NOW is the time for leadership.

In a memorial speech on Sunday for the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, President Obama called the nation out. He asked the question of whether or not we as a nation are doing enough to keep our children safe. And he answered that question with a solemn, “No.” Acknowledging that this is the fourth time in his presidency he’s had to console victims of a mass shooting, the President said, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.”

Though the president did not mention any specifics about gun control, he did call on all of us to confront the difficult choices ahead. He asked, “Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, the politics are too hard?” And speaking directly to those who say that unregulated guns are an expression of freedom in America, the President asked, “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year is somehow the price of freedom?”

Not since President Carter challenged the nation on our excessive use of energy, has a President challenged the nation to fundamentally change itself. There is no single silver-bullet solution to these massacres. But we can start by taking assault weapons, high-capacity ammo clips and other weapons of war off the streets. We can start by investing more in community mental health programs to give help to those in need before their madness consumes another town. And we can finally get down to addressing the underlying cause of much of the relationship between violence and mental illness, which is wealth inequality.

With twenty 1
st graders set to be buried in the coming week, now is not the time for delayed debates and half-measures. Now is the time for leaders who will usher America out of this dark age of violence toward a new renaissance of peace and community.


icBecky 11 years 26 weeks ago

Here's an idea for public gun safety--
I am not a politically active person and I am not a gun owner even though I am NRA gun safety trained. But I throw out this idea for others to consider.
Since the Constitution states the necessity of "a well-regulated militia" and forbids Congress from the abridgement of the public's "right to keep and bear arms", I have asked myself what is the most restrictive gun control that could be instituted that would honor the spirit of the Second Amendment.
I have arrived at the idea of the "Public Armory". This would be a secure public facility for the mandatory storage of all personally owned firearms in a community. This federally funded facility would be administered by the local sheriff's office and would serve the purpose of getting guns out of the hands of impulsive citizens. It also could allow for the storage of the most advanced weaponry a person might obtain. Every legally registered gun owner would have full and open access to the Public Armory via a non-electronic, non-digitally monitored lock and key system that the administrators would guard but not controll access to. Each gun locker would be exceedingly secure but access to the lockers would not be restricted. Citizens could obtain access to their weapons at any time for any reason. Storage of any firearm (with an exception for a single handgun per household member) in a residence overnight would be prohibited. Violation of this prohibition will be penalized with a $1000 to $5000 fine.
This idea could provide public safety from irresponsible gun ownership. It could serve as a repository for the confiscation of unregistered weapons and, most importantly, preserve the American tradition of individual gun ownership.
My idea may not be fully formed but I offer it as one citizen's plan to accomplish a sorely needed goal.
David Daniel
Iowa City IA

jodispangler's picture
jodispangler 11 years 26 weeks ago

I live out in the sticks and guns are a way of life out here. We use them for hunting, sport and for protection. I agree that military weapons should only be avaliable to the military. An armory of personal weapon storage isn't going to do me any good if a strung out meth addict is breaking down my door when police response is 40 minutes or more. Lock down the private sale of handguns and restrict gun shows. More people are killed on the street corner every night in big cities across America than any single mass killing in history. Access to mental health, legalization of marijuana, and help for drug addicts is a better way of dealing with this multifacited problem.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 11 years 26 weeks ago

WE have an epidemic in AMERICA. If it was any other type of epidemic there would be a public outcry for federal and state governments to do something ASAP. HOWEVER, this epidemic is a taboo subject.

Democratic New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, "We have a lobby, the leadership of the NRA, who function as enablers of mass murder. And that's what they are. They're enablers of mass murder"

87 percent of non-NRA gun-owners and 74 percent of NRA gun owners support criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees. AND 80 percent and 79 percent, support background checks on gun buyers. THE NRA membership needs to stand up to their NRA leadership and make their voices heard.

klentz's picture
klentz 11 years 26 weeks ago

The first comment points out that the entire purpose of the 2nd amendment is to foster "a well regulated militia". Simply make everyone who owns a gun or wants to own a gun belong to "a well-regulated militia". Well-regulated, however, does not apply to self-proclaimed militias of which we have plenty in NH.

If you want to own a gun, join the National Guard.

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 11 years 26 weeks ago

Recognition and treatment of mental illness must predominate this debate. Even if your among those whom think the gun and the use thereof is the illness, as opposed to the symptomatic enabler. Change as urgent as it may seem, must be en-acted in baby steps to be effective. If we observe the outcome of the ten year assault weapons ban of 1994 thru 2004, number one it only passed because of its ten year sunset claus,number two...Number two it energized enough albeit barely enough money and / political energy to put George Bush within reach of the White House. With the help of the court and hundreds of thousands of paranoid gun owners George Bush became president and the Iraq war came next. Push too little and the weapons manufactures win, push too hard and the weapons manufactures win bigger! Already republicans have recognized the funding potential to be exploited from this tragedy, starting only moments after the event with Rush Limbaugh. To the original point there is an unknown quantity here in the land of the gun and its emerging more frequently. An evolving culture where social interaction occurs often only though a moniter, where guns are a virtual entertainment device, a seemingly harmless expression of testostrone if you will, and the consequenses of their use is reset at the end of the game. Where real world experiences are sparse. Where these now young adults watched Bush and Rumsfeld prosecute war as if it were a game that could be reset.

stantak's picture
stantak 11 years 26 weeks ago

Hi Tom,

I keep hearing the idea that we regulate the sales of ammunition. I do not think this will help much as it's not terribly hard to make your own ammo. The recipe for gunpowder has been well known for some time. I think the only thing that the ban will accomplish will be to reduce the quality and effect of ammunition, which would be better than nothing, but not quite have the limiting effect that your callers have hoped for.

