Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Thoughts About The Connecticut School Shooting

Even at this point not long after the violence, many of the facts of the Newtown, Connecticut mass-shooting of children and school staff are clear enough.

The facts are clear enough because we have seen these type shootings happen again and again in America. We keep lists of the most deadly mass-shootings like we keep baseball statistics.

We have yet another well-armed off-balance individual who has gone to a public place and killed a number of people. And we know that it will not be long until it happens again somewhere in America.

I have 3 points to relate here that convey my thoughts on the matter based on reactions I’ve seen expressed in the news and on social media since the shooting took place.

1. It really is meaningless for the Democratic elected officials to express regret over the Connecticut shooting without talking about efforts they will propose to address the reasons for the violence.

2. We all know the extreme right will not relent on gun control just as they won’t on climate change, taxes for the rich, or as we saw on the international disability treaty killed in the Senate recently despite the support of Bob Dole. How long do we let maybe 25% of the country hold us up on every measure of progress?

3. It is good that people care about each other and want to offer prayers for the dead in the Connecticut shooting. Prayer makes a hopeful difference in many people’s lives. But in terms of stopping the violence, prayers will have no more effect then did Rick Perry’s call for prayers to end the Texas drought while denying climate change. Public policy changes are required to address public policy problems.

California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein says she will propose legislation in the next Congress to regulate high-powered guns.

There is plenty of leeway in this country to address gun violence without taking after law-abiding folks who have a gun at home for whatever purpose. The debate over guns in America needs to move away from over-rigid interpretations of the Second Amendment and move towards general public safety.

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December 16, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. It’s hard to know what to say or do in response to the tragedy in Connecticut. I am very left wing compared to most of my fellow citizens in Fort Bend county, but I also own 2 out of the 3 models of weaponry confiscated from the crime scene, and I have Asperger’s syndrome.

    I would like to link this before I go further:
    http://autisticadvocacy.org/2012/12/asan-statement-on-media-reports-regarding-newton-ct-shooting/

    There are no doubt some well meaning liberals on my side of the political fence who would say I should be disarmed of my own Bushmaster .223 semi-auto rifle and my Glock as a matter of public safety but I think this goes too far. I am not a threat to public safety and I was just as horrified of the events in Conn. as anyone else. The weapons used in the even were evidently purchased by the mother of the perp and not by the perp himself. Perhaps she should have kept them more securely under lock and key in her home, but who can say? I am a responsible gun owner and resent the implication put out in some circles that I am somehow evil simply for owning such firearms as a matter of personal preference and interest.

    I vote Democratic, voted for Mr. Obama in the Texas Democratic Primary in ’08, and for his re-election in 2012. But I do not support outlandish calls for repeal of the 2nd Amendment. Better mental health screening? Absolutely. Restrictions on private sales? Willing to consider. Re-institution of the AWB? Pointless. Columbine occurred while the AWB was still in effect, with non-banned guns.

    Comment by redjohn1971 | December 16, 2012

  2. It should be illegal for a guy to kill his mother and steal her guns.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | December 17, 2012

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this redjohn and for that link on Asperger’s

    Comment by lbwoodgate | December 17, 2012

  4. There is no doubt the events in Connecticut were brutally horrific on any scale. Losing one life is tragic enough, but to lose so many lives that never had the chance to actually live is just unconscionable. There is a depth here that cannot be imagined, much less fully felt. I don’t think we will ever stop violence and as long as we live in a free world, it will only be easier for those who would perpetrate such violence to do greater harm on a greater scale.

    I don’t think this is the time or place for a platform speech on the 2nd amendment, mainly because the use of guns in this situation were simply vehicles for evil. Extensions of hate and terror. There is no doubt that if the guns were not present he would not have been able to shoot down the innocent. It is also true, that if guns were allowed on the campus, there is a chance someone could have stopped him sooner…or maybe he would have been less likely to attempt this villainy. But that is what will detract from the problem. The real problem. This act was a symptom of a deeper problem and the guns were merely tools of destruction.

    The man, the same man with the same issues, without guns might have chosen another route. Maybe an apartment fire or maybe a bomb left in the school. Maybe one day he drives through a crowded school yard or hijacks a plane and kills hundreds in half the time. All are acts of terror and are all so easily attainable in this society. Maybe these things happen every day, but we don’t hear about them or consider them because they are too difficult to recognize (especially when the press doesn’t proliferate them) or maybe because they are far too difficult to control.

    This isn’t about taking guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens to prevent one twisted individual from wreaking havoc on the meek. We need to realize that sick people walk among us daily and they have EVERYTHING at their power to do grave harm. We should focus on the root cause of this person’s spiral into the depths of darkness and recognize the warning signs to help prevent more tragedies in the future. The deprivation of this individual must have been noticed and those who did nothing are culpable in his deed.

