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Goldengirl

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http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/12/2012121481220620325.html

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/newtown-shooting-residents-shocked-mass-killing-adorable-town/story?id=17976401

 

Two separate instances of mass school violence occurred today (that I'm aware of), completely unrelated to each other. One was a shooting in Connecticut at an elementary school, the other was a stabbing at a primary school. The total casualties for each are in the twenties. Both attackers have been accused of mental illness.

 

First of all, let me say that there can be nothing but mourning for both incidents. These are great tragedies, only magnified by the fact that many of the victims were so young.

 

However, these incidents also bring up a few topics. Violence against children, weapons control, security and risk are obvious ones. All of these, I think, are appropriate for this topic. What I want to talk about, though, is the media's immediate insistence on labeling both of these individuals as "deranged," "insane," etc. I can think of a few ramifications of this, such as discrimination against people who are mentally ill most prominently. This is essentially a dehumanizing effect, calling people who do things like this insane and justifying hatred against them as a result of their actions and supposed mental status.

 

When "insanity" isn't even a medical term anymore, what are the broader cultural effects that this has on society? I'm curious to know what the varied minds and backgrounds of Spiderweb come up with concerning this question.

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The rush to label a killer as insane comes because most people can't imagine a sane person doing such an act.

 

It's getting easier at least in the United States for people to arm themselves and take out a larger number than in the past. In Japan with ultra strict gun control it means arming with a sword to do it or chemical warfare like the cult planning sarin gas attacks in the subway. You are going to have these attacks, but you can make it harder.

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You are going to have these attacks, but you can make it harder.

 

Well we shouldn't [self-censored] be having them. Sorry.

 

Anyway, something I find almost as distressing is something I saw online in the aftermath of the shooting today. Obvs it's from the internet, and I don't watch the news so I can't say if it was true or not, but yeah, some of the screenshots of FB from this poor kids feed pretty much sold it for me.

 

because our 24/7 news media can’t actually do journalism, CNN, MSNBC, FOX and others have all just helped ruin someone’s life because they posted headline pictures of the wrong [censored]ing Ryan Lanza.

Facebook groups calling for his death have already been created. Apparently it’s now open season on anyone named Ryan Lanza.

 

Yeah so basically, the media sucks?

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I almost posted a Gun Control topic after a conversation with my friend two days ago. I guess I'm glad I didn't.

 

I'm going to go ahead and share the opinions I expressed there, and give this incident some time to settle before it sways me.

 

I know a lot of people that use guns responsibly. I am leery of the temptation to ban guns entirely. From hunting, to self defense, to rising against a corrupt government, they have occasionally served a purpose. Right now, they are clearly detrimental. We have created a society that produces desensitization, apathy, and isolation in a large part of its populous. We are producing psychopaths by the dozen, and our expensive and stigmatized mental health care system can hardly keep the lid on them. Then, when one of them runs amuck, we plaster it all over the media, keeping it in the collective consciousness and reminding the others that they, too, can go out with a bang.

 

That said, civilians should not be allowed to own assault rifles. I heard RFK was killed with a .22, but some of more recent shootings have involved legally obtained automatic weapons, and that just shouldn't be. We should at least pretend we're trying to keep people safe.

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I have a feeling that these events would become a lot less common if we stopped sensationalizing them and putting the killer in the spotlight. How he killed his victims isn't relevant; guns didn't drive him to do what he did. They are an effective tool, but there are plenty of others.

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There are other tools, but there are very few that are literally as easy as point and shoot. You don't even need to be very good at the shooting with an extended magazine and semiautomatic weapon.

 

—Alorael, who can understand wanting to hunt. It's a right worth preserving. He can understand wanting to be able to defend oneself. That's more problematic, given the damning statistics on guns in the home, but the intent is laudable. Neither of these requires the kinds of weapons routinely sold in America. You don't need to send a hail of lead into a deer or a rogue gunman.

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I have a feeling that these events would become a lot less common if we stopped sensationalizing them and putting the killer in the spotlight. How he killed his victims isn't relevant; guns didn't drive him to do what he did. They are an effective tool, but there are plenty of others.

