Forecaster Forum: Mass shootings: Is there a tipping point?

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Shortly after the massacre of 5- and 6-year-olds and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I wrote an op-ed on gun control for this paper. It was December 2012, and I was about to begin my first term in the Maine House of Representatives.

I was not naive; I knew the subject would spark hostility among some Mainers. In fact, word spread quickly, and I was soon the poster child for blogs fed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), an ally of the NRA. Hate mail descended.

I wrote the piece because I thought no gun violence could be worse than what had happened. Perhaps that would create enough revulsion to change minds. Tiny children had been pulverized by a young man with obvious mental troubles, who had access to high-powered rifles in his mother’s home and regularly went to target practice with her. There was something crazy about this, I mused.

I focused on the deadliness of the weapons. The firearms were not about self-protection or hunting or target practice. Owners purchased them because they were captivated by the sheer power of these machines. For bragging rights, some admitted.

The folks at SAM told me I couldn’t write accurately about weapons without understanding them. Fair enough. So I went to their annual meeting, where experts demonstrated that there was no real difference between hunting firearms and military-style weapons. So efforts to distinguish them in the law were fruitless.

But then I heard speakers voice a more disturbing theme: we need these high-power weapons to defend ourselves against our own government. The Supreme Court had recently held that the Second Amendment right to bear arms belonged to individuals, not the state. The court simply read away the amendment’s preamble relating to states’ need to raise a militia.

While I thought the case was wrongly decided, it was now the law of the land. What this meeting taught me was that these gun advocates believed that to be prepared to match the government, they needed extreme firepower. Muskets may have been on the mind of the founding fathers, but grenade launchers, fully automatic weapons and worse were now needed to face a standing army.

So far, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment, like all parts of the Constitution, is not absolute. But that is immaterial to true believers. Their sense of the Second Amendment is absolute and deeply ingrained in their identity. That is what drives their unceasing opposition to even the most modest gun control measure, from background checks to limits on the size of magazines. That, and the unfounded fear that any legal limit is intended to lead to confiscation of their guns. (Automatic weapons have been banned since the 1930s, with no such effect. Nor have stronger state gun-control laws resulted in registries or confiscations.)

Last year, I worked hard to pass Question 3, the referendum to institute a basic background check for all weapon purchases. Opponents waged a clever campaign to confuse voters, arguing that the exceptions written into the proposed law were really traps for the unwary. I thought that with polls showing 60 percent or more of Mainers favoring the referendum, it would pass. I was wrong. The opponents were more motivated.

I have come to conclude that legal restraints will make only a small difference in the gun violence in America. Some, but not enough. More important is to have an honest and open conversation that includes all Americans – gun owners, and non-gun owners alike. We can all see that there’s a problem and it’s up to average people to talk to each other about the facts, not get stuck in conspiracy theories. Both sides have to be open to facts, especially credible facts that contradict our positions.

To be sure, guns kill. But they rarely kill bad guys. They kill women at the hands of angry, drunk spouses. Depressed men by suicide. Children by accidents. In other states, street crime is the major culprit. Having a gun in your home magnifies your chances that one of these gun-related deaths will happen in your family. Having a gun in your pocket also reduces your chances of living through an encounter with a bad guy.

In Las Vegas, it was the police who hunted down and stopped the killer, not good guys with guns on their hips. Ordinary citizens were powerless in this situation.

But ordinary citizens are not powerless to stop the next mass shooting. We can’t just wait for another Las Vegas, or Sandy Hook, or San Bernardino, or Orlando, or Columbine to happen. When we say that we can’t have a discussion about mass shootings during the aftermath of a mass shooting, we’re saying that we can never have that conversation.

When Second Amendment advocates suggested that I should learn more about guns before talking about them, I did. Gun violence is not a black-and-white issue, and we need to stop speaking about it in absolutes. We all need to listen to each other and have a conversation about reasonable solutions instead of talking past each other.

Democrat Janice Cooper is serving her third term in the Maine House of Representatives. She represents Yarmouth, Long Island and Chebeague Island.

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  • Chew H Bird

    You listed “Depressed men by suicide”, “Children by accidents”, “woman at the hands of angry, drunk spouses”, and mention “street crime”. What you have not expanded upon is “mental illness”, or “alcohol and drug addiction”.

