Saturday, December 15, 2012

Does the Mass Shooting Killing 20 Children Yesterday Change Your Opinion on Gun Control?

After the shooting yesterday in Connecticut where 27 are dead, including 20 children, after a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School I can't help but discuss gun control.

I really do understand both sides of the debate. Rifles for hunting and protecting one's home has always been considered a right to many Americans. But, emergency room doctors in cities see the terrible statistics of gun violence at it's worst. For many living and working in cities with a lot of gun violence, and where no one hunts for food or sport, citizens fight for more gun control.

Gun control is a touchy topic. When we discuss "rights" I think the majority of the public believes owning a gun as an American right. When we discuss gun safety most people agree we need some gun ownership regulation.

We all understand that guns don't kill people, people do. But, we all can agree some gun control is necessary. Certainly we all support current regulations of running background checks prior to purchasing weapons. But, I think banning the possession of semi-automatic rifles is also a popular and necessary regulation. No one needs a semi-automatic weapon to hunt or to protect their home.

Here is a list of the 20 mass shootings in the past five years from the article "After 19 Mass Shootings In Five Years, Still No Answers" in the Huffingon Post today:

20. December 14, 2012 -- Newtown, Conn. -- 27 dead (including gunman)

19. September 27, 2012 -- Minneapolis, Minn. -- 7 dead (including gunman), 2 injured

18. August 5, 2012 -- Oak Creek, Wisconsin 7 dead (including gunman), 4 injured

17. July 20, 2012 -- Aurora, Colo. -- 12 dead, 59 injured

16. May 31, 2012 -- Seattle, Wash. -- 6 dead (including gunman)

15. February 22, 2012 -- Norcross, Ga. -- 5 dead (including gunman)

14. October 12, 2011 -- Seal Beach, Calif. -- 8 dead, 1 injured

13. January 8, 2011 -- Tucson, Ariz. -- 6 dead, 14 injured

12. August 3, 2010 -- Manchester, Conn. -- 9 dead (including gunman), 2 injured

11. November 29, 2009 -- Parkland, Wash. -- 5 dead (including gunman)

10. November 5, 2009 -- Fort Hood, Texas -- 13 dead, 30 injured (including gunman)

9. April 3, 2009 -- Binghamton, N.Y. -- 14 dead (including gunman), 4 injured

8. March 29, 2009 -- Carthage, N.C. -- 8 dead, 3 injured (including gunman)

7. March 10, 2009 -- Geneva County, Ala. -- 11 dead (including gunman), 6 injured

6. June 25, 2008 -- Henderson, Ky. -- 6 dead (including gunman), 1 injured

5. February 14, 2008 -- DeKalb, Ill. -- 6 dead (including gunman, 21 injured)

4. February 7, 2008 -- Kirkwood, Mo. -- 7 dead (including gunman), 1 injured

3. December 5, 2007 -- Omaha, Neb. -- 9 dead (including gunman)

2. October 7, 2007 -- Crandon, Wis. -- 7 dead (including gunman), 1 injured

1. April 16, 2007 -- Virginia Tech campus, Blacksburg, Va. -- 33 dead (including gunman), 23 injured

8 comments:

Debbie Thomas said...

Does not change my opinion that more regulation necessary especially there should be no ownership of semi-automatic weapons by regular citizens.

Anonymous said...

This is a nightmare! We need guns legal because the criminals have guns too. How can we protect ourselves against those with guns and bad intentions if we don't have guns?

Sarah Marie said...

Actually, I think many people who support and defend the 2nd Amendment are concerned about more than just their "rights". They are concerned about safety, about their ability to protect themselves (because btw- there is NO ONE who is constitutionally obligated to protect anyone else. Not even the police force. See Castle Rock v Gonzales), and about the ability to assert themselves against potential dictatorial regimes. (Jefferson had a lot to say about this.)

Here's something I pulled from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports: "Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense".

