Looking for Reasons behind School Shootings

Bob Geldorf's inspiration for the Boomtown Rats 1979 hit song "I Don't Like Mondays" was Brenda Spencer, who that year fired 30 rounds from a window inside her San Diego home at the Grover Cleveland elementary school across the street, killing a principal and custodian and wounding 8 students. Spencer was 16. She had received the rifle from her father as a Christmas gift

When asked why she committed the shooting Spencer replied, "I just did it for the fun of it. I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. ....She also said, "I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun," "It was just like shooting ducks in a pond,"' and, "[The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings."


Spencer was tried as an adult, and sentenced to 25 years to life. She has been denied parole four times, and is not eligible again until 2019.

The song's official video:

From the lyrics:

And daddy doesn't understand it
He always said she was as good as gold.
And he can see no reason

'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

....Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
...I want to shoot
The whole day down.

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    Crappy Mental Health Care plus... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:57:08 PM EST
    ...a country with a military-industrial complex on the order of Oedipus, that glorifies gun culture and mindless violence, and makes getting a gat as easy as finding your socks, well, it is going to happen again and again until we decide enough is enough and mental health requires the same critical attention emergency medicine does -- combined with a bit more respect and sensible regulation of firearms.

    Just my tarnished two cents.

    Peace, J.

    I am not convinced the best mental (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:31:56 PM EST
    care possible would prevent these tragedies.

    It will not prevent all of them. (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:45:39 PM EST
    Not everyone who kills is mentally ill. I think one of the ways we attempt to comfort ourselves after one of these mass killings is by convincing ourselves that the shooter is mentally ill and thus out of the mainstream. We seem to need to believe that only an insane person could do these horrific things.

    If we are serious about preventing these murders, not just the mass murders, but the one and two victim gun killings that happen everyday in our country, we must enact strict gun control laws.

    Countries that have strict gun control laws do not have the killing that we do. They have mentally ill people. Their kids play violent video games. They see the same violence-glorifying movies we see. They experience much the same modern life stressors that we experience. What they don't have are all the gun murders.

    Until we realize that and act accordingly we will have no peace.


    Ignoring the differences (none / 0) (#10)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:24:02 PM EST
    Between the US and other countries does not inspire me to believe you can make the case you are trying to make.

    Many of them, including most in Europe don't have the War on Drug policies that we have that focus on punishment rather than treatment. Indeed, most countries of Europe and places such as Canada have more therapeutic based criminal justice systems.

    Most of the countries people point to in these arguments (Canada, GB, Norway, etc) also have socialized medicine, a much greater social safety net, and they don't practice the form of dog eat dog capitalism that we do.
    Other countries like Japan are based on kinship and authoritarian models of society and government that we find either strange or repugnant. Japan, for instance, originally banned guns 300 years ago because they destablized their feudal society by allowing commoners to kill Samurai. Now they've modernized in many ways -forced by stronger powers and the march of technology. Yet they still make it next to impossible for even fellow asians to emigrate to their shores or be truly assimilated when there. In short, they are the exact opposite of the "open borders" philosophy that this website and most of the left promotes and that the US has been following the past 40 years. Trying to compare us to them is rather crazy.

    Then we get to countries like Switzerland and Israel where guns are pretty widely available in private hands (though not as easily obtained or as prevalent as the USA) and yet they have a small fraction of the assault rates via firearm the US does. Clearly there are cultural differences involved, and I would argue social policy differences as well.

    Meanwhile, let's take a look at the US. In the US most gun crimes tend to be concentrated in terms of rates and usually absolute numbers as well in central cities and inner ring suburbs. Meanwhile, state by state the suburban and rural counties tend to have much higher rates of legal firearms ownership yet far lower rates of firearms violence. It should also be pointed out that the US has an intensely individualistic culture and this culture is contained in a country that is the size of many small Continents. Most other countries are rather crowded , with a few notable exceptions. Meanwhile, despite New York City, there are parts of New York state where you can drive for two or three hours and hardly see anything but trees - and there is alot more land out west in the "flyover country" so many of you seem to hate or despise.