    We all know that making it more difficult to purchase a car will not cut down on automobile accidents. We also know that banning public jets would not be practical (911). We also know that banning booze creates a black market (prohibition).

    I suspect that our increasingly rigid society where children no longer get to be kids, parents constantly hover, and everything seems offensive to somebody may have a lot to do with increasing frustration levels throughout our entire country. I also seem to recall that if the four or five most violent cities were removed from the statistics the USA would “rate” far higher of the safety scales.

    Also, it is interesting the majority of violence happens in cities… When people are packed together violence tends to increase. That follows similar trends with species other than humans…

    While some sort of background check is a decent and common sense thing, legislating “the device” simply repeats the same effort with the same lack of positive result. Our problems are based upon our society, culture, lack of economic opportunity, poverty, drugs, and mental illness, not the guns themselves.

    • JustKev

      There is already “some sort” of background check in place. It is broken. Why write more laws that only impact people who already abide by the law when the ones in place are broken and no on tries to fix them?

  • MaineCWP

    Most intellectually dishonest piece I’ve read in decades.

    • EdBeem

      Janice Cooper shares the view of the majority of Americans who believe that the answer to the plague of gun violence in America is fewer guns harder to get. The NRA and its followers believe the answer is more guns readily available anywhere to anyone. They are in the minority, but we now live in a dictatorship of the minority.

      • Steve McNultry

        The “majority of Americans who believe that the answer to the plague of gun violence in America is fewer guns harder to get”….. you sound like Bloomberg’s polls that the media outlets published before the vote on Q3 last year saying that 90% of Mainers supported Q3. When election day came Bloomberg could not even get simple majority to vote against it. You should just stop making up stuff to support gun control. The majority of Americans do not support more gun control.

      • Eric Lowell

        Ed,
        Repeating the same falsehoods over and over does not make them true. Your statistics are fabricated by the anti-gun forces and your last sentence does not make sense. Try thinking on your own rather than simply restating the party line.

      • Skeptic2108

        Just how is defense of the Second Ammendment a dictatorship? Nobody is dictating that you own guns. Nobody believes the “answer” is more guns, just that the answer is not prohibiting the lawful ownership of guns.

      • Chew H Bird

        The problem isn’t gun laws. The problem is people who are committing violent crimes. While there are mass shootings that occur all over, the larger issue is population density being associated with higher rates of violent crime.

        As with many things, making something more difficult to obtain will reduce people who simply want “it” and increase the perception of “need” among those who perceive “it” as necessary, regardless if “it” pertains to guns, cars, baked beans, drugs, booze, or anything else…

        If we want to reduce actual criminal violence we are going about it the wrong way by focusing on devices instead of population management, mental health services, improving education and profitable work opportunities for everyone.

  • rs

    Allow me a few minutes to fisk this piece. I have attempted to format the text, and I hope this comment program leaves my paragraphs and spacing intact for legibility …

    I have no comment on the first 2 1/2 paragraphs of the essay, except to note that hate mail, as received by advocates of any disputed position in this day and age, is never acceptable.

    “Tiny children had been pulverized by a young man with obvious mental troubles, who had access to high-powered rifles in his mother’s home and regularly went to target practice with her. There was something crazy about this, I mused.”

    The shooter’s access to high powered rifles was due to the fact that he had murdered his mother to get to them. That occurrence is so bizarre, and so incredibly rare, that I don’t know how one could possibly craft a fair and constitutional law to prevent it.

    “I focused on the deadliness of the weapons. The firearms were not about self-protection or hunting or target practice.”

    The firearms weren’t about anything. Any gun, a target gun, a hunting gun, a self defense gun, even a gun designed to stand in the way of tyranny, can be misused. And, yes, killing that is not in self defense is misuse of the firearm.

    “Owners purchased them because they were captivated by the sheer power of these machines. For bragging rights, some admitted.”

    … and so because some folks’ reasons for purchasing firearms don’t meet your personal litmus test, you want to limit ALL people’s ability to purchase them? Frankly, there is no purpose test behind the exercise free speech, or any other constitutional right. Attempting to insert one here is a rhetorical trick.

