that’s CLEARLY what the NRA believes. I mean… not a single gun owner on this thread trusts them as far as they can throw them. I don’t know you well at all, but I do trust William, amblingalong etc’s opinion on most things. (The NRA is to gun owners as the Vatican is to Catholics IMO; individuals are probably just fine, the coalitions are probably raging assholes.)

        • Tom C says:

          I’m going to assume that you’re post was intended to be from the point of view of the NRA. Sometimes I’m a weeee bit slow picking this stuff up.

          Carry on :)

      • ellid says:

        That’s pretty insulting to Captain America, who uses a piece of armor in combat in place of a weapon….:)

  26. John Frazer says:

    The “national database of the mentally ill” suggestion coming from the NRA is like a massive black hole of hypocrisy. It’s actually quite breathtaking.

    They know that is a terrible, unjust idea, and they know why it is a terrible, unjust idea. If you ever need an argument against it, all you have to do is suggest to the NRA that the government create a national database for gun owners.

    • William says:

      A big part of it is that the NRA is hemorrhaging dollars to other gun rights groups and is trying to maintain their relevancy. For years the NRA has been criticized from within for being too willing to sign onto conservative tough-on-crime bullshit and looking out more for hunters than for other gun owners. At the same time, because of the proliferation of carry rights, there has been a hard shift in demographics within the gun community from the discourse being mostly dominated by hunters to the discourse being dominated by the self-defense/gun culture set. As a result you’ve got organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation who popped up and started going to the courts, something the NRA had historically avoided, while using rhetoric that wasn’t designed to look moderate in Washington. Its a strategy thats been successful enough that Chicago is likely going to have concealed carry by July. Now the NRA is trying to play the same game of being unyielding and unwilling to compromise but they’re still stuck in their right-wing mindset so we get horrid garbage like talk about violent media and making databases of people with mental health issues (something Illinois is already doing in the name of gun control).

  27. BabyRaptor says:

    Um, the NRA can bite me. Who I tell that I suffer from PTSD and depression is my business. I am not at all comfortable with that data sitting around for anybody to look up just because one day I might want to own a gun.

    • EG says:

      Hey, the privacy of your medical records isn’t any big deal. It’s not like it’s an important right, like owning assault rifles is.

  28. Shellz says:

    I asked one of my ex-students who is a handgun club member the nature of the targets in his club (we’re in Australia). He said they use the standard bullseye or dark squares and that at one point someone attempted to bring a human shaped target in and was banned from the club as they are illegal.

    When I was a child my dad’s club still had human shaped targets.

    Are these still used in the US?

    • Tom C says:

      Silhouette targets are legal. Probably something about free speech.

      • PeggyLuWho says:

        What exactly does being able to shoot at something human shaped have to do with free speech? I’m not being rhetorical here.

        • Fat Steve says:

          Peggy, you clearly haven’t read Tom C’s previous comments. He’s been preparing to go hunting for humans, stockpiling guns in order to take revenge on the people who have wronged him in vehicular incidents. Until he pulls the trigger though, it is all just a matter of ‘free speech.’

    • William says:

      Yeah, human silhouette targets are still sometimes used in the US. At the ranges I frequent you’re more likely to see standard bullseyes, big ovals or rectangles (similar to human silhouette in terms of training needs but a bit more PC), various board game targets (Battleship seems to be a favorite these days, with Connect Four coming a close second), and the now ubiquitous zombie targets. When I’m out in rural areas its generally nothing but various bullseyes and deer silhouettes. Some ranges don’t allow human or human-like targets, but thats a policy thing rather than a legal obligation. In general the kinds of targets I see people shooting at has changed as the gun culture has changed: when I started there were a lot of human silhouettes, more than a few “scary mugger of color with a knife” targets, and quite a few pictures of Bill Clinton. Bin Ladin targets were in vogue for a year or so. Still, as the culture has had an influx of marksman and self-defense types the kinds of targets you see allowed have shifted to targets that are easier to read and gauge progress. The most popular target at all of my local indoor pistol ranges is a simple bullseye with a legend that tells you what you’re doing wrong depending on where your bullet ended up.

  29. Liz says:

    Just to tell you EG, that your comments are genius. I can’t believe the whining that comes out of the mouths of gun owners. No-one ever says they’re the irresponsible gun owner. One would think they don’t exist at all. And it’s alright to trample all over the rights of people with mental illness. It’s for your own good, don’t you know? But, how dare you take my right to go hog hunting away! The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

    • EG says:

      That’s kind of you to say!

      I honestly don’t get it–“dead kids, well that’s too bad, but what about my ability to hunt wild hogs?” I don’t know, sir, what about it?

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Probably not the best example, EG because wild hogs actually do millions of dollars of damage to farm/ranch land (which is how farmers make their house payment, eat etc) are aggressive towards livestock, pets and people (they’ve killed livestock and pets, seriously injured people) and are also a source of food as well as income for the very poor.

        Even if it was purely sport hunting, it generates a needed outcome. I don’t know where you live, but around here wild hogs are a big problem.

        It’s not quite as insignificant to those who are affected by them.

        • EG says:

          I actually pass no judgment on the importance of killing wild hogs. I do pass judgment on claiming that an assault rifle is needed to do so, as was done above.

