When will the madness end?

When will the madness end?

The last 48 hours has seen a horrible surge of sadness and anger from Americans all across the country.  Another mass shooting.  Another one committed by a young man.  One of the worst mass shootings in America, as if such rankings matter.  From Arizona to Colorado to Oregon to Connecticut, these mass murders will not end.

Innocent  children losing their lives.  In the wake of the unspeakable horror of children being killed while at school, isn’t it time for us to have an earnest national conversation on effective gun control laws?  Will the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut mark a tipping point for the American people to say enough is enough?  When are we going to have the responsibility to take care of each other?

It’s past time to face reality. This is a firearms issue. Can we finally have a rational discussion about the role of guns in our society … please?  The truth is that people with guns kill people. Sandy Hook is the sixth gun massacre this year.  How frequent do the massacres have to become before we can talk about serious gun control?  We, as a nation, need to do better.

For the same reason we are trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran’s arsenal, we should keep semi-automatic weapons out of individuals’ hands. Gun control doesn’t have to mean no guns.  Arguments can be made for shotguns and rifles for hunting and handguns for protection.  But it’s time to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The only purpose of a semi-automatic weapon is to kill numerous people as quickly as possible.  What role would a semi-automatic weapon have for hunting or self-defense?  Yes, mentally ill people kill other people, but the types of weapons they have access to will determine how many people they are able to kill.

The NRA, which objects to any kind of reasonable controls on gun ownership, is certainly part of the problem. Semiautomatic guns and large clips make for mass shootings that are almost impossible to defend against.  Owning or possessing automatic weapons should be illegal for anyone except the military and the police. Why does a hunter or anyone else need an assault rifle, except to kill people?  Outlawing automatic weapons can be done without disturbing the rights of individuals to have and carry pistols and long guns for personal protection and hunting.

While the Second Amendment was meant for protection, guns without regulations give way to nothing but widespread violence and tragedies.   As a country, we need to collectively reconsider the arguments of individual rights in light of the harm done to the thousands of innocent victims shot each year.  I support amending our Constitution to limit the types of weapons that one might bear.  Automatic weapons, with rapid-firing of many bullets, do not seem to be in the scope or spirit of the Constitution.  Your right to bear arms should not mean that you could carry a bazooka or a stinger missile; automatic weapons have no place in a civilized society.

Today I grieve for the families who are in mourning.  Today I grieve for an angry, violent society that has lost its way.

Enough … it is time to call for action.

78 Comments

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  1. I agree. Dont make the mistake in thinking that all NRA members think the same way on this issue. My right to bear arms should not include the right to carry assault weapons.

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  2. I have no particular interests in guns and am not a member of NRA. Like everyone else, I understand the feelings about Connecticut. Calls to legislate firearms, however, need to be viewed skeptically. If there is one thing the “drug wars” have shown, it is that criminalization of something that a significant portion of otherwise law abiding citizens supports is useless. Prohibition was the same. If you think the drug laws have caused undue disrespect for law, possible discrimination against minorities in their enforcement, overreach of government, misuse of scarce law enforcement resources and arrests of otherwise law abiding citizens, you haven’t seen anything until if/when gun control laws are implemented. And simple regulation of guns, such as registration, will likely not change things in any significant way. The guns used in Connecicut were apparently legal. This is one of those things that will only change when the culture changes, not just when new laws are passed. For that matter, what constitutes significant “gun control” laws? Confiscation? Registration only? Limiting purchases of assault weapons (these horrible crimes were not committed with assault weapons, rather semi-automatics, as I understand it)? As I said, and I don’t particularly like to say it, this is a “cultural” issue and any meaningful laws are going to cause a huge set of new problems without likely preventing crimes like Connecticut.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thank you for your comment.

    You say that “these horrible crimes were not committed with assault weapons, rather semi-automatics”. To clarify, my definition of assault weapons includes semiautomatic guns. The man identified as the gunman at Sandy Hook was armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle. Yes, the guns were legally registered — my point is why should semiautomatic guns be ‘legal’? In the shootings in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and the Portland, Oregon mall shooting, the killers used semiautomatic assault rifles with high-capacity magazines that hold many rounds of ammunition.

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  3. Pattye, as a conservative member of our community I agree with your position as stated. I would only add that we also need to temper or ban many of the violent movies and certainly the ultra violent video games that are infecting the brains of our children. Many of which ask the player to point and shoot – rapidly and at will.

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  4. Well said, Pattye.

    It’s time to regulate (a key word in the discussion) the availability of assault-style weapons, high capacity magazines and also hollow point bullets designed to inflict maximum damage. (Perhaps not a constitutional amendment, though?) I was pleased to hear this morning that Sen Dianne Feinstein has a bill that’s just about ready to go.

    And if ever there was a time that the President is in a position to step up and lead, it’s now. Can a commander-in-chief live with all these tragedies on his watch if he does nothing?

    And at the same time, there must be a push to improve the provision of mental health services so that there are fewer people who feel driven to this kind of action.

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  5. To readers of this Blog.
    Please be advised that the person posting under the name “JD” is not John DiBuonaventuro. I have notified Patty Benson, the administrator of this Blog of that fact. If I were to make any posts to this Blog, I would do it under my full name. Thank you. John DiBuonaventuro

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    Cowardly Anonymous Reply:

    Mr. Dibuonaventuro
    See how easy it is to post here! When you were concerned earlier about what people were speculating — Had you simply done that instead of your rant on the township website — you could have put the whole topic to bed. No one was seeking tawdry details — just the facts sir.

    Social media is only what contributors make it. When left to speculate without answers, of course it goes on. I appreciate your contributions to the community but would value them at a much higher level if you were willing to be transparent.

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  6. John Di,

    I was pleasantly surprised to see you comment. I would love to hear what you think about what steps this community can take to keep us safe- especially our schools.

    With only 40 patrolmen in a township the size of Tredyffrin, how long would it have taken for our police to respond to a call for help in a similar situation? (The shooter apparently stopped killing children and killed himself when he heard police coming.) Do we have enough manpower? Enough training?How strong are our schools’ security procedures? What can we do to make our community safer?

    As a long-time volunteer first responder, you must have had strong feelings about the role Newtown fire/EMT’s played. Could our two departments do as well or better?

    Hope to hear from you.

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  7. “You can’t carry or own a bazooka or a stinger missile … statements like these are misguided and are uniformed” ?? —

    According to tonight’s CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57559416/assault-rifle-used-during-sandy-hook-massacre/

    Investigators believe most of the bullets came from a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle. It was one of four guns Lanza took from the home he shared with his mother after he shot and killed her. Sources say he left one gun in his car and forced his way into the school carrying the assault rifle in his hands and two semi-automatic pistols in the dark military-style cargo pants he was wearing.

    Does it really make a difference — bazooka, stinger missile or Bushmaster .223 assault rifle. Why should anyone, other than the military and police, have the ability to own one of these weapons. And for the record, I don’t respect anyone who supports the right to own a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle.

