Some Subversive Sandy Hook Thoughts

Hi Folks! Here are some thoughts, culled from your comments, that resonated for me. – L.

My sympathies go out to the parents and families. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. On the other hand, I have heard as much as I want to hear about it. Evil exists in this world and insensitive as it sounds, talking endlessly about this event is not going to shine any light on why it happened.

Shhh…I feel the same way. I even worry that focusing so much on it does the opposite of shine a light. It creates darkness: a belief that because 20 children died somewhere, suddenly,  then all children are in danger everywhere, always. That belief can lead beyond sensible safety precautions to community-corroding measures, like the school in Anchorage (4,461 miles away from Sandy Hook) that held its annual Christmas concert over the weekend, but this time required all guests to sign in.

Uh – how did that make anyone safer? All it did was add a new layer of bureaucracy, while subtly suggesting that the school considers all visitors at least POSSIBLY mass murderers. (Unless they have proper I.D.s. Then they’re fine.)

Another reader voiced this rather taboo thought:

Why leave teddy bears in shrines when you could send toys to children in need?

And another:

Why don’t we grieve for all murdered children this way, including, for instance, the poor ones killed in housing projects?

This one’s from a teacher:

Many other staff members, besides myself, have pointed out that no matter how many safety procedures we have, if a crazy person with a gun wanted to shoot his way into the school there would be nothing to stop him.  Whenever anyone asks what we’re “doing in response” I always say nothing really, sometimes bad things just happen.

And here’s one more subversive thinker:

I don’t need to watch interviews with 7-year-olds to know that they will need a lot of time to heal. I don’t need to see the pictures of the children and adults who were murdered to know that their families will miss them forever. I don’t need to know what happened at the funerals to know that this is one of the hardest days of these parents’ lives. And I don’t need to talk to my friends about how devastated I am. Because although I feel sad, my life will be the same as it was before, in just a matter of days. The lives of those who were actually there, and who lost loved ones, will never be the same. My wallowing will not do anything for them.

Wallowing is not always voluntary, of course. The sadness hits different people different ways. But to deliberately retreat from the mass misery is not evil or uncaring or even a bad idea.  It’ s just uncommon. – L.

61 Responses to Some Subversive Sandy Hook Thoughts

  1. Emily December 24, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    YES!!!! I completely agree with all of this. Lenore, you said what I tried to say, in just a few succinct words: Wallowing won’t make it better, and it won’t undo what happened. The best thing we can do is just leave the families of the victims alone, so they can grieve in private, and move on with our lives as normal.

  2. Jessi December 24, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I was just talking about this to my husband, that in the sea of tears my friends are all living in, I worried I was uncaring for being over it. It’s sad, but I’m SO tired of seeing it on the news. Leave those poor families alone to grieve and regroup.

  3. gap.runner December 24, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    The Sandy Hook shooting was on the German newscasts as well. But the reaction has been different than in the States. Neither my son’s former elementary school nor his current school require guests to sign in or wear visitor badges. Parents are free to enter the school anytime during school hours to talk with a teacher during his/her conference period. Nothing has changed at all since Sandy Hook. There are no silly reactive policies like requiring background checks, sign-in sheets, security guards, or checkpoints at the school entrances. Parents here realize that what happened at Sandy Hook was a rare event and we feel secure that our kids are safe at school.

    I also think that the victims’ families should be left alone to grieve and move on with their lives.

  4. Holly December 24, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    The chaplain of my high school, teaching a class on the Holocaust, warned us on the first day of class to beware of a kind of prurient interest in the horrors, a fetishizing of the suffering. I’ve thought about that a lot as I manage my own reaction to Sandy Hook and watch the reactions of those around me. Not all grieving honors the victims. It’s not something you can judge from outside, but we all have a duty to examine our interest in this subject thoughtfully, to think about what part of us hungers for more information, and whether that part is of the light or of the darkness.

  5. Marion December 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    “I also think that the victims’ families should be left alone to grieve and move on with their lives.”

    Very wise.

    The discussions, the arguments, and the grief of others will not make the parents feel any better. In many ways, it means they are unable to escape from their grief, not even for a few minutes. They can’t watch TV, read the paper, visit the internet, or go out in public anywhere without it being reminded, “Your child is dead!”, over and over.

