The Newtown blame chain

by Walter Olson on December 27, 2012

Who to blame after a freak atrocity? For many of those who’ve felt obliged to comment, the question seems rather who not to blame:

  • Lack of a national gun registry [cited by the New York Times, though the relevant weapon in Newtown was properly registered and posed no tracing difficulties to authorities; Jacob Sullum]
  • Non-prosecution of people who lie on gun applications [cited by NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, though there's no indication that anyone lied on a gun application in the Lanza case; Jacob Sullum again]
  • Lack of cops in schools [Eli Lehrer on one of the NRA's bad ideas]
  • Violence in videogames [Jacob Sullum on another of the NRA's bad ideas; more, Scott Shackford, Andrew Sullivan]
  • Advances for secular and socially liberal causes in the recent U.S. elections [Michael Potemra and Peter Wehner on the comments of James Dobson]
  • Congress, for its role in blocking an organized campaign to bankrupt gun makers through tort suits [Slate and, earlier, Erwin Chemerinsky, trying to revive this truly bad idea]
  • People who want to reform public education and the organization of teaching [Katherine Mangu-Ward, though the union advocates she cites are claiming something closer to "this proves we're right" than to "school choice causes shootings."]
  • In general, those terrible people who disagree with us ["Reading discussions on the web, you might come to believe that we don’t all share the goal of a society where the moral order is preserved, and where our children can be put on the bus to school without a qualm. But we do. We just disagree about how to make it happen." -- Dave Hoffman, Concur Op]

(& welcome Scott Greenfield, Jack Shafer readers)

{ 26 comments }

1 Max Kennerly 12.27.12 at 9:21 am

Obviously, like the NRA says, we should use this as an excuse to gin up gun sales. In fact, we should just send money directly to the officers and directors of gun manufacturers; you know, like an offering to a pagan god. Seems offering up lives isn’t enough, so let’s try more money.

2 Jim Collins 12.27.12 at 10:26 am

Sounds more like they are saying that we need to further the Liberalist /Socialist agenda and all will be right with the World.

3 William Nuesslein 12.27.12 at 10:33 am

David Brooks commented that the various mass shootings seemed to be well planned. Weapons and ammunition were amassed, targets were selected, and plans were carried out. Although shooters are crazy, they are an intelligent foe. Brooks concludes that efforts to “make it never happen again” are very unlikely to work.

Look at the scary rifle used at Newtown. Let’s ban them. But Cho at Virginia tech used pistols. How about the large magazines? Lanza swapped out his magazine at least twice as I understand. How much was he slowed up? It is interesting that the Tucson shooter was jumped by an unarmed man, a real hero, when he had to reload.
The Columbine shooters came from good families, and at least one of them was getting mental health treatment. And, as Mr. Olson knows better than most, many tried to help Cho with his personality problem. Body armor was worn by the Aurora Colorado shooter making regular handguns useless.

Aren’t they called gun nuts for a reason, an idea that appeals to me, except that I have had a couple of gun nut friends who were wonderful people. They just like to shoot.

Schizophrenia was involved in a couple of these incidents. The illness is horrible, presenting in young people who were good average kids prior thereto, like the Aurora fellow.

The political climate calls for action of some sort, and I hope that Joe Biden can craft legislation as reasonable as possible.

I broke down during the moment of silence for the Newtown victims, and I wish with all my heart that the incident could have been prevented. But 19,000 people were swept to sea by the Japanese tsunami. There must have been hundred of beautiful innocent children in that population. My heart aches for them too. All 19,000 really. It is true that my heartache will not prevent the next tsunami. either.

4 Chris Mallory 12.27.12 at 11:38 am

So, is Bloomberg advocating his private investigators, that he sent across state lines to make straw purchases of firearms, be arrested?

5 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 11:50 am

NBC is now reporting that there were 4 hand guns used in the Newtown shooting and the AR-15 (which is not an assault rifle) was still in Lanza’s car.

http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50208495#3677250

We all need to step back, take a breath and let the police and other investigators do their job.

Trying to make policy or law off of this without knowing the facts is the epitome of “hard cases make bad law.”

6 Ron Miller 12.27.12 at 12:42 pm

[“Reading discussions on the web, you might come to believe that we don’t all share the goal of a society where the moral order is preserved, and where our children can be put on the bus to school without a qualm. But we do. We just disagree about how to make it happen.”

