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I just couldn't. The night before the shooting, I was having an argument about whether people should be legally allowed to bring handguns into bars, stadiums, schools, and other crowded places (I was arguing against guns-in-bars). But after the shooting, I was processing. I'm still processing.

I've written the same post three times, a post discussing the facts about the shootings we've had recently, a post asking for reasonable gun control. I'm a gun owner. I knew after Aurora that the we have a huge problem: any lunatic without a criminal record can legally buy incredibly dangerous weapons and commit mass murder. These shootings will keep happening on a fairly regular basis until we find a legal framework to prevent it. That's what I want to talk about, but I need time. I wrote that post after Aurora, and deleted it, and then after Clackmas, but deleted it, and I've written it again now, but haven't published it.

What shocked me about Sandy Hook was my own reaction to it. I have been expecting something like this. In a conversation about lone wolf terrorism with a friend of mine two weeks ago, I talked specifically about elementary schools and the availability of assault weapons. So as I was watching the coverage, and heard that a .223 rifle had been recovered, I knew it was an AR variant.

There was this odd moment when I realized that I wasn't shocked, and I wasn't surprised, that I knew this kind of lone wolf act was entirely possible. The FBI has been warning us for years about lone wolf attacks just like this one.

That's the thing about lone-wolf terrorism. It's usually just some crazy guy, like Giuseppe Zangara who had serious medical issues, and blamed FDR for them. In Zangara's mind, FDR was responsible for everything that had gone wrong in his life. So in an attempt to kill the president he shot five people. There was no political motivation to his terrorism, it was just lunacy and delusion.

But the moment I had when it came to Sandy Hook was yesterday, when I realized that I wasn't feeling anything. Is it possible to recoil from your own thoughts in horror? Am I a member of the 9/11 generation, that I just expect terrorist attacks to happen? Have I seen so many mass shootings in my life that it's turned into a kind of ho-hum thing?

Because I have. I remember Columbine. I remember being afraid to go back to middle school because I thought I would die. I remember people running back on campus one afternoon at my High School because some gang members had pulled pistols on each other at the 7/11 across the street. I went to college 45 minutes from Virginia Tech, and a few of my friends knew some of the victims. The shooting happened on April 16th. I proposed on April 15th. School shootings and mass shootings have been such a part of my life as someone who is 27, that my brain is now trying to convince me that these occurrences are normal. And that's what added an extra layer of horror to this whole experience. That's why I couldn't talk about guns. That's why I don't know if I'll take part in the comments yet.

I wrote that yet-unpublished post about our nation's gun problem with as little emotion as possible, and it makes me sound like some kind of bean-counting zombie Vulcan, because I haven't dealt with my own emotions about Sandy Hook.

I didn't have that conversation even well after Aurora because I feared the pie fights that would ensue. I don't like fighting with other Kossacks. I don't like that people scream at each other when we need to sit down and ask ourselves what policies as progressives we can support to solve this problem. I don't like it when I get emotional enough to get involved in the pie fights.

I learn a lot about policy from the comments of Kossacks here. There are people here that are way, way smarter than I am, who work in highly technical fields, and who are happy to share their knowledge with us all. I want to see more of that when we talk about gun control, and less of the screaming.

I don't think it's appropriate, either, to accuse people of politicizing this. Asking for action is a way that people handle grief. "Never again," as a rallying cry is always an appropriate response to something like this, and a good one. It's not political to look at what happened last week and say that we have a problem, and that problem is that it is too easy to get your hands on a weapon in the United States. We have no licensing process for individuals, no screening process to make sure that the person making the purchase is of sound mind. And if you're a gun owner like me, and you can't look at what's happened over the past few years and say that America has a gun problem, then you haven't been living in the same country as the rest of us.

I like the entire second amendment. I don't think the "shall not be infringed" part of it makes any sense without the "well regulated" part, as in the question "What regulations do we need to keep seven year old children from being gunned down ten days before Christmas?"

I don't know that I'm ready to be a part of the conversation yet, but I am willing to try.

But yeah, we need to have a conversation. And I'd like to bring my knowledge of and experience with firearms to that conversation. And while some folks might lose it when I say this, the AWB was milquetoast bullshit that let gun manufacturers sell assault weapons with slightly fewer features. So I have two diaries I'm planning on the subject.  One about my ideas for gun regulation, and how the AWB of the 90's was missing a critical component. The other, the one about the weapon which was used by the shooter, is already written but it needs some work. I think that it's missing a critical component.

