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Special Report: Tragedy In Connecticut

Tragedy strikes an elementary school in Connecticut. A mass shooting leaves dozens dead. We’ll get the latest.

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks) MANDATORY CREDIT

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks) MANDATORY CREDIT

The images out of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today are utterly heart-rending.  Little children all in a row, each with hands on the shoulders of the next, fleeing their school in horror.  Sobbing.  And the news from inside the school, far worse.  27 dead.

Twenty young children.  Six adult victims.  And the gunman.  It is already one of the very worst shooting rampages in American history.  In a drumbeat of shooting rampages.  And there is much still unknown.

This hour, in a special edition of On Point:  the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jeff Cohen, reporter for WNPR.

Jeevan Vittal, correspondent for FOX CT.

Julian Ford, a psychologist and professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut. He is a specialist in childhood and adult trauma.

John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Another student at the school told an NBC affiliate in Connecticut: “I was in the gym and I heard like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner and we huddled. We all heard these booming noises, and we started crying. So the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us. Then a police officer told us to run outside.””

Hartford Courant “Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way, said the gunman apparently had two guns. A law enforcement official in Washington said the attacker was a 20-year-old man with ties to the school and that one of the guns was a .223-caliber rifle. Public records show that Ryan Lanza lived at 36 Yogananda St. at one point, and he is also listed as living at 1313 Grand St. in Hoboken, N.J. Police are searching that residence as well, sources say.”

Mother Jones “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We’ve mapped them below, including details on the shooters’ identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.”

Map Of Sand Hook Elementary School


View Larger Map

More

Editor’s note: it is not clear what models of weapons were used in the attack in Connecticut. We will update the page when official information is available.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • 228929292AABBB

    I respect On Point for trying to get thoughtful analysis of this tragedy to a public who wants it, but I hope some consideration will be given to the media’s role in this form of tragedy, a major goal of which is to draw attention.  If the media had made a blanket agreement after Columbine never to cover these events this one would not have happened.  I believe in gun control but we had someone killing students with arrows a couple weeks ago – as long as we have mental illness and access to this sort of worldwide coverage we’ll have atrocity.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I agree The Media Circus is a major problem in our country but to say that a lack of coverage would have prevented this tragedy is completely ridiculous.
      Censorship is not the answer.

      • 228929292AABBB

        I can’t know for sure of course but I disagree.  It’s not hard to figure out that the most heinous crime imaginable is undertaken because the more shocking it is the more coverage it will get.  When someone feels full of rage, or as if the world doesn’t understand what they’re going through, the temptation is to do something to get as much attention as possible.  More coverage equals more attention, more shocking equals more coverage. 
        Look guns are guaranteed in the constitution, but they can be dangerous and play a role in these tragedies and so it makes sense to say there’s a responsibility that goes along with that constitutional guarantee.  All those things are true about the press as well.

        • Don_B1

          The media, of all stripes, largely runs on the thesis that “if it bleeds, it leads,” and so often does not lead a thoughtful discussion of the subject.

          Even on this blog, there are commenters who do not make thoughtful comments, but indulge in snark, and ad hominem attacks that just turn off those who would try to be thoughtful.

          But as the facts come out, it turns out that the mother , no less, bought the guns apparently legally. One can argue that that was her right, but what was she thinking when she had a son with mental problems, if her other son’s comments to investigators are accurate. How did she store these weapons?

          If knowledge of the other “mass-murders” by unbalanced persons did not give this “teacher” pause, would not covering those other tragedies have been more likely to reduce the likelihood that she would have “available” guns in her house?

    • ranndino

      It’s media’s job to cover major news events. Your opinion is ludicrously illogical. It’s like saying that historians should pretend Hitler never existed to prevent another brutal leader like him from coming to power in the future. 

      • DrewInGeorgia

        My point exactly. Ignoring a problem does not solve it, it exacerbates it.

  • osullivan11

    What is so sad is the response.

    White House: ” As a father….. thoughts.. prayers etc”… the obvious, goes without saying stuff.

    NRA: no comment.

    Fox News: if only the teachers/parents had guns

    MSNBC: the guy was crazy…. medical treatment etc

    Michael Moore: republicans this, republicans that.

    But in truth, nothing will change and the cycle goes on. 
    And what is lost is a real sense of justice for the innocent children and educators and their families.

    • ranndino

      The stance of conservatives is most reprehensible though. Yes, Fox News, everyone carrying a gun will make us all safer. This belief is so utterly ridiculous and moronic that words fail me.

      I guess it’ll take the president of NRA & his family to become victims of one of these for them to get their head out of their behind. Although I doubt even that would help.

    • Don_B1

      While your comments are quite true, I urge you to watch tonight’s The Rachel Maddow Show. With a little more reflection time, what I am watching right now is a more thoughtful conversation on the issue, which is so often true for her show.

  • hennorama

    Please – let’s leave politics out of the discussion of this topic, at least for today.  Today is for sorrow, sympathy, and support for the victims and their families.

    • osullivan11

      no. let’s not leave it for tomorrow. That is what the talking heads always say and nothing gets done about this crazy situation. A proper consolation for victims, families and society is to ensure that this does not continue to occur.

      • hennorama

        I respect, understand, and appreciate your views. Thank you for your response.

    • ranndino

      Today is exactly the right day to bring up politics of this issue because not changing it enables this to keep happening. It’s been happening way too often. If by outraging people massacres like these will get people to bring up politics today we might be able to enact common sense legislation. If that future legislation, in turn, prevents even one massacre like this in the future it’d have been worth it.

      P.S. I actually don’t even get what politics has to do with it. Do conservatives like seeing their kids or themselves get randomly gunned down by some nut? This should not be a partisan issue. It’s common sense vs. insanity.

      • hennorama

        I respect, understand, and appreciate your views. Thank you for your response.

  • Pingback: Gunman Kills 26 At Conn. School, Including 20 Children | WBUR

  • Markus6

    I’m conservative but am completely disgusted with the nut cases that have become the mouthpieces for the Republican party and conservatives. I heard one jerk on the radio say that if guns were banned, the killers would get knives and cause the same damage. There’s something so common sense about banning weapons that can rapidly fire off multiple rounds, that this stupidity is going to drive people away from Republicans just  when conservatism is needed to deal with the debt we’ve created. 

    Add this to the unconditional support for defense spending, blinders on any possibility of man-made climate change and a number of social issues and it just feels like my party has lost its’ way. How can a small number of morons (and I still think it’s a small number), take over the agenda for conservatives. 

    Sorry to bring in politics, but I have a feeling that the people that are directly affected by the events today, are doing something other than reading this forum.

    • Don_B1

      It could well be true that it is the “small” group of interest groups (the NRA in this instance, half of whose members in polls support stronger gun safety laws; e.g., restrictions on the current “open purchase” of guns without gun check/licensing of as much as 40% of all gun purchases), but there is a larger group of voters who will unthinkingly vote for candidates who shout NRA slogans.

      Note that 74% of NRA members want gun checks for gun purchases! Don’t hold your breath waiting for the NRA leadership to mention that!

      But that group think, out of whatever psychological roots, leads people to vote on ideology rather than thinking through each issue for its merits.

      1) These are particularly the lack of understanding, blind or willful, of macroeconomics, particularly when the economy is in a liquidity trap, where there is a surplus of money (cash) and no good investments to make with it because of the lack of aggregate demand. When the Federal Reserve has lowered the discount rate to near zero, it is at the Zero Lower Bound, and no longer has the power to stimulate the economy by further lowering the discount rate (which was what ended the “Reagan Recession of 1982-1983).

      2) The denial of the scientific evidence of Climate Change for ideological (small, limited government) and the easy source of campaign money (fossil fuel industry, which is counting some $12 trillion of carbonized fuel in the ground after extraction).

      But what they want us to do is the equivalent of asking F.D.R. to sell at least half the ships in the 1930s Navy and tanks in the 1930s Army to Germany, Italy and Japan, rather than institute the Lend/Lease Program with the U.K. (and the U.S.S.R.).

      This type of head in the sand thinking, which is also leading to cutting of science projects, such as building and launching weather satellites to enable tracking of hurricanes and tornados, etc. as well as making better weather prediction generally available for flood and drought prediction.

      Also all the rebuilding following the devastating storms like Sandy (or last year, Irene) and countless others which will come in the future, needs to be based on energy efficiency which can be highly cost effective, but which is opposed by the fossil fuel industry presumably because it will reduce the demand for energy from fossil fuels.

      Think of it: Republicans for inefficient energy use! Why don’t they just pass a law requiring everyone to burn gasoline in their driveways every night to light up the sky?

  • Pingback: After Conn. Shooting, Mass. School Officials Try To Reassure Parents | WBUR

  • Katie Holt

    Of the many parenting firsts that I have experienced in my fourteen-month tenure as a parent, today’s school shooting is something that I feel somehow irrevocably changed me—as if the senseless, horrific killing of those innocent kidnergartners has opened up a huge chunk in the “mom armour” that I’ve developed over the past year, as I realize that there’s nothing I can do to protect my sweet child from all the evil in the world. I can do all the childproofing possible in my apartment, dilligently research my daycare and babysitting providers, scrutinize the labels of her food and read all the reviews of toy safety, but I am powerless when it comes to protecting her from what happened today in Newton. I remember feeling really sad and shocked by the OKC bombing and Columbine because of the fact that children were invovled; but, now as a parent, I feel something bordering on rage when I think about the fact that there are people who exist in our society who have the power to take my child away from me.

    • hennorama

      Katie – Your heartfelt comments are quite moving; thank you for sharing them so openly.  I daresay all parents of young children feel something similar today.  Hug your little one a bit more closely tonight, and savor that closeness.  Maybe take a few more pictures to share with those closest to you and yours.

      Tomorrow, consider what you are willing to do to work for change.  Share your thoughts with those who might make a difference, because your words can help give policymakers some real perspective.

      Thank you again for sharing your feelings.  Best wishes, and give that little one a kiss for me, OK?

  • ranndino

    How long is this gonna go on? Every god damn week almost! Sick & tired of hearing BS excuses from the NRA & gun nuts. Don’t even understand why this is a partisan issue. It’s simply insane that any psycho can walk into a store & legally buy weapons designed for combat (meaning ones that are specifically designed to inflict as much damage as quickly as possible). The argument that a crazy person can inflict just as much damage without a high powered gun is simply idiotic.

  • RobbMac

    Could this weapon have been legally purchased if the Federal Assault Weapon Ban had still been in force?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      No.

  • Jim Heck

    The fundamental problem here is the unfortunate symbiotic relationship that has developed between the instant, all-pervasive, over saturated media world that we live in, and the sensation seeking 100 or 200 truly sick individuals in our country that are even now listening and planning bigger and more horrible mass killings to “top” the horrifically sad event receiving media coverage today.  Forget gun control we need some cultural media control to deny these sociopaths their golden stage.

    -Jim in Chelmsford

    • DrewInGeorgia

      As I said below Censorship is not the answer.. Is it the Media that is the problem or the ‘Viewers’?

      • Jim Heck

        Notice I didn’t call for media censorship.  I called for cultural media control.  We would need to decide as a society not to sensationalize these heinous acts.  The problem is exactly that the media profits and the society can’t collectively tear itself away from all the coverage.

        In the end the victims and their families suffer in a cycle that can’t be broken.

        We are all a little lesser for it.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          What is Cultural Media Control? Whose Culture? American Culture? That’s a borderline oxymoron.

          Sounds like Censorship to me.

          • Ellen Dibble

            There is violence that is celebrated in our culture, and it is not this.  We even seem to have managed to refrain from giving names in this incident, though we know them.  We are asking if the culprit is us.  And I think we ask if the culprit is us when all sorts of things are done with an eye to celebrity, such as the burning of a Koran in Florida.   I don’t know, but I imagine a lot of computer games have predatory gun behavior wired into it as if it were normal, and people know that texting touches real people, so why not games; and if that is okay, why not make it real?  Movies too.  I don’t watch them, but the trailers suggest violence is not something we participate in out of being attacked, but rather it is daily fare, though usually abstracted.  It sells.  We are wired to pay attention.  Even the music can get our adrenalin running, and we’re hooked.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I completely understand the GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) principle but it does not always apply. I enjoy violent movies if the violence is appropriate to the subject matter but I don’t like gratuitous violence. I enjoy some violent video games (Old Gamer is better than old timer), does that mean I am violent? I own a few guns (A single shot rifle and a twenty gauge shotgun for obtaining food when necessary, and a pistol for defense against Coyotes, snakes, boar, and wild dogs when I’m out on the property) but I never enjoy killing anything. And if you heard some of the music I have listened to during the course of my life you might think I was in league with the Devil. Hell, who knows? Maybe I am and I just don’t realize it.

            The point I’m trying to get at is that I don’t really think that violent movies or games cause people to become violent. It’s an excuse not a reason. Sure, desensitization is an issue but desensitization does not cause someone to go out and kill other people. A complete lack of respect for those you share the planet with and a dismissal of personal accountability are far more likely culprits.

            But what do I know? I’m just a dumb hick.  ;’)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Without knowing anything about the particular family and individual, I have plenty of personal experience with this town, which had a state mental hospital until 1995.  I know because my first job once I was in college was in the Job Corps at Fairfield Hills State Hospital, volunteering, in 1965, living in the nurses quarters with other college students doing the same, and spending the days with patients in the chronic wards, supporting someone’s PhD research about mingling the healthy with the well, and what might rub off.  I actually live now in a city that similarly had a state mental hospital, in this case within a half mile of where I’ve lived since 1965, and that hospital has also closed.  So I’m thinking about all the extended families that seemed to have come to Newtown in order to visit their institutionalized family members, and when these hospitals are emptied out, the families may have settled down.  Fairfield Hills had been there since 1931.  Here, since the 19th century.  So for me, I’m thinking of the way mental illness can reverberate through generations, and communities.  I see from the internet that Fairfield Hills was said to be on haunted territory.  Here’s a link.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8yZtK65EAE

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Interesting comment Ellen, Milledgeville’s Central State Hospital in my state immediately came to mind. I’ve heard some pretty disturbing horror stories from a couple of people I’ve known who lived there briefly. Neither of them lived there long, they said there was something seriously wrong with that city.