 

We had someone go crazy with a modified bulldozer in Granby a few years back, but he mainly went after buildings and ended up being the only casualty. A methodical, planned mass killing can be carried out with household items. But the vast majority of them chose guns. Automatic weapons in particular, seem to attract the sort of people most likely to use them. At least, the assault rifle owners I know are pretty unstable.

 

The bottom line is that, when the horror fades, we're going to want to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. We're not going to fix society or cure every violent person in a day, but gun control is an issue quite within our power to alter.

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I am leery of the temptation to ban guns entirely. [...] to rising against a corrupt government, they have occasionally served a purpose.

On the other hand, guns aren't necessary in order to successfully bring down a corrupt government, as this tweet succinctly demonstrates.

 

Dikiyoba.

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Over here you need permits to have guns and to get a permit you must specify a valid and pressing reason as to why you want to have a gun.

(It doesn't actually work because of the huge number of illegal gun manufacturers and corrupt authorities, but personally I think it's a good method if implemented well)

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I'm all in favor of strict gun control, despite having grown up in a house full of rifles. My father collected them, and some of his friends did, too. He and they were all very stable and competent people, and their interest was historical. Most of them were soldiers, and collected old rifles the way farmers might collect old tractors. There should in principle be ways of making it much harder for wackos to get hold of Uzis, without making guys like my dad give up their property.

 

But I'm seriously worried that it's an exercise in putting the genie back in the bottle, especially in the United States. There are just so mind-bogglingly many firearms out there, floating around the country. The things have after all been mass produced for about two hundred years. It sounds easy to say that we'll just pass some laws, but legislation doesn't bring control unless you can enforce it. In Canada, handguns and automatic weapons have been very tightly restricted for decades — if I remember rightly, you can only own them at all if you already owned them back in the early '80s when the last laws were passed, and if you do own a handgun or machine gun, you have apply for a special police permit any time you want to bring it out of your house. In the last decade, the Canadian government tried to get everyone in the country to register all their rifles and shotguns. I find this hard to understand, but somehow the cost of merely implementing the database that would store all this information rocketed to around a billion dollars, or something, and they still hadn't gotten all that many people's rifles registered. The program was extremely unpopular in rural Canada, and didn't really resonate all that well in cities, either, because the gun violence people fear is all from handguns and machine guns. So it was recently scrapped completely.

 

Legislating about firearms in the US is probably a lot like legislating about electronic devices. There are so many of them out there. Just how are you going to control them all?

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—Alorael, who can understand wanting to hunt. It's a right worth preserving. He can understand wanting to be able to defend oneself.

 

I can understand the hunting thing. There's a few guys I work with that do it when they can. Although they do own a couple rifles, they are still dumbfounded at how anyone could bear themselves in the U.S to walk into a school armed to the teeth. As for self defence, you don't need a weapon. I did Taekwon Do for about 3 years, and since there were always kids attending the classes, we were always told that running away is your best defence.

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But I don't understand, what apart from hunting (or historical interest) is a reason for carrying a gun, anyway ? What exactly do you mean by self-defense - is it what you do when a street-gunner goes wild and begins shooting everyone in sight, or when a burglar breaks into your house and threatens you? What level of gun-usage would come under the term, I mean would that legally justify your shooting him down ?

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In the US you are usually justified to use a gun in self defense if you feel that you are threaten even if the person doesn't have a weapon. There are lots of state laws that cover specific situations like "stand your ground" where you are justified if someone threatens you. However unless you are on your own property or threaten with a weapon it may be hard to justify self defense.

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Law abiding citizens choose not to commit crimes.

 

People who choose to commit crimes, will do so, violating any and every law intended to thwart them.

 

yes this is definitely true and not at all a false dichotomy. we should either give life sentences to anyone who jaywalks because clearly they're all a danger to society, or legalise murder because law-abiding citizens won't murder anyone anyway. wait no both of those ideas are insane and you're being ridiculous again

 

you're being very short-sighted by looking only at the end user of the gun. even if we take it as a given that a would-be spree killer won't have any qualms about acquiring a gun illegally, they still have to find someone else who's willing to commit a crime by selling them the gun in the first place. in countries with well-implemented gun control that's easier said than done: at some point somebody who acquired a gun legally has to be willing to sell it illegally, at the risk of facing criminal charges and compromising their ability to legally acquire guns in future. never mind respect for the law or any of that, from a pure cost/benefit perspective it doesn't make sense to sell a gun illegally under those conditions

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Ah, but jaywalking puts no one's life at risk but one's own, and the probability of that is quite low.