    In short, simplistic arguments that compare the US to other countries are doomed to fail. Clearly there are other things that differentiate the US society from others with less gun violence besides mere gun laws. After all, many mini-societies within the US with high rates of gun ownership show next to no crime.


    Oh right, American exceptionalism. (4.00 / 4) (#12)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:29:48 PM EST
    How could I forget? The United States is so unlike any other industrialized country that it is just, well, silly of us to ever look to those countries for ideas.

    i don't know what came over me.


    I think I know what came over you (1.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:39:06 PM EST
    Ignorance as to the cultures and histories of other countries, ignorance as to their gun laws and to the rate of gun ownership in other countries, and an attempt to make a very simplistic and sloppy argument. Heck, ask any European. The US is exceptional in many ways - and I don't mean that necessarily in a good way. Our laws are different, our society is different, our history is different, etc.

    I'd argue guns were more prevalent in the US in the past and we didn't have near as many mass shootings, but there seems to be some confusion at various places on the net as to whether gun ownership is going up again, or whether actual ownership rates have dropped but more people are stockpiling weapons.


    Interesting points, Slayer. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:29:52 AM EST
    You'll be shouted down, of course.

    Half the homicides in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles are gang engendered.  Half.  It was deeply politically incorrect of you to even hint at this.

    Of course - the Sandy Hook victims were mostly or all white, which makes them worth more, especially to the emo-parasites of the media.


    Well said but standby for the (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:18:36 PM EST
    counter attack.

    I don't know what the answer is but I do know that when I was a boy everyone had guns. I learned to shoot when I was 8, got my first gun when I was 12. I hunted and fished with my dad, relatives and friends. I do not remember a single accidental shooting. Pistols were rare but people had them.

    We didn't have video games but we had the Saturday westerns were Gene and Roy fired thousands of rounds at the bad guys who died with no fuss and no blood.

    Yet we had nothing like Columbine, Newtown, Portland...etc.

    My guess, and this is a guess, is that the crazies of that time were identified and locked away. Out of the norm behavior just was not allowed. That has changed. People are encouraged to do their own thing.

    We tolerate the people on the edge. So we shouldn't be surprised when they act in ways we don't like.


    I think it would lead to fewer (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:41:15 AM EST
    Incidents.  This young man's mother seemed to be of a different mindset though.  She could have afforded any and all help for her son and seemed to have chosen to take advantage of very little input.

    I am sitting in airport in Delhi (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:24:24 AM EST
    To return home. "The Times of India" is covering this tragedy, but first couple of pp. today reported on a gang rape of a 23 yr.-old young woman who was gang raped on a private bus which usually transports kids to private school.

    I do hope it's not mom's fault the alleged murder killed the young children. In Connecticut.


    I think she played a primary role (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:58:49 AM EST
    She was of the current survivalist mindset.  I couldn't believe at first that she owned a Bushmaster.  It just does not compute, but okay, so what, she owned one and it was her right to.  There are rumors she pulled her son out of school because she didn't like the direction it was taking him.  We don't know if she ever sought professional help for him...and not that that "helps" in all cases either, sometimes it fixes nothing and only makes things worse.  Experts in that field can't seem to be able to admit that they don't know what is wrong with this person, nor do they know what to do about it.  Usually when they get to that point they blame the mother, even when the other children are fine somehow the mother damaged this one beyond repair.

    I don't think she made him kill.  I do think that she missed making several accurate assessments.  She was very worried about the economy crashing and chaos ensuing.  She trained both of her sons to be able to use firearms competently in that situation.  I think that was key to what happened.  Would you have trained your emotionally fragile son to be able to use such weapons in that fashion?  I would not have, but we aren't gun people either.  I can't see this happening though oculus without her enabling it.

