Columns

Gun Ban Won't Stop Another Sandy Hook Massacre: Let's Have the Hard Conversation

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: December 20, 2012 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ
Why is the Sandy Hook aftermath conversation only about gun control?

Click the TV remote. Virtually every commentator on every news channel is promoting some form of gun ban.

It's never the individual’s actions or the behavioral history of the person whose finger pulls the trigger. It’s that damned right-wing, redneck-inspired gun culture.

Does anybody really think the guns Nancy Lanza kept in their Newtown, Conn., house all on their own attracted her son to launch a murderous rampage that claimed the lives of 20 small children and seven adults? Such simplistic nonsense.

What if the answers aren't that simple?

Consider that last year in Norway, a nation with a tight gun-control and licensing program, Anders Breivik methodically gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers, on the island of Utoya. Again, this didn't happen in the United States of America, where 311 million people own an estimated 200 million guns. It happened in orderly, gun-sparse Norway, where living by the rules is the modern-day path to Valhalla.

What if gun control is the wrong conversation for us to be having?

What if we dealt instead with the harder-to-comprehend realities that affected Adam Lanza's life -- the fact that he lived virtually locked up in a basement room playing violent video games over and over, hypnotized by war. Or that he kept to himself, couldn't look others in the eye, reacted without emotion. Or that he had cut his father out of his life, refused to see him after his parents divorced, when his father began dating another woman. Or that he was consumed with anger because his mother was going to have him committed for treatment.

Instead of more gun control, shouldn't we be talking about where to set the bar when it comes to forcing an individual into treatment –- and whether those caring for people with mental-health issues have enough resources available to head off potential crises? The state of Connecticut didn't do much to help Nancy Lanza. It's a state that makes involuntary treatment difficult because it leans strongly toward supporting the civil liberties of individuals. Let's talk a little more about that.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe more action to treat mental-health issues will do the most to prevent incidents like last Friday’s school shootings. Only 27 percent think stricter gun control laws will do the most to prevent such shootings; 15 percent put the emphasis on limits on violent movies and video games; 10 percent are undecided.

Even actor Samuel L. Jackson, a mainstay in violent action movies, said this during an interview Wednesday with the Los Angeles Times: "I don't think it's about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren't taught the value of life."

Unsurprisingly, Jackson doesn't think violent movies or video games are to blame, either. The Times reported that he believes parents and role models who instill the value of life in their children will accomplish more than legislation that reduces the number of firearms in the country.

It's so easy in moments of despair like Friday's massacre in Connecticut to look to government for more gun control.

What isn't as easy, as National Review pointed out in its editorial last Monday, is "to write the laws that would have guaranteed Adam Lanza could never find a gun, or enter a school by force, or go without what diagnosis, treatment, and supervision he might have needed. And hardest of all to write them in such a way that the republic we’d be left with would still look like America in the ways we value most."


In his address in Newtown on Sunday President Obama promised a grieving community "meaningful action ... regardless of the politics."

But if enacting more restrictive gun laws is the action he has in mind, it leaves a mountain to climb in light of the Second Amendment and its principle. And more important than that, more gun laws aren't going to prevent another Sandy Hook massacre.



Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859. 


Comments (30)

Lucille
9:45AM DEC 24TH 2012
we need to do a far better job parenting. Many of the violent games are rated mature audiences only. Yet younger and younger children play them. Also, needed is a better job with mental health issues. we have swung too far in the wrong direction. These peeople can not get the care they need.
steve
8:12AM DEC 24TH 2012
If guns made us safer, we would be the safest country on earth. The opposite is true.
steve
8:11AM DEC 24TH 2012
If guns made us safer, we would be the safest country on earth. The opposite is true.
Elizabeth A. Cerny
3:27PM DEC 20TH 2012
Very few people would claim that the guns in his mother's house caused this young man to go shoot 20 schoolchildren. If the guns had not been there, however, he would not have been able to commit this horrendous act, and that is what you try to ignore.
flacop
9:05PM DEC 20TH 2012
don't think she's trying to ignore that, Liz. She mentions 200 million guns in a nation of 311 million people. That is true. She knows Lanza would have found guns somewhere else easily since he was that bent on turning himself into a killing machine.
@sparker417
10:24AM DEC 21ST 2012
"She knows Lanza would have found guns somewhere else easily since he was that bent on turning himself into a killing machine." Easily? He went to a sporting goods store and was turned down. If they were not in the house or locked up properly this could have been avoided.
Repubtallygirl
6:33PM DEC 20TH 2012
Oh, you mean like the guy (carrying a concealed weapon) in Portland, OR mall shooting who single handily stopped the shooter? The shooter shot 2 people killing them, the CWP holder heard the shots and raised his gun. The shooter upon seeing the weapon killed himself.

