American School Shooting

RutlandH2O

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I am American and I am horrified! In all the years I lived there (close to 50) none of my friends or family owned guns or had anything to do with them. It was a non-issue. It has been only since I have lived abroad that this whole "right to bear arms" rubbish has entered my psyche, and I am ashamed to call myself American. Twenty babies have been ripped from their parents' arms, and seven good, decent, brave adults were gunned down trying to protect them. The NRA, the media, the religious right (yes, you read that correctly), the red-necks, the hunting (shooting) lobby have much for which to answer. If I hear one more remark along the lines that people, not guns, kill, I'll scream! Now I am aware of the culture of guns in the US, something that never touched my life when I lived there. In the last 48 hours, there was an incident in California where some lunatic fired 50 rounds in a car park, 2 shooting incidents in Alabama, and one in Oklahoma. Enough is enough!
 

Alec Swan

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.......

I actually think the volume in the US is increasing and while many keep trying to bury it, these seems to be a real groundswell of opinion changing...
.......

... Enough is enough!
I suspect Luci07 that you may well have struck the right note there, BUT it will need a groundswell of gargantuan public opinion, for there to be change.

A short story for you; A friend of mine, a Brit went to visit his bother in the States. His brother took him to meet a neighbouring family; a family with several young children. The conversation got around to firearms, a common interest amongst the men present, and would my mate like to look at the hosts firearm collection?

Of course he would. He was handed a Glock, with the advice, "Be careful, it's loaded".

How has such a culture developed, HOW?

Change will only come about, by common consent.

Alec.
 

SusannaF

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I suspect Luci07 that you may well have struck the right note there, BUT it will need a groundswell of gargantuan public opinion, for there to be change.

A short story for you; A friend of mine, a Brit went to visit his bother in the States. His brother took him to meet a neighbouring family; a family with several young children. The conversation got around to firearms, a common interest amongst the men present, and would my mate like to look at the hosts firearm collection?

Of course he would. He was handed a Glock, with the advice, "Be careful, it's loaded".

How has such a culture developed, HOW?

Change will only come about, by common consent.

Alec.
Here's a long form piece on the politics of it:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/23/120423fa_fact_lepore

When I graduated I wanted to do a PhD on US gun culture (couldn't find any profs to sponsor me - they thought it was too trendy). I doubt any of these organisations would let me near them to ask questions - I'd be shouted out as a liberal, even if I were just trying to observe and understand.
 

Caol Ila

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I cynically agree with Alec on this one. I'm an American expat, now living in Britain, and I was in high school in Colorado when the Columbine shooting happened and the same noises were made then, like they are every time this happens. I sadly don't hold out any hope that Americans are going to pull their fingers out of their collective butts and take any decisive actions with regards to decreasing the availability of guns or, for that matter, increasing the availability of mental health services (that would involve taxing people and making healthcare cheaper and more affordable for everyone, which is a profoundly unAmerican and socialist idea). It's not just down to the NRA and the gun lobby. It's the the beliefs of a lot of the general population. Far too many people, average citizens, honest-to-God believe that they are better off with *more* guns and they argue that if someone in this school (or any other site where such a massacre occurred, like the CO movie theatre) had a gun, it wouldn't have happened.

I've seen people compare it to the action Brits took to ban handguns after Dunblane. But here, there was the collective will to do it. British people aren't blinded by a collective love affair with firearms and the notions of "freedom" that having unfettered access to them seems to represent. Any attempt to pass legislation regulating gun ownership causes people to go apoplectic because they see it as an attack by the government on freedom (however, if the government fancies passing legislation, i.e. the Patriot Act, that throws away habeas corpus, which is also a Constitutional right, that's okay).

After the Norway thing, a Fox news pundit said something to the effect of, "Norway isn't a democracy because not even the police carry guns." Yeah. That's the problem, right there. Concepts like "freedom" and "democracy" are completely entangled with firearms ownership. It's nuts.

Maybe my fellow countrymen will prove me wrong. I hope so, but I'm not remotely optimistic.
 
