It's the Guns, Stupid!

Patch blogger Robert Herbst gives his opinion on the American gun control debate.


On December 14, 2012, a day that would end the gun control debate among a sensible, rational citizenry, two horrific incidents occurred on opposite sides of the world. 

In Newtown, CT, Adam Lanza attacked 21 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old in an elementary school, killing 20 people, then killing himself.  In Chengping, in Henan Province, China, Min Yingjun attacked 22 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years in an elementary school, killing none, before being subdued.

Both men were obviously mentally deranged (who else would do this?), but the American kids died while the Chinese kids survived. While Lanza blazed away with guns, Min wielded only a knife. 

I am so sick of hearing the National Rifle Association and their gun-toting allies say “guns don’t kill people”; only people do.  Yesterday’s carnage should put that lie to rest forever. 

The Glock handgun and Bushmaster rifle, both capable of accommodating large magazines and firing off multiple rounds in seconds, permitted Lanza to cut down those poor little kids in minutes and to stop anyone who approached with thoughts of subduing him. 

That unstoppable killing power came solely from the assault weaponry that our freedom-loving and gun-loving American society freely provided him.  Shame on us!   

I am also so tired of hearing the NRA apologists say that we have to concentrate our efforts on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.  We all know there is no way to do that, even if we Americans really gave a damn about mental health treatment, which we don’t pay for and don’t support. 

The guns Lanza used did not even belong to him, but to his mother, who was not mentally-disturbed and able to purchase them legally.  Why she wanted to do that, I don’t know, and now, of course, we cannot ask her, killed by her own gun in the hands of her son. What a nightmare.

I saw the President’s four-minute emotional statement Sunday, speaking again (as he has before) “as a parent, not as a President.”  I have no problem with his tears; he cares.  But I and others did not elect him to be First Parent.  We elected him to be President, and to do something about the policies that need changing. 

His spokespeople were plain wrong to say that the days following the shooting 'was not the time to talk about gun control,' or to “politicize” the tragedy. 

That’s what they said the last time, and the last time before that, and before that. 

The day never came for the President to talk about what to do about it. 

This tragedy, and the ones before that, are political, because they arise from flawed policies, which arise from our flawed, dysfunctional politics. 

I know that President Obama is in critical negotiations with the Republicans on trying to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, and this particular tragedy comes at a bad time, but there are 20 little bodies still lying in the Sandy Park Elementary School, crying out for action now.

Because there is no one to prosecute, the crime-scene photos in this case will probably never be seen.  The only people to be traumatized by the sight of the dead are likely to be the first responders who were required to endure it.  That is too bad.  We all should have to look upon what we have wrought, to let it sink in, to never forget what it is like in real life when guns mow down our little ones.  Maybe then we will get motivated, once and for all, to get rid of them.  