      • Ellen Dibble

        What state is that?  My state is Ted Kennedy’s state, in other words liberal, and my city is even more so.  The attitude toward a state hospital and actually also an asylum for the retarded, disgorging their people into the community?  Of course we can handle it.  Institutionalization makes people sicker, not the reverse.  (Similar to the theory that I was supposed to be testing out way back when.)   And my community doesn’t seem warped by that part of its past.  But I have vivid impressions not only of the patients but their families.  Sometimes I think everyone descended from the settlers is a little off center, and it’s what humans have to accommodate, that warp.  Sometimes the family itself is LEAST able to do that, as apparently in this case, living with the mother apparently did NOT help.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Another link.  I had not paid attention at all to the closing of Fairfield Hills.  Here, the hospital stood empty for years.  Someone did a rendition of Brahms’ German Requiem up there, with sheeting or something to evoke the aching spirits of those whose lives had been suffered there.  I once went to rent rooms from a woman who lived near the hospital, and there was something strange about her, and I (and my roommate) moved out within a day or so.  She had a son at the hospital, and I felt sorry for anyone having such a mother.  Hard to explain why.  Also, in my building was for many years an immigrant woman from Ireland who had been a nurse there for decades.  She put a son through medical school on her nurse’s aide salary.  I noticed a very sound and resilient personality in her, and people would be lucky to be in her care.

          • Ellen Dibble

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairfield_State_Hospital  (It looks like I forgot to put the link.  Maybe they took it out?)

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Probably just forgot to post the link. Coastgoast is taking care of all the Tin-Foil hat wearing this evening, no need to keep him company.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          “What state is that?”

          Georgia.

          Drew In Georgia.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Ahh, duh!  
                I’m thinking while we were closing down the mental hospitals, we were expanding the jails to the extent they’re almost a for-profit enterprise.  (Almost?  Hah.)  Is it healthier to put a mental patient in with criminals?  Or drive them to drugs first and then do it?  One piece of advice today is: If you see someone troubled and frustrated, don’t just avoid them.  Consider those people are suffering, and maybe a little attention would help, and/or referrals to those lives are dedicated to mediating their psychic pain.  Not to stop mass killings but because, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Cain and Abel.)

          • 1Brett1

            I don’t know about the closing of institutions for mentally ill patients and a correlation to expanding jails, but you do touch on an interesting point. 

            I was around (even worked in an institution) back in the ’70s in college when many states were mandating deinstitutionalization. We were all so full of hope…The trouble is that communities could not handle the influx of people being “released” into community-based programs. 

            A number of problems cropped up as a result. Social workers were rubber stamping “progress” in patients so they could be moved through the system faster (often glossing over real problems not yet resolved). Staff in community programs were hiding real problems still present in patients because they (staff) were either tired of (figuratively) beating their heads against the wall and made decisions to move patients along (to get them “out of their hair”), or they (staff) were spread so thin, quality care just wasn’t humanly possible. 

            Many programs, that couldn’t handle the sheer numbers, resigned themselves to providing mediocre services, and – it’s true – cops were called when a patient turned violent, patients went to jail, and people who could have been truly helped in better support circumstances were either neglected or were simply stuck on waiting lists (which caused them to act out in the communities and were then turned over to law enforcement). Police also often were under-trained…I remember being called so many times working in group homes by police and doing my own overcompensating, so to speak, by working on my own time to help establish good relationships with local law enforcement and setting up workshops, also on my own time, to help police better handle crisis situations. (If you had told be when I was in high school that I was going to be working hand-in-hand alongside cops within a decade, I wouldn’t have believed you!)

  • willardzed

    Accidentally double-posted!

    Regards.

  • docww

    Although it’s very difficult to look at causes in this sort
    of tragedy, with the recent tsunami of shootings, we really need to address the why issue. Mental health has been discussed as an issue. As a practicing physician I would suggest another element—our food.

    Recent research has suggested that the combination of sugar,
    HFCS and high glycemic carbohydrates, especially from grains, can eventually trigger a form of food-induced brain dysfunction called CARB syndrome. People with CARB syndrome had problems with poor impulse control, cognitive
    dysfunction and mood swings. When a young person with a developing brain is subjected to these dietary elements, bad things happen. That’s exactly  what we saw today.

  • willardzed

    I would just offer that we should avoid falling into knee-jerk polemics and bandwagoneer reactions in the wake of this horror.

    As for gun control – it’s hardly obvious that gun control will fix this sort of problem, which is tragic and scary but nonetheless quite rare.

    After all, our country’s gun crime rates are significantly declining nationwide, but we still conversely observe very high
    crime rates in Chicago, DC, and California, whose jurisdictions impose some the strictest gun regulations in our country.

    • nj_v2

      “Let’s avoid knee-jerk polemics,” yet this poster puts up dubious, simplistic conclusions about the relation between gun regulations and crime.

      For a hint as to the complexity of the issue…

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/weekinreview/29liptak.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      • willardzed

        Let’s avoid knee-jerk polemics, indeed. I am simply offering doubt to a knee-jerk claim made in the wake of a terrible tragedy – it’s a mistake in argument to point to outlier crimes like these as a means of validating the efficacy of gun control measures. Although covered widely in the media, mass murders of this kind are quite unusual when compared to typical gun crime, which is on the decline. Furthermore, that stricter gun control will, as a matter of necessity, reduce gun crime seems hardly self-evident when you consider DC, California, and Chicago (see the Guardian article below – from 2011).

        This specific Connecticut crime aside, the vast majority of gun violence in our country (which is on the decline) occurs with guns that aren’t legally purchased and/or don’t fall under the definition of “assault weapons.” Do you define a shotguns and handguns as assault weapons? Our government sure doesn’t, and so pushing for a ban on assault weapons is good and well, but it won’t curb the handgun problem. But the handgun problem is largely not one the government controls, since most of these are attained illegally. Prohibition of guns – or incredibly oppressive restrictions on them – will look like prohibition of alcohol, drugs, and a variety of other things: ineffective. Instead, we need to focus on education, health, and wellness. Do you also hold that we should ban spoons in light of our obesity epidemic?

        I agree with you that it’s a complex issue, which is why I’m shocked to see the simplistic solutions of “restriction” and “prohibition” offered in response.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

        and our NIJ

        http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-violence/welcome.htm

        Good discussion and well wishes to you and all reading.

        • willardzed
        • Don_B1

          Even these horrible large-scale events have occurred THREE times just this year, with a smaller tragedy in Portland OR earlier this week: this tragedy in Newtown, CT, and the Aurora CO and Oak Creek WI tragedies this summer.

          But worse if only because it occurs in singles, isolated and spread across the country are the 30 to 35 gun murders per day that go on all year. You would have to put the victims in 360 passenger jumbo jets and crash them to get the number of horrible such events much under three dozen per year. That number is mind-boggling.

  • ranndino

    A few more points. 

    Just a couple of days ago I happened to take the time to read exactly what the 2nd amendment states. It clearly states that the right to bear arms extends only to members of a well regulated militia. The NRA and their supporters have used the misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment to create as many customers as possible for companies that produce them. It has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with commercial interests. 

    Also, gun rights supporters need to stop making an absolutely idiotic analogy to car accidents. Cars are not designed to be deadly weapons and people who die as a result of collisions die in ACCIDENTS. Guns are specifically designed to be as deadly as possible and what happened today was NOT an accident! Someone deliberately used weapons for their intended purpose which is to kill. Unlike cars that get safer and safer every year preventing people from dying even when they are unfortunate enough to be involved in a bad accident weapons get more and more effective at killing as many people as quickly as possible.

    Let me shoot down a couple of other constantly repeated “arguments” in favor of guns while I’m at it.
    Anyone who believes that we’d all be safer if only everyone was carrying a gun simply has a screw loose. This is utter nonsense to anyone who possesses the modicum of logic and isn’t supported by any statistical data. In fact, the date shows the opposite. Countries where guns are heavily regulated or outlawed have much lower homicide rates.

    Anyone who believes that a psychopath can inflict as much damage without a gun also has a screw loose. One person cannot murder tens of people in a matter of a few minutes with a knife or a machete and it’s also a lot easier to fight back against those sorts of weapons. Someone brave enough can fight off someone like that even with a chair or any other readily available object. 

    • 228929292AABBB

      It doesn’t sound like you did take the time to read exactly what the second amendment states.  I support gun control, but the constitution doesn’t.  Though it refers to militias it’s as an aside, which highlights the drafters reasons for stating there should be no restriction on the right to keep and bear arms.  But it doesn’t limit that right to militias.  If the constitution said ‘After the hours of midnight, recognizing that a lot of teenagers die driving late at night, no one shall be allowed to drive until 8 am.’  That would not mean only teenagers can’t drive from 12 to 8, it would mean no one can.  And that’s how the second amendment is written.  (unfortunately, in my opinion, but that makes no difference to what it says).  Take another look.

      • john02472

        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

        The right as conceived exists within the context of “a well regulated Militia.” The reference to the “Militia” is NOT an aside, it defines — LIMITS –– the right. In any case, the text clearly says that the “Militia” should be “well regulated,” and that’s certainly not the situation that obtains in the US today.

        A writer above (nj_v2) sets out the regulations for arms ownership in Japan. That sounds like an excellent plan to adopt here in the US.

        • Don_B1

          @ranndino:disqus  @228929292AABBB:disqus  @john02472:disqus 

          I know I liked the interpretation that the Militia clause was a limit rather than as an example but the conservative justices of the Supreme Court in a decision written by Justice Scalia in Heller v. District of Columbia back in 2008 decided that it was just an example of who had the right to own a firearm.

          This decision was unbelievably supported by work done by supposed “liberal” lawyers and jurists, both in academia and in practice.

        • Steve__T

           I don’t really want to get into this but I have to correct the error, and I will only do this with your statement of the above to show the point you missed. 

          ” the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

          • john02472

            Where is the error or the missed point? I transcribed the FULL text of the Second Amendment verbatim.

            In any case, to regulate a right is not to infringe that right. The appalling, erroneous, and thoroughly disgraceful Heller decision of the US Supreme Court makes this point, and I quote: “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualification on the commercial sale of arms.”

            There is no ABSOLUTE “right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” and there never was. Slaves, for example, albeit counted as three-fifths of a person, were people, and slaves certainly enjoyed no “right to keep and bear Arms.” Somehow, even though the Founders failed to make that point in the the text of the Second Amendment, everyone knew how to read between the words in this instance.

      • ranndino

        This is the exact final text as passed by Congress:

        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

        Also, there’s another wrinkle to it. At the time this was passed the most high powered gun that was available was a musket. It provided for a rather inaccurate shot followed by a significant time to reload in order to take another one. Perhaps we should review laws that have been passed hundreds of years ago in light of significantly improved technology. A version of AR-15 used in this massacre allowed the perpetrator to mow down a huge amount of people in a very short span of time. These types of assault weapons are specifically designed for combat during war, meaning they are able to inflict as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. What’s more is that its rounds are designed in such a way that hitting a human body anywhere in the torso is almost guaranteed to cause death because the bullets tear up the insides. This is what Adam used on 6 & 7-year old kids, as well as teachers & the principal! Perhaps we shouldn’t stick to laws passed centuries ago as if it were religious dogma & make common sense changes. AR-15 is for all intensive purposes is a personal weapon of mass destruction. Weapons like these should simply not be available to civilians. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s common sense over ideological, inflexible, irrational dogma.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Plenty of people fail to fight off the attack with a machete, or all sorts of weapons including bare hands.  A cliff is not a dangerous weapon unless you are pushing someone off it.  However, with a gun — remember the Washington DC sniper and his cohort?  A gun is impersonal, and can be used to kill prey without being seen.  All sorts of reasons that guns are in their own category.  Anthrax, the inhalation kind, you may remember, was dangerous to all sorts of unintentional victims in the fall of 2001, including one 94-year-old in Oxford, CT, not far from Sandy Hook, by an envelope cross-contaminated from letters mailed elsewhere altogether.  She was collateral damage, but some others seemed to be the target of anger of the sort that attaches to everyone and anyone.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    Why would a kindergarten teacher in the “safest town in the country” (what I’ve been hearing), why would she have three legal guns, including the assault weapon?

    • Don_B1

      Particularly when she had to have known about her mentally troubled son (if her other son is accurately reported to have indicated his brother’s troubles).

  • Coastghost

    According to news reports, whatever .223 caliber rifle was found at the scene was found in the back of a car in the school parking lot and would seem not to have been used. (The reports I just finished reading online suggest that the school shootings were carried out with two handguns.) The photo above makes for a frightening graphic, however, and using it to manipulate emotional responses to an event already guaranteed to generate emotional response is hardly laudable. Is this NPR responsivity to its listeners’ concerns, or is this NPR attempting to lead and influence listeners visiting this page?

    • RobbMac

       I think it has more to do that the .223 rifle was first mentioned several hours before the Glock and Sig Sauer were specifically named. The early reports did mention the two handguns, but there was much confusion in most aspects of those reports including even which of the brothers had been the shooter. I don’t think NPR was attempting to elicit an emotional response to the massacre – it was already extremely emotional.

      • Coastghost

        When this page opened, the photo of the .223 was not posted: it was brought in AFTER the page was up and running for the first however many minutes of the 7 pm ET broadcast. By 7 pm ET, it had become clear to most other journalists that the .223 rifle was NOT used (apparently, from what I continue to read elsewhere online) in the crimes; yet at 8:28 pm, the photo of the threatening-looking .223 caliber “assault rifle” is prominently displayed on the page when its relevance to the actual events is even more remote. This is a shameless attempt at mood manipulation, and one of the sorrier perfomances of Tom Ashbrook & Co. for all of 2012, and they’ve given us some sorry performances in 2012, let me tell you. 

      • willardzed

        Good point too.

      • Ellen Dibble

        The older brother who is/was being interviewed by the police was mistakenly identified as the killer because, from what I read, his ID was found on the body of his brother.  
            Imagine that!  If I were the brother, I would be incensed.  If you’re going to perpetrate something like that, at least have the decency to do it in your own name!  (Something like that.)
            On the other hand, it suggests that the shooter had it in not only for his mother but his brother, leaving him pretty isolated.  Neighbors say they did not know the family.  The picture is incomplete but the pieces begin to fit.  Perhaps the mom wouldn’t relinquish the guns and said “Over my dead body,” and that was exactly what happened.  And so someone else would be teaching her class that morning, and they would be waiting to hear from her.  The superintendent (or principal?) and psychologist who were the first victims might have called the house when she was absent.  
            The first reports said something about an earlier run-in with the principal.  It does seem like a lot of compounding issues, and no person within the purview who could see the steam coming out of his ears and having enough rapport to not only notice but stabilize him.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          I wonder if the guns were purchased by the assailant using the mother’s ID and credit/debit card. Damned internet Gun and Ammo sales are ridiculous. Of course I don’t know if this was the case or if the mother actually purchased the firearms, this was just something that occurred to me when I first heard that the mother had ownership of the weapons.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Ten o’clock tonight I think it’s CBS has an hour of updated coverage, and 11:00 PM on PBS on my station, out of Springfield, Charlie Rose starts an hour of his Brain Series (which happens to be on Post Traumatic Stress this night), with Eric Kandel among others in his conversation, starting the hour with something about this shooting, I see by Twitter.  I don’t know when that’ll be recorded, but in any case, people might want to hear about PTSD this particular date.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I thought about going out and hooking up the antenna to see what the Idiot Box has to say about this nightmare but I can’t bring myself to do it. Even if did I don’t receive any Public Broadcasting Stations. I’ve already spent the afternoon crying on and off and I think I’ve had enough for today. I can’t stop thinking about the children…

          • Ellen Dibble

            I know.  I wasn’t crying till I turned on the idiot box, and anyone crying, I was crying too.  Maybe you could find a good book tonight?  I’m sure there will be a million ways to learn about this in a few days when people know more, but for me, I want to move on to other things, get this behind me.