    “The folks at SAM told me I couldn’t write accurately about weapons without understanding them. Fair enough. So I went to their annual meeting, where experts demonstrated that there was no real difference between hunting firearms and military-style weapons. So efforts to distinguish them in the law were fruitless.”

    Which is why second amendment advocates have become deafened by the irrational fact-free screeching for more ineffective gun control.

    “But then I heard speakers voice a more disturbing theme: we need these high-power weapons to defend ourselves against our own government. The Supreme Court had recently held that the Second Amendment right to bear arms belonged to individuals, not the state. The court simply read away the amendment’s preamble relating to states’ need to raise a militia.”

    No. The court didn’t read away the preamble. The court read it as intended. I’m sorry that you feel disturbed by this, but gun owners feel disturbed by your reading of the law. See how that works – we disagree. You don’t like the law of the land. We don’t like your interpretation of it. We feel disturbed by your blindness to our constitutional rights.

    “While I thought the case was wrongly decided, it was now the law of the land. What this meeting taught me was that these gun advocates believed that to be prepared to match the government, they needed extreme firepower. Muskets may have been on the mind of the founding fathers, but grenade launchers, fully automatic weapons and worse were now needed to face a standing army.”

    This is silly from several points of view. First, “grenade launchers, fully automatic weapons and worse” aren’t in the hands of civilians, except for a very few full-auto firearms, which are VERY tightly regulated. So, you are afraid of weapons that aren’t in civilian hands, and that’s the reason to panic about the weapons that ARE in civilian hands? Do I need to point out that, at the time the second amendment was drafted, there were no military weapons, short of cannons, that weren’t in the hands of civilians and, as far as I know, cannons in civilian hands were legal – as they still are. So, if one were to take it literally, civilians should, in fact, have access to, at the very least, all infantry weaponry. However, you don’t actually hear that argument, because even Second Amendment advocates grant that there is a limit somewhere. We just draw it in a different place than you do. One of the most important things to understand about the second amendment is that the mere presence of arms in civilian hands prevents much government abuse and over-reach. I can only come up with one fairly recent mass civilian uprising (the battle of Athens, Tenn.) along those lines. But, how many people’s lives or quality of life has been saved simply because would be governmental abusers of power didn’t dare act?

    “So far, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment, like all parts of the Constitution, is not absolute. But that is immaterial to true believers. Their sense of the Second Amendment is absolute and deeply ingrained in their identity.”

    Actually, that is a mis-characterization. You would be hard pressed to find a Second Amendment advocate who would argue that violent felons, drug dealers, and the insane should have access to firearms. The issue isn’t that we feel that the Second Amendment is absolute, it is that your definition of “not absolute” is close to “non-existent”. And, by the way, it certainly appears that a fear of hatred of guns is absolute and deeply ingrained in your identity? Given the constitutionality of gun ownership, that makes your position far more dangerous.

    “That is what drives their unceasing opposition to even the most modest gun control measure, from background checks to limits on the size of magazines.”

    We have had draconian gun control measures in place since the 1930s. They have failed every single time and in every single way. If you are going to place limits on a constitutional right, those limits must be both effective and narrowly tailored to have a positive effect. Since your suggested gun control measures do nothing to protect anybody and place unreasonable limits on law-abiding gunowners, I must oppose them. A massive proportion (I believe over 90%) of mass shooters have passed background checks to legally purchase their firearms. This is why expanding such checks is pointless. As to magazine limits. Again, you betray your lack of knowledge. A skilled shooter can shoot, in real world terms, almost as quickly with smaller magazines as with larger ones. A practiced shooter can switch magazines in 2-3 seconds. We HAD magazine limits for 10 years. They were allowed to elapse, after definitive proof of their utter uselessness. Remember – gun ownership is a constitutional right. If a limitation on guns is to be considered, shouldn’t it at least do what it is supposed to do?

    “That, and the unfounded fear that any legal limit is intended to lead to confiscation of their guns.”

