Let’s arm ourselves to the teeth

Everyone is writing about the senseless act of violence that took away from this world 20 young lives full of promise. On the one hand, you have the dribbling idiots who say that we shouldn’t “politicize” this event in asking for gun control. (One or two of them may have also stated that the President showing tears of emotion while delivering a press statement about it was a sign of weakness.) On the other hand, you have the group of people who — like me — are wondering why anyone would need an assault rifle to defend themselves at home. And then, on the third hand, are those who say that it was the lack of armed people at the school that allowed this tragedy to happen.

It’s to that third group that I am directing this post. People who post things on Facebook like this…

What. The. [Redacted, but the word rhymes with “duck”].

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? You really want faculty and staff at a school to have guns at their disposal on the off chance that someone comes at them, bro? And, if someone does come in, do you really want a firefight, with cops running in with their own guns to find themselves in the middle of a shootout? Is that what you really want?

Idiots. All of you.

Of course, this particular person then goes on to comment that teachers in Israel are armed, and we don’t see mass shootings happen there, do we? Well, the thing about Israel is that it just happens to be a place surrounded by “natural” enemies, where suicide bombings and other acts of terror are a very real danger. In the United States, not so much. Neither Canadians nor Mexicans want to come over and kill us left and right for sport.

Maybe I should point out to this person that the United Kingdom and, frankly, most of Europe gets by just fine without everyone being armed. On the other hand, you have countries like Afghanistan and other failed states where every boy gets a Kalashnikov rifle (aka an AK-47) when they come of age. And what do they have. (Hint: A failed state.)

It seems to me that the problem is not just that we have too many guns. Rather, we have too easy an access to guns mixed with a thinking that we can all be cowboys in the Wild West and shoot it out with each other, or at each other, for no good reason whatsoever. And, if someone has a really big beef with someone else and happens to have a gun… Why, let’s shoot first, second, third, and then ask questions.

But let’s just say that, yes, we arm ourselves to the teeth. We all carry guns. Again, what happens in a shootout at the mall where everyone brings out their gun? Who’s the bad guy and how can you tell? At least with the police and armed guards you know who they are because they have badges and uniforms. But arming civilians on the off chance that this happens? That’s just asking for someone to get shot.

At the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, this summer, do you really think that no innocent bystanders would have been killed had people in the theater shot back at the assailant? A dark theater room with a loud movie playing, and you think that there wouldn’t be SOME goddamned confusion?

I realize now that I’m about to end this post that I asked more questions and offered no real solutions. But, you know what? I don’t feel like it. What happened in Connecticut — and has happened recently over and over again —  is not happening because there are stricter gun laws. Gun control laws have gotten loose, very loose. I can go to the store right now and get an assault rifle, no questions asked. How does that make me safe? How does that make anyone around me safe, especially since I have zero training in how to use the goddamn thing?

So you know who I’m going to blame for this latest shooting and any others that will come? The same people that think that we should all be armed to the teeth. It is their thinking and their lobbying that has allowed too easy an access to weapons to people who don’t know how to use them, how to lock them away, how to keep them from unauthorized people. You did this. You allowed an assault weapon to get into the hands of someone who did the most horrible damage with it.

16 thoughts on “Let’s arm ourselves to the teeth

  1. You know when I know that a comment thread needs to be shut down? When participants START writing RANDOM capitalized words in ORDER to try and MAKE a point or place EMPHASIS on them. It reeks of frustration. So, before anyone gets their feelings hurt, let's take a break.Thank you all for your participation, though.