    I'm reading many people talking about violent video games, but those video games are sold and played all over the world.  Josh plays Xbox live with friends all over the world.  Last year one of his friends had a BB gun range birthday party and all of the boys play these Xbox games but were very intimidated by a BB gun.  They did not know how to load one, cock one, or aim well in firing one.  I don't think video games play a large role in things like this unless you are very weapon proficient.  Then if you are mentally fragile, then sure, maybe.


    Me too. (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:18:40 AM EST
    The interviews this AM with her acquaintances indicate that in their view she was not a "survivalist."

    However, it seems pretty clear that due to the number and rapidity of rounds fired that either he or his mom bought the stuff needed to do that. That stuff, imo, is likely beyond your "average" hobbyist AR15 owner.


    I wish we could hold off (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:01:25 PM EST
    on putting too much blame on Nancy Lanza until we have more (correct) details. I haven't read anything reputable that says she chose not to get her son help. In fact, the WaPo says she was considering moving them to Washington state so that Adam could attend a school that she thought might fit him better.

    All we know now is that Adam had Asperger's, but that's not a mental illness. Nor is extreme shyness, social phobia, or whatever other labels Adam may have had. So far, we haven't heard of him committing any violence previously.

    I don't see anyone blaming the father for leaving Adam in Nancy's care.

    We have conflicting statements on whether or not Nancy was a "gun nut" and a "survivalist."

    The WaPo also has noted that she had multiple sclerosis, just fyi.


    Nancy (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Lora on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:52:34 PM EST
    ought to have made sure that Adam had no access whatsoever to her firearms, IMO.

    An impossible task. (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:08:15 AM EST
    "I wish we could hold off" (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:21:54 AM EST
    I wish we could hold off on putting too much blame on Nancy Lanza until we have more (correct) details.
    Me too.

    I hope my comment did not sound as though I was blaming her.


    Her aquaintances from the bar (none / 0) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:45:09 AM EST
    Really did not know her though.  And as Slate makes note, if someone is your dear friend and is telling you she is worried about her troubled son and fears she is losing him you don't cut her off in that mid discussion to take a cell phone call.  It is her sister-in-law who last visited her in June who says that she was a survivalist and a doomsday "prepper".

    Where is the proof (none / 0) (#68)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:24:00 PM EST
    that the sister-in-law is that close, other than she said she was? Are we discounting the people in the bar/restaurant because someone interrupted to take a phone call? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been talking seriously to someone who then answered a call.

    I don't know what truth will emerge, but I'm pretty sure we don't know it yet.

    Also, for those who blame Nancy for Adam getting to her guns: We don't know yet if she had them locked up or not. (Keys can be found or locks smashed.) If she didn't have them locked up ... she still may have had no indication that Adam would be violent, and he was an adult.


    With all due respect (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Dadler on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:11:52 AM EST
    Mental healthcare WORDLWIDE is a joke that represents not only people's ignorance about the brain, but medicine's refusal to treat the brain with the same respect and deference that it treats other parts of the body when injured.  Tell someone you have a broken ankle, they will be helpful all day. Tell them you have emotional problems and a broken soul, and they will run from you like the plague.  We are a world that, simply, has a profound amount of DISrespect for the human mind and its ability to control the body.

    The good things that the mind can (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:30:16 PM EST
    do seem to be out of style as well: mention the words empathy and compassion in some circles and more-often-than-not a silence descends on the room, or it becomes the beginning of a Bill Maher punchline..

    People who like to think are now "cultural elites."

    People seem to be phobic about the mind in general, as if there were something inherently shameful and embarrassing about it.


    The bigger question... (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:24:04 AM EST
    to me, bigger than our mental health care system and our love affair with the gun...is what are the root causes of the mass murder mental breakdown?  What is it about our society, our way of life, our nature and our nurture?  

    Heavy sh*t to ponder...


    And this just in from the Hollywood Reporter (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:02:21 PM EST
    PG-13. Do we see a problem? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Towanda on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:18:24 PM EST
    Words fail.

    There's a multi-billion dollar (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:18:35 PM EST
    advertising industry that's constructed on the basic premise that people are very suggestible, yet a large segment of the culture wants to continue to pretend that bombarding us with splatter film imagery, Tarantino-isms, and other forms of virtual, intellectual-content-free mayhem
    has little detrimental effect on the psychol
    ogically vulnerable..