    I can only imagine how painful that must be.

  6. Emily December 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Yes! Now, I have no problem with being sad over this (I’m still sad, I know a lot of people who are sad) but we can’t internalize it. One of the victims was a local girl from my home town, so that was an extra bit of pain. I feel more of a connection to the family in particular and I’m so proud of what our community has done in support, but beyond that and the sadness that I’m just letting myself feel (not trying to analyze, not trying to scare myself with, but just letting it run its course) I don’t think I need to focus much of my life on this.

    The day it happened, I met my mother for lunch. Of course, we talked about it, grieved, shed some tears… and then she asked me what I was doing this weekend. The shooting suddenly out of my mind, I announced what I had been considering doing (some housework, catching a movie, Christmas shopping). My mother listened, then said “Life really just keeps moving on, doesn’t it?”

    It’s one thing to be sad about this, to unite as a community, to let ourselves go through whatever we need to do when tragedy strikes. But to force ourselves to do more, to feel more? I don’t think that’s at all healthy!

  7. Emily December 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    As for my more controversial thought…

    Tragedies happen every day. These people, as individuals, are probably not significantly loved more than any other person who has died. A few days ago I considered this and wondered why I feel so much about this than, say, someone dying in a car crash, succombing to a terminal illness, dying of natural/act of God causes.

    I came up with some reasons I feel to be reasonable: I spent some years teaching first grade; I’m pregnant; I have an attachment to young children; the fact that it really is one of those horrible things that I can’t be expected to feel exactly thrilled about.

    Then, of course, I thought of not-so-reasonable explanations: The hyped-up media with all its blame games and politics that, as we all know on this blog, doesn’t exactly lend itself to making us feel more secure.

    Your average other death-of-someone-so-many-dearly-love doesn’t get nearly this kind of attention (and it shouldn’t).

  8. Stacey December 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    You will note that we have had guns in this country for a few hundred years, and yet these “mass shootings” seem to only have become “fashionable” in the past 20 years or so… Kinda corresponds to the development of the 24 hour news cycle and the widespread, casual use of psychotropics on younger and younger kids…. The news creates these “events” by endlessly blathering on about them, elevating the murderer to celebrity status. This is the exact kind of treatment and ode a miserable, psychotic loner who, perhaps may have merely committed suicide 50 years ago, now sees as a way of becoming immortal. Thoughts of “I’ll show them” and “They’ll talk about me forever”… appeal to their damaged and bruised egos…
    Our crime rates are down, but our “awareness” of crimes, both near and far is way up. Thanks to the media, we receive endless, constant input.
    It doesn’t help the victims and it only encourages the next social outcast to want to go out of this world in a blaze of glory, thanks to the media coverage of their
    copycat episode of violence and death.

  9. Stacey December 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    One more thought… While we are on the subject of unpopular thoughts… I objected to the flags being lowered to half staff for this event. Why? Well, generally, flying flags at half staff is reserved for:
    “It is flown following the death of certain government officials, in times of national distress, on various holidays, and at any other time it is instructed by the president or government. ”
    Granted the president can order to fly at half staff for any reason he or she may choose, but in general, these were the most common/accepted reasons:
    Following the death of the President or a former President, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 30 days.
    Following the death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice, a retired Chief Justice of the United States or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 10 days.
    Following the death of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory or possession, the flag should be flown at half-staff from the day of death until interment.
    Following the death of a Member of Congress, the flag should be flown at half-staff the day of death and the following day.
    In other words, it should be reserved for our civic leaders and figures of national significance.
    What I have a problem with is; why did we lower the flags for this particular event? Was it because of the number of children that died? Was it because of how they died? I’m sure most decent people, when asked would say, “Oh sure this was a slaughter, a horrible event, of course the flag should fly at half staff”. So I will ask the ugly questions… What about if only 10 were killed? Still, you say, it was a horrible situation, they were shot down, sure, fly the flags at half staff. What about if only 5 were shot? What about 3 people? 2? 1? What is the formula? Is there a particular number of deaths that must occur in a given manner in order to lower the flag?
    What about folks who die in plane crashes? Sometimes we lose hundreds of people at one time. What about massive car wrecks that stack up dozens of victims? Are they any less tragic because the deaths were not “deliberate”?
    See what I am getting at here? We can’t lower the flag for every event we deem “big and tragic”, based on the proportion of media coverage it gets. Children die in the inner city every day… No one mourns them because they garner no attention.
    No one lowered the flags when the Petit family was slaughtered in Connecticut.
    If we lowered the flag for every tragic death, it would never remain at full staff.