Get rid of Gun Free Zones and allow teachers/administrators carry. Those who commit the most horrendous acts do so in gun free zones. Bad guys don't follow the rules.

Wake up.
Frank
10:28PM DEC 20TH 2012
Sad and pathetic mentality . . . . . .
Repubtallygirl
2:33PM DEC 20TH 2012
From Hot Shots:
As media or firearm/outdoor industry professionals at times we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to the firearm debate. The words we use can be powerful and even counter- productive to our firearm freedoms and our side of the story.

The term Assault Weapon is a pure anti-gun propaganda term. It was advanced by and for the anti-gun movement in the late 1970s and popularized in the early 1980s. There is NO SUCH THING! It just does not exist. Yet we even see our own industry and media using it in magazines, on television and radio outdoor and shooting shows, in firearm catalogs, at gun shows and in gun and sporting goods stores across the nation.

If you must use the word "assault" then apply it to the correct type of firearm: An assault rifle (not weapon-ever) is a military carbine that is BOTH full-automatic and semi-automatic and fires a mid-power cartridge (something between a sub-machine and high-power rifle round such as the 7.62x39mm or 5.56 NATO round). For example a Springfield Armory M1-A (.308 caliber) is not an assault rifle; it is "just" a semi-automatic (not automatic) rifle!

Every time the word ASSAULT WEAPON(S) is used by those of us in the industry we use the anti-gun and anti-Bill of Rights rhetoric and propaganda term; we give them more ammunition to use against gun owners and our Bill of Rights. The NSSF (SHOT Show Folks) realized this and for military look alike carbines they suggest the term modern sporting rifle, and that works! REGARDLESS, let's all of us at least NOT use the anti-gun propaganda term "assault weapon."

The inflammatory term WEAPON is used by far too many of us in and out of the media. We see this emotive but wrong-headed term used in articles, on television firearm and outdoor shows and even in some catalogs and it is routinely used in gun and sporting goods stores. Nothing is a weapon until that particular item (whatever it is) is used in a single specific incident against a human being. For example a purse, baseball bat, golf club or tire iron is just that unless that item is used in a specific instant against a human; then it can be defined as a weapon--generally in a prosecutor's case.

And then there is the newest media term "gun violence." We at Shults Media have never seen a gun or any inanimate object commit violence on its own. This too is a pure propaganda term and when we hear or see it used we remind the user that inanimate objects can't commit violence and they look foolish for its use.

We hope you do not perceive our remarks as political correctness run amok. The use of these terms is as technically inaccurate as referring to a muzzle loading rifle as a machine gun. When we hear or see these words used incorrectly we should inform the person or entity that is using them of the error and why they are fueling the anti-Bill of Rights people. We found in all cases reasonable people and organizations appreciate learning the facts and the clarification.
Frank
5:59PM DEC 20TH 2012
What, can't come up with your own original comments besides the word "From". . . .