        • Further: I’m a vegetarian from a family of vegetarians, but my wife’s family hunts regularly – they kill to eat, basically, there’s no trophy aspect to it. I don’t actually see an issue with that; if people want to eat stuff, they can go kill it. However, they don’t use assault weapons to do it, holy shit.

          But if, you know, you need assault weapons to red-mist rabbits, well, then, Monday, when I need to get to college, I think I’ll steal a tank. It seems proportionate. Hey, it’s transportation! (And less likely to kill me, too, lol)

        • amblingalong says:

          I actually pass no judgment on the importance of killing wild hogs. I do pass judgment on claiming that an assault rifle is needed to do so, as was done above.

          Yeah, at the risk of sounding like a gun nut, I’m side-eying anyone who is shootings hogs with a .556/.223 assault rifle (in other words; small rounds, rapid fire). Any serious hunter (I grew up in a state with tons of hunting and tons of guns) is going to be using a hunting rifle chambered in something like .308, which doesn’t have the super manly cool factor of an M-4 but actually does the job much better.

        • Tom C says:

          When we’re talking hog eradication, as in what they’re doing in Texas. a .223 is more than sufficient if aimed at the base of the skull. A rapid fire weapon is ideal since they travel in herds and the goal is literally to kill as many as quickly as possible. Since as so many people have screamed that these rifles are efficient at killing, it makes it ideal.

          Even if you felt you needed a .308 you can have a AR-15 chambered in .308, so the platform is still ideal.

          Question, have many of you are even aware of what hog hunting actually entails in Texas? Do you know what the goal of hunting hogs is? Because I get the impression that you all think I’m stalking through the brush hunting a trophy buck and only need 1 shot as long as I do it right. That’s incorrect, the hogs are vermin in Texas and cause millions of dollars in damage, the goal of hog hunting is literally to kill as many hogs as quickly as possible. The crazy part is they’re still breeding faster than we can shoot them…

        • super manly cool factor

          And thus was the first American manga about hog-hunting named.

        • Tom C says:

          Manga could only be so lucky to have a hog hunting series *flex*

          Seriously though, you guys can laugh, poke fun, sit across the country or world and tell us how exactly you think we should get it done. Meanwhile people’s farms are being ruined, so I’m going to go ahead and continue to help them protect their livelihood in the most efficient way possible.

          While that’s going on maybe we should close the gun show loophole, institute stricter background checks for semi-automatic rifles. Add a one time gun safe tax deduction to promote their purchase. Ban high capacity magazines(30 is pretty standard, so I’m thinking anything over that should be banned). Actually use the flipping do-not-sell list to prevent violent mentally unstable people from buying guns legally. That seems like a decent start to me.

        • Manga could only be so lucky to have a hog hunting series *flex*

          Hey, man, if they could do magical gay tennis, they can do hog-hunting. At least that would actually have, like, a plot and interesting adversaries and things.

        • Tom C says:

          Hey, tennis is awesome. No further plot needed.

          I’m only being semi-sarcastic, I played tennis is high school, haha

        • Tom C says:

          My favorite part would be where the hog herd morphs into mega hog and levels Dallas. Call the hog hunters!

        • Fat Steve says:

          Actually use the flipping do-not-sell list to prevent violent mentally unstable people from buying guns legally. That seems like a decent start to me.

          I’m all for that as long as membership of the NRA is legal proof of being violently mental unstable.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          No one is talking about rabbits. We’re talking about a herd of vicious animals that WILL attack you, and there are more than 1. Even if you only see one, the rest are not far behind and become enraged when one goes down. So you better not be on the ground when that happens, and God help any dogs you have with you. These animals are huge, and can kill you quite easily. They try very, very hard to do so. They’re disturbingly fast too. So while you can bring one down with a head shot, the 5-8 others heading your way with a fucking vengeance are the problem. I’m a pretty good shot, but I’m not going to risk that. You are free to, but I wouldn’t hang around to see the results. They can also take hits from large bore rifles and get to you before they drop or disappear in the brush. Then you’ve got a wounded hog running around, squealing it’s ass off to every hog around. Not good.

          So yeah, legitimate reasons do exist. Though they shouldn’t be hard to prove if proof was required for license renewal.

        • DouglasG says:

          [Hey, man, if they could do magical gay tennis, they can do hog-hunting. At least that would actually have, like, a plot and interesting adversaries and things.]

          I had to give up the tennis one, but in any case, I’d still advocate for Card Games on Motorcycles (what could go wrong?), even if the phrase did spring from one of those Abridged series.

        • I had to give up the tennis one, but in any case, I’d still advocate for Card Games on Motorcycles (what could go wrong?), even if the phrase did spring from one of those Abridged series.

          You know that one’s real, right?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu-Gi-Oh!_5D%27s

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        By the by- encountering a hog when you’re peeing while camping is NOT a good time. Watching as 5 more start coming your direction is even worse of a time. Running with your pants halfway down your legs is hard. Leaping like a fucking spider monkey into the truck bed is harder, but not impossible if properly motivated.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          * has also been chased by the biggest goddamn skunk ever to set foot on the planet.

