Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close

Hi Readers — Here’s a piece I wrote for The Atlantic about the shooting. It’s not about gun control, it’s not about mental health services or the lack thereof. It’s about how living in modern, instantly connected times changes us, our reactions and our expectations. – L.

A School Shooting in the Distance 

In the end there were 38 children dead at the school, two teachers and four other adults.

I’m not talking about the horrific shooting in Connecticut today. I’m talking about the worst school murder in American history. It took place in Michigan, in 1927. A school board official, enraged at a tax increase to fund school construction, quietly planted explosives in Bath Township Elementary. Then, the day he was finally ready, he set off an inferno. When crowds rushed in to rescue the children, he drove up his shrapnel-filled car and detonated it, too, killing more people, including himself. And then, something we’d find very strange happened.


No cameras were placed at the front of schools. No school guards started making visitors show identification. No Zero Tolerance laws were passed, nor were background checks required of PTA volunteers—all precautions that many American schools instituted in the wake of the Columbine shootings, in 1999. Americans in 1928—and for the next several generations —continued to send their kids to school without any of these measures. They didn’t even drive them there. How did they maintain the kind of confidence my own knees and heart don’t feel as I write this?

They had a distance that has disappeared. A distance that helped them keep the rarity and unpredictability of the tragedy in perspective, granting them parental peace.

“In 1928, the odds are that if people in this country read about this tragedy, they read it several days later, in place that was hard to get to,” explains Art Markman, author of “Smart Thinking” (Perigee Books, 2012). “You couldn’t hop on a plane and be there in an hour. Michigan? If you were living in South Carolina, it would be a three-day drive. It’s almost another country. You’d think, ‘Those crazy people in Michigan,’ same as if a school blows up in one of the breakaway Republics.”

Time and space create distance. But today, those have compressed to zero. The Connecticut shooting comes into our homes–even our hands–instantly, no matter where we live. We see the shattered parents in real time. The President can barely maintain composure. This sorrow isn’t far away, it’s local for every single one of us.

And of course it brings up Columbine. Two horrors, separated by years and miles, are now fused into one. It feels like terrible things are happening to our children all the time, everywhere. Nowhere is safe.

As a result, I expect we will now demand more precautions at schools. More guards. More security cameras. More supervision. We will fear more for our kids and let go of them even more reluctantly. Every time we wonder if they can be safe beyond our arms, these shootings will swim into focus.

Will this new layer of fear and school security make our children any safer? Probably not, but for a reassuring reason: A tragedy like this is so rare, our kids are already safe. Not perfectly safe. No one ever is. But safe.

That’s a truth the folks in 1928 America understood. We just don’t feel that way now.

Not when there’s no distance between us and the parents in Newtown.


87 Responses to Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close

  1. Art December 16, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    There’s two other school disasters that I want to bring up. It’s really helped try to keep this one in perspective, though I have to admit, it’s pretty difficult.

    On Dec 1st, 1958, a large Catholic Elementary school in Chicago caught fire, killing 92 students. One entire 5th Grade class perished. The one who allegedly started it, admitted to it three years later. The judge in the case was Catholic and pretty much just let him go because he did not want to bring grief both to the church and the boy himself. This kid was a firebug and had already started a couple of fires in trash cans and apartment buildings around town.

    The stories from this fire were absolutely heartbreaking. Two fourth grade classes were trapped on the second floor, they broke a window and jumped 22 feet to the ground, aside from burns, they had many broken bones. What made things more difficult was there was a window ledge inside that was too high for many of them. They couldn’t climb over it.

    Links aren’t allowed here but look up Our Lady Of the Angels or OLA school fire.

    The OLA fire was one of the first major “modern” school fire, where the reporting and media was more or less handled like in today’s standards.

    The second one was New London, Tx, March, 1937. A natural gas leak under the building went undetected for most of the day. Natural gas seeped into a crawl space under that building, and a spark from a circular saw caused a massive explosion. It killed 297 students, along with staff members.

    My heart goes out to the parents in Connecticut, but it’s no different with the parents that lost kids in those tragedies.

  2. lytle74 December 16, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Here is my response to the flood of posts I get daily on this topic:

    For all of us who are worried that our world has somehow gone to “hell in a handbasket”, and that our children will never again be safe, remember please that crazy and sick people have existed and will continue to exist. These acts of violence, even the most heinous of them (those against innocent children) are not new. The world is not measurably more dangerous. The manner in which the world has changed is in our interconnectedness and the rapidity with which information is transfered. Lest you think otherwise, I submit to you the Bath School Disaster in 1927 Michigan. Ahh the good old days, remember when schools were safe and things like this didn’t happen? Neither do I.

    Let’s all try very hard not to overract to such abominable behavior. Use this as an oppotunity to appreciate the people in our lives, and to remind ourselves that there are people sharing out planet who are sick. Let’s not start turning schools into prisons. Let’s not pass a whole new ream of legislation. Let’s not throw our childrens innocence and potential away because of this.

    When we willingly give away our freedom, our innocence, our sanity, our future, in reaction to fear, we all lose; and the craziest, least deserving, least valuable people win.

  3. Gina December 16, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

  4. Art December 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Exactly Lytle,

    The parents in 1958 and 1937, didn’t get outraged, they didn’t threaten to sue everyone in sight (though there was ONE lawsuit over the 1958 fire). They cleaned up the mess, grieved, and moved on.

    The good thing to come out of the 1958 fire was that modern school fire safety procedures and devices were mandated.

  5. Kimberly December 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    New London Explosion – there was new legislation passed in Texas.
    1. Strict rules about who can call themselves engineers, and the type of training they must have. (Because the leak was caused by a faulty connection by an untrained person)

    2. Laws requiring the rotten egg smell to be added to odorless natural gas.

    I bring up Bath whenever someone says we just have to “ban X group from schools to make them safe” – and suggest we ban school board members and administrators from school district property. I bring up both Bath and New London when they say “This wouldn’t happen if we just had school prayer”, since both happened decades before 1963.

  6. Jill December 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    One of the problems is that reasonable people (parents, school admin) feel powerless to do anything about what is actually needed to solve this problem: better treatment for the mentally ill, and controlling access to assault weapons in America. So they are doing the only things they feel they can do to protect themselves and their children. Lockdown, increased security, and other freedom limiting regulations.

    I agree with the message about not all losing our collective heads and keeping it in perspective. But I also feel like this is not the time for a reasoned and measured response. The fact that school shootings like this happen AT ALL, and the fact that they are happening on an almost yearly basis should OUTRAGE everyone. You’re right, the correct response is not to lock down our schools, but the correct response IS for Americans to rise up against organizations like the NRA, and the rest of the backwards hicks that think widespread gun possession is a good idea. The fact is, no matter how good we get at treating mental illness – and no, we’re not very good at it now, nor is it a national priority – there will always be a background level of untreated or untreatable mental illness. Therefore, the widespread access of anyone out there to automatic and semi-automatic weapons is utter madness. THAT is why we should be outraged and THAT is where we should be putting our energy.

