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An article in today's NY Times talks about the difficulty the little Connecticut town of Newtown has had with controlling firearms within it's own town borders.  Apparently, there are two "legal" firing ranges, and several ad-hoc ranges that have become the subject of controversy and to no-one's surprise the support of gun-rights group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which seems to be located right there in Newtown.  

So what has left me speechless?  This quote from the article made by one of the owners of one of the ad-hoc firing ranges:

“Guns are why we’re free in this country, and people lose sight of that when tragedies like this happen,” he said. “A gun didn’t kill all those children, a disturbed man killed all those children.
There's the mindset of the opponent to reasonable gun laws.  That somehow we're free (to be terrified to send our kids to school or go to the mall?) because GunZ!  And the second part (my emphasis) that the guns did not kill those kids, that a crazy person did...that line of thinking just has to come to an end.  Those kids were killed by a gun that could shoot quickly and efficiently, the way a soldier in combat requires, there is no other justification for those weapons.  

*Update, changed the title at the suggestion of a commenter.  I think it's more appropriate.  *

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:51:11 AM PST

  •  Guns don't kill people (12+ / 0-)

    People with guns kill people

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:56:04 AM PST

  •  I posted a related article late last night (9+ / 0-)

    and I'll link the comment & discussion that ensued:

    Nancy Lanza, apparently, wasn't an isolated owner of an arsenal. There is a amazing proliferation of similar types in that area, including good ol' boys who shoot into explosives in order to get their jollies. And as a commenter on my thread mentioned, this kind of thing is not just Newtown.

    Notice also that the second-largest gun advocacy group is located a few miles from Newtown.

    It's going to take a lot of work and persistence and effort to dial back America from this paranoia complex that has poisoned our Nation, but it's a task worth doing.

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:02:42 AM PST

  •  The gun advocaates around me (6+ / 0-)

    are pushing three themes really hard:

    This is all Obama's fault for not getting rid of assault weapons during his first term.

    This is all caused by mental illness---it is wrong to blame this on guns.

    I have more fear of dark skinned people from other countries than I do my own countrymen-no matter how f**ked-up they are.

    They are NOT going to get away with this;

    we're pushing back and we're pushing back hard.

    "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."--Cheryl Wheeler

    by lyvwyr101 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:05:02 AM PST

  •  about that disturbed man again. (4+ / 0-)

    where was he from? whose values and beliefs did he "absorb"?

    I have been fearing for a while now that this whole incident is going to get creepier and creepier as the details unfold.

    "Officials" are being far too secretive--and effectively keeping a lid, even on leaks. Whatever they have on this must be extremely "volatile," politically and culturally in this country.

  •  Holy shit. Just read the article. (4+ / 0-)

    Um, sneaking suspicions now duly confirmed.

    Speechless indeed.

  •  That sounds like a bunch of NRA babble. (6+ / 0-)

    Call it what it is: GUN violence.

    And when a kid enters a school and tries to beat other kids with a toaster, we can call it toaster violence. This kind of carnage doesn't happen with bare hands.

    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 Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:30:58 AM PST

  •  conflict of interest there. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, chalatenango, adrianrf

    This range-owner makes his living off of gun fetishists, mostly.

    The conflict being between rationality and money, of course.

    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:39:36 AM PST

    •  Hey! I like to pop a few caps at the local range (0+ / 0-)

      once in a while, an' I ain't a fetishist, mostly :{\
      Tipped for sig, tho.

      I preach the church without Christ, where the lame don't walk, the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way! Hazel Motes in "Wise Blood"

      by chalatenango on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:11:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a weird country this is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, mungley, adrianrf

    Newtown had a town meeting to discuss some restrictions on gunfire.

    A second committee gathering in September drew such a large crowd that the meeting was moved into a high school cafeteria, where the opposition grew fierce. “This is a freedom that should never be taken away,” one woman said. Added another, “Teach kids to hunt, you will never have to hunt your kids.
    •  This is a freedom that should never be taken away. (0+ / 0-)

      That attitude is nothing new.  We hear it from Republicans, Southerners, gun fanatics- all across this nation.

      Gun clubs are everywhere - that Newtown has one or has 2 shooting ranges is not the issue.