          ** still more fun than a hog

        • EG says:

          One of many reasons I stay far away from nature–there are things out there that can hurt me!

        • Seconding EG. Hoshit, this is reason #1353259235 I would never go camping. I’d never be able to run fast enough.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          You think that now, but trust me. You can and will run faster than you ever believed possible. I was much younger (back when sleeping on the ground didn’t hurt and peeing outside was an adventure not a godawful failure of balance)but I know if a hog or a skunk came at me again, The Flash would be envious. Adrenaline Good.

          Complete change of topic- I wish someone would at least MENTION on here that Idle No More has gone worldwide.

        • Complete change of topic- I wish someone would at least MENTION on here that Idle No More has gone worldwide.

          Mentioned and rementioned! I hadn’t heard about it until literally just now (I knew there was stuff going on, but I wasn’t aware it had coalesced this well…) but I did some reading! Will signal boost however I can (which is, uh, less than a lot, but).

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          Oh and evidently you could just come camping with me and rest assured in the knowledge that you will be safely ignored while every animal within 10 miles develops a fascination with me. Mammals, reptiles, birds, insects…doesn’t matter. I am the best mosquito repellent for everyone else around me. It’s a miracle I’m not drained dry of blood anytime I step outside during mosquito season.

          I once woke up to discover a snake curled up by my ass, and a squirrel about 3 feet away from my face. Hand to God. I was in a zipped up tent with NO CLUE how either got it. Fortunately it wasn’t a venomous snake because I would have been well and truly screwed. The squirrel looked suspicious too.

        • EG says:

          Do not trust squirrels! They are up to no good. I had a close encounter with a possum once a few years back in Queens, and I don’t think I could handle anything more intense.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          Mac- go to youtube and search idle no more round dance and you’ll get to see all the Canadian malls that were shut down while hundreds of First Nations danced. Gives me chills to see.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          Possums freak me out. They’re not mean usually, but yeah.

        • Donna L says:

          It’s stories like this — along with poison ivy, etc. — that convince me that the next time (if ever) I go hiking or camping, I need to buy a P-Mate or one of the several other devices that women can use to pee standing up. It’s not something I miss being able to do, but it certainly has its advantages in some situations!

        • Donna L says:

          Sorry — for “women,” please substitute people without penises.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          That’s the only reason I’d want a penis. Standing up to pee and no need for toilet paper.

        • Pheeno – I’m working on something with massive deadline loomage, but I shall definitely check it out when my anxiety isn’t sky-high and I can watch stuff (rapid movement, like video, gives me a headache sometimes).

          I once woke up to discover a snake curled up by my ass, and a squirrel about 3 feet away from my face. Hand to God. I was in a zipped up tent with NO CLUE how either got it. Fortunately it wasn’t a venomous snake because I would have been well and truly screwed. The squirrel looked suspicious too.

          Urk. I grew up in rural India, so I’m no stranger to massive snakes turning up unexpectedly in small enclosed spaces – the fuckers are sneaky and skilled! I’m glad you didn’t get bitten D:

          Honestly, though, if anything, it’s my paralysing terror of frogs that would keep me from camping. (Yes, I have an actual frog phobia. Larf it up.)

        • That’s the only reason I’d want a penis. Standing up to pee and no need for toilet paper.

          THIS SO MUCH.

        • EG says:

          (Yes, I have an actual frog phobia. Larf it up.)

          Like Willow!

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          … is terrified of snakes. Especially copperheads which were everywhere growing up.

        • shfree says:

          My sister had a pet Burmese python, and one night my mom awoke to find him in her bed. Fortunately, my mother isn’t a squeamish woman, but just berated the snake and put him back in his cage, placing books on top of it so he couldn’t sneak out again. The snakes, they will seek out the warm wherever they can get it.

        • librarygoose says:

          Absolutely never trust squirrels. The ones on my old college campus were like Dickensian orphans. One snuck up on me and took my bagel straight out of my hands and they used to wait inside of trash cans to jump out at people so the people would drop their food.

        • Donna L says:

          That’s the only reason I’d want a penis. Standing up to pee and no need for toilet paper.

          But you don’t need one of those for that. All you need is a Shewee (http://www.sheweeusa.com/shop/) or a P-Mate (http://www.pmateusa.com/) or a Go Girl (http://www.go-girl.com/). And they’re all under $20.00, which is a lot cheaper than a penis.

        • tomek says:

          Like Willow!

          you have this show in USA also? thought this was only in poland.

        • pheenobarbidoll says:

          And they’re all under $20.00, which is a lot cheaper than a penis.

          You realize my mind just came up with about a dozen dirty jokes after reading that, yes? lol

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          * has also been chased by the biggest goddamn skunk ever to set foot on the planet.

          ** still more fun than a hog

          Pheenobarbidoll – I also have unusual interactions with animals. I have been chased by a steer and been bitten by a horse.

  30. SlipperyWombat says:

    What is interesting is that the availability of guns in the U.S. hasn’t substantially changed in the last century or so, yet these school shootings are specifically a product of the 1990’s and forward. Prior to the 1990’s they were far less frequent and generally involved far fewer victims. It seems that regardless of any debate on gun control people should be interested in what the fuck happened to make shooting up schools so damn popular. This aspect of the issue is alomst absent from the discussion – probably because it doesn’t clearly lend itself to any knee-jerk, preconceived policy reaction.