We need to regulate the guns and get rid of the high-capacity clips (as mentioned many times). I don't know if we'll get the money out of the gun lobby and that's probably the biggest hurdle.

Stan in Bothell

Near Seattle WA

janmyers's picture
janmyers 11 years 26 weeks ago

Watch Joe Scarborough's commentary this morning 12/17/12. He showed great leadership as a consertative who has had enough and is taking action.

Jan in Montana

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 11 years 26 weeks ago

Wealth inequality per se isn't the issue. It's simply a fact of life. What actually does push people over the edge is the absence of a safety net. So many people are a single job loss from losing everything, including their children (per Clinton's "reforms," children can be taken into "indefinite state custody" for parents' "failure to adequately provide"). Once you run out of money and lose your housing, it can be the end of the road. How can you get another job when you have no home address, no phone, no clean clothes/bath, no bus fare? It's a hopeless, downhill spiral in a country that now subjects the poor to all the hate that defines our culture today. Today, we no longer recognize the very poor as humans, much less as fellow citizens. Even liberals restrict the discussion to the complaints of the middle class, with an occasional token mention of the working poor, and no acknowledgement whatsoever of those who can't work or for whom there simply are no jobs. Any surprise that suicide rates among America's poor have been rising?

renee in dc 11 years 26 weeks ago

I appreciate the logic you apply and your comment. It is a practical measure towards reducing the incidence of violence; additionally, those who have mental illness need support services available instead of cutting them from budgets. In my opinion rather than using guns, "rational-minded", mature, people use discourse, diplomacy; and can constructively, try solving problems.

PDX LMG's picture
PDX LMG 11 years 26 weeks ago

I’ve read multiple articles since the shootings last week, both in my hometown and the deadly assault on school children in Connecticut. I’ve read a sadly moving article on mental health, articles on angry young men, articles on angry white men, articles on angry men of every color, articles on why the second amendment allows us to bear arms, and articles on why it doesn’t. I’ve read articles lamenting the deaths of children overseas because of US military violence, crying out against the hypocrisy of the president’s tears for US children, while seemingly ignoring those of the countries we invade. It seems all I have done this entire weekend is read about this tragedy, its victims, its causes, and why these tragedies continue.

Nowhere in any of it have I seen anyone addressing the issue of profits. Every time a mass shooting takes place, gun manufacturers make a massive profit. Citizens, afraid for their lives, go out and buy a glock. The point of the gun lobby is not to ensure that every person in the US has a gun; it’s to ensure that every person in the US buys a gun (or two, or three…). This is the real reason we haven’t been able to succeed at gun control in this country. The gun lobby pours massive amounts into ensuring their right to sell weapons is completely unfettered. In this, they have succeeded more than any manufacturer of any other product.

It’s about profits above lives, whether it’s healthcare or guns. Guns just result in deaths faster. The second amendment is a straw man. It’s the excuse used by the gun lobby to keep us from reining in the massive profits enjoyed by gun and weapon manufacturers and to keep our eyes off the ball, which is that the manufacture of these products has only one purpose: to make money. If it is children in the line of fire, so be it. Gun manufacturers make a killing (pun intended) every time a mass shooting takes place.

If we want real gun control, we need to face the reality that it is profits over lives we are discussing here. Safety is a straw man. The gun lobby doesn’t want teachers carrying guns to protect their classes. Just imagine the budget for arming schools. That’s the real issue. It’s time to start calling a spade a spade, and make lives our priorities, instead of the almighty dollar.

jameshw's picture
jameshw 11 years 26 weeks ago

Why don't we have the same regulation as we do for owning and operating automobiles? Training, testing, issuing limited time licenses that have to be renewed and add a mental stability test to the eye test. That should be required to operate one, then there should also be registration and licenses for the guns as well. Require mandatory liability insurance so if a gun causes damage, the registered owner, whether he causes the damage or someone who used his gun did, there is compensation for the damage. Insurance companies would then help weed out the high-risk owners. Securing them should also be a required by law so they are not easily taken by unauthorized people. We put locks and alarms on our cars to protect them from unauthorized users. We are more careful with our cars than we are with our guns. Why?

FUBOM's picture
FUBOM 11 years 26 weeks ago

This kind of violence, in my opinion, occurs when people begin to feel marginalized and disconnected from society as a whole. Wealth inequality creates much more anger than most would like to admit, but first graders are not responsible for that situation. We really need to ask, as a society, what brings a person to this level of insanity. Could our total lack of concern for those with mental problems be part of the problem? How many times in a day do you pass a homeless person and try to ignore their existance? How often do you hear someone go into a rant about how they "want to take their country back" and just pass it off as blowing off steam? There are a lot of angry, frustrated people around us, but we are too wrapped up in our daily lives to pay any attention, and therefore let the warning signs go unheeded. We really need to get out of the us against them mentality that our societal polarization has led to, and understand that we are all in this together. If we don't, the the grand experiment is doomed to failure.

renee in dc 11 years 26 weeks ago

One additional measure with respect to accountability, I heard someone propose is: imposing large fines upon applicable gun manufacturers when mass shootings occur; the idea behind this is since the gun industry is manufacturing something lethal and selling it such as with the tobacco industry; this can remove the gun manufacturing profit motive.