 

But your second point is valid. Would be criminals would not be as likely to commit a crime if they were not enabled by others. But not everyone who enables a criminal is a criminal themselves. There is still no way to verify an individuals intent when they walk into a gun shop. Background checks only reveal so much, because much of the data needed to profile an individuals state of mind is shielded from review by the Privacy Act and by the HIPAA rules that protect the privacy of ones medical records. And the last time I checked, mental health is covered by HIPAA.

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This is the one time I read a news flash where even I couldnt quite fathom what happened. I had a tough time reading the Aurora shooting but this one was with children. Not saying that it made a difference but its still kind of hard to figure out why someone would do such a thing. Somebody at my job just mentioned the same thing. Its almost becoming where you cant go somewhere with friends or family without somebody doing such a thing.

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because our 24/7 news media can’t actually do journalism, CNN, MSNBC, FOX and others have all just helped ruin someone’s life because they posted headline pictures of the wrong [censored]ing Ryan Lanza.

Facebook groups calling for his death have already been created. Apparently it’s now open season on anyone named Ryan Lanza.

 

Note that even the "right" Ryan Lanza is the shooter's brother, while the shooter is already dead. How does that even...

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In the U.S., we also have the complication of a certain Constitutional provision explicitly granting all citizens the right to own weaponry. Given its origins and intent, and its continuing applicability (I live ten minutes from Camden, NJ, and the escalation of violence there is not something one can merely legislate away; the state has been trying for decades. Also, most of the weapons used in the current record-breaking murder streak were obtained illegally.), one cannot deny that right.

 

On the other hand, it also is very true that the social responsibilities of government demand a very strict regulation of the trafficking of weapons. In New Jersey, there is a very extensive process (spanning from six months to two years, depending on how hard one fights through the bureaucracy) of paperwork, training, and referral designed to only grant licenses to determined, responsible citizens. Yet ultimately this only discourages future escalation, it doesn't outright prevent anything, and it solves nothing.

 

Trying to find a balance between the two (and in this regard, I'm all for regulation and documentation, as it allows for the fulfillment of rights while discouraging the abuse thereof) has been of major political importance in the US for many decades. After all, while a man is entitled to hunt and defend himself... in the eyes of most victims of gun violence, direct or indirect, the exisence of even one gun in the world is one too many.

One of our local news personalities actually did an interview with President Obama on Thursday, and one of the topics covered was, ironically enough, gun violence. They've only released snippets so far, but I will post a link if they actually put the whole thing up. From what I've seen, it will be very informative.

 

 

 

As for Sandy Hook itself, I am praying that more information surrounding the shooter's motives comes to light; thus quelling the wild mass guessing of the world, and answering that most grave question that plagues us all right now: why children?

 

And while the controversey of availability of firearms and other issues (I have seen people cite this tragic event as support for regulation of firearms, deregulation of firearms, tighter inter-state security (seriously), a cry against abortion, and an entire network of people I know have used it to justify their opinion that public schools are evil) may come up, I think we need to drop the self-righteous tirades and the crusades long enough to properly mourn the fact that many lives have been unwillingly ended through the selfish and viloent acts of a single person. We must take the time to come to grips with the changes that we need to make within ourselves, as these will change the world far more quickly than mere regulation.

And then we must act upon them. Anything else would be disrespectful of the pure potential that died yesterday.

 


The Silent Assassin has very little to say about gun control.

However, he is a trained infantry Rifleman, and shortly after he recieved this training, he pointed out to me that people who respect the power of their weapons do not use them lightly. It is, unfortunately, the people who do not respect that power that tend to wind up in the headlines.

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On the other hand, guns aren't necessary in order to successfully bring down a corrupt government, as this tweet succinctly demonstrates.

 

Dikiyoba.