    We should not move on and get over this, we should move forward and demand that our leaders take the issue of gun control seriously.

  7. Art December 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    But Jill, you’re missing the point. The guns that the shooter used were legal, and purchased legally by his mother. You have to understand that in the end, stricter gun control will do nothing to curb violence. All it will do is put the guns in the hands of criminals. There’s ALWAYS going to be nutjobs, and they will get access to guns, if they want them, no matter what.

    In areas where the populace is armed, crime goes DOWN.

    As for automatic weapons/assualt weapons, I believe Clinton took care of that in the 90’s.

  8. Elisa December 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    “A tragedy like this is so rare, our kids are already safe.”

    That’s always your message, isn’t it? Sure, bad things will happen, but most likely they’ll happen to someone else’s kids, so don’t worry your pretty head about it.

  9. Meska December 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Jill – there is no “widespread access to automatic weapons”.

  10. Captain America December 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Lenore, don’t forget the value of public psychology bandaids.

    This is why we invaded Iraq

  11. Captain America December 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Lenore, don’t forget the value of big public psychology bandaids.

    This is why we invaded Iraq after 911, despite no complicity in the terrorism. There is simply a strong perceived public good in having more safety in response to these kinds of things. It helps remove public anger and frustration. It provides an answer.

    For my part, I always dislike the metal detectors at county courthouses. It’s kind of ridiculous, and you count up the millions of lost manpower hours, paid for by taxpayers, simply because somewhere some nut attacked a judge (and, economically speaking, why not simply ask judges to wear flak vests? it’s far cheaper to taxpayers).

  12. Captain America December 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    This and the Colorado shootings, etc., simply make me wish we could identify the psychological problems more quickly and act to fix them. . . perhaps not through government but through stronger communities and families.

    That and fixing the high-powered anti-human gun availability (I have zero problem with genuine hunting stuff; it’s combat equipment that gives us all pause).

  13. Laura December 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Art…the assault weapons ban expired. We are not safer with an armed populace because most of them are not trained on how to assess a situation and react appropriately. We don’t want to require in depth training in use and safety for gun ownership, but we’ll demand that toys that if used improperly might hurt someone. As far as how often this happens…in the grand scale of mass school shootings it’s relatively rare…in the much more day to day, we are losing kids in Chicago to gunfire regularly. We have a running tally on how many school kids are lost to gunfire each year and these are in areas with a lot of guns…illegal, yes, but having more guns there isn’t protecting anyone. I know we’re not the only city with this problem. More guns doesn’t make it better….especially more guns when we refuse to require training.

    I’m sorry but our country is being downright stupid. We make access to mental health services next to impossible even with insurance coverage, we make the stigma unbearable so people who need help don’t get it. We mind our own business when someone is acting screwy, we dont speak up, because we dont want to invade soneone’s privacy. We worship guns, we say more God in the schools will protect people (didn’t protect the Amish school children, they’re pretty Godly on the God in your life scale). People don’t behave or misbehave because of the presence or absence of God. And shout that only the worthy (those in jobs with employers who provide access to insurance coverage or independently wealthy) should be able to get help.

    Countries that have banned guns have seen dramatic decreases in mass violence. With an assault weapon, someone can stand far away and take out large groups of people in mere seconds. They just arrested someone in Indiana for threatening a school and threatening to set his wife on fire. They found 47 guns and 100k worth of ammo. They arrested someone in OK who was also planning a copy cat crime. This, just days after a mall shoot up in OR. We’re being idiots if we just say ‘oh, this isn’t REALLY a problem’ we are likewise being idiots if we don’t look at mental health as well as gun control.

    After the fire in Chicago, we passed new and seemingly radical fire ordinances to prevent that sort of tragedy from happening again. For many years Chicago was on the leading edge of research on how to prevent the spread of fire and how to increase the number of lives saved in a large scale fire. We didn’t just sit around and say “we’ll shit, how often does that even happen, meh.”

  14. kcr December 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    “As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”
    – Christopher Dawson

  15. statnerd December 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    181 kids died in school shootings in the USA from 1999-2009
    There are about 100,000,000 children enrolled in school and 180 school days in a year. 181 / (100,000,000 * 180 * 10) = 1.01e-09 = chance your kid will be fatally shot on any given day in school.

    During that same period, the mean fatalities per 100,000,000 miles driven was 1.42. If school is 2.2 miles away (the distance my cousins drive their kids to school) then the odds you will be involved in a fatal car accident on any day you drive them there and back is (1.42 / 100,000,000) * 4.4 = 4.88e-08.

    4.88e-08 / 1.01e-09 = 62.13.

    The risk of driving your kids to school is about 50 times greater than the risk of your kids dying in a school shooting. The risk goes up as the distance goes up and this estimate does not include the rest of the driving you do with your kids in your car.

  16. Jill December 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    It seems like people are saying things like “Oh gee, this is not the worst school shooting we’ve ever had. Oh gee, there are more risky things that we do every day. So let’s not get upset about this and let’s put it in ‘perspective’.” As Laura said above, is our response really going to be “this is not likely to happen to my kid, so meh.”??

    I fully advocate free range parenting, and I do not support measures to limit children or lock down schools more than they already are, or put increasingly restrictive security policies in place at schools. But a complacent response in this case is wrong. School and random shootings should not be happening AT ALL, and while I would not like to see us melt into mass fear and panic, I would like to see us be angry enough to lay the responsibility squarely at the feet of those who deserve it: the gun lobby and the politicians who pander to it.

  17. Mike December 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    The thing that I think needs more attention that this vile scum who did this are the teachers who reacted about as well as could be imagined in this situation and saved dozens of lives. The librarian barricaded the library. Teachers got kids into closets and bathrooms. Some paid with their own lives. It’s just incredible and a reminder, once again, that the good among us vastly vastly outnumber the evil.

  18. Emily Bender December 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Thanks for this perspective. After recently reading your book, I’m trying to find the balance between staying informed of current events and protecting my brain wiring. This shift has made me happier and healthier even though I don’t deny there is suffering in the world. I’ve tried to mindfully edit my exposure to images and news reports over the past few days. I’m still experimenting and trying to find what works. I feel a strong urge to binge on Facebook and news sites to get all the details, but I’m holding out.

  19. SaraLu December 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Elissa, I don’t think that is what anyone is saying at all. But if you want to keep your kids indoors and at home for the rest of their lives, you go right ahead.

  20. Peter December 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    School and random shootings should not be happening AT ALL […]Why not?

    I don’t mean to sound flippant, let’s consider the answer to that question. Why shouldn’t these be happening?

