Sunday, December 16, 2012

Despite tragedy in CT, stricter gun control laws are not the solution

credit: Alex Wong/Getty images
source: Examiner
Gregory Patin
Activist Post

In the wake of the horrible tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut, with 20 small children and seven adults shot and killed weighing heavily on the conscience of America, many will look for quick and easy measures that can prevent something like that from happening again. Stricter gun control laws seem like the easy answer, but that is not the solution.

More gun control legislation, while sensible on many levels, is akin to plugging a small hole in a dam that is already cracked and gushing. That simply will not solve the problem of gun violence in this country.

The latest in a series of mass murders involving firearms will undoubtedly reignite the debate about gun control laws. Many will validly argue that laws should be stricter and the emotions of most Americans will be with them. Unfortunately, stricter gun control laws are only a small part of the solution to preventing firearm violence, because it is too late for them to have much of an effect. Political, social and economic changes, while more difficult to pinpoint and achieve, are the only hope for ending the culture of violence that the U.S. has become known for.

Even if the U.S. banned the sale of every firearm to everyone, which is unrealistic, that would still leave millions of guns already in the hands of Americans. A 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service estimated that as of 2009, there were about 310 million nonmilitary firearms in the U.S. and firearm sales have skyrocketed since then. Banning the sale of guns, like illegal drugs, would only make matters worse by creating a truly unregulated black market for them.


Keep in mind that the weapons used in the recent Connecticut murders and the Portland mall murders were not purchased or owned by the shooters. Stricter laws regulating the purchase of firearms, therefore, would not have prevented the Connecticut school shooting because the weapons used were already out there. Potential shooters will still have relatively easy access to firearms unless every firearm is confiscated, which is even more unrealistic than banning sales of guns. Furthermore, any attempts at confiscating guns from legal owners would probably result in more gun violence than it would be intended to prevent. It may even ignite a civil war.

Many will correctly argue that the 2nd amendment right to bear arms applies to a well-armed militia to guard against tyranny, not to ordinary citizens armed to the teeth in schools, movie theatres, churches and malls. Many will argue that more guns lead to more murders, which is statistically true. Many will argue that legislation such as the Tiahrt amendments and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 tie the hands of researchers and law enforcement while protecting firearm manufacturers from legal repercussions – also true. While all these arguments are valid and stricter gun regulation is becoming more popular, it misses the point.

The point is that America must embark on deeper and more fundamental changes in order to end the culture of violence that has permeated American society throughout its existence. And that can only begin with a real examination of the social, political and economic circumstances that feed into the collective consciousness of American society and create the minds that pull the triggers. That will be difficult, if not impossible, but there are a few starting points.

Political Changes

Michael Moore, director of several documentaries including Bowling for Columbine, which examined the 1999 Columbine school shooting and its aftermath, was one of the first to take to Twitter after the Connecticut school shooting and demand stricter gun control laws. He makes a lot more sense in this video than he does with his tweets.

The points he made in the aforementioned film also go deeper than gun control legislation. Other themes in the film are the fearful heart and soul of America and the militaristic culture our leaders have sown. Ironically, Moore points out, Colorado is the home of several defense contractors, including Lockheed-Martin in Littleton that manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

President Obama’s speech in the wake of the Connecticut massacre was warm and heartfelt by a nation in mourning. Americans should be thankful for a leader that can empathize with the victims and express that side of him. But left out of the minds of many are the amounts of children that have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and several other nations over the past 11 years as a result of U.S. foreign policy.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London reported that from June 2004 to mid-September 2012, drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen killed between 3,017 and 4,517 people, of which 544 to 1,119 were civilians, including at least 247 children. And that does not include civilian deaths in the countries that the U.S. invaded.

Assault rifles were shipped to drug cartels in Mexico by the U.S. Justice Department in the “Fast and Furious” operation, and the cartel wars in Mexico have claimed up to 60,000 lives with another 10,000 missing.