      A lot of sensationalism is being drummed and blown up to keep people interested.  

      The news teams are still here. Our roads are clogged up with extra traffic.  Now they are reporting on the funerals. It would be nice if they would just "go".

      I personally have not heard any pros or cons on those clubs over the many years I have lived here.

  •  Wonder how he'd feel... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, ssgbryan

    ...if that kid had gone to his house and murdered his family?

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:47:57 AM PST

  •  The gun culture of Newtown stunned me. (5+ / 0-)

    I read the NYT article earlier this morning, and haven't yet recovered. Another stunner was this Wonkblog post, The 6 craziest state gun laws.

    Both reveal cultures that I can't even fathom, and that make clear how difficult it will be to enact reasonable gun restrictions. Resistance will be fierce against federal vs. state laws.

    Here's a sample from the Wonkblog:

    Vermont, however, stands out from the pack because it allows people as young as 16 to conceal carry without parental permission, as well as buy handguns. So a Vermont teenager aged 16 can’t legally go to an R-rated movie alone or join the military, but he can buy a handgun and carry it in his jeans and be completely within the limits of the law.
    That's insane.

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

    by SoCalSal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:55:05 AM PST

  •  Let's call a spade a spade here. (0+ / 0-)

    That "kid" murdered his mother first.
    That "kid" then stole her car and her firearms.
    That "kid" shot his way into a "fortress Amerika" school.
    That "kid" knew nobody at that school would be able to defend themselves or their charges against him.
    That "kid" was known to be mentally disturbed.

    Last but not least that "kid" was a criminal BEFORE he got to the school, and his first victim was his mother.

    Now before you rain down hate and destruction on my head because obviously I must be a delusional gun nut and one of the evil horde of anti-social home arsenalists  ... (I've been accused of all of that right here this weekend) ....

    I'll point out two truths, unpalatable as they are to those who think that more laws are going to magically fix this.

    1. Nobody in that school had any power to stop that "kid" ON THE SITE. Didn't have to be a gun. Could've been a Tazer or a baseball bat.  WE, as in all of us who make the decisions that put huge numbers of children, defended if at all only by unarmed adults who are trained to think of running and hiding first, MANDATE that everyone in a school is at the mercy of a criminal until the cops arrive. Demonstrably, from Columbine to Sandy Hook, that's not effective. So let's change that, too.

    2. Gun laws already in place didn't stop that "kid" either. So let's figure out a way to stop that "kid" -- and "kids" like Cho, like Loughner, like Charles Whitman at the UT clock tower in '66 -- that will be effective.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:57:45 AM PST

    •  Let's stop pretending that military grade weapons (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf, UFOH1, ssgbryan

      are a reasonable thing for average people to own.

      The Tazer idea might be a god one,but keep in mind  tazer will kill a small child, and that's something we like to avoid.

      We've tried proliferating our nation with guns and that has failed to keep us safe.
      Let's try to not have so many damned guns that are designed only to kill large numbers of people.

      Sure, let's talk about mental health.  

      What gun laws were broken last Friday?

      Take back the House in 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! (50 state strategy needed)

      by mungley on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:06:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Connecticut dealers refused Lanza a gun (0+ / 0-)

        without his withstanding a background check. Not sure that was Friday, though, 'cause reports suggest it was the day before the shootings.

        Given all the reports about this that later turned out to be screwed-up, this may be another one....

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:13:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So that law was not broken. (0+ / 0-)

          That was the one thing that worked.

          Take back the House in 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! (50 state strategy needed)

          by mungley on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:22:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  he used guns he obtained illegally (0+ / 0-)

            by stealing them from someone he murdered ... so he didn't acquire the guns he used in accordance with the laws in Connecticut about registration, background checks, etc.

            That would indicate gun laws were broken, to me....

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:14:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, it makes sense to impose restrictions on those (0+ / 0-)

              kinds of weapons, since there is no way to ensure that they do not get into the wrong hands.

              You seemed to be saying something different in your original post, but I'll admit that it was confusing.

