By John Parisella - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 0 Comments
Why Obama’s tougher gun laws are likely to get watered down
The parents of a murdered seven-year-old boy were interviewed by CBS journalist Seth Doane this week, one month after the Sandy Hook shooting. It was a heartbreaking interview where the father, Mark Barden, described his late son Daniel as an optimist. The mother, Jackie Barden, speaking and holding back the tears, admitted that the pain was unbearable and conceded that there was little likelihood she will feel better for some time to come.
The interview came after both parents had a conversation with Vice-President Joe Biden and they said they were hopeful that new measures restricting easy access to guns would eventually come to pass. Jackie also confided to Doane about her recent efforts to purchase a kitten. An elaborate background check and a request for a series of references led her to complain that it was “easier to buy a gun than a kitten in the U.S.” It was also easier to get a gun than to get a driver’s license, she said. Continue…
By Michael Friscolanti, Charlie Gillis, Nancy Macdonald and Jaime J. Weinman - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
Plus, a Kansas couple who take helicopter parenting to new heights
Out of this world:
It’s official: there is nothing Chris Hadfield can’t do. High school scholar? Check. Elite fighter pilot? Check. First Canadian to walk in space? Check. And now, just days into his mission as the inaugural Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Hadﬁeld has set the standard yet again—recording the ﬁrst-ever song from space. Dressed in khaki shorts and a pair of grey tube socks, the Sarnia, Ont., native strummed an acoustic guitar while orbiting the Earth. His song of choice? Jewel in the Night, a Christmas tune written by his brother Dave Hadfield: “Wherever we go / In all of the wonders above / With all that we bring / There’s no finer thing / Than this message, this promise of love.”
Private shot, public spat
Facebook’s privacy settings can be utterly infuriating—even for a Zuckerberg. Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, flew into a Twitter rage when she discovered that a marketing director named Callie Schweitzer had tweeted one of her private photos. It was “way uncool,” she charged. But it turned out Schweitzer didn’t actually breach any of the website’s privacy rules; she and Zuckerberg simply shared a mutual friend, and that’s how the photo came to light. Still, Randi used the public spat as an opportunity to lecture the world about the etiquette of online sharing. “Always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly,” she tweeted. “It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 9:16 PM - 0 Comments
‘Hug your loved ones tight!’ mother writes
WINNIPEG – The mother of a former Winnipeg girl who was killed in the elementary school shooting in Connecticut is commenting publicly about the death of her daughter for the first time.
Six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was one of twenty children and seven women killed when a gunman opened fire in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.
Her mother, Nelba Marquez-Greene, has posted a message on Facebook under the headline “From a grieving mother on Christmas Day.”
In the message, Marquez-Greene wrote that on the day Ana died she was wearing a white t-shirt with a purple peace sign on the front.
She said the last thing she remembers was giving her girl, who had beautiful caramel skin and a shock of curly brown hair, two hugs before she got on the school bus.
Marquez-Greene said no lock-down procedure in the world could have stopped someone with the kind of gunpower and ammunition carried by the shooter.
“I have a Christmas wish,” she wrote.
“I want to live in a better America — one where our leaders are working collaboratively for the good of the people and the protection of children. Please! No more! Ya basta!.”
She then pays tribute to her daughter.
“Sweet Ana, I know our healing as a family will come only from our heavenly Father. I know this is your best Christmas yet – at home with our Lord and Saviour. As your mom I just wish we could have had a few more to celebrate here on earth. You died so needlessly.
“For Christmas I bought you a Kindle Fire HD the night before you died. My Christmas promise to you now is to continue to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength and to do whatever I can to make sure more kids can be safe … and to send out the message that “love wins”. I still sleep with your special blanket, most nights in your bed.”
Marguez-Greene then offers some advice to people reading her post.
“Hug your loved ones tight! Joyous Christmas Season and a Blessed New Year to all!”
The girl and her family had only recently moved back to Connecticut after living in Winnipeg for three years.
Her father Jimmy Greene, is a musician and professor who is well-known in Winnipeg’s jazz community.