 

Generalities like that are, well, tricky. Corrupt governments can bring themselves down (Nixon), they can be voted out of office, popular protests can bring about their demise (Tunisia), or violence may be necessary (Syria). It all depends on the political culture. That said, the political culture of the United States is one with high amounts of deference (at least nominally) to democracy.

 

Concerning people who complain about the politicization of this event... Yes, it's a tragedy. But things like this (unfortunately) happen too often, in countries life Afghanistan, China, the United States, and Norway. I can't pretend that I'm particularly grief stricken or emotionally handicapped, though I know that many are. Moreover, though, I feel like it's a sly political agenda to try to silence discussions of gun control, mental health systems, etc. because they're "disrespectful" to the deceased. What could be more respectful than to make sure they died for some cause, to make sure others don't suffer the same fate?

 

If now isn't the time to discuss gun control or whatever controversial measure we might muster up, when would be? Those who don't want to change the system we have in place have this brilliant maneuver where they silence the debate just as it is raised, supposedly in honor of the deceased. This has the effect of silencing opposition and forcing tacit consent, until the pain of the memories fade and the system continues running along in the background.

 

Now is the time to have these discussions. As Lyndon B. Johnson said of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after Kennedy's assassination, "No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long." There is no more eloquent way to honor the fallen of yesterday's shooting than to attempt to prevent whatever systemic causes led to their deaths from recurring.

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My question is, why isn't more being done to handle things like this? I'm not talking about gun control or other preventitive measures, and I'll admit I'm probably talking out of the wrong end here since it's been ~16 years (give or take) since I attended a public school, but I'm talking about how it seems that, once the shooting starts, the school is effectively at the shooter's mercy. I mean, it seems pretty plain to me that if you can't prevent an attack like this, you should at least take measures to limit the amount of damage they can do; yet it seems like the only thing the schools' faculty and student body can do is call the cops, hunker down, and pray to whatever deity they worship that the shooter passes them by.

 

Why not have panic buttons or alarms that bring every squad car and officer in a 10 mile radius screaming right to the school's front door? Why not train the faculty how to respond in a dangerous situation like this where every second counts? Why not have guards or security personnel with ballistic vests on premises and trained to respond and deal with a situation like this (preferably armed, if not with firearms, than with less lethal tasers, teargas, tonfas, so forth)? Why not have a barricade inside the classrooms that can be lowered to keep an intruder out? It seems like there's a dozen different things that could be done to help limit the damage an incident like this can do, yet it seems like they instead are hiding behind a shield of "oh, this could never happen to us..."

 

I mean, everyone seems to be focusing on doing things to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening, but no one's focusing on putting active countermeasures in place for when it inevitably does. And it just bugs me. It should take a whole lot more than just walking in with a handgun or assault weapon to put a school, a place where people entrust their children, completely at the shooter's (likely lack of) mercy.

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That might well be a good idea. But I'm not sure. It might also not be.

 

There are really a lot of schools. Crimes like this one are thankfully rare. We may simply not have enough resources to put so much emergency response equipment in place, for the sake of such rare events. A lot of private schools in the US can easily afford to turn themselves into fortresses. A lot of public schools have a hard time paying for books and fixing the windows. How are they going to pay for guards with tasers?

 

Or it might even conceivably do more harm than good. If enough schools all have emergency alarm systems to bring cops and ambulances running, then at some point there could be more lives lost from false alarms taking the police away from where they were really needed, than saved from real attacks on schools.

 

I'm not saying any of those problems are impossible to solve, only that they have to be looked into, before trying to load up schools with lots of new equipment.

 

And I'm not just nay-saying. I would love to think that something could be done about horrors like this, which seem to happen every few years in the USA, but do also occur in other countries. But to do something expensive but ineffective, in order to enjoy the illusion of having made things better, might be the very thing that makes it impossible to do something else that might really have helped. Mounting armed guards in every school sounds to me, at first thought, like it might be the same league with cutting highway fatalities by installing airbags in every guardrail across the continent. It would help, but it just can't be done. But I'd love to learn that this reaction was wrong.