              Take back the House in 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! (50 state strategy needed)

              by mungley on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:53:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Element of surprise (0+ / 0-)

      The simple fact of the matter is that someone in a building that is packed with people, has a weapon like the Bushmaster used by Lanza and has the element of surprise is going to kill a lot of people before anyone can retrieve a weapon that is locked away somewhere.  I sincerely doubt that arming teachers would be an effective strategy in dealing with a situation like Newtown any more than arming ushers or theater managers would have stopped James Holmes from killing people in Aurora, CO.  What's not effective is having gun regulations so lax that virtually any disturbed individual can obtain a rifle with the killing capacity of the one that Adam Lanza  used in Newtown's elementary school.  As Gail Collins noted in her column this weekend, "Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god.  This is all about guns — access to guns and the ever-increasing firepower of guns."  Every country of any size has the occasional gun massacre by a disturbed individual,  but the US has way more than it's fair share.

      If RPGs and their ammunition were as freely available as rifles and hand guns, and we had a couple of incidents where people used RPGs to shell gatherings of people, with devastating results, who in their right mind would say something like "RPGs don't kill people, people kill people"? If a "kid" fired an easily obtained RPG into a crowd of people, would you be claiming that the easy availability of RPG ammo was not a factor in the resulting carnage? Thankfully getting your hands on RPG ammo is not as simple as obtaining a gun in this country.

      No one is saying that better control of guns and ammunition is going to eliminate all incidents of mass murders in the U.S., but just like vaccinations don't necessarily eliminate all instances of a disease, it doesn't mean it's not worth doing.  

      •  hrvatska: thank you for your thoughtful response (0+ / 0-)

        and thank you for being willing to consider that more than one thing went wrong last Friday in Connecticut.

        ISTR that Lanza is not unique among mass-shootings killers in having perpetrated a separate crime first, somewhere other than the mass shooting ...
        I wonder if faster response might have caught him before he reached the school?
        I wonder if someone in the school with a Taser or a baseball bat might have stopped him?
        I saw a suggestion here earlier that a better door would have helped; certainly had he not been able to get into the school before the police arrived, we would be discussing a very different -- if any -- story about him tonight.

        What strikes me here is that we're talking about this criminal, rather than the teachers who saved their charges, and we're laying blame on his mother for having firearms in the first place rather than on him for being a criminal: a murderer and thief at the very least, but in all honesty a criminal lunatic and a terrorist.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:52:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking about what enables people like (0+ / 0-)

          Adam Lanza to even start engaging in these sorts of acts in the first place.  The first point of failure in this whole sad episode is the ease with which he was able to lay his hands on the very destructive weapon he used.  Without a weapon of that sort the body count may have been much lower by the time the police arrived.  And why worry about doors when these sorts of incidents are just as likely to happen in school yards as inside the schools? Why do we need to treat our schools like fortresses just so a select group of gun fetishists can keep whatever sort of weapon they choose in their homes? Sure other things are worth considering, but why is it necessary for society to enable a hobby that puts these sorts of devices within such easy reach of someone like Adam Lanza?  What's the rational reason that Nancy Lanza should have been allowed to keep something like the Bushmaster in her residence in the first place?  Why does anyone need to keep one in their house? What would we lose as a society by severely restricting these sorts of weapons any more than we lose by severely restricting access to RPGs?  I just don't see a redeeming social value to permitting these sorts of guns in the first place.

          •  well, we disagree on one thing here (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think the whole problem here arises from private possession of a particular firearm.

            However, you've addressed the Bushmaster, so let's look at that.
            It wasn't his gun. He murdered his mother and stole it. He stole her car and carried a stolen weapon in a stolen car into a gun-free zone.
            Since he clearly had no problem breaking those laws, he is by definition a lawbreaker. That makes him not the same as his mother.
            His mother was his first victim, as I understand this incident.
            His mother did not take those guns down to that school and shoot those teachers or those children.

            Is that an accurate description of the incident?

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:11:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You and I start our analysis from entirely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              different perspectives. And I never said that the entire problem was possession of a particular firearm.  I'm targeting an entire class of weapons and their large magazines.  When looking at these sorts of  shootings I consider motivation and means.  In this thread all I've been addressing is means primarily because I think it's the easier of the two to take meaningful action on, but also by a taking action on it I think it can indirectly affect motivation in some cases.  