Hundreds of people came together in Winnipeg last Saturday to mourn Ana’s loss by watching her funeral on a video feed that was shown at Grant Memorial Baptist Church.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, December 21, 2012 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
Are you a deranged young man living in the United States who fantasizes about shooting up your former school, but you’re worried that Joe Biden and his gun control “task force” will rob you of your assault rifle or subject you to endless background checks at the next gun show? Well have no fear, because there’s someone looking out for you. That’s right…
Thanks to insufficient mental health resources (chances are nobody knows just how deranged you are, or can’t afford to help you even if they do) and the new NRA-sponsored “operation school shield program” you may just get to keep your guns forever. All of them.
By Paul Wells - Friday, December 21, 2012 at 1:38 PM - 0 Comments
It’s hard to know where to begin making sense of the NRA’s news conference this morning, in which the leading U.S. gun lobby called for a massive federal program, run by President Barack Obama and his socialist hordes, to finance a constant armed state presence in every neighbourhood in America. I’d have thought conservatives would be against that sort of thing. How will your Arm-a-Care officer get to your neighbourhood school? In a black helicopter?
There is a kind of logic in Wayne Lapierre’s argument. It’s not as though the nearly half-million armed men and women who would flood America’s 98,000 public schools — here I figure two shifts of two snipers each for each school — would be the first firearms a virginal American public ever saw. To quote Lapierre:
Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed security.
We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.
Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!
Lapierre’s logic would be bulletproof, so to speak, if U.S. airports, office buildings, courthouses and Presidents had a spotless record free from armed assault. Or if the correlation between armed protection and safety in any of those venues, worldwide, were clear. But, yes, since America is already armed to the teeth, fully arming the teeth does make a kind of sense, if one is in a generous mood. Continue…
By Amanda Shendruk - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 5:42 AM - 0 Comments
It’s not surprising that talk turns to firearm legislation in the wake of such tragedies as devastating shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Calls for greater gun controls stem from a genuine belief and hope that improved laws will mean less gun violence. The sentiment is understandable: bettering firearm laws could prevent horrors like Newton, Aurora and Colombine, right? Well, don’t be so sure.
Despite what most people accept as truth, there appears to be no (or very little) significant relationship between the overall strength of gun legislation and firearm homicides.
Consider the chart below: You’ll notice no discernible correlation between gun laws and gun murders in the United States. I have graphed state gun murder rates (per 100,000 people) against the Brady Rankings (along the bottom). The Brady Rankings (released by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence) assess the strength of state gun laws using a variety of criteria. Basically, the higher the ranking, the better the state’s gun legislation. Note: This graph charts gun murders, not all gun violence.
Of course, the story is never so simple, and there may be situations where firearm laws work to combat gun murders, but current firearm legislation in the U.S. does not appear to influence gun homicide rates the way we think it should.
(For some interesting reading on the topic, check out an article published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, entitled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence.”)
Yet, the question remains: What is required to decrease the number of firearm homicides and general gun violence in the United States? The answer isn’t straightforward; however, while legislation may not strongly influence the rate of gun murders, something else certainly does — poverty.
The graph below charts gun murder rates and the percentage of a state’s population living in poverty. Notice that as poverty rates increase, there is a corresponding increase in firearm homicide rates. (Colours correspond to whether the state voted Republican (red) or Democratic (blue) in their last national election).
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:18 PM - 0 Comments
The good news is that President Obama has followed up on last week’s platitudes with something that resembles action:
“The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” he said. ”The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence.” The Obama administration has renewed its support for the assault weapons ban that expired under Bush in 2004, and assembled a gun-control task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden. The team has vowed to offer “concrete proposals” on gun regulation in the new year.
The bad news is that the damage is done: 28 people are dead.
And we continue to mistrust and vilify things we don’t understand, like a mother who writes a heart-breaking article about her mentally ill son, and–God forbid–makes a few jokes at his expense.
That’s what’s happened this week when “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” went viral, and its author, Idaho English teacher Liza Long was slandered by an anthropologist named Sarah Kendzior, who took it upon herself to “expose” Long as an attention-craving nutcase.
In Kendzior’s words:
“Liza Long, the woman who wrote the viral post “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” is being held up as a heroic woman warranting sympathy for bring the plight of her mentally ill son to the public.
Her blog tells a different story. Long has written a series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away.”
Here are some of the allegedly “cruel” and “vindictive” excerpts from Long’s blog, Anarchist Soccer Mom:
“Dear Progeny of Mine who cannot be in the car together for more than five minutes without erupting into screams that make a Japanese horror flick seem tame by comparison: No, you cannot ever have computer time again. Not ever. Your ‘I love to fart on you’ song may seem whimsical or even clever to you, my dear seven-year old. But it makes me want to throttle you.