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@Nioca:

After my high school's first big bomb scare (circ 2000), we started doing disaster drills. Alongside of the regular state-mandated fire drills, evacuations, and, after 9/11, blackouts, there was a plan for the event in which a shooter entered the building. It's very simple: shut the lights off, grab EVERYTHING, and cram everyone against the wall that has the door, then lock the door, thus making it look like the room is unused, and therefore giving no reason for anyone to enter. Given the layout of our classrooms, this would also put any invader at physical disadvantage, as their position would be given away by entry, and they would be most vulnerable while getting through the door.

Past that, it was never said outright, but it was implied that the teacher or a physically larger student would have to engage the invader outright.

It's not technically a barricade, mind you, and thinking about it, such methods would only work for the (relative) maturity of older students, but at least we understood that that though the event of a threat on the school was remarkably unlikely, the preparation would still be of benefit.

 

Most schools around here now require keycards for entry or have remote-controlled locks (show your PID to the camera), so getting in to drop off a friend's forgotten lesson plans is a huge pain, let alone trying to break in.

I used to think such measures were excessive, as it is quite easy to get through security with the proper reason and sufficient patience, and so a cold-blooded murderer could easily lie their way in. Of course, in the years since, I've learned that such measures are excellent deterrents for crimes of passion or stupidity (that first bomb scare, for example, involved a student who came to school high, and thought it would be a hilarious practical joke.)

 

 

Oooh. Thought, considering barricades: you know those roll-down garage-like metal doors that are used for shops and such when they're closed (I see them all the time in Camden. even churches use them)? I wonder how much it would cost to install those, like on the inside of a classroom door frame. It's a better barricade than just a lock, and while not outright bulletproof, it would certainly help.

 


The Silent Assassin wishes you a Happy Hanukkah. Because he hasn't done so yet.
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I'm not saying any of those problems are impossible to solve, only that they have to be looked into, before trying to load up schools with lots of new equipment.

I agree. My point is less "do this/these specific thing(s)" and more a question of what can be done to actively stop or minimize the damage of an in-progress event. It just seems like it's getting passed over in favor of preventive lines of defense (like legislation). Preventitive measures are great and have plenty of merit, but IMO, they shouldn't be the only line of defense, and I think there'd be a lot of merit to having something which could actively help reduce the amount of harm a spree like this could do. Obviously, different things would be better for different areas.

 

Lenar: Around here, there's absolutely nothing. You can just freely waltz into the school whenever it's open, and the only thing that might stop you is a hall monitor (which are unlikely to stop someone with a handgun or automatic, regardless of how stern they are). I like the idea of the roll-down metal door, though.

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Back 500 years ago, this happened on a regular basis and the people that did it were either made example of or escaped and moved to a new country, usually the 1st. Now, in this day and age, it still happens in the middle east. The rest of us in all other countries cringe when we see this as we are not used to this ridiculously evil behavior. I myself have found that I refuse to read through each of these articles as they are infectious to my brain.

 

Edit-To Jeff, We need at least 2-3 of your positive readings from your blog. That might be the only thing that I can read through right now.

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There's no real need for a panic button when calling 911 is just as effective and conveys the exact level of emergency well. Phones are cheap and widespread. And now, with cellphones, you often don't even need to be near a built-in line. The problem is really that police aren't instantaneous.

 

Security guards might help, but getting someone who's really competent to take on a shooter is expensive. Getting someone competent who would then actually do so and not hunker down like everyone else, that's really expensive; it's not in any job description besides military or police, really. And you'd need several of them. You'd be creating a school police force. Like SoT, I worry about how workable this is. And every armed guard is another gun that a disgruntled person can seize by overpowering the unsuspecting carrier. It might facilitate crimes of passion.

 

Locks? Apparently the gunman forced his way into the building, possibly through a window. At some point keeping trouble out of your school becomes impractical if someone is willing to shoot his way in Bars on every window and a bullet-proof lock? I guess it could work, and schools as armored fortresses might be a price worth paying to prevent these tragedies. But again, there are a lot of schools. That's a lot of renovation.

 

—Alorael, who thinks one of the greatest problems with locking down a school is that it only happens when trouble has already started. When children are being shot it's great to get everyone you can to safety, but it's by definition too late for some of them. Higher-tech, more widespread, and more substantial tools for warding classrooms still can't save the first classroom. Or maybe the second.

