American Elephants

A Poignant Cry From A Mother of a Troubled Child by The Elephant's Child

In the current excess of demands to “do something” that always follows in the wake of disaster, here is a poignant article by a young woman who is the parent of a mentally disturbed child.“I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” she explains what it is like, and how hard it is to get help. Do read the whole thing. It is a painful cry for help from a world that is more interested in banning guns, as if it is the guns that are the problem.

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“… as if it is the guns that are the problem.”

Ah, the debate begins. Guns certainly aren’t the only problem. But powerful arms are a problem. Nobody is saying: “Nuclear bombs aren’t the problem, it is Iran’s crazy leaders that are the problem.” One without the other is one thing. Together they are a dangerous mix. So with weapons like hand grenades, automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons.

Just about everybody in the United States, no matter what political persuasion, believes in restricting access of the general public to some weapons. Some would draw the line quite liberally, excluding only weapons of mass destruction (which, nonetheless, fit the definition of “arms” used in the Constitution); others would allow only very limited gun ownership. A vast majority of the people are comfortable with their neighbors owning single-action hunting rifles.

Of course, the gun lobby wants to characterize the debate as a Constitutional one, rather than one of where to draw the line, ignoring that since the invention of the Gatling gun restrictions have been placed on what kinds of (functional) arms people can own.

Much of what gun-control advocates are calling for is the proper enforcement of laws already on the books, but which have been poorly enforced. Is that really something that the Republican Party cannot stomach?


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Whenever there is an instance of mass murder, especially if it involves children, there is an immediate outcry to “do something.” Politicians like to “never let a crisis go to waste,” so they attempt to act while emotions are high. Dianne Feinstein, always a big time gun-banner, has a bill that she has apparently had in a drawer for over a year waiting for the next big occasion to haul out. Chicago and its suburbs ban guns, and Chicago is the most violent city in the US. I think there have been over 12 murders just since Newtown, but that was a couple of days ago, it’s probably more now.

38 out of 61 mass shooters in the past decade showed signs of mental illness. ACLU inspired laws have made it difficult to either commit or hold anyone. Medication seems sometimes to cause violence. Major Nidal Hassan, a psychiatrist, supervised by other doctors, exhibited clear signs (in retrospect) of mental illness and Radical Islamic inclinations, yet while noted nobody did anything. The story I linked to “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” shows an avenue where attention is needed, but done carefully, not in an emotional atmosphere right after a tragedy.

The high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929. Until Newtown, the worst school shootings were in Britain and Germany, where guns are banned. Britain not only banned guns, but forced people to turn them in. Gun crime has gone up by 89% in the past decade. Those intent on mass shooting are attracted to gun-free zones. They would prefer not to get shot themselves. Preventing any adult from having access to a firearm eliminates any possibility of stopping a killer. Have people with concealed-carry permits actually stopped murders? Absolutely. There is no evidence that people with concealed carry permits are any less responsible than police.

The AR-15, “called the civilian version of the M-16” is not an automatic weapon. It has no automatic fire option nor a 3-shot burst. “Semi-automatic” is a term that means not automatic, when you pull the trigger you get one bullet, then you have to pull it again. “Assault weapon” is a meaningless term that simply means a weapon used to assault someone, and could as well be a baseball bat or a kitchen knife.

“Powerful arms are a problem.” Well, no they’re not. Not too many Gatling guns around. Straw Men.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

“Until Newtown, the worst school shootings were in Britain and Germany, where guns are banned.”

Dates, please? The Dunblane school massacre took place in March 1996, before the the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 were enacted, which effectively made private ownership of automatic weapons and handguns illegal in the United Kingdom. The private ownership of hunting rifles and shotguns is still allowed (as it is in Germany), albeit requiring hours of exhaustive paperwork. The result has been a decline in murders involving firearms.

“Gun crime [in Britain] has gone up by 89% in the past decade.”

Source please? If it has gone up by that percentage, it has been from a very low level. The reports I have seen are that there was a a decline in murders involving firearms after the two laws went into place.

“Those intent on mass shooting are attracted to gun-free zones. They would prefer not to get shot themselves.”

Sure, there aren’t many attacks on police stations. But consider this account of experiences in other countries:

In Australia, in 1996, a man killed 35 people in the course of an afternoon rampage. Australia soon went from having relaxed gun laws to having tough gun laws, including such common-sense measures as character witnesses for people who want to own a gun, and the purchase of a safe bolted to the wall or floor.There are still plenty of hunters in Australia, but it hasn’t had a mass killing since.

South Africa may be an even better example. For many years, South Africa was a country every bit as gun-soaked as America. I have a friend, Greg Frank, a hedge fund manager in Charlottesville, Va., who lived in Johannesburg during a time when it had become so crime-ridden that people felt the need to own guns to protect themselves. He, too, owned a gun as a young man: “I made the excuse that I needed it for self-protection.”

The guns didn’t make anybody safer. People who were held up while waiting at a red light rarely had time to pull out their guns. And the fact that so many homes had guns became an incentive for criminals, who would break in, hold the family hostage, and then order that the safe with the guns be opened. “Everyone knew someone who had family or friends who had experienced gun violence,” he said.

Finally, he says, people got fed up. In 2004, the laws changed, requiring annual relicensing, character witnesses and other measure to keep guns out of the wrong hands. There was also an appeal to voluntarily surrender guns.

Even the National Rifle Association has seen the writing on the wall, saying that it “is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” . It plans to hold “a major news conference” on Friday; it will be interesting to hear what they say.

By the way, when I was a 22-rifle target shooting pre-teen, the NRA was an organization very much focused on gun safety. It would be good if it would return to its roots.

As for semi-automatic guns, they vary considerably in how fast one can shoot multiple rounds. And some that are sold as semi-automatic are made to be able to be easily converted after sale (e.g., through a small and simple manipulation) to automatic firing. At that point, they become very powerful and dangerous indeed. Straw men my petootee!


Comment by Subsidy Eye

That particular comment came from an article by John Fund in National Review. The 89% figure came from the Daily Mail I happened to still have those two pieces at hand. If you want to know more you can do a bit of your own research.

There have been mass killings over a very long time, well back in history. From the evidence we have, over 50% of the perpetrators were mentally ill. There was a ban on “assault weapons” in Connecticut, stronger I believe than the one time national law. Most weapons used in mass murders are not purchased, but stolen. Do not give me “evidence” from the New York Times, they have gotten almost every fact about the Newtown shooting wrong, and cannot be trusted. A number of mass killings have been stopped by civilians with weapons. Killers are attracted to gun-free zones: schools, shopping malls, theaters. Another school shooting was stopped just after the Newtown event, by someone with a weapon. The city with the strongest gun bans is Chicago and its suburbs, the murder city of the Nation. Criminals do not have gun licenses, nor do they usually buy their weapons legally. Britain has no weapons for sale at all. I’m sure we will have a wonderful program to prevent all “gun violence” now that Joe Biden is in charge. These mass murders are not caused by guns. They are caused by mentally disturbed people with stolen guns in gun-free zones. If you want to protect school kids, you need more security at schools. People who are seriously disturbed will not usually seek help from mental health professionals, and our laws currently, as inspired by the ACLU, don’t allow them to be held or restrained. The Israelis have it right.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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