Latest school shooting

Posted by: mountaingoat

Latest school shooting - Tue Apr 03 2012 01:28 AM

I am trying to understand why these are so common in the US. I wonder if it is a combination of poor mental health provision combined with availability of firearms. I have seen documentaries that show prison psychiatric units are overwhelmed. A bit of prevention at the front end could perhaps prevent a lot of anguish and cost at the back end. Or, the US could just be very unlucky. Not a Yank bashing but would like to hear anyones reasoning for this too common occurrence.
Posted by: sisterseagull

Re: Latest school shooting - Tue Apr 03 2012 04:30 AM

Are they really that common in the US though?

Taking into account the population of the US (around 312 millions?), their right to bear arms and, subsequently, the number of firearms that must be in circulation, I don't think they're that common at all. In fact, taking everything above into account, I'm surprised that they aren't considerably more frequent - notwithstanding the fact that some states allow the possession of fully automatic weapons, I'm also surprised that casualty figures in these shootings aren't a lot higher!
Posted by: Jazmee27

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Nov 14 2012 07:16 AM

Depends where you are--but I would wager the same is true for anyplace else. Some locations simply have more crime than others.
Posted by: mehaul

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Nov 14 2012 09:15 AM

Since this is brought up again, the rules need to be set aright for sisterseagull. I believe it is only a Federal license that allows fully automatic weapons to be possessed and the issuance of a license to own them is quite limited. The states can only license semi-automatic or single shot weapons (unless it is a pre-1890 antique automatic, like a Gattling gun, which are outside the license requirements of either government level aegis).
As you note there are so many guns out there that there is quite a number of them that are outside the law and thet applies mostly to the automatic weaponry because, well, criminals just don't seem to follow the rules for some reason. And kits are made to transform semi-autos into full auto, also illegally.
If you see someone hauling a multibarreled contraption on their shoulder and trailing a long belt of ammunition, you can be assured that person isn't licensed and may be up to no good with it. Do not ask to see a license, just run and call 911.
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Latest school shooting - Fri Dec 14 2012 09:00 PM

Around we go again. RIP little ones.
Posted by: MadMartha

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 03:32 PM

The US is not alone in attacks on school children. Half a day before the attack in Connecticut, 23 school children were injured in China when a Chinese farmer took a knife and hacked away as the children entered school. Terrible, terrible! Guess the US gets more worldwide attention though.
Posted by: bubblesfun

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 05:40 PM

To be fair, as horrific as the attack in China was, I am pretty sure there were no fatalities. That alone is a pretty big difference from 20 children and 7 adults all being shot to death.
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 05:42 PM

Yes Martha and no children died from the knife. 20 did from a gun.
All other civilised countries in the world have under 100 gun murders a year. The US has over 10,000. The discreptancy is so enormous there has to be something different in those countries to cause it. I can only speculate but maybe:

1. Strict gun control laws.
2. Universal health care in all other countries, free mental health care. What gun rights activists fail to realize is that anyone can have a mental illness after the checks have been done. Not to mention severe emotional overload in a family breakdown or other situation.
3. The culture in the US that sees violence as an answer to a problem. With the largest military the world has ever seen and torture being accepted by most of the US population. For a faith based country, there seems to be a lot of fear and lack of faith in police and politicians.

These views may be controversial but please look at the figures and ask "Why the difference between countries." Australia had 8 mass shootings before Port Arthur massacre. We had an automatic gun ban brought in by a conservative politician and have not had one since.
Posted by: dg_dave

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 06:25 PM

Your first of your list will cause the criminals to carry, since they can't follow the law anyway, leaving innocent people as sitting ducks.

Remember that the US's population is over 300 million (per 2010 census: 308,745,538), third in the world behind only China and India. If you tally those three alone, you have 50% of the entire world's population in a mere three countries. What is the population of Australia? According to Wikipedia, it is less than 22,000,000, per the 2011 census. That's about 7% of the US's population, and in comparison, actually less than the population of Texas alone (per 2010 census: 25,145,561).

Connecticut is a smaller state with a much smaller population. It's really comparing apples to oranges.