I agree with the sentiment. But, let’s face it, the NRA might be made up of some find individuals. But as an organization, they just care about free flowing guns and they are not fretting about the loss of those children.

I used to defend drug companies. I was always amazed at the decent people who worked there, kind people who showed ridiculous amounts of respect and kindness to a young, powerless, bottom of the food chain. Yet these were the same people who made the coldest imaginable decisions when it came to patient safety. Let’s face it: this is, charitably, the NRA.

7 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 12:57 pm

But as an organization, they just care about free flowing guns and they are not fretting about the loss of those children.

Or one could say they care about the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership.

In other words, I am not willing to “face” the false label you place on the NRA.

8 Ron Miller 12.27.12 at 1:19 pm

Gitarcarver, I…. I agr… I agree with you on that point. I’ll take it a step further. You don’t want to make law based on any single tragedy no matter what the facts are.

What is on the front lines right now is assault weapons. Does the benefit of having those outweigh the risk? Didn’t George Bush say he would sign an assault weapons ban? I just don’t think that one is a hard call.

9 LTMG 12.27.12 at 1:57 pm

Insulating ourselves or others inside more and more defensive cocoons will only have temporary effectiveness while burdening *the protected* with loss of freedom of many different kinds. There is a many centuries long history of clever and motivated attackers devising ways to circumvent all manner of defenses. This aspect of human nature will not stop.

There is at least a 50-year history of increasingly onerous gun control in the US. About 50 years ago, after the assassination of President Kennedy, we saw some of the first widespread reactive steps to control the purchase of firearms.

Unless we as citizens insist on identifying and attacking the true root causes of the very few among us who manage to slaughter others, then tragedies like Newton will take place from time to time. They are inevitable. I acknowledge that root cause analysis and corrective action with, as near as possible, irreversibility is very difficult to accomplish, but it is worth it.

10 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 2:55 pm

I just don’t think that one is a hard call.

I think it is a very difficult call Ron.

The first step in creating legislation for this is to first define what is being legislated.

The term “assault weapon” has always meant a magazine fed, select fire (meaning capable of full auto), intermediate cartridge (as in, actually not very powerful). The AR-15 Bushmaster in Newtown was not select fire and did not have the capability to fire full auto. Why? Because full auto weapons are already heavily regulated by the 1934 Fire Arms Act.

People hear the term “assault weapon” and think “military grade” when that is simply not true.

Furthermore, people hear the term “semi-automatic” and think it means the capability to “rock and roll” fire or fire more than one shot at a time. That is factually false. A semi-automatic is simply one pull of the trigger, one shot. In talking with a local gun dealer, I asked the simple question of “in terms of lethality, what is the difference between a semi-automatic handgun and a double action revolver?”

Effectively, there is no difference. This means that both the 1877 Colt Revolver and the Glock 36 semi automatic handgun with a 6 shot magazine have the same lethality.

So exactly what is an “assault weapon?”

The assault weapon ban you spoke of gave 5 characteristics which defined an “assault weapon.”

The first was a “flash hider.” This is a device that screws onto the end of the barrel and diverts the muzzle flash to the side instead of to the top of the barrel. The result is a clearer “site picture.” There is no difference in the lethality of the weapon, but with the site picture being clearer, the weapon is better for self defense.

Pistol grip: The pistol grip gives better control over the weapon meaning that a person pointing the weapon has better aim. Once again, this doesn’t change the lethality of the bullet coming out of the end of the barrel, but it looks scary. Now you may say that the pistol grip gives a murderer better control, and that is a valid point. At the same time, it gives someone firing back at the murderer better control. So in some place like a movie theater (or in a home), the defender is much less likely to hit an innocent person while the attacker doesn’t care who they hit.

Barrel shroud: This is a piece of metal that goes over the barrel to dissipate heat so people won’t burn their hands. If a gun was any other product, the Consumer Protection Agency as well as lawyers would be lining up to demand the weapon have some type or protection against the user being burned. As it is they don’t. Once again, the heat shield does not change the lethality of the weapon.

Collapsible stock: This is the piece that runs from the back of shooting mechanism to your shoulder. Collapsible stocks allow a greater adjustability for the weapon. This means that if you so choose, you can purchase a weapon that can be adjusted to fit (hypothetically) your 6 foot body and your wife’s 5’5″ body. Once again, there is no change in the lethality of the weapon.

