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My long car ride mourning the victims “regardless of the politics”

My long car ride mourning the victims “regardless of the politics”

I’ve been out of pocket pretty much since the first sketchy reports this morning about a possible school shooting.  A meeting, a luncheon and then 6 hours in the car.

The car ride was enlightening because I followed the details of the Connecticut school shooting exclusively by listening to the radio.

As in all these cases, the facts changed as the day went on.  First, it was a mass shooting with a semi-automatic assault rifle, which the news reports noted would put back on the political table the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.  The latest reports indicate that an assault weapon was not fired. [See update]

Then it was a shooting with handguns, which the news reports noted would put back on the political table hand gun control.  The latest reports indicate the assailant killed his own mother to get her legally licensed and registered handguns, along with a long rifle which was not fired.

Then reports trickled out that the assailant had a history of mental illness and/or personality disorder.  Those details are not confirmed as of this writing.  If true, it would fit the pattern of Jared Loughner (who shot Gabby Giffords and killed several others) and James Holmes (who killed 12 people at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater), people who were known to suffer from dangerous mental problems which were not reported by professionals and educators out of a concern for patient and student privacy rights and the lack of a specific demonstrable threat.

What did not change was the politics.  From the beginning of the day, the shooting has been used for political purposes.

When Obama, in his otherwise good speech, stated:

And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

I knew that the meaningful action would be all about politics.

Will we address the culture of violence generated by liberal Hollywood, evidenced in the Django movie and Jamie Foxx’s boast that he enjoyed killing white people in the movie? I doubt it.

Will we address mental health and educational privacy laws, which instill fear of legal liability for reporting potentially violent mentally ill people to law enforcement? I doubt it.

Will we address the sensitive civil liberties issue of civil commitment laws?  I doubt it.

Will we address the shooting by a frank and honest assessment of whether gun control in the form of a de facto ban on lawful possession of firearms really works, given the level of violence in places like Chicago which have such a de facto ban already? I doubt it.

Banning guns not only is unconstitutional, in a free society it would be no more effective than banning drugs, and truly would leave guns only in the hands of criminals.

Will we address what kind of society we would have to have in order to impose the type of gun control which exists in a place like China, where an attack on school children by a knife-wielding assailant injured 22 students just yesterday, but did not result in any deaths?  I doubt it.

What exactly is the “meaningful action” to be taken to prevent an obviously sick person from killing his own mother and then going to a kindergarten to shoot children?

The easy answer of more gun control would not have changed today.  Today took place in a state which has gun control and in which all the rules were followed, except by the homicidal killer who would not have cared about any rules.

The seemingly easy answers will be all about the politics.

In the meantime, the other benefit of the long car ride was that I had a lot of time to mourn the loss of the innocents today, to listen to people in the community talk about how they rushed to school to find their children, and to know that there but for fortune may go you or I.

Update:  On Saturday the medical examiner said the rifle was used in the shooting, contrary to all prior reports that it was left in the car and the shooting was with handguns.


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Yes, we are heartbroken.

I must, however, repeat my earlier comment:

It appears the perpetrator was mentally ill. Remember Gabby Giffords? That guy was ill too. Why aren’t we having a debate why so many sick people are allowed to roam free?
Instead, the same ideology which pushed for deinstitutionalization is now immediately pushing for controlling the sane majority. The result: More defenseless people.
Why is it that the ones with the sane ideas can’t ever shape the discussion a sensible way, while the ones cynically using every opportunity to push their destructive, ineffective political agenda get their way? I just don’t get it!! Let’s all work to start this debate. It’s overdue.

    I agree completely. While born of some good intentions, the movement for deinstitutionalization shifted the burden off the federal and state authorities onto the family and community of the mentally ill, many of which were simply not equipped to deal with the more extreme cases. Now we’ve swung from one end of the spectrum to the other: Prior to the 1950’s when this movement began, patients might have been unnecessarily institutionalized in an overzealous attempt to protect the public from the mere possibility the patient could commit a crime. Fast forward to what we have now where no one is held in custody until after the crime is committed, and it begs the question….which is the better alternative? On top of that, today we have a thriving pharmaceutical industry and doctors dispensing psychotropic drugs like candy, and we have a perfect storm. We as a society created this perfect storm over several decades, the root of which is our collective attitude toward mental illness as a behavioral vs. a medical issue. We’ve been merely treating the symptoms for years, instead we need to figure out how to solve the root problem before we can be free of tragedies like today’s massacre.

