Archives For: Newtown

Don’t Blame Asperger’s, Ctd

Dec 18 2012 @ 2:39pm

A reader writes:

My son who went to elementary school in Newtown many years ago has Aspergers. He was horrified by what happened on Friday. He was afraid to go to school yesterday because he thinks people will assume that because he has Aspergers he is a potential mass murderer.

Parents of children with Aspergers have mercifully risen to the occasion. Another writes:

My 12-year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was seven. After the shootings at Sandy Hook, I found myself reading obsessively online to find out how journalists were accounting for the horror.  Once I read that Adam Lanza had been considered a socially awkward loner, I feared he would be identified as having Asperger's.  (I recalled that after the Jeffrey Dahmer killings, an African-American friend told me that she was so glad he was not black.) I have talked to my son about how he may be perceived differently in the wake of Sandy Hook.  I have told him he should never participate in the violent joking rhetoric so popular among 12-year-old boys because it could be misconstrued.

Another:

I am a child and adolescent in-home therapist who works with children with severe emotional and behavioral problems. As one of the only male, community-based mental health therapists in my county, I have a caseload mostly made up of very "aggressive" males (often also shy, awkward, insecure, creative, funny once you get to know them, deeply wounded and at their core – human). For them to be eligible to see me, they typically have been hospitalized for serious threats to other people, which are often times family members.

Continue Reading...

Another Alternative To Gun Control

Dec 18 2012 @ 1:57pm

Douthat suggests more police:

[O]bviously a push to hire more cops, no less than a new push for gun control, would run into political opposition in our age of tight budgets and public-sector layoffs. But shifting state budgets from incarceration to enforcement makes long term fiscal sense, and between the Republican Party’s affinity for cops and firefighters and the Democratic Party’s affinity for aid to state and local governments, it’s arguably easier to imagine a post-Newtown coalition forming around, say, a new version of Bill Clinton’s COPS program — which was mainly criticized after its expiration, as I recall, for subsidizing too many extra cops in sleepy small towns — than around a return to his ineffective gun control efforts. And based on the public policy record of the last twenty years or so, it’s much easier to imagine such an effort actually making a difference on the ground.

Bullet Control?

Dec 18 2012 @ 10:44am

Phillip Bump reminds us that the Second Amendment "doesn't say a single thing about the right to own bullets":

Were the government to limit the amount of ammunition made and sold in the United States, there would still be an awful lot available. James Holmes bought 6,000 rounds online before his shooting spree in Aurora, Colorado. Bullets are so easy to come by that it's clear that huge stockpiles exist throughout the country. But unlike guns, bullets are single use. You fire a bullet, you expend its propellant. While attempts to remove guns from the streets would either be incalculably slow or require heavy-handed, dangerous government action, curbing the ability to buy ammunition would mean a natural diminishment of the arsenal that remains. Every time a bullet is fired, that bullet is lost forever.

Lexington compares America to Britain, where it is "very hard to get hold of ammunition":

Continue Reading...

Malkin Award Nominee

Dec 18 2012 @ 10:34am

"I'd also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once," – Megan McArdle.

Chait piles on here.

Our ADD Media

Dec 18 2012 @ 8:00am

News_Attention_Span

Danny Hayes expects Newtown to soon be forgotten by the press:

Not surprisingly, each incident resulted in a spike in articles about gun control. For instance, in the week of the Virginia Tech shooting, 945 news stories in the database mentioned the issue. But as time went on, gun control received less and less attention. Within five weeks, coverage was nearly back to where it had been before the shooting. The pattern is similar for the Tucson and Aurora attacks.

This phenomenon – the media’s intense interest in, and subsequent boredom with, a public policy problem – is known as the "issue-attention cycle." A dramatic event, such as a shooting, brings an issue to the media’s attention, prompts an avalanche of news, and then an inevitable decline in coverage.

Newtown_Memorial

Mark Oppenheimer urges parents to stay silent:

[A]s long as our children are alive, we can refuse to terrorize them with worst-case scenarios. We can decline to let a random act of violence goad us into treating Connecticut as if it were Gaza, Afghanistan, or Mali. I understand that there are parents in the world who have to teach their children about bomb shelters. But I don’t, not yet. My daughter is just five years old, and her school is as safe as we can make it without imprisoning ourselves in our own fear. My heart breaks for what happened 25 miles away; I’ve cried twice already today. But I’ve done it far from my children, who are still very young and, yes, innocent. So please: Don’t tell them a goddamned thing.