  10. Havva December 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I think the images matter a lot to emotional reactions. I say this as the subject of a shock photo published in a newspaper 20 years ago, following my family’s car accident. It made me and particularly my 15 yr old sister look much younger than we were. For some time after I would hear people in town talking about that accident and “those poor, tiny little, children.”

  11. Jennifer Jo December 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    The “news” media is a business. Let’s not forget that.

    (Loved this post.)

  12. Beth December 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    @Stacey,you have made very good points.

    I am also one of those unpopular thinkers who questions the flags being at half-mast so often. When I see a flag at half-mast, I hardly ever know why and it’s not because I’m ill-informed, it’s because they fly that way for what seems like all deaths. For example, here in Wisconsin, flags are lowered every time a serviceman dies. A death such as this isn’t national or even state-wide news, and if his/her hometown wasn’t nearby I don’t have any idea it happened. (Full disclosure: I am also of the unpopular opinion that everyone who served in the military isn’t automatically a better person and more worthy of respect than everyone else.)

  13. Stacey December 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    As a veteran I agree with you. The flag should not be lowered for any one particular death. That defeats the purpose and deflates full significance of flag lowering. We don’t lower the flag to signify we are “sad”, we lower the flag to signify the loss of a significant, civic leader.
    It’s like using profanity all the time.. the impact diminishes if every other word out of your mouth is F this and F that.

    Save it for when it is truly, nationally, significant.

    It may be a different matter at the state and local level, to lower state/municipality flags upon the loss of a local service member or local civic leader, but not the American flag.

  14. Gina December 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    @Stacey and Beth–I, too, have wondered about the flag. I have always thought it was (and should be) reserved for presidents, etc. These children died tragically, but, alas, they were not heroes. You can imagine the reaction I get when I share THAT opinion.

  15. Stacey December 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    “any one particular Service member’s” death”. Otherwise we’d never fly the flag at full staff ever…

  16. Stacey December 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    There is a big difference between being a hero or a leader, and a tragic victim of circumstance.

  17. Jenn December 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I have similar feelings to the people you have quoted in this entry. I’d like to say “thank you” to you and all those who contributed, as you have said these things in a better way than I could.

  18. SKL December 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Personally, I think everyone should feel the way they feel. It disturbs me a bit to have people I don’t even know telling me how I ought to instinctively feel, to force my self to feel, to express my feelings, etc. Or telling me that the reason for my feelings is to feel better about myself, or because I’m irrational, or because I’m guilty.

    I don’t want a camera in my face asking me about it, either.

  19. SKL December 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    But how’s this for subversive. 2,000 years ago, the ruler of a middle eastern land ordered the mass murder of every child age two and under. Why? Because he had heard a rumor that one of those children was destined to become king someday. I’m pretty sure more than 20 children were killed.

    A similar event happened some thousands of years before that, also in a middle-eatern land.

    But it’s not politically correct to talk about that, because of their close association with religious figures (Moses and Jesus).

    It all comes down to the motivations of the news folks, doesn’t it?

  20. bmommyx2 December 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I feel mostly the same way. The news tends to go overboard with most stories especially tragedies. I was very upset to hear about this tragedy in the news. It hit me a bit harder because I have a kindergartner. That being said I am not worried about my son’s safety & I most definitely don’t think that teachers need to be armed or that we need more gun. I don’t think we need police at every school either. While I do support some type of gun control & think it shouldn’t be so easy to get a gun & ammo. I would support a ban on assault type weapons. I don’t think the weapons were the problem in this indecent. I think this person would have found another way to cause damage, he was the problem. Unfortunately we don’t know the whole story & probably never will. I also don’t understand leaving toys as a memorial when they could go to children in need. I Also don’t understand all of the money, toys & supplies being sent to this town without regard if they are really needed, the should be sent to where they are needed in honor the the victims.