    Well, there’s an obvious answer: Because they are tragedies. And, of course, you’re right. They are. But are you saying that nothing tragic should ever happen to anyone ever? That would be nice, but it’s hardly realistic.

    School shootings have happened in places with strict gun laws. Removing the guns means using other weapons, granted, but is your offense at what occurred merely due to the body count? Does it make a difference if some nut comes in with a gun and kills 20 kids or if some nut comes in with a sword and kills 5?

    See, this is where I get concerned. “Somebody should do something to see to it that a tragedy like this never happens again.” Guess what? Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes tragedies occur. It’s sad when this happens. And it’s worthwhile to go see if there was some sign that might have been missed.

    But when you start saying that bad things shouldn’t happen at all, you start down the path towards bubble-wrapping.

  21. Donald December 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    The world has never been perfectly safe. Crazies and sickos have always been around. However, because of our attempts to make it a zero harm area, the fear hysteria that we are stirring up IS CAUSING THE CRAZIES AND SICKOS TO INCREASE IN NUMBERS!

    In the same way, we can’t snuff out hate by ‘out hating it’

  22. Lisa December 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    lytle74, I’m going to share your words. Very calming to me. Thank you.

  23. DCD December 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I completely, 100% back the statement that these tragedies should not be happening. Yes, tragedies happen, but that doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and accept them. Regardless of how many are hurt, it’s not ok and everything has a level of preventability if we know what to look for. The common denominator of the majority of these heinous crimes is mental illness. Not the weapon used. Early diagnosis and tratment, including a monitoring system is required if something’s going to change. People should be better educated on mental disorders in order to better understand them and know what to look for. Unfortunately, usually these facts only seem to surface after the crime has been commited.

  24. LRH December 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    I read about Andrew Kehoe and the Bath School Disaster many years ago. Here is the original article about it, it’s very in-depth.) It was a very eye-opening read. At the time I read this, which was not that long after Columbine, I was myself under the impression that “back in the old days, you didn’t have to worry about this sort of thing.” Wrong.

    1927, think about that. George Bush, the ELDER, was 3 years old. Ed Asner the actor was 2 years away from being born. The fact that he sat on the school board is startling as well. He had unquestioned access to the entire building, but in the aftermath they didn’t call for draconian security access rules.

    The people in charge especially would do well to remember that. So would the parents. Sometimes, the best response is none at all. It doesn’t indicate apathy. It indicates having enough sense to realize that sacrificing our freedoms and creating a police state is not the correct response to what is in reality a very rare occurrence.


  25. Crystal December 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Jill, I found myself thoughtfully considering your point of view….until I got to the part where you called people who believe in widespread fun possession “backwards hicks.” I’m sorry, but if you need name-calling to get your point across, then why listen to you? How is your method any different than those “backward hicks” calling those who believe differently “liberal, elitist snobs” or whatever?

    I’m sure you’ll have a reply. People who label others without getting to know them (example = do you seriously think everyone who believes in gun ownership lives in a small town and hunts and would identify as a hick?) tend to.

  26. Crystal December 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm #


  27. LRH December 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Darn typos.

    Here are the corrections.

    First Link (Wikipedia)
    Original Lengthy Article

    When I said “HE sat on the school board” I was referring to the perpetrator, Andrew Kehoe, not Ed Asner.


  28. July December 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Thank you, Lenore, for the common sense as usual.

    In terms of some of the things in these comments… I think it’s disgusting when people use tragedy to further a political agenda. Whether it’s school prayer or gun control, it is incredibly disrespectful and small to use the deaths of children to push your propaganda.

  29. Donald December 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    The answer is to have more psychiatric clinics. 7/11 stores should sell prozac. They could put them next to the Snickers bars. We should make everybody fill out a questionnaire that asks:

    When you get angry do you want to take your frustration out by killing others?

    If so, do you target schools because they are unarmed? (there’s nothing worse than getting shot before you have the chance to turn your gun on yourself)

    I’m in favor for banning military assault weapons. However, I don’t think that’s the problem. The strong desire to own a weapon (even a knife) for self protection is the problem. We demand to see violence. The more popular news channels are the ones that dramatize the most. We can’t get enough CSI. We want CSI New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Salt Lake City, etc.

    If we pass more gun laws without SERIOUSLY looking at our addiction to the fear frenzy, then that’s like trying to cure the common cold by banning Kleenex tissues! It’s only a scapegoat, a knee jerk reaction, and a vote chaser. However it won’t do very much.

  30. Donald December 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Let’s go after the cure, not just treat the symptoms

  31. Jenna K. December 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    I think Captain America hit it on the head. “This and the Colorado shootings, etc., simply make me wish we could identify the psychological problems more quickly and act to fix them. . . perhaps not through government but through stronger communities and families.” In order to fix America, we need to focus on where everything begins–the family. If we could forge strong families, problems like these mental illnesses could be dealt with more easily. If families would stay together and teach children to love one another, they would grow into adults who would do the same thing. There is a lot of anger out there–a lot of people harbor anger and grudges and cold hearts. Even on these forums you see name-calling and bashing and unkindness. When parents are unkind and uncivil, their children learn that. Even if they have a tight-knit family, if they are teaching these attitudes and habits, that is what children learn and they will behave the same way. It’s become okay to act out in rage over the smallest, silliest things. When you hear of stories where a parent becomes outraged over something, most people stand there nodding their heads in agreement–that parent was right to react that way. Road rage, kids’ sports, etc., the list can go on and on. Yet we as a society have become more accepting of such behaviors because we feel we are “entitled” to being mad when our feelings get hurt. We have forgotten about forgiveness and love and those two things together have the power to change the world. Banning guns, treating mental illness, increasing security everywhere…those all seem to be logical solutions, but the solution truly lies in changing men’s hearts. Until that happens, we will always be hearing these stories in the news.

  32. jess December 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I think that it this tragedy hits close to home speaks to people’s sense of compassion and empathy, that we can see the grief of the families and community and respond to it

  33. Misty R December 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    “And of course it brings up Columbine. ”

    I think that’s so mindbogglingly stupid, because of the main difference – Columbine was done by then-current students.

  34. Catherine Scott December 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    @Art You are so wrong: murder rates are higher in states of the US and overseas countries with lax gun control. Fact. Not speculation.

    Here’s a handy table.


    In Australia where assault weapons are banned there have been no mass killings since the ban took place.

    I suspect that the NRA has sent out the word for its people to comment anywhere, everywhere the school murders are being discussed and to spread disinformation.

    I am also suspicious of the new version of an old chestnut that’s popping up everywhere. Seems scripted: ‘Guns don’t kill people; (mad) people kill people’. IE blame the mentally ill.

    And I agree with some posts here: it’s time to react and react strongly.