In all honesty, since I know a schoolteacher in Austin, I first looked to see where it was, and if it had been there, I assure you I'd have been on "pins and needles" until I heard that they were ok (I've known said person 20 years and I cried a couple of times thinking "it could have been her"; she's a very good friend of mine). Yes, it concerns me that schools aren't safe, but if the mainstream media would quit sensationalizing these murders by posting pictures and names, there would probably be less of them. Had you heard of Adam Lanza before Friday? Probably not, as I hadn't either. What about the Virginia Tech shooter? He was an unknown until that massacre. We need to remember to blot out these psychopath's names and force the media to not disclose those names. It doesn't matter where it happened. It could happen in Australia just as easily as it did in Connecticut or China.

Yes, I've been held up by gunpoint and am a victim myself, and every November 25 is a difficult day for me, but I can't let that keep me down. When you can say you've been in a situation like that, then maybe you can realize how scary it really is. Every time I hear about one of these reminds me of that day, and I have to do something to try to jar it elsewhere. I am more conscious of my surroundings than you probably are; it is a difficult thing to live with. I'm thankful that I am able to post today, because things could have been different on that fateful day nine years ago.

Originally Posted By: mountaingoat
We had an automatic gun ban brought in by a conservative politician and have not had one since.

Not every firearm is an automatic; some are, but not every one. Evil is all over and will stop at nothing to take over.
Posted by: ren33

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 06:33 PM

I believe I said this before, and I know I sound really naive, but when you think about it what is a valid, acceptable reason to have a gun?
Posted by: dg_dave

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 06:43 PM

Here might be one reason. Who knows how different this could have happened.
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 07:10 PM

Data from "United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime."

Gunshot deaths per 100,000.

United States: 9.00

United Kingdom: .25

Australia: 1.05

Germany: 1.1

Netherlands: .46

We have criminals with guns in other countries but our police make me feel safe and a lot of the guns are stolen from legal owners anyway.

I am sorry, Dave, that you have had a terrible experience. I have been up the sharp end myself after 8 years as a NSW Police Officer in Sydney. I am a crack shot with pistol and rifle but when under stress and with the heart racing I wouldn't guarantee my accuracy. If people had all been armed in that theatre shooting in the US with the smoke and chaos many many more would have been shot as no-one would be able to work out who fired first and who was the culprit.

When it comes to guns and criminals leave it to the experts. I don't understand the lack of faith in the Police in the US. From what I have seen they are very efficient and if a little over enthusiastic, they get the job done.

Again I ask the question, why are the US gunshot deaths so damned high compared to other countries (per head of population.) FEAR seems to be Daves answer.
Posted by: bubblesfun

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 08:34 PM

Originally Posted By: dg_dave
Here might be one reason. Who knows how different this could have happened.

Sounds like the CT shooter's mom had a lot of guns. How did that work out for her?
Posted by: bubblesfun

Re: Latest school shooting - Sun Dec 16 2012 08:35 PM

Originally Posted By: ren33
I believe I said this before, and I know I sound really naive, but when you think about it what is a valid, acceptable reason to have a gun?

Great question.
Posted by: Jazmee27

Re: Latest school shooting - Mon Dec 17 2012 09:32 AM

If a shooter wants to target innocents, he or she will regardless of how many protocols or controls are in place.

And the mistrust of the police could have something to do with the fact that they seem just as likely as anyone to disobey protocol. I ju st saw a show last night about undercover officers who decided to open fire because there was a perceived threat (being undercover means plainclothes officers, so how was anyone to know they were really police? Yes, they gave a warning, but one just never knows.)

I saw another show in which a police officer was corrupt and had her fair share of mental issues. She was able to abuse the system, so the department didnít know what a loose cannon she was until it was too late.

On a different note, I wish the media would quit honing in on the perpetrators of such violence. Victimsí stories are so much more interesting to me (sad, but still interesting). I truly donít want to know where the gunman grew up, or how bad his life was, or that he had a form of autism. I do, however, want to here more about the victims.)
Posted by: agony

Re: Latest school shooting - Mon Dec 17 2012 12:14 PM

he or she will regardless of how many protocols or controls are in place.

