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Kids And Guns

The massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is horrifying and disgusting.  Adam Lanza, the coward who murdered his mother before stealing innocent lives and ultimately ending his own, committed a crime that is near impossible for us to wrap our heads around.  Twelve little girls, eight little boys, and six adults are gone from this world because of one disturbed individual who had a grudge against his mother and against society.  Reports are now stating that Lanza could not feel physical or psychological pain in the same was as his peers; in our struggle to understand why this happened, we are looking inside the killer and into his life.  The other thing we’re doing is diving back into the argument of gun control.

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I can barely think about those lives that were cut horrendously short at the hands of a selfish madman without getting emotional and choked up.  My heart breaks for the families affected and for the survivors in that school and community who have the near impossible task of healing and moving on.  I’m also disappointed and disgusted by everyone, myself included, who gave in and started publicly sounding off on the issue of gun control before the school had even been secured and the bodies of those poor children moved out of the classrooms.  26 people dead and all we can do is whine about how guns are evil as others whine about guns not killing people because people kill people.

My Twitter timeline was suffocated by people, both celebrities and friends, choosing sides on the argument on gun control.  The largest group blamed the tragedy on the ease of obtaining guns.  They referenced the attack in China where a maniac with a knife attacked children and killed no one, using that as proof that guns are to blame.  The other side argued that there is no danger with guns themselves, as the danger comes only when the gun is in the hands of a mentally unstable person.  Both sides have valid points and both sides deserve to be heard, but is now really the right time to bring it up?

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I completely agree that there do need to be some changed in the way we control who has guns and where they are allowed to have them.  I agree that guns are a more dangerous and deadly tool than a knife.  I agree that any weapon in the hands of a disturbed individual can be incredibly deadly.  I agree that the gun is nothing without the person to hold it and that person’s will to fire it.  I’m very much in favor of gun ownership and very against restrictions on what tools one is allowed to protect themselves with.

That all said, nothing good will come of me spreading my opinion on gun control.  I will not help any of the victims in Connecticut and I will not bring comfort to their families.  My heart can be in the right place while I express my views on guns and my thoughts on what COULD have and SHOULD have been done, but good intentions don’t necessarily yield positive results.  [SIDENOTE:  click here for my blogging buddy’s entry about the shooting.  Although he wasn’t my inspiration for this entry, my words take an unintentional dig at him.  That said, I couldn’t help but agree with many of his points and I encourage you to go read them]

These families do not need to be caught in the middle of a country divided on the issue of gun control, not while they are trying to bury their children and make sense of a senseless tragedy.  It does make sense to bring up issues when they are relevant and in the front of everyone’s minds, but is it right to do so?  Should we be pushing the gun control issue right now, using these lost lives as ammunition for our arguments?  What good will it do to bring the gun debate into this?  If I lost my son, I’m confident that one of the last things I’d want to hear about is whether or not his death could have been prevented if guns were more difficult to obtain.

Gun-Control

The community of Newtown desperately needs to heal.  Today, they are planning the first funerals for two of the children who were murdered.  Students of Sandy Hook will be sent to other schools while the town debates on whether or not the school will ever reopen.  Parents in the town, and across the nation, are holding their own children a bit tighter this morning and feeling quite uneasy watching their child board the bus for school.  Newtown police, and officials in other areas, are increasing patrols and reexamining safety plans and emergency precautions.  Just sitting here thinking about the shooting has me feeling sick to my stomach; I cannot begin to imagine the pain that is currently radiating through Newtown and all of Connecticut.

Normally, when tragedy strikes, we see and hear messages asking the public and the media to please respect the privacy of the families.  We rarely ever take this advice, choosing instead to poke at tragedy with a pointy stick until it bleeds.  This needs to stop, especially with the community of Newtown.  Help by donating your time, your funds, and your ear.  Examine your own children’s schools and educate yourself on their plans in the event of a shooter or another dangerous situation.  Be more open to warning signs and see if enough resources are available for troubled people who are considering lashing out violently.  Hug your child a bit tighter and be thankful you’re both still breathing.

