What Happens Now?

by Craig McBreen · 23 comments · General


Yesterday I was sitting on a completed post, but couldn’t hit publish.

I was thinking, what’s the point? Of course I’ll get back to that in a couple of days, but like everyone else, it’s extremely difficult to shake what happened last Friday.

As a parent, it’s something that simply won’t leave my mind.

I decided early on that I would avoid politics on this blog. I wouldn’t point fingers, pick sides or jump up on the soapbox.

And today, I’ll stick to that rule, because I don’t want to shout. There will be enough of that in the coming weeks.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post and included these two thoughts …

17. You can’t categorize people or put them in neat little boxes. This kind of thinking divides us and political networks excel at it.

18. If your only news comes from Fox or MSNBC you’re confused. (See 17).

I stand by those statements.

I don’t think the word “tragedy” can even describe what happened at Sandy Hook, because it’s almost beyond comprehension.

And there will be vitriol coming from both sides, but what about the vast middle? What happens when we go beyond the shouting and enter yet another news cycle?

The gun debate will rage on, but what will be done?

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you had emotions similar to mine: deep sadness followed by extreme anger. But as pragmatic, forward-thinking citizens, what do we do?

While reading several boards this weekend I found more than a few NRA members admitting that now is the time, so this may indeed be a tipping point. And I honestly feel the gun lobby is no match for the collective power of an angry and concerned citizenry.

As forward-thinking citizens in Norway, the UAE, France, Germany, Singapore, Canada, Australia … what would you do?

Here’s what I won’t do:
I won’t watch yet another so-called “news” program where people are shouting over one another. And I refuse to believe this is about the gun-toting redneck vs. the angry urban liberal.

No, it’s about pragmatism and decency and common sense.

You know? Beliefs and actions that usually prevail in the end.

And we need this stuff now more than ever.

 

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe December 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

As a friend of gun enthusiasts that I have supported in the past, I still believe a semi-automatic ban is the way to go. And I think you will see it. If you’re not military or law enforcement, there is no need for this type of weapon.

Aside from gun control, Craig, we need a return to the values that you and I grew up with. We need a culture that doesn’t glorify violent games, movies, or music videos. Maybe school prayer should make a comeback. There are many ideas that could help.

Let’s see if any real change can happen now.
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Craig McBreen December 18, 2012 at 4:29 am

Hi Joe,

Yes I agree. I semi-automatic ban is the way to go. It’s horrible that it’s taken an event like this for many gun enthusiasts to say the same. Like I mentioned in the post I think maybe common sense will finally win out. Let’s hope so.

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Keith Laskey December 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I read a interesting article this morning that Guy Kawasaki posted on Google Plus in regards to Japan’s Gun Control system. They had 11 (Eleven!) gun related deaths in 2008, compared to over 12K for us. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I see close to 11 gun related deaths a night!

I’m all about our rights. I’m all about the constitution. But I’m also a rationale thinking human being that understands Thomas Jefferson and the boys probably didn’t foresee the extreme danger when guns land in the wrong person’s hands, whether the weapons be purchased legally or stolen in a horrific manner as it sounds like was the case on Friday.

How do you think the writers of the constitution would handle this situation? I think they would seriously consider changing the laws in regards to guns and the rights of the citizens to carry them.

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Craig McBreen December 18, 2012 at 4:41 am

Hi Keith,

Yes, I read that about Japan. Eleven compared to 12K is mind boggling. especially when you consider 127 Million people live on that island. And I know Australia and several other countries really tightened their gun laws after similar tragic events.

I grew up just outside of Baltimore which is very similar to Philadelphia with regard to gun violence. It’s about way more than guns of course, but change is certainly needed.

And as smart as the writers of the constitution were, I can’t imagine them not seriously considering changing the laws. So I do agree.

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Jack Durish December 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

The right to bear arms is not granted in the Constitution. It derives from natural right and obligation to defend ourselves and the innocent. The Second Amendment merely reminds government that it has not authority to abridge that right. In other words, the government cannot take away what it did not grant in the first place.

Secondly, imposing bans on guns of any type will not avail us anything. Even if they were able to effectively remove all guns from existence, it would only provide an environment in which bullies could once again rule the world. Those with physical dominance could inflict whatever injury they wanted just as they did before there was the gun.

