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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 11:16 am 
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I have to say I cried when I first heard about the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My heart goes out to all those kids, families, of the slain kids, teachers, and everyone who survived the shooting but will have to live with the scars of that day.Even now I tear up thinking about it. I can't understand how the United States can allow their minimally restricted gun sales to go on any longer!

I'm sorry, I just had to say something. I'm sure I'll hear all about the second amendment and states rights and the usual stuff the NRA spools out.

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 3:12 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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It is a horrific tragedy. :( :( :(

This is much more about the need for better treatments for and greater research for mental illness than it is gun control.

Beyond that, I'm not getting into a gun control discussion.

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 3:52 pm 
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But what about where both go hand in hand?

It has been reported here in Ireland that Florida recently made it illegal to ask about gun ownership and security in a home where a mentally ill person is living. Surely it is simple common sense to ask that guns be securely locked up before releasing someone from care into a home where guns are owned?

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 4:01 pm 
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You knew this would happen - the Westboro Baptist Church is going to picket the school "and sing praises to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgement". Puke!

The article has a link to a facebook "event" page for a non-violent response to the protest. Just in case anyone reading this is near the area.

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 5:54 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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Alatar wrote:
But what about where both go hand in hand?

It has been reported here in Ireland that Florida recently made it illegal to ask about gun ownership and security in a home where a mentally ill person is living. Surely it is simple common sense to ask that guns be securely locked up before releasing someone from care into a home where guns are owned?


One of the main problems is that the new privacy laws that hospitals and institutions have to follow prevent them from notifying the ATF that someone is mentally ill, so that the ATF can flag the person in the system. It requires a long court proceeding. The laws are already in place preventing adjudicated mentally ill people from possessing and purchasing firearms. If the communication could be fixed between the two, then that would be a huge step in the right direction.

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 5:56 pm 

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Jude wrote:
You knew this would happen - the Westboro Baptist Church is going to picket the school "and sing praises to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgement". Puke!

If there's anything sicker than the person who killed those children (though I'm not sure that's possible), it's the Westboro baptist church. But I tend to think that ignoring attention seekers like that is the best way to go. The bigger the media circus, the better they like it.

The NRA has been remarkably silent since the massacre. I take that as a hopeful sign. Maybe there will finally be some consensus, instead of all the polarizing rhetoric that makes people oppose even measures we should all be able to agree on. I remember debating gun control with an old friend (I'm for it; he was a hunter and a card-carrying member of the NRA), and being surprised at how much middle ground we could meet on. For instance, he thought better background checks, and stricter ongoing licensing and training requirements were sensible things.

That said, I'm puzzled by all of these horror stories lately. Not just in the US, but Norway, the person in China who stabbed 23 schoolchildren recently (about the same time Sandy Hook was happening), etc. It's as if suddenly there are a lot more people who have lost all restraint and empathy for other people. Or are we just hearing about them more?

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 6:15 pm 
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Some of it is the time of year, honestly. Violence increases during the holidays.

There were 3 officers killed yesterday alone. :(

And, yes, there is a great deal of middle ground that could be agreed upon if people would only listen to each other. Also, there are some good laws already in place, in many cases. The problems exist in communication between groups (like I explained above) or in the ability to enforce the laws.

(I am completely ignoring the Westboro slimeballs. I won't even read that article.)

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 6:32 pm 
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aninkling wrote:
But I tend to think that ignoring attention seekers like that is the best way to go. The bigger the media circus, the better they like it.


Normally I would agree with this, but they're planning to picket the actual school, exposing the kids to their madness, and potentially traumatizing them further.

But yes, in general I would say there's nothing sweeter than the WBC holding up their impotent signs with absolutely nobody around or even paying attention to them. =:)

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 6:58 pm 

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Lalaith wrote:
Some of it is the time of year, honestly. Violence increases during the holidays.


Perhaps. But many of these events don't happen during the holidays.

This could be way off base, but sometimes I wonder if people in modern society are becoming too isolated and not relating to the people around them. Everyone in his/her own little world, with their cell phones and their computers. DH tells me that the halls have become remarkably quiet at his college, between classes. Instead of the students chatting to each other, they all get on their cell phones and check and send text messages.
There are some very good things about technology, but I can't help thinking that this degree of disconnectedness from the people who are actually around you is not a good thing, especially for people who are a little "off" to start with.

Who knows, maybe I'm just trying to make sense out of the senseless. But it seems like, 20 years ago, these sorts of mass shootings (or stabbings) were not so prevalent.

Quote:
The problems exist in communication between groups (like I explained above) or in the ability to enforce the laws.

That would be a good place to start.

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 8:34 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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I think you're definitely on the right track, aninkling. There is a fundamental shift in our society, for sure, on this issue of social connection.

There's an aspect of the devaluation of life, too.

And, no, these incidents aren't all clustered around holidays. I didn't actually say that. :) But there is an increase in violence around the holidays.

As a somewhat tangential example, you can read the stats here:

http://blog.odmp.org/2012/12/update-for ... n-law.html

(To sum up, the 3 deadliest days of the year for police officers are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.)

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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec , 2012 9:18 pm 
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Social disconnectedness is real, but is there any evidence it had anything to do with this at all? It sounds to me like someone who was known to be dangerously mentally ill got his hands on powerful weapons and killed a bunch of people, and no more explanation is needed than that.


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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec , 2012 12:38 am 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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I think that's definitely going to be the case in this incident, yes.

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec , 2012 2:46 pm 

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I agree it's quite possible that nothing and no one could have changed the circumstances leading to this particular event. Some people are just unreachable.

