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Elementary school shooting

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Sloth, 14 Dec 2012.

  1. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    As readers of Serious may already be aware, this Friday saw a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 children among 26 victims of Connecticut school shooting. It's needless to say that it's a tragedy. But the question that comes to mind is, of course, why? What is the cause of this random violence, and how can it be prevented in the future?

    The "why" in particular is something which I certainly don't understand and am perplexed about, but which seems to be more or less overlooked or simply shoved off into the corner to make room for the other questions. "He's crazy, that's what crazy people with guns do" seems to be the common idea. But it can't be that simple. The disproportionate number of shootings that take place at schools is strong evidence that a common cause is driving these gunmen, who themselves are often similar in age hinting at perhaps more commonalities, to do what they do where they do. In this particular case the gunman's mother is suspected as a target. Aside from his motive to kill her, what is the motive to do so at a school, her place of employment, while taking so many others with her? I can't claim to understand it and post this for discussion in the hopes that maybe some ideas are built, but do believe that the key to preventing these shootings lies in finding what makes a gunman and figuring out how to avoid that in the future.

    The other question, the how can we stop this, is the much bigger question, at least in the media. Much discussion immediately jumps to where did the law fail us, and how can gun legislation be made tighter to prevent things from happening. As I complained about previously this strikes me as simply trying to relieve the symptons the problem rather than cure it. However, it's unavoidable and is going to be a major issue regardless and so is worth discussing.

    The main thing that comes to mind when gun control comes up, particularly when there's are high emotion incidents such as 20 dead school children, is misinformation. Fear and unwillingness to learn about firearms leads to common buzzwords getting thrown around, truths being stretched when readers aren't aware of the facts, and much of the legislation we currently have in the US which fails to stop criminals, despite imposing strict limitations on law abiding citizens.

    Naturally conflicting reports and incomplete information has spread from this incident. From the CNN article:
    This is one of the better reports but still brings up the problem of: what does that mean? As one interested in firearms and recreational shooting these are common names and words, but what does the "average American" see? Consider the first firearm: "Semi-automatic" contains the word automatic, does that mean you can hold down the trigger and spray bullets? Is .223 some powerful cartridge which serves no other purpose than killing children, and what's a Bushmaster? In actuality it's almost certainly an AR-15 type rifle, common among recreational shooters, hunters and collectors and the basis for the US military's M16. Any American (and indeed many citizens of the world) would recognize its silhouette. How about the second: "a Glock". Nothing but a name [unfairly, in my opinion] linked to such an evil act. There are many manufacturers with similar handguns which are just as lethal but when it comes to legislation time what is the word fresh in people's minds? Glock. The same goes for the third fiream: Sig Sauer. Again, just a manufacturer. It's somewhat implied that this is referring to one of their handgun models. Any similar handgun is just as lethal, but now the name is fresh in people's minds. Both manufacturers produce handguns which are safely owned by many recreational shooters and are often used to protect people in the hands of military, law enforcement, and carrying civilians.

    It's something which we've seen before, and quite recently with the Fort Hood shooting. In that incident the gunman used the notorious FN FiveseveN "cop-killer" handgun. Immediately after there were calls to ban this gun by name. In that case the average citizen was not aware of and did not understand that the armor piercing variants of the 5.7x28mm cartridge are not sold to civilians, and that banning the firearm wouldn't stop other (currently non-existent) firearms chambered for this same cartridge being produced. It's that type of fear induced but ultimately ineffective legislation which I am afraid of.

    How about another article, one which actually spreads misinformation rather than simply providing easy to misunderstand but accurate information:
    Expert: Conn. Gun Laws Need Background Checks, Limit On Guns Purchased At Once Following School Shooting
    . This one is from an "Expert" apparently which tells an unknowning reader to trust its firearm information which is quite worrying considering what an average reader might take away from it and how that reader might develop opinions based on it.
    Now, this isn't entirely inaccurate but it's extremely vague and misleading. Notice this conflicts with CNN's report of a "semi-automatic .223 Bushmaster". Well, the .223 Remington cartridge is often called a ".22" and a rifle with a 16" or greater barrel is a "Long Rifle" as opposed to a "Short Barrelled Rifle". But what sounds similar to that? The .22 Long Rifle cartridge. With the term ".22 Long Rifle" thrown around it's entirely possible for a reader to think that a rifle chambered in the much less powerful .22LR cartridge should be banned because it's similar to the one used in the shootings.