  35. Catherine Scott December 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    And why are more people going nuts? For those of you who didn’t read the quote I posted on the previous (yesterday’s) installment from the guy who thought about going on a killing rampage but didn’t it’s the way the population below the level of plutocrat is treated.

    More inequality leads to more social ills. End of sentence. The US is a massively inequitable society, with social mobility the same as the UK with its class system and hereditary privilege. IE very low levels of social mobility. No more log cabin to the Whitehouse.

    The site below has some excellent graphs that show how everything you don’t want to happen in your country goes up with increasing inequality:


  36. Catherine Scott December 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    This is more like an appropriate response, from something I just read:

    ‘Too calm, too practised. They are too good at this now. There is too much stricken meditation on the unknowable nature of evil, too much “this is not a day for politics”, too much coming together, too much spirituality that is really passivity with a gloss, too many candles, too many floating lanterns. These things have become as polished and inverted in intent as teen funerals with their slideshow montages to Time of Your Life.

    There’s something nauseating about such forbearance. The systematic and thorough killing of 20 children under seven should not be an occasion for which anyone is sufficiently prepared. By its very nature, it should be an occasion for hysteria, for disarray, for uncontrollable grief. Occupy Connecticut should not be spruiking floating lantern vigils, they should be besieging the office of the Sporting Shooters Association which lobbies for legal assault weapons, and which is headquartered in, gosh, Newtown, Connecticut.

    The meditative reflection on display strikes one as a particular condition of a more general process — the manner in which a type of fatalism has encroached on daily life at the very root — in America. Though expressed in religious terms, it seems to have more to do with the all-encompassing power of abstract systems, corporations, processes, a life lived in permanent suspension from the real.

    “We need to take action,” the superintendent had said in Bridgeport and I brightened for a moment. “We need to take action to comfort, action to be vigilant.” Which is not action at all, but its opposite.’

  37. Jillian December 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I am managing my anxiety, my grief, by throttling my family’s media exposure. I have yet to see one minute of television coverage, or hear one minute of radio coverage. I am judiciously following links to print media outlets I find most reliable and least sensational. I do not need to be any more horrified than I already am.

    I am grateful that my 5-year-old son’s school emailed parents to say that, after a careful review, they feel their security policies (which are reasonable) are adequate. It won’t make me feel any better — or make the kids safer — for them to go into hysterical lock-down mode.

  38. Seamus [Impetus Engagement] December 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Cathrine is right. How the lower echelons of society are treated determines how likely crazy people are to commit atrocities such as this.

    I currently live in China, where only the government has guns. And the lowest echelons are treated atrociously. The result? Almost every year, someone goes into a pre-school/elementary school (and often more than once) and starts beating people and children to death till someone takes him down.

    Our founding fathers never wanted us to react strongly to anything though. That is why it is so difficult to get most things accomplished in America. In this case, most “strong reactions” would be anit-free range.

    Zero Tolerance laws, school security, lack of community involvement in the school, etc. All Anti-Free Range.

    The thing is that anything we do will make us FEEL safer because they will be reactive. However, these things won’t make us safer. Look at airport security. Traveling in America is a miserable experience. Security professionals say, “airport security is security theater”. It is a show that is put on to make people feel safe enough to buy plane tickets, without reducing the likelihood of a hijacking.

    What does reduce the likelihood of a hijacking is intelligence gathering. This is where Captain America was right. Unfortunately, this action doesn’t FEEL SAFE so it is not the one that will be taken. Politicians will be seen as to soft on crime, and never reelected. So it is much more politically expedient to make people FEEL LIKE you solved the problem, then actually solving the problem.

    What is more likely to happen though, is it will create more crazy people who commit these tragedies. When children grow up thinking the world is out to get them, they often try to get the world first when they become adults.

    It FEELS scary and cowardly to treat this tragedy as a rarity. But doing anything else teaches children that someone else will always protect them so they don’t have to look out for themselves.

  39. FredTownWard December 17, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I’ll just weigh in on a couple of the gun control issues.

    People who advocate “assault weapon” bans tend not to know what they are asking for. Either that or they’re just being dishonest. What most people mean when they think “assault weapon” is a fully automatic machine gun that fires until you release the trigger or run out of bullets.

    This sort of weapon was not used here and has been tightly controlled by the US government since the 1930’s, which means that the only people who have them today are:

    a. government agents
    b. wealthy collectors willing to pay the price and endure the hassle.
    c. any criminals who want them.

    What is actually being talked about in so-called “assault weapons bans” are semiautomatic versions of military weapons that can only fire one bullet every time you pull the trigger. A more accurate name would be “scary looking deer hunting rifles” except the deer hunting rifles tend to use larger and more deadly bullets,…

    but they look a lot wimpier, which is what is most important, right?

    Over our relatively short history our governments at various levels and at various times have tried to control: guns, gambling, prostitution, drinking (alcohol), smoking (tobacco), drug use, and dirty books. Please cite for me the successful attempts. Thus, we can expect further gun control efforts to have the expected results:

    disarming the law abiding and giving the non-law abiding greater job security.

    The dirty little truth is that we didn’t have too many guns at that school in New Haven, we had exactly one too few.

    Just one more gun, in the hands of a trained, certified, background-checked teacher or school employee would have saved some lives, if only by slowing the killer down and restricting his movements.

    And just the bare legal possibility that there COULD have been such a person might have prevented the whole tragedy in the first place.

    There’s a reason these nuts always, always, ALWAYS pick “gun free zones” for their sick, twisted fun:

    because they want to shoot OTHER people, not get shot themselves, at least not until AFTER they’ve had their sick fun.

  40. Jiltaroo December 17, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    Yes, Lenore, I agree. All the way over here in Australia, this pain is just as raw. The faces of these darling children beaming are out from the front page of today’s paper. The pain is gut wrenching….it’s in my heart, it’s in my head, and it’s in my womb. It does not make me fearful to send my children to school, but it is overwhelming. However,I do want to feel this pain, I do want to share it but the coverage of these tragedies is always taken way too far. They are splashed constantly across our screens and paraded across our consciousness without respite. Jen

  41. mollie December 17, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    One of the benefits of moving away from the US is that I don’t seem to ever encounter folks here that say things like FredTownWard just did. Whew! It’s like being on holiday, every day of my life! I really celebrate that.

    I have to say that living in a country that places huge restrictions on handguns has been a wonderful contribution to my sense of trust, calm, safety, community, ease, peace, and harmony.

    I couldn’t say the same when Minnesota made it legal to carry concealed firearms, and that’s when I decided to leave.

    People act out in tragic ways, all over the world. The difference is how much damage they can do in a short amount of time, depending on their weapon of choice. Even though guns are nearly nonexistent where I live, I can dream up scenarios in which someone firebombs the local grocery store. Or something. But I don’t bother, because my life is not very likely to feature something like that, and if it does, well, no amount of foresight could have prevented me being in the grocery store at the “wrong” moment.