Still, there's a new article today in the Christian Science Monitor that had this to say. (It also has some new information about him, as opposed to yesterday, where there were just quotes from former classmates about how intelligent he was, and that he seemed unlikely to do something as horrific as this.)
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/1217/Sandy-Hook-Motive-still-a-mystery-as-community-holds-first-funerals
Quote:
At the same time, the lack of police data about Lanza's state of mind has only fueled speculation about Lanza's life – with his wealthy, survivalist mother; a mental disability, Asperger syndrome, that makes social cues hard to read; and a secluded life of video games and range shooting – and whether these factors, in total, played some kind of role in pushing the troubled young man to a ragged edge.

Counselors tried to explain more generically that the massacre was, as one said, "an angry, desperate act of a confused young man." Yet criminologists say that another reason why motive is important to understand is that major US school shootings usually take place in places very much like Newtown: upper class, tight-knit, and where young people may have a single shot at acceptance or social failure at school. That means the root cause of the massacre may involve others, as well, or the attitude of an entire community toward someone who did not fit in.



In any case, I'm not thinking so much about this one case, in itself, but why these things are becoming a regular event now, when they weren't (or at least, I wasn't hearing about them) 20 or 30 years ago.

Another thought is that it's just the copycat effect. Once one shooter targeted children, other disturbed people may be more likely to do the same thing.

Lalaith wrote:
And, no, these incidents aren't all clustered around holidays. I didn't actually say that. :) But there is an increase in violence around the holidays.


Sorry, I didn't intend to sound dismissive of that. :) I know that's true. Also suicides.
I just had the impression (which might be wrong) that the mass shootings were mostly at other times of the year.

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec , 2012 3:00 pm 
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Here's an article from July that claims the opposite: The Declining Culture of Guns and Violence in the United States

Quote:
First, we are a less violent nation now than we’ve been in over forty years. In 2010, violent crime rates hit a low not seen since 1972; murder rates sunk to levels last experienced during the Kennedy Administration. Our perceptions of our own safety have shifted, as well. In the early 1980s, almost half of Americans told the General Social Survey (GSS) they were “afraid to walk alone at night” in their own neighborhoods; now only one-third feel this way.


Quote:
Second, for all the attention given to America’s culture of guns, ownership of firearms is at or near all-time lows. Since 1973, the GSS has been asking Americans whether they keep a gun in their home. In the 1970s, about half of the nation said yes; today only about one-third do. Driving the decline: a dramatic drop in ownership of pistols and shotguns, the very weapons most likely to be used in violent crimes.


It's easy to lose sight of the big picture after a horrific event like this.

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec , 2012 5:18 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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Thanks for those quotes, Jude. They are encouraging.

aninkling, the new information about Lanza does change how we look at this situation.

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec , 2012 5:26 pm 

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Jude, I'm not sure that source paints a completely accurate picture of gun ownership, either. Another source estimates that the U.S. still has a very high number of guns. I'm sure this is partly because some people own multiple guns. (to be fair, this can be several hunting rifles for different purposes)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1218/Gun-control-after-school-shootings-Lessons-from-around-the-globe
Quote:
When it comes to guns, the United States is exceptional. The U.S. has the highest civilian gun ownership rate in the world, with 89 guns per 100 people, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.


I'd be curious about statistics on ownership of assault rifles in the US since the ban expired in 2004. That's one gun I can see absolutely no justification for.

btw, the above comes from an interesting article about the gun control reactions of other countries after mass shootings.

There is already talk of banning semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition clips coming even from "pro-gun" senators in the U.S.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/1217/Sandy-Hook-tragedy-Pro-gun-senator-says-it-s-time-to-ban-assault-rifles-video


But I do agree, Jude, that it's encouraging that the overall crime rate is down.

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec , 2012 11:44 am 
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It was rather insightful and even a bit frightening to see this discussion from (I assume) mostly Americans in this topic. Some of the stuff I have seen online (not on this site) about arming every person in a school to "defend themselves" is simply scary. I can't understand the whole "more guns for better safety against gun violence" rhetoric. It makes no sense. If it was factual, then the United States should be the safest country in the world. But when I looked into travel to the United States, travel insurance is really high, in the category that Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria are. There is a reason for it. Anyway, I can only hope that the United States does something about it this time, but I'm likely being hopeful and will await the news of the next massacre.

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec , 2012 1:51 pm 
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Deumeawyn wrote:
... from (I assume) mostly Americans in this topic.

Actually, of the people that have posted in this thread so far, exactly half are from the U.S. :)

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec , 2012 3:20 pm 

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Dwyn, I have no idea what goes into determining travel insurance, but travel in the US is certainly not on a level with traveling in Syria! Yes, there are some sections of big cities where I wouldn't go even in the daytime (they're pretty obvious, and the locals will be glad to warn you about them as well). And in general, you should take sensible precautions, especially at night in big cities (like "lock the car when you leave it," or "don't go into dark alleys alone after flashing large amounts of cash"). But I suspect your chances of running into trouble in tourist areas are quite slim.

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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec , 2012 3:21 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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And I'm probably the most conservative. :)

My husband is a police officer and a hunter. We have guns. My dad is a sports shooter and spends much of his free time at his gun club (not necessarily shooting guns, mind you, mostly shooting the breeze with the other old men). My older daughter hunts. All of us like to shoot (target, trap).

I am not for gun control like I see in other countries, but I do think there's room for improvement here.

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