  2. …con't…Now, why don't you wish to address mental health issues, rather than firearms issues?MY background is quite personal.My wife, I and our daughters were on the way to the Springfield Mall, some two decades and change ago. I had a "funny feeling" that I learned to respect and delayed completion of the trip by a side trip to a few stores.We eventually were greeted with news that some Sylvia Seegrist woman had shot up the Springfield Mall, aiming at the elderly and small children. It later was found, the same age as our children. And she used the same entrance we normally use.She used a .22 rifle.She was also a well documented schizophrenic that remained untreated at the time, due to her personal choice and the new case law of the time.She was observed on numerous occasions raking leaves to make coal, to preserve our fossil fuel resources. A personal friend lived in the same apartment complex and further collaborated the story with more disturbing details.Of course, at that time, it was found cheaper to close the mental hospitals and put the patients onto the street AND the SCOTUS decided that mental patients could decline treatment.And today, we have mentally ill people murdering.Are you going to go for banning gasoline when an insane person firebombs a gym or classroom or student assembly? Are you going to ban propane cylinders when THOSE are used in this nation in attacks?YOU seek to ban a method of homicide by the insane. I prefer treating the insane and eliminating the risk of an attack.Now, MY approach is to have the states FINALLY comply with the federal laws on reporting mental patients into the national database. AND further restricting semi-automatic weapons with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds or more to handgun level status. Over 21, clear background check AND I'm quite happy with a waiting period.THAT said, my old M4 is worn out. I'll be getting a new Colt LE6920 within the next two weeks.Interestingly enough, I have a .50 caliber can full of 30 round magazines that my unit didn't want on their property during an inspection and was later ordered to keep. :/Not that I know WHAT to do with more than two of the things. There are adapted tables for 20 round magazines.I prefer 20 round magazines for target shooting and they're only partially loaded then.But, they'll never enter the open market. Lest some nut get their hands upon them.I've also just updated my will, which is digitally signed. I'll have it recorded on the next interval, next year. The magazines will be crushed, the spring and follower also crushed upon my death.I'm reasonable. Within measure. The magic is to find something we're both either happy with or mutually unhappy with.Regrettably, we're mutually unhappy with today's conditions, so we need to find either mutually happy common ground that is lawful or mutually unhappy common ground that is lawful.

  3. @lilady, I said that the ROUND was designed for a purpose. The DoD later came along and decided it was a superior weapon for military use.As it is largely a wounding weapon, when used against adult combatants. To be brutal about it, the round tumbles upon impact and causes both the normal cavitation wound channel AND additional tearing by the bullet spinning inside of meat and organ. For, it has been found, a wounded man takes four to care for, rather than a dead man, who requires only simple burial.This war found substantially larger and healthier men, so the round was increased in mass to cause death. That round isn't in current common civilian use, as it's more expensive.THAT said, Bushmaster makes over a dozen models of rifle. Many are .223/5.56 mm rifles, others are other calibers. The majority of their line is the civilian model of M4 or M16, the AR15.I'll admit, I have a vested interest in the topic. I fire in competition for prize money, on occasion, against military service members. I make around $10k per year from that hobby. I also understand reasonable access control on firearms. From an NRA perspective, I'm totally unreasonable. From an anti-firearms perspective, I'm unreasonable for the consideration of finding a workable medium that works.BTW, the heaviest hitter in crime in the Philly area has been shotguns, AK semi-automatic clones and the SKS. One local thug was deterred by nothing more than my zero target from my issue M4, with its millimeter shot group that I hung in the window for just that purpose. The neighborhood that I could afford a house in was tough. Double tough. Even in the '60's, it was a common sight to find an addict in the local park with a needle stuck into their dead arm. It hasn't gotten better over the years. Military pay isn't great, but it's steady. For, at the end of the day, it isn't what you WILL do that deters the thug, it's what they PERCEIVE that you MAY do that is effective. :)Because, after spending so many years killing people in my military specialty, I far prefer killing time, dinner and only shooting at precision level at paper targets. Or game. Which, I far prefer one of three rounds, a 30-30, a 30-06 for long distance hunting areas and my preferred 45-70.For pistol fire, I prefer my M1911A1 stock model, Ruger .22 target pistol for competition. I'm not really fond of the 9mm, but that is due to military performance issues in combat. My wife has a .38 snub nose pistol, due to weakness in her hands of medical origin. I've inherited a .22 pistol notorious for self-disassembly on firing and a .25 semi-automatic pistol that I only keep out of technical admiration of the infamous "Saturday Night Special". I'd never consider carrying that POS, but it IS of historic interest. Might eventually pull the firing pin from it and leave it as what it is, a historic note of idiocy.I apologize. I skimmed the article and suffered from late night dyslexia. Or general incompetence in reading a source. And interruptions of an aging father of 82 years, with significant aortic valve stenosis that is now impacting mental function. Still, I failed in due diligence in fully reading the article, so it's on me. But, I also never went out to a bar with a weapon available. Not even in the vehicle. It's too easy to be possible to have an idiotic moment with a weapon available when drinking, even a little.I trust nobody with a weapon in general. Under the first rule of firearms that my now well adult daughters learned. All guns are loaded. Regardless of how unloaded that they are. Such "paranoia" with firearms encompasses personal behavior.For, I have been present when an "unloaded" firearm discharged. Said soldier lost two full pay grades in rank over it.