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RutlandH2O

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I've seen people compare it to the action Brits took to ban handguns after Dunblane. But here, there was the collective will to do it. British people aren't blinded by a collective love affair with firearms and the notions of "freedom" that having unfettered access to them seems to represent. Any attempt to pass legislation regulating gun ownership causes people to go apoplectic because they see it as an attack by the government on freedom (however, if the government fancies passing legislation, i.e. the Patriot Act, that throws away habeas corpus, which is also a Constitutional right, that's okay).

This^^^^

After the Norway thing, a Fox news pundit said something to the effect of, "Norway isn't a democracy because not even the police carry guns." Yeah. That's the problem, right there. Concepts like "freedom" and "democracy" are completely entangled with firearms ownership. It's nuts.

Remember the source, Fox News.

Maybe my fellow countrymen will prove me wrong. I hope so, but I'm not remotely optimistic.
Nor am I.
 

Caol Ila

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Remember the source, Fox News
Aye! What's terrifying is that there are a lot of people in the United States who don't think Fox just makes ***** up. But I used that snippet as an illustration of how deeply and indeed, intransigently, gun ownership is intertwined with what people think is "freedom."
 

Luci07

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I cynically agree with Alec on this one. I'm an American expat, now living in Britain, and I was in high school in Colorado when the Columbine shooting happened and the same noises were made then, like they are every time this happens. I sadly don't hold out any hope that Americans are going to pull their fingers out of their collective butts and take any decisive actions with regards to decreasing the availability of guns or, for that matter, increasing the availability of mental health services (that would involve taxing people and making healthcare cheaper and more affordable for everyone, which is a profoundly unAmerican and socialist idea). It's not just down to the NRA and the gun lobby. It's the the beliefs of a lot of the general population. Far too many people, average citizens, honest-to-God believe that they are better off with *more* guns and they argue that if someone in this school (or any other site where such a massacre occurred, like the CO movie theatre) had a gun, it wouldn't have happened.

I've seen people compare it to the action Brits took to ban handguns after Dunblane. But here, there was the collective will to do it. British people aren't blinded by a collective love affair with firearms and the notions of "freedom" that having unfettered access to them seems to represent. Any attempt to pass legislation regulating gun ownership causes people to go apoplectic because they see it as an attack by the government on freedom (however, if the government fancies passing legislation, i.e. the Patriot Act, that throws away habeas corpus, which is also a Constitutional right, that's okay).

After the Norway thing, a Fox news pundit said something to the effect of, "Norway isn't a democracy because not even the police carry guns." Yeah. That's the problem, right there. Concepts like "freedom" and "democracy" are completely entangled with firearms ownership. It's nuts.

Maybe my fellow countrymen will prove me wrong. I hope so, but I'm not remotely optimistic.
But thank you for explaining some of the culture behind this. I follow Piers Morgan on twitter who is obviously very anti guns. OMG does he have some truly bizarre and awful people tweeting at him, which he is quite happy to RT so everyone can see what idiots these people are. An awful lot revert to " if American didnt have guns, He (Piers) would be speaking German now." I did bite on that point but that particular tweeter didnt respond! obviously lacks a grasp of common history..

Well I am glad that my American friends don't seem to share these views we keep see being aired
 

RutlandH2O

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Aye! What's terrifying is that there are a lot of people in the United States who don't think Fox just makes ***** up. But I used that snippet as an illustration of how deeply and indeed, intransigently, gun ownership is intertwined with what people think is "freedom."
You've hit it square on the head!!! Very well written. Thank you.
 

RutlandH2O

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Latest news: a Roman Catholic church in Newtown, Connecticut, had to be evacuated during noon mass due to an anonymous phone threat. An unidentified man called the rectory and threatened to "kill everyone." He then said "my friend didn't finish the job." State police and SWAT team members surrounded the church.
 

case895

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When the US 2nd amendment was written, the prevailing firearms technology was muzzle loading flintlock muskets. I do not think the Founding Fathers had semi automatic rifles in mind. I received my shotgun and firearms certificates through yesterday and had to provide referees, they spoke to my GP, checked my land and the FAC needed a valid reason (just wanting one or a 250 year old piece of paper not being valid reasons). I also have to demonstrate that only I the certificate holder can access my rifle safe.
 