And you, the 11-year-old in the back, if you even touch your brother again, I will call your parole officer. I quit! Let the state take care of you and your compulsive inability to stop poking people.
We are in therapy because said father decided that he would abdicate his parenting responsibilities to the juvenile correction facility (i.e., he had his 11-year-old incarcerated for not doing his chores, something I will admit I have fantasized about but never really considered as a viable parenting technique)…”
I’m no anthropologist but the highlighted segments above (Kendzior’s emphasis, not mine) don’t strike me as cruel or vindictive. “Lame” would be the right word–as in lame jokes about domestic life you’d hear on Roseanne, or Home Improvement, or Married with Children. Maybe Kendzior doesn’t have cable?
The bloggers have apparently reconciled, but the backlash against Long continues. Message boards and Facebook pages are rife with rants denouncing her as a fraud, an unfit mother who tricked us into feeling sorry for her–as if purity and earnestness are the official prerequisites to sympathy. Who knows what kind of screed we–or Sarah Kendzior for that matter–would be putting out if we were in Long’s position.
More importantly, who wants to know?
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Although Harper defended his decision to appoint Michael Ferguson auditor general even though he was not bilingual, Harper said he doesn’t want to do it again. “I admit that it is my responsibility to avoid similar circumstances in the future and I hope that Quebecers and francophones don’t doubt my commitment to the French language and our two national languages.” But while Harper said it is important for the head of an organization to be bilingual, he doesn’t feel all senior members of an organization have to speak both languages. For example, Harper said Canada’s prime minister and the chief justice of the Supreme Court should be bilingual but doesn’t believe every Supreme Court justice and every cabinet minister has to speak both English and French.
Harper shied away from commenting on Quebec’s PQ government’s plans to beef up the French Language Charter, Bill 101, saying it is provincial jurisdiction, and he defended his own track record on language. “Honestly, as prime minister, I have given a greater place to French than any other prime minister in the history of this country.”
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM - 0 Comments
There is pattern to these things: A deranged individual goes on a shooting spree and America mourns the loss of innocents. Some voices raise the subject of gun control; others say “this is not the time” for such discussions. And then national attention moves on. (For example, a federal assault weapons ban passed by Congress in 1994 was allowed to expire under the Bush administration.) Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association continues to raise money, lobby, and make massive campaign contributions to candidates who receive high grades on its voting report cards. The NRA spent $24 million in the last election cycle — more than 4,000 times the amount spent by the leading gun control advocacy group, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
Could this time be different? Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, there was the bombing of the USS Cole, and before that, the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center. But it took the scale of the 9/11 devastation to transform the nation’s view of the terrorist threat and to respond with action. Continue…
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Cerberus said Tuesday it is planning to sell its stake…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Cerberus said Tuesday it is planning to sell its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle, following the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people, including 20 children. The private equity firm said that the shootings were a watershed event in the U.S. debate on gun control.
Adam Lanza, used a .223-calibre Bushmaster rifle in Friday’s massacre, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S history.
While Cerberus said its role is not to take positions or attempt to shape or influence the debate, the company said it can take action by selling its stake in Freedom Group. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – About 100 people held candles on a sub-zero Winnipeg night Monday to…
WINNIPEG – About 100 people held candles on a sub-zero Winnipeg night Monday to remember one of the victims of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
With prayers, aboriginal drumming, and silent reflection, the crowd paid tribute to Ana Marquez-Greene, a six-year-old girl who spent three years in Winnipeg along with her family before they moved south earlier this year.
Ana’s mother, Nelba Marquez-Greene, was a therapist at the University of Winnipeg.
Ana’s father, Jimmy Greene, taught music at the University of Manitoba.
Family friend Alys-Lynne West said the family’s home in Winnipeg was always filled with music and dance.
West and her husband, Steve West, spoke with Nelba Marquez-Greene earlier Monday.
“She and the family just appreciate so much the outpouring of support and love from around the world,” Steve West said.
“Along with their strong faith and their friendships … that’s what’s really making the difference for them.”
Ana’s parents have posted a video online of the girl and her older brother, Isaiah. She is seen singing the hymn “Come Thou Almighty King” while Isaiah plays piano. Both children appear wide-eyed with excitement.
