Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking for Answers....

We're all looking for answers in the wake of yet another mass shooting -- how can such things happen and who can we blame?

Governor Huckabee said it's because God's not allowed in schools. (I can hardly believe a mind that would worship a god of such petty vindictiveness. And beside, where was this God when  a gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people before committing suicide?. Where was God when six people were killed during services at a Sikh temple?)

That fine Christian James Dobson says the Sandy Hook tragedy is the inevitable result of abortion and gay marriages and some of his fellow extremists mention the teaching of evolution and lack of prayers in the classrooms as a contributing factor to God's turning  His back on all those little six year olds.

Pick your agenda -- there's a way to explain Sandy Hook that will further that agenda. Orly Taitz, the ‘birther queen’ has suggested that the shooter could have been under some sort of mind control, doing the bidding of the Obama administration so that Obama will have an excuse to take away every  one’s guns

And Iran says Israeli Death Squads were responsible . . .

A lot of responsible  types mention the need for more accessible mental health care -- true enough, but no guarantee that all those in need would avail themselves of help.  And then if they did get help, there's a theory that some psychiatric drugs may cause states of ungovernable rage . . .  

Some of the proposals on how to deal with the threat of these mass shootings seem to me to be truly lunatic. Arm the teachers is perhaps the worst. Can you imagine a harried first grade teacher tossing aside the storybook and pulling her sidearm in time to take out an armed psychopath who's just entered her classroom? Look what happened at Ft. Hood, Texas where an army psychologist  killed 13  and wounded 42. On an Army base -- crawling with trained and armed men and women. And these advocates (who include the governors of Virginia and Texas) for arming teachers think Miss Tammy could do better?

Sales for children's body armor are soaring . . .  and Newsweek's Megan McArdle has suggested that children be trained to rush an armed attacker . . . 

There's plenty of crazy out there, folks.  And I'm crazy enough to think that perhaps a good place to begin would be with gun control. Not taking away everyone's guns -- but outlawing assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and high capacity magazines. 

I think that buying a gun should require a thorough background check and a waiting period. Licensing, tests, and insurance wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Of course criminals will be able to get hold of guns. Of course gun control won't put an end to gun violence. But the experience of other countries suggest that the death rates would fall. 

And that would be, at least, a start. 

April 1999 - two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.

July 1999 - a stock exchange trader in Atlanta, Georgia, killed 12 people including his wife and two children before taking his own life.

September 1999 - a gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people before committing suicide.

October 2002 - a series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead.

August 2003 - in Chicago, a laid-off worker shot and killed six of his former workmates.

November 2004 - in Birchwood, Wisconsin, a hunter killed six other hunters and wounded two others after an argument with them.

March 2005 - a man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people.

October 2006 - a truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania before taking his own life.

April 2007 - a student  shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.

August 2007 - Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed.

December 2007 - a 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping center in Omaha, Nebraska.

December 2007 -
a woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington.

February 2008 - a shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured.

February 2008 - a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering.

September 2008
- a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded.

December 2008 - a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house.

March 2009 - a 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.

March 2009 - a heavily armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.

March 2009 - six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California.

April 2009 - a man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.

July 2009 - Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.

November 2009 - U.S. army psychologist opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.

February 2010 – A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, killing three colleagues and wounding three others.

January 2011 - a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.

April 2 - A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting rampage at a Christian college in Oakland.

July 20 - A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

Aug. 5 - A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by a police officer.

Aug. 24 - Two people are killed and eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City at the height of the tourist season.

Sept. 27 - A disgruntled former employee kills five people and takes his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.

Oct. 21 - Three people are killed in a Milwaukee area spa including the estranged wife of the suspected gunman, who then killed himself.

Dec. 14 -  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:  shooter kills twenty children and six adults before turning gun on self.

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Ms. A said...

I don't know what the answer is, however assault rifles accomplish exactly what they were meant to do, which is a terrible thing. How to get them out of the hands of people that want them, is a whole other dilemma.

Thérèse said...

Oh no that's too sad...
But it could helps us take the time to reflect and look for ways of speaking about it in a constructive manner. Something about helping the world to be more loving starting in our own close environment.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Gun control would seem a step in the right direction . Surely no-one needs to own five handguns , let alone a machine gun ?
And a return to a greater sense of community might help the isolation and agression felt by many of these gunmen ... small courtesies , respect for our neighbours and tolerance of others beliefs might make us all feel more involved .

Poetry24 said...