(Photo: New London, Connecticut residents Rachel Pullen and her son Landon DeCecco hold candles at a memorial for victims on the first Sunday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. By Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The limits Bob Wright would put on guns:

Imagine the following world, which it's within our power to create: It's illegal to sell or possess a firearm–rifle or pistol–that can hold more than six bullets. And it's illegal to sell or possess a firearm with a detachable magazine. In other words, once a shooter exhausted the six rounds, he couldn't just snap in another six-round magazine; he'd have to put six more bullets in the gun one by one.

In this world, a significant number of those 20 Newtown first graders would almost certainly be alive. Lanza reportedly fired six bullets from his AR-15 just to get inside the locked school. So, in the alternative universe I just described, he would then have to more or less exhaust one of his two pistols to kill the principal and school psychologist he encountered after entering. At that point, as he headed for the classrooms, he'd have six more rapid-fire bullets left, after which he'd have to reload his guns bullet by bullet.

Tomasky sees no reason to allow ownership of assault weapons:

Continue Reading...

Like TNC, Alan Jacobs rejects calls to arm teachers:

We can be absolutely sure that within a few years more people would be killed by teachers who fired their weapons accidentally or in misplaced anger or fear, or by students who stole their teachers’ guns, than have ever been killed in school massacres like those in Newtown and Columbine.

But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian "war of every man against every man" in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly. Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Did The Assault Weapons Ban Work?

Dec 17 2012 @ 6:00pm

Assault_Weapons

Ezra examines the evidence:

Did the law have an effect on mass shootings? That’s possible. As this chart from Princeton’s Sam Wang shows, the number of people killed by mass shootings did go down in the years the ban was in effect (save for a surge in 1999, a year that included Columbine) … Because mass shootings are relatively rare, it’s difficult to tell whether this is just random variation or whether the assault weapons ban actually had an impact. Still, the number of mass shootings per year has doubled since the ban expired. That’s suggestive, at least.

Face Of The Day

Dec 17 2012 @ 5:49pm

158430658

Ty Diaz is kissed by his mother Yvette at a memorial down the street from the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 16, 2012. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza, found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Journalism Fail, Ctd

Dec 17 2012 @ 5:09pm

A popular media critique that still holds up:

Readers add to the criticism:

Can we please discuss the interviewing of children at Sandy Hook elementary school? It was repulsive. Read this article by Kim Simon to get an idea of just how wrong it was.

Another:

The media always gives killers like this one their 15 minutes of fame. How much of this goes into the calculations of mass murderers? This is never really talked about in the media (for obvious reasons). Also, many of the same people in the media who wring their hands over tragedies like this, turn around the next day and celebrate the "artistic genius" of guys like Tarantino and the violence porn he puts out. I am no prude, and certainly do not think such movies should be banned. But, why are guys like Tarantino considered "cool" and "edgy" and not shamed by the media?

Another:

Continue Reading...

The Australian Example On Guns

Dec 17 2012 @ 4:01pm

Will Oremus explains Australia's sweeping 1996 gun control law, which banned semi-automatic and automatic firearms after a mass shooting in Tasmania that resulted in 35 deaths and 23 injuries:

At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.

Dylan Mathews goes through the available research on the law's effects:

It seems reasonably clear [that] the gun buyback led to a large decline in suicides, and weaker but real evidence that it reduced homicides as well. Such a buyback isn’t in the cards in the U.S. anytime soon — an equivalent buyback here would entail the destruction of 40 million guns …

Guns Not Everyone Can Fire

Dec 17 2012 @ 3:17pm

Joyner proposes one way to limit gun violence:

One intriguing possibility is mandating some technological solution to make it harder for people other than the registered owner to fire the gun. Various “smart gun” technologies exist or are in the works which rely on RFID chips and biometric devices; cruder devices, which rely on complicated rings to activate the trigger, have been available for decades. If effectively implemented, they could conceivably greatly reduce the number of crimes committed with stolen weapons, including cases such as this one where a teenager steals a weapon from a parent. They’d also, presumably, cut down on gun suicides and accidental shooting deaths of children.

One good omen: Senator Joe Manchin – the same Joe Manchin who shot the cap-and-trade bill with a rifle – wants saner gun laws:

On the other hand, Chait doubts that much of any significance will be done:

Continue Reading...

Does Gun Control Work?

Dec 17 2012 @ 2:41pm

Dish alum Zack Beauchamp finds reason to believe it does:

Scholars Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander recently studied state-to-state variation in gun homicide levels. They found that "[f]irearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation." This is backed up by research on local gun control efforts and cross-border gun violence.

Josh Marshall asks for counter-evidence:

There have been a number of ‘studies’ I’ve seen purporting to substantiate the claim that widespread gun ownership will actually reduce violence. But the ones I’ve seen either come from disgraced amateurs or think tank hacks with zero peer review. Are there any methodologically sound, peer-reviewed studies which show anything like this?