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  8. The ‘Right to Bear Arms’ is not more important than a child’s right to grow up. Having access to a gun cannot take precedence over the safety of our schools. It simply can’t. The answer isn’t to wrap our schools in barbed wire and turn them into prisons with pretty murals on the wall and jungle gyms. The answer is to stop ignoring the fact that the availability of guns in this country is literally killing us.

    We spend a lot of time teaching our children to be safe. We hold their hands when they cross the street, tell them not to talk to strangers, and strap them in their car seats. It’s a pillar of parenting — stay safe. But sometimes you send your child to school and they don’t come back.

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    Debbie Bookstaber Reply:

    Susan –

    How do you close Pandora’s Box once it is opened? How do you get the toothpaste back into the tube?

    On an emotional level, I would want to ban all guns and anything else that could harm my child. On a practical level, how would we deal with the millions of existing weapons in the US? Do you believe that banning future gun or bullet sales alone would eliminate violent crimes?

    There are many people who speed and drive cars recklessly. I wish there were a practical way to get them off the road. Some people are banned from driving, but others continue to drive recklessly. There just aren’t enough law enforcement resources to stop all of the bad drivers. Since I cannot trust the government to completely protect me on the road, I try to drive defensively, buy the best car seats available and purchase a car with airbags and a good safety record.

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  9. I dont see why even the police should have semi automatic weapons. The military, maybe. The general public, no. But why do the police need these instruments of mayhem? Wont the traditional weapons of rifles and handguns suffice? I for one dont want the local police to be able to make war in the name of serving and protecting.

    On a totally unrelated note, I never would have associated the post from “JD” with Mr. DiBuonaventuro. But I welcome his making clear to others that there is no association, for the benefit of others who might have made that inference incorrectly.

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    no simple solution Reply:

    It would probably help the conversation if everyone calling for new restrictions and new gun control measures actually understood the weapons and the functionality of what they propose to restrict. Kind of foolish to advocate for something you clearly dont understand…….. Mad Anthony would like to see our police carrying six shooters again – good plan….

    The sad reality is that the type of weapons used have nothing to do with the cause of the violence, nor the resulting lives lost. Those inclined to mass murder can/will easily find a way.

    It would be wonderful if there was a way to prevent a catastrophe like this from ever happening again, but unfortunately there is no simple solution. Very sad but true.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I understand your argument that “those inclined to mass murder can/will easily find a way” however I disagree that “the type of weapons used have nothing to do with the cause of the violence, nor the resulting lives lost.” It was legal for Adam Lanza’s mother to own military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines which her son was able to use. Using a hunting rifle or a handgun, Lanza could have still gone on his rampage but without the use of a semi-automatic, I have to believe that he would never have been able to get off hundreds of rounds. I suggest that the number of lives lost may have been reduced if semi-automatic weapons were not available. Will a ban on assault weapons prevent another Sandy Hook? No; but maybe the killer won’t be able to take 28 lives as quickly.

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    no simple solution Reply:

    All do respect, but this is where it is clear that you and many others dont understand the weapons and the operation. I dont want to map out exactly how to do it for some other lunatic – but just trust me that firing a hundred or more rounds in 10 minutes is easily possible with only moderate skill and without the benefit of high capacity magazines.

    A bigger determinant of the number of lives lost in these incidents is density of targets. I think that when the details of SH are released you will find that the victims were all in close proximity to one another. Unfortunately there is not much we can do with that unless we decide to never congregate anywhere in large numbers.

    Another very important factor in many of these types of incidents, and probably the easiest to truly influence, is the speed and magnitude of response by folks who can effectively stop the perpetrator – usually the police. As you know that was what stopped Lanza.

    Maybe everyone should consider that as they contemplate how many police we need protecting Tredyffrin and Easttown – as well as communities nationwide. Focus the effort where we can truly impact the final outcome – the responders.

    no simple solution Reply:

    ** due respect…

    Franny Ryan Reply:

    Unfortunately no simple solution is correct. I have been following a lengthy discussion on FB about this issue and from the postings by those knowledgeable about firearms, it is evident that none of the proposed gun bans would have prevented this type of shooting spree. Just because a rifle doesn’t look like what the media has mis-informed you is an assault weapon, doesn’t mean it cannot deliver a huge quantity of bullets downrange in a very short amount of time. The proof is in all of the European spree killings which were carried out with ordinary, widely available hunting rifles, not so-called assault weapons.

  10. It amazes me how everytime this sort of tragedy occurs everyone suddenly wants to review or change the gun laws. I did some research the last couple of days to find out that before 1984 we had 2 mass shooting(1966 and 1974). Since 1984 there has been 31. Now the 2nd ammendmant has been around for 100 years so that can be immediately stricken from the root cause of our problem. What has changed this world is and I directly blame for this disregard for human life is one, the computer age and there not being any way to control what is put on it. Two, video games, which along with the computer technology has made killing part of their challenge. Three, music industry which has let its moral standards drop to nil and will put anything on a disc if it sells, and finally Hollywood, how many shows do you watch now on a weekly basis which glorifies killing and makes it the main theme of the series and this
    caries over to the movie industry. So really, if the kids today are being fed blood, killing, and general immoral subjects on TV, on the computer, in the arcades, and in thier music this does not become a gun control issue but a issue on what is right and wrong, what is respected and disrespected, and what will we as a country accept as a norm. I will also tell you that in these multiple murder shootings over the years the average age of the shooter has dropped from 35 to about 24. So the president is right, we have to make some major changes in our society, but to say this is a gun control issue. not realistic. this is more of a culture issue as to what we Americans are going to accept as what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and what is immoral, and finally what we as a country will say is acceptable or unacceptable.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    Michael I totally agree with everything y ou said. But on the other hand, SEMI AUTOMATIC weapons, AUTOMATIC weapons being sold like milk in the grocery store? Ok here in pa u must pass a criminal check but there has to be a middle ground. And those who know me know I am the last person to be called a bleeding heart liberal.

    By the way, naybe just stop selling bullets so easily. clips, etc. just saying

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  11. I am afraid that those who believe that more laws regulating or purporting to ban various types of weapons and parts of weapons, e.g. high capacity magazines, have no idea how many such objects exist. It is a practical impossibility to eliminate semi-auto weapons or high capacity magazines, no matter what laws get passed.

    The only thing that stops an armed maniac shooter is a sane person with a gun. There was an attempted mass murder recently in Oregon that ended when an armed civilian pointed his (legally carried) weapon at the shooter and the shooter chose to end his own life.

    The notion that we can just pass another law and our children will be safe is a dangerous fantasy. I would feel far better about my daughter’s safety in school if the principal and senior staff had access to safely stored firearms on school premises, and of course the training to use them in an emergency.

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  12. I will never understand the mindset that the best protection against an armed shooter is a gun. Do we really think the second amendment (1791?) contemplated the decay of American society? Because there are so many weapons out there, we cannot at least discuss the course of trying to reduce the number? Can we stop selling high capacity magazines?
    I realize that mental illness is a root problem, but are we going to change the laws that require us to wait until someone presents as a threat to themselves or others? Security and Liberty are precariously linked.
    So we want to arm principals, mall salespeople, train conductors, classroom teachers, restaurant managers…and train them to kill. No thank you. The notion of “access to safely stored firearms” is almost an oxymoron. Anyplace there are firearms stored is not a place I want my children to learn.