    And another cultural artifact that suggests things - in this case, aggression, violence and power-for-the-powerless - is an AR-15..


    Most killers are not mentally ill (none / 0) (#42)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:33:49 PM EST
    That's the gist of this NYT article.  

    heh (none / 0) (#55)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:43:17 AM EST
    In most cases, the following massacres occurred in so-called "gun-free zones" that gun-control advocates naively thought would help prevent gun violence rather than encourage it:

    • An autopsy concluded that Columbine killer Eric Harris had the SSRI antidepressant Fluvoxamine in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

    • Jeff Weise, who killed nine people and himself at a Minnesota high school in 2005, was taking increasingly high doses of Prozac at the time of his spree.

    • Robert Hawkins, who killed eight people and himself at an Omaha mall in 2007, reportedly "had been on antidepressants" at the time of his shooting. He allegedly had taken antidepressants since he was six years old.

    • Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 and wounded 23 at Virginia Tech in 2007, had been prescribed Prozac and had previously taken Paxil for a year, but he apparently had ceased taking his medication at the time of the shooting.

    • Andrew Engeldinger killed five people and himself after being fired from his job in 2012. A police search of his house revealed he'd been prescribed the antidepressants Mirtazapine and Trazodone, as well as the insomnia medication Temazepam.

    • Eduardo Sencion, who killed four people and himself with an assault rifle at a Utah IHOP in 2011, was a paranoid schizophrenic whose "medications were changed" during the summer prior to his attack.

    • Robert Kenneth Stewart, who murdered eight people at a North Carolina nursing home in 2009, submitted to a blood test that revealed he had Lexapro, Ambien, Benadryl, and Xanax in his system at the time of his spree.

    • Steven Kazmierczak, who killed five people and himself on Valentine's Day in 2008, had allegedly been prescribed Xanax, Ambien, and Prozac, although according to his girlfriend he had stopped taking Prozac prior to the massacre.

    • James Eagan Holmes, who shot up a Colorado movie theater in July, reportedly took 100MG of Vicodin before the shooting. He had also allegedly seen three school psychiatrists prior to his attack. Although his psychiatric records are privileged information, in his mug shot he appears to be medicated up to the eyeballs.

    And Adam Lanza, slayer of over two dozen people on Friday, appears to have had a classic pair of Medication Eyes himself. He was also reportedly "troubled" and possibly "autistic." A neighbor of Lanza's claims he was taking medication.

    If "gun free zones" are a bad idea, (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:56:28 AM EST
    why don't the Republicans in local, state and federal governments eliminate them in all local, state and federal buildings and allow people to carry guns into their offices?

    Please start a campaign to encourage the politicians to eliminate "gun free zones" in these areas. It will not only let them be a living (or not) example of their ideas but save government money. A twofer.


    I say put up (none / 0) (#60)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:36:08 AM EST
    "gun free zone" signs all over the place.  Sounds like you think these signs will fix everything.

    Reading comprehension is not your strong (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:55:45 AM EST

    No, I think that if the politicians and the American public thinks that eliminating "gun free" zones is a good idea they should allow conceal and carry in all government buildings and all legislators offices.

    Get rid of the "gun free" signs and metal detectors in those places first. Establish the same rules in all government buildings and offices that you want to establish in schools, churches, bars and all other places where people congregate.  


    That is what you got out of that post? (none / 0) (#66)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:32:47 AM EST
    Straw arguments (none / 0) (#64)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:18:13 AM EST
    I say put up "gun free zone" signs all over the place.  Sounds like you think these signs will fix everything.

    Much easier to knock down than the real ones, huh?

    Interesting logic (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:16:55 AM EST
    the following massacres occurred in so-called "gun-free zones" that gun-control advocates naively thought would help prevent gun violence rather than encourage it

    The fact that some shootings occur in gun-free zones proves that gun-free zones help prevent violence rather than encourage it.