  21. Breanna December 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I found this article very helpful:
    It is a fairly dispassionate look at the relevant statistics. Statistics are very helpful for keeping things in perspective.

  22. Ben December 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    My son’s school—like most schools?—requires visitors to sign in. I’ve never understood this. They don’t check IDs. They don’t check anything. Or look at you as you’re signing yourself in.

    You write your name in a book and peel off a sticker and slap it on your coat.

    Why do we bother doing this? What bad thing could it possibly prevent?

  23. Marianne December 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Having a sign-in sheet clearly doesn’t make people safer. All it does is save the police some time when they’re investigating the crime after the fact. That way the school has a document to hand to the police. Just an ‘ass-covering’ procedure on the part of the school.

  24. Linvo December 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Thanks for that article Breanna.

    “Rates of school crime continue to fall, such that schools are today among the safest places for children to spend so many of their waking hours. In 2008-2009, for example, only 17 of the 1,579 homicides of youth ages 5-18 occurred when students were at school, on the way to school, or at school-associated events.”

    They’re the kind of statistics that the the media chooses not to use.

  25. Sky December 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    “Tragedies happen every day”

    Yes, but the deliberate mass slaughter of innocent school children by a murderer does not happen every day. It is very rare thing indeed (thank God), and therefore draws special attention that car accidents, which happen daily, do not. The horror is not that people died. People die every day. The horror is that someone killed–deliberately, premeditatively–multiple children. This is the horror and sorrow we really feel—but we’ve shifted that focus by referring to it as a “tragedy” and making the murderer himself a victim of society, of our lack of mental health care, of our lack of gun control, of bullying…whatever explanation we can come up with to avoid the sheer horror of the realization that there really are people who are capable of slaughtering children without remorse and that there is essentially nothing we can do to safeguard against the existence of such evil.

  26. mollie December 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    How’s this for subversive? I refuse to call the shooter at Sandy Hook “evil.” In fact, I refuse to call anyone, or any act “evil.” Why? Because I firmly believe that anything anyone does is something that I myself am capable of, depending on the circumstances. I also know that anything anyone does is just their best attempt, given the consciousness they have in that moment, to try to meet some human need that I myself also hold dear to my heart.

    Does this mean that I like what happened? Hell no. Does it mean that I can still see the humanity of all the people involved, including the killer, the gun lobbyists, the murdered children and their parents? Even the media reporting the events? Yes, yes I can see it: I see the values there, even if I don’t love the behaviour: needs for safety, reassurance, sustainability (in the case of the media and the gun lobbyists) and, quite possibly, a sense of power and influence, to be seen, and maybe some relief and peace for the shooter himself. Tragic, yes, to do something like that in the name of knowing you can influence your surroundings and your experience, being seen or having peace, but I can imagine that these values might have been the motivation, and at the level of what we all value as humans, well, there is only compassion.

    Let me repeat: I don’t like what happened. And let me say it again: I don’t see any evil in what happened, only tragic strategies to try to meet universal human needs.

  27. Crystal December 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    SKL — I had the exact same thought about the Herod/Jesus story! I’m glad you did, too.

    And thank you for writing this. In the first few days after the shooting, I remember wondering if there were something wrong with me for not crying or not freaking out over my kids at bedtime. I love you people! :-)

  28. C. S. P. Schofield December 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Want a massively subversive thought? I’ve run into several posts that assert that in the last fifty years in the U.S. only one mass shooting with more than four victims has NOT taken place in an area where law abiding citizens are forbidden to carry guns. And that lone exception wasn’t the one that happened on an Army base.

    Now, I can’t vouch for the statistic, but I will say that every mass shooting news story I can recall that had a high body count (and took place in a developed Western nation) was in a supposedly gun-free zone – except for the attack on Gabby Giffords (that’s the one exception they are claiming).

    Now, I don’t want to argue about the second amendment here. I don’t own a gun, and while there have been times when I thought it would be ‘cool’, I have come to realize that somebody who is as scared of power tools as I am probably has no business owning a firearm. But I think this plays into the whole “stranger danger” mindset. The laws banning firearms from certain areas assume that people who would obey such laws are a major danger. Why? Based on what reasoning? The same reasoning that tells parents to tell their children not to talk to strangers. Ever? Even if they’re lost?

