School Attacks in China, Connecticut Emphasize America’s Need For Strict Gun Control

Less than an hour after reading about the slaughter of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday, I read a post by conservative writer blaming the shooting and others like it on a liberal conspiracy to undo the Second Amendment and take away our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Actually, it was a re-post of a post, shared by a woman who found it credible enough to share it with her circle of friends.

And so it is with America. We have become a nation of people so willfully paranoid, ignorant and politically divided that large numbers of us accept that so-called liberals are so godless, evil, and hellbent on destroying the United States they’re willing to hire madmen to to create chaos and then use that chaos to usher in a new world order. A world order without our precious handguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons, which have somehow gotten weirdly linked to patriotism and Jesus, as if Jesus would’ve waived the Stars and Stripes and handed out handguns along with bread and fish at the Sermon on the Mount.

“Blessed are the peacemakers — the 9mm Berettas and Glocks — for they shall guard the children of the kingdom of God.”

It was such a ludicrous thought that I would’ve laughed if I hadn’t been troubled with sorrow about the deaths of the victims, especially the children. I wanted to comment on the post — angrily type “YOU FUCKING IDIOT” or “WHY IS IT THAT MORONS LIKE YOU NEVER GET SHOT AND CLEANSE THE GENETIC POOL?” But I held back, sticking to a vow I made about a year ago to remain silent for 24 hours whenever a shooting takes place, partly out of respect for the victims, and partly so I don’t go off half-cocked — pardon the expression — and say something I regret.

There are many causes for what happened at Sandy Hook, including untreated or poorly treated mental illness and American’s morbid fascination with guns, violence and celebrity. The shooter apparently was obsessed with guns and put a bullet in the head of his own mother, who was a gun enthusiast herself.

But I also blame our lack of gun control for the magnitude of the slaughter.

Yes, I agree with conservatives that there will always be violent, angry criminals in the world who can’t be controlled by the rule of law. I also agree that we need to focus much more of our time and tax dollars on improving our nation’s mental health services to help prevent these enraged and often deranged people from going on killing sprees.

But I disagree that a reasonable solution is to put armed guards in every school, mall or public building. Nor is it to arm ourselves in self-defense. I don’t want teachers wearing sidearms. I don’t want Santa to have to move his pistol out of the way before kids sit on his lap at the mall. I don’t want to have to carry a concealed weapon under my jacket when I drive to the grocery store at midnight to get ice cream.

Gun advocates argue that it’s people who kill people and not guns, and that if we take make guns illegal, then only criminals will have guns, creating terror for the rest of us.

But they’re wrong. Laughably so.

Adding more guns to the mix would only make the problem worse, because gun statistics are almost irrefutable: Guns create far more problems than they solve. Guns do little more than turn us into super-efficient murdering machines, whether it means accidentally shooting your little brother, deliberately shooting your estranged wife or turning the weapon on yourself. Claim what you want about how guns make us safer, but it’s hard to kill or wound 13, 49 or 70 people with a knife or a single-shot firearm. That sort of mayhem takes a military-grade weapon.

Consider what happened in a little-publicized attack at a school in central China just a day before the school shooting in Connecticut, for example. There, 22 school children and an elderly woman were hurt by a mentally ill, knife-wielding man.

Hurt, not killed.

Nobody died. Some people were badly wounded, but those kids get to live. The kids in Connecticut don’t, and the only difference between them is the weapon used. The gun.

I believe we need to follow Europe’s lead and implement strict gun controls, especially on handguns, assault rifles and automatic weapons. I would support a Constitutional amendment if that what it takes. We’ve amended the Constitution before, and it’s generally worked out very well for America despite initial resistance.

The Sandy Hook shootings, like the recent shootings in Aurora, brought tears of sorrow to my eyes. All those kids killed, and their poor families left with such sorrow. All those Christmas gifts under the trees that will go unopened.

It’s heartbreaking.

I hope this latest incident leads to change. I’m tired of the killing. I’ve had enough. I want it to stop.

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47 thoughts on “School Attacks in China, Connecticut Emphasize America’s Need For Strict Gun Control

  1. Well said. I live twenty miles from Newtown. The shooting has deeply affected me and my town in Connecticut, as it has the world. I never understood why semiautomatic rifles are sold for hunting.