      Kenshu Ani in reply to GAPeachy. | December 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

      You left out one element of the perfect storm: Media sensationalism.

      You have wall to wall media coverage with media vultures doing everything they can to keep people watching commercials between “breaking news.” Then you get that one mentally ill person that is negelected. Psychotropic drugs easily acquired; many times from the patients that should be taking them instead selling them. Then that little devil inside his head tells him, “That should be you they are talking about. Maybe you should try to top that and they will be talking about you instead.”

      News should be reported, but we don’t really need special computer graphics with a glamorous name for the case; along with special mood stiring music. We especially don’t need 24/7 coverage of interviews with grieving family members.

        Joan Of Argghh in reply to Kenshu Ani. | December 15, 2012 at 7:44 am

        Obama responds with tears. Israel responds with teeth.

        If the children are our future, as we love to say, then why are we not protecting them like Fort Knox?

        Afford ALL children the sense of adults-in-charge being serious about their protection from real threats, not just globull warming bs.

    Observer in reply to gottarideduc. | December 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

    The Tucson shooter, the Aurora Colorado (Batman movie) shooter, the Oregon school shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter — all of them had long histories of mental illness. Now we have another mass-shooting tragedy, perpetrated by yet another mentally ill young male, and the left’s response is to demand more laws to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding, rational folks.

    It’s nuts.

I will be curious to learn the background of this guy’s life. I wonder if his mother knew or understood how mentally unbalanced her son was? So many mothers will not admit there is something wrong with their children. You hear all the time about mothers saying about a son or daughter robbing, killing or just beating someone up that they were such good kids who got into bad company. I wonder if this mother was like that or if she tried to get help for him but could not. I guess it really makes no difference one way or another. People have been senselessly killed by someone not in their right mind. I grieve for the little children who were killed or hurt and their families who are mourning them. It is just heartbreaking.

Nothing short of a national confiscation of all guns could possibly have an effect on such crimes. That, however, is exactly what the socialists desire. But lives will be lost as criminals could prey on the public with no fear.

Last year, more than 30,000 persons died in automobile accidents. Why aren’t the moonbats screaming for a 35 MPH speed limit? Or better, let’s ban cars!

As you brought up drugs, I beg to differ. The weakness of youth combined with readily available pot will destroy many lives. It’s like welfare, which is one reason why welfare should be banned except in the most extreme cases.

    logos in reply to JerryB. | December 15, 2012 at 10:01 am


    Banning PRIVATE ownership of cars is on the leftist agenda, too. It’s just a little further down the road. Then we can all be equally impoverished – as in Cuba

Gun control: Something bad happened. The government should respond by bullying innocent people.

First, may the victims rest in peace.

Second, there is no way to absolutely prevent a crime. The criminal, by virtue of their freewill, always has the advantage.

There are three legitimate responses to this incident. First, it is reasonable to request owners of firearms to secure their weapons when not in their direct possession. Second, people must understand that law enforcement is principally a reactive element in preserving the peace, which means ordinary people must remain aware of their environment, including aberrant behavior of people in the vicinity (proximity enables comparative analysis). Third, people don’t necessarily need to be armed, but the possibility of an armed target must always be in the criminal’s mind. The only way to preserve our rights when subject to involuntary or fraudulent exploitation, is to increase the risk or opportunity cost for commission of a crime. It is competing interests which keep honest people honest and others from running amuck.

    RobM in reply to n.n. | December 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Good points all, but about securing firearms, it would not have mattered ( I’m obviously guessing) that he lived with his Mom. Even if her handguns were locked up, he probably would have known where to get the key after he shot her to death. I bet the M-4 was in the trunk of her car and he didn’t know it was back there.. just my guess.

Meteorologists have a hard enough time predicting the weather. Human behavior is infinitely more complicated. We are not machines. As a psychiatrist, I know that any professional’s ability to predict the behavior of one person is poor unless one knows the exact influences the person is experiencing and there is a previously demonstrated pattern of behavior under such a constellation of influences.