    Are we supposed to fear all our fellow citizens, no matter who? I could spin quite a conspiracy theory out of this, were I so inclined, but I am a great believer in “never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity”

  29. Merrick December 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    There’s a jolly stranger sneaking in my house tonight… my kids talked to him and now he’s coming here.

  30. Matt December 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Another thing I think is worth adding is that there WERE measures in place, and to the extent possible, they worked. Probably the best reasonable measures we could have taken. The school went on lockdown just like they practiced. How many more people would have died if that procedure had not been in place? Did it work perfectly? No, nothing ever does. Did it save a LOT of lives. I like to think so. I really don’t think there are too many meaningful, effective measures that we could have taken or could take in the future that would have prevented this 100%. How do you protect against such a bizarre thing?

  31. baby-paramedic December 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Often sign in sheets are for fires etc. For the office person, grabbing that piece of paper is part of their evacuation procedures. So, they grab their piece of paper, everyone evacuates, a check is done, and if anyone is missing it is reported to the fire chief. This same thing can extend to other situations. For example, a lift got stuck with an unknown number of students, with nil voice contact. They were able to do a roll, find out who was missing, and check medical records. From that we found out one of the students was diabetic, it was now well after lunch, which governed the extrication (liftman could override it, but would take a minimum three hours to get there, firies could do a rapid extrication in five mins, but destroy the lift).

  32. Matt December 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    And as for the sign-in sheet. Mark David Chapman’s employer had a sign-in sheet. His last day he signed in as John Lennon. What the heck good is a sign-in sheet?

  33. Donald December 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    @ Holly

    Outstanding post!

    ….. a fetishizing of the suffering…… Not all grieving honors the victims…….we all have a duty to examine our interest in this subject thoughtfully…… and whether that part is of the light or of the darkness.

  34. Jill December 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I am going to add a thought that is probably subversive (on this blog, at any rate). The massive outpouring and outrage at this horror may yet have a positive effect… and maybe something will finally change with respect to gun laws. So people should be getting more mad, more upset, more outraged, and putting pressure on politicians to do something, not shrugging their shoulders and saying “Oh well, it happened far away from me.” Discouraging this reaction, encouraging people to be complacent, is not the right answer here. Something is WRONG with your country that random shootings keep happening. It’s time for the average citizen to stand up and take a stand, loudly. And if overwhelming grief is the catalyst for doing so, then so be it.

  35. Nobody December 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    The event was tragic because of the horror and violence. It was very sad. The subversive reality, there are over 15,000 children that die each day of starvation throuhout the world. Their deaths are slow, painful and those Mothers who hold their children suffer no more, or no less then ANY parent who loses their child. No one mentions these deaths.

  36. Ann December 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I heard from a friend today who went to her first grader’s holiday concert. Not only were they required to sign in, but they had to turn in their car keys in the office! What the heck? What on earth did that accomplish except a huge headache for the admins working in the office.

  37. linvo December 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    It reminds me a bit of those awful Facebook posts that end with “Like/share if you hate cancer” or something and seem to insinuate that if you do not like or share it, you must support kids dying of cancer.

  38. AW13 December 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    @linvo: I hate those things, too. I particularly loathe the ones that add “I bet 99% of you won’t repost”, as though I’m so concerned about other’s opinions that I’m afraid to repost a trite saying about how bullying is bad.

    Otherwise, I think these make a good point. And Jill, you are right. There is something WRONG with our country – the 24 hour focus on statistically rare tragedies is what is WRONG with our country. And apparently WRONG with other countries, too, since people from around the world are seemingly of the opinion that mass shootings happen constantly here.

  39. Karon December 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    This thought entered my mind recently: What makes Sandy Hook different from Aurora, or the mall in Oregon, or the shooting in Arizona that left a legislator dead, or the shooting 30 years ago in San Diego that inspired the Boomtown Rats song “I don’t like Mondays”?

    I don’t see a difference of any significance. I DO see continued celebrity status of the bad guys; continued fear-mongering; continued expectations of knee-jerk legislative actions. As long as the media continues to bombard the general populace with all the bad things that happen across the world every day, we will never have the opportunity to recognize that good things happen too.