    It was heartbreaking for me to hear people talk about how more guns and less civil liberties were the answer to all of our fears. The wholesale buy-in to a worldview that involves heavy self-arming and constant reinforcement of paranoid fantasies of attack and retribution was completely anathema to my own sense of how to achieve peace on earth. So I moved.

    This latest tragedy, and the predictable paranoia that inevitably follows in the US, is something I will pray about. Dear God, let the flawed reasoning, the hysterical extrapolations, the arguments for more guns and added “security measures” give way to a higher wisdom. Amen.

  42. Kenny Felder December 17, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    What a great example, Lenore!

    Here is what I posted to Facebook yesterday. (Today I’m posting a lot of links to your piece here.)

    “Yesterday in Connecticut 26 people were killed. If we add this to Columbine and Virginia Tech and every other shooting spree for the past 20 years, we might get the body count up to a few hundred.

    “Every day, 700 children die in auto accidents. Every day, 2,000 children die of malaria. Every day, almost 16,000 children die for lack of food. That many died yesterday, and another batch died today, and another batch will die tomorrow.

    “Please do not think I am making light of tragedy and death. I am doing the opposite. If you take tragedy and death seriously then please focus your resources, your politics, and your prayers on the problems that are the biggest and the most preventable, rather than the ones that generate the best headlines.”

  43. BL December 17, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    From an article in Slate:

    “A 25-year-old neighbor who sometimes watched Adam Lanza when his mother would go out with friends said he was on medication.”

    Surprise, surprise. All or nearly all the perpetrators of incidents like these since Columbine have been “helped” by this sort of “medication”. And not just in the US, either.

    Or maybe, just maybe, these high-powered drugs mentally disable those who take them? As people like Peter Breggin, Bruce Levine, and the late Thomas Szasz have been telling us for years?

    Which is why the cries for “better treatment for the ‘mentally ill'” scare me as much as the ones for more gun control.

  44. TM December 17, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    If there is to be a discussion about guns, then it’s helpful if we’re all on the same page, so here are some facts for the discussion:

    Fully-Automatic Weapons (AKA Machine Guns and “real” assault rifles): These guns fire bullets once the trigger is pulled and do not stop firing until the trigger is released. They have been heavily regulated since the 1930s, and it requires a full FBI up your butt with a fine toothed comb background check.

    Semi-Automatic Rifles: These guns, like pistols and revolvers fire one round per pull of the trigger and then chamber the next round (or in the case of revolvers, chamber the round then fire it). These guns are the most common gun in production and are what everyone from olympic competitors to the police to body guards to hunters use and are regulated by federal and state laws, and access to them varies from state to state and city to city.

    The Assault Weapons Ban: This 1994 law regulated guns in the Semi-automatic rifles category. It banned the new manufacture (but not the sale, possession or use of) certain, primarily cosmetic features of these semi-automatic rifles, while not at all addressing anything about how they work. Under the AWB, it was perfectly legal to purchase and use a pre-ban semi automatic rifle with those features, and it was perfectly legal to manufacture and use a rifle that was functionally equivalent to the banned rifles and just as deadly, provided it didn’t have the specifically proscribed cosmetic features.

    On access to guns vs crime: Bear in mind that any statistic that compares the number of gun crimes between areas is a mostly useless statistic. It follows that if guns are more available, that they will also be used in more crimes. It’s the statistical equivalent of pointing out that moose accidents are more common in Canada than Mexico, and by extension, Mexico is safer.

    A better more useful statistic is the amount of crime relative to the access to guns, and when you evaluate this statistic, it becomes clear that gun availability has a much smaller impact. Some will tell you that more guns = more crime and less guns = less crime, but this is not the case, you can also have more guns and less crime, and less guns and more crime. Some statistics for you comparing homicide rates (which is one of the few easily comparable statistics between countries) from the UN:

    The first here is the trending homicide rate between the US and the UK over the last few years. Bear in mind that gun access in the US has been increasing:

    US UK
    1995: 8.1 1.6
    1996: 7.3 1.5
    1997: 6.7 1.5
    1998: 6.2 1.6
    1999: 5.6 1.6
    2000: 5.5 1.7
    2001: 5.6 1.8
    2002: 5.6 2.1
    2003: 5.7 1.8
    2004: 5.5 1.7
    2005: 5.6 1.5
    2006: 5.8 1.5
    2007: 5.7 1.5
    2008: 5.4 1.3
    2009: 5.0 1.2
    2010: 4.8 ?
    2011: ? ?

    The next is some relative comparisons on gun access vs homicide rates across the spectrum of countries, where the US (with the statistics above) rates #1 on the list of access:

    Switzerland ranks #4 on the list of countries sorted by guns per capita, yet has a homicide rate of just 0.7 per 100,000. Even Serbia, which comes in at #2 has a homicide rate of just 1.2 per 100,000. By comparison, Mexico comes in at #42 with a homicide rate of 23.7 per 100,000. All the way down near the bottom of the list, Fiji, with a guns per capita rate below that of Japan has a murder rate of 2.8, and South Korea coming in at position #149 has a murder rate of 2.6.

    The point here is that the access to guns has much less to do with the crime than culture and society as a whole. And to sort of prove that point, here’s the homicide statistics for the US prison populations:

    In local and state prisons throughout the country, the homicide rate is 3 and 4 per 100,000 respectively. It’s even worse in the federal prisons with a homicide rate of 7 per 100,000, even more than the national average. So in an environment where people have no guns, no knives, no real weapons of any sort and can be locked in cages, people are still killing each other at a rate comparable or worse than the national average.

    Finally, aside from the federal restrictions, here are the restrictions CT places on gun ownership:

    Permit to Purchase a Gun: Rifle: No / Handgun: Yes
    Illegal to Sell or Transfer Gun to Forbidden Person or Under 21 (Handguns): Yes
    Waiting Period: Yes, Handguns, 2 weeks
    Background Check, Safety Course, Fingerprinting: Yes, Yes, Yes
    Restrictions on Who can Own including mentally ill: Yes, all felons, people who were convicted of a serious juvenile offense, people discharged from custody in the last 20 years for mental disease or defect, persons confined by court order in the last 12 months for mental illness, persons subject to restraining orders, illegal aliens.
    Permit to Carry: Yes
    Safety Course for Permit to Carry: Yes
    Restrictions on Permit Issue: Yes
    Renewal of Permits: Yes
    Permits Revokable: Yes
    Ban on Firearms on School Grounds: Yes

    I think, despite everything, we do a fairly reasonable job of regulating gun ownership in this country. We need to begin working on other policies and addressing fundamental cultural and societal problems to reduce our crime rate further.

  45. Captain America December 17, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I’m really morally repulsed by the gun advocates, who prance out little statements and slogans and deceptions. This is childlike behavior and unrealistic.