    The bullets used in the shooting were designed to create maximum internal damage. When I read that in a New York Times article, I wanted to throw something at the computer. I guess if I had a gun, I would have shot it.

    I wonder how profitable the gun industry is.

  2. I don’t think you would have regretted what you wanted to say to that person.

    I haven’t fully processed any of this yet but it breaks my heart. It saddens me that the first thing everyone did was politicize it. It’s really hard to have a rational discussion about anything when you’re getting called names and crouched down in the fetal position for your beliefs.

    That said we don’t need a constitutional amendment. If people want to have guns then they can have the kind of guns that were in use when the constitution was written. Problem solved.

    • Oh, they will. I’m sure their lobbyists are already swarming Capitol Hill, in fact, trying to re-direct any anti-gun momentum that this incident has created.

  3. I cannot even wrap my mind around this tragedy. I can’t even wrap my mind around young men who play violent video games for hours and hours where they get extra points for head shots. I can’t wrap my mind around people who will carry on their guns for Jesus routines.

    People say “legally obtained registered guns owned by responsible owners” are not the problem. They say “guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” But that’s not true. Responsible gun owners have guns stolen all the time. Responsible gun owners have troubled family members and friends by their very proximity can grab a gun and use it.

    When the 2nd Amendment was written, people were firing with muskets. The point was to protect citizens from a hostile act from a hostile government. Of course, the soldiers had muskets too. And cannon balls.

    Today the government has nuclear weapons. Should the citizens begin acquring nuclear weapons too? Or maybe everyone needs an armored tank with a machine gun on top.

    After the Aurora shooting, gun sales went up. After the Congresswoman’s shooting, gun sales went up.

    Nobody outside of the police or the military should have assault weapons. I understand the farmer who needs a shotgun to get wolves or other predators away from his flocks. I understand if someone wants a shotgun to hunt deer it could make perfect sense to them to own one.

    What I cannot help but wonder is why we feel we need to have guns. Are we really that afraid of being attacked and having to defend ourselves? Do we really believe the government will turn hostile and we need to be able to stand up to our military and police?

    As a mother and a grandmother to young children, I think the time from much stricter gun control laws, and a complete ban on assault weapons should be put in place. Further all sales of guns and ammo over the internet should be banned.

    But maybe we need to ban violent video games too. America needs to wake up.

    • I do like the idea of having my own nuclear weapon.

      “Hey, punk. I know what you’re asking yourself. ‘Did he push the button, or didn’t he?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a nuclear bomb, the most powerful weapon in the world, and would blow your head clean off and pretty much destroy everything from here to Canda, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?”

      Seriously, Linda. This is an incredibly thoughtful comment, especially coming from a long-time gun owner and champion of the Second Amendment. *respect*

      • California has fairly strict gun control laws. Other states, not so much. This shocking epidemic of young troubled men having lethal weapons and using them for total mayhem has got to stop.

        I do belive that responsible gun owners are not really the major problem, but one has to question why we think we need lethal force as citizens. What are we afraid of? Zombies?

        And people who want conceal / carry permits are scary. Most of them don’t realize that what you can do with a gun to a stationary target at the range is much different from what you can do to living, breathing, moving, bad guys and living, breathing,moving innocent bystanders

        I rest my case.

              • This thread starts out with Linda’s incredibly thoughtful comment and ends in a way I was not anticipating. In Seattle, the police are using drones now. I don’t see them hovering over the island. I’m not sure what this has to do with anything. The coast guard boats are loaded with semi-automatic weapons and now ride alongside the ferrys even though state workers through mechanical negligence have destroyed three of them this year. Yes, three ferrys out of service in Washington and not by a terrorist.

                My friend was interrogated by a cop about why he was on the ferry, where he had come from, and where he was going. I think it was the reflective bike gear and bike that gave him away. Now I am going off on all these tangents.

                Seattle makes me feel secure. You get off the ferry and immediately see about ten or more cops. Some of them are on horses. I wonder what the horses think about having cops riding them around all day.

                The best way to rebel against the government if we get mad is to deprive them of our tax money. That’s a thought. Many a fine Quaker has done this. I wonder where they all went?

      • Not religious….depressed for certain. At a loss of words for the most part. Crying at the drop of a hat.

