Monday, December 17, 2012

Letting the crazies control America

These are just a few of the victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last Friday. How many more children need to die before we'll start talking about gun control again?

Oh, sure, this isn't about guns, right? It's about not having organized prayer in public schools. God is just like the terrorists, I guess. He hates us for our freedoms.

Of course, the rest of the world looks at it a little differently. Here's The Telegraph (UK):
The mother of the gunman who killed 20 children and seven adults in America’s worst school massacre, was a gun-proud “survivalist” preparing for economic collapse, it has emerged. ...

Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.

“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?” ...

Police disclosed that the 52-year-old had five legally registered guns – at least three of which her 20-year-old son carried with him. Most victims were shot with an assault rifle, while Lanza also carried two handguns and left a shotgun in his car.

Assault rifles (and Glocks) are designed for one purpose: to kill large numbers of people quickly. You don't need an assault rifle for hunting. You don't need an assault rifle for personal protection. Assault rifles are designed for murder - legal murder, during war, or otherwise.

Emilie Parker

As this article further points out, "A poll by CNN in August found that 57 per cent of Americans favour a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, while 60 per cent favour outlawing high-capacity ammunition clips," yet "Congress has not passed significant gun legislation for almost 20 years."

Why not? Well, the gun nuts have nearly every politician in America running scared. They're a minority, but they completely control the Republican Party, and they've cowed the Democratic Party, too (admittedly, that's not hard to do).

Obviously, it's not all hunters who think this way. It's not all gun owners. Like everything else, it seems, it's the fanatics who call the shots. Of course, the fanatics are also very good at scaring the gullible. Gullibility seems to be the curse of American politics.

Caroline Previdi

Even in Newtown, Connecticut, where this horrible shooting took place, gun nuts resisted even minor regulations. From The New York Times:
The place that witnessed one of the worst mass killings in United States history on Friday, leaving 20 schoolchildren and 8 adults dead, is a bucolic New England town comfortable with its firearms, and not an obvious arena for the nation’s debate over gun control. But the legislative battle right here shows how even the slightest attempts to impose restrictions on guns can run into withering resistance, made all the more pointed by the escalation in firepower.

“Something needs to be done,” said Joel T. Faxon, a hunter and a member of the town’s police commission, who championed the shooting restrictions. “These are not normal guns, that people need. These are guns for an arsenal, and you get lunatics like this guy who goes into a school fully armed and protected to take return fire. We live in a town, not in a war.” ...

Earlier this year, the Newtown police chief, Michael Kehoe, went to the Town Council for help. The town had a 20-year-old ordinance aimed at hunters that included a ban on shooting within 500 feet of occupied dwellings, but the chief complained that the way the law was written had left him powerless to enforce the rules or otherwise crack down on the riskiest shooting. ...

The first meeting took place on Aug. 2, with about 60 people crowding into the room. Some spoke in favor of the new rules, the meeting minutes show. But many voiced their opposition, citing the waiting lists at established gun ranges. Among the speakers was a representative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, who was described as saying he believed there was a greater danger of swimming accidents. “No privileges should be taken away from another generation,” he said. ...

A second committee gathering in September drew such a large crowd that the meeting was moved into a high school cafeteria, where the opposition grew fierce. “This is a freedom that should never be taken away,” one woman said.

Chase Kowalski, Daniel Barden, Noah Pozner

And no, I'm not saying that this ordinance would have prevented Friday's shooting. Of course not! I'm just pointing out how even the most simple, the most basic, the most reasonable regulations, when it comes to guns, cause the fanatics to have hysterics.

OMG, they're taking away our rights! For the most part, these aren't the hunters (although many of them also hunt, I'm sure). These are the crazies who are stockpiling guns for the upcoming race war. They're loading up to fight the government when America is finally turned over to the UN. Or they're, like Nancy Lanza, preparing for the coming collapse (and sometimes, I suspect, looking forward to it).

Of course, all of this is pushed by right-wing politicians and media pundits for political advantage. From Fox 'News' on down, they work hard to keep the gullible scared. Well, it's a reliable Republican vote. And remember, these are the same people who deliberately wooed white racists for political advantage (in their notorious, and very successful, 'Southern strategy'). If it works, they'll do it.

Olivia Engel

I'm not saying that a law - any law - will prevent all murders. But can't we at least slow down the carnage? We outlaw nuclear weapons because they're very good at killing large numbers of people quickly. Sure, you can still kill people, even without a nuke, but it's harder to kill so many people so quickly. So why can't we apply that principle - at the very least - to assault weapons and high-capacity machine pistols?

Why can't we tighten up on gun registration and sales? Why can't we start attacking this problem from the margins, at least? I'm not even suggesting anything in particular, not really. I'm just asking why we can't start raising these questions in the political realm. I'm asking why we can't begin to debate reasonable gun control regulations. I'm asking why we can't look at this problem and try to find solutions.

Of course, I know why, and so do you. We ended up with record-breaking budget deficits and horrible income inequality, because raising taxes became impossible for any politician. (Well, we Americans are falling behind in math scores, too.) Similarly, we're awash with assault weapons because any talk of gun control, no matter what it might be, has been the kiss of death for a politician.

It is our fault that we let these things happen. When we let the crazies control our political discourse, this is what happens. It's not because they're a majority, not at all. But the crazies care about this stuff. They vote. They raise money. They get involved. When sane people are apathetic (when they're not actually gullible enough to buy the bullshit, themselves), the fanatics get their way.

Jessica Rekos

How many more children like these have to die before we start caring about gun control ourselves? The fact is, children like these die every day from gun violence in America. These kids have made the news, but how long will we care about them? Long enough to actually do anything about it?


Jim Harris said...

Australia has reduced it's gun violence through gun control laws. We have greatly reduced highway deaths by laws and safety legislation. When the 2nd amendment was written a musket or pistol could only fire one shot. I'm not sure the founding fathers in 1791 would have written that amendment if assault rifles with 100 round clips existed back then.

I think its strange that people buy all this fire power thinking civilization is going to collapse. If they want to protect civilization then promote laws that keep us civilized. Bet on civilization, not against it.

WCG said...

That's a good way to put it, Jim. Bet on civilization, not against it. I like that!