Lastly is the magazine size. This one has troubled me for some time. I am not sure I want 30 round magazines. But here’s there rub….. once again, in talking to a local gun dealer, he said that he can use a speed loader for revolvers as fast as he can reloading a magazine. Using a speed loader takes less than half the time to put a magazine in an AR-15. It is easy to learn and practice. The speed can be achieved in less than 15 minutes of practice. At the same time, if you want to see speed, watch someone change magazines in a semi-automatic handgun. It is faster than you can imagine. The point is that when it comes to magazine sizes, smaller mags sound better, but there may be no practical difference in timing to get off shots.

The point I am trying to make is that defining “assault weapon” is not easy and people instead want to ban any weapon that simply looks “scary.”

If we are going to have a dialogue on weapons, and what can be purchased, then let’s make sure we are banning items for the right reasons – (excessive lethality may be a good place to start) – rather than fears and phobias based on ignorance.

11 Ron Miller 12.27.12 at 4:03 pm

Okay, so the devil will be in the details? Oh. Well, we all hate details. So let’s forget the whole thing.

12 boblipton 12.27.12 at 4:43 pm

Gee, Ron, Gitarcarver has thought about the actual issues and suggests that the heart of the matter is not the book definition of “assault weapon: but the issues of “excessive lethality” and since that’s not the result you want, you flip it off. I have not given the matter any thought and I would ask Gitararver to come up with a definition of “ecessive lethality’ that is relevant to the situation. But you don’t wish to discuss matters, do you? You just wish to flip the bird to anyone who disagrees with you. I’m sorry you find it so difficult to think analytically. What is it you do for a living?

And Gitarcarver, what would you say defines “excessive lethality”? can we come up with something that will improve a situation that I look on as a sad worst case scenario?

Bob

13 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 6:57 pm

Okay, so the devil will be in the details? Oh. Well, we all hate details. So let’s forget the whole thing.

No Ron, it is not the details, it is the basics of the matter. It is the foundation of the discussion that when people talk about “gun control” or “assault weapons,” that we actually have a dialogue on the facts and not emotional rhetoric.

But you don’t want a discussion.

You want to give a lecture.

14 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 7:22 pm

Bob,

I would continue to keep bans on types of bullets and perhaps expand some of that ban to include other bullet types.

I would like to see a study on the lethality of different compounds and types of bullets, effects of velocity, etc and then derive a policy on bullets from that.

I would increase penalties for use of a weapon in a crime – any crime.

I would like to see the end of “gun free zones” as it appears all those zones do is create more victims. (Of all the mass shootings in the last 50 years, only one (the shooting of Gabby Giffords) was in a place that allowed concealed weapons.) While I am not for arming all teachers, I am against preventing teachers from being armed.

The reason why is painfully obvious – the Newtown police took 20 minutes to respond to the emergency 911 call from the school. “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.”

I would like to see mandatory training on the handling and storage of weapons.

I think we have to stop giving notoriety to shooters like Lanza. Going back to the University of Texas Tower shooting in 1966, there is always a cluster of “copy cat” crimes following the event. From what I have seen, one of the prime motivation for these attacks is the fame. If we remove that component, I have to wonder if the incidents will drop. (While that may seem like a violation of the 1st Amendment not to publish the name of shooters, I am reminded that since TV networks stopped showing streakers at sporting events, the number of streakers dropped. We also have in place laws that prevent the publishing of alleged sexual victims. I think a law preventing the publishing of people seeking fame by killing others may be helpful.)

I think we also have to look at the other side of the equation – the shooter themselves. Columbine, the Giffords shootings, the Batman shooting, and Lanza are but the tip of the iceberg of people who had emotional and mental issues. We have to look at how to address that.

In my opinion, there is no “magic bullet” that will cure or stop these shootings. But it is clear that what we are doing now – merely banning weapons – is not working.

There are currently 20,000 laws on the books dealing with “gun control” across the country. Adam Lanza, in his horrific, gut wrenching, heart breaking, violent spree broke over 20 laws before he fired a single shot.

I really and truly believe we have to pull back, regroup, and look at this issue from another, all encompassing angle.

15 wfjag 12.27.12 at 7:54 pm

@boblipton: “And Gitarcarver, what would you say defines “excessive lethality”? can we come up with something that will improve a situation that I look on as a sad worst case scenario?”