    I live in Illinois; pity me, the state is being forced to allow concealed carry guns in some fashion by the damned 7th circuit court of appeals (a hodge-podge crew if there ever was one).

    Many years back, old Cap worked at a McDonalds. There, at about age 16, was where I first discovered that Real Life, Real World Adults are often irrational. . . you work the counter at McDonalds and you find the customers teaching you this lesson.

    But guns simply magnify the underlying problem of our increasingly decaying social life.

  46. Becky December 17, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Thank you so much for this MUCH needed dose of perspective in the media world! I’ve written a blog post about perspective this morning hoping to help remind people that the world is good and this media madness… is just that.

    Thank you for helping our family keep a healthy perspective on life!

  47. Amanda Matthews December 17, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    “I would like to see us be angry enough to lay the responsibility squarely at the feet of those who deserve it:”

    Uh, those who deserve it are THE PEOPLE DOING THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS. They usually end up dead or in prison. If you know of someone that did a school shooting without having the responsibility placed at their feet, let me know.

    If you look at places with stricter gun laws, there are still school attacks, just with different weapons. Usually knives. Should we take away all knives too? Should we say “School stabbings are the fault of the horrible people that let people have knives!!” or think “Well, that’s the fault of the attacker, and the legitimate use of knives is worth the risk that a rare person may use them to attack someone”?

  48. Wowlvenn December 17, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    While I understand that a sense of general perspective allows parents to think about the many schools not under attack everyday, I feel scared at the suggestion that we should all embrace distance as some sort of balm for what hurts our hearts about this now. I think it is exactly the phenomenon of “Thank God it wasn’t me or my loved ones” that relieves us all of the responsibility to consider practical, sound solutions in our own small communities, and of those I imagine the first is simply educating ourselves about creating confident children who know how to protect themselves from bullying. Violence is increased not only by angry kids with low self-esteem but also by kids who see the impact bullying makes when there is no intervention. Parents and teachers need to intervene and teach other kids how to safely intervene or get away to prevent impact. This is an investment in our kids’ safety now and when they are adults.I love the Kidpower books and website aimed at this purpose. Additionally, as a parent and as a therapist, I am going to investigate what kind of guns are accessible in my area and at gun shows, and what protective measures are in place if any. To say that outlawing guns would only put them in the hands of criminals is not an effective argument for me because if that were to be the solution, do we expect teachers and principles to carry rapid fire weapons to kill perpetrators? That is the job of the police, and it would be too late anyway. We need prevention. Back to my original point…if people think of this event as happening to their own child or wife, it might force a reconsideration of strong impulses to protect gun liberties over lives. Moderation will get us a lot farther than black or white thinking. I don’t think some basic reasonable laws would turn our government into a tyrannical dictatorship (more than it already might be considered as such by some folks.)

  49. Beth December 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Very sad and yet frightening read from the mom of a mentally ill child….

  50. Neil M December 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Thank you Lenore and all commenters for providing much-needed perspective. Massacres like this should never be taken lightly, but neither should they necessarily be viewed as a sign that society is crumbling.

  51. TIna December 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    There are many good comments here. It’s good to see the communication going and that all are concerned regardless of your opinions.

    The end all and be all is not one thing is the answer here. This is a ten-fold answer. It’s less access to assault weapons. Who needs assault weapons when you are not in the military? Hunting rifles for hunting. Fine keep that regulated. Hand guns for right to bear arms??? Wasn’t the second amendment written when that was the need for a “musket”? The right to bear arms needs an update. Sorry but it does. It was written in the 1800’s in a completely different time and culture.

    Mental illness is increasing on a large scale due to the culture we all live in. Easy access to media, tv, violent movies/games etc.

    These are just a few of the things that must change. It isn’t just one area.

    We need to come together as human people and want to raise our kids better, knowing right from wrong and having access to mental health facilities easier and recognize the signs and SPEAK UP!!! So many people do want to be intrusive or “tattle-tail” on odd or different behaviour. But what if that was the sign and we missed it? Just another one missed and likely to cause the same type of tragedy…..

    I don’t believe that harsher rules on gun control will eliminate all Horrific acts of this magnitude….But what, just what if, it limits that person from a large magazine and assault weapon and the damage that can be done??? Should we not try and limit it?

    Crazies/mentally ill, sick people will still try and access what they can, where they can. But if we do the due dillegence in better access to mental help, limit access to un-necessary arms that should only be in the hands of those in the military or like minded professions, and if we become better parents and watch what our children take in and answer their questions and stay involved in their lives, don’t you think if we did all of these things that a difference can be had.

    Again it’s not just one answer here. It is a multitude of answers. But the fact of the matter is, CHANGE must happen, or things will continue to get worse and worse.

    Just my humble little two cents.

  52. FredTownWard December 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    @ mollie: The most important part of your response to me I repeat below with one bit of emphasis added:

    “I have to say that living in a country that places huge restrictions on handguns has been a wonderful contribution to my SENSE of trust, calm, safety, community, ease, peace, and harmony.”

    I’ve no doubt that what you wrote above is true; where I differ is in regards to the facts. Most people FEEL safer traveling in an automobile than in an airplane, but overwhelming evidence proves that airplane travel in FACT is much, MUCH safer than traveling by car.

    The FACTS regarding gun possession and crime REDUCTION are also beyond dispute, and it is worth considering the benefits of private gun ownership for the NON-gun owner:

    Without having to bankrupt their governments hiring vast numbers of extra armed guards and policemen, most of whom would spend their careers uselessly twiddling their thumbs, the non-gun owner has his or her safety and security measurably (and PROVABLY) increased merely by the EXISTENCE of armed fellow citizens and said armed fellow citizens pay all their own expenses. If they should someday happen to save your life, you don’t have to pay them, you don’t even have to THANK them. You can cuss them out and call them crazy to your heart’s content.

    Of course, you do have to be ALIVE to do that.

  53. Uly December 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    If you look at places with stricter gun laws, there are still school attacks, just with different weapons. Usually knives. Should we take away all knives too? Should we say “School stabbings are the fault of the horrible people that let people have knives!!” or think “Well, that’s the fault of the attacker, and the legitimate use of knives is worth the risk that a rare person may use them to attack someone”?

    Indeed, there was a school stabbing in China the same day as the shooting. 22 children injured.

    You may not think it worth mentioning, but for the sake of completeness I feel I must point out that every one of THOSE children is going to recover.

    There are many legitimate uses for knives. There are some legitimate uses for guns. However, while knives can be used for peaceful purposes, the entire point of a gun is to inflict injury upon another being. (And no, have it to scare other gun-afflicted people is not a peaceful purpose, even if you don’t intend to shoot.)