    • willardzed

      Most people see an issue like this and immediately assume, “LET’S BAN GUNS, REGARDLESS OF THE TYPE!” E.g., assault weapons bans don’t include shotguns, which are arguably the most lethal close quarters combat weapon available to anyone.

      When we read the literature on the responsiveness of gun crime to gun control measures, it’s not clear that conventional gun control policies have the reductive effect on gun crime that gun control proponents desire. Goodness, after Britain banned guns, they actually saw an INCREASE in their gun crime, and this has been seen elsewhere.

      We have to focus on educating our youth, teaching responsibility and empathy, and maintaining a strong awareness of the mental health of those in our community – it starts locally.

      http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

  • shargarepa

    For any experts on the panel: There are clear signs when domestic violence is escalating toward homicide/murder-suicide. Are there similar signs when a mass murderer is about to carry out something like today’s tragedy?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Yes but all who exhibit symptoms don’t commit mass-murder. Also, the ‘signs’ never seem to be acknowledged until after tragedy occurs. Hindsight is 20/20.

  • Coastghost

    In other words, Tom Ashbrook & Co.: IF AN “ASSAULT WEAPON” WAS NOT ACTUALLY USED IN THIS HORRID CRIME, don’t treat it as if it were. AND TAKE THE PHOTO DOWN if the only weapons used in this horrid crime were two handguns (don’t tell me you can’t find graphics for the handguns: they just don’t look as threatening, though, I guess).

    • jefe68

      You seem to be a little to obsessed with this assault rifle thing. Add the all caps and I’m kind of wondering about what kind of person would spend this much effort in a case like this. Children, some as young as 5 died today for no reason. Think on that, and think hard before you post more nonsense on the image of one of the weapons BUR posted.

      • Coastghost

        Again, jefe, thanks for the offer, but don’t put words in my mouth. My temporary “obsession” was with the prominent display of an image that to my provinicial eyes was intended to mislead, divert, and distract, as well as to induce fear or incite “righteous indignation”. As such, yes, I “obsessed” over dishonest journalism: I do not apologize.
        As to dead young children, I assure you that many more than twenty will die across this country today “for no good reason”; and next week, we’ll all return to our regular programming, even as on each of those days dozens more children, some much younger than five, will die “for no good reason”: and in every likelihood, neither you nor I will be mourning their passing. Nor will our professional mourners in the journalism fraternity. Nor will our lachrymose President.  

        • anamaria23

          Many of us have been speaking up for years, appealing to  Congress to no avail.

          Forces(money, greed, ignorance, power}  mightier than us rule this land and they are not all benelovent.  I hope you have been speaking up to the only people who can change what you write of above.

          That and do not support the arms industry in any way via the stock market etc.

          • Coastghost

            More productively than complaining to Congress, you might instead (or: also) fulminate against Hollywood: if it’s not Warren Beatty and Clyde Barrow, it’s Clint Eastwood and Dirty Harry; if it’s not Robert De Niro and Travis Bickle, it’s Kris Kristoferson and Billy the Kid; et cetera, et cetera. Hollywood, its movies, its cable fare, and its TV fare are more responsible for the propagation and glamorization of gun violence than the gun manufacturers themselves. Do not neglect to thank Hollywood for its multitudinous dramatic interpretations and depictions of gun violence, many of which are regularly celebrated on NPR.

          • anamaria23

            I agree with you.  Glad you brought this into the  discussion. 
             But, there are certain weapons that enable mass slaughter that should  not be available to the average citizen whether  it is somebody’s mother or not.
            A write up in the NYTimes this morning stated that  weapon used in Sandy Hook was not unlike those used by soldiers in combat.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Celebrated? Really???

            Is it The Media/Hollywood’s fault or the willing consumers of their material?

          • Coastghost

            Sure, I blame Hollywood: Hollywood produces the very garbage their test marketing tells them will fill seats and screens, and whoever would argue with Hollywood’s profit motive? The American people are only bleating sheep, after all, but bloodthirsty bleating sheep, from H’wood’s perspective. –and it looks as if I spoke entirely too soon: why already, here come Tom Cruise and Quentin Tarentino now to bring us some celluloid Christmas cheer with colorful and dramatic depictions of gun violence, righteous indignation, revenge, vigilantism, all those things that help make the holidays such a special time. –Yeh, I give Hollywood PLENTY of credit for the glorification of gun violence, hardly enough, I’m sure. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Are you tied up in a chair, eyelids held open with toothpicks, then forced to watch the movie? You and everyone else? The only way it goes away is if everyone stops watching OR if everyone decides to become completely accountable for their actions and stop b!tching about being brainwashed by The Media. You don’t like it? Stop watching/listening to it. You seem to believe everyone should see things your way or no way at all. I don’t like your idea of Liberty.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Somewhere I heard today that there are 300 million guns in the USA.  “So it wouldn’t be too hard to find one.”  I’m thinking that’s actually not only enough but MORE than enough. 

    • willardzed

       Relative to what?

      • Ellen Dibble

        The panelists were talking about making it more difficult to make MORE guns available.  I sort of despair of that as a solution.  The value of the guns already owned would go up, and this being a capitalist society, people who have more than the one apiece which the 300 million represents could sell their extras for a huge amount of money.  
           Okay, my argument falls apart in many ways.  But that was my worry, that it is too late to control for this.  What are you going to have?  A great meltdown of guns into ploughshares, as the Good Book tells us?  Actually, swords into ploughshares, but how much more so the guns.
            There is a Grimm fairy tale, I believe it is, on the very subject.  It has to do with the princess whose parents felt she was doomed to die by pricking her finger on a spindle, and the whole country was forbidden to have spindles.  (This was when clothing was either fur pelts or woven from spun thread.)   It didn’t work.  It merely made life inconvenient for everybody in the kingdom.

  • nj_v2

    Consider the Japanese approach:

    [[ To get a gun in Japan, first, you have to attend an all-day class and pass a written test, which are held only once per month. You also must take and pass a shooting range class. Then, head over to a hospital for a mental test and drug test (Japan is unusual in that potential gun owners must affirmatively prove their mental fitness), which you'll file with the police. Finally, pass a rigorous background check for any criminal record or association with criminal or extremist groups, and you will be the proud new owner of your shotgun or air rifle. Just don't forget to provide police with documentation on the specific location of the gun in your home, as well as the ammo, both of which must be locked and stored separately. And remember to have the police inspect the gun once per year and to re-take the class and exam every three years. ]]

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

    • Robert Berube

      Except this approach is for law-abiding citizens. People who commit extralegal acts would simply purchase their gun on the black market. When you control the supply of guns but the demand remains unmet, this creates an underground market for guns.

      • nj_v2

        You really think this kid would have searched out weapons on the “black market” for this act? The weapons were, apparently, readily available to him. 

        If curtailing the number and availability of weapons would prevent even a small portion of these crimes, it would be worth it.

        Erring, as you apparently are, on the side of your beloved “personal freedom” to own weapons unimpeded is morally bankrupt and dangerous.

        • Robert Berube

          I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t own a gun, nor do I aspire to own one. But if you believe gun-control (lack thereof) is the problem, then you’re misdiagnosing the problem. Start by making guns socially unacceptable, and then maybe legally unacceptable.

      • Tyranipocrit

         then its time to criminalize all gun manufactureres-weapons of mass destruction.  Including all militant weapons industries–murderers of the world!  Locheed martin, boing–these are criminals against humanity.  It it time to end it.  These are all criminals awho must be isolated form human beings.

        • Robert Berube

          Now, that’s logistically not possible. You know it, I know it.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    To the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” caller:

    People with guns are able to kill more people.
    You brought up Lizzy Borden caller, did Lizzy kill two dozen people with an axe in one sitting?

    • nj_v2

      How many people would be killed if these shooters only had access to the muskets that were the state of the art when the Second Amendment was drafted?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        If I were in the room possibly one, me. Shot or not I’d make certain they wouldn’t have time to even think about dropping another ball down the muzzle. And no I’m not talking about myself toting a gun. It’s amazing what 12 pounds of pressure can do when applied to certain points of the human body.

        • nj_v2

          My wider point in bringing that up really has to do with the gun nuts rights advocates who bow to the Second Amendment, as if the original version of the document were something set in stone for the ages.

          The drafters could not possibly have imagined either the technical sophistication and capability of modern weaponry.

          Plus, individual ownership was conceived part and parcel of enabling official, local militias.

          If the gun nuts rights advocates want guns, sure let them have the muskets and muzzle loaders of the era (as many as they want) and let them join the National Guard. 

          Everything else either ban or severely regulate.

          And the NRA can go f*** itself.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Somewhere I heard that our rate of one-on-one murders with guns is many, many times worse than the rate of people dying in mass murders.  Sort of like people killed in airplane crashes; there are way way more people killed per mile or per trip for automobile travel.  So it seems to me that people buy guns not in order to commit mass murders but because there is a fair chance of being robbed at gunpoint, something like that.  Guns are bought because guns are perceived to be owned by others, and the cycle goes on.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        You’re right, read my comment about our constant state of panic.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       A whacko in China just killed 22 people in a school in ‘one sitting’ with a knife.

      • anamaria23

        22 people were injured, only two seriously, the rest non serious injuries.  None were killed.   Several sources if Googled. Facts matter.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I see anamaria23 beat me to it, I was going to ask for a source. Anamarie23 is right:
        Facts matter…except to those of your ilk.

      • jefe68

        That’s not what happened. He assaulted 22 children and not one died but some are in critical condition. You should be ashamed for posting this kind of dribble.

        http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html

    • Don_B1

      Amy Goodman reported on today’s MSNBC program, UP with Chris Hayes, that just recently a man armed with a knife attacked a school in China, where he “stabbed” over 20 children.

      But unlike in Newtown, CT, ALL the children SURVIVED!

  • dallas rolnick

    What seems true to me about this, what seems nationally relevant, is to view these mass killings as a sort of cultural cry for help.  The affliction we all suffer is our national silence in the face of injustice – political, economic, personal, violent wars for profit, millions of drug addicts.  We know in our hearts it’s wrong, and we do not change it.  As individuals, if you do not act to correct your own course, if you do not respond to your instincts to adjust, to your own guilt or shame, then you get anxious and you suffer.  The same would be true as a nation.  These shootings are the symptoms of our national suffering, they are our collective guilt.  Not guilt over poor gun control, but over apathy in the face of injustice.  This is the example our parents.

    -Dallas Rolnick

    • nj_v2

      Somehow i don’t think the President cries when he considers the innocents killed by the drone attacks he authorizes.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I really want to know how long this siege in Sandy Hook lasted.  I know it began about 9:40, but when did the killer take his own life?  Shortly after 10:00?  10:01?  The president was informed at 10:30, Jay Carney said.  But when I went online to see what happened, they reported the killer was dead.  That was at 1:00, but there was no report of it ending at the White House in the press briefing.  
    Also, if there were 100 shots fired, which I heard somewhere, then it is no surprise that with four shots apiece, that number of people died.  In closed classrooms.  Awful thought.

    • jefe68

      From what I understand it was not a siege. He went in and started shooting right away and killed himself, the police were there pretty quickly as the 911 call was placed within minutes of the school officials understanding what was going on.

      The time lapse was due to the police, FBI, and ATF securing the crime scene and because there was a report that there might have been two people involved.

  • andreawilder

    I used to be a school teacher.  After many years and much talk with other teachers, principals, superintendents, I want to say that it is possible to spot the kids who are in trouble  in 
    kindergarten, the professionals know this.  Add a gun to a kid who is in trouble and this is what you get.  It is not a mystery.
    This kind of trouble starts in the home.

    • Don_B1

      In this case it is unclear what the source of the shooter’s problems were, what his mother’s actions or inactions did to contribute to this crime. One might draw on the reports that the shooter killed his mother with four bullets to the head to infer that there was resentment there.

      But what “mental health” treatments were in use and what was recommended? Was this a real mental illness problem at the root or a distorted view drawn from the “individualist” themes that have dominated the American culture and firmly taken root in this “everyone for himself” culture, as so demonstrated on this blog all too often. Just that the shooter was “loner” reputation should not be used to blame that on all such individuals, and doing that will not prevent all massacres, just as preventing the sale of all guns would.

      But a man attacked a school in China using a knife and all 20 or so children he stabbed are alive today.

      But high-fire-rate guns are unnecessary for any sporting activity; you only have to take Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) that, as a hunter, he never has had more than THREE bullets in his gun at any one time.

      What bothered me was the reports that it was apparently difficult to identify the children from the time that it was taking. Killing his mother with four bullets to the head makes the knowledge that each dead child was shot more than once, leads me to wonder how many “open coffins” there will be for those killed in this immense tragedy.

      I hope my fears are unfounded, but if not, I hope this information comes out so its horror emphasizes the need to remove this aspect of gun violence and can be used to differentiate it from the uses of other weapons many attempt to show are supposedly “equivalent” in their deadliness when they are not.

      • andreawilder

        The boy should have had therapy. And the mother bought guns and taught him how to use them? Bizarre behavior right there. The father bowed out of his son’s life. Reports (slight) of him in school years before should have been a wake up call.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Tom that was an interesting point about how panicked the average American is. How much of that is the ongoing legacy of the Red Scare and the resulting mentality? You can’t even talk about helping your fellow human without immediately being attacked as a Commie or Socialist. I get it, I totally get it:
    Me First made the USA the greatest country EVER (in the minds of some) and people’s insecurities prevent them from questioning their selfishness.
    Guess what Me First folks? It’s been taking us in the opposite direction for at least the past thirty five years. I’m all for individuality but when it becomes “MY needs (actually desires) outweigh the needs of EVERYONE else!” there can only be one outcome. There are certainly plenty of examples throughout history.