Americans have been taught to ignore or become desensitized to news like that – until something like it happens here. Then most wonder why. The same media outlets that are cheerleaders for the wars and virtually ignore the deaths of children in other countries, or describe it as collateral damage, are still engaged in nonstop coverage of the tragedy in Connecticut.

The same President who alluded yesterday to taking a closer look at gun legislation when the time is right presided over the proliferation of firearms to a neighboring country involved in a shooting drug war. The same leader who wiped tears from his eyes over the deaths of American children yesterday is the same one who said, “I have two words for you: Predator drones. You’ll never see them coming.”

While there is no excuse for 20-year-old Adam Lanza’s horrific actions yesterday in Connecticut, Americans should consider the sort of subliminal message that U.S. foreign policy and behavior towards people in other nations implant in the consciousness of American society.

Violence begets violence. Peace begets peace.

Social Changes

Political changes overlap with social changes. There is one glaring commonality with at least 14 of the school shooters since 1999. All of them were undergoing treatment for psychological disorders and were taking psychotropic medication.

Adam Lanza was said to have had a “personality disorder” and was undergoing treatment, which usually involves medication. The Columbine shooters were known to be on anti-depressants. Cho Seung Hui, the Virginia Tech murderer, was taking anti-depressants. James Holmes, The Aurora, CO movie theatre shooter was also undergoing treatment and taking prescribed medication, in addition to being affiliated with mind control research that his father pioneered with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

Virtually all massacre perpetrators are known to have been taking a psychiatric medication, usually an anti-depressant, including:
  • Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona shooter
  • Kip Kinkel
  • Ted Kaczinski the “Unabomber”
  • Michael McDermott
  • John Hinckley, Jr.
  • Byran Uyesugi
  • Mark David Chapman
  • Charles Carl Roberts IV, the Amish school killer
Perhaps some societal changes regarding health care and treatment for mentally ill patients before they get their hands on a gun and pull the trigger are another possible solution.

Many psychiatrists and psychologists in America are too quick to hustle patients in and out of their offices with a prescription in hand because health care is a profit-driven industry. The pharmaceutical companies want it that way and therapists make more money on quantity, not quality of treatment. Real behavioral modification or the time-consuming process of working with a patient through psychotherapy or group therapy has given way to handing out pills to patients like they are Skittles.

Some social changes in terms of the health care system may be in order. Perhaps Medicaid should be expanded to cover everyone with psychological issues. Of course, that entails more government spending, but most would agree that would have been worth preventing the deaths of those 20 children.

A single payer system that cuts out the profit-driven middlemen and gives therapists an incentive to spend more time with their patients, as well as a way of controlling the profits that drug companies reap, may be a part of the solution to keeping the fingers of potential homicidal maniacs off of triggers.

Economic Changes

The correlation between a bad economy and an increase in crime is debatable, with many studies showing that crime does not necessarily increase during tough economic times. The caveat in many studies, however, is that while violence and crime does not increase in the short term, there is little data available to examine that in the case of a prolonged recession.

Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, told the Las Vegas Sun that while “there’s simply no correlation between crime rates and economic indicators such as unemployment…there is a correlation between crime and sustained poverty.”

Most of the perpetrators in the wave of mass shootings this year were young and several, including Holmes and Lanza, were described as being highly intelligent. While these are not economically motivated crimes like burglary or robbery, it is quite possible that Americans are starting to see the effects of an economy that gives many young people little hope to improve their lives or attain the same socioeconomic status of their parents despite having the attributes to do so.

The way to move up the economic ladder for young people used to be to earn a college degree. With tuition skyrocketing, student loan debts reaching crisis levels and 53 percent of recent college graduates jobless or underemployed, that is no longer the case. It does not make sense for young people to accrue tens of thousands of dollars of debt and then be forced to work for a wage they could have attained without going to college.

Another long-term economic factor to consider is that many cities such as Detroit, Newark, and several in California have been forced to cut law enforcement budgets. If the economy does not improve, many more will follow.