    The other big issue is the availability of guns within the home itself. I grew up in Texas, all my male relatives served in the military, and all of them had guns. The damn things were everywhere. I had my first rifle at 9 and my first pistol at 11. No way in hell I will repeat this if I have children of my own. Even without children in my home at present, my weapons are well-secured to reduce the risk that they are stolen.

    I think all gun owners would be horrified at the prospect of their weapons being used in a mass shooting and it would seem that the single most effective measure we could adopt as a society is to support the safeguarding of legally owned weapons as much as possible. If we can subsidize home purchases and energy efficient appliances through tax breaks, surely some gun safes are possible. How many of these shootings could have been prevented if gun owners simply took responsibility for ensuring that *they* were the only owns who could realistically access their weapons?

    • EG says:

      It seems that regardless of any debate on gun control people should be interested in what the fuck happened to make shooting up schools so damn popular.

      I don’t know; if it weren’t schools but something else, it would still be horrifying and we would still have to find a way to stop it, so in some ways I don’t think it matters much.

      According to Wikipedia, it seems like the incidence of multiple-victim school shootings (as opposed to one person shooting a specific other person) went up in the late 1980s, and actually, gun violence at schools went down in the 1990s, despite a bunch of high-profile multiple-victim shootings. But shootings like this have been happening for much longer than we like to think.

      • Tom C says:

        yeah, which still makes you wonder why. I get guns make it “easier” to commit them but guns aren’t the “reason” people are doing it. I as well am interested in what the actual underlying cause is and what we may do to fix it.

        In the meantime we should make things stricter on the gun front. Even if it doesn’t prevent the next school shooting it should at least help with day to day violence while we as a people try to figure out why we can’t just get along.

        You’re still not going to convince me on the semi-automatic rifle ban, but hey, opinions are like assholes right? Everyone’s got one, and you’re certainly entitled to it.

        • Miriam says:

          Tom C, what if there was an exemption in the law for certain categories of recognized use. I know little about hog hunting, but from reading what you’re saying it sounds like a legitimate exemption. I don’t know if you have any kind of license for it, but I certainly HOPE there’s a licensing system in place… I used to live in Texas and bluntly, I don’t want just any random Texan to be able to use an assault rifle to go hunting hogs, nuisance or no nuisance! I think of people I knew and that thought is not a happy one. So assuming there is some kind of organization to the hog hunt, it seems like an exception to a general ban should be doable. I don’t see why as a country we need to keep ARs as accessible as other forms of guns just because there’s a slim amount of people with a legitimate use.

      • SlipperyWombat says:

        According to Wikipedia, it seems like the incidence of multiple-victim school shootings (as opposed to one person shooting a specific other person) went up in the late 1980s, and actually, gun violence at schools went down in the 1990s, despite a bunch of high-profile multiple-victim shootings. But shootings like this have been happening for much longer than we like to think.

        All crime rates dropped in the 1990’s, but general “gun violence” on school property is completely disconnected from the phenemenon of school shootings. Using the same source, it is clear that by 1993 total gun deaths in schools in the 1990’s had exceeded the number for the entire decade of the 80’s and Columbine alone (1998) also accounted for more deaths than occurred throughout the 1980’s. So, yeah, the quantity and lethality of these attacks have had a massive increase beginning in the 1990’s.

        1970’s:
        7 shootings & 16 deaths

        1980’s:
        9 shootings & 14 deaths

        1990’s:
        33 shootings & 70 deaths

        The 2000’s are even worse. Even if you throw out VA Tech (33 deaths) the number of shootings and deaths in the 2000’s represent a 4 fold increase from the 70’s and 80’s figures.

        You have to be willfully blind not to recognize the trend and I think it is disturbing as fuck personally. What the hell happened in the 1990’s? General prosperity, substantially lower crime rates, tougher gun laws…and a huge increase in almost exclusively suburban, middle/upper class white guys* going psycho on their classmates.

        I don’t buy the video game argument. Violent video games and their graphical quality certainly correlate well with the trend in a vague temporal sense, but the research doesn’t support it any more than it supports a porn/rape connection.

  31. Laura T says:

    Admittedly, I know nothing about guns or the NRA, and don’t think I care to educate myself on the former or the latter. Yet, I feel compelled to respond. That’s the solution?! Were they all sitting around, playing Call of Duty when they drew up that plan?
    Mass shootings also have occurred in malls, movie theaters, and trains. And snipers have killed people from their car. So while we’re at it, let’s arm all shoppers, eighteen year old movie theater ticket takers, and the people who walk up and down the aisles, train conductors, and everyone who is a passenger in or drives a car.
    The NRA has too much power and control to recommend anything reasonable.

    • BabyRaptor says:

      Of course they weren’t. Video games cause mass shootings, remember? No responsible, mature person plays video games.

      • Laura T says:

        My sarcasm didn’t point to cause and effect. Although, we can’t deny we live in an increasingly violent culture, and video games are part of the culture. Experts and psychologists agree that watching and playing violent videos repeatedly, desensitizes people. It’s pretty scary when you consider the objective of those games is to kill as many people as possible.

