Two Ways to Reduce Gun Violence.

Via on Dec 14, 2012

Photo: Imgur. “Elementary school class in Israel.” comments via Reddit: “That is a parent accompanying a school trip that is taking place outside of the school. Teachers do not walk around carrying rifles in Israeli schools.” “Yep, that’s important. There’s an armed guard on every school gate though.” “Sometimes the guards are parent/grandparent volunteers.”

The answer to Shooting Tragedies is Less Media Hype, Reasonable Gun Restrictions.

Regarding the latest Shooting in America, the Gun-Happiest Nation on Earth.

When will we get tired of reading this kind of news, of the genuine grief and media emotionalism and hype…and actually do something about gun violence in this country? At least we’re beginning to shift away from distracting our police service with pot.

School and other public shootings happen everywhere in the world, of course, but Americans tend to think the answer to gun violence is more guns.

Via an editorial in the NY Times, the kind of compassionate, commonsense view that we see too little beneath the hype:

“…the gun lobby, timid politicians and the Supreme Court continue to aid and abet rampant gun violence that is nothing less than domestic terrorism, carried out with weapons of mass destruction that are too freely owned and carried…”

~

Elementary school mass shooting took place in a Kindergarten classroom. At least 27 dead, 14 children. (live.reuters.com)

1. Top comment/question on Reddit: click for comments, discussion.

So at any point in this national tragedy are we going to talk about putting more money into identifying and treating mental illness?

For those out of the loop:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/14/shooting-reported-at-connecticut-elementary-school/?hpt=hp_t1

Edit: Holy shit, I kind of did something on Reddit! I fired off this question when I first read the story because I was pissed and shocked. Now I feel like I have to explain myself because a few people have actually read it.

A little background:

-I own and frequently shoot firearms. I like guns a lot. I don’t think we should be able to buy assault rifles or get handguns with clip capacities greater than 10 rounds for exactly these reasons; it makes it somewhat harder for people to do as much damage when they snap. I more mag change = 5 more seconds may = 1 fewer dead kid. I do not think outlawing or severely restricting guns would do fuck-all to solve any problems.

-I have mentally ill family members (schizophrenia and depression, if it matters). I really liked psych in college but I am not a mental health professional.

-I have a 4 y/o daughter, and I actually had tears in my eyes when I read this story. First time I’ve ever felt this strong reading a news story (for those of you that think its karma-whoring, fuck you, you fucking fucks. That is all. If you have kids, you’ll understand how strongly someone can feel without even thinking about an “agenda”).

My first thought was that we should arm teachers and hell, why not kids too? My daughter will sure as hell learn to shoot. But the bottom line is that there is a certain percentage of our society that are physiologically/psychologically broken, and no amount of preparation will enable us to anticipate all their messed-up plans. I know, in the sub-coccles of my heart, that there will always be screwed up people that come up with ways to do horrible shit. There is no way for any species to eradicate that part of their population. Biology is imperfect.

Mental health is woefully underfunded and not talked about enough in our society. It still carries stigmas that prevent people from seeking help or getting help for others. I have a family member that I tried to have committed years ago because he was at rock-bottom, but because he wasn’t dangerous and didn’t have insurance, I couldn’t do a thing because he was 23. He left home and we haven’t heard from him in years.

There is no extreme end of this debate that I agree with. No, just throwing money at mental health won’t solve everything. People will still commit atrocities w/out prior indication of instability. Screening the entire population or segregating anyone with an illness is asinine.

But we need to start to start somewhere. Mental health is not a hot-button issue, and the political forces will be talking a lot about gun control and lots of other band-aids over the coming days and weeks.

I started this thread because I was pissed and stupefied that people are capable of shit like this.

I want the media to quit interviewing 3rd graders and start talking about funding mental health programs, which I think is a large part of this recurring problem that has been way under-discussed.

Edit 2: Jesus Christ gun brothers, MAGAZINE!! Sorry, for fucks sake!! I really do shoot, I swear. Breech, barrel muzzleflash, ballistic coefficient, Sig, CZ, 30-06, other vocab, etc.

Edit 3: Clarifications: -I posted this around 3:00 when many details weren’t known. Didn’t know the shooter, whether he was ill, what guns he used, or any of that.

-I didn’t start this to be about gun control. My whole point was that the media and national attention would focus primarily on that, and I thought the mental health issue would be swept under the rug. We’ll see, I guess.

-I most certainly don’t think the vast majority of menatlly ill people are dangerous to themselves or others. But I don’t think sane people kill others, either.

-For the love of God, no, I don’t think we should arm children and adults. As you may have noticed, I said “My first thought…”. Then I had more thoughts. Then some more. Some were about the new Doug Stanhope show I just downloaded. Others weren’t. Doug might say if you want to kill a ton of people then yourself, start with yourself. Then again, he’s tough to predict.

-Everyone who has PM’d me has been really cool. How come the jackasses want to be so public about it? Yeesh.

-Final thought: This, like many issues, is complex and has many facets. Solely addressing gun control, or mental health, or homeschooling kids, or stopping the Socialist conspiracy, or any other single thing won’t solve a very complex problem. But we have to start somewhere. Maybe we start with your thing, maybe we start with mine. But let’s definitely start with one of them.

Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.

Above, the whole of the top of NY Times is taken over by this morning’s shooting.

Via Youtube, Top Quote via Reddit:

2. The Sandy Hook Elementary murders will be covered on the news for weeks to come. But if you ask a forensics psychiatrist, we shouldn’t. (Video)

Roger Ebert (the movie critic) made the same point in his review of the movie ‘Elephant’:

Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about ‘Basketball Diaries’?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.

The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. “Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.

EDIT: Thank you whoever for a month of Reddit gold, although I would have preferred to have received it for something else than quoting a brilliant man commenting on tragedy.

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7 Responses to “Two Ways to Reduce Gun Violence.”

  1. butercup says:

    Here's an idea: Make all schools across America be completely fenced with locked gates. If a madman wants to be violent they would first have to enter through the schools office. I would imagine at this point enough administrators would have enough time and have the resources available ie phone to contact local authorities for help. Allowing schools to have an open door policy is just stupid. It is the job of the school to make it their primary focus to keep kids safe, second is to educate. We can create a more safe enviornment for our children by doing so.

  2. [...] something on Reddit caught my eye. It was the thing that in all of the brewing conversations about gun control and mental illness, I had started to forget. I feel like I’m still scrambling around, trying [...]

  3. [...] President Obama seemed to agree, today. Let’s see if we can give our leaders the support they need to go out on the branch on this difficult question, and find ways to help reduce gun violence through meaningful, rational, commonsense gun control and better funded mental healthcare. [...]

  4. [...] are blaming poor gun control laws while others complain that we aren’t focusing on the real issues and are instead [...]

  5. [...] of the world. Day after day, death and destruction loom around ever corner. In most recent weeks guns seem to be the horrible hot topic. I am saddened to think this is what I get to hand over to my children. Hate. Destruction. Fear. [...]

  6. [...] Those who promote their right to have guns see their right to “defend themselves” at all costs, to be more important than the cost of innocent lives that result from using guns. If we take away guns from the equation, we are left with a much safer society. [...]

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