The flurry of accusations and charges assaulting gun owners and their rights following tragedies like this is reprehensible. The people making them are merely taking advantage of the tragedy for political show. They are not offering any evidence that their intentions are to protect the children. Where, we may ask, is their outrage at the daily killing of children in America. I guess gang kids and children of the disadvantaged don’t count with them. The truth is that bullies are on the rise again because government is taking away our ability to defend ourselves. Have you noticed how the instances of bullying in schools has been on the rise ever since school boards instituted “zero tolerance”? Children who defend themselves are treated equally at fault with the perpetrators. So too, innocent civilians of all ages are at greater risk with every attempt to remove from their hands the means of protecting themselves.

There are more rational options to consider. Arm the teachers and train them. Arm guards and train them. Unfortunately, we listen only to the fearful, those whose fear of guns outweighs rational consideration. Like primitive man who cowered from thunder and lightning and ascribed them to capricious and malevolent gods, gun-haters ascribe supernatural power to guns. I suppose there is a similarity; both deliver their lethal charges with a flash and a bang.

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Josh December 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi Jack,

What is reprehensible is pretending that ordinary citizens need assault rifles or automatic weapons because there is no rational argument that provides any substance there.

I am not advocating removing the right to bear arms. You want to own a gun- doesn’t bother me.

But when you start suggesting that we need to turn schools into more of a fortress to protect the rights of a few than I have to ask if someone has really thought this through.

Want to protect your home and family from intruders? A shotgun works quite well.

I have heard some say that the right to bear arms protects us from an oppressive government. Well that argument worked years ago but it doesn’t fly real well now.

That is because if the military supported an “oppressive government ” they would crush people just as Syria is doing now. A trained military armed with the latest and greatest weapons isn’t something that you just overthrow.

So that argument doesn’t fly.

I would ask how we know bullying is on the rise? Do we have hard facts and figures?

I am not afraid of guns and I believe most gun owners are responsible, good people. But I am tired of giving high powered weapons to people who don’t need them.

It is not necessary and it is time to tone down the rhetoric on both sides.
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Jack Durish December 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

What is an “assault rifle”? What does it have to do with the tragedy in Conn? It is truly sad how the term is bandied about following mass shootings. It gets in the way of rational discussion.

Also, why is it that when anyone attempts to have a rational discussion, they are told to “tone down the rhetoric”? I have written nothing disrespectful, only disagreeable to those who have an ideological agenda that they are taking this “opportunity” to pursue.

When have I advocated that “citizens need assault rifles or automatic weapons”? Just for clarification, all military assault rifles fire automatically; that is, the weapon will fire repeatedly as long as the trigger is pulled and it doesn’t run out of ammunition. There are semi-automatic versions of assault rifles, but these are not “assault rifles”.

You say that you have heard that “some say that the right to bear arms protects us from an oppressive government” and then go on to say that “it doesn’t fly now”. I haven’t heard that mentioned in the discussion of the recent tragedy, but if you feel that it’s necessary to address it, here goes… (sorry for spamming those who don’t want to hear this). The armed citizenry of the United States represents the third largest “army” in the world. Anyone who would consider assaulting us must take this into consideration. For example, after destroying the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, the mainland of the United States was vulnerable to invasion. We had no standing army to speak of. The Navy was decimated. The Air Force did not yet exist. Japanese imperial officers speaking after the war, responded that they feared America’s armed citizenry and that is why they did not attack.

In today’s age of war by terrorists, it is a consideration for them as well. They have made repeated attempts to assault us with clandestine attacks (most thwarted thankfully) but none as open as in England, Spain, etc.

As to our own government, yes, we have a proud traditional of changing governments, regularly, without violence. However, you must admit that the tradition is severely strained these days. The progressives never accepted the legitimacy of the Bush Administration and many conservatives don’t accept the legitimacy of the Obama Administration. This is something new. In the past, all Americans respected their President, no matter how vehemently they may have disagreed with them or wished their own scoundrel had won. (The exception, of course, being that the slave-owning states never accepted the legitimacy of the Lincoln Administration and mounted an armed insurrection to fight it.)