    Here is an interesting proposal (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:12:36 PM EST
    for dealing with the costs of our gun culture. Make gun owners pay the costs to society from guns. Tax guns, tax ammunition, put it into a fund to pay the actual costs, now paid by society as a whole, of gun violence.

    If we cannot change gun laws, and many think it is politically impossible, then at the very least we can shift the costs of gun violence to the people who have guns.

    It is a thought provoking idea.

    What's Coming Down the Pipe (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by RickyJim on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:27:30 PM EST
    Advances in science and engineering will make it possible to make weapons of mass destruction in one's basement and somebody will post directions on the Internet for doing that.  Get my drift?

    WSWS on "gun control" (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Andreas on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:50:27 PM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    While the ready availability of guns (the US has the most guns per capita of any country in the world) facilitates the homicidal impulses of certain individuals, it does not explain the regularity of mass killings in the US. The focus on gun control is, in part, aimed at evading discussion of the more fundamental sources of anti-social violence in America.

    Moreover, from the standpoint of the ruling class, the campaign for gun control is tied to efforts to extend the powers of the state, undermine democratic rights, and maintain the monopolization of violence by the police and military.

    Among those at the forefront of the calls for gun control following the Newtown killings are political figures who have been the most strident supporters of militarism and the "war on terror."

    Media, politicians obscure social roots of Connecticut shooting
    By Joseph Kishore, 18 December 2012

    Indeed. Looking at the numbers (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:58:20 AM EST
    it's quickly clear that Obama and his drones have killed far more children and other innocents than have domestically-owned guns.

    Our teary eyed DroneMaster-in-Chief, (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:12:01 AM EST
    has killed more middle eastern children with his remote controlled Hellfire missiles than any ten Sandy Hook murderers.

    And his favorite technique is an old terrorist's favorite, Hellfire missiles used to blow up everyone, including the kiddies, who show up at the funeral of yesterday's Hellfire attack.


    Arming students in school (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:29:39 PM EST
    According to the local Fox affiliate, the 11 year-old told his fellow students he was encouraged by his parents to bring the gun to school "for protection" following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. Police are currently determining what role the parents had in the student's actions, but the school acted quickly to disarm the boy after learning he had the firearm on school grounds:

       The boy reportedly pulled the gun, a .22-caliber pistol, out of his backpack during recess Monday morning.

        "At recess, he pointed a gun to my head and said he was going to kill me," said Isabel Rios, one of the boy's fellow 6th grade students.

        Granite School District officials say students didn't notify teachers about the weapon until 3 p.m. link

    WOW, what a great idea.

    Yes, well (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by Zorba on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:52:00 PM EST
    I'm about to start pounding my head against the wall.  Tennessee is considering a bill to train and arm teachers.  So is Oklahoma.
    I mean, what could possibly go wrong with this?
    (And yes, for those who do not know me or recognize sarcasm, this is extreme snark.)

    As I said above, (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:02:07 AM EST
    I would encourage these legislators to eliminate the "gun free" zones in their government buildings and their offices before they pursue that legislation.

    If anyone here who lives in Tennessee or Oklahoma they might want to promote this idea and see how far it flies.


    BS (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Yman on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:11:42 PM EST
    the vast majority of gun crime is committed between criminals due to the drug trade

    What is this claim based on?

    i deletedd that comment (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:03:42 AM EST
    for spreading misinformation. It was a ridiculous claim and the commenter is warned not to repeat it (and drop the topic.)

    War on Drugs is a straw man argument (4.20 / 5) (#16)
    by shoephone on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:05:25 AM EST
    We're talking about mass shootings in civil society, not drug-related killings. Have you been paying attention to the mass shootings that have occurred during this year in the U.S.? How about 2011, the last year for complete statistics? Did you know there were over 8,500 murders by gun in the U.S. in 2011, which translates into a whopping 68% of all murders being gun murders? Are you asleep?

