Archives For Newtown

Don’t Blame Asperger’s, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  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.


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.

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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?

Andrew Sullivan —  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":

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Malkin Award Nominee

Andrew Sullivan —  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

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 18 2012 @ 8:00am


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.


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:

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