All of these mass shootings are one time events on the part of any one individual. Hence, they cannot be predicted in the absence of statements of intention, threats, etc., or knowledge of motivational factors.

If Adam Lanza had a mental illness which resulted in his feeling inferior and hopeless in that regard, he might have felt that his mother cared for her students at the school more than she cared for him, or that they were better than he. Angry at his mother, he shot her, and then killed those little children whose life promise seemed so much better than his own.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to nomadic100. | December 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    As a forensic psychologist with decades experience, I personally would not be so bold to claim ability to predict behavior no matter how much I knew of a given person.

    It is also presumptive to declare he killed his mother out of anger. He may have killed her simply for access to her weapons. He may have killed her due to command hallucinations, which brings up the fact of ‘the dirty little secret’, as Rush would put it, that misdiagnosis in psychiatry and psychology suffers a greater prevalence than any of us in the fields care to admit. Ours is a field 90% in the gray zone.

    The shooter is reported to have had a personality disorder and Aspergers syndrome. For all we’ll know now that he’s dead, he may have been onsetting schizophrenia along with these, or was entirely misdiagnosed.

    It is too soon to know if or how much substance abuse played a role. It certainly exacerbates mental illness. Reading through symptomatic descriptions of the various personality disorders, one realizes an alcoholic may satisfy every one of them at different times.

    Most mental illness professionals know of clinicians emotionally attached to certain causes and diagnoses, the therapist who sees a ‘repressed’ history of child sexual abuse far more often than prevalency rates would allow, for example, one of many causes for misdiagnosis. How many of us have been pressured to hurry a delayed difficult diagnosis because the bean counters in admin are having difficulties with the third party payer? Some slap on their best guess, just to get the service claims rolling and their own utilization review folks off their backs.

    The only thing I can think of that might help is to extend duty to warn and duty to report requirements beyond mental health and medical clinicians.

    In a free society where a person may be murdered with a spatula, pet snake, or a lawn rake, and where individual freedoms are rightfully and vigilantly defended, prevention of this sort of crime by this sort of perpetrator is nigh on impossible.

    An aside – the terms ‘semi-automatic’ and ‘assault rifle’ are mutually exclusive. I have a semi-automatic .22 rifle, a plinker, a squirrel and rabbit gun. I could assault someone with it, but it is not an assault rifle, nor would it be were it .35 caliber, a rifle I also own.

    Assault rifles are typically military issue, rifles that often have changeable settings. You can set it for semi-auto (one shot per trigger pull), or for three shot bursts, or for fully automatic (continuous firing as long as the trigger is pulled and held and as long as the ammunition holds out). That a gun looks all Rambo-y doesn’t make it an assault rifle and to my knowledge, none of the mass shootings in American history came from a true assault rifle.

      Hi Henry,

      I’m going to quibble just for a moment.

      There is no such thing as an “assault rifle.” That is a term that the Liberal Loonies made up to be able to scare the sheeple into accepting the “assault weapons” ban as a pretense to restricting legal gun ownership.

      The proper term for the weapon you are describing is a “Service Grade Weapon.”

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Chuck Skinner. | December 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

        Exactly, Chuck. The media insists on perpetrating this ‘assault rifle’ stuff because it sounds threatening. The meaningless term has seeped into society everywhere.

      lightning in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

      As a clinician who has worked with mentally ill boys, thank you for such an honest comment. I would only add that society has been looking to our profession to perform “magic” and “cure” these illnesses with very few sessions. I am not God, just an educated clinician – I can’t fix what took 15 years in two months. The horrible new version of the DSM-V is simply a way for our profession to be compensated for attempting to treat every ailment or annoyance society is confronted with. You are sooo right that there are pet diagnoses and that misdiagnosing is very common. I will say though that there does need to be more education on schizophrenia. I truly believe that we need to rethink the deinstitutionalization that was done in the past. I do not think that in regard to this particular illness that community mental health is working. I have worked with them myself, and have seen what happens when they are left on their own in the community. It is very sad.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to lightning. | December 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

        Thank you. I am a pariah in my circles here in NC, partly due to considering honesty an ethical issue, and partly because your typical mental health staff is about, ohhhh, 99% uber-liberal.