    The children are truly in the hands of tender mercy now and we will suffer on in the agony of the loss. If we don’t find the true cause of these breakdowns, we will surely live through more of the same loss or find our own destiny is their same fate.

    Comment by Mike | December 17, 2012

  5. Redjohn–Nothing I can add to your candid and helpful comment. Thank you. And thanks to Larry for the kindness and thoughtfulness you always express here.

    Matt–Your glibness serves my views well enough.

    Mike—It is so that that evil or very misguided people will always be with us. But the easy availability of guns makes it so much easier to kill many people. Also, it seems to me that many folks on the right would not approve of more public funds to help diagnose and treat mental illness. We have all these guns and a refusal to address the causes of gun massacres. What path could we take to stop this type violence that conservatives would embrace?

    It is the right time to address this issue. Are not many on the right saying that the violence would stop if more people were armed? It is at the time that events take place that we must bring these issues to public debate.

    I agree with you that our futures are connected, and that the fate the kids and teachers killed in the massacre could be our outcome as well.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | December 19, 2012

  6. “Also, it seems to me that many folks on the right would not approve of more public funds to help diagnose and treat mental illness.”

    It’s being reported that the shooter’s motive was fear of receiving mental health treatment.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | December 19, 2012

  7. Make it a law to ban all guns and all guns will not go away…no matter how harsh the penalty is. criminals will find guns a rare and valuable commodity and the laws will be broken. See how well the government has controlled the drug flow in this country? More innocent people will perish at the hands of criminals, who with or without a gun, will feel more emboldened to due harm to others.

    The government wants more control and piggybacking gun bans on a heinous crime could be the way. But you cannot control crazy. Take away all guns and the next mass killing will be at the hands of an arsonist or a chemical bomb. Forbid everyone access to chemicals and a lunatic will drive his car into a crowded downtown street. Take away all means of mass destruction and someone will still be able to due grave harm to others.

    “The easy availability of guns makes it so much easier to kill many people” but the law that makes it illegal for others to carry guns at public venues makes it even easier. The only one who broke the law that day in Newtown, was the crazy guy. The right may say more guns = less violence and they may be right. When was the last mass shooting perpetrated on a police station? I can’t think of one. Why? Because the likelihood of doing great damage is lessened by the presence of people who can protect themselves and others. It really is as simple as that. We guard our money with armed men…why not guard our children the same way?

    Comment by Mike | December 19, 2012

  8. I now live in the Philippines. When I first moved here eight years ago I was annoyed that security guards checked bags, purses, bodies before you could go in a mall, public building or school. Now I appreciate them protecting me from some nut. Gun control laws are not going to work. It has been tried and enforcing those laws has been impossible. I believe manufacturers should be responsible for not allowing military style weapons from getting on the public market. Security at schools and public buildings should be increased. They should be penalized it they do. The most important thing that could prevent incidents like the Conneticut one is the Federal Goverment open the mental institutions that Ronald Reagan closed. You cannot give a mentally ill person a bottle of pills and put him or her back out on the street. I saw this happen time and time again in Galveston, Texas. I am also disappointed after these events that people that knew the person begin to say, “I knew they had problems, etc.” If you knew then why didn’t you try to prevent the event from happening. People do not want to get involved, but want their 15 minutes of fame later claiming what they always knew. The politicians for months now will play gun lovers against gun haters and say what their voters want to here and NOTHING will change.

    Comment by Fr. Thomas J. Martin | December 20, 2012

  9. All this talk about gun control and heightened security (armed guards, teachers etc) in our children’s schools sounds just as dangerous as it was before the shooting/s. it is apparent that these incidences evolve from years of psychological neglect. Not one of these persons were alone.. They either had families or attended school where it is up to a superior to notice that something is off. People… shouldn’t just ignore or brush off one’s “off behavior”. Basically everyone is to blame. I just hope everyone takes into account how they treat EVERY human being.. If not massacres like this will cease to diminish. The answer isn’t more guns/ less guns, it’s looking out for one another.. Before a person like Adam or any of the other shooters from the past get sick of it all and take it out on others.. I don’t know I just think this all reverts back to bullying, or being outcasted within a society in general.. This whole thing is a tragedy and happens every damn day somewhere in the world.

    Comment by Jenny | December 21, 2012

  10. Matt–So? He knew what was best?

    Mike—The Fort Hood shooting took place at a military base that must have had many guns around. The mother of the Connecticut shooter had many guns and yet was unable to protect herself. Is every person to have a gun?

    Fr. Martin—I agree that little will change. And I very much agree with your view that better mental health treatment options are needed.

    Jenny—While I think that fewer guns would be for the better, your point that we should have better daily awareness of the well-being of our fellow human beings is a very good point that would would do a lot of good in many ways. This a point that comment above yours also helpfully makes.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | December 21, 2012


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