As to your comments regarding the fact that armies are ready to put down armed insurrections as witnessed in Syria, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t compare. In other countries, armies bear allegiance to their leaders. In the United States, every sailor, soldier, and airman bears allegiance to the Constitution and only obeys the lawful orders. Check out Oath Keepers for a more detailed discussion.

You’ll have to do your own research on bullying (as I did for myself). I’m running out of steam here and worrying that angry masses will soon appear at my doorstep for spamming them too much already.

When y’all get past this emotional response (and I get past mine) I hope that we have some energy left to discuss rational responses to mass shootings and similar tragedies. Obviously (to anyone who looks at the situation and the evidence surrounding it) implementing gun bans is not the answer.

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Josh December 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Jack,

I appreciate a civil discussion so let’s go a few steps further.

What is an “assault rifle”? What does it have to do with the tragedy in Conn? It is truly sad how the term is bandied about following mass shootings. It gets in the way of rational discussion.

If you want to get into a game of semantics I can play that too. It doesn’t really serve any purpose or further the discussion. But let’s go on to your next ‘graph.

Just for clarification, all military assault rifles fire automatically; that is, the weapon will fire repeatedly as long as the trigger is pulled and it doesn’t run out of ammunition. There are semi-automatic versions of assault rifles, but these are not “assault rifles”

Why do people need such a weapon? Remember, I didn’t say I wanted to ban all guns. I said I don’t see a reason for many such as the ones you are talking about here.

For example, after destroying the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, the mainland of the United States was vulnerable to invasion. We had no standing army to speak of. The Navy was decimated. The Air Force did not yet exist. Japanese imperial officers speaking after the war, responded that they feared America’s armed citizenry and that is why they did not attack.

I already addressed this. We aren’t talking about the past because it has little to no bearing in this discussion. Technology has made it moot.

As to your comments regarding the fact that armies are ready to put down armed insurrections as witnessed in Syria, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t compare. In other countries, armies bear allegiance to their leaders. In the United States, every sailor, soldier, and airman bears allegiance to the Constitution and only obeys the lawful orders.

It absolutely compares. There isn’t always a uniform agreement about how to interpret the Constitution and if you use the Civil War as background we can make a case for how our military might be willing to take on civilian forces.

And the point remains, an unleashed military will destroy civilians.

I am not really worried about this, just pointing out the fallacy of the argument in saying people need guns to protect against an oppressive government.

You’ll have to do your own research on bullying (as I did for myself)

Jack, that is ridiculous. You can’t cite “facts” and refuse to provide support. It is like me saying the 87% of people who own Bushmasters have IQs of 3 and are inbreeders from Appalachia.

If you can’t support it, don’t say it.
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Jack Durish December 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

For the sake of those who have made the mistake of subscribing to this discussion thread, let’s agree to disagree.

We agree that the tragedy is awful and if upsets all of us.

We would like to find a way of preventing recurrences to the greatest degree possible.

You want to belabor the gun issue as though it is meaningful to the discussion.

I want to let emotions calm down and then seek out causes and effects that we can reasonably enforce.

If you respond to disagree with this, I can’t think of anything else to say. It’s a waste of time and my life.

Peace to you all

Craig McBreen December 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

Thank you, Josh. I certainly couldn’t have said it any better.

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Ralph December 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Hi Jack,

I completely and utterly disagree with what you are saying.

There is stringent gun control in Canada. My father was an avid hunter and gave his weapons up because of the restrictive nature of registration and control in this country. One example but a good one because as a child those guns were accessible to me. I even took them out to goof off with my friends. Fortunately for us we didn’t have the guts to load them. Sure, the responsibility lied with my father to avoid such accessibility but until the 1980′s it existed.

Let me ask you, when was the last time that such a tragedy happened in another country? I can’t remember the last time there was such a blatant act of aggression in this country let alone the frequency of it in the US. The American people are kidding themselves. Toronto, Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural city had 27 shooting death out of 45 murders for a population of close to 5 million. http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/30/by-the-numbers-torontos-murder-drops-sharply-in-2011/ Do you think we got there because of the need to bear arms and defend ourselves?

Do you want to turn the US into a military state? Arm the teachers, really?

How about investing some of that military budget into education? Take a look at what’s broken and realize arming citizens to defend against aggression is not the way forward. Children and adults together need to learn to defend against violence through community, education and understanding the systemic issues that drives these aggressive acts.