Someone has got to grasp the nettle, Vicki.

We all remember the Dunblane school massacre in 1996, when one adult and sixteen children were gunned down. Laws were enacted in the wake of the tragedy, which effectively made private ownership of handguns illegal in the United Kingdom. It's going to be a much steeper mountain to climb in the US, but that shouldn't stop the politicians from taking on the challenge.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

There are a lot of issue to consider and everyone associated with government will have their say and certainly their agenda, but reinstating the ban on assault weapons and ammunition is a good start and a no-brainer. I never understood why the ban expired in the first place.

KarenB said...

You certainly know my position on this, Vicki! There are many pieces to the puzzle of why this happens and just because easy access to guns is only a part is no reason not to address it. Better mental health care is part. And then there are the parts that are even harder to address - sense of caring and community, a sense that we are all responsible for each other, an understanding that we are all capable of great evil as well as great good and that we need to help each other choose good. I believe that all of our choices, big and small, can bring light or darkness into the world and we should all be conscious of trying to bring light as much as we can. And yes, gun control, the sooner the better.

Brian Miller said...

ugh, just scrolling down that list is brutal...and everyone has an agenda and will use whatever to push i dont want such a petty god either...and that honestly makes it too easy, alleviating us of responsibility as well...yes, i think we need to make some changes...i think smitonius is onto one thing and that is our communities are broken right now...our homes....and our hearts...

dannie said...

Of all the comments I have read, yours by far makes the most sense. My husband and I have discussed the issue of guns many times. He was an avid hunter and I grew up in a gun free home.I don't believe we should ban all guns but there is not one Good reason to own the kind of ammunition and machine gun that have been used to kill people. I have a medical background and understand how weak our mental health services are. We have had many wake up calls, I pray we start to move on these issues before there are many more.

Eileen Reilly Nephin Bish said...

Gun control now.....we sadly have idiots in abundance who are in need of tongue control...but I doubt even the good Lord could legislate shutting them up!!

Anonymous said...

The mental health services issue is key, but I'll have to disagree on gun control. Someone who is willing to break the law by murdering many people will also be more than willing to break the law to get a hold of the gun with which to do it. I'm not an idiot, or a right wing zealot. (I'm pro choice, and for gay marriage as an example.) I don't own a pick-up truck or any of the other cliches. Other societies, including our own until the last 40 years or so, have had guns without these atrocities so what is different now?

Lynne in GA

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Don't forget the crazy who entered a youth musical performance at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 27, 2008, killing two and wounding seven. He stated he wanted to "kill liberals and Democrats." Perhaps that was a case where Eileen's suggested tongue control might have helped. As for Huckabee and his ilk, I'm forever amazed by the hate spread in the name of a so-called loving diety.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have no answers. But one thing I do know is that NO civilian should have automatic weapons with 100-shot clips.

Darla said...

I agree with everything you wrote, Vicki. Gun control doesn't have to mean 'no guns' ... that's why it would be 'control' rather than 'ban'... As another commenter said, so many 'parts' to address, so let's quit blaming and judging and simply attend to those parts. Really good post, though ... thanks.

jennyfreckles said...

I'm relieved to hear you say this. The only purpose of a gun is to threaten, maim or kill. That's what they were invented for. So the fewer there are around, the better as far as I can see.

Frances said...

Yes, Vicki, there is a lot of crazy out there.

Thank you for this thoughtful post. Let's hope that our country will respond to the recent tragedy before another is added to that long list.


Carolyn said...

Agreed. One of the most ludicrous things I hear is about arming teachers. Is that what they want our schools to become - armed camps? Can you imagine: "Stacy, take that gum out of your mouth right now or . . ." In response to Huckabee, I thought this post was very well said and on the mark:

Vicki Lane said...

Carolyn -- the open letter from the PTA mom is perfect.

Stella Jones said...

Oh dear, what a long list and no explanations for any of them, I'll bet. The only way to stop it is to ban guns - all of them if I had my way. The only people who need them are the police and farmers.

Glenda Beall said...

Vicki, this is a great post on this subject. The religious zealots who claim to know all the answers really make me tired.
If this young man had not gotten his hands on these guns in his own home, those children would not be dead. If he had come in with a knife, a baseball bat, or almost any method of violence, all of these people would not be dead. And he wouldn't have come in had he not been well armed.
If this event in Newtown doesn't force some action on automatic weapons, then I think we are doomed to reading these horrible stories over and over again.
I'd like to see your post going out to the whole country.