Extraemail 11 years 26 weeks ago

Arguing for gun bans will never get anywhere, and no new ideas are required for gun regulation...

Just use existing examples of regulation of dangerous items. For example, cars are dangerous so annual or bi-annual registration and licensing - which includes training and tests - are required. Cars have restrictions on size (number of axles), and have a long list of requirements such as safety belts, emissions, lights, etc. If you want to drive something BIGGER and more DANGEROUS like a diesel truck, YOUR FREEDOM IS NOT TAKEN AWAY. You have to get a specialized license (Commercial license), more training, tests, safety requirements on the vehicle, and restrictions on where the diesel truck can be used (limited to only the 1st and 2nd lanes of freeways/highways in CA). If I want to race dragster, or break a world record in a rocket car, my FREEDOM IS NOT TAKEN AWAY, but there is even more licensing, training (handling rocket fuel), and restrictions on where I can race.

Another example would be chemicals. Insecticides, drain openers, fertilizers, etc. have a warning that is required. If you want to use a more dangerous insecticide or drain opener, you have to be licensed or certified, more training is required, and there are more restrictions on how and where these dangerous chemicals can be used.

So, with guns, annual or bi-annual registration and licensing along with a test should be required. If you want to use a more dangerous gun such as an assault rifle or bigger clips, then more licensing, training, safety requirements and restrictions on where you can use it should be required.

Of course you will never be able to stop massacres, gun deaths, crimes involving a gun, etc., but regulations do reduce the numbers. Right Wing Radio Jockeys like to cite Chicago as an example where there are still many gun related deaths in spite of gun laws, but in Chicago the number of gun related deaths has reduced since the gun laws were introduced.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 11 years 26 weeks ago

Last week there was a mall shooting in Oregon, a hospital shooting where the gunman was able to kill two before a cop shot him, and one more - the details of which I don't remember. The week before that was the Washington Redskins shooting that inspired Bob Costas. Seems it happens ceaselessly and we only really hear about it when the death toll is more than 10 or 15..

Availability of guns is only one factor - the system of delivery, if you would - of our mass homocidal tendencies. The main reason, I think, people are killing so much is greed - and greed overriding ethics - and intolerance in our society. "How you play the game" doesn't matter anymore, only "whether you win or lose". People also have willfully ignorant intolerance of others and facile lack of concern or consideration for them. People forced to the margins by this then "get even with the world" by killing a lot of people.

Not to justify killing but commonly, in such cases of human conflict and victimization, more than one party is guilty or, leastways, not completely innocent. At any rate, when it keeps recurring you should probably consider all those angles

It's what is now being called the "factor of mental illness". It is being acknowledged that our society has been neglecting the concern of mental health. Perhaps it would be better to have a healthy society, one more conducive to mental health, rather than throwing money at the problem by making available more therapy to those who are already nuts.

But to do that we would have to admit that there might be something wrong with our society and we can't do that about the good ol' USA.

renee in dc 11 years 26 weeks ago

@#17: On the other prohibition from public use even in a free society is "okay"; it is reasonable, (for example: instead of licensing and providing training; nuclear materials and weapons are prohibited).

Extraemail 11 years 26 weeks ago

Not true. Nuclear materials and weapons are NOT prohibited. There is a guy named Jeff Immelt who has nukes. They are highly regulated (and should be regulated more).

ScottFromOz 11 years 26 weeks ago

@PDX LMG: Ah, you've spotted the elephant in the room. Thank you for your well reasoned comments.

The other elephant is Margaret Thatcher's notion that "There is no such thing as society" in other words it's "every man for himself". This insularity makes it easy to blame others and victimise others for our (and their) misfortunes. It's said that leaders set the example and in that we've seen this notion of "what's in it for me" in spades in our political and corporate "leaders". I put "leaders" in quotes as I no longer view these people as leaders of society, who should be setting the standards for behaviour, but more as predators and parasites, out to gain as much self-benefit, at whatever cost to the rest of the nation, as they possibly can in the shortest time possible. These self-professed "makers" are in reality the "takers" albeit with the benefit of access to national propaganda outlets.

We are heading down a path that has been trod before. The ultimate outcomes while necessary, weren't pretty. It's time to rein in the greed and selfishness of our modern-day robber barons and to rethink our own attitudes to our fellow citizens. It's time to put people before profits and to start regarding corporations as tools rather than gods.

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 11 years 26 weeks ago

I have lived alone out in the country where we ourselves are the first line of fire-protection and self-defense. I have no problem with weapons as tools for hunting or self-defense. However like so much in the US, our obsessions go far beyond reason -- we deal in simplistic fantasy, and we are being exploited by uncaring commercial interests, putting profits beyond rational common-sense.

This tragedy hit me hard. Retired and without children, the trusting eyes of 6 to 10 year-olds have always had direct access to my heart. There could not possibly be more innocent victims anywhere. Such a tragic loss and what an abject failure of any so-called civil society.

If we are to consider ourselves civil, we must (1) reduce access to weapons designed for mass killing and (2) provide real treatment for individuals clearly needing care beyond what families can provide. Those two fundamental goals are not extreme, nor beyond reach -- even in our divided contentious political arena.