    And your claims about the "rarity" of domestic violence killings with guns is a crock. You are sorely uninformed when it comes to that issue. Of course, you're TL"s resident misogynist, so it's not at all surprising that you make the fellacious claims you do.

    Care to deal with the subject of (none / 0) (#31)
    by Slayersrezo on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:26:06 AM EST
    CaseyOR's link which was, indeed, the cost of guns to the larger society , or are you just going to fling around personal insults?
    I don't know what conversation YOU are responding to, but I'm responding to CaseyOR and CaseyOR's link.

    Really, the childishness of some people here is amazing.


    Speaking of the respect Americans... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:48:22 PM EST
    ... have for the preciousness of human life, in 2011 US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international arms market, $66 billion of an unusually brisk $85 billion annual trade.

    Remember, Jesus Loves You!

    Another U.S. claim to fame. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:52:56 PM EST
    We're the biggest gunrunners in the world. Yeah for us.

    Who sez Amuricans are falling (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:34:18 PM EST
    woefully behind in in world trade completion?

    Attributing corporate gun sales to Americans (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:12:24 AM EST
    is a lame assignment of blame. Most Americans abhor violence, especially against innocent victims. Most of our nation's citizens have responded to this tragedy with shock, horror and an outpouring of compassion for the victims.

    Just because the corporations that sell guns are registered as American businesses doesn't mean the average American citizen has control over their activities. Sure, only Americans can vote here. But the important work in modern democracies isn't just voting, it's getting representatives to enact policy in the interests of the electorate instead of the corporations that lobby/bribe them.

    When you blame people for things they cannot control, you undermine our attempts to improve society. Guilt by false association causes people to disregard your message and avoid participating in efforts to make change.

    We need to examine the differences in crime between the US and other countries without simplistic judgmental claims against good citizens. If you want Americans to be involved in creating a better world, stop blaming them for being citizens of the country where some anti-social corporations happens to exist. Anyone from any other country in the world could be just as involved in effecting change in this country, simply by organizing and coordinating change efforts. So instead of blaming Americans, please suggest alternatives and solutions. Research and propose public policies and rules that can help or that are actually working elsewhere. Work to empower people over corporations. Create a government that supports human rights over capitalistic greed.

    Don't just make blanket criticisms about Americans. Those corporations don't represent us, they represent the politicians in their pockets and those of you who make a living or create personal wealth with your investments in Wall Street.


    whooosh.....! (none / 0) (#38)
    by sj on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:33:20 PM EST
    Jeralyn, have you read (none / 0) (#18)
    by Tamta on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:47:27 AM EST
    Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings?

    Essay on it here

    It merely scratches the surface of a persistently inadequately understood and under-addressed phenomenon.

    I read the essay you provided (none / 0) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:07:54 AM EST
    This seemed pertinent to this discussion:

    Analysis of the data concerning rampage
    school shootings determined there are five
    categories of causes necessary for the shootings
    to occur: (1) many of the shooters are
    socially marginalized, and are often bullied
    and teased: (2) many of the shooters exhibit
    personal traits that make them more vulnerable
    than other youth, including mental illness,
    suicidal tendencies, and problematic
    family situations; (3) the shooters draw on
    cultural scripts that might make violence
    attractive, including the need to find a masculine
    way of dealing with social circumstances
    and the desire to achieve infamy; (4)
    while the shooters might exhibit some personal
    or social troubles, they do not tend to
    be severe enough to worry authority figures
    that the shooters might be at risk of serious
    violent outbursts; (5) the shooters have
    access to guns.

    What was also of interest was that the author of the essay thought that the weakest part of her book dealt with how to prevent future events.



    My personal opinion is (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Tamta on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:56:15 PM EST
    that a multi-disciplined research approach combined with an ethics 'task force' may be a good start on the path to formulating a more cohesive response. Maybe Congress could put the assault weapon ban on hold and start addressing this issue in a more comprehensive manner, rather than exploitative.

