Friday, December 14, 2012

Debating the Causes of the Connecticut School Massacre

Content:  Violence

And then the discussions the Connecticut slaughter has started:

First, the conservative Christian fundamentalist politician Mike Huckabee tells us that the Connecticut school killings happened because God was locked out of schools:

HUCKABEE: Ultimately, you can take away every gun in America and somebody will use a gun. When somebody has an intent to do incredible damage, they’re going to find a way to do it… People will want to pass new laws, but unless you change people’s hearts, they’re our transition to the pastor side. This is a heard [sic] issue, it’s not something, laws don’t change this kind of thing.
CAVUTO: How could God let this happen?
HUCKABEE: Well, you know, it’s an interesting thing. When we ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place for carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, responsibility, accountability? That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us. But one day, we will stand in judgment before God. If we don’t believe that, we don’t fear that.

Poor, poor man.  I feel sorry for him, to be honest.  He's grasping at straws, given that the mass killers usually off themselves at the end of their feast.  Also, that heathen Europe is not seeing the expected numbers of mass killings at schools which would follow from Huckabee's theory.

But mostly I feel sorry for him because he is so failing in both Christian love and in his attempt to bolster the NRA message.  So is another wingnut, Bryan Fischer.

My conclusion:  Any number of dead children is an acceptable price for the freedom to bear arms.

My second conclusion:  This is NOT a "well-regulated militia" which is what the Second Amendment to the Constitution refers to.

Second, the Michigan Republicans (the Ringwraiths) said this:

Hours after the terrible shooting in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, the Michigan House Republicans issued demanded that Governor Rick Snyder (R) sign a bill that would make it easier for people to receive a gun permit and open up “gun free zones,” including schools. A statement attributed to Press Secretary Ari B. Adler shrugged off any link between guns in schools and school shootings:
What happened in Connecticut, however, is not because of nor related in any way to actions taken by the Michigan House yesterday in approving Senate Bill 59. …
It is the belief of many representatives in our caucus that it is criminals who have no intention of following any law that are the perpetrators of such heinous crimes as school shootings. Strict gun-control laws do not stop criminals from committing evil acts, they merely infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens who might be able to take action against evil if given the chance.

Fascinating.  Perhaps we should arm kindergarten students?  Teachers?  What kind of training would be required to guarantee that "well-regulated militia?"  And when it comes to following laws, note that the weapons in today's massacre were legally acquired. 

My conclusion:  Any number of dead children is an acceptable price for the freedom to bear arms.

My second conclusion:  This is NOT a "well-regulated militia" which is what the Second Amendment to the Constitution refers to.

And then there is this request from the Michigan Ringwraiths:

Adler’s statement concludes by saying “Regardless of where anyone stands on the gun-rights debate, however, we will encourage everyone to try to refrain from politicizing the tragedy in Connecticut.”
After he just politicized the tragedy? 

Third, given that the conservatives believe an armed society is a safer society, how about the actual listing of the mass killings in the recent decades?  Pay attention to which country staged most of them:

A gunman at a Connecticut elementary school has killed 27 people, including 20 children - one of the world's worst mass shootings. Here are some others:
    •    August 5 2012: Army veteran Wade Michael Page kills five men and one woman and wounds three other people, including a police officer, before taking his own life at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin outside Milwaukee.
    •    July 20 2012: At least 12 people are killed when a gunman enters a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, releases a canister of gas and then opens fire during the opening night of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. James Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged over the deaths.
    •    March 11 2012: Sixteen Afghan villagers, including nine children, are killed during a pre-dawn attack. Army prosecutors have charged Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 39.
    •    July 22 2011: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik kills 77 in Norway in twin attacks: a bombing in Oslo and a shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital. The self-styled anti-Muslim militant admitted both attacks.
    •    November 5 2009: Thirteen soldiers and civilians are killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walks into the Soldier Readiness Processing Centre at Fort Hood, Texas, and opens fire. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
    •    April 30 2009: Farda Gadyrov, 29, enters the prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in the capital, Baku, armed with an automatic pistol and clips. He kills 12 people before killing himself as police close in.
    •    March 10 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, kills 10 people - including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy - across two rural Alabama counties. He then kills himself.
    •    September 23 2008: Matti Saari, 22, walks into a vocational college in Kauhajoki, Finland, and opens fire, killing 10 people and burning their bodies with firebombs before shooting himself fatally in the head.
    •    November 7 2007: After revealing plans for his attack in YouTube postings, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen kills eight people at his high school in Tuusula, Finland.
    •    April 16 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
    •    April 26 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.
    •    April 20 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
    •    April 28 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people dead. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.
    •    March 13 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.
    •    October 16 1991: A deadly shooting rampage takes place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opens fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. Twenty others were wounded in the attack.
    •    June 18 1990: James Edward Pough shoots people at random in a General Motors Acceptance Corp office in Jacksonville, Florida, killing 10 and wounding four, before killing himself.
    •    December 6 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, bursts into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, shooting at women he encounters, killing nine and then himself.
    •    August 19 1987: Michael Ryan, 27, kills 16 people in small market town of Hungerford, England, and then shoots himself dead after being cornered by police.
    •    July 12 1976: Edward Charles Allaway, a custodian in the library of California State University, Fullerton, fatally shoots seven fellow employees and wounds two others.
    •    August 20 1986: Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shoots 14 people at a post office in Edmond, Oklahoma. He then kills himself.
    •    July 18 1984: James Oliver Huberty, an out-of-work security guard, kills 21 people in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California. A police marksman kills Huberty.
    •    August 1 1966: Charles Whitman opens fire from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31.

And yes, the mass killers listed here are all men and most of them young men.  Perhaps mental health care needs to face that issue better?  Perhaps guns shouldn't be so easy to acquire?  Perhaps we should stop glorifying violence in the popular culture views of ideal masculinity?  Time for some tough questions about entitlement

You can sign a petition for more serious gun control here.