Bob: I don’t like answering for another commentator, but I’d think that Gitarcarver would start with something completely absent from the scary features/scary looking guns lists used in most assault weapons ban laws — the charactistics of the ammo. Since a lot of the discussions involve AK-47 and AR-15 variants, a useful starting place may be comparing them and their ammo.
For a quick summary, see Comparison of the AK-47 and M16,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_AK-47_and_M16 , and note the discussion of the characteristics of the typical ammo each uses.
The original ammo for the M-16 was M193 round. Upon impacting a human body, it would yaw (tumble) and fragment into a dozen +/- pieces, creating very large wounds, especially considering that the round is .223 caliber, and so fairly small and light. A general rule of thumb was that the round would completely disintegrate within about 4 inches of impact. In contrast, the original round for the AK-47, the M43, penetrated about 10 inches before it would yaw. It made pencil hole wounds, and so was not fatal unless a vital organ was struck. If you wanted to kill an enemy Soldier, the M193 was the superior round. If you wanted to shoot holes in brick walls, the M43 was the better choice. The Yugoslavs developed the M67 in the mid-1960s, which would yaw at about 3.3 inches, and so cause wounds similar to the M193 round. Most of the ammo for AK-47s is now based on the M67 design.
Since it is the ammo which has the most effect on lethality, the discussion should start with that. It would likely be easier and more effective to ban ammo for long-barrel weapons that typically begins to yaw at less than 10 inches of penetration in ballistic jell. Such ammo can be just as accurate as that which yaws shortly after impact, and so people who like to go to the range won’t be affected. For hunting it is better since such ammo doesn’t ruin a lot of the meat of the game animal. But, to use it, you’ll likely have to learn to shoot so you hit your target with your first shot, and be sober when in the field with your weapon. However, regulating the ammo likely isn’t a solution satisfactory to those who really only want to ban firearms.
The scary features proposals generally address irrelevant or tangental issues. Whether the weapon has a lug that might be used to hold a bayonet is stupid to consider when discussing lethality. I have yet to read of any mass murder attempt in which the victims were assaulted by bayonet. I fairly much concur with Gitarcarver’s comments on the characteristics of “assault weapons” as being mostly irrelevant to a sensible discussion. Still, in candor, I don’t believe 30 (and larger) round magazines should be banned, since they tend to jam, and so are more likely to give potential victims an opportunity to escape. As I recall, the AR-15 of the shooter in Aurora, Colo jammed for this reason. As far as being an effective response, D.C. long ago banned such magazines, and that had no apparent effect on the murder rate.
There may be other ways to reduce the lethality of weapons besides regulating the ammo so that it is suitable for target shooting and hunting, but not suitable for people planning mass murder, drive-by shootings or other crimes. However, banning scary features and particular models of weapons is generally posturing by proposing to do something that has been tried before, and didn’t work.

16 gitarcarver 12.27.12 at 10:43 pm

wfjag,

I appreciate your candor and willingness to not have a knee-jerk response to my comments.

As you can see, I did start with the ammunition.

I am willing to bet that you know the .223 round comes in many variants as to the actual bullet material and design. That design has a great effect on the characteristics of the bullet when it hits something.

I would be against “cop killer” bullets (ie bullets that can penetrate bullet proof vests) not only because of the danger to the police, but also because a jacketed round can pass through a body, not stop the aggressor, and continue on through walls and into innocent victims.

I was stunned to discover the “regular” .223 round is banned in many states for hunting because it lacks stopping power and large game animals can get away.

So people will say “what is the purpose of an weapon like an AR-15 as it is only good to kill people?”

First, if it is only good to kill people, why is the AR-15 the weapon of choice of many law enforcement agencies? Are we really arming the police with weapons that can kill us all? Is that what we really want?

I believe the answer is not that the AR-15 is a great killing weapon, but rather it is not a great killing weapon but a good weapon at incapacitation. However, even then there are numerous cases of people being shot with the AR-15 / .223 round multiple times and still walking away.

Secondly, people will ask “what is the use of a weapon like the AR-15?” Or “you don’t need a weapon like that.”

One of the best quotes I have read is that the Second Amendment defines the right of a citizen to bear arms for defense up to and including against a tyrannical government. I have tried six ways to Sunday and cannot contradict that statement.