  • Coastghost

    THE PHOTO OF THE PRESUMED .223 CALIBER RIFLE SHOWN ABOVE IS NO LONGER AT ALL RELEVANT TO THIS STORY if the school shooter committed his crimes with two handguns. Leaving the photo posted on this page is not simply regrettable, it’s loathsome journalistic and editorial practice, expressly because of its shamelessly manipulative intent. (“Oh let’s inflame public sentiment, shall we? It’s a good cause.”)

    • Don_B1

      The gun used to kill the 26 children and teachers at the school was a Bushmaster automatic rifle with multiple 30-round clips; it was only when the police arrival became clear that the shooter used one of the automatic pistols to kill himself.

  • Bill_in_Groton_CT

    Whenever a horrific mass murder like this occurs, the subject of mental illness is always brought up. I have “mental illness” from serving in the US military from 1972 to 1974. I didn’t have a choice, since I was issued a draft notice. My VA doctor tells me that it is like diabetes or heart disease. That is simply not true! Diabetes or heart disease is never brought up when someone goes on a killing rampage. We, the people diagnosed with mental illness, have marginal civil and human rights; and definitely not “the right to redress grievances” without coming under intense scrutiny by law enforcement and politicians. I listen to the clowns in the news business, regarding this horror, and wonder who is really sane? What some people will do to make a buck!
     Tom, it is interesting that neither you nor your guests mentioned the Fort Hood shootings. Wonder why?

    • Ellen Dibble

      Fort Hood was all the more appalling because it was perpetrated by a mental health professional, as I recall, a psychiatrist, one dedicated to helping people make the best of their mental malfunctions, if not ameliorate them.  That was horrible for sure.  
           I think current statistics show that all Americans have some mental illness every so many months.  I don’t recall how many months, or what the duration, all that; nor do I know how that piece of information was derived.  I think it represents that lots of people ride out episodes that others might get medication and/or treatment for, or flounder through very badly.  I don’t know.  But plenty of people’s brains and personalities are not the psychological equivalent of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s sterling physical presentations; put it like that.  The brain is simply a lot harder to see, and to study, and therefore harder to define.    

      • Bill_in_Groton_CT

        Was the suspect in the suspect in the Fort Hood massacre a “psychiatrist” or a terrorist masquerading as a psychiatrist? He was reported to have said, by witnesses: “Ala Achba!” during the shootings and several complaints were submitted by his colleagues about him prior to the shooting. They were ignored.

         I think that your response was far too abstract and tangential; lacking in real substance. My comments were submitted on the basis of real-life experience, not academics. There is a real prejudice in this country toward the mentally ill. They’re “easy targets” and have no defense. It is “straw man logic”; of some kind: “If mass murders are committed by mentally ill people, then all mentally ill people are mass murders” This is a real disservice.

        • 1Brett1

          I have been a mental health counselor for a long time, and while I understand your concern about broadly painting mental illness (I, too, often have concern that mental illness itself becomes wrongfully maligned in these tragedies), I don’t see Ellen’s comment as perpetuating the idea of, “if mass murders are committed by mentally ill people, then all mentally ill people are mass murderers.” 

          Mental illness, in my view, has to be part of any discussion on mass killings of this nature if we are going to move forward. It’s true that many will probably have a more removed, ostensibly academic approach/perspective than yours; however, one doesn’t need to have a mental disorder to have an opinion on mental illness.

          Also, one can be a psychiatrist, have a severe mental health problem AND be a terrorist; those ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

          Let me ask, if someone has expressed in a clinical situation (that it is a matter of record) that he/she is having deliberate, very realistic thoughts of either harming himself/herself or others, what should be done – if anything – with such information? Should he/she have legal access to guns? I feel these are pertinent questions, and they don’t malign people with mental disorders.

          Bringing discussion about mental illness and guns is quite relevant in my view, especially considering how many of these shootings in the past few years reveal the specific shooters as being very disturbed in a psychiatric sense. 

          • Bill_in_Groton_CT

            There are strict laws already in Connecticut regarding handgun ownership by people with mental health problems. That is not the issue that I was addressing. This massacre just happened yesterday morning. Due to its magnitude and complexity, it takes a long time to do a thorough investigation by the CT State Police. I have full confidence in their capabilities. Why won’t the media and public just back off till they have completed their investigation and find out exactly who did this, how and why?
             Personally, from my experience, I am not too impressed with the mental health profession. The word “cure” is not even in their vocabulary. I am not too impressed in the logic of many, including the media, regarding this incident.
             These shooting massacres in the United States, in recent years, are deeply rooted in some basic fundamental problems in society. There is the gratuitous violence in movies, video games, etc. It is a violent culture. Then there is the more subtle issues that ultimately contribute to the popular mindset that human life has no value. Right and wrong cannot be based on moral relativism by public sentiment and the public leaders that they elect. Abortion is a case in point. Just because elected officials made it legal, doesn’t mean that it no longer degrades the value of human life. This is the whole problem with the secular progressive movement. There are absolutes and when a society crosses the line into a “spiritual darkness”; everyone suffers and horrific events like the one yesterday occur. How far are you willing to go with this? Ban guns? Euthanize people diagnosed with mental illness?

          • 1Brett1

            I don’t know that I can properly address your reply. You seem to have introduced all sorts of societal issues and rambled about all sorts of matters, here, from all over the map. I can say that I don’t see “absolutes” in quite the same way you do. Your ostensibly rhetorical questions about “banning guns” or “euthanize[ing]” people diagnosed with mental illness” seem much too simplistic, superficial to intelligent discussion, and “absolute,” to address effectively. Also, the abortion issue you raise in and of itself seems to have little bearing on why troubled people commit such crimes. 

          • Bill_in_Groton_CT

            I’m looking at “THE BIG PICTURE”. You obviously are an “intellectual” and cannot comprehend such. The “abortion issue” simply points out the problem of marginalizing human life in our society; one among many. You strike me as someone that sits around in your pajamas and just blogs on the internet. Writing my initial comment to “On Point Radio” was the only way I could reach them. I have more important things to do than engage in blogs, so this will be my last response.
             I hope that you will find something better to do in your life.

          • 1Brett1

            Thanks for the charming interaction. You make a lot of assumptions about me personally…The part about my being a pajama wearing intellectual was particularly amusing. I guess you can’t seem to handle replies, yet you feel okay making them yourself…just take your ball and go home, then?

      • 1Brett1

        And, the Fort Hood shooter was surrounded by other mental health professionals who saw very distinct signs but chose to ignore them, ostensibly not for confidentiality purposes (as much as general discussion surrounds these issues of confidentiality), but because of a mixture of some skewed sense of professional “correctness” and wanting to get him out of their particular hair and on to somewhere else. 

    • Don_B1

      Mental illness is so little understood by the general public that it seems to be a favorite “scapegoat” (among others) for things that otherwise people would have to acknowledge they had a hand in creating. All those who voted against or did not vote for renewal of the assault-weapons ban with the restrictions on clip size and bullet types bear some responsibility if only indirectly for these gun massacres if only in how the presence of such weapons changes attitudes in society, from “concealed carry” laws to “stand-your-ground” laws.

      For most individuals, violent computer games can be kept compartmentalized, but clearly this is not true for all. But that does not mean that incentives to develop other games that are more educational cannot be encouraged and there is a lot of evidence that when made entertaining as well as educational they appeal to young people.

  • Coastghost

    10:05 pm, and the photo of an irrelevant .223 caliber rifle still adorns the page. (“Non-responsive Public Radio”, as some see it.)

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Yes, yes Coastghost, we get it. You’re more upset over the picture of an assault rifle on the OP page than you are about the twenty children slain today.
      Have a nice evening.

      • Coastghost

        I’m expressing my disgust with manipulative and dishonest journalistic practice, friend, I doubt I care any less (or any more) for the children murdered today than you or Tom Ashbrook do. That said, craven attempts to mold public opinion with emotion-laden imagery that IS NO LONGER GERMANE TO THE STORY BEING TOLD is wholly contemptible. WBUR and “On Point”, and Tom Ashbrook personally since his name is all over this show, are robbing the story, frankly, by attempting to divert public attention with their own fearmongering tactics, which are regularly deplored here when practiced by others in the journalistic fraternity.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Why do you think that rifle was in that car, rather than back in the house?  If we’re trying to understand what was in this person’s mind, surely a weapon that was in the car at the scene is germane.  Just as the fact he was armored is germane, though he actually killed himself, so that too was redundant.
          Also, the court of public opinion is different than a court of law. If the man were being tried in court, the lawyer would try mightily to suppress the evidence about the gun in the car, for exactly the reason you give. And jurors would be excluded if they had heard that sort of detail, or any detail at all. And the entire history of the state’s laws and interpretation of laws would be used to make sure extraneous details were suppressed. If there were an unintended exposure of any juror to that sort of reporting or photo, they would be excused, and an alternate juror would take their place. That is my understanding.

          • BLewis6

            The gun was originally reported as being part of the incident. That’s why it’s here. They’ll correct it when they get around to it.

          • Coastghost

            Negatory: when this page opened just after the show began, the photo of the .223 DID NOT APPEAR. It was posted after the show began, and long after it became generally known that the crimes were committed with handguns. The photo’s appearance on this page adds nothing to the story, distracts and diverts attention from the ACTUAL story, and amounts to rank propaganda. But making rank propaganda out of a horrific crime is SOP for all of our media, NPR and WBUR included.

          • Ellen Dibble

            The photo seems to respect the privacy of those involved.  You could have a photo of a therapist or a priest.  I think the school itself needs no more publicity, and the topic is indeed exemplified by a gun that clearly is meant to kill, and to kill multiple people.  I’m not familiar with guns, but the photo shown gets right to the topic, if not of gun ownership, then of mass shootings.  What instead?

          • Coastghost

            We’re already in the second decade of our glorious 21st century: it’s been established publicly for almost six hours now that these crimes were committed with two handguns and NOT WITH ANY STYLE OF “ASSAULT WEAPON”. Resourceful WBUR interns surely can track down photos of the weapons actually used, instead of attempting to mislead the public by prominently displaying a weapon that was not used, unless the clear intent is simply to mislead and to inflame public feeling.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “Editor’s note: it is not clear what models of weapons were used in the attack in Connecticut. We will update the page when official information is available.”

            And poof, no more .223 pic. I’m sure they removed it because they realized you were onto them.

          • BLewis6

            Oh, so you’re saying the weapon wasn’t originally reported as used in the incident? Why is it that everyone originally reported that if it wasn’t originally reported as such? It’s called grasping at straws. There’s no conspiracy. If there was a conspiracy, we wouldn’t have more and more guns sold every year. It’s crazy that the conspiracy is that people want to restrict guns when the exact opposite is occurring. Wake up, you’re being manipulated into thinking the other side is manipulating you. What will it take to get you to understand that the NRA controls the debate and gun policy in the U.S.?

          • Coastghost

            You failed to read what I wrote: I did NOT say that the .223 was not mentioned in early reporting from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I only stated (as you lead me to re-state) that the photo displayed prominently above of a .223 rifle (the kind we now know was NOT used in the school shootings, at last report) was not on THIS page until AFTER the 7 pm show started. In other words, again: by the time the photo was posted on this page, anyone paying attention KNEW that the .223 was not a weapon used in the massacre. So why not put up photos of the Glock or the Sig and Sauer? They don’t have the threatening aspect of a .223 rifle, that’s all: a simple ploy to inflame public opinion. A disingenuous, deceptive, and dishonest ploy.

          • BLewis6

            Nonsense. The simpler, less conspiracy theory explanation is that it was originally reported as the weapon used. Someone at NPR researched it and obtained a photo, setting up a webpage to be released with the show. Meanwhile, everyone was working tirelessly on a rapidly developing and tragic story, gathering experts and performing research on the various topics involved. In the process, the report about the weapon used changed and NPR failed to change the photo. This seems far more plausible than your elaborate conspiracy theory. Now, I believe you don’t watch FOX if you think NPR compares in any way. It doesn’t. It’s a myth carried out by the right that NPR is liberal in its reporting.In fact, plenty of research has been done showing the opposite is true. In an attempt to counter the right’s claim, NPR pushes its reporting further to the right. The right continues to complain,so NPR continues to remain right. The Dems have done the same. Take a look at political parties in other countries and determine how far to the right both of our parties are in comparison.

          • BLewis6

            I mean, an elaborateconspiracy? They can’t even get a commentthread that doesn’t distort our comments when displayed. Come on!

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Hear, Hear!

          • BLewis6

            Just as I said right above, they’ll remove it when they get around to it. Do you understand prioritization or how journalism or common sense works?

          • Coastghost

            I’m sure I don’t know why the rifle was in the car: whatever initial views the shooter may have entertained on its use, he seems to have discounted. The clear implication to anyone perusing THIS page is that such a weapon very likely was used in commission of this horrid crime. New reports at this hour (ff. 9:30 pm ET) suggest more weapons (NOT yet identified) were found at the scene: but since late afternoon, it’s been clear from all the reports I’ve heard or read that the fearsome .223 caliber rifle was NOT used in the massacre; so why is an image of a comparable weapon being used to illustrate this story? To induce fear and anger, plainly. This is deceptive, disingenuous, and dishonest journalistic practice, pure and simple.

          • BLewis6

            I don’t think you give NPR listeners enough credit. They are, according to academic studies, the most informed media consumers. It’s unlikely they’re easily manipulated. You should check with FOX to find the crowd this type of thing would influence.

          • Coastghost

            –just as you fail to give NPR producers and reporters credit for their continual valiant efforts at “guiding” and “leading” public perception and public opinion. NPR’s propaganda efforts and practices are NO less rank than Fox’s. (I do not watch Fox, btw.) 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            One doesn’t have to watch Fox to get their second-hand ignorance and disproportion.

            Whatever media you consume doesn’t escape their particular brand of anti-journalism. They’ve warped the prism of regular media.

        • BLewis6

          Yes, I’m sure they posted the image to maintain your liberal conspiracy. I’m sure they’re not busy racing around finding and talking to experts. They should primarily be focused on the incorrect image of a weapon originally reported to have been used, just as you are. God forbid they report the news as it comes in and keep people up to date on the radio show. Instead, they should focus on the website where SO many people frequent in comparison to listening.

    • BLewis6

      It’s true. Why is it every time there’s a shooting, gun advocates say, “shhh, no talking, only prayer,” and look for any detail that is amiss so they can change the subject from the tragedy to a reporting error.

      EVERY TIME!