    Nancy Pelosi stated within the last 4 weeks that she hoped that legislation to ban bump stocks would lead to a slippery slope of gun regulations. A fear of a goal stated proudly by a political leader of this country cannot be unfounded. A simple look at the progression that has occurred in the state of California, from Registration to Banning, and even confiscation of (if found) of “assault weapons” proves the mendaciousness of your statement. And, as you mentioned above – the fact that these laws make no difference renders such infringements doubly odious.

    “(Automatic weapons have been banned since the 1930s, with no such effect. Nor have stronger state gun-control laws resulted in registries or confiscations.)”

    Again, every word of this sentence is false. Automatic weapons are legal – if you pay a $200 tax and undergo an extensive background check. They are rare in civilian hands due to their scarcity and cost. So, no, they haven’t been confiscated because THEY’RE LEGAL. Stronger state gun-control laws have resulted in registries – specifically registries of so called “assault weapons” in places like California and Connecticut. Please note that, as far as can be determined, compliance with those registries by owners of those guns has hovered somewhere between 5% and 15%. That’s not exactly effective. Lastly, New York State has begun confiscating weapons, without due process. No, it hasn’t been common, but it has happened. Note that bill signed into law in Oregon just this past week – where a hearing can be held to confiscate a law-abiding citizen’s guns without due process. Again, Janice, the facts simply aren’t what you pretend they are. And, because of this, your conclusions are just as false.

    “Last year, I worked hard to pass Question 3, the referendum to institute a basic background check for all weapon purchases. Opponents waged a clever campaign to confuse voters, arguing that the exceptions written into the proposed law were really traps for the unwary. I thought that with polls showing 60 percent or more of Mainers favoring the referendum, it would pass. I was wrong. The opponents were more motivated.”

    I’m amused by your description of the No on 3 campaign. A clever campaign to confuse voters is a pretty good description of Question 3 and its campaign. Surely a gun control measure opposed by 3/4 of Maine’s sheriffs has something seriously wrong with it! Actually, the push polling indicated over 80% approval of Question 3. Of course the polls were wrong, despite the No on 3 campaign being outspent 7 to 1. And perhaps you should ask why they were wrong, rather than clinging to them as if they were the true gospel. You state that the opponents were more motivated. Oh yes. And with very good reason. Second Amendment advocates don’t like people lying to the public an an effort to curtail our constitutional rights.

    “I have come to conclude that legal restraints will make only a small difference in the gun violence in America. Some, but not enough. More important is to have an honest and open conversation that includes all Americans – gun owners, and non-gun owners alike. We can all see that there’s a problem and it’s up to average people to talk to each other about the facts, not get stuck in conspiracy theories. Both sides have to be open to facts, especially credible facts that contradict our positions.”

    I agree with every word. I hope that these corrections of the many mis-statements in your article will help you achieve a fact-based position. Perhaps if were approaching the discussion from a reality-based position, the conversation could be advanced.

    “To be sure, guns kill. But they rarely kill bad guys. “

    Really? According to the FBI, 2/3 of all gun deaths are criminals shooting other criminals. This data was from 1995 – note that gun deaths have dropped dramatically in this country since then, even as the rate of civilian gun ownership and concealed carry has skyrocketed. Let’s not forget legitimate use of force by police officers etc.

    Really … I could stop there. The author’s credibility is at this point is zero. Her political agenda leaves no room for facts, especially ones that don’t fit the narrative.

    “They kill women at the hands of angry, drunk spouses.”

    They also save women from angry-drunk spouses. There are hundreds of defensive uses of legally owned guns in this country every day. Non-gang, non-LEO, non-suicide deaths by firearm are statistically surprisingly rare in this country.

    “Depressed men by suicide.”

    There is a grain of truth here. Suicides are one of the two largest groups of death via firearm. And, of course, you fail to recognize that laws that target law-abiding gun-owning citizens make little to no difference with either of those to categories. And, furthermore, the risk of suicide is simply no excuse for the type of legislation you have espoused in the past. Every freedom comes with a risk. I could eliminate boating accidents – if I banned boating. I could eliminate sky-diving accidents, if I banned sky-diving. I could practically eliminate highway fatalities, if I put a 25mph governor on every motor vehicle. That doesn’t make these ideas good ones.

    “Children by accidents.”