    Resources for mental health need to be proactive, not reactive, but the fact is, this young man has always been on the fringe. Does anyone remember the mother in Broomall maybe 20 years ago that took her own life and that of her disabled child — it was just too much for her to manage on her own? What services can we provide to help those who may not want help?

    Schools are as safe or safer than most places. We live in a free society. Our schools lock the doors if not the lobbies. I still plan to attend church despite the fact that our minister does not have access to safely stored firearms (which would probably need to be at the altar since storing things tends to slow down the response time).

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    flyersfan Reply:

    Chris Cuomo on tv just said there should be armed individuals in schools to defend against this sort of thing.
    And cowardly, the reality is kids are now vulnerable in schools, teachers staff too. so we can talk about mental health issues funding and all that, and we should, but we have what seems to be a crisis on our hands now. Kinda like stopping oil production and refinineries before we have an efficient replacement. So lets shore up the defenses first and work on long term solutions in the meanwhile. And I believe stats will show that crime rates are down in areas where wouldbe thugs know people are likely to have a weapon to defend themselves. I will try to get a citation for that.:)

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    Franny Ryan Reply:

    I don’t have any stats on that point either, but there is one big statistic that we shouldn’t ignore. In the last fifty years, there has been only one mass shooting (more than three people killed) that happened OUTSIDE of a “gun free zone.” (The one was outdoors, when Rep. Giffords was shot.) It has gotten to the point that simply hanging up a “no guns allowed” sign turns a place into a magnet for shooters. Somebody made the point after the Virginia Tech shooting that schools were practically the only place in the entire state of Virginia where a licensed individual could not carry a weapon.

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  13. After Aurora, I wondered whether it was safe to take my kids to the movies. After Sandy Hook, I wondered whether it was safe to bring my son to school today. It is terrifying being a parent, and I believe President Obama’s words at the vigil last night resonated with parents across America.

    On an emotional level, I understand the desire to ban guns. On a practical level, it would be impossible to stop the use of guns in crimes given how many currently exist in the US and the black market for weapons. Gun crime has increased in the UK since the Dunblane massacre and the subsequent ban of all handguns. Criminals find a way to hurt people and to obtain weapons. In the case of Sandy Hook, the murderer attempted to purchase a gun and was turned down. Instead, he stole his weapons from his mother.

    Given the difficulty of eliminating guns, we need to “harden the target.” While I was on the school board, I worried about how to protect students from gun violence. On a practical level, this entails locking outside doors, training staff about how to react during a crisis, providing locks for classroom doors, etc.

    The teachers in Sandy Hook saved many lives when they did things like locking students in closets and barricading the doors. This kind of training is essential.

    The local police are critical to the safety of our schools, and I remember being incredibly impressed with them while I was on the school board. Unfortunately, there is not an armed police officer permanently stationed in every single school building 24/7.

    With the exception of the police, schools are gun-free zones. Only criminals bring guns to gun-free zones.

    Gun control legislation could prevent the legal purchase of certain kinds of guns. However, it will not successfully eliminate existing guns.

    Given the impossibility of eliminating all guns and the high costs of paying for an armed police officer in every building during school hours, shouldn’t we do something to protect our children now?

    After 9/11, pilots asked airlines and the government for the right to carry guns. No pilot was forced to carry a gun, but there was a process for a law-abiding pilot to obtain permission to carry and training needed if he or she wanted to carry a weapon.

    Several members of the teaching staff in T/E are former military members, which means they were trained on the safe use of weapons. I also would imagine that there are teachers and administrators who would be willing to obtain the training necessary to protect themselves and their students in the event of an emergency. There could be background checks and mental health evaluations for these trusted staff members.

    Like Franny Ryan, I would feel safer if I knew that there were safely-stored firearms on school premises as well as several staff members authorized and trained to use them in an emergency.

    Clearly, we wouldn’t want teachers to carry guns into schools in purses or backpacks– where they could be easily stolen– or to attempt to use a gun if they were not properly trained for the situation. But is there a practical way to “harden the target” by training and arming select staff at schools?

    Teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook ran towards the gunman in an attempt to protect their students. Other teachers shielded students with their bodies. One teacher was wounded by the gunman while she attempted to hold a door closed, but she managed to protect her students. These teachers and administrators showed that they were heroes.

    I would trust the staff in T/E to protect my child if they had the proper training with firearms and secure place/s to store them. It would be impractical to design the training and storage requirements on a local level. Perhaps this is something that our state legislators should investigate?

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    Susan Thomas Reply:

    Former school board member says,

    “I would feel safer if I knew that there were safely-stored firearms on school premises as well as several staff members authorized and trained to use them in an emergency.”

    There’s an answer for T/E. Question for you, how do you decide which school staff members to authorize and train to use firearms. Would staff members volunteer for this duty or would this be part of the administration/teachers job description?

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    Franny Ryan Reply:

    I would call for volunteers and provide incentives. I certainly trust the principal and staff/teachers at my daughter’s school and the other TESD staff members I have met to act responsibly. I would hardly entrust my daughter to them every weekday if I didn’t.

    I don’t know that it matters how many volunteer for training, the point is that our schools are no longer advertised as gun free defenseless victim zones.

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    Debbie Bookstaber Reply:

    Susan Thomas-

    I do not know how administrators or school board members could possibly make that determination, which is why I think this is an issue that would need to be handled at the state or federal level. At the local level, school districts are not equipped or funded to deal with this kind of issue.

    I do not object to common sense gun control measures. However, I do not believe gun control alone is the solution to gun violence in schools. That is a practical comment rather than an ideological comment. You could ban all assault weapons moving forward, but you still need to protect children from the existing guns. And there are millions of existing guns in America.

    In an ideal world, we would have a police officer in every school building. I wish that I could have a police officer with my children at all times. It is scary being a parent. Practically speaking, we cannot afford the cost of full-time police officers for every school building. And police officers are the only people who can legally be armed in a school.

    At the local level, we can provide things like locks on classroom doors, security procedures to lock outside doors into schools and training for teachers to lock-down a school during a crisis. The teachers in Sandy Hook followed that protocol and saved many lives as a result. But there were still too many lives lost. It is unbearable to think about as a parent.

    On a local level, we are not equipped to provide either the screening or the training for teachers who wish to carry a weapon. This is an issue that is far to important to leave up to amateurs or to people making a “guess” about which staff members are trustworthy and trained.

    I know that the FAA studied the issue after 9/11, and they cooperated with the unions representing the pilots. Any such efforts in schools would need to include the teachers unions, administrators, local law enforcement, etc.

    If you are in favor of gun control, don’t you believe that gun control should be combined with efforts to “harden the targets” too? If we cannot have trained police members in schools, shouldn’t we investigate (at the state or federal level) ways to provide teachers or administrators training and secure ways of storing weapons?

    Nobody is proposing that anyone be forced to carry a gun or that teachers should just have them in their backpacks or in holsters. Rather, is it possible to do what pilots did in response to 9/11? In addition to the TSA and Homeland Security and Air Marshals, some pilots took the steps necessary to arm themselves safely.