Perhaps, just perhaps we can, enough of us, can reach out across our divides seeing others through damp-eyes with broken-hearts, and try to do the right thing. Perhaps these lost young children can bring us to our senses, realizing that by working together we CAN find our way back to the path we lost when we forgot who we were, when we traded our dreams of future for immediate gratification and self-focus.

We will have many proposals for patches and bandages; that's okay. What we face is a dysfunctional social anarchy, with no common-ground, no common language, no shared common purpose.

Let us simply use this crisis to relearn how to speak to each other with reason, recognizing others with different views -- not as idiots, but simply diverse citizens sharing the pain of common problems, coming from different viewpoints to consensus. There has to be a rational national commons where we can agree -- or we have no common unity.

I'll leave the many details to the coming debate: reasonable limits to fire-power, limits to access, even limits on industry influence in government.

One point I haven't heard discussed much is liability -- the liability of posessing dangerous equipment (weaponry). We insure the liability of our cars and swimming-pools. If a party-host or bar-tender can be held liable for a drunk-driver's accident, someone with legal weapons might equally well be liable for their mis-use by others finding them unsecured, accessible by someone too young or known to be irresponsible. With ownership of something obviously dangerous must come responsibility and real liability for misuse.

We also have legal precedents of manufacturer's liability. Light aircraft manufacturing was destroyed in the US, due to product-liability claims by survivors against deep-pocket plane-manufacturers (when pilots ran out of fuel and passengers died). This liability reached many decades back -- and almost destroyed Piper and Cessna. Why do weapon suppliers get a liability-pass?

And don't get me started on liability excused as collatteral-damage from the ancient traditions of war -- but that's for a future generation to solve.

There are many rational reforms we can make; but first we must relearn to talk with our citizen neighbors, across our tribal divides. We must reach towards consensus, not letting irresponsible corporate-interests divide us against our own shared human interests


nigle77's picture
nigle77 11 years 26 weeks ago

Do you think that the President or the NRA, or the Republicans :Care" President Obama who how to talk to People but what about the 98% do you think he Care or with the Republicans

June Ann Fischer was Kill at the hand of her Three Daughters, and the Cathedra City, Ca. Police did not help her

wHY ? June Ann Fischer of Cathedral City, California 92234 has "Alzheimer"

Janet Cruz 11 years 26 weeks ago

One aspect of this rash of mass gun shootings by young males, which has hardly been mentioned, is the violent video games that almost all boys play, where they shoot down a constant stream of cyber people. It is well known that you can de-sensitize people to almost anything by repeated exposure to the act, whether it is cruelty to animals, bloody surgery, or killing others. Soldiers are desensitized through practice, even very young soldiers, as is done by African warlords. Mentally healthy individuals who are taught right and wrong, will probably never go beserk and mow people down, but mentally unstable people who strike out from fear or anger will likely use the method they are most comfortagle with. They become very comfortable with mowing down people from years of playing violent video games.

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

Tom, I am very disappointed with you. I finally thought I found someone in the pubic eye that used common sense and did not have any other agenda then the truth. ALL democrats are not anti-gun. And after seeing a picture of you at a gun range shooting, on your blog I felt that we thought near completely alike. The Connecticut shooter used two handgun so why is this a call to arms (pun intended) against assault rifles? Would people be happier if these innocent young people were killed with machetes, or gasoline, or run over by a school bus? Do you think this would not have happened if there were no assault rifle's? Many people responded by saying it just makes it easier for people to kill. Throughout the history of the world people have not had any problem killing with or without firearms. And this is probably the first time in history that people are so stupid that they blame the weapon in a killing and not the person. So what is your agenda Tom! I know you are smart enough to know what I'm saying. We both know that this situation is mostly cause by the news media making these psychopathic losers, hero's. Bigger then life. More popular then god. Certainly more popular than they could ever hope to be without this song and dance by the media. PEOPLE THIS IS ALL B.S.. The copy cat killings that will happen by all this media attention will far outweigh the number of deaths in Connecticut and it will not be stopped by making more things illegal! These people don't go by laws. There will always be a way for these scum to get attention. As far as the NRA. I got my first shotgun when I was 14 and I am now 58. I am a life member of the NRA. There are millions of gun owners in this country and this is our representation. Why do you assume that the NRA represent predominantly the gun industry? THEY REPRESENT US! The gun owner of America. Tom, what are you looking to get from this hoodwink you are perpetuating?

Janet Cruz 11 years 26 weeks ago

In many cases, such as this one in Sandy Hook, the shooter came from a prosperous family, although a broken one. In Colorado, those young shooters had every material advantage. I don't think poverty has much to do with mass shootings, although maybe it does in drive-by shootings.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 26 weeks ago

As usual it's the big money of a few blocking the needs of the many. We have the few gun manufacturers armed and dangerous with the NRA vs the countless, "those of us," demanding that our so called representative govt. represent us and do the right thing with gun control laws. Will they do it? I don't know, but I agree the time couldn't be more right to press ahead with the assault weapons ban, go Dianne Feinstein.

