OK, the timing of this incident is weird for me. Just a couple of days ago, I saw the movie We need to talk about Kevin . The movie is about a mother who has a severe dysfunctional relationship with her psychopathic son since his childhood. A lot of the movie is about this mother who lives a depressed existence punishing herself in the aftermath of her son engineering a school massacre after he kills off his father and sister at home. He did not have a gun, but he had a bow and arrow. So, I think we should be careful in how we advocate gun control using this school massacre as the example. I actually agree with the right wing nut jobs that this incident is more about mental illness than gun control. And I think we end up looking exaggerating by saying "well, if everyone had a gun, it would have been worse in that school incident." Really? I actually think if every adult had a gun, he would not have been able to kill as many kids as he did.
Also, the mother was the one who owned the guns and she probably would have passed all the psychological tests to own those guns, even if I wonder why she really needed that many, especially the semi automatic. This is where I disagree with the right wingers - what is the need for someone to carry a semi automatic around legally? I will admit that maybe the relevant gun control topic that should be discussed using this incident as a backdrop is if ownership of more dangerous weapons which can fire off rounds more prolifically be subject to stricter screening than a regular glock. NRA fanatics , relax, I am not advocating banning guns.
In the movie, the mother is aware of the son being strange, and there are hints where the mom sees him obsessed with practicing bow and arrow target practice to a visibly disturbing extent. However, the parents were so dysfunctional that they could not have a proper discussion to get help for that kid.
I would be curious about the family structure. We have become a nation of dysfunctional families. There is talk that the brother hasn't talked to the killer in 2 years. Was there any abuse in the family? Was the mother too harsh? or too lenient? I noticed the parents are divorced. Did the father do his duty as a responsible father? We could go on and on about this. And no, I don't subscribe to Huckabee's theory of lack of religion leading to Lanza's demented state. As if no serial killer ever came from a religious family.
Or was Lanza just a bad seed?
You know what would have been a good example of much needed stronger gun control? There is another news item in today's papers that got buried under the headlines. It was the followup to the story about the angry middle aged white guy Michael David Dunn who shot a young black teen, Jordan Davis, for merely playing his music loud.
A Florida grand jury has indicted a man on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a teenager following an argument over loud music coming from the teen's car.This is the real story of gun control. One can't prevent wackos from going crazy at a school with whatever weapons they can find at their disposal. And such things don't happen as often as other casualties that are lesser known tragedies .
The Florida Times-Union reports officials in the state attorney's office said Thursday they won't be seeking the death penalty against 46-year-old Michael David Dunn. He was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Dunn is accused of the Nov. 23 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
The Dunn and Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin cases are the better examples of the need for gun control. Because these are cases where we have hot tempered guys who lack the emotional and psychological stability to use a gun. People have lost the ability to reason or even have a fight with another person without using deadly force. This impatience has spread throughout society. Even cops are much quicker to use tasers and guns than try to use less violent ways to calm down a suspect.
Quite frankly, I would be more afraid of what would happen to me if I ever got into a mere verbal argument at a bar with a hot headed guy than worrying about my kids(if I have any) getting shot at their elementary school because these days the hot headed guy is more likely to shoot me if he is losing the fight with me. If it escalated into a physical confrontation, should I be worried about being shot in case I was winning the fight?
So what I am getting at is this. I don't think denying that "if everyone had a gun, then this would not happen to the same extent at the theater in Colorado or the school shooting" is the right tact to use. I actually don't buy the liberal argument against it.
What I do buy is the liberal argument that if everyone did have a gun, while it may mitigate a situation like this, it is more than offset by the increased danger of every argument nationwide potentially escalating into a deadly encounter.
I think suitable gun control laws should not merely address better owner screening, but also STRONGER LAWS to prosecute cases like Trayvon MArtin's where the burden of proof shifts to the guy doing the shooting. Society should be able to say to these shooters "We give you the right to own a gun, but there needs to be a deterrant for you to use your gun as anything but a last resort." This is because while a Zimmerman may not be able to pass screening, maybe Dunn does. But stronger prosecuting laws would make him think twice before being that reckless. And maybe like you take a drivers license test, you take a video game like test where you go through simulations of tough situations where you do not use your gun. Not foolproof, but can reduce the tendency of someone to resort to such acts.
So when we think about gun control, the Dunn and Zimmerman cases seems more relevant to me than the more sensational school shooting. I think cases like Lanza would be more prevented with better psychological help because the Lanza guy could get information on how to blow up a school without a gun.
[UPDATE] NY Daily News put up an articlethat fills in more details of the family. So there seems to be more similarities to the movie. The family in real life is even richer than the family in the movie. The parents are upstanding citizens but there seem to be long held views by friends and acquaintances that this kid was weird with a personality disorder that may incorporate Asperger's and the lack of ability to feel pain. The view is that money was no object in the family. The divorced parents are on friendly terms, so it is hard to explain the psyche of the mother for wanting to get that many weapons as she probably had little reason to feel threatened by an ex spouse.
Like the movie, the parents had to know about the son's problems for a long time if one were to believe these second hand accounts. Hell, I would actually check this kid's video rental history or cable subscription(maybe cable companies can track what was watched via their DVR), if any, and see if he watched that movie.
Did the son fake the mother's identity and purchase some of the guns online? When were these guns purchased? If there is any relevant gun control issue, one issue would be to put an end to anonymous purchases. If that's the case here, maybe the mother would have prevented this from happening once she saw the charge coming through.
Considering all the sloppy reporting(seriously, get some expert internet sleuths and you can get a lot more info about a person than what has been relayed), I wouldn't be surprised if the mother who was getting $240K in annual alimony was not even a regular teacher at that school. Maybe freelanced as a sub?
[UPDATE 2] According to CNN, the semi automatic had to be purchased before 1993 for it to be grandfathered in the state of CT. So we can discount the theory that he faked his mother's identity to get the guns.
[UPDATE 3] So now the story makes sense. The mother foolishly encouraged her odd son to go on regular outings for target practice with her. She bragged about her weapons to her landscaper(who was a drinking buddy). Maybe she felt that getting her son into shooting would bring out some kind of regular joe energy out of him, who knows. Or maybe she just wanted to give him something to do outdoors. Or she wanted him to feel the same passion for guns that she felt. Supposdly she was very proud of the guns she collected. It's too bad she lacked the common sense to have the guns secure and beyond the odd son's control.
In the movie, the dad buys the son a professional bow and arrow set after he finds that it is something his odd son can focus on with a passion. The mother sees the warning signs, but the couple just can't get around to discussing it honestly enough to figure it out.
[UPDATE 4]: I tried to not to express this opinion early on. But now that more info has come out, I am free to bash the mother wholeheartedly. There is this scene in the movie where Kevin's mother is slapped by a woman from the same town in the aftermath of the tragedy. I thought that was harsh. But if Nancy Lanza lived, i would not feel one bit sorry for her if she was slapped by one of her neighbors and ostracized by her town.
Hell , looks like the father is the one with an indifferent relationship with the son (friends vouch for his so called love for the kids, yet he didn't seem them for a long time?). THe mother is in the role of the John C Reilly character where her own encouragement of his shooting hobby resulted in her getting killed like the father in the movie. BUt at least, in the movie, the guy was just a clueless putz. This lady is a paranoid idiot who not only cost herself her own life, but the lives of 20 plus kids. For me, she is just as guilty as the son.