    Terrorists have no way of knowing if an air marshal is on a plane or if a pilot is armed. Therefore, we’re more protected even when a pilot is NOT armed since there is a chance he or she is armed. The target is “hardened.”

    We trust teachers to care for our children. In my opinion, that makes teachers among the most important people in our children’s lives. Teachers have shown time and time again that they will sacrifice their own lives to protect children. The teachers in Sandy Hook all took steps to protect those children.

    If a potential gunman does not know whether or not a school has trained and armed staff, do you think it is possible that the potential murderer might pick a “softer” target? Even if schools do not participate, the criminals will not know who is unarmed.

    Why wouldn’t we want to do whatever we can to protect our children?

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    Susan Thomas Reply:

    I am so troubled by the thought of training and arming our school district staff. No where but in America would this be a serious suggestion.

    Lysander Reply:

    Debbie has the right idea but makes this sound harder than it is. Hundreds of thousands of PA residents have licenses to carry concealed firearms. Presumably many school employees are among that number.

    Our public schools already provide (additional) screening of all employees.

    To me the outrage is that current state and local policies require these screened and licensed employees to leave their guns at home when they come to school, instead of allowing them to carry firearms on the job, just as they can and do almost anywhere else.

    This doesn’t require any additional authorization, screening, administration, or funding. As Franny said: Just don’t forbid those whom we already trust to protect our children from using the most reliable means of defending them.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    yes we can criticize the NRA and with some merit, but even actor Jamie Foxx noted that Hollywood can do a better job with the violence issues, and to extrapolate to video games.

    Nice to see someone from out there finally step up and talk about it.

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  14. Addendum to my post …

    Although I have always held strong feelings about gun control and believe that assault weapons have no business in the hands of the public, I also know that this issue goes much deeper than gun control. In addition to the gun control debate, we need to ask why our mental health system is failing us. As one writer said, it is easier to buy an assault weapon than to get mental health care in American today. The best way to keep severely disturbed individuals from committing murders is by getting them treatment so they can get help and not harm others.

    There is a stigma and fear of discrimination about mental illness and it’s time that as a country, we get past it. The discussion of mental health care absolutely must go hand in hand with any discussion about gun control. Availability of high-powered semi-automatic weapons is an issue, but we cannot neglect the main reason people go on these rampages – mental illness.

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    Kevin grewell Reply:

    You make a good point pattye. But one important thing to remember – and this helps dispel the stigma attached to mental illness – is that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous or violent. This is true even for severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.

    Having said that, it appears that most school shooters have mental health issues, so identification and treatment in advance is critical to prevention of these tragedies in the future.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Absolutely agree Kevin — not all people diagnosed as psychotic or serious mentally ill become violent. It is important to emphasize the fact that mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it

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  15. Does a license to carry a firearm assure you the licensee is qualified to use it in a crowded building?

    There are about 125,000 schools in the US. There are about 3,300 in PA, and 1,200 in Connecticut. This debate seems to have diverted to whether shootings in schools are predictable because they are unarmed locations?

    TE has a safety committee (or used to) but to do a building audit beyond locked doors and cameras exposes the community to claims of “why didn’t you do that?”…. I’m sorry — there is talk about health care benefits. Did the teachers forget to ask to carry guns?

    We live in a free society, and if you really believe arming our citizens and teachers is the right way to protect our kids…the Dunblane massacre resulted in major gun changes and I don’t know where Ms. Bookstaber read her numbers, but I have done a lot of reading and have seen nothing but statistics that say it has improved.


    According to bare statistics, the ban initially appeared to have little impact as the number of crimes involving guns in England and Wales rose heavily during the late 1990s to peak at 24,094 offenses in 2003/04.

    Since then the number has fallen in each year. In 2010/11 there were 11,227 offenses, 53% below the peak number, according to the official crime figures. Crimes involving handguns also fell 44% — from 5,549 in 2002/03 to 3,105 — in 2010/11. ”

    The piece of information I found interesting is the claim that there have been no further school shootings since the legislation was enacted. Oh — and the killer at Dunblane was a scout leader…….

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  16. “In other words, at some point, adding more police has a decreasing marginal return. In Tredyffrin, in the past 2-3 years, we had 1 murder (which went unsolved by the way…). I don’t think this is a hotbed of violent crime. ”

    With that as context….TE implemented several initiatives relating to safety, especially after Columbine. The high school in fact was redesigned for entry monitoring. I’m offended that our hindsight expert suggests that this community would do thinigs on the cheap. Metal detectors and armed guards reflect a culture change. Do we want the TSA or a citizen equivalent monitoring our schools? LIke alarm systems and a gun in your dresser drawer, nothing can protect you against a determined attacker. This young man used licensed weapons and shot his way in. I understand he may have mental illness, but his mother was a legal owner. So I don’t see the gun as simply a symptom.

    I don’t even want to HEAR from parents if there are metal detectors entering schools. Unreasonable search and seizure….how early do you need to arrive to get to class on time? One armed guard per school? With 6,000 students in the district? WHo gets patted down?

    Not saying it cannot be done, but I’d rather go after the high capacity guns and stick with the notion (illusion” that Tredyffrin is not a violent society. Not sure what the “shoulda” is except for those who specialize in hindsight.

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  17. I shudder when I hear the terms, “national conversation” or commission. We need action on gun control
    now–(1) universal criminal background checks–all purchasers of guns would be subject to a background check–close the gun show loophole, (2) ban high capacity ammunition clips, (3) reinstitute the ban on assault weapons (broadly defined) now, and (4) provide enhanced mental health care availability to assure that the troubled can get help. These suggestions are not new. But, they are reasonable. Experts have cited their effectiveness. While nothing will eliminate gun violence entirely, these steps will help. The time for delay and obstruction is over. Of one thing I am certain. Arming our teachers or administrators (no matter what the controls), as some have suggested, is ill advised and wrong. More guns in the schools are not the answer. Let us resolve to adopt gun control measures now that will protect us all, young and old. Let us not forget the innocent, smiling children and the brave educators of Sandy Hook Elementary.

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Let’s assume all that passes with flying colors. Won’t bother me in the least if it does. I just don’t think it will really change anything.

    Don’t fool yourself that this would do anything to prevent more school massacres in and of itself. The only thing that will have changed is perhaps slightly less firepower – though large cap mags and black long guns will certainly be available for illegal purchase in the future as they are today.

    School security still needs to be beefed up. It can be debated how, but without some form of armed protection – whether hired guards, retired cops, or teachers, all those laws you mentioned being passed won’t stop some deranged person from easily getting in with a couple of semi-auto handguns with 10+1 under the old AWB, and even if a new AWB restricted it to 6+1, with two pistols and multiple loaded spare mags, just as much carnage as Newtown can and will happen again.

    It’s all “feel good” unless there is an actual armed deterrent in the school.

    I understand why people don’t want it, but realize that without it kids and teachers will remain sitting ducks and this will happen again – and it will happen in the school districts that don’t arm someone in the schools.

    It’s a terrible situation to be in and a terrible choice to make, but if we are going to truly protect our most precious and our most vulnerable, some form of armed protection at schools will be the best route.