People will say that the AR-15 is not for defense of a home, but weapon instructors will tell you that the AR-15 is better than a handgun because of the aiming and control capabilities compared to that of a handgun.

See this clip for an example where a 15 year old defended himself, his 12 year old sister and his home using an AR-15 against two men breaking in.

http://youtu.be/XMg0FQS6Fqo

PS – your comment on the Aurora shooting is correct – the larger magazine did jam according to eyewitnesses after 2 shots. That not only damns large capacity magazines, but it should be noted the shooter drove past 7 other theaters on the way to his eventual destination. The difference between those theaters and the one where he opened fire?

The other 7 theaters did not have a “gun free zone” policy.

The theater where he started shooting did.

17 Melvin H. 12.28.12 at 12:50 am

If I recall, wasn’t there an “assault weapons” ban in effect for about a decade, ending about 2004?
Ron, what happened in that time period?
Oh, yeah….April 1999, Columbine High School.
Also….1998, Jonesboro, Arkansas middle school (reported as “assault weapons”).
I’m sure others here could easily add to that sad list.

18 Ron Miller 12.28.12 at 12:52 pm

Gitacarver, this is a blog called Overlawyered. I don’t know that we have to have to cover ever nuance in the bill. That might but just a little beyond the scope of what we are doing here. We don’t have to submit our own budgets to have opinions on the fiscal cliff.

So I have no interest in debating the details. People almost as smart as you can figure that out.

Here is what I know. The American people in growing numbers want to ban assault weapons. President Bush, an enemy of liberals everywhere because of his hard right opinions on most issues of our day, supported and apparently supports the ban. Can we all agree with President Bush? Or no?

Melvin, you mean that the ban did while not end all tragedies like this? If that’s the case, we should forget it? If we ban guns completely, fully set aside the conservative interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and make it a death penalty offense to own a gun, we will not eliminate all mass killing tragedies with or without guns. So what? The question we are all wrestling with is what is best path to go down when you add all of the pluses and minuses together.

19 gitarcarver 12.28.12 at 2:24 pm

I don’t know that we have to have to cover ever nuance in the bill.

The definition of an assault weapon is not a “nuance,” Ron. I cannot believe that you would walk into a courtroom trying to defend a person accused of “robbery” without knowing the definition of “robbery.”

So when you say “let’s ban assault weapons” without defining, wanting to define, or knowing what defines an “assault weapon,” the logical conclusion is that your stance is an opinion based on ignorance – an ignorance that you have no desire to correct.

So I have no interest in debating the details. People almost as smart as you can figure that out.

Once again, the definition of “assault weapon” is not a “detail.” As to the second part, I am sure you think you are being cute, but the fact of the matter is that you put out an opinion on something and when that opinion was challenged, you resorted to your two favorite tactics, that of saying your don’t care (or other people have misread you) or attacking the messenger.

The American people in growing numbers want to ban assault weapons.

Americans in growing numbers want caps on legal judgements and fees lawyers can charge. Americans in growing numbers want tort reform.

You for that as well?

President Bush, an enemy of liberals everywhere because of his hard right opinions on most issues of our day, supported and apparently supports the ban. Can we all agree with President Bush? Or no?

Yes, President Bush supports and supported the Assault Weapons Ban. The problem is, Ron, that the Assault Weapon Ban would not have changed anything when it came to Newtown. That’s the point. That is why I went over what was in the Assault Weapon Ban because it was worthless. In fact, a DOJ report issued at the end of the life of the Assault Weapon Ban stated the ban had no effect on killings or crimes.

The question we are all wrestling with is what is best path to go down when you add all of the pluses and minuses together.

What “we,” Kimosabe? You are only saying that we should re-institute a ban that was totally ineffective. Your reasoning is not based on fact or logic, only that “people want it” and “George Bush supported it.”

You are perfectly happy to go down the same worthless path that we have tried before because that will make you happy. It won’t make you safer. It won’t change things.

That is why your position and statements are so disingenuous, Ron. You aren’t interested in actually working to make people safer. You just want to parrot and do the same ineffectual things we have done before.

As proof, the assault weapon ban would not have affected Lanza at all. Before Lanza fired a shot in the school, he had broken over 20 laws dealing with firearms and theft. Yet your proposal is to reinstate the ban on assault weapons (the one the wouldn’t have changed anything in Newtown) and make more laws.

Albert Einstein was right on “insanity.”