  54. Katie December 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    If you really want to save lives ban SUVs in school zones. I can guarantee you that many more lives have been taken than in school shootings by self obsessed parents who drive SUVs (and minivans) at recklessly dangerous speeds to get there kids (who are likely spoiled brats) to whatever activity/hobby they deem super important at the moment.

    I would say distance is one factor, but another is a horrible sense of statistics that most American’s have.

  55. Uly December 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Fred, you have a long paragraph at the end there, but nothing that looks like a checkable fact. Exactly what are the numbers behind your assertion?

  56. Uly December 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Agreed, Katie, there are a lot of incompetent drivers out there who really have no business being behind the wheel of any sort of vehicle. I’d be thrilled to see improved policing of traffic rules and increased public transportation so poor drivers don’t feel the need a car.

  57. Uly December 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    (Of course, my perspective is slightly skewed by having run into – very nearly literally – several of the worst drivers over the past week.)

  58. Katie December 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    You can’t use statistics for the UK verses US and say it is all related to guns or even largely related to guns. I have been to the UK (and other countries as well) and live in the US and so much else is so much different.

    In the UK manors are important which leads to things such as consideration for others and for life. In the US competition is emphasized to the point where I think the current message is either your going to be a star or you might as well just give up on living or find some random way to get your fifteen minutes of fame.

    In UK kids are also not treated as tea cups like they are either. In London the biggest city I saw mom’s sitting down reading a book on the subway without a hand on a stroller. Not in the US, many parents won’t even take their kids on the subway (except perhaps in New York/Chicago) and even if they are okay with it they often don’t because of point number one, you can’t wait 5-10 minutes for a train because you must run your child to multiple activities a day to make sure they are an allstar.

  59. dancing on thin ice December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    The President indirectly spoke on being Free-Range at last night’s service. To paraphrase, he said parents can’t be there all the time and need to give kids the tools to handle things on their own.

    Using the idea of 7 degrees of separation, many of us can find a tie to this rare event. One of the teachers grew up with a cousin’s wife. She ate Thanksgiving with them.

  60. Amanda Matthews December 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    “You may not think it worth mentioning, but for the sake of completeness I feel I must point out that every one of THOSE children is going to recover.”

    And I know of some school stabbings in Japan where children have died. You have to have the rare combination of a mentally ill child efficient with a gun, with unattended access to a gun in order for a school shooting to happen – pretty much all kids have access to and are proficient in using knives.

    “the entire point of a gun is to inflict injury upon another being.”

    No, for most mentally healthy people the point is to either inflict injury upon non-human animals – which some may argue is not much better, but it’s within most of society’s morals – or to simply become proficient in using the gun without the ultimate goal of shooting someone. Kinda like how I want to take up archery but don’t want to shoot someone with an arrow, or how I want to learn more programing languages but don’t plan on ever doing it for a living (nor program a bomb).

    “Mental illness is increasing on a large scale due to the culture we all live in.”

    Not true – how we deal with mental illness has changed.

    In the past a mentally ill family member would either be kept at home/inside, or be sent away to a mental asylum and never talked about outside of the immediate family. Anyone deemed to need treatment was certainly sent away, maybe released if they were thought to be cured, but often they would stay their their whole lives.

    Today we keep them within in society, often medicating them, believing they can be made “normal” with the right combination of medicines and therapy. (And I’m not saying that’s right or wrong.)

  61. Amanda Matthews December 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    okay you said “being”, I for some reason read that as “human being” – so take out the “No” but the rest still applies and I want to emphasize that many people like to use guns WITHOUT the intent of hurting another being and simply shoot targets, skeet shoot, etc. – I see nothing unpeaceful about that.

  62. Amanda Matthews December 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Oh, and knives are most often used to cut another being – it’s just that most of the time they are dead already.

  63. TIna December 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    @Amanda. I guess that it what I meant to say. My dad had mental issues and went away to a “home” to deal with it. I 100% agree their needs to be better mental health care all around.

  64. Sarah December 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you TM for your most comprehensive post. I have noticed that so many people think that “assult rifflles” need to be banned but have no idea what they are. Additionally I do not think that “assult riffles” would be as popular as they are right now if they had not been banned in the 90’s. The ban is esentially what made that style of riffle so popular, they have been selling like hot cakes for the last several years.

    What seams to be going on right now is that all of the end of the world crazies are comming out of the wood work. That is not a stamement damming anyone who wants to be physically and metally prepared for any kind of disaster- I ment it to damn those folks who have been fantasizing about murder/ suicide and are using the fact that they think the world is foing to end in a week or so as an excuse to go on a spree right now.

  65. Uly December 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    okay you said “being”, I for some reason read that as “human being” – so take out the “No” but the rest still applies and I want to emphasize that many people like to use guns WITHOUT the intent of hurting another being and simply shoot targets, skeet shoot, etc. – I see nothing unpeaceful about that.

    LOL, yes, although I may not always agree with hunting and I love all the cute widdle animals (and the not so cute ones as well), I don’t consider them humans and certainly agree that eating meat is for most of us not a morally dubious act.

    I hadn’t thought of target shooting, but even then, I think in most cases it probably isn’t necessary to own your own equipment for that… and at any rate, unlike hunting, it definitely is a hobby and not a necessity. I have to go right now before finishing this comment, I have a seven year old bugging me for her ipad time. I’ll try to finish this later.

  66. hineata December 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    @statnerd – during the same period in New Zealand (1999-2009) there have been child deaths due to road accidents and drownings etc. We have strict gun control laws which effectively equate to to a ban on assault rifles. In that period there have been no fatal school shootings at all. In fact, Catspaw and I do not recall any in our recorded history, which admittedly is only a couple of hundred years long.

    Last week a silly twit (high schooler) shot an intermediate boy in the butt with an air rifle. Intermediate boy got a bruise on the butt, police are dealing with the moron.

  67. Shawn December 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    It’s like people are so conditioned now by media, that they seem to WANT it to happen in their community. To their own children. The Connecticut tragedy took it’s toll on me too. But the first thing that popped into my head, was how incredibly saddened I was for the loss of those children, who never had a chance to grow up. The second thing that came to mind was anger, and what I would have done had I gotten a hold of that guy. But I never once feared for my own. Yes, I hugged him longer than usual, not because I was relieved he came home safe, or “life is short, hug your kids and smother them” reaction. I hugged him because he made me feel that much better. He asked me what that was for, and I told him I was just sad because some people had passed away like Uncle (my Uncle passed away recently). Then he gave me another hug. I didn’t, nor do I fear for my own, because I know he is smart enough to implement everything he’s been taught. I’ve seen it first hand. I’m not saddened to see him growing up so quickly, that I have to hold on to him as a baby for as long as I can. I’m actually quite proud everyday I see him mature more and more. And grow more confident. I don’t fear for him, because he doesn’t let me.