  40. Staceyjw December 25, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Some people are just evil, and when I say evil I don’t mean in a supernatural way, just as a description of someone who slaughters without care. I have no problem calling him evil, and many other things. “But he’s human!” cry some. Yeah, thats the problem, humans are notoriously violent. That we have been improving is wonderful, but to say humans aren’t capable of such things is just untrue.

    I sure hope all this outrage causes some sorely needed change. We so desperately need it. USA is currently the place where families go homeless, people of all ages lack basic medical care, and real wages have fallen for decades- while the top percent multiplies their wealth infinitely. And guns are everywhere, many more and many more dangerous ones than anywhere else. (What could go wrong?)

    Talking about sensible gun laws should not be subversive. I don’t see why I should have to have kids go to school with armed guards (or teachers!) because we are too weak to have this discussion. But again, its America, so more guns in schools is seen as an answer, along with other pseudo safety measures that either do nothing or actively hurt the community. We seem to love this type of response: wailing, then a bunch of superficial safety theatre. all because we fear, but fear the wrong things.

    Lastly, I am SO SICK of hearing how the shooter must be mentally Ill. We don’t even know this is true, and I doubt that it is. Mental illness does NOT cause violence, and those with these issues are twice as likely to be a victim than an aggressor. Those that do get violent typically do it when provoked by abusers (since MI people are much likelier to be abused in the home, school, or community). MI people are HALF as likely to steak out at a stranger as others like them without MI! But we LOVE a scapegoat, don’t we.

  41. Owen Allen December 25, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    The Sandy Hooks killings have attracted a great deal of attention among my friends here in Australia. A farmer told his FB friends, “I don’t own or need a gun on my farm”. A vietnam vet, now a funeral parlor owner, mused to me, “I don’t see any reason for a person in a town, having a gun.” before going on to note that, in our rural area, he buries 2 suicides per week. (The Australian stats are 45 suicides per week for the nation). My own response to my FB friends which I copy here: “Is there any more sociopathic, self-interested, greedy, moronic person in the world than the president of the American Rifleman’s Association MRA? Sociopathic because there is no empathy here and begs the question of who are the most insane people in this world? Self-interested because this is more about “I want a gun, any gun, and I’ll kick up a tantrum if I don’t get them.” What weak-minded people. Greedy because this is more about the manufacture and sales of weapons. Moronic because he wants to enforce an increasing police state on the American people, at the cost to the taxpayer, at the detriment to funds needed for education. And all with no end game. These gallahs will have the USA bound increasing in weapons for eternity. His statement and that association’s position is sickening in the dysfunction and damage it will continue to reek upon that nation. The end game has to be no war, no violence, no guns. NO BLOODY EXCUSES!” Being Christmas, and although I’m not technically a christian, I find it pertinent to reach for the vision of Jesus and make it, in my own way, my own

  42. Puzzled December 25, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    So according to Owen, it will not take a police state to entirely ban guns, and doing so will not be expensive. Got it.

    I consider it sociopathic to actually want mass murderers (that is, government) to disarm your peaceful neighbors, simply because you feel better that way.

  43. Beth December 25, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    @AW13, a little off topic but I hate those too – the “99% of you won’t repost” espeically when it adds “but I know my true friends will” (unfriend me then if I’m such a horrible person). There is much to love about social networking, but posting random things found on the Internet and then demanding reposts is not one of them!

  44. mysticeye December 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    @Stacey, on December 24th, 2012 at 12:30 pm Said:

    “You will note that we have had guns in this country for a few hundred years, and yet these “mass shootings” seem to only have become “fashionable” in the past 20 years or so… […] This is the exact kind of treatment and ode a miserable, psychotic loner who, perhaps may have merely committed suicide 50 years ago, now sees as a way of becoming immortal. Thoughts of “I’ll show them” and “They’ll talk about me forever”… appeal to their damaged and bruised egos…”

    It’s become fashionable to report in the last 20 years, but the mass murders at schools have been happening since there were schools. I doubt they’re even more common now on a per capita basis. It’s easy to say the media coverage caused people to do this in an attempt at fame but it’s just not true. It’s harder to get accurate stats the further you go back, of course

    Canadian gun laws are a result of school shootings in the 1960s and 1970. The song “I Don’t Like Mondays” is about a 1979 shoot shooting -though that one doesn’t make most lists of mass murders.