        The community health system in NC is in a shambles, due entirely to our state’s 2002 “Mental Health Reform Act”, one of the most egregiously dishonest titles for legislation I’ve ever seen. NC state gov basically dumped all patients into the private sector, assuming newly founded private providers would pick them up. The pay rates offered by the state to private providers to provide treatment services were and remain so abysmal huge gaps formed and it became almost necessary to lie and cheat to survive them. I took referrals briefly in 2003, but experienced problems at every step: receiving, billing, etc. It was a nightmare and I’ve refused our LME (Local Management Entity) referrals ever since.

        As for schizophrenia, there is a vicious cycle highly prevalent wherein schiz patients get committed and stabilized, then released on civil rights, and then refuse to take their meds, decompensate over several months until committable again. Lather, rinse, repeat, for the rest of that patient’s life.

        NC’s MH reform wasn’t reform at all. It was an abandonment of poor mentally ill citizens for whom they are statutorily responsible. It was a scam to get out from under Medicaid debt.

        living da dream in reply to lightning. | December 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

        Tks to the clinicians for their informative posts. I was a street cop in the 60’s and 70’s and witnessed and dealt with the disastrous effect of deinstitutionalization. It created many victims and many perpetrators.

We can have either G-d or guns in our classrooms; it’s our choice.

    turfmann in reply to MSO. | December 15, 2012 at 5:24 am

    First of all, if you are going to invoke the name of the Almighty, it is spelled GOD. If you are of the opinion that He would take umbrage at the spelling out of His name do you really think that he will be assuage by your very clever substitution of a dash for an “o”?

    Either spell it out or figure out another way to make your point.

    Second, you offer a false choice, never mind the fact that we have neither God nor guns in the classroom today (although I would be shocked to learn that there weren’t fervent prayers going up, some in vain, from innocent little children to adults that haven’t set foot in a church in years in that school yesterday).

    And aren’t we the poorer for it?

    When I was a kid, not too long ago, guns were regularly part of our after school activities. We would target shoot, and while I don’t hunt, many of my friends did, all with the blessing of our parents, who made sure we understood how to handle, operate and care for them. None of them to this day has ever engaged in criminal activity with their guns.

    But today, one is ridiculed and silenced when one tries to invoke the name of the Lord in the public square, and arrested if one is found with a firearm in a school, properly and legally handled or not.

    What this terrible tragedy points out, much to the contrary of the howls of protest from the gun grabbing progressives, is that this school is testimony to the end result of the gun control efforts, not the evidence for additional legislation. It was a gun-free zone for all but the murder.

    Just one man or woman, acting upon his core beliefs delineating right from wrong, who was armed at the time of this shooting would very likely have stopped it before it became a massacre.

    And the progressive, gun grabbing left has the blood of those little children on its hands.

Well the gun-free zone certainly helped the victims today, didn’t it? No, of course it didn’t.
Why? Because…
A gun-free zone is a murder-zone.
It’s an area where someone knows they will be free to kill as many people as they can without fear of retaliation for a good 10 minutes or so, maybe more.
They only thing that stops the deadly force of a bad person is the deadly force of a good person.

This man’s Youtuber name is nutnfancy.
He used to fly refueling tankers in the Air Force.
This video was posted several hours ago.
It says everything I want to say only far better.

Oh, and another thing-

Has anyone mentioned that a man in China slashed 22 children and an adult at an elementary school today?,0,5592318.story
Had you heard about that? A man with a knife attacked 22 school children. Not having a gun didn’t stop him, did it? Bad people kill other people. Always have, always will. They will use whatever is available. Only good people weapons can stop bad people with weapons.

In reading a lot of comments here and elsewhere today, I note the same impulse we see in the face of every immense tragedy.

Humans have a good…though sometimes dangerous…drive to understand and rationalize events and forces.

We are driven so hard to that comforting place that we probe into silliness…like gun control or Gorebal climate whatever…and even careless allegation…like this is a parent’s fault.

A psychotic break, as I understand, is most common in people about the age of this shooter. I know of no art or science that could predict such an event in even a kid with a history of problems.