20 wfjag 12.28.12 at 6:53 pm

@ Melvin H. “I’m sure others here could easily add to that sad list.”

Since Columbine over 100 planned attacks on schools have been identified and stopped before they occurred. So, we don’t just have the actions of dead mass killers to analyze. We have many of those who would have become mass killers to interview, analyze, and find out why they planned to become copycat killers. Rather than spend time on banning guns with scary features — which, given the strict gun control law in Conn., (the AR -15 variant used met the requirements for Conn’s strict law) NY (in Rochester, a felon didn’t have problems getting an AR -15 variant) and Chicago (500 gun homicides in 2012 so far, and we still have the New Years weekend to go), haven’t been effective — wouldn’t you like our political leaders to spend time on doing something that might actually avert future deaths? Once the salient characteristics are identified, school administrators, teachers and staff can be trained on the danger signs to look for, and how to respond (and what to do if there is an attack.*) So can school security personnel, police and first responders. “Assault weapons” bans and strict gun control laws have failed. It’s time to try something else that may be effective, such as learning why some people do this, and making preparations that are based on reality and not ideology.

*The librarian at Columbine had students “hide” from the shooters in the library — a room with glass walls that the shooters could look in and see students there, trapped with no way to escape. Unfortuately, that sort of thing happens when people react to an emergency for which they have no preparation or training.

.

21 HFB 12.30.12 at 7:52 pm

Strange…what I’m hearing is: How can we make the guns less likely to do what they are designed to do when someone (whose wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead) decides to turn them on innocents?Easy, just make the guns designed to wound only and life will go on.

As opposed to: How do we protect ourselves/children/innocents from said loopies? A much harder solution…

Are people really arguing that things would be different if this was a low-powered 22 round and he was just required to shoot more?

Guns are desinged by good people to stop bad people. You want something that injures the crazed maniac who is attacking you or you want to put him down? Personally, I want to put him down.

Also: Do high-powered hunting rifles (also semi-automatic) exceed the allowable killing capability? How ’bout pipe bombs?

I’m not trying to be offensive or snarky…OK, maybe a little snarky on that pipe-bomb comment :)…but I really think that regulating more things about guns/ammo/licensing/wait-periods/etc will have no effect on crazy people who will find a way to do these horrible acts.

Be it guns, knives, bombs or a fast moving vehicle driven through the school, this guy would be able to kill just by breathing and thinking up ways to kill.

22 Max 12.30.12 at 7:55 pm

All,

The arguments for gun control and what constitutes an assault weapon are ludicrous.

You all need to remember 1935.

1935 you say, what about it?

In 1935 the German Reichsfuhrer made the German state “safe” by banning all private ownership of firearms and confiscating all the ones that could be found. I believe I learned about that in a public school around 1967 in 10th grade history class. But since it was a public school the lessons are probably not acceptable or politically correct now.

You all remember when we sent a whole lot of 18 yr. old’s 10,000 miles away with .22s (.223 AR 14’s) to prevent the spread of communism?

I would suggest that everyone check out the website at jpfo.org for some information you should probably read prior to commenting about ammunition, assault weapons, revolvers vs glocks, etc.

The NRA actually negotiates the Second Amendment instead of standing firm for gun owners.

I also learned in that public school long ago that the Second Amendment wasn’t about squirrel and rabbit hunting.

Maybe also ask why the Attorney general has answered not about ” Operation Fast and Furious” which illegally placed ‘assault weapons’ in the hands of real criminals.

I’m just saying maybe instead of knee-jerk reactions perhaps some analytical and and critical thinking occur.

Not criticizing any one or any thing that has been posted, just I’ve seen the same gun control stuff over and over since the 60’s. Why not concentrate on something positive and waste less effort on trying to ultimately change the Bill of Rights.

23 gitarcarver 12.31.12 at 1:06 pm

In 1935 the German Reichsfuhrer made the German state “safe” by banning all private ownership of firearms and confiscating all the ones that could be found.

I don’t believe this to be the case. The German Weimar Republic had been controlling the sale of weapons and ammunition since 1919. In 1928, the Republic passed a comprehensive law requiring weapons to be registered for those who believed in ideas the government believed were contrary to the good order of the nation. This was mostly Communists. In 1933 this continued with even more stringent laws. When the Nazis were voted into power in 1933, they continued the assault on weapons ownership for alleged Communists, but also included provisions saying Jews could not own weapons of any type.