    Sadly, though extremely rare, such things do happen. A recent article noted accidental shootings of children at a bit over one per week, nationwide. In a country of over three hundred million people, with over three hundred million guns, that’s a shockingly low number. And, note that it is shootings, not deaths. Requiring perfection from one’s opposition is a time-honored rhetorical trick. Of course, it’s a lot harder to count the children who have been saved by guns each week – because they haven’t been shot.

    “In other states, street crime is the major culprit.”

    True, and your position does nothing but further empower criminals. We don’t have that problem here. And our second amendment freedoms help keep it that way.

    “Having a gun in your home magnifies your chances that one of these gun-related deaths will happen in your family.”

    Suicide by gun and the occasional (and quite rare if you check the odds) accident, I will grant you. But, if that gun-related death is that of a would-be rapist or home-invader, then you’re not helping your cause. I can point to daily stories of law-abiding citizens defending themselves in their houses against burglars, stalkers, estranged spouses, and home invasions, using their legally owned firearms. And, as has been reported in numerous places, simply leveling a firearm at an intruder often ends the threat. In fact, many, if not the great majority, of defensive gun uses do not involve actually firing the gun. I must add here that my ex-wife used a gun to defend herself against a would-be rapist who broke into our home – and she did not have to pull the trigger. Is that personal enough for you, Janice?

    “Having a gun in your pocket also reduces your chances of living through an encounter with a bad guy.”

    Really? That is the exact opposite of every piece of research on the subject I’ve ever seen. However, I suppose that, at least theoretically, there is some study, somewhere, where the numbers have been cherry-picked by a gun-control advocate that appears to advance that position. I’m happy to report, however, that, among those I know, having a gun requires us to think more responsibly and to treat other people more respectfully, precisely because we recognize the danger of escalation. It’s easy to count those who were killed with their own guns (rare as that is – though it even happens to the police), but, again, it’s a lot harder to count the crimes prevented simply because such crimes didn’t occur. The error that gun control advocates make is that they assume that, because the crime was prevented, that it wouldn’t have occurred even had the gun not been present.

    “In Las Vegas, it was the police who hunted down and stopped the killer, not good guys with guns on their hips. Ordinary citizens were powerless in this situation.”

    True, but so what? One situation, one set of circumstances, is not another. In many, if not most circumstances when law-abiding citizens are threatened, guns do help. Guns save hundreds of lives a day in this country.

    “But ordinary citizens are not powerless to stop the next mass shooting. We can’t just wait for another Las Vegas, or Sandy Hook, or San Bernardino, or Orlando, or Columbine to happen.”

    Actually, ordinary citizens ARE powerless to stop the next mass shooting. Simply because there is no gun-control law, now matter how draconian, how unconstitutional, how over-reaching, that will make a difference.

    “When we say that we can’t have a discussion about mass shootings during the aftermath of a mass shooting, we’re saying that we can never have that conversation.”

    We can have such a conversation. But, it is always best to wait until the raw emotions have passed, that all the facts are known, and any proposed legislation can be looked at in the light of reason. One despicable tactic of gun control advocates is to try to use emotion to take away our rights. Yes, we fight against that.

    “When Second Amendment advocates suggested that I should learn more about guns before talking about them, I did.”

    If this article is any indication, you may have learned a little about guns, but you have apparently learned nothing about rights, the constitution, or the real world effects of gun control.

    “Gun violence is not a black-and-white issue, and we need to stop speaking about it in absolutes. We all need to listen to each other and have a conversation about reasonable solutions instead of talking past each other.”

    The only “conversation” coming from gun control advocates has been “let me pass another ineffectual law that will do nothing to improve public safety, but will make me feel superior while infringing on the rights of gun owners.” That’s not a conversation. That’s a lecture from an insupportable position.

    Let’s have a conversation based on the fact that the number of guns in this country has doubled in the last 20 years while crime has been cut in half. Let’s have a conversation based on the fact that, in the two years that we’ve had permitless concealed firearm carry in this state, violence has continued to decrease and there have been no ill effects – and please, let’s contrast that to the statements made by the opponents of that law before it was passed. And, while we are at it, let’s also examine the figures from the other states which have also introduced the same provision, or let’s compare with Vermont, which has never required a license. to carry.