Orangehorse

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There was an interesting interview with a USA Congresswoman, whose husband had been killed and son seriously injured by a random gunman, who shot them down when they alighted from a train, I don't know if anyone else was hurt. It was random, he wasn't targetting them in particular.

She got elected and one of her aims is to get the gun laws altered. One thing she said was that in the UK we have the NHS and mental health issues are reasonably easy to spot and get treatment, whereas in the USA somepeople have little or no access to help. Invariably these random killers do have mental health problems (otherwise called nutters) by definitition. It is obviously possible for such people to get a gun licence in the UK, but much, much harder.

However, the whole situation is complicated by the fact that the guns belonged to the mother.

Just so sad, no explanation.
 

BBH

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I don't think this has anything to do with guns directly, goodness knows anything is dangerous in the wrong hands, cars, axe's, lawn mowers etc etc. Its all about using things in the correct way.

My thoughts are that people need to get on board with mental illness issues and parents need to stop being in denial that there is something wrong with their little darlings and get the appropriate treatment even if that means sectioning them. For a mother to have guns available to someone recognised as having problems defies belief.

America, like here, because lets face it we have psychopaths on the loose, needs to address some of these weird cult, thinking type things I believe the mother had some weird beliefs about Armageddon and get to grips with mental health.

In the Victorian era people were placed in Sanatoriums because they didn't have the wherewithal to know how to treat patients but these days we have more knowledge but need to invest in treatments.

Everyone always decries these acts but they will keep happening unless something radical is done.

The events in Newtown are about as distressing as I have ever seen, those beautiful children and heroic teachers wiped out is awful beyond belief.
 

CorvusCorax

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When the US 2nd amendment was written, the prevailing firearms technology was muzzle loading flintlock muskets. I do not think the Founding Fathers had semi automatic rifles in mind. I received my shotgun and firearms certificates through yesterday and had to provide referees, they spoke to my GP, checked my land and the FAC needed a valid reason (just wanting one or a 250 year old piece of paper not being valid reasons). I also have to demonstrate that only I the certificate holder can access my rifle safe.
Exactly, and militias were roaming the land. A semi-automatic rifle can kill a lot more people than a shotgun or a rifle in one fell swoop and you don't have to be skilled to use one.

Another issue is that you can walk into a gun show, pay some money and carry out an assault rifle with no background checks.

For those who have not, please look out a short documentary called Living For 32, and consider supporting the Brady campaign. They don't want to 'take people's stuff away', they want stricter controls on who can buy stuff in the first place.
 

case895

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A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.xactly, and militias were roaming the land. A semi-automatic rifle can kill a lot more people than a shotgun or a rifle in one fell swoop and you don't have to be skilled to use one.

Another issue is that you can walk into a gun show, pay some money and carry out an assault rifle with no background checks.

For those who have not, please look out a short documentary called Living For 32, and consider supporting the Brady campaign. They don't want to 'take people's stuff away', they want stricter controls on who can buy stuff in the first place.
The second amendment can be interpreted as saying you need to belong to a militia to possess and to bear Arms. The equivalent to the militias nowadays would be law enforcement agencies, the military, military reserve and National Guard. So, it could be interpreted that there is no right for private individuals to own arms.

As an aside, when I was at school, I was in our cadet force and had ready unsupervised access to the armoury and arsenal. We had sniper rifles and sever light machine guns.
 

combat_claire

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So horrific I would like to see a link between medical records and the issue of a gun licence, both here and the US anyone with a known problem of either dependance on any meds illegal or other wise and alchol as well should never be issued with a gun licence
This was debated recently in the UK. Personally I am against the medical records being linked to records of gun ownership. Do you seriously think if that was the case then a gamekeeper or anyone else relying on their guns for their livelihood and suffering from depression or such like would consult medical professionals if there was a chance of having his guns taken away.
 

