Friday, December 14, 2012

Another national tragedy

I've written two blogs that I originally thought I'd post tomorrow and each time I changed my mind. For the latest, the Connecticut mass shooting stopped me. There is absolutely NOTHING more horrifying to me than that an elementary school would be targeted by such a brutal killer.

I don't know what the answer is to this despite how some wish there was some magical solution. As it stands, I just want to say I am so sorry for the families impacted in Connecticut. As a nation once again we grieve. We all want to hug our children and grandchildren and mourn for those who are once again weeping at another senseless tragedy.

When more information comes out and I feel less upset, I'll write more. It might take awhile.

24 comments:

Rubye Jack said...

As a beginning, and I know you won't like this, we can bring back gun control and quit making it so easy for anyone in the world to buy guns here. And obviously background checks don't do one bit of good. As long as people can freely carry guns this sort of thing will only continue to escalate. Guns/violence perpetuate violence.

Tabor said...

I think it should be very very difficult to get a gun. Psychological testing and interview of families and co-workers followed by extensive and intensive training. It should be a privilege to own a gun...not a right.

Rain Trueax said...

This is one of those areas where I am definitely not a liberal. We do have guns and I have lived in homes with them since I was a child. I got my own first rifle at 12-- so I could go out onto our farm and patrol hoping to kill the German shepherds who were ripping apart our sheep. But we also believe in gun safes. We got a concealed weapon permit which took class as well as background check on mental health. That doesn't mean we carry, but it did enable us to have a gun in our vehicle and have it hidden from view.

I am not against regulations to limit who can buy a gun but the killer in Portland stole his. I don't know where this guy got his. I have frequently said I favor the end of assault rifles for citizens or extended magazines. I also would be fine with a waiting period for buying one, limiting where they can be sold and how. But that would not have likely stopped a lot of what we have recently seen.

What makes some liberals so reluctant to take on mental health with the kind of regulations that can literally put someone in custody? What's wrong with forcing medications onto those that testing indicate are schizophrenic? Not saying this guy will prove to be mentally ill but a lot of them do.

There will be no way all guns will be removed from all citizens. The most that they could hope for would be that all people who want to be legal would give up theirs.

My husband used to belong to the NRA and quit it some years back because they were pushing ownership of assault rifles. Nobody needs those but I talked to my brother about it and he said they are fun to own, to take target practicing. I'd never want one but there are a lot of people who do. I am not sure that can be changed. In this case, an assault rifle was not used.

On the farm we have guns for several reasons. Mostly protection of our livestock. Our rifles have killed coyotes who just killed one of our lambs. At night though, when I live a long way from police protection, I like having a loaded gun in the house. I've had strangers come to the door asking for help. I try to give it. Have even driven to charge some stranger's dead battery (without a gun), but it's a risk and anybody who lives today knows what is happening with home invasions. We are a very violent society.

I have no problem with debating this issue. I do understand those who fear guns. Those who want to take away all guns; and if they can do it legally, so be it, but I don't remotely think it'd end all of this kind of thing. To me if we just went after real mental health rules, it'd be a good start and make some family's lives a lot better before one of their sons takes off to do such a thing.

Rubye Jack said...

Assault rifles for target practice? Seriously?

There are many reasons that psychological testing won't work to keep guns out of the wrong hands. One is that many people can test sane and then have an emotional crisis that renders them seriously violent. imo there is no way to say who can be trusted with a gun and who can't. Keeping them off shelves and out of fairs such as the one this weekend here in Oklahoma City where any idiot can go buy an assault rifle would be a good start to preventing violence. I would bet everything material I have that there will be felons there buying guns with no problem. And there will be those there who will buy guns and use them to hurt others with.

It used to be that 22's and shotguns were standard equipment for running a farm and I can easily understand the need for them for farm life but I cannot understand the need for concealed handguns or the necessity to wear a gun on a holster in public. All I can see is that such people find a peculiar power in having a gun on them at all times that has little to do with safety or their own securtiy.

I've lived alone for many years with no gun and I go to bed feeling safe and secure without one. Years ago a man broke into my apartment and I was raped but even if I had had a gun I would not have been able to get to it. I don't believe guns make a society safe and see it as rather an oxymoron. I also think gun ownership, for other than farm work and hunting, creates a society that thinks guns are an answer to their fears. And no, I don't think hunting is good but I can understand it for those who hunt for food. But not sport. I could go on but don't think anyone who likes guns will even begin to hear me.

Rain Trueax said...

A pepper spray is a better security especially when out of the house. I don't carry one of those either but I do own one and have carried it when hiking alone on the desert but obviously never had a problem that required using it. It's a better protection than a gun where you can make a mistake that ends up getting you in jail.

This young man evidently was mentally unstable and some say showed signs of mental illness. He did not buy the gun. His mother did. Who knows why.