In 1935 a new rule, expanding on the Weimar law of 1928 included not allowing Communists and Jewish weapon ownership. Finally, in 1938, a law was passed not allowing Jews to possess weapons, ammunition or even participate in the manufacture or distribution of anything associated with a firearm.

At no point in time did the German government ban possession of weapons by all German citizens.

You all remember when we sent a whole lot of 18 yr. old’s 10,000 miles away with .22s (.223 AR 14?s) to prevent the spread of communism?

No, and neither do you. There was no AR-14 at the time. The AR-14 was at best a test platform from which the AR-15 and later the M-14 evolved. The AR-14 was never put into production for large scale military purposes. I suspect you might be be thinking of the M14, which did not use .223 ammunition, but rather the NATO 7.62 (Winchester .308) ammunition.

I also learned in that public school long ago that the Second Amendment wasn’t about squirrel and rabbit hunting.

That may or may not be true. The Second Amendment was certainly not limited to “militias” either. As has been said, the Second Amendment is primarily to allow all citizens to defend themselves against all threats, up to and including a tyrannical government. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that the Founding Fathers ever thought the government would try to remove weapons from people who were “squirrel and rabbit hunting” as for many, that was a source of food. (See Heller v. DC)

I’m just saying maybe instead of knee-jerk reactions perhaps some analytical and and critical thinking occur.

I understand what you are saying but at the same time, whenever I hear “look to Nazi Germany” in a gun control discussion, I think that is “knee jerk” as well. (Godwin’s law.)

Why not concentrate on something positive and waste less effort on trying to ultimately change the Bill of Rights.

To many of us, defending the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to own weapons is a positive effort. Your mileage may vary.

24 Anonymous Attorney 12.31.12 at 4:53 pm

Freedom means accepting dead children.

25 boblipton 12.31.12 at 5:54 pm

So does lack of freedom.

Bob

26 wfjag 12.31.12 at 7:20 pm

@Anonymous Attorney:
Freedom also means not being limited by the selective reporting of the so-called news media.

You are likely aware of the general facts of the shooting in the theatre in Aurora, COLO last July — 12 dead and 58 wounded before the shooter surrendered to armed police outside the theatre.

However, you are probably not aware of the San Antonio, TX, Theater Shooting on Dec. 17, 2012 (two days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elem. School). On that night, Jesus Manuel Garcia, age 19, went to a restaurant near the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 movie theater, looking for his ex-girlfriend (apparently with the intent of killing her). She wasn’t working, but, nonetheless, he drew a pistol and began shooting. The customers fled the restaurant, across a parking lot and into the theatre. One man was shot in the parking lot, and Garcia also shot at a police car, striking the windshield but the officer in the car was not injured. Garcia entered the theatre and there are reports his his continuing to shoot. He entered a bathroom in the theatre. No one was in it. However, an armed security guard (who is also a woman, and an off-duty San Antonio policeman) entered the theatre’s lobby. Garcia came out of the bathroom holding his pistol. She ordered him to drop his gun. He did not, and she shot him 4 times, wounding him.

So, the score in this mass shooting incident was 0 dead, 2 wounded (including the shooter — who faces attempted capitol murder charges because he fired on a uniformed policeman).

But, generally, only the local media and certain bloggers have reported this story. Why hasn’t it been widely reported? Could it be (like the incident involving the Bartlesville, Okla, H.S. on Dec. 15, 2012 –planned mass shooting and use of bombs thwarted by police after report by fellow students) that the perp doesn’t fit the narrative? In both cases they have Hispanic Surnames. Or, could it be that it is because an armed citizen (which is what an off-duty cop is) stopped the shooter before there were many dead and wounded? Or, could it be because, in the words of the journalism truism “If it bleeds, it leads”, and in neither of the incidents were there deaths (or in San Antonio, even many wounded)? I do not know which of these (alone or in combination, or it there are other reasons) explains why the national media essentially ignores stories about use of guns preventing mass casualty attacks. However, time and again, reports of such stories are limited to local media (sometimes with a mention in the national media, but often without any). However, when a white teen — especially from a privileged background — starts shooting, it’s national news for quite a quite a while, together with demands for “gun control”.

So, while I understand your concern, I wonder whether your understanding of the “facts” on which you base your opinion is due to biases in the national media’s reporting?

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