Wundahorse

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It is a very sad fact that the level of disturbance which precipitated the offenders actions was probably well under the radar before preventative action could be taken.Often these perpetrators rarely reveal their underlying thoughts,impulses and plans as they tend to be socially isolated and therefore not in contact with any professional who may be able to appraise that persons mental health and form an assessment of the risk they present to others.Sometimes there are simmering resentments and angst which can continue for years until for some reason they suddenly boil over into catastrophes. also they may not actually fulfill the criteria for a mental health diagnosis and treatment,particularly in the case of Personality Disorder and psychopathy.Usually there people harbor hatred towards certain people for various reasons and the ultimate act is revenge.Killing helpless children is the single,most cruel and dreadful act which the perpetrator uses to gratify hatred against the people they despise.This is the method which hurts adults the most,such as what happened in Dunblane.Unfortunately most of these perpetrators kill themselves as the last act of vengeance thus there is very little valid research into the mental health of these individuals,only retrospective case studies.One common theme is that these killers are invariably socially isolated.Often they are unknown to services and their intent then cannot be predicted.I can only guess that in this latest case,the family dynamics appears to be dysfunctional,but more will be revealed as more information comes to light.
RIP the poor victims of yet another atrocity.
 

GTs

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This was debated recently in the UK. Personally I am against the medical records being linked to records of gun ownership. Do you seriously think if that was the case then a gamekeeper or anyone else relying on their guns for their livelihood and suffering from depression or such like would consult medical professionals if there was a chance of having his guns taken away.
But what about pilots - probably the largest group who doesn't go to the doctor because of concerns over their livelihood.
 

Big Ben

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They don't want to 'take people's stuff away', they want stricter controls on who can buy stuff in the first place.
Gets my vote, to a point, I do want to take away assault rifle's, but the biggest issue is making sure that there is some sort of screening for gun owners.

No one has an issue that you need to take a test and have a licence to handle that other deadly weapon, a vehicle, why should a gun be different.
 

Luci07

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I don't think this has anything to do with guns directly, goodness knows anything is dangerous in the wrong hands, cars, axe's, lawn mowers etc etc. Its all about using things in the correct way.

My thoughts are that people need to get on board with mental illness issues and parents need to stop being in denial that there is something wrong with their little darlings and get the appropriate treatment even if that means sectioning them. For a mother to have guns available to someone recognised as having problems defies belief.

America, like here, because lets face it we have psychopaths on the loose, needs to address some of these weird cult, thinking type things I believe the mother had some weird beliefs about Armageddon and get to grips with mental health.

In the Victorian era people were placed in Sanatoriums because they didn't have the wherewithal to know how to treat patients but these days we have more knowledge but need to invest in treatments.

Everyone always decries these acts but they will keep happening unless something radical is done.

The events in Newtown are about as distressing as I have ever seen, those beautiful children and heroic teachers wiped out is awful beyond belief.
There is a eye opening story which I cannot now find the link to but it is written by the mother of a seriously disturbed 13 year old in the US. Heartbreaking as she recognises his condition, she deals with it as best she can but had no support..she was advised to try have her son arrested for a crime as that was the only way he would be acknowledged by the system. I starts " I am the mother of .." Read it..
 

CorvusCorax

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I don't think this has anything to do with guns directly, goodness knows anything is dangerous in the wrong hands, cars, axe's, lawn mowers etc etc. Its all about using things in the correct way.
You get a semi-automatic firearm, you hold the trigger down, you spray, you can kill a whole room full of people. You can't do that with any of the other items you mention. WHY do people need these types of weapons if they are not in the military.
 

Caol Ila

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The purpose of a semi-automatic gun, when used "correctly," is to kill a lot of people. The purpose of a car, a lawn mower, or a rock, isn't. In any case, it takes more training and paperwork to own and drive a car in the US than it does to have a gun.

There is also no question that mental health care -- healthcare in general really -- in the United States SUCKS. Don't get me started.