I don't really think that is correct. I do agree that we can't stop this kind of thing that simply, but I bet we could put a dent in it. Just because a solution is not a perfect solution doesn't mean it isn't worth trying, when the problem is bad enough.
Posted by: Jazmee27

Re: Latest school shooting - Mon Dec 17 2012 10:47 PM

"Just because a solution is not a perfect solution doesn't mean it isn't worth trying, when the problem is bad enough."

Good point.

Posted by: ozzz2002

Re: Latest school shooting - Mon Dec 17 2012 11:41 PM

As Mountaingoat alluded to, Australia solved the gun problem in 1996 after a terrible day in Tasmania- 35 killed and many injured.

The Prime Minister acted quickly and rammed through legislation, aimed at banning guns.

In simple terms, it worked this way-

1- Declare an amnesty period where the government bought back firearms from the general population. Over 600,000 weapons were redeemed and destroyed in the 12-month period.

2- Any guns not returned attracted a severe penalty for the owner/handler.

3- Permits were very severly tightened, and only a limited number of licences were issued. These permits were mainly for target shooting clubs, professional hunters, defence forces, security personnel and police.

Granted, there are still guns in the community and I am not naive enough to believe that we will get rid of them all, but it is a bloody good start. I have had a rifle aimed at my chest, and it is a feeling that I never want to experience again.

I saw a stat that stated that 1,000,000 Americans have been killed or injured by gunshot since the death of Martin Luther King. That is EVERY man, woman and child in San Jose, Indianapolis, Austin or San Francisco. Can the American lawmakers afford to not act?
Posted by: MadMartha

Re: Latest school shooting - Tue Dec 18 2012 06:31 AM

There are 'some' reasons for private citizens to have guns, but 'assault' weapons - I can't think of any at all!
Posted by: agony

Re: Latest school shooting - Tue Dec 18 2012 09:27 AM

In Canada the only real issue of contention have been long guns - rifles and shotguns - and it's a rural vs urban problem. A quite high proportion of rural households have long guns, for various fairly good reasons - vermin control, meat for the pot, etc. Aside from disagreement over control of those, though, the restrictions have been reasonably well accepted by people. We still have gun crime of course - by definition, criminals don't follow laws all that well - but not to the extent they do in the States.

I'm not naive, either, and don't think that gun control would solve this problem. It would lessen it, though.

A change in culture would make more of a difference. Lose our image of the "man with the gun" as powerful, sexy, independent, and think of him as grandpa on the farm in his rubber boots, or a loser compensating for never getting a date. I think that shift is starting to happen - well, maybe I can say I *hope* that shift is starting to happen.
Posted by: mehaul

Re: Latest school shooting - Tue Dec 18 2012 09:45 AM

Besides the weapons all these murderers seem to have another thing in common and stricter controls on that aspect might be more effective in halting the madness. The assaulters all seem to have been through psychiatric care before the incidents. Are some shrinks doing experiments that go wrong with their patients? Not all but a few? And we see the results of those experiments in the mass killings? The Brady Act was supposed to lean heavily on that aspect of gun control and the incident in Aurora seems to indicate the shrinks aren't doing their required reporting to the FBI. The psychiatrist in Aurora was associated with a University which makes you wonder if experimental treatments are being performed in some of these cases. There are many untreated mad people out there who don't seem to be picking up AK-15s and going wild. It just seems to be the ones who've had treatment by a licensed practitioner.
Posted by: ladymacb29

Re: Latest school shooting - Tue Dec 18 2012 07:17 PM

Originally Posted By: mehaul
The assaulters all seem to have been through psychiatric care before the incidents. Are some shrinks doing experiments that go wrong with their patients?

I think the main problem is the lack of psychiatric care in the US. As long as the patient isn't hurting someone/themselves, they generally can't be committed without their consent. Which means someone who isn't thinking logically/rationally, they can't really do what needs to be done and get the care and the doctors can't force them to so they end up untreated...
Posted by: mehaul

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 12:17 AM

The point I tried to make was that most of our shooters HAVE BEEN through the care of Psychiatrists and psychologists.
Posted by: bubblesfun