    The deterrent factor should not be underestimated.
    The deranged person will then find a softer target, but at least it won’t be children in school. There is a reason these shooters go to gun free zones. I don’t see them trying to shoot up hunting camps, gun clubs, shooting ranges or police stations.

    They may be deranged, and they may be cowards, but they are generally not stupid and they want their sick plan to work – with history indicating they will kill themselves or surrender the moment they see an armed person about to stop them.

    That what happened at Newtown. The moment the cops showed he killed himself. In the Oregon mall shooting the other week, only two people were killed because a legally armed citizen pulled his concealed pistol on the shooter and he immediately ran away and shot himself.

    Now, I’m not looking to promote an armed society here. Just using some facts to indicate that a properly trained armed person in a school would be a huge deterrent.

    Gun free school zones will essentially remain no deterrent.

    [Reply]

    Franny Ryan Reply:

    Murphwys, the problem with your scenario is that nobody has yet proposed a gun control law that would, in fact, ban assault weapons or high capacity magazines or any of the other objects that scare you. We had a ten year mythical ban on assault weapons that did not affect objects that were legally owned/manufactured before the effective date of the ban. It had absolutely no affect. Sen. Feinstein is going to re-introduce essentially the same law in January. It will not include a house-to-house search and eradication of the scary objects. It will have no affect, even if it passes, which it may not. There will never be a time in our lifetimes when the citizens of the U.S. permit house-to-house search and disarmament. It just is not going to happen. That is why I call it a dangerous fantasy.

    I propose that the simplest, easiest, quickest thing to do to make it less likely that a TE school is targeted by a mass murderer is to harden the target, as Deb Bookstaber called it, by no longer pretending that labeling something a “gun free safe zone” makes it safer. It does not. It makes it more dangerous.

    As Deb pointed out, the deterrent effect is there regardless of what percentage of school staff actually undertake training, so long as we stop proclaiming our schools to be defenseless.

    [Reply]

    Franny Ryan Reply:

    BTW, I apologize for being emotional about this. My daughter is at school right now and it affects me.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    murph, good and agreeable rhetoric. reality is there are too many guns out there. too many bullets. marry that to insanity and say, tomorrow, where is the protection of those little ones, and teachers and staff..? No question we don’t want to create war zones in suburban schools. Inner city schools have armed guards. Wonder if that works as a deterrent, at least inside the schools. I believe it does. So UNTIL utopia arrives, and all guns are gone or in safe hands, what is your answer for tomorrow, while we work on the greater long term problem???

    [Reply]

  18. Preschools too? How about stadiums? Movie theaters? Libraries? Parks and playgrounds?
    The shooter outside the Empire state building triggered an exchange with armed police…how many bystanders were hurt?

    Guns kill people. 125,000 schools in the US. Sitting ducks, really? Where else? What else..?

    These shooters were all known troubled people. Once they reach 18…all restraints are off.

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Certainly pre-schools.

    My point is to protect the most vulnerable, provide deterrence and give them a chance.

    I understand the odds of this happening to any given school are slim – and at any given place are slim.

    I also understand this happens, and will happen again.

    What we have here are some people saying we should completely ban guns. Understandable reaction. Not going to happen – and even that would not stop gun violence. It would just create an even bigger black market where any criminal or deranged person can get a gun on any street corner like banned illegal drugs with ease.

    Some want a renewed AWB like mentioned above. I mentioned I have no prob with that. Just don’t see it accomplishing much.

    Some want more armed citizens all over the place.

    I don’t want an armed society with everyone walking around with a concealed gun, but I don’t ever want to see 5 and 6 year olds killed like this again.

    It makes me sick to my stomach.

    Therefore, I would do everything possible to protect these absolutely defenseless and innocent kids.

    Like I posted above. You have some sort of an armed presence and it will deter these deranged people and they will seek a softer – or easier target – like a mall.

    Don’t like that either. But not the schools and little kids lined up as targets huddled in terror in the corner of a classroom.

    Like I posted above, this is a terrible situation and a terrible choice to make, but that’s the one I would make.

    It’s not perfect. It’s not ideal. But no more killing of little, innocent, defenseless kids in school. I don’t want to see that ever again.

    Needless to say others can disagree like you are.

    What do you suggest when there is a new AWB and black rifles are banned along with large cap mags yet another madman walks into a pre-school and kills 15 with pistols that hold 10 rounds each that can be reloaded easily?

    So you have a ban on all guns. What do you suggest when all guns are supposedly banned and a madman walks into a school with an illegal assault rifle with 30 round mags and kills 30?

    Maybe at that point you would want an armed deterrence in the schools.

    I say it would be too late.

    We protect money in banks better than we do kids in schools. The president and other high ranking government types get armed guards. Nobody complains about that.

    I say our kids are more precious than money and politicians.

    [Reply]

  19. How do you harden the target without searching every single person in the building? It’s the civilian TSA….and as Franny said above that we will never permit our homes to be searched for guns, do we think we’ll have a society that is okay to be frisked and metal detectors before school? This is everyone — not just those whose parents sign off on it.

    These are buildings where people bring in backpacks, sports bags, and musical instruments. This young man shot his way in. The Columbine kids were inside on their own. The Aurora movie attack was in full combat gear and had a detonated apartment. Disturbed people — can they be deterred? Are they confused enough about reality that an armed guard might be the first thing they attacked?

    I’m just asking too. And I agree that all children are precious But it’s the airbag scenario:
    Airbags were invented to protect the driver from the steering wheel. Now we have airbags in the front and back seat and on the sides. And people still die in car accidents.

    Use your passion and give it a try. Increase security in schools. Make them armed camps. But remember — your six year old needs to see that as a safety measure…and you have to explain safety from what.

    [Reply]

    Franny Ryan Reply:

    I am certainly not in favor of metal detectors at school entrances or searching anyone. I simply support (1) stop pretending they are gun free zones; and (2) encourage principals and senior staff to undergo training in how to use anti-mass murder safety equipment and keep such equipment in secure, discreet storage in schools. I wouldn’t tell the kids anything about it, they don’t need to know.

    On the question of whether they can be deterred, the fact that they almost always choose a pretend gun free zone tells me that they can.

    [Reply]

  20. There are some assumptions being made about the benefits of “hardening the target” that should be discussed before concluding this would be a useful course of action.

    1. One assumes that a person mentally irrational enough to enact a mass shooting would be rational enough to be deterred by guns in schools. I’d like to see evidence of that assumption. The fact that most shootings happen in gun free zones may merely reflect the fact there are vastly more gun free zones in the USA than armed zones.

    2. One assumes that the likelihood of another school attack is higher than the likelihood of someone in the school having an accident with the guns in an armed school. Of course, procedures can be put into place to secure the guns within a school. But, human error still happens despite all possible safeguards. It is possible that such an error would lead to a student accidently getting a hold of the gun and hurting either himself or someone else. Which is more likely, another school attack or an error that leads to an accidental shooting in an armed school?

    3. One assumes that educational staff are able to be adequately trained in the use of lethal force, particularly when faced with overwhelming firepower. Similar to #2 above, is another school attack more likely than a part-time trained person causing an accidental shooting?