    Let’s have a conversation based on the remarkably low gun crime rate in this state and the huge number of guns we have here in Maine, and compare our situation to the centers of gun control in this country, with their vastly higher crime rates.

    Let’s have a conversation about the utter ineffectuality of gun control laws in this country.

    Let’s have a conversation about the injustices waged in our judicial system against law-abiding gun owners.

    Let’s have a conversation about rolling back these pointless infringements on our rights. We’re willing to compromise. We don’t have to get rid of all the gun control laws immediately. Let’s just start with the worst of them. And, let’s see that slippery slope that Nancy Pelosi was crowing about. We can certainly wait a year or two to get rid of the rest.

  • Steve McNultry

    In case you have not noticed, the majority of Americans do not think gun control is the answer to fighting crime. It has been close to 3 weeks since the Las Vegas murders and no one but the desperate are pushing for gun control. Why don’t we make a concerted effort to fight the overdose epidemic we are having in Maine? Maine crime rate has gone down since permitless carry was passed two years ago. Guns are not the problem and gun control does not fight crime.

  • EdBeem

    The majority of Americans want stronger gun control laws.http://www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm

    • Skeptic2108

      Ah yes, the Tyranny of the Majority.

    • Steve McNultry

      Just like the polls that showed Hillary would beat Trump and 90% of Mainers supported universal background checks…….. keep hoping.

  • Queenie42

    Ok. I get the fact that some people want to own guns for protection from government gone bad. In fact I think that is a righteous ideal especially in these times. What I would like to know, and I am being serious here, what action by our government is going to trigger this protection? Will it be the declaration of martial law? Isn’t that what happened to the people in Germany in the 1930s? Would Hitler have happened if the people were armed? Would the armed people have protected the Jews and defeated the Holocaust? We will never know. But I would like to believe in courageous people willing to lay down their lives in a good cause.
    The thing is, from what has been in the news, some of you people who want to protect against government also want to kill innocent people, Jews, gays, etc, and dress and act like the governmental people in the 1930s Germany.
    How are we going to distinguish that group from those who are serious about protection and buy and carry weapons to that end?
    Please explain to us what the plan is, when will it be implemented and what can we do to keep calm and sleep nights without the fear of martial law and bombs falling because of hot-headed governmental decisions. Thank you.

  • rs

    It seems that my line by line explanation of every mis-statement in the article has disappeared. It appears that the Forecaster is even less interested in a dialog than the drafter of the editorial.

    • Steve McNultry

      One of mine is missing as well. I guess contrary opinions are not welcome here when the admins allow their own political views to dictate what stays and what goes.

      • For the record, this is an unmoderated forum. The Forecaster does not routinely monitor, edit or delete comments unless they are flagged by other users or Disqus as libelous or violating common standards of decency.

  • rs

    Since the Forecaster chose to delete my specific fisking of the numerous factual errors in the original piece, I will say this …

    Of the entire appeal to emotion, I will focus on only one line: “To be sure, guns kill. But they rarely kill bad guys.“

    But, according to the FBI, 2/3 of all gun deaths are criminals shooting other criminals. I am simply going to say that numerous other factual assertions in the piece are equally false.

    And, after lamenting that stricter gun laws do nothing to help with gun violence (and ignoring how stricter gun laws generally increase non-gun violence), she begs for a discussion.

    It’s hard to have a discussion when the person you are interacting with is basing their position on falsehoods. It’s hard to have a discussion when the person you are interacting with is using an argument based on emotion, not on facts or reason.

    But, I can overlook these flaws. So let’s have a discussion.

    Let’s discuss how, in this country, in the last 20 years, gun ownership has doubled while crime has been cut in half.

    Let’s discuss how, throughout our country, low crime rates are associated with lax gun laws and high crime rates are associated with strict gun laws.

    Let’s discuss how remarkably low the rate of “gun violence” is when one discounts gang activity, suicide and lawful gun use by the police. Why would I do that – simple. No restrictions on lawful gun owners are going to take hands out of the guns of criminals. That horse left the barn over a century ago. Suicides are typically people who pass every possible hurdle, no matter how onerous, and as to why I eliminate lawful gun use by the police, that is obvious. I should also eliminate lawful uses of guns in self defense at the same time.