Yes, I am one of those liberal yuppie upper-class city dwellers.
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Jack Durish December 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

You may disagree and I respect that. However, you will never dissuade me from my opinion without relevant evidence. Citing the experience in Canada is evidence of nothing. Indeed, the evidence you provided in your link does not demonstrate any correlation between Canada’s gun control laws and the incidence of violent crimes. It merely says here is one thing and here is another without providing any correlation.

Consider the following correlation: The incidence of bullying in schools in America has risen alarmingly coincidental with the enforcement of “zero tolerance.” (Victims are treated the same as perpetrators.) What are we teaching children? Simply, they do not have a right to defend themselves. If they do, they are punished. If they don’t, they have to hope that an adult authority will intervene and save them. If not, they can report the incident and then be ostracized by their peers for “snitching.” Helluva choice, isn’t it?

Taking away guns is tantamount to the same thing. We lose the right to defend ourselves.

Turn America into a military state? How silly. There are schools in America where teachers carry concealed. They are properly trained. There has never been such a tragedy. That’s a significant correlation.

There are jurisdictions in America that have recently allowed citizens to carry concealed. Crime of all types has fallen. Another significant correlation.

The jurisdictions in America that have the most stringent gun control laws have experienced the highest rates of violent crime. Chicago. Washington, DC. Et al. The most interesting correlation.

If I there were any evidence whatsoever that tougher gun laws would stop these tragedies, I would be marching beside you in favor of them. Unfortunately, that is not true.

Even more unfortunate is that the public is wasting their energy, energy that we need to solve this problem, on emotion motivations such as the fear of guns.

Now, I understand the emotional response to this tragedy. I wish the perpetrator could be brought back to life and made to suffer. I wish even more that the victims could have their lives restored to them. I especially understand the need to vent these emotions. I feel them, too. But, I’m also angry at those who use a tragedy like this to espouse a political agenda. They’re opportunists who probably don’t feel the pain as much as you and I.

Respectfully submitted.

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Craig McBreen December 19, 2012 at 4:56 am

Jack,

I’m not one who says we need to remove all guns from existence. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible people, I realize that.

But this kid had an assault rifle and killed 20 innocent children. I don’t care what anyone says, weapons of this type should not be handled by anyone with the exception of the military or police. According to reports, Lanza had hundreds of rounds and used multiple high capacity magazines when he went on the rampage at the elementary school.

There is something seriously wrong when weapons of this type are available to purchase relatively easily.

Anyway, my post was focused on people taking advantage of the situation and the common vitriol that comes from both sides. I certainly respect what you’ve written here, but I can’t imagine that some level of gun control (semi-automatic as Joe suggested) would not help.

A common sense, pragmatic solution. Right?

Again: A kid killed other kids. He had hundreds of rounds and used multiple high capacity magazines when he went on the rampage at the elementary school.

So I do think common sense will finally prevail. At least I hope it does. It really is time to tone it down and come up with solutions.

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Julie Barrett December 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

Hi Craig, At core I think we’ve lost our moral center. It’s no longer okay to speak our minds and say what we think – someone is more than ready to shout us down. What about a basic, human-centered focus? Not a gun focus or a mental institution focus or a financial focus, but an “everyone is entitled to these basic human rights” focus. With a large dose of common sense.
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Craig McBreen December 20, 2012 at 2:14 am

Hi Julie,

I certainly like that approach. I think the news media perpetuates this problem. Like I mentioned in my post, they try to fit people into neat little boxes … Liberal vs. Conservative. Redneck vs. Yuppie. Ted Nugent vs. Michael Moore, etc. Lots of shouting and diatribes. Ratings and sensationalism with little substance.

Thanks for the visit!

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Ralph December 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Craig.

This tragedy pisses me off. I think that it’s yet another in a long list of terrible events that with appropriate gun control could have been contained or prevented. Nothing saying that the young man who committed this act of extreme aggression wasn’t suffering in some hell of his own but the mere fact that the access to weapons of any kind is so easy will make it difficult to change the tide in your fair country.

A sea change is necessary.

I don’t have the answers but as I mentioned to Mr. Durish I strongly believe education is lacking in both our countries in dealing with acts of aggression. Community and education only seems to mean something when a tragedy strikes. When will we as a society realize that enough is enough? Imagine what the US would look like if it had gun control laws similar to Canada? I shudder to think of the political backlash if such a proposal was put forth.