    Its great that all types of suggestions are being made to prevent a recurrence of such terrible events. However, it is wise to pressure test drastic suggestions such as arming schools before conclusions are made.

    [Reply]

    Cowardly Anon Reply:

    Thank you for this JD Alvarez….
    I am happy to say that Michigan’s governor agrees with you
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/18/167572472/michigans-snyder-vetoes-bill-allowing-concealed-guns-in-schools?ft=1&f=1014

    Frannie –I really believe the idea of training educators to shoot people (because that is what defense using a gun means) is misguided. If you have a gun, you need to be willing to use it — on a person. I think JD is right — like in many homes, it is used more often in accidental shootings than in any “defense of life” or property.

    Today on a news show there were several military people and law enforcement people talking about just how difficult it is to shoot someone, and that even in police forces a shooting means you see counselors. All the training in the world is unlikely to change the nature of people who have careers in caring and educating children.

    Even if you had an armed guard at the door, there really would HAVE to be metal detectors and searches implemented before you wanted to arm staff. We can only claim schools are gun free zones…we cannot prove it. Air marshalls are on planes, but only after the passengers are searched.

    To help redirect this conversation — does it help that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas wants every person in the state to carry their gun everywhere….I guess he considers the death penalty an adequate deterrent….

    Do we really think these disturbed young men shoot in schools because they think they are gun-free? Aren’t most emotional scars earned in middle and high school? In the case of this young man, no one remembers anything about him. Being invisible can’t be much of a reward for growing up.

    [Reply]

  21. I am not endorsing this idea from a neighbor, but offer it for discussion:

    Without saying, arming school employees with firearms is a difficult and complex proposition.

    We are not helpless however.

    There is a safe and affordable way to arm district personnel that are closest to school entry points and to also give every classroom a way to deter a shooter and disrupt an attack. It is Similar to the ubiquitous fire extinguishers found in all schools and classrooms used to fight fires.

    BEAR REPELLENT!

    As you know, bear repellent is pepper spray on steroids. It comes in a big-ass aerosol can that is easy to handle. Sort of like a mini fire extinguisher. It sprays 30 feet and will stop a 1200 pound grizzly in its track.

    Surely it will do (and does) the same to a human.

    Office staff (with multiple cans simultaneously) could blast anyone trying to shoot their way into our schools. Should the psycho get passed our determined office staff, Individual teachers would have a dispenser in their classroom to fight-back. Barricaded personnel would have a tool that could save lives.

    Training is simple and once trained, personnel should have annual
    refresher training as part of in-service days.

    Bear spray dispensers could be managed similar to fire extinguishers. Inspected regularly and kept in restricted cabinets or holders.

    Again, the front office-entry points would have multiple cans. Each
    classroom and other areas such as teachers lounges would have a dispenser too.

    Plenty of info is found on the Internet and YouTube.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    I like this idea!

    [Reply]

  22. If we only had more good people with guns….

    That seems to be what some commenters on this blog believe. Apparently you folks are resigned to living with the reality that Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from any other developed country. We’re off the charts in the developed world. We’re # 1!

    According to the FBI, there were 8600 murders by firearm in the US in 2011. Pennsylvania – with our relatively weak gun laws and continuing problem with straw purchased guns finding their way into criminals’ hands – had more gun deaths than every state but CA and TX.- 470 to be exact. More than NY, NJ, Illinois or Michigan.

    But what can you do…besides arm yourself and “harden targets” like schools – even nursery schools, right?

    – You’re okay with the disparate patchwork of state gun laws,
    – the lack of background checks on the 40% of buyers of who purchase guns at gun shows, online etc.
    – the continued sale of high -capacity magazine clips
    – the belief that the mentally ill will always manage to get hold of automatic weapons – no matter what law is put in place…

    When the truth is that what passes for gun control is ineffective because laws considered “tough” are tragically weak.

    “We can’t tolerate this anymore,” President Obama declared on Sunday. “These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change……Surely, we can do better than this.”

    The majority of Americans agree with him.

    No citizen has an unlimited right to own a weapon of war. No private citizen should have access to armor-piercing bullets. A limit on the number of gun purchases an individual can make each month would lower the incentives for straw purchasers, who sell guns to felons who commit a disproportionate amount of gun crimes. Your 2nd amendment could remain intact – as they were conceived by the framers of the Constitution. And we could all be safer.

    It’s a fact that states with stricter gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths – homicides and suicides – even with the 200 million + guns that are floating around in this country.

    Even a large majority of gun owners polled- even NRA members- believe everyone who buys a gun should first undergo a background check.

    There is common ground here. There are changes worth making now. No one thinks any one law will end all senseless acts of violence. But in the name of our children – if not ourselves, aren’t we open to changes that will protect us all?

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    I agree with what Obama has said.

    If you are referring to me with the “more guns” comment, you are going directly against what I posted above – I don’t want everyone running around with a concealed firearm.

    I really like the bear spray idea. Whether it be a gun, bear spray, some super taser gun or other advanced non-lethal but incapacitating device, I want teachers (or guards) to be able to protect our kids.

    I’ve had it with waiting for the police while kids get slaughtered.

    There is no way to truly lock down these schools, though I link current procedures can be improved upon.

    The flip side I am seeing hearing is that nothing more needs to be done to protect kids in schools and gun control will solve all our problems.

    I’m endorsing all the gun control measures I have seen brought forth by politicians since this tragedy and to assume that will prevent these tragedies, and to have schools remain status quo with safety measures, is just inviting another school shooting.

    [Reply]

    Cowardly Anon Reply:

    Do you know what the “status quo” is? Is Newtown Connecticut a dangerous place? Is a quiet, unassuming person a threat to society? Were the guns he used illegal?

    We cannot simplify this problem. The ATF has 5000 employees, an annual budget over $1B and the “acting director” is also the Attorney General for the state of Minnesota…..please. Isn’t money the root of all evil?
    Follow the money. Gun manufacturers support legislators…let’s pay attention when the Brady group tells us who is on the dole. We have to do this where it will work.

    And I don’t want anyone to presume they know the levels of local security in schools. If you go on the 5 area school websites, you will read platitudes. The local police ask schools not to disseminate their strategic options. We know it can happen here. But someone can win the lottery here. Almost the same odds. Not suggesting we play the odds, but we have to move forward because something makes sense and can work — not because we are afraid.

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Who said anything about simplifying this?

    This is a very complex issue that involves access to guns, mental health, family structures, media violence, what’s wrong with our society in general, etc..

    In this thread we have been speaking about school safety in general in regards these shootings.

    I have proposed beefing up school security so guards or teachers have the means to stop an active shooter. That may or may not involve firearms if non-lethal but effective defensive devices can be used

    You appear by disagreeing with me (correct me if I’m wrong) and to want it to remain status quo with how teachers attempted to stop the Newtown shooting – by running unarmed at the shooter and cowering in corners while the shooter shot away.

  23. I am not interested today in debating gun control laws, mainly because, as noted above, nobody has yet proposed any gun control law that will eliminate semi-automatic firearms from the U.S. They exist in the millions, and they are not going away. I leave it to others to debate what I view as steps of minimal meaning.

