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Old 2012-12-17, 13:11   #12
NBtarheel_33
 
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Originally Posted by tServo View Post
Although it sure doesn't matter to the victims ( & their families ), it appears that most of the damage inflicted was done by a BushMaster assault rifle. It was stolen from the shooter's mother who had it "for self defense". Against what or whom? Was she afraid that her handguns wouldn't be able to take out a Terminator or a Dalek or ?
The very same Bushmaster model that was used by the Washington, D. C. Beltway Snipers back in 2002: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...tings/1772825/. Note: "The weapon, [Connecticut State Chief Medical Examiner] Carver said, delivers bullets "designed in such a fashion (that) the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullets stay in." How freaking lovely. Interestingly, the gun used in Newtown had to be several years old, because it seems as though a suit in the mid-2000s by the some of the families of the Washington Sniper victims seems to have resulted in Bushmaster's being bankrupted out of business: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-400357.html.
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Old 2012-12-17, 13:18   #13
NBtarheel_33
 
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Typically, the 2nd amendment absolutists (while utterly ignoring the "well-regulated militia" framing of the amendment by its authors), like Karl Denninger are arguing that the "solution" is for all schools to be turned into heavily fortified bunkers with armed, kung fu expert teachers. How about a Patriot missile battery on every rooftop while we're at it, Karl?
Ridiculous. The simplest solution would be the one that is employed by a local bank. They have two (presumably bulletproof) glass entry doors. You open one, step inside, and then an employee has to electronically release the other door that actually admits you to the lobby. Ditto for exiting the building. This allows the staff time to inspect a potential patron for suspicious activities or behaviors, and also enables them to trap a robber in between the exit doors like a bee in a Mason jar until the police can respond. If it works for a bank, surely it could work for a school or other public place.
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Old 2012-12-17, 18:32   #14
Dubslow
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Originally Posted by NBtarheel_33 View Post
The United States is quite different from many smaller nations that have outright banned weapons, just as it is different from other nations in an economic and political sense. This country is incredibly vast and much more heavily populated than many in Europe, for example, so there are going to be times and places (e.g. Maine) where the police simply aren't readily available for every emergency. Therefore, there probably should be an option to maintain a firearm for home defense. Also keep in mind that our neighbors to the south will gladly import as many drugs and guns as our friendly neighborhood criminals would like to have, so completely eliminating guns from American hands will ensure that American victims will end up on the wrong end of guns, banned or not. In the UK, for example, one does not generally hear about the illegal trafficking of weapons from France or Spain, do they? And lastly, let us not forget that even in one of the most peaceful countries on Earth, we are never guaranteed total freedom from violence. So while some would scream "total gun control now!" and others would scream "free guns for all!", the answer is definitely somewhere along the spectrum between the two, a lot closer to the middle, yet leaning ever so slightly towards the "control" side. With our government's seeming inability to compromise on anything, however, one wonders how many more times we will have to witness this kind of horror before someone, somewhere proclaims that enough is enough and takes responsibility before the list of public sanctuaries has gone completely blank, and grade-school children must fear for their lives to simply go to school each day. The thought of little JonBenet Ramsey has been with me this weekend. As tragic as her death was at six years old, now we have JonBenet times 20. I pray that we do not become desensitized too quickly.
Brilliant, sir.
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Old 2012-12-17, 20:44   #15
ewmayer
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Thanks for the very thoughtful post, NBtarheel_33. I am with you in that I have no problem with hunting-style weapons where it is difficult to fire more than one or two rounds in quick succession, but of course the NRA uses that sport/subsistence-hunting purpose as a wedge to get all the military-style hardware beloved by the gun-nuts-for-gun-nuttery's-sake people in the door.

The other irritating canard I've been hearing over the weekend from the apologists is "the real problem isn't guns, it's mental illness." As if other nations on earth which suffer drastically lower rates of gun violence are magically devoid of mental ills. No, the problem is again the "guns don't kill people, they just make it really easy to kill people" one - when a mentally ill or otherwise seriously deluded person has easy access to a weapon whose lethality allows them to inflict their sickness on many more people than they would be able to with a knife, baseball bat, automobile or even hunting-style firearm. In the U.S. that is coupled with the problem that when the entire nation is awash in firearms, someone stashing a half-dozen firearms at home or taking their mentally-troubled teenager to the local firing range attracts far less attention than it should.

Minor bug report - I think you meant "sparsely populated" in your talk of places like rural Maine.
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Old 2012-12-19, 20:00   #16
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Okay, now that we have discussed guns laws, and whether certain types of guns should be banned, let's talk about something that people don't care to admit. Violence in the media also contributes to these crimes. Perhaps more than the access of guns themselves contribute to the violence. Are we going to get serious about restricting the access young children have to violent video games, movies, and TV shows?

Comic on the issue
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Old 2012-12-19, 21:33   #17
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Absolutely brilliant thought analysis in your posting NBtarheel_33. If you are OK with it, I would like to provide your posting as a link in a debate that I am having right now with someone.


Gary
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Old 2012-12-19, 21:57   #18
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Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Okay, now that we have discussed guns laws, and whether certain types of guns should be banned, let's talk about something that people don't care to admit. Violence in the media also contributes to these crimes. Perhaps more than the access of guns themselves contribute to the violence. Are we going to get serious about restricting the access young children have to violent video games, movies, and TV shows?

Comic on the issue
Have you seen Japanese pop-culture? Makes American look like Pleasantville, no plague of mass shootings. Canada has just about the same pop-culture as the US, plus Tim Hortons--no plague of mass shootings.