IF that is what happened here…and we may never know…it is just an event that nobody, and no law, could prevent.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | December 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I’ve evaluated many a prison inmate of whom I would readily say, “turn him loose and he will definitely kill somebody sooner or later”, but it would be folly for me to predict who or when, nor does it respect the fact that once in a blue moon these seriously bad boys really do get out and fly straight. In other words, sometimes I am wrong.

    How about we make a law that any violent criminal locked up in a secure mental facility be given periodic chances for parole, but if a doc lets him/her out, they spend the first six months of freedom living with that doc?

    (Yes, I realize it’s a judge who releases, based on doc report).

      Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 15, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Yah, Henry, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.

      A true psychotic break often (as I understand) has no apparent precursor…certainly not the kind of guys you speak of evaluating. There can be a lot, some, or NO history of problems.

      It happens. That’s all. And when that does happen, that person is no longer attached to reality or humanity, again as I understand and in layman’s language.

        lightning in reply to Ragspierre. | December 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

        There are warning signs, but unless you are a clinician it would be very difficult to identify the warning signs. Why? Mostly because parents, teachers, and even teens/young adults will make excuses or rationalizations for certain behaviors. The stigma of mental illness continues to be an issue as well. You would think that in 2012 this would not be so, but it is. This stigma, I think, keeps both parents and the sufferers from acknowledging the symptoms. If you are wondering, I am a mental health clinician and have worked with children (mostly younger teens who show these warning signs). Unfortunately, once diagnosed, “treated”, they are often left to deal with their illness on their own in a society that isn’t kind to folks with mental illness. Parents of these children are also woefully ill equiped to deal with the illness either and I think asking them to do so is not wise on many levels.

My prayers are with the survivors; may God hold all of you in the palm of HIs hand.

I started to write something echoing the comments that I’ve read here, but identifying the problems is easy for those of us who post here. The solutions need the resolve of everyone, especially the people who cannot even identify the problem- they have ears, but cannot hear.

Screw paying PTA dues; pay to have designated teachers and administrators trained and certified in gun proficiency.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to sybilll. | December 15, 2012 at 12:13 am

    But would they shoot their own son?

    If a husband came to their school to attack them I think they mightrecially asthe relationship were already toxic.

    However I believe any parent would hesitate & in that split second ….

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | December 15, 2012 at 1:40 am

      That comment is the result of false media info.

      In that line however it is not that easy to shoot dead anyone unless you area natural born killer or part ofThe military or police.

      “But would they shoot their own son?

      If a husband came to their school to attack them I think they mightrecially asthe relationship were already toxic.

      However I believe any parent would hesitate & in that split second ….”
      Banned….I ran that through an English translator and it came back = You should have stopped at the 4th gin & tonic.

      This kind of logic is what had the Georgia National Guard patrol the streets of Detroit after the riots of the 60’s, but I see a bigger problem.

      All yesterday there was the constant drum that this lawlessness required more laws from our government.

      Oh yeah. We really need yet another law, but for what ?

      Gun control ? Seems the mother bought the guns, besides when you have an ATF and DOJ that illegally allows guns to flow to Mexico to kill reportedly hundreds, who needs gun laws ?

      We now have such a myriad of laws that it inspired a book, “Three Felonies a Day”. The author claims that the average American commits, on average, 3 felonies a day. Unknowingly and unwittingly.

      But when our POTUS decides to ignore laws, like our immigration laws, why can’t everybody else just ignore a few .. and maybe go shoot up a school or church. Seems “fair” to me.

      I propose a sunset of 12 years on all laws, when they will have to be reauthorized. This should keep Congress so busy that they won’t have time to do much spending.

I would, however, like to know how many of the young men who were mass murderers in recent history were also current or prior drug users- I suspect that they all had histories of drug (illegal and prescribed) usage over long periods of time.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to AmandaFitz. | December 15, 2012 at 12:12 am

    It gets muddy, Amanda. Sometimes the mentally ill youngster uses drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate his own symptoms with an honest desire to feel and do better. Sometimes the drug abuse predates onset of mental illness. Sometimes the mental illness is a direct result of substance abuse.

      And sometimes, people are just “broken” and can’t be “fixed”.

        David Yotham in reply to Sanddog. | December 15, 2012 at 7:51 am

        Sanddog, honestly, my thoughts are that everyone is broken. That isn’t the issue, nor can people be ‘fixed’ – rather can they become functional without self-destruction and the destruction of their community environment?