  4. @ Stephen: I already posted a Wikipedia link to the Bushmaster Assault Rifle up thread.Your second post states…"First, the 5.56 mm round is directly derived from the .223 round. A round used for varmint and deer hunting."No Stephen a Bushmaster Assault Rifle loaded with 30 round magazines is NOT used for varmint and deer hunting…it is used to kill people.Here's another link to the type of gun used by the shooter in Connecticut. Note the statements from the sheriff and the medical examiner:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/17/bushmaster-assault-rifle-in-newtown-shootings/1772825/"The primary weapon used in the Connecticut school massacre — a semiautomatic assault rifle — has a history in high-profile incidents of gun violence in the U.S.The .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle also was the weapon of choice in the 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings, which left 10 dead and three wounded in a series of attacks that terrorized the capital region.The gun, weapon analysts say, has a reputation for easy handling and deadly accuracy.""In the school shooting, Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver said all 26 victims were hit multiple times, suffering "devastating" wounds, all apparently traced to the rifle.Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Sunday that the shooter used "multiple" 30-round rifle magazines in the attack.The weapon, Carver said, delivers bullets "designed in such a fashion (that) the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullets stay in."And Stephen, you are mistaken when you made that statement up thread…"@Reuben, the interesting thing is, I am unaware of ANY state that permits people in bars to carry a firearm. Indeed, it's outright prohibited.I know that firsthand, as I hold a CCW permit and it's plainly stated that it is unlawful to carry a firearm into an establishment that serves alcohol.For the very reason illustrated in the story. So, the perpetrator already violated the law in carrying a firearm into a drinking establishment and added to the crime with a second felony of multiple counts of attempted murder." There are a number of States that permit people to carry firearms into bars, churches, college campuses and to their places of business.http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/04/guns-everywhere.html

  5. @Reuben, lilady, I cannot bring myself to even consider joining the NRA.I can't even consider utilizing any NRA sponsored programs. They are totally dominated, at the leadership level down by firearms manufacturers. Literally.I DO avail myself of the Civilian Marksmanship Program though. I also fire in competition, occasionally against the military. I rather enjoy that, as I get to rub elbows with my former peers (I'm retired military).I mention the second amendment AND the militia act of 1903 for one singular reason. It is the law of the land. It cannot be disassembled without destroying the draft system. It is that simple.Meanwhile, I hear how revoking a privilege, as a right no longer is one when it can be easily revoked, fixes the problem.It doesn't.It ignores the hell out of the real issue. The mentally ill wandering around, free to not get treatment at a whim. Then wondering about the harm that they cause, homelessness and disasters like this.

  6. Mr Ableist is also a hypocrite I see? Won't accept disarming all men because quite a few of them are violent murderers and rapists, but is almost gleeful at the thought of torturing, permanently monitoring, and removing the human rights of PWMI.Here's the thing – you're not at risk from PWMI, they're at risk from "normal" people. Raped more often, abused more often, and murdered more often. So again, it's "normal" XYs who should be feared and monitored. Almost always white, middle class men who – drunk on privilege and paranoia – appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner.So, should all white males be kept under surveillance? Or do you only wish to step on the necks of people already oppressed, denomised, and stigmatised? People who aren't you?I'm not American. I do not give a toss about your constitution, your amendments and laws more fit for the frontier than for the 21st century. Social contract? Nope. Healthcare? Nah. Anything like equality? You're joking.But hey, why worry? You can exercise the first amendment by spouting ableist, racist, homophobic, classist "free speech" at whoever you want, exercise the second by collecting instruments of death as if they were DVD box sets, and babble nonsense about needing guns to protect yourself from people with guns.But hey, 30,000 people a year is the price you have to pay for FREEDOM! To be #1 woot woot! Twenty six year olds shredded by assault rifles in two minutes? No real true blue patriot will object to that, because you just have to take the rough with the smooth to be FREE!Cinemas, schools, malls, temples, churches, streets, homes. No-go zones in the Land of the Free.You're a joke. Theocratic, right-wing, gun-obsessed nation of fools. Looked on by the rest of us as a lesson in what not to do.How many dead children will it take? Where's the bright line?

  7. I'm sorry, Stephen, you must have missed the part where he was in a fight, went to his truck, drove the truck to the where the other patrons were, and shot at them from his truck. He didn't violate the law with respect to carrying because he never took it into the bar.But, you know, details.It's just one of those crazy "facts" that get in the way of things like the Militia Act of 1903 that the more guns you have in a society, the more violent the society: http://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/apeclt/v16y2009i17p1687-1690.htmlJust like those crazy facts about equality got in the way of Jim Crowe laws.Translation: Laws, like the "Dick" Act, can be wrong, and there's nothing wrong with that.