      • Coastghost

        Why is it that every time a mass shooting occurs, our journalists are always eager to implicate “assault weapons”, even when they are only tangentially connected to a crime (as in this case: the weapon was present at the scene but seems not to have been used at the scene), and even when there is no connection whatsoever? EVERY TIME!

        • jefe68

          Why is that you feel the need to even say this?

          There is no need for that kind of assault weapon, period.

          • Coastghost

            Look closely at my posts, jefe: no defense of the NRA, no appeal to the Second Amendment. My tirade last night was directed entirely against what I saw and see as indefensible journalistic practice. American journalists seem to work with a default mentality concerning “assault weapons”: they’re ready to implicate them in the latest carnage whether they played an actual role or not. (We could call this a “knee-jerk” or “reactionary” response.) I have seen American journalism up close and personal: not a pretty sight, even without HDTV. American journalists debase language and thought on a daily basis and never apologize for it, so I hardly trust the fraternity to tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (I propose as the mascot of journalists worldwide one of the Cyclopes–asleep.)   

  • BLewis6

    Yes, I’m sure they posted the image to maintain your liberal conspiracy. I’m sure they’re not busy racing around finding and talking to experts. They should primarily be focused on the incorrect image of a weapon originally reported to have been used, just as you are. God forbid they report the news as it comes in and keep people up to date on the radio show. Instead, they should focus on the website where SO many people frequent in comparison to listening.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    What?  Piers Morgan was unavailable?

  • nj_v2
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000150875010 Liz May

    It is totally insane that guns are easier to get than cold medicine. After JFK was murdered the government acted. Why not now? How many more murders do we endure?

  • Tyranipocrit

    nothing to say.  when is it enough? gun people are criminals.

  • turnerwarehouse

    America is a country of alienated people. Health care and basic safety (that is, having laws that severely regulate guns) are simply not a priority to people.

  • Gregg Smith

    I didn’t hear the show, I just got home. It’s 2AM. My comment is to the commenters here going on about guns. It’s too soon. Hug your children, cherish every day, call an old friend, realized how blessed you are because you are blessed. Mourn the loss, think about the families and respect them. If you are so inclined, pray for them. Understand how fragile and precious life is. Love one another.

    There is so much we don’t yet know. Can we give it a day or two before the politics of the Rahm Emanuel Doctrine dominates the discussion?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Well said, I knew you had a heart. I’m sure there are some “You’re just trying to avoid discussion of Gun Control!!!” accusations headed your way but I believe you meant what you said. Thanks for the truly decent comment regarding this tragedy.

      • Gregg Smith

        Thanks Drew.

    • 1Brett1

      I am inclined to agree with most of your sentiment. However, isn’t it better to let people respond how they see fit as you’ve responded how you’ve seen fit? You made your comment late; most won’t see the comment until Saturday morning (as I’m seeing it), anyway. 

      We’ve heard the tragic, sad, sick story over and over throughout yesterday, so people have heard the basics and have had time to process it a bit. I also do believe, like Drew believes, that your comment is from the heart and is sincerely attempting to encourage people toward solemnity, so I do want to stress that. 

      But I also believe that, in its action, your comment serves you and not others, necessarily. Telling people how they should act and what they should value as important, and how they should process this event/generally conduct themselves in their discussions/comments/dialogues, yet choosing to comment the way you find appropriate comes across as sort of controlling and a little self-righteous in its attempt to set the tone, although I don’t believe this is your intention. 

      I saw this online all day yesterday; people would introduce the topic, express their opinions, then caution people not to express themselves about other aspects of this tragedy. Isn’t telling people NOT to talk about gun laws also a kind of commentary about gun laws? Isn’t expressing one’s opinion then telling other people discussion should be over, from that point on, just a way (however unintentional) of having a kind of last word?  

      Also, do we really need to know every last detail of this   story, as if we are to judge it like a jury at a criminal   trial, before we can have a discussion about gun laws? It doesn’t matter whether this 20 year-old had mental health issues, acted alone in the moment, or stole his guns. etc., there can still be a general discussion.

      Many people have made what I believe is this same sincere mistake often made, and that is to use general discussions about gun laws that others make as a way to dismiss their comments because talk should be about this particular case, in their view. And vice versa. People can have opinions about an event without needing to sit in a courtroom, so to speak, to pass judgement; they can also use this moment to have a general discussion. 

      And, if someone is mixing up general with specific ideas in a dialogue, perhaps asking the person to clarify whether he/she wishes to talk about the particular tragedy (or wishes to make some statement about gun laws) is what’s best? It’s much too easy to use their comments to dismiss what they are saying out of hand because they “don’t know all the facts.” Is this the best way to promote discussion? Or this the best way to win a debate? It all seems to make discussion sort of censored.

      For one, when is there a good time to talk about gun laws? (I, personally, believe it can at least wait until Monday, as they’ll probably do a show on it; and, like you, I think it’s better to take a few days to reflect, but I won’t call for people to have my same feelings about that.) Second, if we need to know ALL facts about this case to talk about gun laws, then this is saying that general discussions about how we should address gun laws have to conform to fit the facts of this (or any other) particular case. Third, people process tragedies such as this differently and in their own way; I, for one, would rather embrace allowing people to process as they must, no matter my own opinions and no matter how I or you need to process this. 

      • Gregg Smith

        Thanks, I guess. But no, I’m not trying tell anyone how to act or what to say. I was attemptting to put the emphasis back where it should be in these early hours. I feel comfortable saying where it should be because it’s clear. Processing is one thing but IMO knee-jerk reactions to advance a political agenda and take advantage of a crisis is unseemly, especially now. So I said so.

        • 1Brett1

          Oh, I agree, Gregg, in that opportunism is perhaps not what’s called for now (for we commenters), on the one hand; and, as I hope I stated properly, I don’t feel as though your intention was to tell anybody what to do or say. It’s just that, on the other hand, how the act of such expression might be perceived or play out maybe could be cause for concern. 

          However, we have heard some legislators weigh in on this tragedy. On the one hand, it may be premature to use this as a starting point to have a conversation about gun laws, on the other hand, legislators legislate. They use these moments which affect us all in our own communities as starting points to conversations about gun laws. 

          We can’t deny that the spate of these kinds of tragedies at least warrants such discussion. As adults engaged in conversation, we, as individuals, can judge and separate out which comments are ideological in nature and which are designed to have a true discussion without admonishment, if one disagrees with a given comment, which seems like opportunism in and of itself.

          • Gregg Smith

            The debate will happen. I actually am ready to have it. From reading these comments I see a blurring of the distinction between politics and politicizing. Maybe it’s me splitting hairs. The debate in the political arena is healthy and needed. I embrace it. I don’t even have a problem if this is a catalyst. But for me, you and others a bit of perspective and order is important. My initial comment had a target and that was those who went straight to pretending it was clear this proved gun laws or lack thereof are the culprit. I do think that is disrespectful to the victims and their families at this time. I can also see that if (big if) in the future it becomes clear through evidence that a change in gun laws could have possibly prevented it then pursuing the agenda would be showing due respect. We aren’t their yet.

            There is a bold red line between attempting to advance an agenda without the facts based on emotions and attempting to counter it soberly even if it’s uncomfortably soon. I hope it’s an adult debate but I am dubious. It certainly must include more than the 2nd Amendment. Mental health, cultural rot, security measures and their implications are just a start. It is quite clear to me, if what is being reported is true, there are in fact laws that could have prevented this but they have nothing to do with restricting guns. 

            So I’m stuck because I don’t want to do what I am decrying and use this crisis to advance a political agenda. That’s different from using this as a reason for the sober debate. I definitely don’t want to get bogged down trying to defend the distinction I’m making but I set myself up for it. That’s the rub for me.

    • 1Brett1

      (Of course, after reading many of these comments, perhaps others SHOULD be cautioned to reflect more…so, in that spirit…) What Gregg said! ;-)

      If I find fault, it is in having this special edition of On Point. I feel as though a show on Monday would have been better. I haven’t heard the show, so I guess I shouldn’t judge, but I find the whole thing suspect of more of a desire to be a competitive media outlet than a public service to promote good discussion.

      Get the jump on the debate, aye? (You guys at On Point know how this forum can really seize on these issues in the face of tragedy, and promoting this as a frenzied, media, bonfire-building event to “be the first to chime in on” seems kind of unseemly. Reporting the news of this has already been covered on NPR yesterday. So why have a “special” On Point add on?

    • jefe68

      No. enough is enough. It’s easier to buy a gun than rent a car in most states and it’s not about the 2nd amendment.
      The gun rights zealots are the problem, not people like myself who think this should be regulated and licensed.
      The NRA is the problem, not the people advocating fro more common sense.

      Love one another is a great sentiment, but lets realize this guy bought three weapons and it was way to easy for him to do so.

      • Gregg Smith

        It is not helpful to say what is not true. His mother, whom he killed owned the guns legally. Wait for more facts.

        • turnerwarehouse

          WELL SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO DO SO!

          • Steve__T

             Yes she should have. But she should have had them locked away in a safe with trigger locks so that no one but her had access or, be able to use them.

            Their is a responsibility in owning a firearm, those who don’t exercise a reasonable responsibility allow bad things to happen.

            If some ones child gets their parents car keys and drives around running over people, should that person not have been allowed to own that car?

            Understandably this is a horrendous tragedy but reacting with hysterics dose no one any good.  

            Now is a time for morning the loss of life not for accusation.

          • Gregg Smith

            Well said.

          • anamaria23

            I suspect that the parents of the 20 innnocents slaughtered are in a state of hysteria.  It is for them that we must speak out.
            Why would a woman, mother or not, need to own such weapons capable of mass murder in a matter of minutes.
            That is the question those of us, who have been  appealing for years for better gun control,  are asking.
            And yes the time is now to bring it up, hammer it home, descend on Congress and the President until it is heard.
            Enough is enough.
            The problem is that the “should” you mention is too vulnerable to carelessness.

          • Steve__T

             When have you ever seen anyone think clearly after a tragedy?
            How easy is it to incite others at a time like this?

            No the time now is to support those in grief and morn their loss.

            Talk of what should be done, and what should have been done is moot. And will neither change or soften this tragic situation for the families involved.

            Carelessness is using others pain and grief to promote your own goals.

            I ask to just let it go for now. Cry Like I am,
            but don’t let anger guide you, think of the time of year and realize that the families will grieve even more later.

            Peace be still

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Thanks for this Steve.

          • anamaria23

            I find your reply sanctimonious,  condescending, presumptuous and highly offensive.
            I offered my comment in good faith reflecting a concern of mine for years and years. My grief runs deep.  

          • DrewInGeorgia

            We have no idea whether or not it was the mother who physically purchased the weapons or if her Identity was used to purchase them. Unless you are privy to information that the rest of us don’t have access to. Likely you will think that his comment is related to Gun Control and that I am against it. You’d be wrong to draw that conclusion. Read the rest of my comments on this thread if you don’t believe me.

            In the wise words of Steve T in his reply to anamarie23 below:

            Peace, be still.

        • jefe68

          I agree. It seems that she owned them and this turning more into mental health issue.

          I do have to wonder if she kept them locked up. But even if she did a smart motivated person could have figured out how to get at them.

          It’s tragic all around.
          Still, he was over 18 and the state of Connecticut you can purchase a firearm if you don’t’ have a felony conviction. 

    • hennorama

      Gregg – You were SO close to being non-political, but you couldn’t keep yourself from inserting YOUR politics into your last sentence.  Too bad, as the rest of your post has merit.  Perhaps you might consider editing that last sentence.  (Unless you consider it to be completely non-political, of course).

      • Gregg Smith

        The last sentence is a plea to keep politics out of it for now. It is an admonition not to use a crisis to advance a political agenda. If that’s politics, so be it. 

        • hennorama

          I see, Gregg. So you were being non-political about “the Rahm Emanuel Doctrine” then? That wasn’t intended as even the slightest dig at Mr. Emanuel? Or do you simply think Mr. Emanuel is the originator of the idea “Never let a serious crisis go to waste?” He’s not.

          You may want to check out a quote from Milton Freidman, from his book “Capitalism and Freedom.”

          “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m not chasing you into the goggle weeds. I never said he originated it, he just implemented it. I never even said it was necessarily bad. It can be hideous, just or anywhere in between. A crisis can be used to make people act on emotions over pragmatism or emotions can jar people into reality. I suspect the former in this case. I don’t expect you to see the difference nor agree.  I’ll criticize  Obama or Manuel all I want, they have defined themselves. That is not disrespectful to the children.

          • hennorama

            OK, Gregg. I guess you are simply unable to perceive the exquisite contradiction of what you describe as “a plea to keep politics out of it for now” that invokes the name of a politician and what some consider to be a political concept.

            That is why I suggested you edit the last sentence of your original post, so that you could take your own advice to “keep politics out of it for now.” You are simply tone-deaf about your own comment and cannot see how you personally did the exact opposite of what you “plea” for others to do. Only you can help yourself with that, my friend.

            BTW – a search engine was not required for me to quote Mr. Friedman, as I own and have read his book. Interesting assumption, though.

          • Gregg Smith

            I edited it. You are not my friend.

          • hennorama

            Wow, Gregg. I’d say you were “clueless,” but that would be inaccurate, as not only do clues abound, specific suggestions have been made, and ignored.

            HINT: You may want to re-read my previous post, as it contains the word “original.”

            Sorry to read your other statement. If I am not your friend, am I your enemy? BTW, I am not Egyptian, so feel free to answer. Unless you consider the question or your answer to be political, or to be politicizing the discussion, of course.

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m not doing this here.  I’ll respond, in short, on Friday’s open thread but you don’t deserve that.

          • hennorama

            Gregg – FYI, you may want to read the 3rd oldest original post on this topic. You may be surprised to find you agree with me 100%.

  • turnerwarehouse

    Besides, congressmen and congresswomen have much better things to do on Monday morning than to pass laws that limit gun acquisition. Much more important things.

  • Coastghost

    I’d be remiss after last night’s fomenting not to note that some responsible person responsibly took down the image of the kind of rifle that seems not to have been used in the Newtown massacre. Bravo to the responsible party/parties. (Fie again on the initial decision to post the image, apparently in a good-natured attempt to mislead the public and/or inflame public opinion.) 

    • Gregg Smith

      I missed it yesterday but I’ve read the comments. Thanks for your successful efforts. The alarming agendas raise their ugly heads like clockwork.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Ghost, in response to your distaste in regarding unsubstantiated reports regarding the role of the rifle in this massacre, this just in from the CT Medical Examiner:

      ” … the “long weapon” was used in the shooting, and that
      the weapon caused all of the wounds that he knew of.”

      This according to another news outlet.