We live in a culture where individual worth is defined by wealth and material possessions. One look at the mobs fighting it out for cheap Chinese-made goods on Black Friday is enough evidence of that. The link is to a video posted on You Tube, coincidentally, by a user named “funwithgunsinns.” However, one might ask, is that really a coincidence?

When some young people lose hope of attaining the sense of self-worth that is defined by our culture, they can develop a mind set that there is nothing to lose by putting a bullet in their head – or in someone else.

Even if the waves of mass shootings this year are not taken into consideration, there is no doubt that America needs economic changes. Economic changes also overlap with political and social changes.

The best steps to improving our economy are cutting spending, increasing revenue and bringing back or creating well-paying jobs. The easiest cuts can come through ending the wars and cutting defense spending. The best way to generate more revenue is to increase the amount of well-paying jobs and provide a better tax base. Tax incentives that stop outsourcing and make it more profitable for corporations to hire American workers than overseas workers, using some of the billions that are spent on wars and defense to invest in infrastructure and sustainable, clean energy may be a good start.

While none of the above provides a shred of excuse or even a good explanation for the senseless, horrible acts of mass murderers like Adam Lanza, they can contribute to a healthier social environment that reduces the propensity for gun violence. Of course, it is impossible to conclude that these measures would stop gun violence, but they would contribute to a culture that gives more young people more hope for the future.

Reasonable gun control laws are in order, but the real solution is to pursue deep, fundamental changes in American society. America needs to change more than just gun laws. It needs to change the culture of violence that leads to people using guns on their fellow citizens.

The other alternative is to pass a few more gun control laws, call it a day, waste away as a nation and witness more wasted lives, both overseas and at home.

Sources:
Congressional Research Service report – Gun Control Legislation (pdf)
John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research
MichaelMoore.com
The Inquisitr
Alternet – Kristen Gwynne
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
Christian Science Monitor
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Colorado
Infowars
Chicago Tribune
CNN
Natural News
Natural Society
Las Vegas Sun
The Atlantic
You Tube

Gregory Patin writes for the Examiner where this article first appeared. Patin earned a B.A. in political science from U.W. - Madison and a M.S. in management from Colorado Technical University. He is currently a freelance writer residing in Madison, WI who considers himself politically independent.


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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can the author write this?

"President Obama’s speech in the wake of the Connecticut massacre was warm and heartfelt by a nation in mourning. Americans should be thankful for a leader that can empathize with the victims and express that side of him."

Seriously, does this guy think we are all crazy?

Cristi Sparlu said...

Unfortunately, US like USSR was a social experiment. USSR failed, US will do the same because the experiment is on its final stage. Good luck to you! You will need it most.

Rob said...

It's high time to bring the pharmaceutical companys to trial for their complicity in these tragic events!!!

Anonymous said...

All mass murders have links to at least one (but not necessarily all) of these five:

Violent rap music.

Medication from big pharma.

Hollywood movies.

Weak gun laws, easy access to guns.

Violent video games.



Guns drugs and entertainment, a deadly cocktail.
On every mass murder, news media will usually single out just one issue. It does not matter which of those guilty industries gets blamed. They ALL respond in IDENTICAL fashion.

The greasy corporate lawyers craft weasel words and excuses to shift the blame. They say stuff like this.........

"The latest in a series of mass murders involving firearms will undoubtedly reignite the debate about gun control laws. Many will validly argue that laws should be stricter and the emotions of most Americans will be with them. Unfortunately, stricter gun control laws are only a small part of the solution to preventing firearm violence, because it is too late for them to have much of an effect. Political, social and economic changes, while more difficult to pinpoint and achieve, are the only hope for ending the culture of violence that the U.S. has become known for."


In that above quote, the gun industry defends its big role in this mass murder.
Shift blame, say it is too big too late too complicated.....same as the pharma and Hollywood swine do when they are on the hot seat.

It must be painful and shameful to accept payment for crafting weasel words to deflect a fair share of blame in a mass murder of children....all in the name of preserving corporate profits.