There are a couple of studies that suggest a link between violent video games and violence later in life, but they are overwhelmed by the larger and better studies that show no such link.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
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Old 2012-12-19, 22:03   #19
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Originally Posted by NBtarheel_33 View Post
Ridiculous. The simplest solution would be the one that is employed by a local bank. They have two (presumably bulletproof) glass entry doors. You open one, step inside, and then an employee has to electronically release the other door that actually admits you to the lobby. Ditto for exiting the building. This allows the staff time to inspect a potential patron for suspicious activities or behaviors, and also enables them to trap a robber in between the exit doors like a bee in a Mason jar until the police can respond. If it works for a bank, surely it could work for a school or other public place.
Sounds simple, sure, but think about it. How many schools do you know that have just one door? My daughters elementary school has 9 that I know of. One of the local high schools has 26. What kind of cost is associated with transforming each of these entryways into a bulletproof, double-locking, electronically fortified hatchway? Banks are built to be formidable and sturdy-looking. Schools are built to be welcoming and friendly. Complete transformation of millions of school entryways would cost trillions. And would-be murderers would just go in through a window or wait until recess.

A malevolent premeditated attacker has every advantage. You can't defend against them. Period. Prevention of said malevolent beings is the only way. And gun control won't solve anything either, IMO. There's no way that all guns will be banned, and malevolent people can still slaughter kids with semi-automatic or even with bolt-action guns. Maybe not as many, but that's splitting hairs.

I think the only cure to stuff like this is more help, support, treatment, etc. for mentally troubled people and their families/friends combined with, as Zeta-flux said, a significant effort to eliminate or curtail the glorification of the "violence culture", i.e. games, movies, etc, (including "news" channels!). Throw a trillion dollars toward those goals and I believe we'd see better results than a trillion thrown at school defense.

Last fiddled with by bsquared on 2012-12-19 at 22:08 Reason: add some love for the "news"
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Old 2012-12-19, 22:19   #20
Zeta-Flux
 
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Originally Posted by chappy View Post
Have you seen Japanese pop-culture? Makes American look like Pleasantville, no plague of mass shootings. Canada has just about the same pop-culture as the US, plus Tim Hortons--no plague of mass shootings.

There are a couple of studies that suggest a link between violent video games and violence later in life, but they are overwhelmed by the larger and better studies that show no such link.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
First, I don't take my science from the Washington Post.

Second, my assertion was not that violent video games make us all more violent. No, it was that the media (which includes video games as a very small subset) contributes to the violence. This can happen in many ways. For example, by affecting those already prone to violence. It is quite clear that the Batman movies, for example, influenced one recent shooter. Here are some statements from the wiki article on "video game controversies":

Quote:
A US Secret Service study of 41 individuals involved in school shootings found that only 12% were attracted to violent video games, while 24% read violent books and 27% were attracted to violent films.

An Australian study found that only children already predisposed to violence were affected by violent games. (emphasis added)
The point is that, just like with guns, it is the wackos we have to worry about and deal with. If we are banning guns merely to keep them out of the hands of wackos, should we not take the appropriate measures to ban glorified violent media for the same reasons?

And by the way, the U.S. did ban assault weapons. There was little to no effect on crime rates when the ban stopped. Wiki article about the ban. It might be that the ban was not effective in the first place. And I agree with you that this is a complicated picture. And I'm *all* on board for banning assault weapons of any kind. But that won't solve the problem. We need to deal with those mentally ill kids which are not being helped and often being put in Juvenile hall where they then learn behaviors which makes them become more violent.
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Old 2012-12-19, 22:21   #21
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bsquared,

Thank you for saying it better than me.
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Old 2012-12-19, 23:27   #22
bsquared
 
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I've got a few other thoughts on the roots causes here that I thought I'd share. I've done no background research other than several nights worth of Gedankenexperiment, but maybe it's still worth something.

I think a possible root cause of violent anti-social behavior, and maybe even of lots of other social handicaps, is overpopulation. Go back to when man primarily lived in nomadic groups. Mental/social handicaps and violent anti-social behavior would not have been tolerated, sadly. Those folks were quickly voted off the island (abandoned to die) or even outright killed by their own tribe. Survival-of-the-many, and all.

Now advance a bit to where people are settled, but typically in small villages with rural lifestyles and dawn-to-dusk type laboring (i.e. medieval times). Almost the same thing happens. The populace is self-policing. Everyone knows everyone and you simply can't get away with being overly deviant without someone finding out about it and you becoming the village idiot and ostracized. Or locked up. And prison was no Hilton back then... locked up probably meant dead within a year or two.

At some point between then and now, increasing population density has actually driven people farther away from each other than before. I live in a small midwest town and yet still don't know the guy that lives two doors down from me. Let alone am aware of any of his potential issues. I don't think technology has helped along these lines; if anything only increasing the isolation of people that may have issues. As a result, the populace is no longer self-policing, and people with violent tendencies that never would have survived past age 12 in the year 1150 can now thrive, living in complete isolation in the middle of a city of a million people. Even if they are "caught", or a family member is concerned for them, there is often no avenue for significant and meaningful help.

One approach to solving this would be to simply kill or "leave to die" such troubled folks that are caught (vis-a-vis nomadic tribes), but I think we can all agree that that would be barbaric in this day and age.

Another approach would be to try to "self-police" again, as in medieval times. But this requires everyone to develop meaningful relationships with everyone else around them. Anyone see that happening in the age of iPhone?

A perhaps workable solution, as I alluded to before, is to create a big enough public infrastructure of support for societal outcasts that we can provide meaningful help for them as they are identified, by friends or family or whomever. But this will probably have a huge cost, may be ineffective depending on many factors, and still allows people to slip through the cracks.

I think the best solution in this analogy is the medieval one, with a twist, where everyone develops meaningful relationships with a large network of people around them but everyone is also willing to help those in their network instead of just ostracizing them. i.e. a distributed solution instead of a centralized one.

anyway. [/Gedankenexperiment]
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