        • EG says:

          Experts and psychologists agree that watching and playing violent videos repeatedly, desensitizes people.

          Evidence? Because the last major finding I recall was that playing such games has no significant correlation with anti-social behavior at all. It’s the 2008 and 2009 articles here.

        • amblingalong says:

          It’s pretty scary when you consider the objective of those games is to kill as many people as possible.

          I’ve literally never played a game where that was the objective, and I played a fair amount of video games in my day (some were even pretty violent!).

        • Tom C says:

          Yeah, I’ve played quite a few video games as well and have never seen such an objective either.

        • BabyRaptor says:

          There are studies that say such, and there are studies that say the exact opposite. You can get a study to say whatever you want if you skew it enough.

          Also, I’ve been a gamer for 24 years, and the only games I’ve found where the objective was “Kill as many people as possible” were games like L4D where they’re all zombies, and not really people.

          You’ve got a couple really broad statements and nothing backing them up. You might wish to be more careful next time.

      • Laura T says:

        I don’t have any evidence other than the violence that surrounds us.
        In Call of Duty Black Ops 2, the player takes the position of a first person shooter killing people, enemies, or soldiers. You can’t make the connection between violence used as a form of entertainment and desensitization toward violence in general?

        • EG says:

          Violence surrounded us long before video games, so that’s not actually evidence.

          In fact, we’ve made great progress insofar as now, we use pretend violence as entertainment, rather than having gladiators tear each other apart or setting dogs to attack bears or torturing people to death or having public hangings.

        • Tom C says:

          /endsarcasm

          ahhh…. the good ol days, I mean, we’ve become so much more barbaric with our video games. Am I right?

          /endsarcasm

        • librarygoose says:

          I’ll tell you, with my own anecdata, that the difference between video game violence and real violence is intense and obvious. I play video games all time, I know tons of people (some with mental illnesses) who play all the time. People who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality would be just as influenced by books, comics, or any other form of entertainment.

        • amblingalong says:

          To be fair, I totally agree that there are games with really problematic messages. There are a lot of games that I’ve seen which treat women as hypersexualized objects, or follow the formula of ‘shoot the dark-skinned turban wearing people because that’s how you know they’re terrorists.’ I’m not defending every video game more than every book.

          HOWEVER. Video games are an art form that can be used to communicate all kinds of things, just like movies or paintings or music or novels. Some of those things are definitely objectionable. Some are worthwhile. Both some of the objectionable and some of the worthwhile messages include violence, because violence is a part of human existence.

        • librarygoose says:

          That was sort of my point Ambling. There;s many types of media out there that can influence just as much as video games. Although I maintain that there is nothing in video games that’s any worse than the shit I watched on the news as a kid. You want to desensitize an entire generation, show them a war happening a world away every night for a decade.

        • EG says:

          And many members of that generation powered a huge anti-war movement, so there’s that, as well.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          A question.
          What kind of video game violence? Are we only talking about video game violence involving firearms? I’ve actually never played a really violent video game involving firearms (I’m sheltered, I know), but I have played a lot of what I think are violent video games. I don’t think, at any time, I’ve been inclined to acquire a broadsword and start hacking into people (I play mostly fantasy-themed games). My personal experience seems to point to video games not actually increasing violence, but I guess its possible if guns enter the equation, but I don’t know.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          Clarify:
          Are video game depictions of firearm violence more likely to cause real world gun violence than other depictions of violence in video games?

      • Laura T says:

        By the way, my comment has been taken completely out of context. The focus of my original comment was the NRA and guns. The gamers landed on the Call of Duty crack.

        • Laura, FWIW, I was snarking at the NRA, not you (I clearly read your CoD comment as sarcastic), and I didn’t read others as criticising you either.

        • Tom C says:

          Video games are usually a sensitive topic, since it’s probably the 2nd most popular thing to attack after guns when something tragic happens. Not hard to get us gamers riled up.

      • Laura T says:

        I must have hit a nerve.
        If instead, I’d said ‘That’s the solution? That sounds like something Michael Scott from The Office would have suggested.’ I’m sure the couch potatos would have come after me as well.
        /sarcasm officially ended.

  32. William says:

    Yet another reason why, even as a deeply pro-gun individual, the NRA will never see a fucking dollar from me.

  33. Laura T says:

    In response to EG’s comment, we’ve gotten off track because the discussion was about guns and the NRA; however, my information came from an expert on CNN and psychologists on this past week’s The Today Show. One group of experts always opposes another group of experts. It’s the reason defense lawyers have their psychologists and prosecutors have their own psychologists.
    Also, it isn’t unheard of for major corporations (like the tobacco industry) and companies to buy an expert’s opinion. That’s probably going to open up a whole other argument.

    • EG says:

      That’s a pretty heavy accusation to level. Do you have any reason to suspect some coalition of gaming companies have bribed Ferguson?