    I'm all for additional research into (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:19:47 AM EST
    the cause and prevention of these incidents. OTOH, I do not agree that Congress should put an assault weapon ban on hold or with the premise that assault weapon ban legislation is exploitative.  The idea that if we pursue A than we can't do B doesn't make sense to me. My only disagreement with the assault weapon ban proposed by DiFi is that it is very weak tea with enough loopholes to make it less effective than it needs to be.

    From my POV, there is no logical reason for any ordinary citizen to need an assault weapon or devises that allow a person to shot a large number of bullets in rapid succession.

    Although I do not hunt, I think others should be allowed to engage in that activity. I also believe that if a so called hunter needs an assault weapon or large capacity magazines to bag his game then he is a p!ss poor excuse for a hunter, a possible danger to other hunters in the area and maybe needs to take up a different activity.

    If the only reason for these types of weapons is because it is fun, well tough, a lot of things that might be considered fun are against the law because there is a real potential for harm to society.



    I think the Constitution (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:07:52 AM EST
    From my POV, there is no logical reason for any ordinary citizen to need an assault weapon or devises that allow a person to shot a large number of bullets in rapid succession.

    tells what the government can do, not what citizens can't do.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    You're absolutely right, Jim (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:24:08 AM EST
    "From my POV, there is no logical reason for any ordinary citizen to need an assault weapon or devises that allow a person to shot a large number of bullets in rapid succession."

    I think the Constitution tells what the government can do, not what citizens can't do.

    And since you conservatives are always telling us that the Constitution is not a "living"/evolving document - but must rather be interpreted according to the Founder's intent - I think your right to bear black-powder muskets and swords should absolutely be protected.


    shooter, this is how I's grade him:

    1. No. He was popular and well liked.

    2. No mental illness that I could find, was estranged for 4 years from his aunt who raised him, clearly suicidal (as evidenced by his suicide) but none of his friends interviewed had any idea he was suicidal.

    3. No obvious signs according to friends.

    4. Yes, he did exhibit some personal or social troubles that were not severe enough for anyone to think twice about, same as most every other person alive.

    5. Yes, he stole a friend's gun. Though if I were investigating this crime I would question the friend pretty carefully.

    Anyway, according to reports, this kid did not seem at all out of place emotionally.

    well... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Lora on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:50:30 PM EST
    1.  He has an EX-girlfriend.

    2.  He quit his job and gave/sold away his possessions, a big red flag for wanting to commit suicide.  (Ostensibly he was to move to Hawaii, but there is no verification that I could find.)

    3.  Roommate said he was acting "weird."

    4.  He was estranged from his aunt who had raised him for most of his life after his mother died, and hasn't spoken to her in 4 years.  Also the aunt won't say why.  Could indicate more serious issues.

    5.  Stealing a friend's gun if you can't get one of your own seems quite logical, actually.

    He seems a bit out of whack to me.  Nothing overt except the whole Hawaii trip as potential cover for suicidal behavior.  A closer look at his upbringing and the rift with his aunt might be revealing.

    I am wondering about a pattern of brief and (none / 0) (#50)
    by Tamta on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:25:14 AM EST
    repetitive episodes of ostracism, social exclusion or rejection in these rampage assailants?

     Being ignored or excluded creates sadness and anger and poses a threat to one's fundamental needs (it is adaptive to survival: to the brain it is a signal of a threat, which in turn produces feelings of discomfort or distress and then we in turn respond to those feelings.) Being exposed to rejection or exclusion in some form chronically, can produce two basic behavioral consequences: strengthening relational needs which results in pro-social behaviors or strengthening efficacy needs of control or existence needs, which lead to anti-social thinking and behaviors.


    I agree, you can look at this stuff (none / 0) (#59)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:10:15 AM EST
    and reasonably come to completely different conclusions, which is kind of the point of how hard it is to identify this type of risky individual.

    fwiw, much of what you wrote would have described me when I moved from NJ to CA in my mid-20's, yet thoughts of suicide or shooting up a mall never even entered my head.

    Anyway, hindsight being 20-20, clearly he was more than a bit "out of whack," and when more info is released about him there may well be some "obvious" signs of his mental state that we haven't been made aware of yet.