One of the, "those of us," commented that teachers stand up to gunman but politicians won't stand up to the NRA. This may end up being true with the Republicans blocking the assault weapons ban and if so, come November 4th 2014 it's up to "those of us" to fire as many of "them" as possible. Then let's give Democracy a real chance to work, and as Thom says, solve the underlying cause of many of our troubles, that cause being wealth inequality.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 11 years 26 weeks ago

Surprised Moore liberals are not in favor if gun ownership. Specifically for the reason outlined in the constitution (nothing to do with hunting deer).. Nice try but I reject the idea of a public armory, because gun ownership is about separation of powers in govt, so the people can overthrow an oppressive govt if necessary.. And the people guarding the armory would a different branch of govt, and therefore negate the reason for the arms amendment..

i doubt verg much making guns illegal would have a dramatic effect on the nun bets of murders (people wanting to kill will simply grab a rock, bat, bomb, knife instead (or use an illegal gun for that matter). Some guy with a knife killed 20 kids in china the same week we lost 20 some kids to a shooting here in America.

So because of the Above reasons, the strategy to make guns illegal would have little effect on stopping nuts jobs from killing people (but I am in favor of waiting periods, background checks, and enen mandatory training and licensing)..

hitler outkawed guns, as did every fascist dictatorship I can think of. Might the resistance in nazi germany base better success before hitler gassed 6-million Jews, if the citizens were armed?

AND IS THERE A WAY TO FOLLOW THIS DISCUSSION? I usually forget to search for the threads I comment on..

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 26 weeks ago

We need to end the republican inspired trend towards a society filled with poor, desperate, and crazy, but well armed citizens!

anadana's picture
anadana 11 years 26 weeks ago

Yes, we need comprehensive gun control. But these guns don't drive themselves to schools, theatres and malls and pull their own trigger. People do and more specifically, young men do. So we also need to address the use of anti-depressants (SSRI's) by these young males. Apparently there's compelling documentation that SSRI use and more importantly, their discontinuance, causes violent behavior and suicidal ideation in young men (male brains are not fully mature until mid to late 20's).When are we going to connect the dots here and address the effect of these prescription drugs on our young men's mentation?

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

It hard to estimate, but according to there are approximately 350 million firearms in America. 5.5 million were produce in 2010, 95% were for the U.S market. I don't know about the “those of us, and them” but Americans want guns! And the NRA represents us! Anti gun people try to make the NRA into big business which nowadays is easy to hate but the reality is that there real power are the people that belong to it. When a tragedy like this happens gun sales go thru the roof. It makes people feel safer and in a free country we have the right to feel safer. If “those of us” would spend more time on trying to make America's obsession safer. And spend there money on education, prisons for violent criminals, and care for the mentally ill and start blaming the criminal instead of the weapon of choice America would be better off.

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

I live in Chicago and I was just talking to two police officers in the local cigar shop. They told me that the gun crime did NOT go down. There bosses just made them count the homicides differently. They said (anecdotal) that gun crime is much worse. Illinois is the ONLY state in the U.S. that does not have concealed carry permits. Up until recently it was virtually illegal to own a gun in Chicago. Law or not most people owned one.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 26 weeks ago

I really do not think this problem will be fixed by a one size fits all solution. If this individual was not inflicted with some major mental problem that drove him to commit these horrific crimes against the most innocent in our society, than he has to be one on the most evil of humans in our society. There will be dozens of professionals giving their thoughts on why this happened and how could anyone be so cold blooded to massacre children. I personally cannot bring myself to read the newspapers and look at these poor innocence that were gunned down or to see the faces of their families. My fear is that this will end up as just another crazy trying to get even with someone and it will be forgotten in a few weeks from the minds of the public. Everyone has voiced good ideas on how to handle the epidemic of murder that seems to be running wild in our country. We need easy access to mental health facilities across our nation open to everyone who feels they need to seek help, regardless of their ability to pay for it. Maybe the new healthcare act will help with some of the needs of the people who need help. The families of people who are seen to be violent need to speak up and see their family member gets help, whether it is by voluntary or non-voluntary means.

While serving in the Air Force we were allowed to own handguns and rifles, but they had to be stored at the military police headquarters, checked out of the military police headquarters and returned that day. Would that stop someone who wanted to destroy another person or persons, probably not. We have approximately 300,000,000 weapons in the hands of American citizens. How are we going to control that amount of weapons across America in very diverse locations? In a time when our politicians cannot even agree on a budget, where will the funds come from to support new programs of storage or for that matter mandatory training? I don't think we have much of a chance to change things in America, even after the killings of these innocent children. I have heard and read slogans such as you can have my guns when you pry them from my dead cold fingers! And in many situations weapons are a necessity for protection and hunting. My brother lives in Arizona and while visiting him several years ago I got very concerned because a young man entered the convenience store with a gun on his hip. And my first response to my brother was, someone needs to call the police, that guy is carrying a handgun! I was reassured it was legal as long as it was visible to the police! This did not make me feel any better and I left the store ASAP! I am not sure if they ever changed the law that allowed civilians to walk around with handguns as long as they had permits. I live in an area about 25 miles southwest of L.A. and the police respond immediately if shots are reported or a person is seen with a weapon (rarely happens). Unfortunately two weeks ago an 80 year old man living in an expensive retirement apartment complex, just a block from my home, had been having words with the manager and one of the caregivers. He returned with a handgun and shot and killed both women, then killed himself! People had heard him make threats in the past, but just shrugged it off as a grouchy old man. Point being, we never know what someone is going to do. He had no history of any violence in the past, except for complaining a great deal. How are we going to make Federal laws that would prevent these types of crimes from happening when each state and county is so different and with different needs? I sincerely hope I never have to hear about another mass shooting, especially with children, happening in our country. I hope God reaches out and comforts these poor souls that have lost their children, brothers and sisters in this unspeakable event...

nora's picture
nora 11 years 26 weeks ago

NRA is the market stimulation arm of the domestic individual gun sales industry.