Anonymous said...

You must not have a good sense of sarcasm. The author is obviously not complimenting Obama.

Anonymous said...

Blaming societal conditions is way too easy and as close as one could come to admitting there is not an answer.

These shootings don't happen in a vacuum. There is an agenda at work here which goes into the deepest, darkest pits where the ugliest, most revolting forces reside and calling for stricter gun laws will only increase
it's power.

Anonymous said...

""""Anonymous said...
How can the author write this?

"President Obama’s speech in the wake of the Connecticut massacre was warm and heartfelt by a nation in mourning. Americans should be thankful for a leader that can empathize with the victims and express that side of him."

Seriously, does this guy think we are all crazy?
December 16, 2012 7:58 AM""""

No he just thinks that we're all normal humans and not crazy mother fuckers like you.

Anonymous said...

@Anon - "How can the author write this?"

A few paragraphs further and you would see the author is pointing out the fake nature and hypocrisy of Obama, not supporting him in any way.

"The same President who alluded yesterday to taking a closer look at gun legislation when the time is right presided over the proliferation of firearms to a neighboring country involved in a shooting drug war. The same leader who wiped tears from his eyes over the deaths of American children yesterday is the same one who said, "I have two words for you: Predator drones. You’ll never see them coming." ... "

Clearly the author thinks Obama and the hypocritical nature of the U.S.A today is what is "crazy", not the readers.

I sneered at that comment too when first reading it, but then I realized it was just setting up for getting to the core issue - the hypocrisy.

Peace,
Jonny

Nemetron 2000 said...

If the government is attempting to capitalize off something, I not being a believer in 'coincidences', have to believe they had something to do with it. The method for these mental breakdowns are vast, ranging from pharmaceutical use, social engineering; and yes, accessibility. But, what I think is of greater concern is why these things are happening now. Like they say, "timing is everything".

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Funny how our reality is always steered with the larger issues the author has raised "off the table."

Watching the evening news coverage, I was struck by the paramilitary response. Almost indistinguishable from an army patrol, armed and dressed almost the same, the show of force, long after the gunman was dead, was in its full post 9-11 authority, displaying the investment we have made. I couldn’t help but notice how expensively ineffectual it all was. A single patrol officer nearby might have been able to accomplish as much or more under the motto: protect and serve (the community).

It is, unfortunately, a well-worn script now. No one on air would be impertinent to ask about how a vast portion of our nation’s wealth has been repurposed to “keeping us safe,” even as we are clearly less safe, less free and less prosperous. Not even a timid, “Is it working?” can derail the march to place the whole of humanity under lockdown and surveillance.

If the money spent on the incredible build out of the security state and the war on terror had been used differently, where would we be? If the financialization of our economy had been stopped and our nation’s wealth instead belonged to workers with jobs, education, secure retirement and healthcare, would we produce so many murderers? If political speech and representation belonged to the nation's people and not to its exploiters, would we not have a deeper conversation about ills and cures than the upcoming nine rounds over gun control?

Anonymous said...

Obama did not cry. He faked it. Anyone watching his speech would see that.....unless they are some sort of idiot.

The gun lobby will try to blame other things, the economy, SSRI drugs, movies, videos, violent culture etc.
Of course the pharma people blame guns, and the violent video people blame guns and round and round it goes. They are all PARTIALLY guilty, but each group accepts ZERO guilt, and blames everyone else.

Disgusting and sad how people fall for these greasy lies. Of course the liars never sleep, never stop, never give up. Their guilt must keep them awake at night?

Anonymous said...

Pt 1:

Bull! Two formerly violent and militaristic nations, Japan and Germany, both have very low gun honicide rates based on strict gun laws.

Japan some years has zero gun murders! You can own a gun in Japan but not handguns or assault weapons, and you must be screened and well-trained.

The US has more gun deaths in one day (about 90) than Japan has had in a decade.