I happen to live in Philadelphia, a city with extremely strict gun laws. We're totaling MORE than 300 murders for the year and 75% of those are gun-related crimes. Where gun laws are stricter (esp in the case of limited conceal carry), you see increased gun crimes. See: Chicago. See: Detroit. See: Philadelphia. So, no. Increasing the stringency of gun laws DOES NOT correlate with decreased "violence". That is because violent and mentally unstable individuals largely do not abide by gun laws, while law abiding citizens meanwhile are left without recourse or ability to defend themselves.

I'd like to point out that 9-1-1 wait times in many cities is as high as 7-12 minutes. That is TOO MUCH TIME to wait while a gun-wielding criminal (or, in some cases, someone experiencing a psychotic break) does his thing.

It's interesting to note that most massacres occur in gun-free zones. That is probably (I'm hypothesizing here) because perpetrators are more sure of themselves and their ability to carry out their crime without being deterred by anyone who is armed.

Last point- this is not politically correct to say, but many instances of mass violence are not actually any individual acting "violently" but really someone who is having a manic break, psychotic episode, or otherwise chemically preventable state. What I think, then, needs to be discussed instead of guns (which are really just the means- an individual has his pick of weapons, from airplanes to cars to explosives to knives) is creating a more supportive system for mental health. Creating more awareness of mental illness and destigmatizing it so that individuals and families can safely treat illness.

I guess I'm trying to paint a certain picture here. I, as much as many people, would love to see a gun free world. BUT- that said- logistically, there is no method or organization on earth with the manpower or divining ability to track down and eradicate every single last gun from the earth. That means that, illegal or legal, there will ALWAYS be guns on the black market. Always.

Knowing that criminals are not likely to abide by laws, and *do* have guns, it stands to reason that people would like a chance to defend themselves wherever possible. (99.9% of self defense firearm uses do not result in fatality, btw.) To *lessen* the likelihood of another massacre happening, not to increase it.

I understand how sad and scary such tragedies can be, and how easy it is to simplify the problem into guns v no guns. But it's really not that simple, as I hope I've explained. Thus, while I've spend a lot of time in prayer and reflection over the loss of these innocent children's lives, I have not changed my views about gun control.

Tobago Nanny said...

I couldn't disagree with you more Sarah but appreciate you aren't commenting anonymously. There is no way any citizen should have access to guns.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States and the guns are obtained legally!

We are an unusually violent country.

More guns tend to mean more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. This holds true whether you’re looking at different countries or different states.

States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

Tobago Nanny said...

I saw a senator explaining that a homocidal maniac tried killing people just this week in China with a knife. He wasn't as successful at mass killing because he has no access to guns. Only so much he could do with a knife.

Had the killer in CT had only knives some may have died but doubtful many would have.

His mother should not have had guns in the home with this family member.

Anonymous said...

That's a rate of more than one every four months -- only considering these most brutal examples. Other devastating shootings go largely unnoticed on the national stage. We live in a violent culture. Canadians, Japanese and Brits are watching the same violent films, listen to the same music, watch the same TV shows, yet have but a handful of murders by fire arms. And the Canadians have the same amount of fire arms per capita. There are some Americans who believe that more loaded fire arms will make us safer. Then there are some Americans who want the right to life and liberty to remain unaffected by the right to bear arms. The time for reason and sanity is now.

polly psi said...

There was a shocking attack on young kids in a school---in China. Twenty students were stabbed, none reported killed. Contrast with the new normal at US public spaces, including schools, malls and movie theaters.
Those who think guns provide safety and protection, consider the number of armed law enforcement officials and troops killed regularly. Thirty thousand Americans killed by guns yearly.
As if assault weapons solve problems. The fears and insecurities of life are not abated by firearms.
Assault weapons and certain bullet delivery systems must be limited to law enforcement and military only.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Marie, where do you keep your guns so that you can have quick access when and the kids can't get to them?

I can't see how parents or caregivers can figure out how they can get to a gun quickly in a surprise attack yet stored safely away where kids can't reach them or get to them easily?

How can guns protect us in surprise attack when they are stored in a safe in a remote safe hidden high up in a closet?