Even if the NRA evaporated tomorrow, what about all the twisted values and militant/militarist ideas we hold as a 'Culture'?

Just getting rid of the NRA isn't enough. There's still all this stuff:

O Children raised on violent "entertainment" peddled by Violence Profiteers.

O Children taught to believe that weapons of death make a good birthday or Christmas gift that they want, something they want under the tree in toy form.

O Our entire economy -- anchored in the Military Industrial Complex -- is an economy of black budgets, death machines, exploitation and propaganda, and domestic and foreign 'gun' and weaponry mayhem.

O We have become a Culture of Violent Militarists, and even this tragic event in Connecticut shows our psychological split about this topic: As a nation we mourn the loss of our own school children, however, when our government and our weaponry products CAUSE the deaths of thousands and thousands of children throughout the world with OUR guns and weaponry, drones, undying land mines and depleted uranium toxic waste,-- how come WE LACK any consistent national response to the deaths of children EVERYWHERE on Earth? There's something very dissonant about this inability of Americans to see that the death of our school children is part of a LARGER PATTERN of destruction that our Militant Culture CAUSES.

Tragically, it seems the murderer with the guns who killed the children was himself a victim. (And, may I ask, victim of what specifically? The dangerously altering psychotropic drug he was prescribed? The alienation he felt in his community? The Violent Militarist Culture in which he was raised?)

And, am I the only one who finds it bizarre and twisted that a President -- whose executive branch DRONE PROGRAM has killed many six-year-olds and infants and children of all ages by the hundreds -- gave such an emotion-arousing eulogy for the twenty little innocent girls and boys who were murdered by a suicidal and confused victim?

Finally a last thought on this awful issue: Much is being made of the odd motherlyness of the murderer's mother, who knew her son was having psychological problems and yet still provided him access to her extensive private gun collection. Is it true the murderer's father worked for GE -- creator of death devices so huge and deadly they are killing people all over the world, and because of the long-life of nuclear radioactive waste, will kill for hundreds of thousands of years to come? And, is Connecticut home to a large number of guns and weaponry corporations?

We've got alot more to reflect on than the NRA alone.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 11 years 26 weeks ago

MY opinion,

the GOP wants a well armed white population -

and probably would not mind seeing a race war -

while it is still in the majority.

delster's picture
delster 11 years 26 weeks ago

Guns are not the only instrument of violence but they are efficient. I am a gun owner - I have a shotgun, a deer rifle, and a hand gun. They are tools of my sport of hunting and I keep them in a safe.

I have never had a legitimate excuse to own an assult rifle. I have no need of one. I'm not hunting people. I have been invited to join the NRA but I don't like their militant attitude about arms. Well I believe it is militant. I believe we need to correct a lot of things in this nation in order to support those who have emotional problems and curb the potential for creating emotional problems. This will require some voluntaty gun control as part of a large and multi faceted safety net that includes many elements

of pschology, therapy, respect and kindness. Not to mention not driving one another crazywith just plain crazy shit.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 11 years 26 weeks ago

There is a disturbance in the force, the country lost its way, or that famous expression we lost our compass. No matter how you say it we all sense it; a feel of the opposite side of divine, for many calling out this guy as evil.

However, to me it is an extraordinary hatred intentioned with that in your face book, cable television, and political hate talk radio buzz saw of commercials that profiteer, that too lie in gross spectacular dissemination by advertising in America’s popular mainstream media, Hate News. All this examples exactly the way it steers our culture while destroying instead of serving.

Ladies and Gentlemen of America yes the politics and the media brought America to where we are today. And the one percent who drives it has just displayed their particular kindness. A peculiar kind of economic sacrifice, with a side order of collateral damage, called personal tragedy, and whaling grief.

As if a spirit from the other side possessed that young man. Contrary to some, I think Thom Hartmann is on target. Perhaps mysterious with some of his argument. But, when making the claim this young man, his mother gets hundreds of thousands of dollars of child support from her x husband a banker, sent my thoughts went sailing. Here, the one percent club went hooey.

This afternoon watching Martin Bashir talking about perhaps the entertainment industry has an effect on our population sent me laughing and giggling. Ronald Reagan went from Hollywood to silver screen politics via the Republican Party. The big Gulp. The whale can consume predator. Too big to fail sure happened there. Screwed failed deceived flimflammed, and according to Link-TV Reagan was the most important swindler of the twenty century. No business like political show business, everything about it is unregulation. Then after a commercial break away to the premier of Les Miserables that happens to be considered one of the greatest novels of the French revolution. About the poor rising up to rid of the tyranny and the aristocrats. Sheesh. Haven’t you noticed the electromagnetic journalist power their faces just like those aristocrats of the eighteenth century?

bobcox's picture
bobcox 11 years 26 weeks ago

Most of the shooters if not all, had known mental problems.