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Restore the assault weapons ban and institute a gun buyback program. Look at what other countries have done. Australia has effectively halted mass murders.

 

Stop talking about "gun control" and start calling it "mass murder weapon control". Apparently, some of the gun nuts (like my liberal Congressman, John Dingell) need to be reminded that measures to reduce mass murder are more than worth it.

 

If we can spend a fortune on <fill in your least favorite federal program here> then we can afford to buy back guns.

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Restore the assault weapons ban and institute a gun buyback program. Look at what other countries have done. Australia has effectively halted mass murders.

 

Stop talking about "gun control" and start calling it "mass murder weapon control". Apparently, some of the gun nuts (like my liberal Congressman, John Dingell) need to be reminded that measures to reduce mass murder are more than worth it.

 

If we can spend a fortune on <fill in your least favorite federal program here> then we can afford to buy back guns.

You make it sound so cut-and-dry, and it's really not. Banning guns tends to be a hit-and-miss measure. Sometimes, it works, and overall violence drops. Other times, it actually causes violent crime to increase. And sometimes, it does nothing. If banning guns was a sure-fire way to stop violence, it would have been done a long time ago. But it's not; It's a big and very complicated issue (Pro- and anti- gun advocates are doing little to help the issue; It's surprisingly difficult to get solid facts and statistics, since most sources and sturdies tend to be slanted to the viewpoint of either anti- or pro-, rather than neutral. Not to mention the pleathora of different factors and such that can impact gun violence and overall violence).

 

I personally am in favor of an assault weapons ban, simply because I believe no civilian (barring security and paramilitary organizations) needs the kind of firepower a machine pistol, SMG, assault rifle, or other rapid-firing machine gun can provide. But I also find the idea of a gun buyback rather laughable, simply because the whole idea is flawed on a fundamental level: namely, that people will just turn over their guns because the government says so. They tried gun buyback for a few years here in the US. It was ineffective and an utter waste of taxpayer dollars. There is a "Gun Bounty" system in place in a few Florida cities which specifically target illegal guns that's showing greater promise, though. Being a Michigander, though, I really don't have the details on the gun bounty system beyond what Wikipedia provides.

 

P.S. Please refrain from calling gun supporters "gun nuts". Just because someone supports second amendment rights to carry firearms or owns a gun does not make them a trigger-happy homicidal lunatic.

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Gun buybacks in the US have been either for guns that are illegal or voluntary. I'm unaware of any cases like Australia's, where there was a new ban on gun types followed by a nation-wide, compulsory return gun, get money deal. In the US the hurdle is really the illegality; if the guns were banned, the payment for them would really follow as a necessity. I think it would largely work; most gun owners are more interested in legality than in having their guns, although there would certainly be some nuts (and I do think at this point it becomes nutty) who would hold on to the now-illegal firearms to defend against state encroachment on their rights.

 

—Alorael, who simply doesn't see this as something that will happen anytime in the foreseeable future. There's already no will to ban guns, and there are around 300 million firearms in the USA. Having to pay billions of dollars to buy back even a fraction of them is going to get every Republican and many Democrats to refuse.

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The average cost of a gun is several hundred dollars. They are expensive items. You can't make much of a firearm in your backyard. You bet you're not going to be able to get support for a buy-back program offering less than top dollar. So the cost climbs to a couple hundred billion, just to buy back all the guns. Administering the program, and doing something with all that metal, will probably multiply that.You could spread the costs over many years, and if the measure worked, the cost would be no object. The problem is just that the 'let's try it anyway because it's cheap and easy' argument won't fly. It's not cheap and easy. So you have to really convince people that the big gun buy-back will work, and save kids, and that may not be easy.

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This came up before, but I don't think it was quite answered: is there a legitimate purpose for a civilian to have the kind of gun that was used in this incident? I'm not a gun expert, but it seems as though there's a difference between a gun for hunting/self-defense and a gun for mass murder, and I'm not sure that there's any good reason in this day and age for anybody outside the military to have the latter.

 

The Second Amendment is in a weird legal place, because it most directly butts up against the sharpest divides over interpreting the Constitution. The Second Amendment plainly says that its purpose is to enable state militias. State militias are unambiguously defunct. What do you do with a law that is plainly and unambiguously unable to fulfill its original purpose?