    What we do and think today, is what we want to do and think for ourselves. It’s a choice. It’s not the world, the world has always been the same for a very, very, very long time. Thousands of years very long. The only thing that noticeably changes, is people. So the question we have to ask ourselves is, do the negatives (that has always been, as rare and random as they are) change us for the worse. Or do we use it to strengthen ourselves, and in turn strengthen our children.

  68. Sarah December 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    HINEATA- the population total population of New Zealand is 4 million. The US has a polutaion of 311 million. The demographics of an island nation are also very different from the US. Addionally I am guessing that it is not as easy to smuggle firearms into NZ and circumvent any bans that may be in place as it would be to in the US.

  69. Lilly December 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I think it is important to give a few statistics. People feel inclined to throw around gun statistics and compare the US to other countries.

    2010: (most recent statistics) 8,775 people died from firearms related homicides.

    2011: 9,855 people died in drunk driving related vehicle accidents. That is 27 people per day. That is one person every 53 minutes.

    2010: 68% of all gun related deaths in the US were suicide.

    16% of all legal guns in the US are semi-automatic weapons.

    Most violent gun crimes committed in the US are by hand guns. Many of which of illegally owned or stolen.
    The US has a gang culture to epic proportions.

    A whooping 92% of all gun related deaths in the US are suicide and gang related, street violence.

    The US has a large culture of violent offenders who live in deplorable conditions in the inner city and represent a much different socioeconomic class than say, the average British citizen. These people commit violent gun crime on an daily basis, not only does America turn its back, they won’t acknowledge that most of the guns used (hand guns statistically) are illegally owned because the US has an illegal weapons trafficking problem right up there with drugs. Many of these people are in and out of prisons because our legal system is also, in need of reform.

    Also, the US has a a mental health crisis on its hands. 68% of ALL gun deaths in 2012 were suicide. That is staggering and yet. nobody is acknowledging it. People who commit suicide are in fact mental ill and suffering but not only do they have no where to turn, even if they did the average American could not afford it because our healthcare system need reform.

    Revamping gun laws and tightening up gun laws seems the logical route when an mass shootings occur but when you actually look at the statistics, you begin to see a trend. A trend not leading to mass shooting but to people killing themselves due to mental illness and people killing each other in the streets of their collapsed communities.

    Events like mass shootings are highly publicized. Gun violence in the inner cities and suicide, never.

    I will leave everyone with this, Bottom line, you cannot compare us to other countries and other gun control systems. In Switzerland, all men ages 18 and older are issued a military grade, automatic assault rifle to carry since they have no military. While these are heavily regulated, there is no stopping someone who wants to use one to kill. They don’t kill each other. They don’t have them same socioeconomic and mental health issues we have.

  70. Lilly December 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I should add that the remaining 8% of gun related deaths in the US encompass, accidental deaths, legal gun use deaths by law enforcement, and other homicides.

  71. wellcraftedtoo December 18, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks again, Lenore, for an interesting and calming perspective on this difficult, difficult matter.

    And I do appreciate the comments of “TM”, above, which help explain and define terms that we are all bandying about so freely…

  72. Puzzled December 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Interesting assortment of comments. I’m particularly interested in the comments by people who tell us how angry and disgusted they are by the existence of people who disagree with them – and the comment far above about being unable to be in the same country as someone who disagrees.

    For my part, there is a fundamental question. Is your life driven by fear, or by vision? All these reactions we see are fear-driven reactions, which is ironic on a website that does so much to counter that worldview. Your odds of being killed by a mass shooter today are the same as they were on Thursday – very low. Meanwhile, real threats, such as car accidents, are completely ignored. In the process, we are asked to give up one of our most fundamental rights – the right to the means of self-defense.

    Will it give us the safety the craven demand? I say no, but really, who cares? You don’t get to attack others in order to satisfy your emotional needs, anymore than a rapist gets to attack others to satisfy his sexual needs. I do not exist as a balm for your feelings, I am a real human being, and I will not be sacrificed to your feeling of safety.

    If we are to live at all, let us live as human beings, not as craven rats.

    Finally, I notice that every gun-control proposal exempts the military and police. Somehow, it is acceptable for all manners of weapons to be found in the hands of those who bust into our houses at night looking for plants, but they must not be permitted to those of us who wish to defend ourselves. But, military in particular – 27 children died on Friday. How many children have died at the hands of the military over the years since 2003? Oh, right – only cute white children count, not brown people with funny names and a different word for god.

  73. Puzzled December 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    But a complacent response in this case is wrong. School and random shootings should not be happening AT ALL,

    There are trade-offs. Would you advocate spending the entire national treasury, and increasing taxes to spend further, on 1-1 security? That is one way to make sure something doesn’t happen at all. Of course, we’ll then have to hear about all the starvation that results.

    See, we live in an imperfect world. I wish we didn’t, but that’s the way it is. No event can be 100% prevented, and we do not do all we can to prevent specific dangers – for good reason. The costs would be too high, and would show up in other places, with possibly worse effects.

  74. Avelina Deniro April 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

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  1. “Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.” | antijenx - December 16, 2012

    […] and left hoping something will stick.  Gun bans don’t work. But, you know. Try some other voices of reason. Go ahead.  (I still love you, liberal friends.  I’m just kind of upset with you […]

  2. Recommended Reading « Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn - December 17, 2012

    […] http://www.freerangekids.com/why-the-connecticut-shooting-feels-so-close/ […]

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    […] present them to our children is a way that makes them smart but not paralyzed by fear.  Here is Lenore’s piece in Salon written in response to Newtown, but which comments on the worst school shooting in American history […]

  4. Free Range Kids » “I Want to Share the Pain.” Help Me Figure Out Why - December 17, 2012

    […] I truly want help figuring out. I just got a comment on the post below this one (which was about why the Sandy Hook shooting feels so close)  from a reader very far away: All the way over here in Australia, this pain is just as raw. The […]

  5. The Ghouls Of Newtown - December 17, 2012

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    […] http://www.freerangekids.com/why-the-connecticut-shooting-feels-so-close/#comments […]

  7. Quick Hits of the Week « A Bodey in Motion - December 20, 2012

    […] our perspective on how to respond to them. The sooner, and more fully we are exposed to a tragedy, the closer it feels to our daily life, and that’s not always a good thing. Actually, the truth is that we (and our children) are less likely to die a violent death today […]

  8. Take a Hike – Acts of Resistance in a So-Called Increasingly Violent World | Undercover in the Suburbs - December 27, 2012

    […] present them to our children in a way that makes them smart, but not paralyzed by fear.  Here is Lenore’s piece in Salon written in response to Newtown.  She speaks about the worst school shooting in American history […]

  9. If the News Doesn't Reflect Reality, Why Would We Think Storage Wars Would? | Technically, That's Illegal - December 30, 2012

    […] Why Sandy Hook Feels So Close […]

  10. Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close - SAHM Solution | SAHM Solution - July 19, 2013

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