  45. Maria December 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    I somewhat agree. I do think that if this motivates us to take action to enact a reasonable gun policy in this county (no, I don’t want to ban all guns, just the ones designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible) that can only be a good thing.

  46. Puzzled December 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I am puzzled by the argument, which I’ve seen several times now, that it’s good to blow items out of proportion, and take advantage of the general lack of mathematical understanding, if it accomplishes some piece of legislation that you want. While I also happen to oppose the particular legislation advocated, I think it’s worth mentioning just how silly that is. Is it a good idea to form national policy by purposefully manipulating people’s emotions? Should policy be formed by emotional responses at all? If your particular idea is so good, why not, you know, argue for it rationally, and persuade people?

  47. marie December 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Should policy be formed by emotional responses at all? If your particular idea is so good, why not, you know, argue for it rationally, and persuade people?

    This made me chuckle, which I think may have been your intent. Policy formed by emotions is policy that someone is unable to put in place with reason. We need to ask ourselves who benefits from the policy. In this case, the only ones who benefit are those who feel safer if I am unarmed.

    That does not make me safer.

  48. Bron December 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Sign in sheets are not to prevent nutters getting into the school. Where I taught for the last two years before having my son we had both visitor sign-in and staff sign-out books.

    The point is to know how many people are on site in the event of a fire or earthquake. In the case of the teacher sign out book it’s so someone else can take on my duties checking on my form class.

    The office staff grab the books on their way out to the assembly point on the field

  49. hineata December 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    @Puzzled. We in New Zealand don’t have a police state, and neither doe Australia. We also don’t have a constitutional right to guns – we actually have to demonstrate a minimum level of responsibility before we’re allowed to own them. Doesn’t always work, but appears to have prevented school shootings at least so far.

    Yes we are smaller, but I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is your gun culture, which is largely missing from a number of other developed nations.I am puzzled as to why you think a ban on certain types of guns would lead you to live in a police state.

    It is interesting that, just like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, the US has felt free to break treaties and articles of good faith with its indigenous population on a fairly regular basis, but the ‘Constitution’ is somehow sacrosanct.

  50. hineata December 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    ‘does’ …:-)

  51. eamenes December 26, 2012 at 12:01 am #


    Thanks for providing a haven of sanity on the Internet. An old friend has dumped me from her Facebook feed — after publicly attacking me on her own page — because I did not display adequate grief over this incident. Apparently I’m supposed to be posting pictures of candles or what have you. I’m not sure why. Neither of us knew these children, but apparently wallowing is the only to prove I’m a good enough person to suggest alternatives to my friend’s immediate demands for gun control.

  52. eamenes December 26, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    And thank you, fellow posters, for objecting to the flags flying (for how long — over a week here?!) at half mast.

    Of course, here inside the Beltway I know the real reason they’re flying that way is so the anti-gun fanatics can bludgeon any opposition to their inevitable gun control legislation: “Look at those flags? What, are you in favor of children DYING, you horrible person you?”

    No. But I’m also not in favor of using tiny coffins to push through a political agenda without any legitimate discussion or analysis of facts and statistics.

  53. Daven December 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I have had a subversive Sandy Hook thought as well. Without denying the quick thinking and bravery of the teachers who hid and defended their students — they were heroes, truly! — I am a little uncomfortable with the implication that they were so protective and brave *specifically because* they were teachers. From cartoonist Chan Lowe, for example: “Never has the dedication of the people who practice the teaching profession been spotlighted in the way it has over the past few days. We were shown, in dramatic terms, to what lengths teachers are willing to go to fulfill the crucial mandate they have been given: the education and welfare of the most precious members of our society.”

    It’s as though they protected the children because they were teachers, not because they were human. It’s as though *only* teachers would have hidden children from a gunman; *only* teachers would ever defend children this way. But I would hope that ANYBODY would hide children from a murderer! The fact that they were teachers is almost beside the point. They happened to be the adults there; as such, they were responsible for protecting the children there. I would expect, for example, a visiting parent or guest speaker or cafeteria cook to do likewise. Not because they had dedicated their careers to tending children (a visiting parent or guest speaker or cafeteria cook might not have done that), but because they were adult humans.