There are not enough people who will ever agree to try and confiscate all the guns in this country; so why not go for what is possible? There are some reasonable steps but none of them would have stopped this. The only thing that could do that was an approach to dealing with the mentally ill. I have written about this before that among schizophrenics, only 10% are dangerous but I think there are ways to find those. Schizophrenics never want to take the meds but does that mean we should just wait until they go out there and kill someone?

In my area a mother and father were slaughtered by their son with a sword. They knew he had problems but they didn't want to face it as they were Christians who believed in the power of prayer. Because they disapproved of his girlfriend, she urged the young man to go and kill them. He did it with swords and knives. If he had been forced to get treatment he might not now be in prison and his parents, who sounded like very good people (this has happened several times in our area over the years). I understand not all schizophrenics are dangerous but the dangerous ones do kill most of the ones murdered as this happened.

Rain Trueax said...

oh and on my brother. He doesn't even hunt but yes, it's what he said when a few weeks ago I told him we should end access to assault rifles. Maybe he'll change his mind...

Ingineer66 said...

This was a horrible, unbelievable act. But, it is difficult to get a gun, if you obey the laws that are already on the books. Somebody that murders another person is breaking one of the most basic of human laws that we have. Why do people think that a murderer will follow more gun laws if they are ignoring all the laws we already have.
The worst mass murder in our nations history was on 9/11 by people with box cutters. Mass murderers in other countries use car-bombs and suicide vests. Oklahoma City had nothing to do with guns. We need to do more to address the root causes of the murderer instead of wasting precious resources on trying to treat 150,000,000 Americans like criminals.

Lynn said...

I am not against people having weapons. It is NOT difficult to get a gun. No private citizen needs an assault rifle. Did you see that gun? Ludicrous!

AGHHH and now I have to go through robot crap??? Will try but if this doesn't post with three tries . . .

Rain Trueax said...

The word verification is very temporary, Lynn. I was ending up with 50 spams a day in my comments. I felt it was just getting ridiculous and I had to break them of the habit of coming to my blog.

What bothers me about the gun thing is it didn't relate to this case. The mother bought a gun that a mentally ill son could access. How would that get fixed by this? I see the extended magazines, the assault rifles but it's not about this situation. it's about the next one and what has happened so many places. It won't fix the mental illness situation. How do we fix that as we know this can happen anywhere. It is a culture of violence where most of us can see this or that but some cannot. What do we do about it? For those who wish it was just guns, just remember none of the changes suggested would have stopped this. Might better mental health laws be more effective? Can we find a way to stop glorifying violence in entertainment?

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

My thinking was not on how to manage gun controls. The first thought that came to my mind was surrounding every school with chain link toped with barbed wire. At the gate two armed security officers who check identification and run a metal detector.
I forsee more security police and professional military. There will be more police than bakers and teachers.

Rain Trueax said...

They have actually gone to more schools that are fenced off and as you describe. But how does that protect malls, restaurants, places of business, movie theaters, driving down the street, etc etc. We have seen so much of this stranger to stranger mass murdering as well as serial killers like the one who killed the Alaskan barista and said he just enjoyed killing. We have a culture of violence where it's in our entertainment, our news media, our wars, everywhere. What do we do to fix that?

I listened to a guy talk tonight about the three types of people who do these things. Some just like to kill. He said some are massively depressed. That's possible on the latter but then why not just kill yourself? It's the rage that makes them want to hurt others. I honestly don't know except it could happen anywhere to any of us and it's not just our country. The world has a lot of this going on also. It's a time filled with rage. It's hard for those of us who would never imagine killing someone, unless maybe in self defense and not all of us even then, to get our heads around it

Rubye Jack said...

Rain, I just read something about serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs leading to violence and it seems there are a lot of scholarly articles supporting this premise. We simply don't know how to help the insane and aren't doing enough research into it. To me, it seems imperative to try and understand what makes this sort of person do what he does and not just do a bunch of speculating.

Ingineer, what I was saying about Oklahoma City, where I live, is that anyone can go to the gun fair here this weekend and get a gun regardless of their background. Guns are sold openly with no background checks. Any kind of gun.

I just read an interesting article on the correlation of more guns and more mass shootings. They actually did a study on this and found that the more guns are allowed the greater the number of shootings. They also talk about the idea of citizens with guns shooting the killer in order to protect others. Very interesting article -- http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation

Rain, once again, I admire you for taking on another extremely tough subject.

Lynn said...

Thank you, Rubye. In my usual inept way of saying things I believe these large assault type guns give a perpetrator a sense of power, even if it is left in the car, to use a handgun during a rampage. Now I’ll sit back and wait until the next one uses a politically correct gun.

Rubye Jack said...

Sorry I'm taking up so much space tonight, but I just read a really good article from The Atlantic on how Japan has hardly any shootings due to their tight gun control laws.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

Rain Trueax said...

I will be writing on something even tougher-- our culture of rage and it's not just right wing. I thought about it last night, how I think it feeds some who already have problems mentally as did this young man.