        The liberal/mystic concept of utopia cannot exist because of our perverse free will – chaos of one sort is always injected, whether petty selfishness or murder the construct is shattered.

      AmandaFitz in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Henry, I have a stepson who is thirty-one and has used and “traded in” drugs since he was eleven or twelve- about twenty years. He began with Ritalin and marijuana and has used most illegal and, now, prescribed, mood altering chemicals. He has been to many different rehab programs since he was fifteen or sixteen, including Hazelden (which these days gives meds as part of their program). His most recent drama was to start a fire in his apartment, which provoked his being in “rehab” again. He has been to myriad psychiatrists, counselors, etc. and his grandmother pays for it all- she could have paid for a Harvard education plus law school with the wasted money she’s spent on this man. He will never stop using drugs nor will he ever hold a job, beyond a couple of weeks. The enablers, including my husband, just don’t want to realize that he is incorrigible; Now, the psychiatrist has decided that he’s bi-polar (how can he tell, as long as this man uses drugs and alcohol?). Now, he has “legal” meds. I don’t know what his” drug of choice” may be, but when he has little money, he uses marijuana and alcohol.

      I take the threats of drug addled people seriously, and I am constantly aware of the potential threat that my stepson poses to me and mine.

      If anyone had the “cojones” to investigate, I suspect that we’d find that every single one of the crazies at Va Tech, Columbine, Tucson, and now, Newtown, had long histories of drug abuse, but God forbid we pass judgment. We have become a nation that stands for NOTHING and will fall for anything. The Left blames the guns, but refuses to blame the morally bankrupt society we’ve become. Parents have abdicated responsibility for their children, churches and religion are considered anachronistic, and bad behaviors are excused everywhere. We pretend we’re encouraging “self-esteem” and refrain from labeling anything “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.”

      When did we, as a nation, become too cowardly to recognize evil?

      We have

The DEM gun control crowd – and MSM media allies- as expected are out in force for gun control immediately, distorting the facts to advance the agenda . E.g., How the assault weapon, which was not used, is repeatedly misreported as being “found at scene” (trunk of car unused) .

The mothers of the dead do not even have their children yet and gun control is the news.

Bloomberg could not wait a respectful second before tweeting about the profound need for our government to further control guns, even though the victim mother is the legal gun owner. CBS News was emphasizing the need for gun control on its factually skewed broadcast Google News pushes gun control stories (Google news is among the most biased news ‘arrangers’) NYT ditto

Pray for the children. Pray for the families.

@JohnC: The madman in China plays both ways; every one of his 22 victims is alive.

I don’t know what the answers are, but I reject the notion that there is nothing we can do, and we just have to accept that these things happen, sometimes. I reject the idea that now isn’t the time to start talking, or that expressing one’s opinion about any of the factors involved constitutes politicizing the issue. Whether one is for banning all guns, so that fewer of these tragedies will happen, or for expanding gun ownership and concealed carry, so that someone can stop them when they do, or for maintaining the status quo and not talking any more about it; it’s all political.

Yeah, I’m a liberal, so I lean towards some kinda limits on some weapons…but I also agree that we need to revisit mental health procedures, and values education in schools and in homes, and religion in our communities. More than any specific policy though, I’m in favor of having the conversation…starting now, while we’re all raw and disgusted and thinking of our own sons and daughters, nieces and nephews , but continuing once we’re more rational and sober.

“Will we address the culture of violence generated by liberal Hollywood, evidenced in the Django movie and Jamie Foxx’s boast that he enjoyed killing white people in the movie? I doubt it.”

It’s more subtle than that. In each season of “Hawaii Five-0” more people are murdered than in all of the real Hawaii (17 in 2011). I think “Nikita” kills more than that each week. In 1960, when gun ownership was more widespread, we didn’t have this kind of mass violence, nor did we have this level of casual violence in our entertainment.

Maybe we should think about dialing it back.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to caseym54. | December 15, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Lol I knew of one the lead actors Alex when he was young. He was very troubled & the fiture looked bleak until he got into acting & started landing some small roles.

    It is funny to think he is getting big bucks to pass off as a detective.