My lord! What to do? Maybe a shift in thinking needs to start as grass roots.
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Jack Durish December 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

This tragedy pisses off everyone. If there were any evidence that discussing guns, banning guns, controlling guns, or anything else to do with guns would prevent such tragedies, I would be right there with you. Unfortunately, there is no rational support for this. Furthermore, all the hysteria over guns only detracts from valid attempts to address the real issues and find some solution.

When will we decide enough is enough? Heaven only knows. Look, we’ve seen children being murdered by the hundreds in our cities on a daily basis. Most were killed by handguns. Where’s the outrage? The outrage only seems to occur when it occurs in a “respectable community”.

Oh, we are educating our children about aggression. See my comments about bullying. Before the gun, the world was ruled by bullies. In every jurisdiction where we ban guns or severely limit access, crime rises, just as bullying has risen where “zero tolerance” is enforced — where children are not allowed to defend themselves.

Yes, change is needed. We need to stop wasting our time running around hysterically and come up with real definitions of the real problem.

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Craig McBreen December 20, 2012 at 2:24 am

Hi Ralph,

“My lord! What to do? Maybe a shift in thinking needs to start as grass roots.”

–I think you nailed it. I do think this will be the tipping point and grass roots translates to more than a few grieving parents who might turn this tragedy into action and they will be supported by a populace that is fed up. But I also think this is an issue where the right and left might actually come together for pragmatic solutions which will have to be about some level of gun control. If someone can’t see why we don’t need this I simply can’t comprehend their thought process.

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Tim Bonner December 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi Craig

I wrote something similar on another blog but from an outsiders point of view, coming from the UK, I think the right to bear arms is somewhat dubious.

Gun ownership should be purely for those with a genuine need or at a push with gun club membership. Yes, some people are always going to get hold of a gun but at least the lessons from the rest of the world prove that gun crime figures would, in the long term, also decrease in the US if guns were more strictly controlled.

I remember the last time there was a tragedy like this in the UK and that was in 1996 in Dunblane. Terrible and something I hope will never happen again because of the laws that were put in place here afterwards.

I get that people want to protect their homes; indeed there has been recent legislation passed in the UK to bolster the use of force if someone breaks into your home. But that should not and does not include guns.

What is this ‘we lose the right to protect ourselves’ if you lose the right to bear arms?If you really do think that aggressively you shouldn’t own a gun. Irresponsible, unbelievable and scary! That thought process needs to change and quickly. You know, really change the way people are educated about guns.

Common sense needs to prevail.
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Craig McBreen December 20, 2012 at 2:31 am

Hi Tim,

“The lessons from the rest of the world prove that gun crime figures would, in the long term, also decrease in the US if guns were more strictly controlled.”
–Yes, this is so obvious yet some refuse to see it.

I get that people want to protect their homes too. I also understand sportsmen, hunters, etc., but military grade weapons on the streets is quite insane.

Common sense does need to prevail and I think (hope) it finally will regarding this issue.

Thanks for the comments.

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Mary Stephenson December 21, 2012 at 2:32 am

Hi Craig

When someone tells me they need a gun to defend themselves, I must ask the following.
You buy a gun to protect you, your family and your belongings, that means you are willing to kill someone. What happens if you are wrong? Are you willing to go to jail for the rest of your life? If someone steals your gun and kills someone, are you willing to be responsible for that death? If not, you should not own a gun.

Mary
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Jens P. Berget December 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm

It seems that the discussions are about culture and power, and of course it’s about politics as well. We had a similar tragedy in Norway on 22. July last year even though almost not a single person in Norway have a gun. Not even the cops are allowed to have guns in Norway. But, after the tragedy, not a single person said that people should be allowed to buy guns. It’s not natural for us (living in Norway) to own guns.
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Craig McBreen December 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hi Jens,

I remember that bombing and shooting rampage, probably the worst Scandinavia has seen. I also remember the gunman didn’t receive the death sentence or even life in prison. Pretty amazing considering what happened. But the citizens of Norway are correct in their beliefs. More availability just increases the likelihood that events like this wold occur more frequently.

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