Of course, these particular statement you copied for your comments just make you look even more foolish than normal . . . . for example, even Scalia in the Heller decision frequently uses the term "weapon" and tracks it use back to the timeframe just before 1776, and discusses the historical American tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons” . . . yes, the term has clearly been considered "inflammatory" always by the founding fathers and the Supreme Court, just like the nonsense you copied as your unoriginal comments . . . . also in the 2010 McDonald case, Alito in his majority opinion discusses "assault weapons or semiautomatic weapons" . . . . so I guess both justices must now be considered as "pure anti-gun" and "anti-Bill of Rights" propagandists . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Repubtallygirl
6:29PM DEC 20TH 2012
No, I thought the post from Hot Shots said it all. Summed it pretty good.
You are a sad little man.
Frank
10:33PM DEC 20TH 2012
You don't handle facts nor reality very well, do you . . . . still in denial . . . . . just like you were about the election results . . . . . . and you probably haven't even realized your "party" further self-destructed tonight in the House . . . . . another inconvenient truth that will have to be spun. . . .congratulations . . . . you're well on your way in a downward spiral . . . . . . sad, very sad, and . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
John Paul Jones
12:45AM DEC 26TH 2012
Interesting Frank. Apparently everyone who disagrees with you is in a sad downward spiral. Yet you are still so angry and unhinged. Why is that? You should be happy...and quietly enjoying the downfall of all your opponents. Maybe you are just really insecure and frustrated that your heroes have not been able to create and deliver the Utopia you were promised. Don't worry Frank, everything happens in cycles. Despite your savior's harmful policies, eventually adults will return to office and the economy will recover.

So Merry Christmas.
Frank
7:22PM JAN 2ND 2013
Yes, sad and pathetic that you feel you have to have guns on your hip to live safely in America . . . . perhaps that should tell you something about your self-made reality . . . . and yourself . . . .

And yes, you must be correct . . . . I'm so insecure I must just be totally intimidated from comments by the likes of you . . . . but then, I'm sure you just thought that was a good idea at the time . . . . . yes, everything happens in cycles, and it seems your political worldview is quickly crashing and burning through its exposure to common sense and collateral damage . . . . .

Besides, these days it doesn't seem that it's Democrats who are all feeling angry and frustrated . . . seems it was far right Republicans who believed their closed minded spin meisters and were convinced they were winning an election that would create and deliver them the Radical Right Utopia they were being promised by Tea Party and Libertarians . . . . . now that just all seems somehow . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
ronald kifer
1:23PM DEC 20TH 2012
i believe in the second amendment fully.this trajady occurred because the son was unstable and the mother should have known better than allowing access to her weapons.the mother did no take that responsibility.gun control needs stronger guidlines for individuals,but do not take everyone elses right away.i am a full supporter of the nra.
Ted
12:52PM DEC 20TH 2012
Fewer guns ... especially the weapons of mass destruction type ... will mean less gun violence.

And ... it's rate-of-fire and muzzle velocity that should be the determinants. And ... autoloaders ARE NOT NECESSARY for any civilian use.

Bolt-action rifles ... double-barrelled 12- ga. shotguns ... and .22 to .32 caliber siix-shooters should be more than enough for ANY body.

And as for the doomsday preppers are concerned ... if they think their rag-tag selves with their autoloaders are sufficient to stand off today's high-tech military units desirous of terminating their rednecked constitutional rights ... then they're even worse morons than anyone could have believed.
John Paul Jones
12:52AM DEC 26TH 2012
Wow, it's a good thing its not up to you huh? I'm not sure what your definition of a redneck is (maybe anyone who owns a semi-automatic rifle?) but there are millions more of them than there are military. Plus you must be REALLY stupid if you think the military (many of whom are also in the previous category) would ever engage en masse those gun owners in an unconstitutional gun grab. So if you legally can, why don't you buy a firearm and learn to use it responsibly and potentially learn something about them. Idiot. Merry Christmas.
Frank
10:09PM JAN 2ND 2013
Yes, everyone needs to have a Bushmaster AR-15 style weapon with 30-round magazines and bullet piercing ammo . . . . can't have enough protection . . . and why not throw a noise suppressor (aka silencer) in for good merit . . . . got to have one of them for deer hunting . . . . don't want to scare off young kids by the loud noise or bother the neighbors, now do we . . . . just another name-calling tirade here at SSN . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Bob
11:22AM DEC 20TH 2012
I agree that more gun control laws may not have prevented this massacre, but I agree they are necessary. I agree with one of the other commenters who stated that "No, gun control will not have prevented the crime, but it may reduce the body count." Pretty sad when you look at it that way, but if it could have saved just one child's life, wouldn't it have been worth it? If you are against any additional gun control, I simply ask you to image it was your child's life that was saved because the killer would not have had time to reload.