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The Second Amendment is in a weird legal place, because it most directly butts up against the sharpest divides over interpreting the Constitution. The Second Amendment plainly says that its purpose is to enable state militias. State militias are unambiguously defunct. What do you do with a law that is plainly and unambiguously unable to fulfill its original purpose?

 

well ideally you'd amend the constitution to get rid of it but ahahahahahahaha good luck with that

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This came up before, but I don't think it was quite answered: is there a legitimate purpose for a civilian to have the kind of gun that was used in this incident? I'm not a gun expert, but it seems as though there's a difference between a gun for hunting/self-defense and a gun for mass murder, and I'm not sure that there's any good reason in this day and age for anybody outside the military to have the latter.

I'm presuming you mean the carbine here. To which my answer is... maybe? Maybe not? To avoid superfluous technical details, the gun was basically a semiauto-only variant of an M4 Carbine. I could see a tiny bit of use for long range sporting contests, but honestly, it's really sort of pushing the limits of reason (maybe if you got into some seriously deep crap and managed to tick off an entire gang or something, but honestly, it's ridiculously overkill for all but the most absurdly extreme personal defense scenarios).

 

well ideally you'd amend the constitution to get rid of it but ahahahahahahaha good luck with that

Especially with how little most people* in the US trust the government anymore (which is another reason why a buyback might hit a lot of resistance).

 

*I admit this is a generalization, but frankly, I haven't seen anything to indicate the contrary.

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I'm presuming you mean the carbine here. To which my answer is... maybe? Maybe not? To avoid superfluous technical details, the gun was basically a semiauto-only variant of an M4 Carbine. I could see a tiny bit of use for long range sporting contests, but honestly, it's really sort of pushing the limits of reason (maybe if you got into some seriously deep crap and managed to tick off an entire gang or something, but honestly, it's ridiculously overkill for all but the most absurdly extreme personal defense scenarios).

 

if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to shoot more than one person, you may have more problems than shooting people can solve

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if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to shoot more than one person, you may have more problems than shooting people can solve

That has to be the understatement of the year.

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That's another place where perspective matters. Defenders of gun rights will claim that a semiautomatic, high power, extended clip gun is necessary to be sure you can stop a killer before he can kill you. Others will simply say hobbyists have the rights to any guns for target practice or just the pride of ownership. There's no agreement.

 

—Alorael, who maintains that if you need to send out a rapid hail of gunfire to get your target you have no business using a gun. If you can't manage in the capacity of a normal magazine something is wrong.

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...if you need to send out a rapid hail of gunfire to get your target you have no business using a gun. If you can't manage in the capacity of a normal magazine something is wrong.

 

Truth.

 

 

I too, while supporting the right to own firearms, see no reason for civilians to carry automatic weapons. While a single shot can be used for sport, or to disarm or disable, a spray of bullets only either controls crowds or kills.

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I can think of one last issue that I'd like to raise, that has been hinted at in this topic, and that's systematic violence in schools. Sure, these huge flashpoints of violence are startling and tragic, but the tragedy that gets blinded by these flashpoints is the background radiation of violence that permeates the school system. Bullying, emotional and physical, abuse, trauma, conflict. These are issues that rarely get any public attention until it's too late and someone has killed themselves, others, or both.

 

Moreover, the message I got growing up in a post-Columbine world is that people who are bullied incessantly are going to be the ones committing the next school shooting. It was a view that was shared throughout the student body, which I've only recently become more critical of in my reflections. I think it gives an undercurrent of fear of potential ramifications to bullying, thus stigmatizing the victim, because as far as I can see it certainly doesn't actually prevent bullying. That said, I've never really seen any of the stereotypical "physical" bullying that is mentioned from time to time.

 

I'm tempted to say that systematic violence has more long term effects than do these school shootings scenarios, but I can't really measure that at all. Rather, I'll just say that both are serious and both have long term detrimental effects on society.

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When "insanity" isn't even a medical term anymore, what are the broader cultural effects that this has on society?

 

Well, thank Skribane it is not: it's a legal term.