      I just don’t think art works that way. There have always been panics over new art forms–look at the way that 18th-century moralists were just convinced, convinced that reading novels was the primrose path to hell. But…it’s not, really. And explicit song lyrics don’t cause teenagers to have sex. The influence of art and entertainment is for more complicated than monkey see, monkey do, and I’m going to have to see some serious evidence to make me think that the panic over violent video games is any less silly than the panic over novels.

      • amblingalong says:

        I’m actually pretty sure you can take the anti-video game panic, substitute a couple nouns, and get a word-for-word anti-rock-n-roll speech.

        • Laura T says:

          Not from me…I love rock n roll.

        • Laura T says:

          What in bloody hell do you people do all day, fang after each other in lieu of sex? If you’re trying to create an intellectual debate, you’ve failed. You sound like pseudo-intellectual gutter-snipes. Here’s my advice: Lose the crippling inferiority complexes, move away from the computers, go out, mingle with people, and regain some humanity.

        • Excuse me? Where the hell do you get off calling amblingalong a gutter-snipe? Fuck right off with that.

        • EG says:

          Heh, guttersnipes. That’s endearingly archaic.

          I have no idea what “fang after each other” means, but I am intrigued by the notion that Laura T has sex all day. Ah, for the life of the rich and idle!

          On the other hand, it’s always rather sad when a participant in an on-line argument resorts to “you’re on the computer too much!” I mean…OK, but you’re here too, right?

        • Andie says:

          Don’t forget evil, evil comic books.

        • EG says:

          Oh, yes! The anti-comic book people had the best essay title too: “The Seduction of the Innocents.”

      • I don’t know, EG. I got omnicidal urges from reading Catcher in the Rye, because that was some severely awful writing.

        • EG says:

          You too? I loathe that book. I couldn’t believe they expected me to identify with that kid.

        • It’s one of the rare books I couldn’t finish because I was too enraged (I actually read all of one Gor book and the entirety of the John Galt speech in Atlas Shrugged, so my Stick To It chops are well proven). I can’t believe I was expected to find that towering cockbag sympathetic, either. (And I’m STILL less ragey about it than Valoniel!)

        • librarygoose says:

          …*mumbles* I loved Cather in the Rye and On the Road.

          *shame face*

        • amblingalong says:

          Loved On the Road, thought the main character in Catcher in the Rye was whiny and self-obsessed and basically had no real problems aside from self-pity. Ugh.

        • EG says:

          To be fair, Holden Caulfield did have one real problem: his brother had recently committed suicide.

          However, he was also self-obsessed and whiny and I had no interest in reading about him whatsoever.

        • Donna L says:

          I read Catcher in the Rye when I was 11, and thought it was fascinating; I viewed it as a sort of documentary portrayal of what male teenagers were like, and very much didn’t want to turn into someone like that myself. Fortunately, as unpleasant as that process was for me, that isn’t what I turned into. But I haven’t felt any desire to read it since. I tried several times to read On the Road, and never got beyond the first few pages.

        • amblingalong says:

          To be fair, Holden Caulfield did have one real problem: his brother had recently committed suicide.

          However, he was also self-obsessed and whiny and I had no interest in reading about him whatsoever.

          It probably says something about the writing that I totally forgot that plot point in favor of all the whine.

        • amblingalong says:

          I tried several times to read On the Road, and never got beyond the first few pages.

          I liked On the Road mainly as a window into the lives of a people radically different from mine. It might be an idiosyncratic way of enjoying something.

        • PeggyLuWho says:

          Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I couldn’t read it. I tried. I have tried so many times. It’s one of the few books I’ve had this problem with. I had to read On The Road in college. I don’t remember a single word of it.

        • Andie says:

          Liked Catcher in the Rye (but didn’t Holden’s brother die of leukaemia?) hated On The Road, which was a huge disappointment as I hyped it up in my mind after reading No One Here Gets Out Alive.

          Saw an advanced copy of the movie, thanks to boyfriend… For a book that couldn’t stand, the movie was okay.

        • Laura T says:

          It looks like you missed the letter s on the ends of the nouns. I was referring to you as well. Feel better?

          Regarding EG’s comments: I’m glad the idea intrigues you. If the notion ever becomes genuine, I’ll let you know. Rich?? Hardly…I work in the advertising dept. for a newspaper. Interesting that you assumed I’m rich and idle. Perhaps you are.

        • t looks like you missed the letter s on the ends of the nouns. I was referring to you as well. Feel better?

          Well, it would help if you answered in the right place, sweetie. Sorry I missed the S.

          …also, one-sentence book reactions are now pseudo-intellectual to you? What were you expecting, the meaning of life? o_O

          Hardly…I work in the advertising dept. for a newspaper.

          Aww, you adorable little producer of rape culture, you. *chucks your chin*

        • EG says:

          Let me spell this out for you: you said that we were on the computer all day instead of having sex. The implication of that comment is that “having sex” is what one should be doing all day, rather than being on the computer (“fanging” one another, apparently, which sounds more and more intriguing). However, this option is open only to the idle rich. The rest of us have to spend our days working. As you seem to feel that it is normal, however…the implication is obvious.

          As for myself, I try to be idle as often as possible, but alas, not being rich gets in the way.

        • (“fanging” one another, apparently, which sounds more and more intriguing).