R. Reagan, during his terms in office in California thought the mental hospitals were not doing a good job bu that the solution to the problem was to put the occupants back into society. This was a reversion to conditions before psychology began to develop rational theories of mental health and potential cures. The condition then was not perfect but better than Bedlam as previously practiced in England and France. The result of Reorganization of mental health many people with borderline psychopathic tendencies were released into conditions that actually increased their problems, thus leading to the small group of people such as the recent shooters. Reorganization did decrease costs but had the unfortunate result of increasing prison populations and the practice of self-medication leading to other more costly solutions to many borderline social problems. Often the solution to problems in society is to increase funding for dedicated workers and studies on the problems and reducing the profit motive in many salutations to problems today that often lead to unsuccessful treatment, high recidivism and greater variant behavior with unintended consequences, Least cost without considering the loss in effectiveness often leads to higher total costs and poorer societal benefits.

The idea of Free Markets controlling such matters shifts the costs from one sector to another but allows individuals with marginal traits of social responsibility to make a profit but not solving the problem. Thus the costs of medical care in the US is twice as high and provides less benefits to the body politic that in other industrialized countries. The same holds for our education system as well as our so-called government as illustrated by the dysfunction of our present legislatures and congress.

nora's picture
nora 11 years 26 weeks ago

Regarding 'evil'.

On Friday Thom asked about 'evil' and the source of 'evil',

By chance, while I was reading about Chinese history, I came across some mention of the Chinese philosophers' ideas about 'good' and 'evil'. The periods of rich intellectual and philosphical ferment occurred in certain periods, one around 500 BC with Confucius (this predates Socrates in ancient Greece) and a later period during the Song Dynasty (by the way, at that time Europe was busy with The Crusades, sacking and looting, etcetera.) -- and there it was, mention of these thoughtful peoples' ideas about 'good' and 'evil' in human experience.

What I read was that the philosophical view was formed that 'good' is that which is in 'harmony' with natural principles and patterns. Conversely, 'evil' is that which deviates from nature's principles and patterns.

The philosophers of that time discussed the differences between the ideas of 'wen', that is, humanly-produced patterns in reality and 'li', that is, perceived coherent patterns and principles created by Nature.

Surely in our world now dominated by human-made patterns (for example, proliferating technologies, unfortunately all oil-based and synthetic) and principles (for example, Wall Street's financial notions, like the propagation of derivatives being more important than the actual lives, health and sustenance of the majority of the people on Earth), one can see there is relevence in these concepts. Natural principles and patterns have been disregarded and trashed consistently since the Industrial Revolution, until now there is utter freedom in our Culture for the Corporate Profiteering System that shoves Nature to the side and removes mountain tops for coal and renders irreparable pollution, and even replaces natural foods with a genetically engineered Frankenstein Monster version.

Regarding the tragic slaughter of little children, we can see humans turning themselves into killing machines when they embrace their human-conceived death tools which function in direct opposition to the natural Bloom of Life seen in the innocent faces of little kids.

Just wanted to share this with Thom, since he was posing the question about 'evil'.

caljane2007 11 years 26 weeks ago

One simple question: How can Obama be so broken up about the massacre of the school children but apparently unconcrned about the over 160 children killed by our drones? Are Afghanistani children's lives worth so little compared to children in the U.S.?

Pointofgrille's picture
Pointofgrille 11 years 26 weeks ago

Technology must be able to make guns that can ONLY be made to operate by the registered gun owner. They can do it for my iPad. They can do it for firearms.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 11 years 26 weeks ago

Excellent points, people!

Nora, I've had similar thoughts about the emotional speech Obama gave, regarding that recent elementary school massacre. After all the babies and children his drones have killed, the sheer hypocristhe sheer irony y of it is hard to take. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 11 years 26 weeks ago

WHOOPS... sorry about the damn typos!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 26 weeks ago

I think they should make a new law banning anyone from going into a school and killing children or their teachers. There!...that should do it! Yup! just make another law.

Or, maybe we should ban schools altogether...let the parents school the kids. Make the mom stop working and stay at home so that she can teach the children. All they teach children in school is lies about their history and other propaganda anyway. You don't really need to make all that money for yet another i-phone or health insurance or food. The husband can return to being the major can stop watching all those idiot commercials on TV inducing you to buy, buy, buy. We can close down all those ridiculous shopping malls and centers to keep people from congregating...being easy targets for some lone CIA drug/hypnotic-induced patsy. There would be no mass shootings. Problem solved!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 26 weeks ago
Quote nora:"And, am I the only one who finds it bizarre and twisted that a President -- whose executive branch DRONE PROGRAM has killed many six-year-olds and infants and children of all ages by the hundreds -- gave such an emotion-arousing eulogy for the twenty little innocent girls and boys who were murdered by a suicidal and confused victim?"

I was actually thinking the same thing as I listened to his speech. I thought.."Gee, how absolutely hypocritical of him."

But then, their goal is to disarm America...their goal is total power over all... including all Americans. Their goal, Democrat and Republican (although they, like the Democrats, have their own lies) is to totally disarm anyone who might object to the rule by the few at the top.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 26 weeks ago

Oh, and what better way of wagging the dog as a prelude to the so-called Fiscal Cliff horsesh1t than to stage such a horrendous thing as massacre of school children. Look how much press has been devoted to this. All they have to do is to stage various atrocities and people are so willing to give up their freedoms.

So Obama's counter offer was to raise the limit on income from $250K to $500K (everyone above $500K is to pay higher taxes) and in return he is stopping Social Security cost of living raises. And now Boner will come back with another counteroffer.

