The View From 1776

Walking Around The Elephant

Assessing any subject as complex as the motivation for mass murder, it’s essential to examine the issue from all sides.  Hasty legislative and regulatory action may miss critical aspects of the problem, or, worse, create an illusion of enhanced safety where there is none.

In a Forbes website article, Larry Bell focuses on the coincidence, if not causality, of violent video games and mass murderers.

Despite Outrage And Grief, Irrational Gun Rights Restrictions Won’t Prevent Senseless Violence

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/23 at 06:18 PM
  1. What is "irrational" about legislation banning assault weapons from the civilian population? What other civilized country allow citizens to wander around legally with assault weapons? Also, no one mentions the degree of child abuse in our country. And, countries with a large disparity between rich and poor understandably have more social, emotional problems and larger dysfunctional populations...alcoholism, domestic violence, etc.

    A country becoming as insane, generally, as ours should not be running around with assault weapons. Australia banned theirs after a mass killing, paid people to turn in the assault weapons they had, and they have not had a mass killing since. Will not be so easy for us, as a highly militarized and violent country to begin with but we must start somewhere.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/23  at  11:10 PM
  2. The Forbes piece parrots the standard Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Sales Association position that, "Yes, mass murder of 6-year old children is awful, but doing anything, including cutting back on sales of the most dangerous weapons, is not an option for us."

    I guess we should not be surprised that the NRA would stick to their guns, as it were, on this.

    Last Thursday, I attended the funeral of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, one of the children slaughtered in Newtown, and I can confirm to you that Mr. LaPierre's sentiments are not shared by Ben's parents, his classmates, his teachers, members of his church or anyone I spoke to that day.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/23  at  11:45 PM
  3. The regulation of firearms is a very complicated and nuanced issue and is particulary clouded by the problem of definitions--no one seems to fully understand the distinctions between different types and the rapidity of their firing and whether such "automatic" features are even relevant to the discussion.

    However, I was gratified to hear President Obama's remarks at the service for the slain children, and adults, because even he found it helpful to make numerous references to GOD.

    Now this is the man who ridiculed Middle America for clinging to their Faith and their Guns. But, facing the hideous and inexplicable carnage wrought by one deluded individual, our president, like many before him, found a degree of comfort from religion and from faith in an overseeing Father. His message was to accept the need to carry-on with our lives, maintaining the hope that we can better serve our Lord in Heaven, and that there is a higher purpose to humanity that we reach toward.

    That was remarkable, signifying a deep recognition of the importance of religion and spiritual belief that sustains most human beings. I would like to believe, during this Holy Season of Peace and Understanding, that Obama's remarks were sincere, heartfelt, and not just a political sop played out for Middle America.
    Posted by bill greene  on  12/24  at  02:32 PM
  4. There are many incremental things as a society we could do to approach sanity on the gun issue.

    For instance, the Times revealed this morning that the FBI has no gun registry. Unlike on TV, when the CSI detectives tap the serial number of a gun into their computers and up pops the information about the sale of the gun, in real life, to track down weapon used in a crime, the FBI has to telephone the manufacturer, and then make a series of phone calls to whomever the gun was sold to, painstakingly following the chain of ownership. The ownership records, if they are lucky, may be located on tattered 3x5 cards or on papers lost in some filing cabinet.

    Bringing the FBI records on gun sales up to 21st century data standards in line with TV cop shows would seem to be one small step that most reasonable people could support.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/26  at  11:00 AM
  5. Mr. Dimock,

    What is irrational about banning 'assault weapons' is that assault weapons are already banned in this country; and are not, therefore, the fire-arms currently under assault by those wanting all guns banned. That is just a red-herring used by the left to stampede the informational-ly challenged into voting away our most basic of rights, the right of self-defense. "Wandering around" brandishing an assault rifle is just as illegal here as it is any of those 'civilized nations’ you mentioned.

    What are at issue here are so-called 'semi-automatic' weapons. Semi-automatic is any weapon that fires a single bullet and then pushes another round into the chamber ready for the next firing, but for which the trigger must be depressed and released for each shot to be fired. These include both hunting rifles and hand-guns typically used for self-protection. A successful bid to get rid of semi-automatics will effectively disarm everyone not a criminal (i.e., those who typical ignore laws banning guns, and who have means to get them anyway), a police-officer, or an exempt individual (Congressmen and similar elite government officials), and will effectively eviscerate your 2nd Amendment protection guaranteeing a right to own one or several. Getting rid of assault weapons was step one in eviscerating this right, getting rid of semi-automatics is step two. Step three will be outright confiscation of any remaining guns (including any ancestral heirlooms incapable of firing anything more harmful than a puff of smoke without exploding).

    We won't be any safer, of course, because criminals will still find means to rob and murder, and muscular mad-men will still go berserk killing us with homemade firebombs and machetes; only then no trustworthy guy will be around to stop him with a hand-gun nicely concealed.

    Child abuse is an entirely separate issue from killing-sprees of the type under discussion, and very few abuse cases involve guns other than as a side issue. You are only clouding one issue with another.

    In 1998 John Lott did a study in which he demonstrated the rate of violent-crime escalates in the wake of gun-bans, especially those where legitimate owners are encouraged to 'turn in their guns (of every description), including an initial crime rise for Australia. Australia's rate has since fallen back where to normal, but that is, at least and in part, explained by replacement effect (semi-automatics replaced assault weapons for home and personal defense).

    BTW, those ‘civilized nations’ of yours, even the most gun averse of them, have guns too; the anti-gun lobby just doesn’t want you to know that.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/27  at  12:27 PM
  6. Perhaps what we really need is a 'gun-control advocate' registry, so that we can know which of our neighbors is exposing us to violent criminals of every stripe, and so that they can be safely medicated.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/27  at  12:29 PM
  7. Bob S. How about medicating all far left radicals--after all, liberalism is a form of insanity! Hey--just joking, or maybe half-joking!
    Posted by bill greene  on  01/03  at  08:52 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.