    Another quote:
    This is either completely innacurate, or extremely easy to misunderstand. Under federal law "assault" weapons and .50 caliber rifles are legal. Perhaps there are state laws that prevent them, but this is not stated and can misinform readers, particularly ones from other states. An "assault" weapon is simply a term used to describe weapons with several basic features such as a flash hider, collapsible stock, over 10 round magazine capacity and, in public opinion, colored black. Typically anything banned in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. As for .50 caliber rifles, they are the maximum that can be legally owned without additional licenses. Anything over is considered a destructive device by the ATF and is restricted. Now, I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps by "you're not supposed to have" he's assuming that we're talking about someone who would fail and otherwise required background check but this is extremely vague and misleading since this is not clarified.

    So there's all sort of misinformation out there, but what makes sense? What's the good legislation? Well, it would seem that current legislation has been working fairly well: U.S. violent crime up for first time in years . This again goes back to my argument of looking for the cause first. With such a sudden surge in violent crime, particularly firearm related, it begs the question of why. But that seems to be a bit of a pipe dream. Something will proabably be done, so what do I think is best case scenario to come out of it? Considering that my opinion is firearms are just tools to be used as the wielder desires I'm in favor of, if legislation must be made, placing no further restrictions on firearms themselves and instead focusing on the purchasing. Simple background checks on all firearms aren't a particularly great hassle for law-abiding citizens and can catch felons and past/current criminals. Mental health checks for things like concealed pistol licenses are present in some states and could be made more widespread. But ultimately I believe all legislation should be made with the understanding that criminals don't follow the law. Teens/young adults can use firearms owned by parents even if you make laws saying they can't own them personally. Make laws saying background checks are required for private sales and they can be ignored. Ban certain features and you deal with grandfathered firearms, illegal imports, and illegal modifications. In order to really stop anything you need a UK-style lockdown. Since that [hopefully] won't happen in the US my hopes are that the focus can be shifted to preventing criminal behaviour and increasing understanding of gun safety.
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2012
  2. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    All I know is that in countries where firearms are unavailable to the general public, school shootings and other incidences of nutters going amok with guns occur significantly less often. There is also a nice study in the US demonstrating that gun crime is correlated with the availability of cheap guns.

    You you can write a lengthy, thoughtful post about the possible psychological, societal and media dynamics of school shootings, but the ready availability of guns is a major contributing factor. Denial is not a river in Egypt.
     
    3lusive likes this.
  3. smc8788

    smc8788 ...at least I have chicken

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    That may be the case (and I do agree), but guns are readily available in many other countries yet school shootings in particular seem to be something unique to the US (not that they don't happen elsewhere, but compare the frequency of them in the US compared to the rest of the world). I don't know the reasons behind it but it can't just be the availability of firearms, it seems to be something that is embedded in US culture.
     
  4. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    Dude, there was a time when i thought:
    Then i saw the prices of guns in the US and went WTF.
    Seriously you really want gun crime to go down when you can get weapons that easily and cheap?
    Lets try going the other direction then, since the US does not want sensible gun laws, lets arm every single f***ing citizen! That way when a psyco starts shooting at your school you can shoot back! Lets do it the "American way!"
     
  5. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

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    Living in America there's one thing that people forget. I'm all for actual gun control, but the fact that there's a rather large second hand munitions market makes it very difficult to really control guns. It's kind of a too late issue at this point because we have stupidly and unwisely allowed guns to be proliferated widely throughout the states for years.
     
  6. TheDodoKiller

    TheDodoKiller Active Member

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    I think the gun ownership thing is almost bred into some people stateside. I think I saw on that TV show, American Guns, that the guy's priorities are: God, Family, Guns.