Bjorn Olsson January 02, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Unfortunately this theory does not seem to be working that well so far. The US has more guns than any Western nation, and way more gun deaths.
FJT January 02, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Bjorn, I think every decent person would like to see violent gang members, who exist in most of our cities and have private arsenals, brought under control. But, in the US, gangs have only proliferated over the years. Take a look at Chicago. Very tough gun laws, but the criminal gangs run rampant with little or no fear. I wonder why they're tolerated when they're not exactly law-abiding citizens -- quite the opposite and they're very well-armed. Why is no one talking about disarming them? It seems the news media's focus is on exposing law-abiding people who happen to own registered firearms, as if they're the reason for most of the gun violence in the US. Why is that? Why must decent people, who may be living in sketchy neighborhoods, be forced to become easy prey for indecent people who are practically allowed to engage in criminal activity unfettered? Why must our kids be sitting ducks because you and others think it's ridiculous for schools to have armed personnel on site? You've been quick to comment and quick to question those with whom you disagree, but you've yet to offer a sensible solution for decent, law-abiding people, unless disarming them is, in your opinion, the answer to the problem of gun violence.
KJ January 03, 2013 at 05:22 AM
FJT, There is a solution to the gun violence: take away the guns. And also put armed guards in schools. Not teachers as it is happening in Utah but actual trained guards, best would be police. Teachers a best at teaching not at gun fights. There is no good reason for "good" people to have guns other than a hunting rifle, unless they are military or police. Sadly, many in this country believe that a "good" person with a gun will stop a bad person with a gun. As recent events showed the bad person usually gets the gun from the good person by either killing him/her first or just easily buying it at a gun show. Tougher laws will close some of the loopholes. They will never stop the gangs from getting guns - they are notorious for not being a law-abiding citizens as you noted. Gangs are menace for some neighborhoods and should be eradicated but they hardly go on rampage in schools. It is this kind of massacres that will continue to amaze the world (and apparently some but not all of us) with our ridiculous stubbornness to stick to our guns.
FJT January 03, 2013 at 04:39 PM
KJ - I've cut and pasted the following from your post above just to highlight the absurdity of your thinking, which is self-evident to anyone with a functioning brain. "Sadly, many in this country believe that a 'good' person with a gun will stop a bad person with a gun."
Francis T McVetty January 05, 2013 at 08:09 PM
KJ A "good person" without a gun against a "bad person" with a gun will ALWAYS lose. The expression never bring fists to a gun fight seems appropriate. You also don't know the history of firearms in this country and how they helped us gain independence from England. You probably also haven't read the constitution and the meaning of not only the first amendment but also the second. I want to remind you of something else, "those who turn their weapons into plow shears will plow for those who don't" .
Bjorn Olsson January 08, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Hmm, Francis, didn't think you'd be the first one to dispute the bible... The 2nd amendment allows for a well-regulated militia, it says absolutely nothing about handguns for private use, so let's start by banning those. Then, we make sure that all owners of weapons are indeed part of well-regulated units. How's that for a start that should please any 2nd amendment fan? (In the spirit of this, we should also disband the standing army, of course)
KJ January 11, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Francis: Taft Union School! A kid decided to bring a gun to a fist fight.
karen egert January 19, 2013 at 04:57 AM
Sheri -- I agree. can you sign my petition at website NJ residents for action. also on my blog
Francis T McVetty January 22, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Bjorn, the 1st amendment doesn't mention television or radio,so what? A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. It does not say what type. You do know that they did have not only rifles back than but also hand guns. Just checking since you are not from this country and might NOT be familiar with our history and laws.
Francis T McVetty January 22, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Kj, it has happened before and it will happen again. You are talking to a guy who grew up in the Bronx at the time gangs were prevalent. The Fordham Baldies, the Harlem Red wings to mention two of the many. I think looking back at that time, we were certainly more "civilized" than the gangs today.
Bjorn Olsson January 23, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Francis, as I am sure you know, there are plenty of natives who agree completely with me, so hold on to that "you can't possibly understand us as a foreigner" card for a little longer, will ya? So, how about that "well regulated" part?
FJT January 24, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Bjorn, I don't understand why -- if you are a foreigner -- have decided that it's your place to "educate" American citizens on the limits of their God-given rights. Do you really care that much about the well-being of the American citizen, or are you just another Piers Morgan propagandist?
FJT January 24, 2013 at 04:04 PM
We know what "shall not be infringed" means, though some people posting here (including the foreigners) are all for infringing on the rights of others. As for the words "well regulated", there's definitely an across-the-board misunderstanding by most of us, whether for or against the Second Amendment. Here's what "well regulated" meant back in the day when those words were written: http://constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm
Bjorn Olsson January 25, 2013 at 04:14 AM
FJT, which god gave you the second amendment?
karen egert January 25, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Of course you said everything is right on. Don't be discouraged by the illogical and uneducated comments of some of these people. Those nonsebsical desperate attempts to use any Read Dick Gillis rhetoric to push their agenda which is nothing more than selling military artillery to civilians Is absurd on its face Please go to our website and NJ RESIDENTS for action. And sign our petition. We will be speaking and I will be singing at the million moms for gun-control Rally on Saturday in Jersey City. --- check it out. And SIGN THE PETITION THANK YOU FOR THIS POST-- Brilliant
karen egert January 25, 2013 at 01:51 PM
karen egert January 25, 2013 at 01:51 PM
I meant to say it ridiculous sometimes my iPhone doesn't print properly
karen egert January 25, 2013 at 01:54 PM
No one is taking away anyone's guns. !!!!No one rights are being infringed upon by a ban on assault weapons which is basically a ban on Military artillery. Military artillery belongs in the military Stop with the nonsense ---the arguments don't make sense anything . other than anything but a ban on assault weapons is nonsense. And I'm tired of people making up Falster statistics
karen egert January 25, 2013 at 01:54 PM
I meant false statistics
Francis T McVetty January 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Karen, you have NO IDEA what is and what isn't "Military artillery". You can't even operate an IPHONE, What makes you think that you can lecture us on what the second amendment means or doesn't mean? Just what is an "assault weapon" ?
Bjorn Olsson January 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
FJT, or rather: What rights did god give specifically to Americans that he did not grant Piers Morgan?
FJT January 28, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Bjorn, there's a snarky, evil tone to your questions and comments. The truth isn't in you.
Francis T McVetty January 28, 2013 at 02:58 PM
From Karen, the "sounds of silence".
Bjorn Olsson January 28, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Cute, FJT. I am trying to make a point that there is nothing god-given about the 2nd amendment, or any part of the constitution for that matter. It was written by some pretty remarkable people, all very much human. I live here, my family and kids are all American, so yes, I do care a great deal. You and Francis keep copping out by retreating into the "you can't possibly understand and have no right to have an opinion as a foreigner-argument" rather than making the effort to come up with an intellectually solid response. Many native born Americans have very similar views to mine, on guns and other issue, so invalidating them when they are spoken by a legal alien is lazy at best and cowardly at worst.
FJT January 29, 2013 at 03:25 PM
I'm very tempted to call you a fool, but I won't. I will, however, repeat that the truth isn't in you, as evidenced by the totality of your comments here.
Bjorn Olsson January 31, 2013 at 07:14 AM
FJT, how about staying on topic? Your asking if I am a "Piers Morgan propagandist" (whatever that means) or am trying to "educate Americans on their god-given rights" (whatever those are) and I am the one who is out of bounds?
Francis T McVetty January 31, 2013 at 08:37 PM
No Bjorn, you are just off the wall. period!
Bjorn Olsson February 01, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Francis, yet another well thought-out argument to add to your resume. Do you have any thoughts on the actual debate at hand? Or do you only debate with natural born citizens?
Francis T McVetty February 02, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Gjorn, I guess it is always good to have an "outsider" giving their opinion, just like Piers Morgan does. ;)
Fred Herring February 10, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Yes, because NRA logic includes the desire to give enemies of the state nukes you effin' mutt!


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