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 10:29 AM

Mehaul, mental issues are not like a broken arm where you can go to a doctor and get it fixed up and the problems instantly go away. As Ladymach tried to explain, if there is not immediate danger to the patient or others, the hands of the doctors are tied. There is nothing that can legally be reported without that standard being met. I honestly don't understand your suggestion that experimental treatments are going on. You are right, there are people with mental issues that are not picking up guns. Yet there are also clinically sane people that commit crimes every day. Just as not all sane people are alike the same goes for people with mental problems. Read this column about one mom's struggle with her son's mental illness. I don't have any answers for her, do you?
Posted by: flopsymopsy

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 01:55 PM

Surely one reason there are so many gun-related deaths, as per Mountaingoat's figures, must be availability. There are 270,000,000 privately-owned guns in the USA which is 88.8 guns per 100 people. Anyone with the inclination/illness/intention of killing people can lay their hands on a gun quite easily. In comparison there are 6.7 guns per 100 people in the UK, which makes it a lot harder to find one. If I wind myself up into a murderous rage over the neighbour revving his car engine I can't lay my hands on a gun. It's true that some criminals here can get hold of guns despite all our laws, but they have to have knowledge of how to do that, knowledge which is beyond most other citizens - and the people responsible for these mass shootings usually aren't criminals, not before their rampages anyway.

And then there's the type of gun... most of the guns in private ownership here (strictly licensed, monitored, and kept in secure conditions) are rifles (largely for hunting game) and shotguns (mostly used by farmers). Even if you would qualify for a gun licence under normal circumstances, you wouldn't be allowed to buy a hand gun the only use for which is to kill people - and you certainly wouldn't get your mitts on an assault weapon. Those things are for armed combat, why on earth is any civilian allowed to have one of those?
Posted by: Jakeroo

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 02:54 PM

Why? Not sure, but the Second Amendment to the US Constitution makes no specifications as to the type of firearm. And in fact, the Brits have similar legal wording from 1688 which says "Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defense". That was revised over time of course lol.

just a few examples of other countries that have a related law?
"Article 10. The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to possess arms within their domicile, for their safety and legitimate defense, except those forbidden by Federal Law and those reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Militia, Air Force and National Guard. Federal law shall provide in what cases, conditions, under what requirements and in which places inhabitants shall be authorized to bear arms."[

Canada (although we don't have a "legal" right to have firearms, it's certainly not illegal to buy one)

Cuba: Chapter 1, Article 3 of the Constitution of Cuba states the following: "When no other recourse is possible, all citizens have the right to struggle through all means, including armed struggle, against anyone who tries to overthrow the political, social and economic order established in this Constitution."

North Korea: Chapter IV, Article 60 of the Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) "The State shall implement the line of self-reliant defence, the import of which is to arm the entire people, fortify the country, train the army into a cadre army and modernize the army on the basis of equipping the army and the people politically and ideologically

Under Sharia law, there is an intrinsic freedom to own arms.

Switzerland: Under Swiss law, all adult males who have received training in the Swiss armed forces are reservists who are required under law to keep their official firearms at home. According to the gun law of 1999 (larm99), automatic weapons like the Swiss army assault rifle have to be stocked separately of the bolt, which has to be in a locked place. Interestingly, Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world.

I'm inclined to think that gun violence is more about "cultural attitude" (as agony stated) rather than laws or the number of guns owned per capita. I sincerely doubt that changing the constitution of the US will have any effect regarding drug lords etc using automatic weapons to get what they want. And don't be so quick to dismiss Mehaul's comments. I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories, but it's been quite obvious that more than a few "wackos" have slipped through the cracks of psych practitioners, the FBI and the Homeland Security system that is costing US taxpayers an enormous amount of money LOL. I'm also inclined to think that the "media" needs to go away. There are too many reporters regurgitating really stupid comments. And yes please, let's not post the name of the shooter and who cares what his/her reasons are? Whatever they are, they're clearly not what a sane person would think. Absolutely no need to "glorify" them.
Posted by: flopsymopsy

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 03:25 PM

As you rightly say, we had laws about bearing arms but we have revised them with the passage of time and with changing circumstances. When the USA's Second Amendment was phrased, no one knew about automatic or assault weapons. They envisaged a world of muskets, where the charge was loaded down the barrel with a rod, and gunpowder ignited in the flash pan. Then the barrel would be cleared, another musketball loaded, and gunpowder ignited. (Not necessarily in that order!) It was not a quick process but everyone was slow to the same extent. But while guns have changed beyond all recognition, the USA has kept the same law, has interpreted it as meaning that anyone could own any weapon, and many have fought to keep it as though it was unchangeable and inalienable even though the people who've died because of it are Americans.