    David Yotham in reply to caseym54. | December 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I believe the difference was in our personal experience of morality and personal responsibility. Along with that, I think that 50 years ago people were willing to recognize the source of our Western societies morals – some understanding of God.

    It’s almost like morals are the fruit of a tree – kill the tree and the fruit vanishes: every man does what is right in his own eyes.

Fifty nine million of us are not going for this a-hole’s b.s.

The fight is on.

Remember, for a liberal, nature or man is the not problem. The institution is the problem. In this case the institution is the society and the “imperfections” of a government that allows guns.

The extreme irony in all of this is that the one of society’s “revered” institutions – Hollywood – with its visually “instructive” cable TV, video games, etc. portrays violence (physical & sexual) in all its forms on a daily basis. Minds young and old see that the “revered” others resolve their differences via the gun or the choke hold and punches (see union thugs) or by sexual aggression. There isn’t a day goes by when a violent program isn’t advertised or run during the hours our children are awake. The access to portrayed gun violence is ever in our sights.

Some may say that there is no correlation between violence depicted in TV and movies to real life actions. But, why do so many companies (and political campaigns) advertise on TV?

    Remember, for a liberal, nature or man is the not problem.

    That is the very core of the issue; and all issues.

      casualobserver in reply to Browndog. | December 15, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Many progressives I know think man IS the problem. And the reason they put so much faith in government comes from some belief, bizarre to me, that those in government tend to be WISER and hence their laws are by nature effective. Government is almost entirely about control and cultural shaping to them. Because, in a progressives view, so many are evil, too wild (others my just say independent), or just incapable. Hence, for example, a law about the size of a soda. The wise ruling class MUST control the behavior of the those who are either too wild or just incapable in that example.

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Sally Paradise. | December 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

    You are right, of course, about the widespread use of violence in Hollywood themes. There’s also violence in music lyrics. World class novels. Shakespeare. The Bible. And Greek and Roman mythology going back thousands of years. We seem to be wired to want to use violence in literature to entertain us, amuse us and teach life lessons (as The Bible and classical mythology do).

Aren’t narcotics illegal? How is that working out?

The term “assault rifle” (sturmgewehr) was originally invented by the Germans during WWII to describe a new category of weapon which they invented as a response to battlefield needs. The new weapon was a cross between a submachine gun, which typically used pistol caliber ammunition, and the standard bolt action infantry rifle, which used full power ammunition. The new weapon had a high rate of fire and high capacity magazines, but used ammunition that was LESS powerful than standard rifle ammo, though more powerful than pistol ammo. Politicians later subverted a technical term into an emotional, pejorative term.

Additionally, some people talk about banning semi-automatic weapons as a response to these shooting tragedies, but it should be pointed out that semi-autos are not a new technology, as some seem to think. Semi-autos have been around for over a century. For instance, one of the most iconic American pistols, the Colt .45 Automatic, was accepted for use by the US Army in 1911. I believe the German Luger was invented some 15 or 20 years earlier than that.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to unclemike. | December 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I have a huge Remington 1911 .45ACP semi-auto handgun. I also have my father’s .38 Special revolver, issued to him when he joined the Detroit Police Department in 1947. The term ‘semi-auto’ carries in the media and among gun grabbers some sort of evil juju for some reason, but the fact is I can fire the revolver just as quickly as I can the .45 semi-auto. Plus, the revolver won’t jam as a semi-auto ultimately will.

    Hey, are you the same Uncle Mike who sells holsters and gear on the internet?

casualobserver | December 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

The die is cast. I tuned into one network and one cable station (CNN) yesterday evening for 30 minutes to an hour each. The talking heads were still stumbling over the details. Yet, they still managed to bring up a lot of the usual canards and points about guns. The most annoying and meaningless point goes something like, “If XYZ didn’t have a gun, then……” Sometimes it may be qualified by, the word “access”. But the argument rests solely on the bizarrely shallow combination of just two points. The country is prone to violence, and it is too easy for people to get their hands on a gun. It is as simple as that to those who want to see even more new laws. At least many acknowledge one aspect of the problem (violence).

Both are valid points, but one is actually causal. How much violence is perpetrated WITHOUT a gun? A heck of a lot. The also recent episode with Jovan Belcher, the NFL player, has been twisted to be all about guns. He had a history of violence against women. He was strong enough to use any object as a weapon. He could have easily done harm with his bare hands. But the gun is the culprit to those with an agenda to control guns more.