    I love the idea of less than lethal weapons like bear repellent, and also better doors/safe zones in schools.

    I guess I have a different opinion of whether our school staff would be willing to use a gun to shoot a mass murderer to protect our children. I think it is a no brainer. It is not a matter of opinion whether our school staff is capable of being trained to use firearms — any competent adult is capable. I suppose it is possible that they would choose to be a Dawn Hochsprung rather than a Nick Meli, but I would find that surprising.

    [Reply]

  24. Copied from the FB page of a physician I know:

    You won’t hear this on TV. I guarantee it.
    Tell me again about how more guns in the hands of peaceful citizens isn’t the solution:

    • A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
    • A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
    • A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
    • A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
    • A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
    • A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
    • A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
    • At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.

    2500 times last year alone legal gun owners stopped violent crime when confronted with it long before any police assistance

    [Reply]

    JD Alvarez Reply:

    My point was that one needs to fully study the issue before jumping to the conclusion that arming schools is a wise choice. I did some very back of the envelope calculations based on approximately 30 mins of surfing.

    In 2010, there were about 50 million households with guns.
    In 2007, there were approx 5000 non-fatal but hospitalizable accidents involving firearms and approx 600 fatal accidents.
    This works out to approx 1 accident per 10000 households and 1 fatality per 100000 households.
    Now say we arm all the approximately 100000 public schools in the USA. That means we can expect approx 10 accidental shootings per year and 1 accidental death per year due to the firearms at the school.

    From a wikipedia page there were approx 50 school shootings in the past 10 years. That averages out to approx 5 per year and means that there is an approx 1 in 20000 chance per year that an individual school will suffer a shooting. It is possible that arming a school would prevent those shootings.

    Now, of course these calculations are not accurate. There are a lot of assumptions made and variables unaccounted for. I’m just trying to point out that an issue such as arming schools needs to be very carefully studied and not just be based on anecdotal reports. I’m sure the statistics are out there to perform a full risk-benefit analysis.

    These are the websites I used
    http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp#accidents
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school-related_attacks
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84

    [Reply]

    Franny Ryan Reply:

    I take your point about studying the risk of accidents. It is important to keep in mind, of course, that our school principals and senior staff are more than slightly above the national average when it comes to common sense and carefulness. One cannot extrapolate from household statistics to determine the risk of accident by this narrow group of very trusted citizens.

    [Reply]

  25. Thanks for those details. Very informative. Maybe people who want to carry guns should just plan on homeschooling. Certainly malls and movie theaters are out too. Grundy VA “Students carrying firearms.” Comforting thought.

    Americans need to turn to more than violence to deal with the issue. And again, there are 125,000 schools in the US. More than 200 million people attend schools. We are talking lottery statistics here.

    [Reply]

  26. Politeia
    I do not agree with the idea of arming staff, but have said an armed entry to the school may be necessary. I have also said that you cannot reasonably ask an armed person to stand guard without putting metal detectors and search personnel as a first line of defense.

    Ask any guidance counselor in any school in the US (or anywhere for that matter). Children today are very, very troubled. Guidance counselors substitute for therapists. If you spoke to teachers of almost any of these shooters, they could have predicted trouble in their lives. But as I said before — the VA Tech shooting was the poster child for “privacy” issues. Once a CHILD reaches 18, they are not children. And we have no way to take care of them until they present a danger to themselves or others.

    Liberty and security are closely linked. The tipping point seems to be this incident, as even gun owners are acknowleding they don’t need the firepower they have. 1968 — Lyndon Johnson passed the Federal Firearms act. His speech then could be given today.

    So keep thinking and posing solutions. I’m not trying to take shots at them. As JD Alvarez said above, you have to test the operational nature of these ideas. And again, since this is the USA, you have to test the financing mechanisms behind it. We don’t always get more. What are we willing to give up? Because especially in this state, with a legal cap on school spending, the taxpayers call the shots (pun intended).

    [Reply]

  27. What I find curious is that, except for a few comments, most of the above discussion centers around some regulations of gun or ammo purpose, better mental health treatment and/or arming teachers (the last seems to me to be particularly misguided, but the first two are not unreasonable.) What I cannot understand is why people don’t react more strongly to the culture of violence that has evolved over the last several decades. Movies, music and video games exploit and semi-legitimatize violence. The violent “Grand Theft Auto” video game, for example, was a disgrace,by any reasonable standard, but where is the emotional uproar about videos like this? The actual proximity to guns is simply the last link is a violent chain that starts with the popular culture making guns and violence “cool.”

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    I mentioned it above and in more detail on MLMN.

    I can recall being roped into playing Call of Duty a few years ago with the older teen son of a friend.

    One of the first things that crossed my mind was how such an extremely realistic game where you just mindlessly mowed down other “soldiers” with full auto M-16’s affected young, developing minds – and especially if they are not well adjusted.

    I have a female friend who is getting divorced run by me the fact that her soon to be ex wanted to take their 14 year old son shooting (the dad does not know how to shoot, but his brother does) in a Disney Dad tactic to be cool in a custody fight a few months ago.

    She asked me my thoughts. She was not sure as her dad (military background – jet fighter pilot) had taught her and her brother proper gun safety around age 8, but she was concerned because her son had moderate Asperberger’s and while 14 and highly intelligent, had the emotional maturity of a 10 year old, did not get along with other kids well, and got teased in school.

    I told her I absolutely would not take him to the range and teach him how to use a firearm given those facts. If he were otherwise well adjusted, I would not have had a problem.

    A lot of this is common sense – something the mother of the Newtown shooter obviously lacked.

    I just hope Biden and Obama look into the violence in the media and in video games and the affect it has on devolving young minds as hard as they do gun control – and hopefully mental health in general, where we can remove the stigma so people get help and parents are not in denial of mental health issues with their kids.

    [Reply]

  28. I have no confidence that Obama and Biden will look into media and video games. How about parents NOT getting these games for kids? Ok when they are in college or out of the house as adults its not parents responsibility. But by that time hopefully the specter of responsibility and personal integrity has been transferred.

    Did the killer ever “practice” shooting with his mother? or father? does it matter?

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    I agree the violent first person shooter video game thing is primarily on parents.

    I’d be curious about studies about possible affects they could have on kids with certain brain disorders, though.

    And yes, millions upon millions of parents took their teenage kids to the range or hunting this past year with no problems.

    That does not mean that every teenager has the maturity and clear head to be exposed to firearms.

    That is also on parents.

    However, many times psychotic behavior does not manifest itself until out of the house in the 18-25 year old range. 16-25 are the primary years for psychotic behavior to manifest itself.

    That’s where citizens play a role through their elected representatives on what the laws should be for purchasing firearms, when you would be deemed mentally unfit to own a firearm, etc. and after all these tragedies I feel that needs to be looked at, though no laws can and will completely eliminate this. You also can’t legislate morality, sanity or common sense, but we can do better on this front.

    [Reply]

  29. Before we continue this discussion …does a highly regarded, respected and admired teacher falling victim to her alcoholism not perhaps give pause to the idea of arming our staff?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    This is such a sad story. My hope is that this teacher has the personal strength and family support to recover – a difficult journey.