We need to stop this. I don't think anyone who's really thinking about this issue thinks that what's happening is okay. But when I can, I intend to be a part of this conversation.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:23:14 AM PST

  •  One solution might be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, Tonedevil, chimene, fuzzyguy

    and you allude to that indirectly, to re-classify these crimes as domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act. The indirect deterrent effect via social stigmatization might just get someone to think twice.

    But when you speak of numbness, it's widespread. We expect events like Newtown as Americans, just like we New Yorkers expect another terror attack. What's breaking through that may just be the fact that the victims were almost all completely defenseless, innocent children.

    Fuck you, I put on pants yesterday.

    by MBNYC on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:47:31 AM PST

  •  I Never Expected This, Not Formal Assassination of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, TiaRachel, MBNYC, xgy2, mythatsme

    mostly virtual toddlers. Every one with at least 3 shots. I'm with the Medical Examiner; I haven't cried about it yet.

    On the other hand there was that execution style shooting of a number of young girls in the Amish school a few years ago.

    The authorities have said they have some solid information on motive so we'll have to wait till that comes out before we know what kinds of measures other than an assault weapon ban could prevent or minimize this specific type of mass shooting.

    The 2nd Amendment, to me personally, I see nothing in it consistent with the Constitution or its preamble that contributes to a more perfect union, helps establish justice, promotes the general welfare, or secures the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

    Not one thing. I see good evidence that it works to the contrary of every one of those goals.

    I wouldn't miss it and I did make a good faith effort to emigrate to a country that doesn't have it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:49:24 PM PST

  •  I look forward to reading your posts. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, MBNYC

    The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

    by SoCalSal on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:51:30 PM PST

  •  I have a request when you publish your AWB post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can you please post what Feinstein proposed v. what was passed (via amendments to make it more palatable)? I don't have enough education about that bill to know where it started and ended and THAT is an important point.

    For instance, who offered amendments and WHAT did they do? Why was that bad/good?

    It would also be helpful to see what influence the NRA had in making it weaker (cuz I'm pretty sure they didn't work to make it stronger).

    I am ALL FOR a new AWB bill, but I'd like one that actually covered what we need to and is strong. It's not the only thing we need, imho, but it's one of the things.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:04:42 PM PST

    •  Any AWB is going to have problems. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Going after the guns is one thing. Banning the guns will lead to the same problems we had under the AWB last time.

      The solution isn't to ban the manufacture of certain weapons, because the existence of weapons isn't the problem.

      The problem is the people who own and use guns. They are the problem.

      The old line from the NRA is that guns don't kill people, people kill people, and with that in mind we need to look to those who want to own guns.

      My suggestion is a federal license requirement for any semiautomatic weapon. If you want to own these guns, you must go to a psychiatrist and get a clean bill of mental health before you can obtain a license. You then must go through classes about safety, storage, the law, and the rest before you can ever own a semiautomatic weapon.

      We also need to recognize that rights come with responsibilities. If your gun is stolen and used in a crime, I think you bear some of the responsibility for that if you weren't storing the gun properly.

      I think something like this is reasonable, and I'll get to the loophole issues in my next post. Because the previous assault weapon ban went after semiautomatic weapons with various features, and I'll get to why that's problematic.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:17:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the few psychiatrists (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OllieGarkey, fuzzyguy

        still taking patients/insurance got sidelined with gun application screenings, heaven help the gun-free unstable.

        We need to do something, but the resources for people who know they need help and can't get it are already pretty scant.

      •  umm, the psych checks would have to continue, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        regularly, indefinitely, until the weapon leaves the possession of the owner. people change over time, so it can't just be a one-shot.

        my DH also suggested that everyone in the household would also have to be checked, on a continuing basis, also.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:52:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Licenses expire periodically. (0+ / 0-)

          Another psych checkup could be a requirement for renewal.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:11:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was reading through this recent coverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of mass murders post Portland and pre Newtown and one happened in my backyard, one of the first, actually, in 1976. A professor where I worked (at another college) lost a son in that grim event.

    Article is here and is from Time magazine.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:08:54 PM PST

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