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

In the wake of the Connecticut tragidy the scum are coming out of the woodwork. The number 1 scum is the media. They will make money hand over fist. They will suck out every drop of money that could be sucked. If they could show the bodies of the young victoms and get away with it they would.
The people that really get me pissed off the most are the anti gun groups. They are LOVING this. They will use the tragidy to further there cause. But how can we blame this inadament object? Do we blame the knife when it is used to kill?
In China guns are illegal!

School attacks in China (2010–2011)

On March 23, 2010, Zheng Minsheng (郑民生)41, murdered eight children with a knife in an elementary school in Nanping,

April 2010

Hongfu Primary School knife-wielding man named Chen Kangbing wounded 16 students and a teacher

May 2010

An attacker named Wu Huanming (吴环明), 48, killed seven children and two adults and injured 11 other persons with a cleaver at a kindergarten in Hanzhong

August 2010

On 4 August 2010, 26-year-old Fang Jiantang (方建堂) slashed more than 20 children and staff with a 60 cm knife, killing 3 children and 1 teacher, at a kindergarten in Zibo

September 2011

In September 2011, a young girl and three adults taking their children to nursery school were killed in Gongyi,Henan by 30-year-old Wang Hongbin with an axe. Another child and an adult were seriously wounded but survived. The suspect is a local farmer who is suspected of being mentally ill.[

This is just a few examples of killer wanting to kill.

So what is the problem? Well we know a few things. Number one the mentally ill have to be helped and not ignored! They need to be kept away from dangerous things.
Number two, the news media must not make them bigger then life. They make them more popular then God. In there demented minds bad publicity is as good as good.
Number three, Schools, a place where we keep our most precious resources, must have security. GUYS WITH GUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

Isn't god the one who reached out and took the children in the first place? If you believe in religinous nonscence.

jmanstro's picture
jmanstro 11 years 26 weeks ago

I think some of us have a well founded lack of faith in the ability of the police to adequately protect us from a clear and present danger. There are simply not enough incidents that occur to warrant the expense of maintaining a reponse rapid enough, and a force proactive enough, to prevent the victimization of any particular individual at the hands of a person unconcerned with the laws in effect at the time. So while we can cite statistics that demonstrate very long odds that a person would ever need an assault weapon or a 15 round magazine in a handgun for the kinds of risks they are most likely to face, you are still proposing that a person give over what they perceive as a capacity to defend themselves to a solution that they correctly perceive as unable to do so in the moment.

So the task you have is to identify the pros and cons of people owning various forms of weaponry, and the likely outcomes based on statistics and facts. Annecdotes are not helpful, but scenarios are. Scenarios provide insight into the thought process and allow you to compile data and provide statistics about that scenario occuring and its most likely outcomes.

When people see a mismatch between their perception of the effect of owning a given form of weapon, and the practices they are willing to follow in possessing and using it against the actual data regarding the outcomes, they may find that certain concessions to public safety are more reasonable. You need data, and you need insight into the motivations of people who choose to purchase and hold firearms for the full range of reasons they may have, before you can hope to persuade them to give up such a fundamental right or freedom.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 26 weeks ago

felpetlin: It's good that you posted all of these incidents in China but there were more....
I suspect your source was wikipedia...
You missed a few more...
April 2010:
On April 29 in Taixing,[3] Jiangsu, 47-year-old Xu Yuyuan went to Zhongxin Kindergarten[9] and stabbed 28 students, two teachers and one security guard;[4] most of the Taixing students were 4 years old.[10]

On April 30, Wang Yonglai used a hammer to cause head injury to preschool children in Weifang,[3] Shandong, then used gasoline to commit suicide by self-immolation.[4]

May 2010:
On May 18, 2010 at Hainan Institute of Science and Technology (海南科技职业学院), a vocational college in Haikou, Hainan, more than 10 men[13] charged into a dormitory wielding knives around 2:30 am;[14] after attacking the security guard and disabling security cameras, 9 students were injured, 1 seriously.[14] The local men attacked the dorm in an act of revenge and retaliation against college students following conflict the previous day at an off-campus food stall in which 4 students were injured, for a total of 13.[15]

December 2012:
On 14 December 2012, a 36 year-old villager in the village of Chenpeng, Henan Province, stabbed 23 children and an elderly woman at the village's primary school as children were arriving for classes.[23] The attacker was restrained at the school, and later arrested.[24] All of the victims survived and were treated at three hospitals, though some were reportedly seriously injured, with fingers or ears cut off, and had to be transferred to larger hospitals for specialized care.[25]

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 26 weeks ago

Watch the NRA’s response. Very sensible.

felpetlin's picture
felpetlin 11 years 25 weeks ago

Guns are evil. Killing started with there invention (except maybe the 9 crusades) and will end with there elimination. More laws should be made for honest law abiding citizens (only them, because there really only the one's that pay any attention to them. Criminals and the mentally ill don't abide by laws) The government should be the only people allowed to have firearms because they have ONLY our best interests in mind, anyway regular people are far to stupid and irresponsible to be trusted with dangerous things. (Like: lawn mowers, flammable liquids, flammable gasses, automobiles, power tools, Poisons, sharp things, etc, etc, etc.) The only way we can insure our safety is make sure that there is a corresponding law for each of our dangers. But the government will consider permits for dangers in life. Permits WILL make it safe for our moronic citizens. And for our safety the government is also considering a law against stupid people. They are working on the wording now. by pete f.

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