              As I said in my first post in this thread, "No one is saying that better control of guns and ammunition is going to eliminate all incidents of mass murders in the U.S."  Implicit in that statement is the concept that there are other factors than firearms and ammunition to consider in these incidents.

              Focusing so much on the fact that Adam Lanza committed numerous other crimes as a lead up to the main event is kind of irrelevant when the guy was out to die after killing as many people as possible with the most capable killing machine he could easily get his hands on.  It's sort of like focusing on people illegally crossing the border as the start of any analysis for why we have so many undocumented immigrants in the US. The illegal crossing of the border by any one individual is the least of things to consider.  To me using your approach to analyze why an undocumented worker was working at a low paying job and living in crowded housing in the US would run something like this: He crossed the border illegally, he illegally paid social security taxes using some else's SSN, he illegally obtained a drivers license, he illegally abetted his wife and child in their attempt to join him in the U.S., and last but not least he illegally resisted arrest before being deported.  Those are all facts, but they're kind of irrelevant to the bigger questions of why there are so many undocumented workers and their dependents in this country and what to do about it.  In the same way, listing all the illegal things Lanza did is irrelevant to understanding why he was able to carry out the massacre. His mother is relevant in answering that only in that she was a link in the chain of enabling circumstances.  In doing a root cause analysis of means and motivation all the other crimes are more symptom than cause.  

              In the case of this massacre I start with asking why was such a capable killing machine and the large magazines it accepts so easy for Lanza to obtain? That starts before anything on your list of events, and without answering that or including it it makes the rest irrelevant to me.

              I don't have anything in particular against the particular rifle that Lanza used when restricted to people who have a need, a real need, for it's capabilities.  In the context of a school shooting I have a lot against it and similar weapons.  Being able to empty a magazine of 30 rounds in less than a minute kind of negates the value of police being able to respond in ten minutes.  Bringing along multiple clips doubly so.  Having to reload frequently would have perhaps slowed his progress and would have perhaps saved a few lives. Who knows, maybe during the frequent reloads it would have given someone a chance to use that baseball bat you kept bringing up.  We wouldn't even be discussing this if what Lanza had done was limited to stealing from his mother and murdering her.  Compared to what followed those crimes pale in comparison.

              •  you are reasoning and working from that; I do not (0+ / 0-)

                have to agree with everything you say to commend your honesty and care.

                I'm approaching this from what I believe to be reliable facts:

                Lanza committed murder at his own home first.
                Thereafter he stole firearms that had not previously been used in commission of horrible crimes, along with a car to transport him to the school, where he committed a series of murders, culminating in his death at his own hand.

                Being able to empty a 20-round magazine in under 10 seconds is fairly common with .223 automatic rifles of the kind the Bushmaster emulates.
                My experience with similar rifles is 30-plus years ago, now, but with practice we could -- and did -- go through magazine changes in under three seconds. We deliberately drilled with magazines NOT containing the full 20 rounds as part of our air base ground defense preparation, just like we practiced with "partial loads" in the .38 revolvers issued to us for the same purpose.

                 In my day 30-round mags were known to be unreliable in the M-16 /M-16A1 because they bent easily and the springs weakened rapidly.
                Presumably those issues have been addressed by the commercial weaponsmakers ... after all, since they're selling to the private market, they don't necessarily have to meet a "bid price" for any set number of weapons.

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:28:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  jo fish, this post would get many more eyes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jo fish, mungley

    with a more topic-specific title. You could try something to the effect of: "The Newtown CT gun culture".

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

    by SoCalSal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:00:39 AM PST

  •  NY Times Article - I lived in that neighborhood (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pvasileff, jo fish, ssgbryan, mungley

    Cross posting from another thread.  I actually lived in that neighborhood of Newtown until about 2 months ago, and was one of the neighbors making complaints.  I never even knew that the police commission took up our cause until just now.   Guy was a lunatic - we'd hear semiautomatic gunfire for hours punctuated by loud explosions that would shake our house more than a half mile away.  I was actually a little worried that the activity was a terrorist training camp.  As the article mentions, the traditional gun clubs were not the problem.  

    The purchaser of my house has a first grader who survived at SHES; you'd like to think that people will have some sympathy and put down the guns for the foreseeable future so that the victims don't have to be further traumatized by this crap.  

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