    I think you'd struggle to find another first world culture where guns are so prevalent in the culture. The only place where a significant public attack occurred was 'recently' in Finland, which was a shooting in a Town called Hyvinkaa. Even then, *only* two were killed. (Mind you, it had me worried, a friend of mine lives there)

    Again, looking at Finland, there have been 2 school shootings since 2006 - Fortunately, few were lost. Prior to this, the only school shooting was in 1989.

    I can only assume these people are able to aquire arms way easier in the US. For instance, take a look at the number of guns per capita in various countries. By far, the greatest number is in the US.

    I think what is another issue is what leads these people to commit such atrocities, and what makes them, generally, kill themselves after the incident.

    I don't think the world needs tighter gun control, moreover, more prevention and detection methods of the symptoms of mental illnesses that would lead young people to commit these crimes. I respect the fact that the Americans have 'The right to bear arms' but, as always, with great power comes great responsibility, and certainly, these people that committed these crimes, had no responsibility for their own actions.
     
  7. Zener Diode

    Zener Diode User Title

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    Here we go again. This story is all over Reddit, every media outlet, every forum; just like the Aurora massacre or any of the shootings before that.

    Don't get disgusted until you hear me out. Every day 150,000 people die (according to Wolfram Alpha). I know many of them are old/natural causes etc. and I'm going to sound insensitive but whatever number died in any school shooting is really relatively insignificant. Of course it's significant to family and relatives, but I live thousands of miles away, why am I hearing about it? Rhetorical question. It's because (we've all heard this before), it makes for sensational news. That's why we'll hear about it for weeks to come. You know, I'd bet that a lot more than 30 people die in automotive accidents every single day, but there isn't the same hype, people aren't panicking even though it's going to happen again tomorrow and every other day. The real problem with this is that many of these massacres seem to be, to some degree, fueled by the attention they will receive. I bet it wouldn't be so common if it didn't bring worldwide notoriety to the shooter.

    As for guns being a contributing factor; yeah, I'm not so excited about the availability of guns (particularly) in the US. Any issue with guns, of course, is fundamentally an issue with people. Having a system where people (even if they aren't 100% sound of mind) can obtain firepower far beyond what is justified for any practical purpose other than killing other people, is asking for trouble. The guns issue is more complex though, and it's really only a catalyst. If someone is going to go into a school and shoot 20+ people, I don't want them around whether they're armed or not.

    All that being said, both the guns and the media are just catalysts. I'd guess this sort of thing has existed throughout history. People don't just go from being fine to committing mass murder without some mental health issues in between.

    Why do the US have the highest number of these kind of shootings? Maybe it's a healthcare system problem.
     
  8. trig

    trig god's little mistake

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    one of the things i could never understand about the people on the forum of this site is how it always comes back to the same **** for you people...all about "americans" and gun control...
    20 children were murdered today...not accidentally in car crashes or explosions from gas leaks or w/e other reasons zener points out...murdered...thats the problem here....thats the sad part and that should be the focus for you morons...but it's not...it's always about a bunch of nerds sitting in their self-righteousness pointing a finger at one cause or another...trying to look intellectual and holier than thou...dont get me wrong, i cant stand seeing post after post and tv highlight after tv highlight of "so sad, my prayers are with them", because if god gave a damn, this wouldnt happen to children...but at least that's better than coming over here and seeing the same bs from you europeans as always...how about instead of posting your crap about your philosophical superiority, you just say something kind to the families and stfu...

    havent been on this site in forever, and was just hoping to go somewhere to vent without being bombarded about god and school...pointless coming here...
     
    Landy_Ed likes this.
  9. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    Its not at all too late - they surely wouldn't go away overnight no, but overtime they would get significantly less frequent.

    TBH there's nothing much to say on this topic. I have always posted in these threads about the availability of guns being such a significant contributing factor towards gun crime, but those who believe guns are something everybody should have will always believe that, no matter how many children are shot dead in the meantime. If you feel you are only safe with a deadly weapon on you, then you are living in a bad place, and should make every effort to move.
     