 

 

Also I believe you were correct in bringing these two seemingly unrelated events in one post. They might be related to the changes within our society at large, and the news of a failed revolution which describe as systemic violence. Of course there will be always killers, but the killings seem to have a certain pattern.

 

Where they inflicted on minorities?

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Semi-automatic weapons are self-loading. You pull the trigger, and then you can just pull the trigger again, without having to work a bolt or a lever or anything. Fully automatic means that the weapon will keep firing at some fixed rate, usually quite rapid, as long as you hold the trigger down.

 

There is virtually no reason for hand-held automatic weapons, even in military use. The only machine guns most armies use are bigger things, with tripods or at least bipods. The handheld things are extremely dangerous, in that you can fire off a fast hail of bullets that might very well hurt or kill a lot of people. They are not reliable for self-defense, though, because despite what you see in the action movies, it is essentially impossible to aim that hail of bullets. Seriously: what trained soldiers learn is not how to aim submachine guns, but that you can't really aim them. If you keep an Uzi under your bed to defend yourself from murderous intruders, you are alarmingly likely to fire off all your ammunition without hitting any of the intruders. You would probably be better defended with a baseball bat.

 

Semi-automatic weapons are not so hard to control, and are typical for military use. So there might be an argument that they're useful for self-defense. They're not very plausible for hunting, though, because animals don't stick around to be shot at twice, even if the second shot comes fast. Old-fashioned bolt-action rifles are quite fine for hunting any game. If you feel you need more firepower than that, you should just become a better hunter. Bolt-action rifles are also still dangerous to people, though. They killed a lot of people in the World Wars, and an expert can fire them awfully fast. So I'd say it's not really true that anyone needs semi-automatic weapons for self-defense, either. By the same token, cutting back to only old-fashioned bolt-action rifles won't prevent gun massacres. But they might slow them down a bit, and they might even discourage them a bit, just because firing a bolt action rifle takes a bit more physical skill, and is less like a video game.

 

Handguns are normally semi-automatic. They're scary and dangerous because they can be concealed, and because they can swing around quickly, so it's quite easy to hit someone accidentally with them. It's also quite hard to hit something on purpose with them. Unless you really know what you are doing, you would again very likely be better defended with a bat. Handguns have no application in hunting, and they don't make much sense for home defense even if you are an expert pistol shot, because you don't need to conceal a weapon in your own home. They are arguably a legitimate sporting item. Pistol shooting at targets is a difficult skill, and some kind of primitive predator instinct makes all kinds of target-hitting games somehow rewarding. So you might argue that if someone enjoys target shooting with a pistol, and doesn't intend to harm anyone else, then they should be able to do it. The way I see it, though, you could say the same for crack cocaine. At some point the danger to society just outweighs the right to individual enjoyment. You could make a simulator that would be really pretty close to the experience of firing a real pistol, and that would be close enough to the sport, if you ask me.

 

I grew up with all these things, I fired pistols and machine guns on military ranges with my father when I was a child, and as a reserve infantry officer I ran military ranges myself. Bolt action rifles don't bother me, as long as they're not pointing my way. Semi-automatic rifles in civilian hands disturb me a lot. Submachine guns and handguns scare the bejeebus out of me. They are so dangerous, and of so little genuine use. I don't even really think the police should be carrying them. I doubt that the average cop knows enough what he or she is doing with their sidearm to be doing more good than harm with it. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who's packing a handgun is indeed a gun nut, and a danger to society, even if they don't think they are. I would leave a restaurant to avoid being near one, if I saw one.

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Apparently, I wasn't alone in thinking that armed personnel might be the answer; a bill just passed the Michigan House and Senate (and is awaiting the governers approval) that would allow anyone with concealed carry rights who take extra training to carry a concealed firearm into schools, daycares, hospitals, and other public places (although I imagine you'd still be restricted from carrying onto state property unless you were a police officer or state/federal agent).

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So when some someone comes in with a gun, the staff can shoot back... And hopefully not panic and shoot the wrong person. Or miss and hit someone else. Or add to the panic, and prevent people from getting away. Etc.

 

IMO this is an absolutely loopy idea. It is in the realm of action movie fantasy, not real life. If the Michigan bill is genuine, I sincerely hope it does not pass.

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