As you say, the Swiss have high gun ownership because of their military obligations to repel invaders but they are trained to use those weapons and are required to keep them secure. As British holders of guns are required to do. The Mexicans have put a caveat into their law about federal provisions, Cuban law is presumably designed for action against the USA if they get invaded, and I refuse to consider North Korea as being an example of anything except governmental lunacy, lol.

It's interesting that if you look at the rates of gun homicide around the world, the USA isn't the worst but almost all the countries that are worse include violent South American states associated with drugs, and South Africa, which is known to have terrible problems of its own. It's not a grouping of countries I'd like my country to be associated with.
Posted by: Christinap

Re: Latest school shooting - Wed Dec 19 2012 07:00 PM

Living in a rural area we have a gun in the house, a rifle. It is used for rodent control - an ongoing problem when you are surrounded by fields, and pigeon shooting, the local farmers often ask local gun owners to help them with pigeon control. In exchange we get the odd haunch of venison or a brace of pheasant. My husband has had a gun licence for over 30 years. Even then it was not easy to get. Two references were required, and they were checked up on. The proposed location of the gun cabinet and security thereof were checked by the Police before it was installed and again afterwards. The ammunition is kept separately, again in a secure location. Both are out of sight and would not be accesible to burglars, the Police were very clear about making sure it could not fall into the wrong hands if something happened. Every year the Police come round and inspect our gun cabinet to ensure that it is secure. The licence is checked against the actual gun to ensure they match, it isn't for just any old rifle, it is for one specific rifle. Change the gun you have to take the licence into the Police to get it amended. Although not a requirement we keep a log of when the rifle is used, and again the Police do look at this when they come round, and there hasn't been a single year when they havn't come round to check everything is in order. Ammunitions sales are reported to the Police by the local gun shops, so any out of the ordinary, extra to normal purchases by us or anyone else would be spotted and, hopefully, checked out and acted on.

If we were to have a burglary or something there is no way the gun would be taken out and used. Even if the thought crossed either of our minds by the time everything was unlocked and the gun loaded the burglars would be long gone. No, far more likely to defend ourselves with a cricket bat or kichen knife.
Posted by: dg_dave

Re: Latest school shooting - Sat Dec 22 2012 05:58 AM

Maybe this story can shed some light as well. If it weren't for proper training, two young people could have been dead.
Posted by: supersal1

Re: Latest school shooting - Sat Dec 22 2012 07:23 AM

Originally Posted By: dg_dave
Maybe this story can shed some light as well. If it weren't for proper training, two young people could have been dead.

Yes, but on the other hand the events in Connecticut rather proved that a teenager having access to their parent's weapons is not such a great idea.
Posted by: agony

Re: Latest school shooting - Sat Dec 22 2012 09:48 AM

Proper training can sometimes be a lifesaver, but it's not some magic answer. It's not at all unusual for police to be killed in the line of duty - armed, trained, and usually alert.

Any idea that if we just change one thing the problem will go away is, in my opinion, misguided. Instead, reasonable and sane action on several fronts will help, but not not solve, the problem. To do nothing because any one action isn't the complete answer is fool-hardy, though, I think

We do have some useful data that can guide the public dialogue. Many countries have some form of gun control - it would seem obvious to track what has happened there, and learn what does and does not work. We also know something about what can happen when there is a gun in a household - while by no means is there injury in every armed household, if someone IS injured, the chances are much higher that it will be a member of the household, not some intruder or enemy.

The idea from the NRA yesterday about armed guards at every school strikes me as the height of folly. There are not unlimited funds for this, so who would be hired? Poorly trained and poorly vetted individuals, especially in poorer districts. As a parent, I do not find the idea of the kind of person who would be attracted to strutting around a school with a gun on his hip reassuring. What happened in Connecticut is appalling, but it doesn't change the reality that most children are not harmed by a crazed stranger, but by someone close to them with some authority over them. I'd personally be a lot more afraid of those guards, looking at it statistically.