Germany has many guns, 25 million in private hands and yet it has 90% fewer gun homicides than in the US, due to stricter gun laws.

The UK, where gun ownership is legal but rate, there were about 35 gun homicides last year, and criminal violence has fallen drastically. In Japan, even the "mafia" rarely uses guns.

So whether guns ownership is rare (as in Japan or the UK) or common (as in Germany), strict guns laws correlate seamlessly with a reduction in gun murder by 90% (Germany) and 99% (Japan).

Therefore, to claim that strict gun laws are not the solution is to overlook the evidence of the historical record. All 35 developed nations (except Russia, which also allows assault weapons) have much lower (average over 90% lower) gun homicide rates than the US.

The evidence of all advanced nations, except for the US and Russia where weapons of mass murder are legal and guns can be obtained by criminals and terrorists and psychos (thru loopholes), is that strict gun laws work. Austria and Spain, both with violent histories, have fewer than 100 gun murders per year. Canada, with 1/3 fewer guns and a strict laws, has 1/3 fewer gun murders.
Dale

Anonymous said...

pt 2

What works in the 33 peer nations, from Europe to Japan to Australia to Canada, is strict gun laws, including in those nations with many guns (Germany) and violent histories, and it is madness to argue that it won't work here. At the very least, we can end the loopholes thru which 40% of guns are sold without background checks to
criminals, drug cartels, terrorists and psychos.

In the US, if you are on the terrorist list and cannot fly, you can legally buy an assault weapon, and the NRA used its massive propaganda network to make gun sales to terrorists illegal.

More guns, more violence, more fear, more gun sales. That is the only rational logic, which defies the need to end the violence by making gunbs harder to get for dangerous people (the argument that when good people do not have guns,only criminnals will...collapses before the evidence of Japan and Germany and all the other nations where criminal violence declines with strict laws, strictly enforced. If this myth, promulgated by the NRA were true, Japan, Germany, and the UK would have the highest criminal violence rates and gun deaths, not the least.

Stop believing the lies and look at the facts. Both Wikipedia and Nationmaster have documented evidence to support the claims made here.
Dale

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile we walked 2000 assault weapons into Mexico where Mexican cartels have a cozy relationship with Hezbollah. If you like home invasions they are now quite popular in Australia after guns were confiscated. Armed robbery is also big business there now. Gun crime is highest in cities with the strictest gun control laws. I also noticed nobody ever mentions the 14 deaths attributed to Maj Hasan at Ft Hood where he chose a site where he knew everyone was unarmed. Luckily an armed woman security guard stopped his rampage.

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, to claim that strict gun laws are not the solution is to overlook the evidence of the historical record. All 35 developed nations (except Russia, which also allows assault weapons) have much lower (average over 90% lower) gun homicide rates than the US."

I know what you mean, Dale. For example, there's Switzerland, a historically neutral country which has the lowest crime rate in Europe. Military conscription is mandatory for males and optional for females. Regardless, each soldier is issued a weapon which is used throughout their military term of service. When they are discharged, the soldier is instructed to take the weapon home and guard their home and country. The weapon? It's a SIG SG 550 fully automatic assault rifle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIG_SG_550

Oh, wait a minute. That's not what you were arguing, was it?

Anonymous said...

You are right, more gun laws are not the solution. Ban the sale of the darn things - regardless of the NRA (None Remaining Alive)or arms manufacturers. And overcome this 'right to bear arms' nonsense...or...keep burying them.

hammer said...

Are you sure there was anybody dead or even any shooting at that school in Conneticut? We must aks this question because we know now that nobody knew or heard about any Nancy Lanza working as a teacher in that school. If this information spread by the Media is a lie the rest can be a lie to. The only thing we know for sure is that Zionists Nazi Fascist who control politically and economicaly USA want split the American Federation to conquer the space to establish a Zionist Nazi Fascist stae in the North American Continent. For that they found better to still private guns from their owners and also they want public sale to be forbbiden. They control Media and can publish as many fals flags as they want to reach their objectives. You one looks well there are always Zionists Nazi Fascist involved involved in this terrorist attacks. Like in the one in Conneticut the man accused his mother, his father and his brother are Zionists if they really exist.Who remembers MARIO LANZA? And this Zionists always involved are shown to constitut credible witnesses. Believe that.