          I, too, am fascinated. I have no doubt that I would be down with fanging several people here. It sounds like something I could really sink my teeth into. Maybe it’s just my canine instincts, but I find the prospect toothsome. Of course, were I to do so face-to-face, it would be a slight variant, fang(IRL)ing, but as Laura pointed out, we’re all chained to our computers by our desolation, doomed to seek fanging companions while we grow long in the tooth and give in to our vampiric natures.

          *sigh*

          So long, Laura, and fangs for nothing!

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          Laura,
          If your goal is to prove that you are superior to everyone here, I assume, having done that to your satisfaction, you would leave.
          If you are, in fact, superior (I have no reason to believe you are not) than why do you feel the need for rebuttal?
          Do you get some sadistic delight in letting others know how much better of a human being you are than they?

        • Donna L says:

          Given the precipitous decline in ad pages for every newspaper in the USA over the last 15 years, I imagine that Laura T isn’t very busy. No wonder she has all that time for sex.

        • hellkell says:

          I read it as a teenager and was “meh” on it; read it not all that long ago and thought Holden Caulfield needed a spanking and a nap. Dickbag, indeed.

      • Laura T says:

        In response to the “pretend violence” comment above, do you mean like the pretend violence against women depicted in magazines, videos, and movies, which have produced a rape culture?

        • I…don’t think that magazines, videos and movies created rape culture, unless you really think rape culture didn’t exist before this century. Which would be so utterly stupid a statement that I couldn’t even begin to form a counter-argument.

        • amblingalong says:

          which have produced a rape culture?</blockquote

          What is this I don't even.

        • EG says:

          Indeed, that is pretend violence–violence that expresses a rape culture and helps to perpetuate it. But given that rape was hardly unknown prior to the cultural products you name, as mac says, I’m not sure what your argument is.

        • EG says:

          I mean, seriously, are you trying to claim that rates of rape are higher now than in 1850?

        • Andie says:

          I think the word you are looking for is “perpetuates”, not “produces”.

        • Fat Steve says:

          I mean, seriously, are you trying to claim that rates of rape are higher now than in 1850?

          Do you know what these figures are? (If you don’t- I wouldn’t bother googling ‘historical rape statistics 1850′- didn’t work for me.

        • EG says:

          No idea, actually. But given the massive strides in women’s independence, I’d be shocked if incidence of actual rape was lower back then.

  34. Confused says:

    Good god you’re more likely to win powerball than have your kid murderered at school. I’m so sick of sensationalist news coverage designed to make conservatives and/or Americans look bad. I say this as a liberal. I mean honestly, Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire, and other states have very low murder rates despite high gun ownership and extemely liberal gun laws. Why is that? Blaming guns for violence is lazy.

    You really want to keep your kid safe? Teach them to stay away from swimming pools, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol. Each one of those things is orders of magnitude more likely to kill them.

    That’s not to say we shouldn’t beef up reporting of mentally ill people so they cannot purchase firearms, close the private sale loophole, and mandate safe storage of guns when you are not in the home. But we shouldn’t resort to massive distortions to make our political points. The main problem with guns in America is related to criminal activity, especially in big cities. Change the culture there before attacking law-abiding gun owners.

    • EG says:

      Oh, well, as long as it isn’t at school, then…

      The main problem with guns in America is related to criminal activity, especially in big cities. Change the culture there before attacking law-abiding gun owners.

      I’d be happy to enforce very strict gun control laws in big cities. Are you under the impression that anybody is arguing for gun control laws to be limited to places with a low population density?

      And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Everybody is a responsible, law-abiding gun owner…right up until he or she isn’t.

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      Blaming guns for violence is lazy.

      Thank God no one did that then. They just make it easier to murder people, which is frankly what most of us give a fuck about. I don’t give a fuck about violent people if the most murderous tool they have at their disposal is a knife. See, for instance, the Chinese school assault. I leave you with this quote from this week’s Economist:

      If America is ever to confront its obsession with guns, that time is now. America’s murder rate is four times higher than Britain’s and six times higher than Germany’s. Only an idiot, or an anti-American bigot prepared to maintain that Americans are four times more murderous than Britons, could possibly pretend that no connection exists between those figures and the fact that 300m guns are “out there” in the United States, more than one for every adult.

  35. Mztress says:

    Alexandra: “Why are my fifth amendment rights not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law less important than an NRA member’s second amendment rights?”

    Probably because the gun-toting hillbillies are the ones who lobby/serve in Congress.

  36. Mztress says:

    macavitykitsune: “…a lot of us queer/POC/trans/women folk might be more concerned with being the targets of said gun owners. You’re right to mistrust the NRA in my opinion. …”

    It should be obvious to everybody that once all these proud ‘mericuns are able to keep and/or conceal all the guns they want, the first fucking thing they’re going to do is feel free to start killing all the people that they’ve so far felt free to oppress.

  37. Sarah Harper says:

    Quick correction. Jill wrote:

    A small subset of mentally ill people with particular disorders (severe and untreated schizophrenia with psychosis, major depression or bi-polar mood disorder) are more likely to commit violent crimes if their illnesses are untreated. When those individuals get appropriate treatment and intervention, their propensity toward violence decreases.