      So, comment AFTER the facts are in.

      • Coastghost

        Yes, I read the reports that began to appear only this afternoon (the first mention I saw hit Google News just after 4 ET, with a report from the BBC). This news hardly vitiates my argument from last evening, however: as of 7 pm Friday, all published reports were discounting use of the rifle in the massacre and had turned focus to the handguns, yet someone at “On Point” saw fit to illustrate this page with prominent display of a photo of a .223 rifle not ten hours after the event: THAT use constituted “commentary BEFORE the facts were in”. (This site is the work of a professional news organization, after all.) Now that the .223 is being implicated officially, I’m sure comparable images will be used with respect to this tragedy in perpetuity, and rightly so, going forward: but in the hours from 7 pm last night to mid-afternoon today, use of that image remained premature and was not at all in keeping with the facts available then. WBUR did well to take the image down (belatedly: it was still posted when I signed off last night just after 11 pm), and with the reports now available, the station can now legitimately restore its use.

        • TheDailyBuzzherd

          I took Logic years ago and can’t identify the specifics of the disconnection in your reasoning, but let me put it this way: you’re splitting hairs. You’re P’d O that someone was using this situation to politicize the event. Proof? Further, is THAT the only thing you feel the need to call out here?

          How about the latest “story” going around: “Shooter’s Mother Hoarded Weapons Out of Fear for Fiscal Cliff”. Who is fanning the flames now, true or untrue?

          I say you and your ilk are fanning the flames in the paranoia of gov’t as if a new Red Scare …

          • Coastghost

            I’m no logician and lay no claim to being an accomplished epistemologist, so I can’t help you dissect my specific reasoning. I do have an abiding disdain for the American practice of journalism, however, and an enduring skepticism of Amer. journalistic practice acquired honestly through many a hard-fought battle, which is not limited to any critiques I lodge against NPR or WBUR or “On Point”. My political antipathy toward statism is another matter altogether. I’m not “paranoid” concerning statism, just as I do not endorse use of pseudo-psychiatric categories to tar those who differ politically: I oppose self-aggrandizing statism out of libertarian sympathy and conservative principle (my idiosyncratic blend of Machiavelli and Burke), regardless of local political circumstances.

          • TheDailyBuzzherd

            Libertarianism works when the  playing field is equal. I don’t own a gun. So my freedom is directly proportional to the motives of the idiot worming around with a gun in his pocket and a party in his head.

          • BLewis6

            Coastghost, you were wrong. You should admit it. You went on a long rant about the inaccuracy of reporting the use of an assault weapon. As initially claimed, and reported, the assault weapon was used. You claim that substantiated reports didn’t come until later. Here’s the thing, in an incident like this, a lot of information comes rapidly from a lot of sources. The media does its best to report what is occurring. I’m certain NPR couldn’t walk right in and repeatedly interview every witness immediately after the shooting. As it turns out, NPR’s reporting is correct and your conspiracy theory is wrong. You should apologize for jumping to conclusions. Perhaps you should have substantiated your claims before running off at the mouth.

        • hennorama

          It’s OK to use what may be the three bravest words in the English language:  “I was wrong.”

          • Coastghost

            It would be cowardly to use them in this case, however, and inaccurate, since I was correct, based on real-time release of information. WBUR and/or “On Point” were woefully premature in posting their graphic of the .223 rifle after 7 pm Friday, when the reigning consensus then was that the massacre was committed with two handguns. The WSJ piece I read in the past half-hour or so alludes to the misunderstanding that prevailed officially until just this (Saturday) afternoon, the reports from mid-day Friday being that the .223 rifle was found in a car in the parking lot, not inside the school with the dead shooter. No factual basis linking the massacre with the .223 rifle existed until the news broke this afternoon, which again I did not see posted until just after 4 pm.

          • hennorama

            Interestingly, this sounds a great deal like the situation regarding the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Libya. Initial confusion, proclamations of outrage, jumps to conclusions, a repetition and use of the “consensus” and “official” views, back-pedaling when initial accounts are clarified and corrected, a major change in the “consensus” and “official” views …

  • Robert Freyre

    Reddit: 

    The Sandy Hook Elementary murders will be covered on the news for weeks to come. But if you ask a forensics psychiatrist, we shouldn’t.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PezlFNTGWv4&feature=player_embedded#!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    The media I’ve consumed about this has been pretty darn restrained and non-speculative. (I have sorta hit my limit on how many hours I care for, but everyone’s limit varies.)

    What interests me at this point is how we have
    near-saturation coverage of every little violent crime on the Evening News by comparison. Seems that question of proportion never becomes a topic of
    the press except in the aftermath of something that really deserves such heavy coverage,
    such as this incident.

    Crime
    rates rise and fall, monthly and yearly, and if one simply watches the
    News, one would never know how safe or worried to feel, how much risk
    one takes doing something.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Because if you watch The News it is never safe, we should always worry, and everyone should run out and purchase Security Blankies.

  • Gregg Smith

    When I was in high school in north Florida in the mid-seventies many of my friends hunted after school during the season. It wasn’t at all uncommon to see guns in racks, in trucks, in the school parking lot. 

    • jefe68

      I use to live in Vermont and this was also common.
      However, I was a substitute teacher for a couple of years and I was once threatened by one 15 year old male who said he was going to get his gun and shoot me.

      He was suspended and it also went to the local police as an incident as this kid had a history of being in trouble and violent. 

      The interesting thing is we did not have assault rifles nor semi-automatic pistols for sale online in the 70′s.

      The type of guns you’re talking about are bolt action deer rifles. Not exactly the kind of weapon one could use to kill 20 children.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dean-Weingarten/100001245070606 Dean Weingarten

        Semi-auto rifles have been available for over a century.  In the 1960′s you could buy anti-aircraft weapons and anti-tank guns through the mail.  We did not have any crimes with them. 

        What has changed has been the desensitization of kids to violence via the media and and the direct attack on morals.

        The availablility of firearms is not the issue, and never has been.

        • TheDailyBuzzherd

          Point taken Dean, but I can’t research your claims on gun crimes perpetrated in The ’60s. Different times call for different measures.

          How about this? More parental supervision, more Jesus, less censorship, less guns?

  • hypocracy1

    Is it still ‘Too Soon’? Or is it Too Late?

    • Gregg Smith

      It seems to me that depends. For what?

      • hypocracy1

        It seems to you that we are still in the mid-seventies…

  • AC

    I’ll write this carefully, because it’s a tricky subject & I’m still working thru it on my own.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people owning certain classes of weapons to defend themselves or hunt with, like a rifle, I mean. & certain law enforcement should have access to maybe a higher class of weapons. Why joe schmoe needs a glock confuses me…esp if joe is mentally ill.
    that being said, no one is talking about the 20 children STABBED in China yesterday also by a ‘single’ villager.
    Mental health is the real issue, so tread lightly before picking a righteous path to explain the horrible and senselessness of yesterday’s tragedy in Newtown. & let those poor parents breathe a little and grieve a little before you use their pain……

    • DrewInGeorgia

      “let those poor parents breathe a little and grieve a little before you use their pain……”

      Well said AC!

    • Gregg Smith

      Thanks AC.

    • hypocracy1

      Why does a kindergarden teacher own a .223 assault rifle?

      Guy attacks 20 kids in CHINA.. none die…

      You talk about mental health and half of the country thinks you don’t deserve health care.

      • AC

        I thought that was weird too. I have family in Newtown (my niece was in an elementary school within walking distance of Sandy Hook). You SO don’t need guns in this town…
        As far as China, this time no one died-in 2010 20 children WERE killed and 50 more wounded, by ONE man.
        I’m not getting into the politics of this, I refuse-but it is innate to humankind to find a way to mass murder (suicide bombers, or you COULD always use a vehicle…). This is so a mental health issue, and I don’t have a solution for it….

    • Steve__T

       Thank you for your post. Although it seems tantamount, that some will go forth with out regard for those who have lost their child or loved one in pursuit of what they think is right and morally correct for all.   
      I just wish them peace in this time of suffering and grief.
      No parent should have to bury their child. 

  • hypocracy1

    Mental Health?  Why are we armed to the teeth?

    Think about it.

  • jefe68

    Turns out this shooters mother did not teach at the school and she owned all the guns and had obtained them legally.
    I’m not sure what kind of security she had in regards to keeping them. If there was any, one wonders if it would have kept this kid from doing what he did.

    In the end this is looking more like a serious mental health issue that went untreated.

    • nj_v2

      She was a teacher’s aid, i believe.

      • jefe68

        No she was not that’s the media doing lousy job yet again. If you ask me the media has to stop sensationalizing these acts.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          If we stop eating they’ll stop feeding.

        • nj_v2

          No, it’s not the media. I have family who used to live in the area, and still know people there. Someone they know knew the woman, and knew what her role in the school was.

  • osullivan11

    After listening to this show I am empty and sad. I don’t know how to say this… so here goes.

    Other countries in the world have the very same video games and movies.
    Other countries in the world have criminality.
    Other countries in the world have people with poor mental health.
    Other countries in the world have downright evil people.
    Other countries in the world have busy lifestyles.
    Other countries in the world have bad politicians.
    Other countries in the world have recessions.
    Other countries in the world do not have 300 million guns.
    Other countries in the world do not have 84 people die of gun violence every day.
    Other countries in the world have had gun tragedies like this and done something about it.

    Occams Razor applies here. The problem is guns.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Connecticut joins the club spectacularly.

    We live an hour to the east; used to live within a half-hour of there. Cousins live there now. So, this is close to home, because IT IS home. It was only a matter of time before this many young children were lost. Just the look of that one boy in The Hartford Courant said it all.

    A little-known fact: The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s headquarters is a stone’s throw away from the school. I wonder how many gun control folks who’ve written in response to this latest crime with thoughts of shooting up the offices of any number of gun lobbies know this. It hit them right in the gut.

    So, will this fact and the fact that children were killed give the gun control movement traction? Hard to tell. Me, I doubt it. Further, WHY must child killing be seen as the “turning point” in this rhetorical war? Since when do we start parsing the value of human life to a specific attribute? Do CEOs have more inherent value than others? Blacks over whites? No, I predict no change as there’s no leadership willing to put its neck out for gun control.

    I find Japan’s method is the most sensible: Classes, written tests, retests, mental background checks, storage guidelines, registration, police inspection. I’d go further: since many of these crimes are perpetrated by not the direct owners of such guns but persons residing within the same residence, I would have the entire household subject to such checks and education. But again, it won’t happen, because “Preservatives” bent on upholding the “Constitution” under dubious auspices will cry that these measures only apply to responsible citizens and the not the criminal element for which they are intended. A “regulated militia” means just that. Besides, the majority of people want strong regulation. People. Last I checked, the “People” ARE the government. So why do people seem to want to “defend” themselves against “the people”? Does the 2nd Amendment clearly establish who we should defend ourselves against? The coming “Zombot” Apocalypse? Good Grief, paranoia knows no bounds. Not the basis for reasonable legislation.

    Finally, this episode screams for a rethink in “lockdown” policy. I think a better option is to spread out as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there. These kids had a better chance of getting hit by  congregating in rooms. How, exactly, can we ensure kids they’re absolutely safe while living under such a cloud nowadays?

    My daughter, whose school happened to have a lockdown rehearsal just the day before, had lots of questions. While naturally spooked by the coincidence, she has a good grasp of the whole affair, being nearly 15. I told her the fact is, NONE of us are truly safe, and never have been. Can’t say that to an 8 year old though.

    Just hope Newtown will recover well from this, but I doubt it. Survivors of these things will have shell shock the rest of their lives. Callers from around the US who’ve been through this were audibly shaking. This event brought their own fears back to the fore.

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Also, I can’t understand the multitude of persons posting here who have such distrust of NPR and its affiliates yet seem to baske in the use of its services … perhaps NPR IS a worthwhile alternative to our news services! BTW, I may not always support what is said here, but I defend the right to do so. Keep it coming.

  • Coastghost

    Someone there at WBUR may want to put a quick call in to the august New York Times. Their latest update featured at Google News just happens to have next to the column with their grisly story an advertisement for the new Quentin Tarentino righteous bloodletting festivity, due in theatres Christmas Day. A tad gauche, given that HuffPost is busy ventilating over a SC paper that ran a gunstore advertisement next to its Sandy Hook story (by way of mitigation: the Rock Hill Herald is owned by McClatchy, based in Sacramento, California). (The Times does assign proofreaders for its web content, surely?)

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Well, that’s just plain stupid and an obvious flashpoint.

    • jefe68

      It would seem that the assault rifle was indeed a .223.
      That you would use this forum to constantly post you’re sick viewpoints on guns of this type is telling.

      • Coastghost

        Your wholesale mischaracterization of my “sick viewpoints” shows either your disingenuousness or your inability to read and understand clear prose (it could show other things, too, but as I’ve already been led to confess, I am no logician). My comments, as I’ve had to stress more than once in responses to other poor readers or disingenuous folk harboring their version of righteous indignation, have ALL focused on the way WBUR and “On Point” treated the massacre in Newtown. My cascade of comments commenced Friday evening just after 7 pm (all times ET), when an utterly misleading and prominent display of the image of a threatening .223 rifle was posted, well in advance of any official pronouncement that such a gun was used in the crime(s): here I remind you that from mid-Friday, we were all being told that the .223 was found in a car in the school parking lot, not in the school with the deceased shooter and his two handguns. Since no one else posting in this forum raised a voice in protest, I did: I do not claim so, but perhaps possibly maybe my comments were taken into account, because the image I found offensive (because it was misleading and premature AT THE TIME) was taken down sometime between 11 pm Friday and 9 am Saturday. The CTME newser didn’t take place until c. 2 pm Saturday: THAT event constituted the first clear and unambiguous linkage of any .223 rifle to the crimes. My comments were and are ENTIRELY responsible. That you deem my position (press responsibility not to mislead the public) “sick” is a sign of–something, but it evinces no ability to perform close or honest reading on your part.

        • nj_v2

          And yet, here it is Sunday morning and CBS is reporting that the assailant entered the school building with a .223 rifle and two handguns.

          But go right ahead and continue to make a buffoon out of yourself. It seems to satisfy some need for you.

          • Coastghost

            No one appearing on a Sunday morning talk show saying that the assailant entered the school building with a .223 rifle and two handguns would have been in any position to say so prior to the CTME newser held c. 2 pm Saturday: THAT event marked the first unambiguous and official linkage of the .223 rifle with the commission of the massacre. It wasn’t known publicly until then, because the information had not been released prior to that time. Any buffoonery you’re apt to see is beheld entirely in your mirror: that, or you may want a refund on whatever school or class failed to teach you what “cause-and-effect” consists of.