  54. Beth December 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    In a similar vein, as a 911 dispatcher I am supposed to publicly and privately grieve every time an officer, firefighter, or paramedic/EMT dies, anywhere, especially in the line of duty. Yes, it is sad. But there is a lot of peer pressure to post my sadness on Facebook, read every single article about it, change my profile photo to a black banded badge, not to mention endless discussions and tears at work, because of something that might have happened 3000 miles away.

    I always wondered if there was something wrong with me; after reading the comments above….maybe not.

  55. Jen Connelly December 27, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    I feel the same way but I’ve learned to bite my tongue about my opinions. I made the mistake during the whole Casey Anthony thing if saying I was tired of hearing about it every day on a parenting website.

    I have never been flamed so hard in my life. I even got death threats and threats against my children. Something about how I didn’t care enough about one little girl that lived across the country from me then I didn’t deserve children and they should be murdered in front of me.

    I just don’t get how people can survive when they are that emotionally invested in every “tragedy” they hear about. How do they live with that much drama and sadness?

  56. Puzzled December 27, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Hintea – I didn’t say that a ban on guns will lead to a police state – I said that actually accomplishing it will require one. How else are you going to go collect the newly illegal guns from unwilling owners? Many of them, by the way, will fight back, leading to them being shot – in the name of non-violence.

    I think the US is wrong for breaking treaties. What’s your point? As far as the constitution, it is hardly sacrosanct; the government regularly violates many provisions of it. Of course, it should be sacrosanct – it is the charter agreement by which the population allows the government, as its employees, to exist. Without the constitution, the government has no just claim to any power whatsoever. Yet the fact remains that it isn’t, and has never been, sacrosanct. It is violated at will. Candidates who actually think it should be followed are dismissed as crazy.

    In America, the probability of a school shooting remains very, very small. The probability of a school shooting over a certain period of time, clearly, is larger, but remains quite small. If we had the number of schools that New Zealand does, and the same probability, I suspect that even with violent American culture, it is quite likely that we wouldn’t see a single shooting.

    However, yes, American culture is a problem, but I object to thinking it is specifically a ‘gun culture.’ It is a violent culture. I don’t think violent movies should be banned, but I do think the demand for them is informative about the culture. It is, quite simply, a culture that never learned that hands don’t solve problems. The government is hardly the vessel, though, to spread this message. The government that so many are turning to to disarm us and eliminate violence and bad things routinely kills much larger numbers of children via drone attacks. Drone control would do far more to reduce the number of children killed than gun control ever could. Yet we turn to the people behind the drones as saviors.

    The difference, naturally, is that the children in Sandy Hook are smiling, white, middle-class American children, who are deemed to matter more.

  57. Puzzled December 27, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Jen – they can’t. They can only lurch along from emotion to emotion, which is exactly the state of mind of the average American.

  58. Joel December 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    I blame this tragedy on the people who lobbied away our long term mental health facilities, allowed insurance companies to serve the bottom line not the people needing care, it’s on the hands of those who put bpa, fluoride and other poison in our food that effects a growing mind, that is who to blame for this.

  59. Linvo December 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    You probably have to have grown up in the US to see any logic in this but I am so very confused about the things I hear from there that seem to totally contradict each other. The constitutional right to bare arms, how the constitution is there to keep the government in check, but how people would shoot at the immoral government if they don’t agree with new laws and need guns to protect themselves from their own government. The distrust in the government is probably what shocks me most. Especially coming from the country that regularly justifies their interference in other countries’ internal politics by using the argument that they are promoting democracy. But all of the above seems to indicate that lots of Americans don’t actually believe in democracy themselves? Very confusing to an outsider.

    Life seems so much simpler here. We all think politicians are total losers and mainly serve to line their own pockets. But no one feels the need to arm themselves against them and most people voluntarily gave up their guns when the democratically elected government asked them to do so. So far there

  60. Linvo December 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Submitted by mistake… I was going to just delete it!


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