The gun control debate needs to happen, I don’t argue that.  It just doesn’t need to happen right this second, before the students and teachers have been laid to rest and before some have even been able to process what has happened.  We don’t need to be focused on what the school should have done because we can’t change a thing.  We need to place the blame on the person who earned it and refrain from blaming God (or lack thereof), guns, security, or any other factors.  Once the community has had a chance to bury their dead and to find some sort of normalcy again, then we can revisit the tragedy and poke at it a bit.  But we cannot and should not use these deaths as catalyst for gun control, arming teachers, God in school, or any of our other causes.  The memory of the fallen in Newtown deserve much better.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on December 17, 2012, in Fear, Kids, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. The bigger debate should be over how everyone treats mental health services like something nobody should ever require, and how anyone that does seek them deserves nonstop ridicule and ostracism. But then everyone is all surprised when someone that has always had a history of mental problems like the killer in this story did finally snaps and goes on a rampage and remains oblivious to how it could have been prevented if we weren’t a third world country masquerading as a first world country on the subject of health services.

    I mean, we literally had crowds of people cheering a political candidate during the primaries that said people without health insurance should be allowed to die in the streets.

    As for Gun Control, here is an image as a counterpoint to that last image in your blog: http://i.imgur.com/nHrSFl.png

    • It’s scary how in the aftermath of things like this, there are always loads of people who say “we should have known,” “he was always so troubled,” and so on. If the stigma of seeing a psychiatrist was removed AND if it wasn’t so damn expensive, maybe there wouldn’t be tragedies like these. It’s worth a try.

      • That’s kind of my main argument in other places on the Internet. The US spends more federal dollars per capita on medical care than any other nation in the world, but somehow fails to provide care to every one of it’s citizens while nations like Denmark and Australia have universal healthcare and mental health services. Those countries also have minimum wages set between $16-18 per hour for service/retail jobs (and even higher minimum wages in regions with higher costs of living).

        But then, the difference comes into play here in the US because the Medical Industry is allowed to be For-Profit, while in every other First World country medical care is viewed as a social necessity for all citizens. Our Medical Industry even went so far as to substitute the Cadaceus (the symbol of the Greek God Hermes, lord of Tricksters and Thieves) for the Staff of Asclepius (actual symbol of the God of Medicine).

    • In response to your image.

      If I buy a gun in California, I have to pass a handgun safety test which reviews the different types of guns, how to safely load and unload them, safety rules on handling them, safety regarding children and storing guns, and the laws around when and where I can have or carry or transport one. I have to pass this test to be “registered” to by a gun. And oh yes, I am forever registered, as are the guns I buy, to me, at my address. That’s to make it easy in the future if the Government ever wants to come around and collect everyone’s guns because the BAN GUNS crowd finally won.

      I must perform a visual and physical test in front of the instructor showing him that I understand how to handle both types of common firearms, including safely loading and unloading it and how to safely handle the gun. In this way, there is a written and a practical test. While not required, MOST people will go shooting at a range and learn how to handle their gun. I believe the Newtown shooter was taken to gun ranges as well, but apparently that only made him a more accurate shot.

      If you’d like something more meaty, for a license to carry in Texas you are required to complete a minimum 10 hour class, taught by a DPS certified CHL instructor. The class includes classroom and a proficiency demonstration (shooting). There are four (4) required topics: use of force; non violent dispute resolution; handgun use; and safe and proper storage of handguns and ammunition. The license is valid for 4-5 years before it must be renewed, requiring another 4 hour refresher training course.

      In CA I also must provide proof that I have a gun safe at home that meets all State requirements for gun storage and I must transport the firearm in a legally approved way for safety from the gun show/shop.

      The only thing left on your list are liability insurance and health requirements. Most States use the Federal NICS system to perform background checks. In the past decade, 100,000,000 background checks have been performed and 700,000 denials have been recorded so there is already an effective system of performing background checks but this system, like any database, is only as good as the data entered into it. GIGO.

      Which means anyone who has a gripe with reporting mentally unstable people should not have an issue with legalized gun ownership and licenses to carry concealed weapons, but instead should be angered by the way mentally unstable people are handled such that the more serious ones perhaps, PERHAPS, do not end up in this NICS system, which has nothing to do with guns or gun owners or concealed gun carriers. That would be like getting angry at car accidents that kill people and wanting to ban cars because the State failed to maintain a collapsed bridge and people kept driving off it into the river below.

      And the problem with mental health reporting is that it is mental health reporting. Someone’s mental stability is like gauging someone’s intelligence. It’s a sensitive issue. Once officially recorded as having mental issues, what impact does that have on that person’s view of themselves? Does it make it worse? Can they still get a job? Can they still get a driver’s license? Who wants a crazy person behind a 2-ton piece of steel? Some people are only temporarily imbalanced…drugs…traumatic incident…shell shock…so what IS the EXACT definition, the EXACT measurement where we deem someone unfit in general and so therefore unfit to have a gun? Or drive a car? Or buy knives? Or sit in an emergency exit row on a plane? And who decides? You? The Government? (I shudder at the thought). What tests are performed? Can they retest? What if they are stable with drugs, but unstable without? What if they stop taking the drugs? Mental health is a stick sticky mess. So while I agree with you that crazy people should not have guns…the devil is in the details of what CRAZY is. And if a definition for that is fixed finally in stone, then the Government must maintain a system that is accurately updated. What it does NOT mean is that we BAN GUNS for EVERYONE because of crazy people.