“Nelba and Jimmy ask this of us — share this (video) far and wide. Let the world know the victims, not the shooter,” Alys-Lynne West told the vigil.
Isaiah was also at the elementary school when the shooting erupted last week, but was not injured.
He is hoping some of his former school friends in Winnipeg might fly to Connecticut to attend his sister’s funeral. Alys-Lynne West received some good news on that front shortly after doing a television interview Monday.
“I received a phone call from a woman in Ontario who had seen the interview and wants to help by donating her air points for these children,” she said.
A second vigil in Winnipeg is planned for Tuesday night at the University of Manitoba.
By Jessica Allen - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
And another hacker has hijacked the Twitter account of the WBC’s spokesperson
After the independent American Westboro Baptist Church tweeted that they would be picketing the funerals of the 20 children who were murdered on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Internet hacking collective Anonymous reposted the church members personal and professional information, reports The Inquisitr.
Members of the church began tweeting less that 48 hours after the Newtown shooting that they would picket the funerals: ”Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgement,” tweeted one member. The WBO is known for picketing the funerals of gay soldiers, victims of gay hate crimes and for targeting Jewish institutions. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Connecticut since 2008. Continue…
By Martin Patriquin - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
Martin Patriquin on the dizzying euphoria of shooting guns and the bloody-mindedness of the NRA
I like shooting guns.
I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, watching and waiting as my grandfather tossed glass jugs upstream into the St. Francis River near Lennoxville. I’d shoot and I’d miss. No matter: I felt the rifle flinch against my shoulder, hear the clap of the .22 bullet exploding out of the barrel, the smell of gunpowder in my nostrils all at once. The day I actually hit one of those jugs, watching something smash from afar and knowing I did it, was pure bliss.
Twenty-five years later, Las Vegas. I was at an off-strip shooting range, an AR-15—the same gun used in the Newtown massacre—against the same shoulder. Bigger gun, bigger high: it was a boom, not a clap, and the spent shells peeling out of the chamber were about the size of my ring finger. The bullets I fired ripped through a paper Osama target at the other end of the gun range. In Las Vegas, a city that lives on the promise of narco-pleasure, this was as close to a sure thing as you can get: for a nominal fee, put very real bullets into a fake Osama, over and over, as fast as your trigger finger could manage. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8:57 PM - 0 Comments
President vows to use the power of his office to better protect America’s children
Barack Obama says America is not doing enough to protect its children.
“We can’t tolerate this anymore, these tragedies must end,” the president told the grieving community of Newtown on Sunday evening. “To end them, we must change.”
The U.S. President promised to use the power of his office to do whatever he can do to change policy. “What choice do we have?” he asked. “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say we are powerless in the face of such carnage — that the politics are too hard?
Obama travelled to Newtown late Sunday afternoon where he met with families who lost sons, daughters, spouses and parents in a mass shooting on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
At the end of his remarks, Obama read the names of the dead: Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison.
“For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory,” Obama said.
By macleans.ca - Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
‘Our goal is to answer every single question,’ police say
Adam Lanza has been identified as the gunman responsible for the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday.
In a briefing on Sunday afternoon, Connecticut police said Lanza still had hundreds of rounds with him when he killed himself as responders approached.
The governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, told an ABC morning show that Lanza committed suicide as authorities closed in. ”We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life,” Malloy said.
Connecticut police cautioned that it will take weeks to complete the investigation.
“I am confident we will put every single resource into this investigation,” Lt. Paul Vance told reporters. “Our goal is to answer every single question.”
Vance used one of his Sunday briefings to warn against erroneous details about the case circulating on social media networks.
“Misinformation is being posted on social media sites,” he said. “Prosecution will take place when people who are perpetrating this information are identified.”
By macleans.ca - Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 9:39 PM - 0 Comments
Newtown massacre revives debate about the right to arms
Here is some of what is being said in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday:
“In the harrowing aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut, one thought wells in my mind: Why can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars? The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.”
“That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch.”
By macleans.ca - Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM - 0 Comments
Examiner says victims were shot multiple times at close range
The father of a Grade 1 student killed in Friday’s elementary school massacre is urging America to resist the impulse to define itself by the tragedy. Robbie Parker, father of six-year-old Emilie, says the mass shooting must inspire Americans to act with more compassion and humility.