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I'm sorry that you feel that way, but the thread on this topic was started with a ten-paragraph treaty on gun apologism. "Oh, the humanity! What makes nutters behave so? We must do something --but it's not the guns, right? It's not about the ubiquitous, easy availability of guns. Nobody touch our guns".

    We are just calling the OP on his ********. All the statistics and research on this subject demonstrate that, all things being equal, the easy availability of guns increased gun crime drastically. It may feel the wrong time to have this debate to you. Perhaps you'd rather blame video games again. But why can we not talk about the gun problem precisely when guns are being a problem?
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2012
  11. Porkins' Wingman

    Porkins' Wingman Can't touch this

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    Last I heard this was a debate forum, but you want us to fill it with vacuous condolences...? No thanks. And wtf would kind words achieve?

    Most people over 25 can probably appreciate that it's the years between 15-25 where your psyché is most impressionable, volatile, vulnerable to paranoia and social marginalisation. Take someone in that age range, piss them off and don't give them a reason to care about consequences, and they're capable of almost anything. Let them get their hands on firearms and a nasty ending is frequently going to result.

    I'll avoid launching into a tl:dr but as populations increase societies are likely to become increasingly fragmented - you might be able to keep 5 million teens on the wagon but it only takes one to fall and get lost for stuff like this to happen. In the West we're involuntarily born into a social system and given little choice but to go along with it. You find enough things to piss you off about it and the urge to strike out and protest in some way can get pretty strong.
     
  12. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    You stole my line.

    As for trig's reaction I can understand it. Often times discussions results in gun owners and the second amendment being attacked (then followed by an all out attack on the American, more so the Southern culture, in which a man once had to be able to both fence and shoot with a pistol) rather than anyone actually trying to adress and figure out the cause of these shootings.
     
  13. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    The issue is that we are humans, and all of us have psychical problems (smaller or bigger). Some vent it out in sports, some by playing computer games, others by various other means; and then there is rest of people who just accumulate their anger until they psyche "explodes" - most of them end up commiting suicide and the rest just want to take others with themselves or make a statement. These are the ones who end up doing shootings.

    Combine that with the fact that it is much much easier to get a gun in US (easier than get beer) compared to the other first world countries, and you end up having much more shootings in US compared to the rest of the world.

    US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United_States - 317 dead
    Rest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting#Canada - Canada 28, Europe 104, Australia 3.

    So with 3/5th of the EU population you got three times more dead from school shootings. Sure it has nothing to do with the much higher percentage of gun owners.

    In short: you can't stop the insane (especially the ones without any signs before they go on rampage), but at least you can make it harder for them to do the damage. US decides not to do so, the result is higher damage. Your choice.

    I still wonder what is wrong (or against the constitution) with psychiatric tests before getting a gun permit, thus reducing the number of "insane" people having guns, while bringing up harsh penalties for the guns owned without permit (here in Slovakia you get 3-8 years in prison if you have a gun without a permit). I guess the reason is that many of the gun nuts would not get their permits.
     
  14. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    Part of the problem is the ease of getting a gun - you dont need a permit, if you want to go kill someone go steal one from someone else.
     
  15. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    If it is a constitutional right why not arm every child? That way the could defend themselves when this happens again...
     
  16. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    If a person is determined enough to kill people he will find a way of doing so, he would be committed enough, the availability of guns would not matter in that case. He would find one either way.

    This I believe we can agree upon.

    As for the state.

    It's not up to the state to decide whether you are mentally sound or not, it would be unwise to give them such amount of power, inevitably it would lead to abuse.


    As for the statistics I'm not going to argue them, simply because the argument could be made for anything in society.


    Either we advocate a free society, with limited interference from the state, or we advocate the opposite.
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2012
  17. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Then these massacres wouldn't happen right?