    We need to deal with all 5... (none / 0) (#52)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:01:23 AM EST
    ...but it seems #5 would, in some ways, be the easiest to implement.

    I can vaugely remember... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Cylinder on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:39:24 AM EST
    I can vaugely remember this song but cannot recall its impetus.

    Santa's bringing my 11-year-old daughter a Remington 597 .22 (pink camo, of course) so we'll be spending the holidays getting the thing zeroed, learning semi-auto safe/best practices and harvesting some delicious coneys for the freezer. She's had her single-shot Cricket for 2 years now.

    She asked me why people do things like Sandy Hook - I guess I explained it in terms of people who feel left out from society and become desperate. I just wanted her to know that the time we spend alone together is time for her to have her say on whatever matter comes to her mind. It's something she's always done (ad naseum) anyway, so she kind of gave me one of those looks.

    It does seem wise, imo, to have (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:26:58 AM EST
    a practical knowledge of and respect for firearms.

    Illegally Owned Guns... (none / 0) (#29)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:16:56 AM EST
    ...is a myth, since each and every one of them were legal at some point.  You can't just flip a switch an pretend the guns were some how introduced into society by illegal gun manufactures.

    They were legal guns that legal owners someone managed to misappropriate.  To me that is step one, holding people responsible for guns that manage to fall out of their control.

    New gallup (none / 0) (#69)
    by Tamta on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:21:41 AM EST

    " Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about."

    And? (none / 0) (#70)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:46:51 AM EST
    How much have most Americans studied the subject?

    Why the angry? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 09:59:39 AM EST
     Despite being ony 4th, 63% expressed the opinion it would be effective. That other possible actions were believed by more people as likely to be effective hardly calls for an unthinking slam on their opinions.

    Not what I was saying (none / 0) (#72)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 01:28:21 PM EST
    Tamta has been critical of gun control measures as a response (calling them "exploitive").  I think he/she was being dismissive of gun control measures, as the poll shows them as merely 4th on the list of measures to address it.

    OTOH - I think the vast majority of people have spent no time looking at the studies on this issue.


    Well then neither of you make much of a point (none / 0) (#73)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:44:55 PM EST
     and I will leave you to argue with each other.

     1st, 4th, or 400th is irrelvant. The important info in the poll is that a large majority think it would be effective.

     As for your contribution, your thinking you know more than the people who responded to the poll means nothing unless you want to pat yourself on the back for being awesome. Even if they are all ignorant people that doesn't change the fact those are their opinions, and it doesn't even make their opinions less valid than your much more informed ones.



    Why is it important? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 03:13:01 PM EST
    The important info in the poll is that a large majority think it would be effective.

    It might make it easier to pass legislation, but the fact that a majority believes in the effectiveness any remedy doesn't mean that it actually is likely to be effective.  A majority of Americans believe that Iraq/Saddam Hussein were behind the 911 attacks.  A majority Americans believe we spend 26% of the budget (or more) on foreign aid.  A majority of Americans believe Iran already has nuclear weapons, contrary to the IAEA, Israel and the U.S.).  The fact that a majority of the public believes something is true doesn't make it so.  Tell ya what - you stick with what the majority believes - I'll stick with scientific studies.

    As for your contribution, your thinking you know more than the people who responded to the poll means nothing unless you want to pat yourself on the back for being awesome. Even if they are all ignorant people that doesn't change the fact those are their opinions, and it doesn't even make their opinions less valid than your much more informed ones.

    Of course it does.  First of all, I wasn't "patting myself on the back".  More importantly, beliefs based on little or no knowledge of the evidence are inherently "less valid" than those based on evidence.  For example, 46% of American believe in a Creationist vision of man's development (i.e. that man was created by God sometime in the last 10,000 years).  32% believe in evolution guided by a God.  15% believe in evolution not guided by God.  The opinion of the 46% is less valid, because it is based on nothing more than religious beliefs, as opposed to evidence/data.


    But if you don't get my point, well ...

    ... that's your problem.