        When my daughter was in kindergarten, first, and second grade there was Columbine, 9/11, and the DC sniper. There were no words then either.

        Today I hear that the media is talking out of its ass about suspected Aspergers with this shooter. As the parent of an Aspie, it adds another layer of emotional distress to the whole situation.

        • I was teasing you, of course. Trying to mask the sorrow I feel with a touch of humor.

          So you should know that I am a father to four kids, all special needs children, and two of them with intellectual disabilities. This sort of news also hits home hard with me…..

            • I am sorry about those events for your young one, mom. I must digress with this story. The sniper started out in Tacoma. The shooting was aimed in part at the reformed Jewish temple. One bullet barely missed the Torah Scrolls.

              My friend and I wanted to get in on the media action so we went to the house where it all began and stumped the media folks who are always looking for a hysterical comment. Asked if we found it surprising this all began in Tacoma, we said, “No.”

              Then we left.

  4. Mike, I have a Remington 870 under my name. It is my son’s gun, used for hunting deer and duck. Are you saying I should not be able to have this in my home? When you say stricter gun control, what do you mean? This is a fascinating post.

    • I’m not entirely certain what controls I’d like to see, except that I would support a ban on assault weapons, including semi-automatics, and military-grade ammo that’s designed specifically to maim and kill human beings.

      I believe there is a huge difference between the purpose of a hunting rifle or shotgun like yours and an AK-47, for example. One is designed mainly for hunting animals and requires time to load, aim and fire, the other was created mainly for killing people and spews out bullets almost indiscriminately.

      I don’t believe a total band on guns is called for. Many European countries — Austria leaps to mind — allow people to own hunting rifles and shotguns, requiring them to undergo a lot of training in their use beforehand. In essence, they’ve created a gun culture, whereas we don’t have a gun culture in America — which is to say that many of us aren’t particularly cultured about their use. Do people get hurt and injured by guns in Europe? Yes, of course, just as people who engage in any risky sport do. But they don’t have the same sorts of problems we do with gun-related accidents and crimes. They think differently about conflict resolution than we do, and I believe we should create a culture that leads us down a similar path. It will take time, of course.

      I happen to know that you are very responsible about your use of guns, and I commend you for it. I myself am an NRA Marksman, and was taught to handle firearms responsibly. I love the feeling of shooting — both the sense of empowerment and the skill required — and have hunted squirrels with a handgun and done target shooting with both handguns and rifles.

      However, I don’t keep guns in my house because fundamentally they frighten me, to be honest. I was afraid my kids would get their hands on one and do some wrong, for example, and I think it can be tempting to whip out a gun — especially a handgun — in a fit of anger or fear and do some unintended damage. So I steered away from them.

      • “I myself am an NRA Marksman, and was taught to handle firearms responsibly. I love the feeling of shooting — both the sense of empowerment and the skill required — and have hunted squirrels with a handgun and done target shooting with both handguns and rifles.”

        You are not!

  5. Totally agree with you. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a joke. Um, maybe, but people without guns have a tougher time of it. I work at a school. The Sandy Hook incident is terrifying because it could be anywhere. You can’t make a school completely safe when any psychotic whacko can have a gun. You want solutions, that’s where it starts. Not with metal detectors, not with locks and chains, not with armed guards.

    Another ludicrous argument is “Well, he’d just get a gun somewhere else.” Really? Adam Lanza went to his mom’s house. If she had no guns . . . what? He’d go buy one? Doubtful. He’d steal one from the Newtown Connecticut Crips? Probably not. For him, it was easy. Go to mom’s closet and get the guns she bought for . . . .ha ha . . . protection. Yeah, that worked out.

    “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Nope. Cops will. The military will. Responsible folks. It just means that Joe the Plumber with a drinking problem and a grudge will have to find another way to express his feelings. Seriously, how can you compare the remote possibility of successfully warding off an intruder by shooting him with the stark reality of Newtown? Or Aurora? Or Columbine? Or Virginia Tech? Or the Kansas City Chief player’s wife/girlfriend a couple weeks ago?

    The Second Amendment says the right to bear arms (in the context of a well-regulated militia, I might add). I don’t think this automatically implies that anyone should be able to have whatever weapon they want, particularly since the AK-47 didn’t exist in 1775. Let’s take it literally and in context. You can have all the muskets you want.