    Actually, the scientific research I’ve been able to find on the subject says that the main thing that creates a risk of violence in people with “disorders” (and people without “disorders”) is substance abuse.

    See: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000120 (systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on putative link between schizophrenia and violence, concludes: “Importantly the authors found that risk estimates of violence in people with substance abuse but no psychosis were similar to those in people with substance abuse and psychosis and higher than those in people with psychosis alone.”

    Another study comparing mental patients discharged from hospital and non-mentally-ill in same neighborhood found that “patients discharged from psychiatric facilities who did not abuse alcohol and illegal drugs had a rate of violence no different than that of their neighbors in the community.” It also found that rates of violence among the discharged patients peaked around the time of hospital admission, stayed relatively high immediately after discharge, but decreased over time since discharge from the hospital, which suggests to me that the initial hospital admissions were because of violent behavior, that the trauma of hospitalization left many of them still inclined to violence, but that the passage of time helped. See: http://psychcentral.com/archives/violence.htm

    • EG says:

      Or it could mean that they were allowed a long enough stay for the violent period to pass while they were in the hospital.

    • jacy says:

      <blockquote'which suggests to me that the initial hospital admissions were because of violent behavior, that the trauma of hospitalization left many of them still inclined to violence, but that the passage of time helped.' </blockquote
      um… i don't know if thats true actually, both me and quite a few of my relatives and freinds have been on psych units (in the uk) and very few people are admitted to hospital because of violent behaviour (although a lot of people are withdrawing/on methadone), this would be the second reason for sectioning in the uk 'risk of doing harm to others' many more people are admitted for the first reason 'risk of harm to oneself'. Although in the states I imagine this is different because you have to get sectioned through a court there. Although yes i agree substance abuse is key issue in violence although probably more so for poorer addicts than those that are rich enough to always be able to pick up. Severly mentally ill people tend to be poorer anyway because of not being able to work because of illness. I think if anyone wants to determine 'how violent are mentally ill people?' (impossible question to answer) so many other things have to be taken into consideration.

      • Sarah J. says:

        Logging in to second this. I was also on a psych ward in the UK, and most of us were voluntary patients, which means our behaviors weren’t considered violent enough to merit sectioning. Most of us were there either for suicidal ideation or problems related to drug abuse.

  38. Liz says:

    Another benefit of getting guns out of people’s homes which occurred in Australia after we tightened our gun laws was that the number of suicides fell. People no longer had easy access to guns and they didn’t replace that method of suicide by another. That has to be a good thing.

    In terms of whether spree shooters are necessarily mentally ill, one interesting piece of writing is Martin Bryant’s psychiatric report, after the Port Arthur shooting. It’s easily available on the Internet.

    He was deemed well enough to stand trial. But, this didn’t occur because he pleaded guilty. Bryant had a low IQ; 66 and an inability yo fit in with the world. He had a growing anger about his rejection by people, until he finally started thinking he’d like to kill some people. He did hold a specific grudge against the first two people he murdered. But, chillingly, he chose Port Arthur because it was such a violent place. It’s Tasmania’s original penal colony. It’s a fascinating document. The psychiatrist doesn’t make any diagnosis. But, Bryant was a deeply lonely, deeply angry man. Make of it what you will.

  39. I love Jill, this article, the insightful comments about stigmatization of people with mental illness and nearly every comment on here.

    Damn, you are smart, thoughtful people and I wish I knew you in real life!
    Happy rant over.

  40. Vanessa says:

    I skimmed the thread and then started feeling extremely ill when Tom informed us all that his ability to shoot hogs with a weapon designed to hunt people is far more important then the lives of children.

  41. pitbullgirl65 says:

    This is the most concise point by point post I’ve seen on this.
    A couple of suggestions for LaPierre:

    1.start profiling white males (Christian white males: they’ve been at the heart of abortion clinic mayham and murder too) since they are behind the mass majority of these shootings. (ya know kinda sorta like “Muslims” have been since 9/11)

    2.Start a national database of every gun owner who buys firearms and magazines designed to take out as many people as rapidly as possible.

    3.Have the NRA declared a hate group/terrorist organization.

    The FBI recently classified the Occupy movement as a domostic terriorist group, (!)which is outrageous beyond reason.

    By the way: the AR-15 that was used in the massacre is selling out at gun shops across the States. Merry Christmas.

  42. pitbullgirl65 says:

    It’s time for other countries to start warning their citizens against traveling to the United States.
    I was in the mall last night, and started getting paranoid about someone going nuts and shooting into the crowd. What would I do? How could I protect my mother?
    I’ve never felt this way till this last shooting. (lolsob: which last shooting? There’s been so many of them they should be named Shooting of the Day!)

    I’m sure it’s going to be a Merry Fucking Christmas to all the victims of the shootings this year, esp. the Sandy Hook parents.

    I donate money to this shelter in the name of one of the 6 year old victims, Catherine Violet Hubbard. Her parents said she loved animals and would have wanted it. Can you imagine making that phone call to the shelter?
    If we were any sort of decent country, there would be a rush of donations to help innocent animals and people. Instead there is a rush on the same make of gun used to slaughter 26 at a school.
    Merry fucking Christmas.
    http://www.theanimalcenter.org/

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