“Let us please keep the sentiments of love that we feel for our families and the compassion that we feel for others — even complete strangers,” he said, “not just in times of sorrow and tragedy.”
Parker remembered his daughter’s own compassion and her creative spark.
“My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support to all those victims because that’s the type of person that she is,” Parker told reporters as he worked to contain his sorrow. “Not because of any parenting that my wife and I could have done, but because those were the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father.”
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press - Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 8:09 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – “Our hearts go out to the victims … and their families. Today…
OTTAWA – “Our hearts go out to the victims … and their families. Today is a time for mourning and not politics.”
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews posted the sentiment on a social media network Friday afternoon as Canadians recoiled in horror at the news of another American school shooting, this time in Newtown, Connecticut.
Late Friday it emerged that one of the shooting victims had a Canadian connection.
Although U.S. officials had not yet released any names, the principal of Linden Christian School in Winnipeg identified one of the dead as six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, a former student.
She was the daughter of jazz musician Jimmy Greene, who had taught music for three years at the University of Manitoba. Greene had moved his wife and two children back to his home state of Connecticut a few months ago.
By Jaime Weinman - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 8:48 PM - 0 Comments
Has America reached a turning point?
The mass murder at a Connecticut school has produced a stunned, numbed reaction: no one really knows what to say or do, and the widespread feeling might be summed up by an uncharacteristically serious article from The Onion, that ended “screw it, there’s nothing else to say.” Few people could talk about anything else, and no one knew what to say about the horror other than that it was a horror, so this is not an event where you can – or, maybe, even should – put together a highlights reel of comments. A few people embarrassed themselves instantly, like Mike Huckabee, who trotted out the familiar line that school shootings happen because we have “systematically remove[d] God” from the schools. But mostly it was a day of complete dull shock.
There were however, two issues that became prevalent in the arguments that developed after the horror took place. One issue was whether the media erred in its coverage of the story, and particularly in talking to the children who were on the scene. James Poniewozik of Time magazine wrote an article arguing that while it is within the duties of reporters to report on a tragedy, they should avoid interviewing children at the scene: “It’s difficult enough after a tragedy like this to answer how we can protect kids from violence in a safe place. We at least know how we can protect them from being exploited in the moments afterward. Turn the cameras away.”
The other issue is when it’s the right time to politicize the topic, and when is “too soon.” Obviously, guns are a political issue – in America, a constitutional issue – and people on different sides of the political spectrum have different ideas about what should be done. People who support gun control naturally point out that they believe this could have been avoided if America had more stringent gun laws. And gun supporters argue the opposite, that those laws wouldn’t stop this kind of rampage and that a gun can only be stopped by another gun. But when is the right time to start arguing about this? A lot of people argue that to make this type of pronouncement right after a tragedy is to show disrespect for the victims. Or as President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney put it, there will be “a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day.”
Gun control supporters see this as a deliberate dodge, an attempt to put off actually doing something about the culture of gun violence. Apostate conservative David Frum wrote that “every day is the day to talk about gun control after his sarcastic Twitter reaction (“Obviously, we need to lower the age limit for concealed carry so toddlers can defend themselves”) was picked up by a pro-gun site and received many disapproving responses. Slate’s Allison Benedikt angrily asked “could you just let us all know: When would be a better day?” From this point of view, the right time to talk about it is right after a tragedy when everyone’s attention is focused on the issue. In a few days, the world’s attention will wander and it’ll be too late.
The likelihood that this is exactly what is going to happen – a few days will go by, there will be some words about guns and mental health facilities but not much action – may account for some of the numbness of the reaction. Other countries have had mass shootings, but they are often followed by legislative action, like the Dunblane massacre led to major gun-control legislation in Britain. In the U.S., that’s hardly even worth discussing; whether one is for or against such laws, they’re simply not going to happen. For one thing, the U.S. has gun rights in its Constitution, and the courts in recent years have been interpreting those rights quite broadly (which means that the familiar liberal argument about the Second Amendment – that it’s a narrow right applying only to militias – has very little legal force now). For another thing, the NRA sees most gun regulations as a slippery slope to an outright ban, and lobbies effectively against them. And finally, there is simply no national party interest in gun control.