    The Connecticut shootings has shaken all of us. We so want to find solutions so that it never happens again but this story about the CHS teacher really should give pause to those that think arming our school staff is the answer.

    http://www.mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2012/12/20/main_line_suburban_life/news/doc50d3460e88d43278353593.txt

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Well, the police have a higher alcoholism rates, suicides rates, divorce rates and spousal abuse rates than most other professions.

    Perhaps this should really give pause to those who think arming police officers is an answer?

    I would suggest that if some teachers were to be armed or have access to a firearm in a safe at school, that they must pass a battery of psychological tests, intensive training on the use of firearms, with ongoing psychological evaluations and random drug/alcohol testing.

    Now, I’m not pushing for armed teachers. I have just thrown it out there as one option to consider outside of the status quo of waiting for the police so somebody at the school has some tools (lethal or non-lethal) to stop an active shooter.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    Pattye I totally agree with you. This teacher, by all accounts a respected and liked teacher has a problem. No on is immune to personal problems. Apparently she is going through a divorce.. need citation on that. but the bottom line is she is young, made a mistake that fortunately didn’t hurt anyone and she will get help and be able to be forgiven and move on in her career. Im not sure we can extrapolate giving guns to teachers to this particular one. Obviously we don’t want her to have one. But the discussion should continue about having a school “marshall” with a proven backround check in schools. I suppose as the terror subsides this issue will fall through and it won’t be an issue at all. it will be business as usual. In the meantime I see that there is a police presence at at least 2 elementary schools in the AM.. that is good.

    [Reply]

  30. As no rich person ever says: ENOUGH.

    Go to the TESD Safety meetings and offer your opinions . Learn about the efforts in place. If this was easy to solve, it would never happen in the first place. But I still believe we are talking lottery odds here, and that addressing the mental health issue is going to be more effective than any other artificial means of pretending we are safe.
    If police are a danger….never mind. Not even going there.

    Alcoholism is a disease. Aspergers is a disease. Mental instability — depending on the DSM IV or V….is a disease.
    Treatment and prevention are bigger bang for the buck.
    (interesting how many cliches have to do with guns!)

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Yep. lottery odds. That’s what everybody in Newtown was saying after the shooting. The last thing they ever expected to happen.

    I think this thread has been good as it will get TESD and other school districts to really examine this.

    Improve upon what is in place for school safety in whatever manner the community feels is best after considering the options and get back to learning and enjoying school.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    no rich person says enough?

    [Reply]

  31. Thanks P. in the end, do you prepare for “the last thing” or do you put more resources in place to identify and address mental instabilities? If we secure schools, how about churches? Soccer fields? Playgrounds? Our society is based on liberty. Only until someone presents a danger to themselves or others (or commits a crime) can the law come into play. So I believe society owes these individuals … These ticking time bombs…better chances at treatment and support with an objective of preventing, not thwarting attacks.

    Go to Safety meetings…and parent responsibly. It does take a village.

    [Reply]

    politeia Reply:

    Couldn’t agree more on preventative treatment.

    The NRA spoke today. I don’t agree with what appears to be a mandate to arm schools. I have never been an NRA supporter because it is all politics – and politics get in the way of true solutions. Each community should make the choice. Many inner city schools have armed police and schools in TX allow teachers to carry concealed. Other schools don’t want that, and I think it should really come down to community ideals, needs and comfort level at the local level.

    I note the NRA stated nothing about stronger mental health laws to buy guns and mentioned nothing about easier access to mental health services – and something I have mentioned, which is programs to remove the stigma of being mentally ill so parents don’t hide it or go in denial with mentally ill children and adults who are mentally ill don’t feel they need to hide their problems, but rather ideally get the same support from friends and the community they would if they had cancer or any other disease.

    Here’s how I see this political game playing out, and I hate this stuff.

    There will be another school shooting at some point.

    When that happens, the NRA will start screaming it was because there were not armed guards in schools while the Brady Campaign will start screaming the new AWB ban was not enough and we need to further ban more, if not all, guns.

    This will create the typical gridlock and finger pointing as opposed to looking at all solutions – and overall mental health care is a big one.

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  32. So, the NRA issues a commercial for more guns and more government spending on security. They conflate random acts against the general public and targeted attacks on specific high profile individuals. Where will it stop? We have to be ready for a firefight in every public place? Those protesters at the “press conference” should have had some bear spray for Mr LaPierre!

    I hope that the TESD community meeting in January is not hijacked by this kind of self interest from the gun and security industries. Another occasion to have that bear spray ready!

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    Ray Clarke Reply:

    And BTW, the armed guards at Columbine were ineffective:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/columbine-armed-guards_n_2347096.html

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    no simple solution Reply:

    Huffington is not a biased source at all… Seriously Ray…

    Anyone moderately familiar with the Columbine attack, the response, and the timeline knows that there were issues and failures of the response system that day. The mistakes have been identified and used as teaching tools for years since. The police response at SH utilized a different approach and tactics, effectively ending the violence at police arrival.

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    politeia Reply:

    Neither the NRA (i.e. gun manufacturers), Hollywood or game manufacturers are going to stop doing what makes them boatloads of cash.

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    no simple solution Reply:

    Which industry gets the blame for the Oklahoma City attacks? I guess NRA and video games are off the hook? Fertilizer companies? Ryder truck rental?

    If we had learned from the WTC bombing and outlawed Ryder truck rentals afterwards we would have prevented the Oklahoma City disaster right???

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    no simple solution Reply:

    Ray – unbelievable how easily you dismiss government spending on security for our children. We could probably protect every public school in the country with one officer for less than is spent protecting our President. Wow.

    It is amazing to me the number of folks looking for a magical solution that refuse to acknowledge the effectiveness of additional police or trained professionals in preventing or minimizing an attack – yet you all continue to focus on restrictions that would be nearly meaningless to any determined attacker.

    Gun bans, clip bans, ammo bans – all useless… More meaningless feel-good measures. I truly wish you wouldn’t keep kidding yourselves and we could focus on something effective and move forward.

    And BTW – even the tongue in cheek suggestion that “bear spray” should have been used at the NRA press conference on Mr. Lapeirre as he expressed his ideas towards saving lives – or that “bear spray” should be brought to the meeting at VFMS to quell the “gun and security industries” is simply outrageous. You have gone too far with those statements. Those remarks were simply idiotic.

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  33. I suspect (but have no hard facts) that the majority of funding from the NRA come from gun manufacturers and/or gun sellers. Groups, in other words, who have a financial interest in seeing more guns sold and on the street. If so, this problem of financial interest is exactly the same issue with the groups manufacturing and profiting from violent video games, movies etc under the guise of the First Amendment and then telling us it doesn’t matter because it’s all pretend. The popular culture makes violence “cool” and the proximity to guns is an aggravating factor. Both aspects come from large industries that actually work against the general public good. No change is going to come about until these two factors are fully acknowledged by society. Addressing mental health issues may ultimately prevent the worse type of tragedies like Connecticut, but not the majority of gun violence.

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