    No doubt if everyone had a gun on them at all times then these kind of things would never happen.
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2012
  18. Carrie

    Carrie Well-Known Member

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    If you had adequate gun control laws your point about a secondary munitions market would be irrelevant since exactly the same conditions would apply to it as apply to the primary, first purchase, market. The fact is you, as in Americans, do not have adequate controls in either market.

    You, as in Americans, are entirely responsible for your irresponsible gun laws so what do you expect other nations to say?

    I'm making an educated guess here that you have absolutely no idea of the gun control laws in the UK and the processes you have to go through to legally obtain fire arms. Well let me enlighten you:

    UK Firearms Licensing
    Frequently Asked Questions


    What’s the difference between a firearm and a shotgun?
    In simple terms, a firearm has a rifled barrel and fires bullets; a shot gun (or musket) is smooth bore and fires cartridges or blanks. However, a multi-shot shot gun (capable of holding one in the chamber and more than two in the magazine) or has a detachable magazine requires a firearm certificate as does a short barrelled (less than 24 inches) shot gun.

    How long does my certificate last for?

    Firearm - 5 years
    Shot gun - 5 years

    Do applicants have to prove why they want guns?
    Applicants for firearms have to show ‘good reason’ for possession of each and every firearm.

    How are applications refused or revoked?
    A firearm certificate may be refused or revoked if the applicant/holder is:

    A danger to public safety
    Of intemperate habits
    Of unsound mind
    Unfit to be entrusted with such a firearm
    No longer has ‘good reason’ for possession

    These decisions may be appealed at court.

    How does FET check ‘good reason’ for a possession of a firearm?
    All applications are subject to standard police checks. All applicants are visited by an FEO (firearms enquiry officer) to establish bona fides.

    What is a prohibited person?
    A person who has been sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a term of three years or more, is permanently prohibited from having any firearms or ammunition in their possession. This means for life and includes all firearms, even air weapons.

    A person sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training for a period of over three months but less than three years is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition for five years from date of release.

    It is an offence to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition to a person you have grounds to believe may be prohibited


    Do I need to declare previous convictions?
    Yes, including all traffic convictions and any convictions received abroad.

    What is the process for destroying or disposing of a firearm?
    If you own a firearm or shotgun which you wish to destroy rather than sell on then you may surrender it either to a gunsmith (registered firearms dealer) or to your local police station. You will need to take your certificate as proof of ownership and generally sign a disclaimer to the property.

    Can I own a handgun?

    Handguns are banned in England. This applies to any firearm with an overall length of less than 30 cm. However muzzle-loading handguns are permitted.

    What security is required for my firearm/shot gun and ammunition?

    An approved gun cabinet meeting British standard 7558 must be securely fitted to a solid brick wall

    http://www.met.police.uk/firearms_licensing/faqs.html

    And you are subject to premises checks to ensure you abide by storage regulations.

    So by your way of thinking, because it's inevitable that "he" will find a way it makes sense to make it easy for "him" does it? Would you condone giving him access to a "red buton" (to an atomic bomb)? No you wouldn't.

    As for state determination as to whether you are "fit" to hold a licence, so it damn well should be their responsibility if they are responsible for passing and by way of their employees (the police and courts) enforcing laws. See above for UK restriction which, as a nation in general, we are content with
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2012
  19. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    Civilian citizens do not work for the state, like police officers do. And no, the state should not be in a position in which they are to impose psychological evaluations of citizens who wish to obtain a firearm.

    That would be correct.

    By the way, Carrie. How do you feel about hunting knives?
     
  20. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Except there is a difference in a country where there is 88.8 guns per 100 people (USA) and 10-30 (rest of the first world countries). Where is it easier to get a gun illegally ? In a country where nearly everyone has one, or in a country where 1 in 10 to 3 in 10 has one ?

    I will not go in the debate about your definition of "free", but you can clearly see the results of your freedom. It is then up to society if what was one your right is not considered acceptable as before. You know, it was acceptable to have slaves in USA some time ago. Or for woman or afro-american not to have voting rights. Or being sent to prison/rehab for smoking marihuana. Or gay marriages not being allowed.
     

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