The Democrats used to be the party of gun control, but they more or less gave it up in the ’90s when they decided that the perception of being soft on crime was hurting them. The only politicians who loudly support gun control are at the municipal level, like Mike Bloomberg. So the whole question of how to proceed is almost irrelevant. The influential liberal blogger Duncan Black struck a fairly typical note of despair: “I really don’t know what can be done given our current understanding of the constitution. There are a lot of guns out there, they’re easy to obtain, and I’m not really sure what could change that.” To the extent that anyone can think of any policy prescriptions, there might be a shift from gun control to stuff that could be at least somewhat bipartisan, like trying to improve mental health care. But the potential solutions seem small and slow compared to the magnitude of the tragedy. That may be why the reaction is so depressed. Whether you’re pro-gun or anti-gun, it seems almost like there’s nothing to be done.
However, there is the possibility that this could become a turning point – not in gun control, but in bringing back gun control as an issue. As Benedikt’s article suggests, one thing liberals can do is pressure their party, which for better or for worse is the Democrats, to actually stand up for gun control again. It may not be likely, but it is not impossible. The crude political risks of supporting gun control are not quite what they were in the ’80s: crime is way down now, which has reduced the bite of the “soft on crime” accusation. And the Democrats have become mostly the party of city dwellers, meaning that their supporters are disproportionately people who are more worried about someone else having a gun than about having their own guns taken away. Again, it’s not likely that anything will change; Carney’s attempt to declare the gun-control issue out of bounds for a day indicates that it’s not something they want to talk about. But this could be the start of a more organized campaign to pressure and shame Democrats into making this a priority again. That at least could work. There’s a sense that trying to pass gun control laws probably won’t work, and even if it did, they might not even help at this point. Getting Obama to support gun control at least would be something that could theoretically happen. And at times like this, doing anything, even something symbolic, may be more satisfying for many people than simply sitting in mute horror.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM - 0 Comments
Twenty-seven people shot to death–20 of them children–at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, which means that Americans can count on one thing in the aftermath of this tragedy and it probably isn’t stricter gun laws, or in the very least, greater access to mental health care. It’s statements like these…
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert on this summer’s Aurora, Colorado shooting:
“Well it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theatre, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”
Apparently “more quickly” is the best America can hope for, nevermind altogether–which is what zero guns would accomplish. Pro-gun control blogger Baldr Odinson does an excellent job disputing the NRA’s popular vigilante argument (a survivor of a shooting himself, he knows a little more about this than, say, Ted Nugent does.)
So far, Republicans (even Nugent) have refrained from “politicizing” the Newtown tragedy, but history–very recent history–tells us that it’s only a matter of time before they do, before the if-the-victims-had-guns-they-wouldn’t-be-victims argument rears its ugly, stupid head. And that’s a good thing, because then, perhaps, president Obama will be forced to respond with more than just platitudes.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM - 0 Comments
“Earlier today, a tragedy of unspeakable terms played itself out,” says Gov. Malloyof Photos
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM - 0 Comments
Update: President Obama visibly wiped away tears as he gave a statement on the school shooting at the Connecticut school. He pledged to take “meaningful action regardless of our politics” in response. He did not specify whether that meant an attempt to renew the federal ban on assault weapons, which was passed by Congress signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 and expired ten years later.
Update 2:Obama talked about the “beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old” who “had their entire lives ahead of them,” and said,
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
His spokesman, Jay Carney, said earlier today that he wouldn’t be talking about gun control. “Today is not the day to … engage in the usual Washington policy debates,” Carney said. “I think that day will come, but today’s not that day, especially as we are awaiting more information about the situation.”
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM - 0 Comments
News-Times journalist Libor Jany on the horrifying scene in Newtown
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM - 0 Comments
‘Our hearts are broken today’
Twenty-seven people are dead — 20 children, six adults and a gunman — after a mass shooting at a Connecticut school.
CNN reports that the shooting started around 9:35 a.m. and a parent reported that there were about 600 children in the Kindergarten to Grade 4 school at the time of the shooting.
- Newton gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School
- Jaime Weinman: Left unsaid on a day of dull shock
- Emma Teitel: Gun control at last?
- Photos: The latest from outside Sandy Hook Elementary School
- Reporter tweets from scene of Connecticut shooting
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters that both staff and students were among the dead. The principal and a guidance counselor were killed during the attack, a witness told CNN. Continue…