    Let’s discuss how the failure of gun control legislation to protect lawful gun-owners from criminals.

    Let’s discuss how gun free zones attract mass shooters.

    Let’s discuss how law abiding gun owners have been stepped on and treated as second class citizens.

    These are just a few of the great number of things we should be discussing.

  • Watchful Eye

    I’m a little late to the party and no real wisdom to shed on this subject. You all get fired up over gun rights when really their is no debate at all. Folks who want firearms for any reason will always have them. People who are mentally, emotionally or physically ill will always use them to perpetrate their deeds. People who think we should ban assault style weapons are not really wrong either, though the author of this article ,in my opinion, is missing the boat. I own an AR style weapon. I purchased it because I always wanted one. Use it for plinking, hunting and defense. I have a few 30 round magazines too. Do I need this weapon? Nope. Do I have fun with this weapon? Yup. The only defending I will probably ever do with this weapon is knock off some zombies in the apocalypse. Will I defend myself from the tyranny of the government? Probably not. There is no defense from drones.
    I do think we need a waiting period for all firearms though. I think a two week waiting period is a place to start. My feeling is it would take some emotion out a situation. My work brings me in direct contact with drug overdoses, alcohol abuse and a lot of mentally ill people. I blame the drug problems on big pharma and the abuses of opioids in the 90’s. Alcohol abuse, well that’s an old one and speaks for itself. What I have noticed is the uptick in mentally ill folks. In my opinion we could be doing more, of course. Could blame that on the insurance industry. Look, the whole country is run by the insurance and drug lobby. We will never fix any of this until this as long as integrity takes a back seat to greed.

  • Alex Giger

    “FBI: Police were told Sandy Hook shooter threatened to kill mom, students”

    “NEWTOWN, Conn. — Police were warned that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter had threatened to kill his mother and students **BEFORE** the 2012 massacre, according to newly revealed FBI documents”.

    My Comment: You think, just maybe, this could be part of the problem?

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sandy-hook-shooting-investigation-fbi-documents/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=43899519

    • Watchful Eye

      Let’s take this conversation on active shooters a little further. I am not an expert but in my line of work I pay attention to situations and study active shooting incidents. If anyone is interested in the evolution of active shootings in the U.S. you need to read the Hartford Consensus. Great read for those with interest. That being said I would like to comment on the situation with regards to most school systems.
      I live in a rural community with a campus style setup inclusive of all grades kindergarten to grade 12. My wife works in the system. The set up for the elementary school has 3 entrances with card id to enter. The entrance for the area she works is rather secluded. Should a shooter enter from this entrance the population could not be secured. The focus of administration is to tape paper over the windows…during the event. In her situation she would have to move the kids forward toward the entrance and get them into a room with a rather large window per administration. The door is hollow core. There is a door to the bathroom, in the area, that would work better.. more of a solid core and even smaller window.
      One of the problems with an active shooter/ violent situation, in a large area, can be the lack of ability for law enforcement to find the shooter. Looking to the outside perimeter of the school there are 2 stories. Numbering the windows would aid in the effort to id the location of the shooter as everyone has cell phones. I could go on but you get the idea. What is your school or office building doing?
      Finally, violence will never go away. We are in a different world and we need to PAY ATTENTION to our surroundings. When you enter a location, business or school, look around. Have situational awareness. Look for things out of place. It only takes a few seconds. Look at your personal situation and think “what would I do if this happened”? Run, Hide, Fight is the new way of thinking in a situation as I described. Their is so much more but I hope some this helped because it may save your life.

  • Little crow

    Ms. Cooper suggests we “have a conversation about reasonable solutions”. How about
    enforcing the law? Almost all mass shooters are already breaking existing laws, but the Obama administration refused to enforce federal firearms laws against actual criminals caught committing crimes.

    The reason we keep debating this topic after a mass shooting is because the gun control advocates like Ms.Cooper want to exploit the opportunity to politicize a tragedy, and the law-abiding gun owners have to defend their civil rights lest they lose them to hysterical proposals from people who no nothing about firearms.

    I presume Ms. Cooper will regard this comment as “hate mail”, but I offer it only to help our representative understand a different point of view.