I’m not an aggressive gun’s rights advocate, but I live in the world of common sense. And the media, through those they are presenting as talking heads on the topic, make it clear they want this to be the touchstone, finally, from which the illogical arguments are to be pressed with all their might. Seems to me it will take a much more focused and concerted effort from the side of reason (addressing mental illness and personal responsibility) now more than ever. It may have to be 2 to 1 in loudness and numbers. But, that seems to be true of all rational positions that touch on politics for quite a while. Feelings are trumping reason.

[…] of all, folks need to read William Jacobson’ essay in full, “My long car ride mourning the victims “regardless of the politics”.” This part is especially […]

Absolutely agree that there needs to be a return to some institutionalization of those with significant mental illness. I do some volunteer work with the homeless, and there are a number of them who are homeless because they are ill. Neither are they compliant with medications that help keep them functional, therefore they end up being vulnerable and homeless. By the bleeding heart liberals forcing these people out of the safe and structured environments they were in or could be in, they’ve actually caused them to be in greater danger. So much for the so-called “rights.”

That said, the HIPAA legislation, IMHO, was one of the worse pieces of legislation passed in that it essentially breaks the bonds of family and friends in society. IOW, you have a child who turns 18, and then all of a sudden, you’re totally out of the loop about everything and anything regarding the young person. Needless to say, they still need family input and support networks. The government has essentially deprived people of the very support mechanisms family used to be able to provide for family members. Your college kid is going down the tubes, or is depressed, and they won’t let you know until it is too late… Yet, many are paying the college bills. All this right to privacy aids in destroying the critical support networks needed in life. The State/government know more about you than you’re own family.

    Perhaps law school estate planning classes or clinics could help students with up-to-date health care surrogate and durable powers of attorney forms tailored to circumvent FERPA, HIPAA and other financial, medical, and educational privacy laws.

Among the things the school tried was a security – buzz in system, but the guy simply broke the glass to get in. Having an armed guard might deter such a person from the school, but then he’d simply go somewhere else. The mother, now dead, probably was the person best able to read the son’s behavior, but we’ll never really know. One thing’s sure, the fact that the school is a gun free zone made it an attractive target.

As we all struggle to understand the mindset of a person that could do such a thing…

“Whatever happened to crazy”

Chris Rock, after the Columbine massacre (Being Chris Rock, language warning is a given)

I tell my criminal justice-referred substance abuse clients that if your plans to avoid arrest begin only when the officer is at your car window, they’ve already lost.

Similarly, any defense of our schools from killers that only begins at the outer walls and doors has already failed.

Any patrol officers among our readership? They’ll confirm that most people will open the door to anyone carrying flowers or pizza.

NC Mountain Girl | December 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Never underestimate the ability of family members to deny the problem. I have first hand experience with the problem. The most uncomfortable hour I ever spent was at a wedding. The bride’s ex husband, my first cousin, had escaped from a state mental hospital a few days earlier. He had tried to kill her at least twice while they were married. Half the people at the ceremony were ready to dive under a pew at an unexpected loud noise. At the time our grandfather was also in a state mental hospital, yet my aunt, who had herself been hospitalized for severe depression, continued to insist there was no history of mental illness in the family!

[…] Readers: I have no words that can adequately express my sorrow at the Newtown, CT tragedy. Like Legal Insurrection’s Professor Jacobson, I was in horror as I listened to radio reports and realized that 20 young children were butchered […]

Those STRICT Gun Control laws in Chicago and Washington D.C. have been amazingly helpful…Right…Errrr…Right..?

[…] of all, folks need to read William Jacobson’ essay in full, “My long car ride mourning the victims “regardless of the politics”.” This part is especially […]

[…] If you’d like to know what questions are appropriate, I encourage you to visit the site of my fellow political blogger, Prof. William Jacobson of Cornell Law School.  His blog is known as Legal Insurrection, and I believe you’ll find his comments on the tragedy to be insightful.  Those comments will arm you with reasonable responses to those who are making unreasonable demands upon the rights of peaceful citizens.  The article can be read HERE. […]