  8. @ Reuben:Here's the 223 calibre assault rifle used in this latest mass murder:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushmaster_Firearms_InternationalIt seems to be the *favorite* weapon of choice for murdering innocent people…known for its deadly accuracy and *effectiveness* to murder the most people in a short period of time. Just "google" 223 calibre bushmaster assault rifle and there are tons of them offered up for sale on the internet. Coincidentally, I spent yesterday with a young couple who were dinner guests at my friend's home. They both work for the Federal Court system and each has the highest of government clearance for their top secret government work. She is also a certified small arms instructor who trains and qualifies government workers in the handling of small weapons.The assault rifle is not suitable for hunting small or large game…it is manufactured for use by law enforcement and military personal to wound or kill people.That 1903 militia act is used extensively by the NRA and their membership to justify not tightening up on hand guns.How many mass murders have taken place where the shooter never came to the attention of the criminal justice system and the mental health system?Oh, and another point, I'd like to make. It is only a small portion of people who have been diagnosed with a variety of emotional disorders and mental disorders, who present a danger to the general public and who murder people.

  9. No Light, I'm actually quite the centrist. Not right, not left.You wish to disarm the male populace?! What a fascinating view that ignores our entire constitution and the militia act of 1903. It also utterly fails to consider the massive majority of male law abiding citizens. So, you would punish every man alive for the acts of less than a tenth of a percent of the population.Want to prohibit men from driving as well?@Reuben, the interesting thing is, I am unaware of ANY state that permits people in bars to carry a firearm. Indeed, it's outright prohibited. I know that firsthand, as I hold a CCW permit and it's plainly stated that it is unlawful to carry a firearm into an establishment that serves alcohol.For the very reason illustrated in the story. So, the perpetrator already violated the law in carrying a firearm into a drinking establishment and added to the crime with a second felony of multiple counts of attempted murder. As far as I'm concerned, carrying a firearm into a drinking establishment should be a long prison sentence. Using that firearm at that point should be mandatory life, without possibility of parole.

  10. Stephen (the right-wing ableist)Mental illness =/= spree killer/mass murderer/serial killer. There's one predictor, one common factor that is absolutely overwhelmingly present in those three groups, so much so that the chance of someone engaging in such activity without said factor is almost a statistical impossibility.XY chromosomes.If you possess them? No weapons for you. The freedom to be male does not outweigh the freedom of women and children to stay alive.

  11. Stephen, you made some valid points…And then this happens: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/bs-md-co-towson-shooting-20121216,0,5910631.storyIt leads me to believe that not all people who fire into crowds have mental health issues. They can be drunk and belligerent, but that doesn't make them necessarily "insane". From that article:"A fight in downtown Towson early Sunday morning ended when five shots were fired from a handgun into a crowd of people near the Charles Village Pub, one striking a man in the hand, according to Baltimore County police.Francis Minsung Kang, 26, of the first block of Brook Farm Court in Cockeysville was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder and other offenses in the shooting — the third in the county seat and the second in its downtown bar district in recent months.A huge, rowdy crowd gathered for a charity event at the Recher Theatre in September and became out of control for more than two hours along York Road, leading to one person being shot and seven being arrested — including three charged with assaulting officers."Like I wrote, the problem is that there are people — with mental health issues or not — who want to settle scores with guns.

  12. Let's review a few facts.First, in the Giffords shooting, there was no shotgun involved. It was a 9mm pistol, with an absurdly large magazine.The CCW holder considered drawing his weapon, but decided things were too confused AND congested, with people running about and entangled.He DID relieve a man of the pistol, thinking him the shooter, but it turns out said man had relieved Loughner of his pistol.Now, let's review the law. The second amendment, as mentioned above, but now couple that with the Militia Act of 1903. That makes EVERY male citizen between age 17 and 45 members of the unorganized militia, former service members unorganized militia up to age 65 and the organized militia the National Guard.To obey the constitution, one would have to disarm every law enforcement officer, citizen and our military, then ignore the second amendment.Add to that the fact that there are millions of firearms, nearly one per citizen, in the nation, they're not going away.Now, why don't we look at the root cause of the tragedy?Mental illness. A sane person doesn't kill a stranger, an insane person does. An alarmingly insane person would target children.Yet, rather than insist that mentally ill people receive treatment, even against their will, we ignore the living hell out of the problem.We have them in prison when they commit a crime, still untreated and dangerous to other inmates. We have them wandering the streets, homeless because their mental illness prevents them from holding a job. We ignore the entire problem and people end up dying. Then, we blame the weapon, not the illness.I'm retired military. I shoot in competition, occasionally against military service members for prize money. Hence, I have a civilian model of the M4. I'll be later purchasing an M1A, which is the civilian model of the M14 for long range competition. The difference, for those unacquainted with firearms is, the action. Semi-automatic vs fully automatic or three round burst. Nobody competes in full automatic or three round burst mode. The M4 model is also 1.5 inches longer than the military model. Does nothing additional for accuracy or muzzle velocity, it's a legal thing. Anything under 16 inches is a short barreled rifle, which is a special license class of a weapon. Just as fully automatic weapons are a special class of a weapon. For both, one has to have one's police chief's approval of such a weapon in private hands in his/her jurisdiction, then go through a background check that is equal to the background check for a top secret security clearance. One then has to pay for a $200 tax stamp.Upside to that, zero crimes committed with class 3 firearms.As far as I'm concerned, rifles with a magazine capacity over 10 rounds should be protected in the same manner as a handgun. And locked up, like my rifles and pistols are. The ONLY gun that belongs in a school is either a soldering gun or screw gun. No firearms, that is idiotic. For reasons the author missed, which is shocking.Adrenaline. Tunnel vision that is unnoticed, trembling hands that are unnoticed, all contribute to anyone with a firearm not hitting the broad side of a barn, but highly likely to injure others.Let's get the states to finally become compliant with firearms law, inputting the names of the mentally ill into the federal database so that they're flagged when they attempt to purchase a firearm.I'll even go with registering rifles under the same background checks for pistols. I heartily advocate for forcing the mentally ill to be treated. For THAT is the origin of every instance of mass murder. Mental illness. Insanity. Mental illness isn't a right.