To go slightly off-topic, but needs must: I did a PhD on Victorian psychiatry and just to be horribly pedantic, they didn't put people in asylums (Sanatoriums??) because "they didn't have the wherewithal to know how to treat patients," but rather because they had very clearly stated views regarding the causes and treatments of insanity and believed the best possible treatment available was in a purpose-built lunatic asylum. There was a "care-in-the-community" system in Scotland, which they called boarding-out, and archives are filled with writings about how great it is when it works, but how it can also be really crap. Victorian psychiatrists did not believe at all that restraint was a remotely okay form of treatment, and when they found that people who were getting money from the local parochial board to care for their insane relatives were tying said insane relatives out in the shed and leaving them mostly naked, they were not happy.

Anyway, large-scale institutional care for the mentally ill lasted well beyond the Victorian era. In the US, it was slowly decreasing but still common until the 1980s, when the Reagan administration all but killed it.
 

case895

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QUOTE=CaveCanem;11356740]You get a semi-automatic firearm, you hold the trigger down, you spray, you can kill a whole room full of people. You can't do that with any of the other items you mention. WHY do people need these types of weapons if they are not in the military.[/QUOTE]

Wrong. That is an automatic weapon.Semi-auto means you have to pull the trigger for each shot, but it reloads itself using either gas or recoil.
 

CorvusCorax

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Okie dokie. Never used one!!

I see a gun shop owner on the news saying that Monday was his busiest day in 20 years.
Hmm, am I wrong to read people are thinking 'Obama's gonna take all our guns away'.......
 

Mogg

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what an utterly tragic event, but i fear it wont be the last. i realise that controlling gun ownership is a mammoth task and even if it happened there's still be 'illegal' guns around, after all there are hand guns and assault weapons used by criminals in the UK despite all our laws.

Other than the actual act for which we will probably never know the real reason, what iv hated was the media mad rush to get the story out there asap, before any facts were verified. The initial newsflashes said that there had been a shooting and 36 children had been killed as well as teachers including his mother, and the boys father at his home. the 'shooters' name was released based on ID they'd found on his body, only to be retracted later when it was realised he was carrying his brothers id. Then the body count changed, then it was his mother not his father dead in the home....
i know they report on breaking stories but i cant imagine how distressing it must have been for families hearing about it on the news. The older brother lost his mother and brother and possibly thought his father was also dead, and had his name spread world wide as a mass killer and heard it all on the news.
The families and community will recover, and i hope the media give then the time and space to heal.

Three things i do struggle to understand....if the shooter was mentally ill then why would his mother introduce him to guns and leave them where he could access them?
a Republican pro-gun guy declared that if the head teacher had been carrying a gun then she maybe could have stopped his rampage by killing him first. Do Americans seriously want teachers in a primary school, or any school for that matter, to walk around armed?? Iirc the same guy said a similar thing after the cinema shooting a couple of months ago....a shootout in a darkened cinema? Really??
Why is there the need for anyone outside of law enforcement or the military to have a semi automatic assault weapon.

I admit to not understanding the attraction of guns, nor the 'right to bear arms' mentality. And i struggle to understand anyone who could look at the picturs of those children and teachers who lost their lives and declare that the answer is 'more gun ownership'.

Finally, whilst not detracting at all from the loss suffered by the families and friends, it was briefly mentioned on the news today that 10 Afghan children, ages 9 -11 were killed by a mine/i.e.d whilst collecting firewood. Are their lives worth less than the American children? going by the media coverage given to both events then yes. and i find that very very sad indeed.
 

fburton

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Finally, whilst not detracting at all from the loss suffered by the families and friends, it was briefly mentioned on the news today that 10 Afghan children, ages 9 -11 were killed by a mine/i.e.d whilst collecting firewood. Are their lives worth less than the American children? going by the media coverage given to both events then yes. and i find that very very sad indeed.
Coincidentally, I have just finished reading the following piece which makes the same point. More violence, more disregard for human life, more love of killing machines.

http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/17/‘bug-splats’/

"These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world’s concern."