  6. As a kid, rifles sat by the back doors of both my parents’ and my grandparents’ homes. My dad and my grandfather used them to shoot the critters eating the vegetables we depended on for food. Both grandfathers, my father, my uncles, cousins, and even my brothers all hunted for fowl and deer to feed their families.

    The northeast is one of the safest places to live in this country when it comes to deaths caused by guns. For this atrocity to happen in a town much like the one I was raised in hits far too close to home.

    I hate guns. I hate hunting. I don’t believe anyone who isn’t a member of law enforcement or the military should be allowed to own anything that fires more than one bullet at a time. I’ve read about gun enthusiasts and simply don’t understand why a semi- or fully-automatic weapon is necessary to enjoy the odd sport of firearms marksmanship.

    I can’t tell you how many petitions I’ve signed in support of banning these weapons. It hasn’t done a damn bit of good. I vote for the candidates most likely to put this issue at the top of state and federal agendas. I’m sick to death of the civil war within this country over gun ownership. I’m sick of the number of people who’ve died because no one has the balls to take on the gun lobby. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll see any meaningful change in my lifetime.

    It’s damn difficult to feel much pride in being an American. We’ve bought into our own bullshit that we are a nation that deserves respect from the rest of the civilized world when the truth is we’re not even a country that can call itself civilized.

    • This all rings true for me, Cheryl. But it’s that last paragraph that strikes me most deeply. We are not a “civilized” nation in so many ways and I’m disturbed we can’t see it. Many of us, anyway.

      What a heartfelt comment this is….

      • I agree. We are not civilized. In fact, we are becoming more and more uncivil in general. I live in a bubble now on an island in Washington State. It is exceedingly polite here.

        We are not without fear though. I don’t think anyone is.

  7. This whole sorry mess has led me to write a blog post that isn’t remotely funny. And I hate to do that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Still pondering whether to publish. The gun aficionados I know are convinced that “they” are coming after all their guns. They’re going straight down to the bottom of the slippery slope. With their guns. Pointed up. Where I’m peering over the edge of reason and trying to stay out of the way.

  8. Every since my health scare back in 2011 there are certain things my heart simply reacts to in an unhealthy way – palpitations…chest heaviness. Call it a super sensitive heart, anxiety, paranoia or all three… I just can’t do it. Couldn’t bring myself to watch not ONE newscast regarding the shooting.

    I accidentally saw photos of some of the “victims” – why God – on Facebook but never lingered more than a few moments. Who could imagine in a thousand millenniums that sending their first graders off to school was the equivalent to sending them to the “showers”, the executioner’s bullseye… their deaths….

    Assault rifles have no place in society. Period. Mental health issues need to stop being swept under the rug! I’m tired of the killing too Mike.

    Every death is senseless but the killing of these babies, I think… I hope …. I pray, will force our law makers to change some things.

    The right to bear an assault rifle isn’t a freedom I mind relinquishing.

  9. If I had written something about this atrocity, it would have been very similar to this post (only arguably less pithy and well-stated). I do so agree with everything you’ve said here.

    I am English. The American attitude to guns and (lack of) gun control bemuses us over on this side of the Pond. Otherwise sane and rational people seem to lose all common sense when discussing the ‘right to bear arms’, which – if you look at the reason it was included in the constitution – appears to have been granted purely to provide a militia in times of emergency which is no longer needed because you now have a very efficient collection of armed services. But maybe I’m wrong. I am, after all English. Maybe I truly don’t understand the depth of the problems, because I am English and history isn’t my strong point anyway.

    Sure, we have shootings over here. We have atrocities. We have a history of terrorist attacks involving having the shit bombed out of us by the militant Irish (mostly) – which interestingly has NOT led to a demand by ordinary people to be allowed to make their own bombs in self defence. What we don’t have is the scale of the problem you guys have, in terms of gun ownership and number of deaths and injuries per head of population.

    Damn. And I only came over looking for the next 30 days of photography meme!

    • America sucks.

      That said, I’m sure we’ll be doing another 30 Days of Photography meme sometime soon. I’ll keep your contact info handy and drop you a line when it’s time. We’d love to have you participate.

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