          • Gregg Smith

            There seems to be a notion floating around that it’s cool to shape the debate with our public dollar before the facts are in. 

          • Coastghost

            Our media love to unleash hysteria, the facts be damned: not content with debasing language and thought on a daily basis, they would commandeer causality itself if we let them (I’m becoming more enamored of “freedom FROM the press” than of “freedom of the press”, since our press readily disowns any responsibility for its manifest errors and odious propagandizing). Of course, our media are in no responsible position to control or contain the hysteria they unleash, but that’s NOT their problem, as they see it.

        • jimino

          Cant you and everyone else just admit and agree that, in the end, all of your comments added nothing to the conversation and have you shut up about this thread of tremendously trivial criticism?

          • Coastghost

            “Vanity of vanities, says Koheleth, vanity of vanities, all is vanity”. All is vanity, says Koheleth. All.

    • hennorama

      Thank you for being such a vigilant “image vs. story” enforcer, Coastghost.

      Do you have any other views on the First Amendment or freedom of the press?  What about advertising in general?  Is it protected speech, similar to the issues in the Citizens United case?  What if the media involved were making political statements with the placement of their advertising?  What if the advertiser requested the specific placement next to the story?  Is that OK?

      The horse you are on is very high.  You do realize this, surely.

      • Coastghost

        Why, thank you for your dissimulating expression of gratitude, hennorama. Unfortunately, I am a pedestrian, not an equestrian.

        • hennorama

          Thank you for your response, Coastghost. As I’ve said before, I respect your views, and your impressive vocabulary and command of language.

          I would caution you, however, in using the word “pedestrian” as a self-description or self-characterization.

          Now, do you have any substantive, non-deflecting responses to the issues I’ve raised, or the questions I’ve posed?

          • Coastghost

            Stay tuned . . . .

          • hennorama

            Right. In other words, “Don’t hold your breath.” Got it.

            If it’s all the same to you, I’ll use my time walking my dog, enjoying the drizzle and breeze on my face, and observing debris accumulation and sediment deposition in my favorite creek. While your posts are usually interesting, I have yet to find one worth waiting for.

          • Gregg Smith

            Relax, it’s not like Coastghost refused to answer your question for the umpteenth time by saying he/she was taking the weekend off and then badgering folks anyway. 

          • hennorama

            Greg – given that you are so easily riled, you may not be the best person to advise anyone to “relax.” I think you may be suffering from PTERSD – Post-Traumatic Election Results Stress Disorder. That’s just a guess, since I’m certainly not qualified to make a diagnosis. Still, I’m only half-joking.

            That being said, I find myself reflecting on why I haven’t responded to you in the WITN forum, and deciding I need to take my own earlier advice to Coastghost.

            I was wrong.

            Our recent exchanges have devolved mostly into me being snarky, sarcastic, and smug, and you taking my comments as personal insults and affronts (in my interpretation, at least). I find my behavior to be unacceptable, especially in light of my repeated promotion of respect and politeness as a way to foster thoughtful exchanges of views.

            While I’m sure others have found some amusement in reading our exchanges, I doubt you have enjoyed them. I have to admit to a certain self-satisfaction, but find myself abashed and chagrined by this realization.

            My solution is to disengage. Simply put, I doubt my ability to continue to engage without reverting to sarcasm and snark, and see no other solution to avoid such reversion. I will not be commenting on your posts, either directly or indirectly, until further notice.

            Please do not misunderstand – this is neither a retreat or defeat on my part, nor an advance or victory on your part – rather it is simply a “unilaterally imposed temporary cessation of hostilities.”

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t care what you think. I’m not riled. I don’t care a wit about any perceived “victory”or not on some stupid blog. But I have noticed you get snarkey and go to great lengths to avoid the nub of the issue when cornered.I say that with all affection, honest debate is tough.

  • Ed75

    I don’t get so excited about these school shootings, as horrific as they are. After all, there is an abortion clinic in the next town where 10-15 children are killed each week. I’m in a degree of mourning all the time.
    The national reaction to this tragedy gives me hope that one day we will end abortion.
    ‘Until abortion is eliminated, there is no hope for civilization.’ Mother Teresa.
    The victims are in the hands of God. (‘Do not fear the first death, but the second death (the death of the soul)’ – Jesus.)
    This was evil breaking into time and space, a person responding, if not mentally ill, to the temptation of evil. Apparently the poor shooter was a Goth, a kind of satan worship. Predictable.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      “I don’t get so excited about these school shootings, as horrific as they are.”

      You know, this may be some of your best work Ed. On a Sunday Morning No Less. I’m sure the Pope would be proud. Get a soul.

    • Gregg Smith

      I am pro-choice within reason. I view the first trimester as acceptable, the second a gray area and the third unacceptable. I oppose federal funding and support parental consent. I will not argue that life begins at conception. It’s a life. I’m not particularly religious. I will tell you what others don’t have the guts to because their views are in conflict with themselves, so they change the language. It is acceptable to me for a life to be extinguished in the first trimester of gestation. There you go.

      That said, and I get your point, you didn’t really mean that first sentence. There is a difference between very early life in the womb and an independent life outside the womb that has experienced wonder and love. There is also a much greater connection with the parents, especially the father. I do not mean to overlook the joy and connection a mother can feel the moment she realizes she’s with child it’s not the same thing as when they hug you and say they love you.

      I respect your views and cannot find a way to counter them. I cannot prove there is not a disappointed Godsending a message. I just can’t. Calling you names won’t do it. I appreciate that you take so much expected heat gracefully for the most part. I have my views but when it comes down to it, all our views are based on faith in something even if the something is nothing. But this is awful. There are so many victims beyond the dead. The parents, siblings, relatives, communities are devastated and forever changed. The survivors will never be the same have their innocence snuffed out. This is not the way you want to make your point. You are cashing a check from the account of respect some (including myself) have for your perspective. Stick to your message of God and culture. Make you case against abortion but don’t do it this way, please.That’s just my take.

      • Ed75

        Well, thanks for pointing that out, point well taken. Of course I don’t mean to understate in any way the disaster in Connecticut. Only to say, acknowledging the routine killing that is going on in abortion, how can we not expect violence to erupt in this manner from time to time? Perhaps it will make us realize how much we do love our children, and to protect all of them.

      • jefe68

        Wow, you support this kind response.
        It has nothing to do with the mass murder that happened on Friday. Nothing, name calling, this mans’ comments were reprehensible and insulting to the families and the memories of those children.

        This man used this forum to post his extremist religious based view points. That you would support such an endeavor is beyond credulity.

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t think I’ve ever engaged Ed until this effort to condemn his response. Read it again. It’s my choice to do it with respect and civility. 

      • Ed75

        Yes, I agree, not the time to make this point. Your thoughtful response does bring out the difference of view though: the Church teaches us that all human beings are equal, no matter the stage of development. But back to the tragedy.

    • jefe68

      Have you no sense of decency?
      What is wrong with you? Are you so demented and blinded by your religious zealotry that you deem this tragic event as nothing more than a platform to post such garbage?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Yes.

    • nj_v2

      You apparently have mental health issues. One hopes you have no guns. Please seek professional help.

    • hennorama

      I so appreciate the little “collapse thread” minus sign all the way to the right of the gray box with Ed75′s moniker.  It’s ever so handy.

      • Gregg Smith

        I call my minus sign the “put your head in the sand” button.

        • hennorama

          Well … bless your little heart, Gregg, and thank you for sharing.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Thank God there’s a real womens’ health clinic in the next town. Bless you for informing us.

      The big Catholic hospital up the highway from Newtown is “partnering” with lots of real hospitals; they’ve just added another per a billboard I saw in the autumn. And that’s always bad news for women and their vajayjays.

    • AC

      this is inappropriate and pushy, even for you Ed. If you wonder why there are so many ex-catholics, as one i can say it is found through such commentary as this.
      your posts are very consistent and heartfelt, so i’ve let them go over me and considered you somewhat simple and naive, maybe a little brainwashed – but your post this time is downright mean and rude, not to mention insensative. for heaven’s sake, show some tact.

  • Gregg Smith

    What gun law in a state with very tough gun laws would have prevented someone from taking his mothers guns and shooting her in the face? Reports are that Lanza first went to the principals office. If true, the best hope that I see is if the principal had been armed. The next best scenario is if a teacher(s) had been armed. So I ask without suggesting a solution: Is there any thing else that would have given them better chance?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      A Civil Society? Pipe dream I know but you asked.

      • Gregg Smith

        I am eager to have the debate over the efficacy of “pretty please” compared to a bullet when preventing mass murder. Or the civility of mass murder for that matter. That said I endorse your pipe dream.

    • jefe68

      It would seem that the gun laws of CT worked as Lanza tried to buy a gun a few days before this happened.
      He was denied. I was thinking that if there was some kind of system in place that would notify authorities if a person deemed suspicious tried to buy a gun, maybe this could have been prevented, who knows maybe not.
      Authorities use the patriot act to watch all kinds of people and this act was clearly an act of terrorism and butchery.

      You are correct, there is not much anyone could have done in this case. Arming the teaching staff is absurd.
      Apparently the principal tried to disarm him and was killed.  Talk about heroic.

      This whole incident is turning into a mental health issue in my view. Maybe if you’re a gun owner with an adolescent boy who is troubled you should get the guns out of the house. Join a gun club and keep them there if you can.
      I’m not sure what the answer is here and sad to say I’m not sure what gun law could have prevented this demented monster from doing what he did on that day given the circumstances.

      However, I think gun ownership is not only a protected right it is also a serious responsibility and anyone who is cavalier about this is a fool. 

      I’m still all for banning all assault weapons, period.

      • Gregg Smith

        It is not clear to me whether the law prevented Lanza from getting the gun or delayed him with a waiting period. I do remember some legislation being passed that considered mental health and I think it was since the Brady Bill. Connecticut does have strict gun laws said to be in the top 10.

        A maddening aspect to me is the “duh” factor of thinking maybe it isn’t the gun and the man was deranged. No sane person does this.

        The principal tried to disarm him by lunging at him. It’s all she had left. I tried to be very specific with my question which of course you may choose not to answer. It allows room to deem arming the principal absurd without argument. Under those circumstances is there anything else that would have given them better chance?

    • 1Brett1

      I hear what your saying, but I just don’t think imagining what would have happened differently if the world were the way you think it should have been or should be, or if the world were some sort of separate reality or parallel universe, has much basis in anything of value, with all due respect.

      It’s easy to say, “hey, if a teacher were armed here, this wouldn’t have happened.” Well, nobody knows what would have happened if the scenario had played itself out differently. As long as your engaging in fantasy, time travel and general reality bending, what would have happened if an unarmed student in another hypothetical school somewhere in some other imaginary, near-future event had gotten mad at his armed teacher and seized the teacher’s gun, wreaking havoc and mayhem?

      I don’t really wish to spend a back and forth with you about possible gun laws that either are or are not good. And I don’t know which gun laws would be best or what magic number is the right number of gun laws (his needs to be studied closely, however). But, as long as we’re fantasizing about a “what if” future “better” way of living with guns…How about more stringent demonstrative testing of a gun owner (where a license involves a whole series of tests and has to be renewed once a year)? Where inspection occurs wherein a gun owner has to demonstrate to some official how he/she keeps/stores his/her guns? A very stringent restriction on the number of guns AND ammo a person can possess? Very strict limits on what types of guns a person can possess? As intrusive as this sounds (but owning a gun should be a very special privilege) strict mental health testing and examination for the owner and others living with owners)? These sound a little extreme, I know, but for fantasy purposes…will no strict rein-pulling on gun ownership work? Is arming all citizens or any person in any kind of authority position the answer to preventing such tragedies? Grocery store cashiers need to be armed? Anyone entering a mall needs to be armed? Teachers or anyone who works in a communal work environment need to be armed? Maybe all people should  refrain from going out in public without full body armor and bullet-proof headgear? 

      Having said all of this, (whether my views agree or disagree with yours) I do like that all your comments (at least the ones I’ve read) on guns pertain more to practical ideas (however impractical they may seem). By that I mean, you at least are imagining how practical measures can be worked out to protect people from harm and protect people who wish to own guns. I think this is a better approach than some have, who simply cite some so-called “god given right.” I do appreciate that about your comments.

      While we may have some inalienable right to protect ourselves, gun ownership is a privilege! It’s something that can be revoked, e.g., ownership can be denied in certain circumstances if one has ever been documented attempting suicide/homicide. By virtue of this fact alone, gun ownership isn’t an inalienable right.

      • Gregg Smith

        I can’t say I disagree with you or don’t reciprocate the appreciation for your views on this. I am also very hesitant to go back and forth on what to do. Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle and some things I disagree with are gaining traction while others are being dismissed out of hand. I am always very suspicious when solutions are proposed before the debate and even moreso when legislation is passed before the debate. I asked my version of what I think should be the first question asked: Is there anything that could have prevented this. I did indeed take it to a different level by interjecting the gun. I was also careful to say I was not proposing a solution because frankly the idea scares the hell out of me on a few levels. 

        I was trying hard to ask the question in a vacuum in an effort to establish a baseline. I didn’t even ask if it would have worked. I asked if there was anything else that would have given them a better chance. I think that’s crucial especially if we are going to get all constitutional or subject all of our kindergartens to prison-like security or otherwise take “meaningful action”. The emphasis must be on the word “meaningful” and not on the word “action”.

    • Coastghost

      I think aerial surveillance drones will be the path chosen, at least in the short term. Then, after some outrage occurs somewhere where an aerial drone’s surveillance failed to alert someone in time, the surveillance drones will be armed. And then after that . . .

      • Gregg Smith

        ugh!

    • jimino

      Wasn’t his mother fully “armed” and, by your thinking, therefore have been able to defend herself and stop this literally before it began?  Or is the fact that the “armed” person’s weapons ended up being used to kill them and numerous others a more common fact pattern?

      • Gregg Smith

        No, I don’t think the data supports that fact pattern but I can’t say I know for sure. If true then it certainly shows the futility of gun control. I would suspect the direct opposite and believe guns being used to prevent crimes are a much more common fact pattern.

        It was her baby boy who shot her in the face. I have a hard time blaming her for anything. I realize in the end, somewhere somehow there may be some degree of culpability. But I need proof, I have nothing but sympathy for the poor woman at this point.