I think this is a flaw in Monbiot's argument. These children are clearly (and understandably) not as important to/as Americans.
 

Caol Ila

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Well said, Mogg. But didn't you know that America is the best country in the world and its citizens are far more important than a bunch of Afghans?

The American exceptionalism mentality is another stick in the mud. People will not examine what other countries with smaller gun death rates (so, in short the rest of the world, except for places actually having civil wars) have done because "No other country has the freedoms that we have here in the United States." The US is clearly the best.

*sigh*
 

RutlandH2O

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I've just read a news item on Google News US, stating that sales of assault rifles, like the one used in the Newtown massacre, have vastly increased since the tragic event. Apparently, thousands of people are stocking up in advance of possible new legislation banning those weapons. This is the mind-set of a substantial proportion of the American population. The NRA should be so proud. Their silence is deafening and speaks volumes!
 

Mike007

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QUOTE=CaveCanem;11356740]You get a semi-automatic firearm, you hold the trigger down, you spray, you can kill a whole room full of people. You can't do that with any of the other items you mention. WHY do people need these types of weapons if they are not in the military.
Wrong. That is an automatic weapon.Semi-auto means you have to pull the trigger for each shot, but it reloads itself using either gas or recoil.[/QUOTE]

They are also incredibly easy to turn into fully automatic. The old "SLR" could become fully automatic with a strategicly placed machstick!
 

Isabeau

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I cynically agree with Alec on this one. I'm an American expat, now living in Britain, and I was in high school in Colorado when the Columbine shooting happened and the same noises were made then, like they are every time this happens. I sadly don't hold out any hope that Americans are going to pull their fingers out of their collective butts and take any decisive actions with regards to decreasing the availability of guns or, for that matter, increasing the availability of mental health services (that would involve taxing people and making healthcare cheaper and more affordable for everyone, which is a profoundly unAmerican and socialist idea). It's not just down to the NRA and the gun lobby. It's the the beliefs of a lot of the general population. Far too many people, average citizens, honest-to-God believe that they are better off with *more* guns and they argue that if someone in this school (or any other site where such a massacre occurred, like the CO movie theatre) had a gun, it wouldn't have happened.

I've seen people compare it to the action Brits took to ban handguns after Dunblane. But here, there was the collective will to do it. British people aren't blinded by a collective love affair with firearms and the notions of "freedom" that having unfettered access to them seems to represent. Any attempt to pass legislation regulating gun ownership causes people to go apoplectic because they see it as an attack by the government on freedom (however, if the government fancies passing legislation, i.e. the Patriot Act, that throws away habeas corpus, which is also a Constitutional right, that's okay).

After the Norway thing, a Fox news pundit said something to the effect of, "Norway isn't a democracy because not even the police carry guns." Yeah. That's the problem, right there. Concepts like "freedom" and "democracy" are completely entangled with firearms ownership. It's nuts.

Maybe my fellow countrymen will prove me wrong. I hope so, but I'm not remotely optimistic.
Sorry but I live in NJ and I can't contradict you.

Malcolm Gladwell explains the concept of meme pretty well in Tipping Point. In that book he talks about how one suicide led to a series of others, but the idea is the same. Once a meme http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme with traction is generated, it can be impossible to arrest the momentum.

Michael Moore made the point in Bowling for Columbine that Canadians have plenty of guns, but they just DON'T go around shooting people with them. They are NOT generally afraid of their fellow human. And they are not generally expecting an apocalypse any day now....

America's problem is, truly, NOT a gun problem. It is a culture in decline problem. It is a culture that cannot come to grips with the true measure of it's past. (As in, yeah, the USA is just dandy and all that, but you have to admit that committing genocide against the native population during the initial 'acquisition' phase was, um, ya know, wrong.....etc) It is a culture that is succumbing to the dereliction of it's desires (Big Mac anybody? Walmart low prices? Wanna live your whole life sittin' on your butt playing video games? etc)

Currently, the gun is a most beloved mode of self destruction. But yes, even if we eliminate the guns, America will still self destruct.
 
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