Anonymous said...

Good point 7:21 PM.
But in Switzerland, people get educated, go outside and are not brain dead idiots......unlike the dangerous nation you compare to it.
The USA is no Switzerland, and any comparisons of its two peoples is an extreme insult to the Swiss.
The Swiss are intelligent enough to embrace pacifism and defense (not Offense) as the reason for a military. The Swiss mindset is one that can handle guns. The paranoid drugged out dumbed down American people are not stable enough to be trusted with guns.

You can tell a lot about any website by how they react to certain news stories. Some honest sites are simply focusing on the tragic nature of the crime and showing sympathy for the victims. Some sites (opportunistic Democrats) are selling gun control........and some sites offer virtually no concern or compassion to the victims but go into full scale damage control over gun rights. Way more focus effort and attention devoted to defending assault weapons than there is to any mention of the dead kids. Pretty ugly stuff.

Anonymous said...

President obama supplied assualt rifle to the mexcan cartel what reasoning makes this right. I remembred watching the news awhile back where a reporter ask about this obama he does everything to avoid this question. One more thing the president dont even knows his birthday on facebook they took his age off when in the past where the president's age was not resticted to the public. Why so much lies

Anonymous said...

Differnt topic: education why did we go to the smartest country to the 37th ? If u looks in the historty books MLKJ, Malcom X,which sought an higher education then most others at that time. The gov. wants us to be dumb so they can take advantage and to do what they want. Ask question about everthing

Anonymous said...

3 agenda we can see unfold in front of today; make us fat, make us dumb, take our guns!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I guess I'll be the first to comment on the fact that we have a few posts here which address the dumbing down of America, and underscore the point by example. Call me a snob, I'm a high school dropout who taught himself to read and write and finds those who demonstrate an inability to do so disturbing.

Reading and writing, it seems to me, are fundamental to understanding what is going on around us in our modern world. Not that I'm necessarily prejudiced against less developed cultures, I could live quite happily without rap music, TV commercials, corporate media, fiat money, corrupt politics, environmental pollution, the latest fashions, a few other things.

But given that I do live in the modern world, I like to understand what is going on, and to do this I find it essential to sift truth from falsity, logic from illogic. Which takes us back to reading and writing (a smattering of arithmetic helps, too).

Why is it that in hundreds of speeches, articles, blogs, and comments I've read since the Sandy Hook shootings, the vast majority of authors obviously do not know the difference between a clip and a magazine, or more importantly between a semi-automatic rifle, and an assault weapon (I assume they mean rifle)? If we are now to engage in a "national discussion" and "finally have meaningful dialogue," if we must now agree to ban "military-style weapons," does it not behoove us to first ensure that we as a nation know what the words we, and they, are using mean? Especially as we are running at full emotional tilt toward revising a fundamental law of our land which has stood for around two-and-a-quarter centuries?

Yet the president doesn't get it right, the politicians don't get it right, the pundits, the reporters, the bloggers, the commenters, the vast majority of opinionated Americans seem to have no clear idea what the words they are saying even mean: assault weapon.

We're not quibbling over "to-may-to" vs. "to-mah-to," here. We're not even discussing a difference in degree, but rather a difference in kind.

Military-style assault rifles (a redundancy), in civilian hands, are illegal in this country. You can't pass new legislation making them more illegal (stricter sentences, maybe, but there is no such word as "illegaler").

So, what, exactly, are our leaders suggesting we now make illegal? All I can figure, from all I hear, is that they want to obfuscate the issue till the last moment, then spring a surprise on us: No More Scary-Looking Guns. And then they will define their terms, and their definition will make a lot of law-abiding gun owners unhappy.

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