        • jimino

          As is common for our interactions, you miss and twist my point.  I do not blame this woman for anything.  Rather, I am pointing out the absurdity of the view that more well-trained armed people will lead to prevention of these types of incidents.  She is the poster child for the NRA:  white, female, suburban/small town professional well versed in the use and handling of firearms.  To wit, the exact type of person held out as someone who, if allowed to have sophisticated weapons, would prevent others from using their guns to kill innocent people.  That is not how the real world works.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, I got your point but it was her son. That may affect the dynamic, ya’ think?

    • Steve__T

        “Is there any thing else that would have given them better chance?”
      Yes an armed patrol security officer.

      • Gregg Smith

        Thank you.

  • 228929292AABBB

    On Friday I posted the thought that the intense media attention given to these acts gives a motive to disturbed people and makes future incidents more likely.  The comments in response were pretty harsh.  The actor Morgan Freeman has now basically aired the same opinion, he’s getting a little more respect for it.  It’s going to be a hard sell, because the media aren’t likely to act as objective gatekeepers on this issue (search for it and you won’t find any results for mainstream US media come up), but you can at least read the Freeman piece here if you’re interested:

    http://www.dailypaul.com/266479/surprising-message-from-morgan-freeman-he-blames-the-media-for-ct-shooting

    • jefe68

      I agree, I heard an FBI spokesperson say the same thing to the reporter interviewing him.

    • Gregg Smith

      I’ve heard the same thing and I think it has merit. However, IMO it has to be voluntary and at one time that was obtainable. The press protected national security and worked with a responsibility for the public good locally. Those days are gone forever.

    • Steve__T

       Thank you for the link, It also reflect my sentiments and Idea.

    • Potter

      maybe it does give that ill motive to the disturbed but it also gives a lot of needed urgency coming from the public to do something about the availability of guns in our society. Weigh the two–I would go for the intense relentless wide coverage to bring the point home. 

      • 228929292AABBB

        I would choose the same as you, if I believed our politicians had the strength to do anything.  So far, time after time, after a full first term of our President filled with regular massacres, they have not.  So judging by history it’s a Faustian bargain to take the coverage.  Let’s hope this event finally proves you right - too late for many, in time for many more? It’s the best we can do at this point, and we must.

  • Gregg Smith

    My mother called this morning. She lives in Florida but happened to be visiting my brother in Connecticut during this tragedy. She was watching my nephews play a shoot’m up video game and ask the youngest what he was learning from it. He said, I’m learning how to shoot a gun. My brother has since decided to take the violent video games away. I don’t know which games they are but I doubt they are on the level of some of the really graphic ones. 

    I told her that little Carson was not going to grow up and shoot up a kindergarten because of a video game. At the same time if I had young children I would not let them play them either. I’d imagine these decisions are happening all over the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=93400992 Katie Davis

    It’s time to have a serious talk about mental illness in our country.  gun control is important, but the real issue is that affordable, viable mental health options are not available in our society.   

  • Gregg Smith

    We need to keep in mind that overall gun violence is down despite our loosening of gun laws. Schools have been getting safer and less violent for decades. I’m not sure how or if Sandy Hook changes the numbers. 

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/15/4-archetypally-awful-reactions-to-sandy/print

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Let’s rewind to the Tea Party record of calmly assessing overall trends and realities and keeping things in mind, no matter how at odds it was to their hyperinflated feelings.

  • Coastghost

    California Sen. Feinstein already argues for restricting gun sales. A pity she doesn’t take her own state’s “entertainment” industry to task for its sturdy role in fomenting gun violence (how many thousands of “dramatically depicted” murders have we and our little tykes viewed over the decades in our TV and cable fare which we’re invited to passively accept? how long can television evade its central responsibility for inuring all us to violence?). Too bad she doesn’t suggest imposing fines on broadcasters that disseminate such gratuitous depictions, or argue that broadcasters devote hours or other sizable portions of their weekly timeslots and their budgets to PSAs emphasizing how “unreal” their regular fare actually is, or even call for restricting daily TV broadcasts and cable/satellite transmissions of programming to no more than sixteen hours per day. –Quick, here comes Quentin Tarentino! 

  • Mike_Card

    The messages I’m hearing repeatedly bleated is that a few dozen students’ lives, paid annually, is the price we pay to preserve freedom for jackasses like Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent and Adam Lanza and Gabby Gifford’s shooter and this nutjob in Aurora to own and operate deadly weapons without the slightest encumbrance by those who might be harmed.

    And they say the Westboro Baptist church is a bigger threat than the maniacal firearms lobbying group known as the NRA.

  • astronerd

    How’s that “Gun Free School Zone” thing working out?

  • astronerd

     If you say that it wouldn’t have helped to have had an armed teacher in the school because the shooter was wearing body armor, consider this: Wearing body armor and taking a hit in the chest by a .40 cal round is akin to being hit in the chest by a brick traveling 25 mph. You may not be dead but you’re surely NOT getting up for a while.

  • Michiganjf

    Teenagers can be extremely dumb, and don’t yet comprehend the nature of consequence.

    Teenagers’ hormones are exploding in rapidly changing bodies and minds, wreaking havoc with their perceptions, mood, and rationality… even blasting them with nervous energy, which they’re not yet equipped to explain or understand.
    Combine this flooding hormonal soup with newly understood genomic traits, such as the “warrior gene,” and you’ve got a problem.

    Teenagers can be extremely angry people.
    Everyone remembers teenage life can be difficult.
    A teen’s perspective can quickly morph, making it tough to nail down the nature of one’s self… it’s tough not to feel isolated when you feel no one knows you, and it’s easy to feel no one knows you when you’re changing so rapidly that you don’t yet know yourself.
    Teenagers are familiar with the freedom of an adult life (they see and understand), but that freedom doesn’t yet exist for them… they want to, but don’t yet control their destiny or life, and that lack of control also produces anger and frustration.

    Teenagers are not likely to speak candidly to an adult who might be able to help them with all the turmoil they have internalized, often for years.

    _______________________________

    Now, be sure to keep plenty of FIREARMS within easy reach of these young people.
    Keep plenty of ammunition handy too.

    Don’t lock the firearms up securely, or keep the key well hidden.

    Be certain some of the firearms in your home are equipped with high capacity clips and plenty of armor piercing rounds.

    Buy an assault rifle or two, and maybe some worthy assault gear, like bullet proof vests.

    Familiarize your teen with all of these things, so they really know how to use everything.

    “Militarize” your teen, and be sure to talk up how the gub’ment is going to take away all your family’s guns, and how pretty much everything outside your home is evil.

    _____________________________

    I’m all for owning a good quality, reasonable firearm for home defense, but GOOD GRIEF!

    WAKE UP, NRA PAWNS AND GUN FREAKS!

    • Michiganjf

      … and get on YouTube and Google to look for evidence of accidental discharges and morons who’ve shot themselves or someone else – usually gun enthusiasts who think they’re well acquainted and trained with firearms (Dick Cheney anyone?)!

      Yeah, what we need is as many idiots as possible carrying weapons around in public… that will assure everyone is safe!

      Get a clue, geniuses who think the answer to gun violence is more people toting around guns… yes, especially in grade schools, high schools, theatres, and shopping malls!

  • Ed75

    I didn’t hear the program, perhaps it wasn’t a speculation on the causes of these events but help for people who are suffering. In face of something like this, the only thing to do is to turn to God and ask for his mercy and help. For Christians, it is to contemplate the Crucifix with the same prayer. This is the only place to go for consolation.

    • nj_v2

      Even in the sensitive aftermath of a tragic event such as this, the religious extremists manage to find a way to be obnoxious and condescending.

      What level of arrogance does it take for someone like Ed to tell people what “the only thing to do” is in a situation like this?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.tepper.75 Jon Tepper

    IN Aprol of 2011, only 3 months after the Tucson shootings, I spent 2 days on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of my Senators and Congressmen (of MA and AZ), advocating for reinstating the Federal assault weapons ban, which Congress let expire 10 years ago.  I figured I’d get a good response…after all, Rep. Gabby Gifforeds, one of their own, was nearly killed.  Of course, I was warmly received by the Legislative Aides of Cong. Barney Frank and Gabby Giffords, and Sen. John Kerry. But I got tone-deaf responses at the offices of Sens. Scott Brown, John McCain and Jon Kyl. Maybe, Just maybe, it will be different this time. But I’m sure the folks at NRA HQ in Vienna, VA will be fighting against me every step of the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.tepper.75 Jon Tepper

    IN April of 2011, only 3 months after the Tucson shootings, I spent 2 days on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of my Senators and Congressmen (of MA and AZ), advocating for reinstating the Federal assault weapons ban, which Congress let expire 10 years ago.  I figured I’d get a good response…after all, Rep. Gabby Gifforeds, one of their own, was nearly killed.  Of course, I was warmly received by the Legislative Aides of Cong. Barney Frank and Gabby Giffords, and Sen. John Kerry. But I got tone-deaf responses at the offices of Sens. Scott Brown, John McCain and Jon Kyl. Maybe, Just maybe, it will be different this time. But I’m sure the folks at NRA HQ in Vienna, VA will be fighting against me every step of the way.

  • 8casey8

    My soul crys for the victims and there familys, but disarming my family is not the answer

  • Heatherzdad

    It seems to me that gun control at this point is not going to achieve any meaningful results, with 300 million guns out there.
    We need better security at schools, malls, universities and hospitals. It may fly in the face of some people but if we can save lives by taking steps that will make places safer for innocent folks, then we should do what we can. 
    Don’t we have a Department of Homeland Security and what is the purpose this if it doesn’t help protect citizens.
    Put up some roadblocks so that it is more difficult to bring weapons into these places and it may help.
    Arguing about legislation will get us nowhere as history has proven.

    • hopes2

      I agree with Heatherzdad that we need to beef up securities, well said.  But what if we as a country were to be REALLY radical and say that if you are found to possess an unregistered weapon OR any assault weapon, you will go to prison for life. Because, if the laws are changed, and it’s high time that they ARE,  there is no good reason for any person to have an assault weapon that is used for nothing but mass killings.  Second Amendment my ……!  Those that have the guns probably aren’t even aware enough to have ever READ the Amendment and it was written when there was no SUCH THING as multiple rounds!  Tough issues need tough laws and as far as I can tell, this is one of the toughest. 

  • casey1986

    Okay, I will dare to go where no one else has dared to go so far. Let’s imagine that this killer were black.  I can assure you that the tone of this conversation would be much different.  Given the tendency in this country to relate crime to race, why is no one wondering why the vast majority of these crimes are committed by white males?   If these killers were black or Hispanic, there would be much discussion about these men exhibiting behavior which reflect their race or culture.  In other words, people would be looking at factors attributable to their race.  Why aren’t white men the focus of similar narratives?
    Instead we focus on the mental state of these white men who commit such horrendous crimes.   Van Jones was right; it’s time for social scientists to study this group the way they have been studying young black males.   We need to expand the definition of high risk kids to include suburban/rural young white males

  • Ray in VT

    I once heard it said that when a spouse dies, then the survivor is a widow or a widower.  If a child loses his or her parents, then he or she is an orphan.  However, there is no similar term for a parent who loses a child, and the reason for that is that our language has yet to devise a word for something so terrible.

    As the parent of three small children, two of which are of the right age to have been at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it has been especially hard to listen to the reports from the past few days.  I think that the hardest part is seeing the pictures and hearing the names.

    Today my 8 year old came home and asked us about it, because another student had mentioned the shooting to him, and he really struggled to understand it all.  He kept trying to bring it all back around to it having been an accident, because I just don’t think that he can comprehend that someone might do something like that on purpose.

    • hopes2

      I know…..I just breaks your heart. 

      • Ray in VT

        It really does.  I also learned today that one of my college friends graduated from Sandy Hook way back when.

  • andreawilder

    Where was the father?
    The mother sounds as though she were unhinged, a survivalist
    type.  The irresponsibility of adults.

  • hopes2

    I’m a mother and a teacher and I’ve been crying all weekend….  For all the families who’ve lost children and other loved ones in this horrible tragedy.  For all of US. Because we all live in a world where it is possible for someone to walk into a school building and kill innocent children and devoted teachers! We need to be committed to changing this once and for all!  Each one of us is forced to ask ourselves, “What will I DO with my life that will make an impact….How will I help the human race to take a step toward eradicating this kind of violence from the face of the planet?!  What will I DO?  Because as HUMAN BEINGS we ALL have an obligation to FIGHT for the FREEDOM of safety for our children. ALL children. And NONE of us should rest until that day comes!  

  • sAnDyB42

    When I ask myself what the nature of evil is, the answer seems to be selfishness. The thing we most need to change in our culture is individualism as it leads to entitlement and selfishness. Sure, we each have the right to “pursue happiness,” but the concept of individual rights has gone way too far when societal responsibility is ignored.

    My opinion… kids are out of control (demanding, rude, undisciplined…), and when they grow up, they run the businesses and the government! This is more and more a society of self-centered people who want it all their own way. They think rules do not apply to them. They want what they want, now, and are uncompromising.

    What a mess. How can we have an upright, honorable, loving society when everyone is in it for him/herself? 

    The fix? We have to change our cultural mind, and come to understand that individual rights are not paramount. We have to start young. In our homes, parents have to stop indulging their children and give them the loving gift of self-discipline. In our schools, we need to teach children to ask themselves, “How can I make the world a better place?” It is at least as important as academic proficiency.

    If we had such a society, I think someone who was so disturbed and dangerous would not go unnoticed or ignored.

    I agree that we are each responsible for our own happiness, yet we are also responsible to each other.

     

  • ranndino

    Everyone’s a Rambo… in their dreams. ABC did an excellent experiment that shows exactly what happens in real life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QjZY3WiO9s

    Also, there were multiple “good guys with guns” at Columbine. They failed to make much of a difference.

    Columbine is also a good example of why the argument that “evil people will use other means” is a bad one too. The original plot was to blow up the school, but bombs are much more difficult to use than guns, so they failed to detonate, so the perps used plan B – just mowing people down with guns.

    The truth is that there are multiple fail points when you attempt to build & use your own bomb. Getting the necessary materials, learning how to make it, not blowing yourself up in the process, transporting it without doing the same, planting it & finally detonating it. All of that without raising suspicion. Requires a ton of planning and has multiple fail points so far more difficult to succeed. On the other hand, it requires next to no planning or training to obtain a high powered assault rifle & mow a bunch of random people down.

    I can poke blatant logical holes in every other so called “argument” of the NRA & its supporters.

    P.S. BTW, just as as a pre-emptive strike, before I get labeled a liberal, a libtard or some other such name by some right wing nutjob let me tell you that I like guns & can take apart & put an AK back together in under a minute. I just judge things objectively & use common sense over ideology. It wouldn’t hurt if you learned to do the same instead of just regurgitating NRA’s BS talking points.

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