By the way, I agree gun control is not the only solution but I felt the need to comment as the author appears to dismiss the notion that gun control would have had any impact.
John Paul Jones
12:56AM DEC 26TH 2012
Data shows that gun crime is down since the expiration of the AWB. It would not have helped. Plus, looking at the problem as if it is completely defined by one horrible incident is extremely shortsighted and would be poor leadership. Big surprise that is what the liberals are pushing. Look at all violent crime, then all other causes of non-natural death. Then look at the Constitution.
Frank
5:18PM JAN 2ND 2013
Guess it's just an inconvenient truth about that recent national survey showing a correlation that states with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths . . . . or that national gun ownership has ALSO DECREASED since 1960, or as one researcher put it, "long-term trends suggest that we are in fact currently experiencing a waning culture of guns and violence in the United States" . . . . .

Pathetic spin politics of the "Big Lie", once again . . . .
New Prepper
11:18AM DEC 20TH 2012
The Obama administration is using this last disturbed individuals actions to get our guns so they will have the TOTAL CONTROL they have wanted since day one when they took over in 2009. H***, the libs have wanted them for the last 50 - 60 years so thay could be in TOTAL CONTROL.
Frank
12:14PM DEC 20TH 2012
Well, at least we know you won't pass a meaningful background check of your mental facilities . . . . too much rage . . . . and conspiracy fantasies . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
@sparker417
10:39AM DEC 20TH 2012
After VA Tech, mental health laws were passed. And they should be scrutinized again to see if additional laws should be passed. Yes, it's a cultural issue--lots of different issues should be investigated, including gun control laws. No, gun control will not have prevented the crime, but it may reduce the body count. The simple act of changing a clip means that the killer has to pause, or at least switch weapons, and in that time he can be subdued. What is the argument specifically against limiting the number of rounds a clip can hold?
Danny Graham
10:37AM DEC 20TH 2012
I agree 110%. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. If this guy didn't use a gun he could have used a knife. If he didn't use a knife it could have been a bomb made with hosehold items. Let's take a step back and get to the real issue here - mental health issues.
Frank
11:30AM DEC 20TH 2012
Yes, I'm sure he would have been successful killing 20 children and 6 adults with a knife . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Ramona
10:34AM DEC 20TH 2012
It appears that people usually strike out at everyone else when they can't strike at the person who is actually responsible.
Frank
10:13AM DEC 20TH 2012
Funny, I seem to keep hearing from the media or others that a multi-issue approach is needed. One that addresses school safety, mental health care, violent portrayals and glorification of guns in our culture, and reasonable gun control involving what I would call WMKs (Weapons of Mass Killing), or military-style weapons that have no real purpose except killing multiple people (e.g. AR-15 style carbines, assault rifles, large capacity magazines, bullet piercing bullets, etc.).

After all, it appears that the existing Conneticut and federal gun control laws DID PREVENT Adam Lanza from purchasing guns to carry out his murders in the days before the attack . . . . what they didn't do is prevent his mother from having in her home a military-style assault rifle for him to conveniently use on elementary school children and their teachers. . . . . .

Let's see what recommendations the new Vice-President's task force comes up with and have all options on the table and discussed, rather than rush to demonize ANY and ALL discussion of gun controls for WMKs.
Ben Coogle
5:40PM DEC 20TH 2012
Frank, YOU are the pathetic one!
Frank
10:46PM DEC 20TH 2012
Welcome to the fan club . . . . . nice touch, emotional name-calling to a reasoned dialogue. . . . couldn't you be a little more "constructive" and actually have a point, or is all you know name calling and demonizing others, like those "real teachers" you complain about and attack elsewhere in your comments on SSN . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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