  13. Heliantus: It was a U.S. Congresswoman Gabi Giffords, who was shot in Arizona two years ago. She survived after being shot in the head, but she still has permanent language and physical impairments. Six others including a little girl were killed.More recently, a neighborhood "vigilante" in Florida called the police because he spotted a 17-year-old black teenager walking in his all-white neighborhood. He was told by the police dispatcher to not leave his home to confront the teen (the vigilante had a history of being armed and being pugnacious about "neighborhood safety").He chased after the teen and while the teen was on his cell phone talking to his girlfriend the "neighborhood vigilante" hunted down the teen and shot him.Florida is one of 21 states that has "stand your ground" laws in place to defend yourself. Florida is the State I referred to above where authorities have issued gun permits to one million people, under their "concealed weapon" law.I live in a State that does have strict gun laws…but nearby states have "gun shows" where dealers violate their own State laws by selling assault rifles and hand guns "on the spot", thus violating their own laws for purchasers to undergo background checks. We need a national gun law…in spite of people claiming "States' rights" and in spite of the claim that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "…A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Parents shouldn't have to worry when they send their kids to school that their children will be murdered by a gun totin' young man who used his mother's legally licensed guns.

  14. "It seems to me that the problem is not just that we have too many guns. Rather, we have too easy an access to guns mixed with a thinking that we can all be cowboys in the Wild West and shoot it out with each other, or at each other,"That.Some other countries have a lot of guns in care of civilians and not too many issues. Like Switzerland, or so I hear. Maybe in part because these civilians are former army recruits and thus had a more thorough training in gun safety. Maybe because in these countries, guns are understood to be for territory defense rather than for keeping the compatriot next door at bay."Who's the bad guy and how can you tell?"From that I remember, a US woman senator was shoot by some nutty about two years ago (thankfully not lethally). The shooter then proceeded to fire at the crowd with a mix of handguns and shotgun. He was finally bodily subdued by people in the crowd (security staff and courageous bystanders). Obviously, the rescuers pried away the weapons from the would-be killer.A member of the NRA reported that he almost pulled his gun and shoot at one of the rescuers, who had picked-up the shotgun. Almost.On one hand, kudos for the guy for correctly assessing the situation. On the other hand, can the pro-gun guys reassure us that any armed civilian would have behaved this way?

  15. The New York Times has an article up about the decided loosing up of gun control laws, in some of the States:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/us/politics/connecticut-shooting-revives-gun-control-debate.html(Referring to the day of the Connecticut School murders on Friday December 14th)…"That same day, Ohio lawmakers passed a bill that would allow guns in cars at the Statehouse garage. Earlier in the week, a federal appeals court struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois. And Florida officials announced that they would soon issue their millionth concealed weapon and firearm license — or, as a state news release put it, the program would be “One Million Strong.” It used to be said that elected Federal representatives risked their careers if they advocated for Social Security/Medicare reforms to rein in costs…the so-called "third rail of politics"…you touch it, you die.The powerful gun lobby and their gun totin' constituencies have made any attempts to curtail "their right" to have access to assault rifles the "third rail of politics", now.BTW, how do you think the drugs lords in Mexico who have killed thousands of people get their fire power? Our guns for their drugs.

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