Did you read about all the injuries in China at a school where the perpetrator used knives? There have been several of those attacks. Japan might have less of this because of their culture as much as their rules on guns. Maybe they have more control over their entertainment. They don't have an ongoing war they are fighting. I don't know but my guess is it's not one answer to any of this.

I think I'll put up something tomorrow on our culture of rage after I think about it some more. Last night as I lay in bed I felt like it's going to be hard to write something that doesn't end up a book. I see it as so many things that could be behind what triggers someone mentally unstable to go over the edge-- while others unstable keep control and live loving lives. It is not likely to be a simple answer as the right or left wish.

Rain Trueax said...

oh and thanks for the links :)

Rain Trueax said...

One thing I would add to the Mother Jones article is while there have been more killings the reasons don't have to be more guns but also other factors. If it is also linked, as I suspect to our ongoing wars, as well as the kind of entertainment that is almost unbelievable for the level of violence used to excite, the video games, it's like a disease where it's not just one thing that brings it on. How would someone find one reason for it given so much is operating right now?

I'm all for waiting periods, no assault rifles in private possession, no extended magazines, go back to rules of the Clinton era but it will take a House under Democratic control which it is not right now. The kind of thing Oklahoma or other states allow is going to be hard to stamp out but just remember one thing-- that didn't lead to this killing. The gun was not acquired that way and what he did could have been done by any revolver with extra magazines and someone adept at changing them or as ingineer brought up-- bombs which the internet helps people learn how to build if the underground doesn't.

What about if we instead go for why these people would do such things? What if we try to get help to them before it reaches this level. Reading about this young man in high school it's easy to see he was on his way to trouble at the least for himself if not others. Why not programs then? It isn't every loner who would do such a thing but why not look at those who are and put extra energy into them before they destroy so many lives?

Do the guns. I do not defend the right to instantly buy guns or all types but I believe go after why and some of it could be what our culture accepts as freedom.

After the Aurora shooting I said the same thing. That guns in the audience could have only led to more deaths. He was wearing body armor. Maybe a trained military person armed could make a difference but certainly not the average person with a gun.

Rain Trueax said...

Oh and if the numbers go down on my blog here enough so I feel the spammers have given up on me, I'll take off the word verification. I also dislike them because they are often so hard to read. I just felt I had to do something about the level it had reached. Last time I did this for a week and got off their lists. I hope for the best on this time ;)

Ingineer66 said...

Rain I pretty much agree with your points here. I have no problem with background checks and such for buying a gun. This shooter used pistols not a rifle so that was not really a factor. We used to lock up our crazy people but that was deemed inhumane so now we let them wander the streets and live with the carnage they produce whether it is killing a soccer mom or little girl or a bunch of people. And I really do not want to see our country turned into a total police state. New York City has a ton of cops everywhere and super strict gun laws and they still have plenty of gun violence and knife violence and baseball bat violence.

I think maybe the gratuitous violence in our movies and video games may have something to do with it. Maybe we should make all males 18 to 22 go in the military and learn that life isn't a video game and when you get shot you don't just come back to life in the next game.

Rain Trueax said...

Except on the military idea, some of what has led to more violence are the soldiers coming home dealing with the carnage they have not only witnessed by had to sometimes do. I listened to a lengthy program on an NPR station a week or two ago where they were discussing how difficult it is to leave that behind. Some of those men come home and kill their families. We need a LOT of help available for soldiers who need it and instead Congress has been wanting to cut back money for VA programs. One of the guys had written a book, I think, and wish I remembered the name. maybe I can find it later. But when we send people to war, we owe them full benefits when they return from what we asked them to do. There can be no cutting on them as there might be on new weapons or other extensions of our wars.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Yes, full benefits for our returning veterans. Yes, and a good deal of soul searching is good too. On Japan; we have much to learn from an island nation with a culture with tradition.
The mention of Japan as being violence free just brought to mind a connection. I am fortunate to have a Japanese friend who was a devoted housewife and cook. She was tied down mornings to cook her husband rice for lunch. She ironed his shirts daily. I asked her if she was happy in her marriage. Her answer blew me away. She said she never has thought about whether she was happy. The expectation of being happy is not necessary and in fact could add to rage.

Rain Trueax said...

That was interesting, Diane. We have high expectations here, that's for sure and it could lead to rage for those who feel cheated by life or their families or our culture.

Ingineer66 said...

Japan is not violence free. The teenage suicide rate used to be very high compared to the US. Not sure if it still is as they have become more westernized.

Rain Trueax said...

Check out this woman's story about dealing with her son. I will be putting out my blog on this tomorrow. Anarchist Soccer Mom. I read it on Facebook but it needs wide coverage as a lot of families have faced such and they feel very much on their own with no solutions for them to use until there is a crime. This kind of thing is scary. We need to be doing something about it. Yes, look at gun laws but nothing short of confiscating all guns (lots of luck with that) would have prevented this as it was the mother who loved collecting guns who bought them all. Maybe educating her might've helped if she would have listened.