      As for liability insurance, I personally don’t believe it should be required but certainly could be optional and it should not be required in order to buy or carry a gun, but it should absolutely not be a Federal decision. Each State, as the Constitution says, must be allowed to decide any such decision. So while I am personally against it, since I am not a Dictator and believe in the Constitution, unlike SOME Presidents I know, I would leave that decision to the States and their People to decide for themselves.

      I think I’ve covered everything in your picture, so it would seem most Americans, even those no-good Texans have agreed to everything on your list already. They have no control over how the Feds report health requirements and liability is really a non-issue.

      So now what?

      Speaking of Texas…in Texas you can conceal carry almost anywhere. Long guns and rifles can be carried out in the open, but must be held in a “non-threatening” way. You can carry your gun out in the open on your own property, smack dab there on yer hip. You can carry one in your car…loaded…within reach…as long as it’s concealed. There are no limits on assault rifles or how many rounds a magazine can hold. So where are all the Texas massacres? Where is all the blood pouring through the streets at this clearly wild, insane, crazy State where damn near every citizen is walking around like Wyatt Earp? Makes you wanna go hmmmmmmm…..

      http://www.texasgunlaws.org/

      My problem is with the BAN GUNS crowd. And the crowd that things MORE laws and MORE regulation will make any difference. You can see we already have everything on your list.

      Why is it that according to gunmap.org, the most killings and the highest murder rates are in the States with the most restrictive gun controls? Why is it that in those States that are more “free” with guns, the gun killings always seem to happen in “Gun Free Zones” where gun carriers are required to leave their guns behind, and then get shot at for their compliance by people who don’t follow signs?

      Also…how come politicians are “exempt” from gun control laws? Hmmmmmm……

      • My thing is, if you ban guns, they won’t go away. Heroin is illegal but I could get it if I wanted to. Guns can be illegal and still easily obtainable. Plus, if a sick and twisted person wants to kill, he or she will find a way regardless of whether or not a gun is available. Melt down all the guns in the world and that sick person will use a knife, set fires, find poisons, etc. A gun can make it easier, sure, but it’s not the one element that makes a difference between life and death when it comes to crazy people with murder on their mind.
        It drives me insane how when tragedy ______ happens, the reaction is to ban something. School shooting = ban guns. Cyber bullying = ban teenagers from the internet. And what good does it do? All it does is force people to get more creative.

        • Without sounding morbid…I was thinking about this last night…and I think the reason that madmen choose guns is either the personal connection made in the killing moment or the power trip from the immediate cause and effect of pulling the trigger.

          We used to build pipe bombs when we were kids. We would use fireworks gun powder and you can buy the threaded pipe from any plumbing store for a few bucks.. A 1/2″ drill bit in the cap and a piezo spark igniter from a gas stove for the fuse. Maybe 30 mins worth of work at most. This was pre-internet and of course there were no books available at the school library on this…we just used our brains. It’s not rocket science. But imagine what some sicko could build today with the interest at their fingertips?

          Since we were not sickos, just boys with a lot of time on our hands in a big forest, we would bury them in the ground and put boulders over them. Use a 9 volt to spark the piezo and see how far up we could get the boulder to bounce off the ground.

          Then we got a little older and girls became more interesting than rocks and that was the end of that.

          Gun bans, as you say, will not end these massacres. This shooter in Newtown, as all shooters everywhere could have done was what we did when we were kids but loaded the powder with glass and nails and rolled 3 or 4 into each classroom with lit cotten fuses on a 5 second delay. If anything, there would have been more deaths and the scene even more disturbing becomes bombs are messy.

          As long as there have been, and will always be, madmen, there will be massacres. The only thing that will change is the date and the delivery method.

    • @daniel871

      Yeah, gotta disagree with you there. I don’t believe medical care is a right any more than I believe food or water is a right, which is why I don’t believe in socialized medicine.

  2. And yet, we have food stamps/SNAP/WIC and public water services. We should have broader care for legal citizens than we currently do.

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