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Newtown CT – A Tragedy

On Friday a young man brutally murdered his mother in her Connecticut home and then inexplicably took firearms from the home he shared with her and proceeded to Sandy Hook Elementary School where she worked, systematically killing another 26 innocents. Among the fallen are 20 children. Very young children. My heart goes out to the survivors and the families of those taken. I cannot imagine the pain they are feeling.

I have kids, including a child almost as young as the victims. The significance of this event isn’t lost on me by any means. However, I am also a responsible gun owner. Seeing as how I am a reasonable guy and a responsible person, I’m not so foolish as to want to blame an inanimate object for this tragedy. Instead, I’ll blame the shooter. I know for some it’s a bold move, holding someone accountable for murder. But many people can’t grasp the horror of what happened so they want to blame something, anything for this tragedy. So, they blame guns. That same day in China, another madman used a knife to cut 22 school children. Sure, they weren’t killed and some hold this up as a testament to the success of total gun bans. But I’m appalled at this line of thinking. People act as if its ok that those children were disfigured. How about this? It’s not ok.

So far, we don’t know much about the Newtown shooter or his motives. There are reports that he suffered from mental illness. And, that’s an easy case to make considering that no sane person would murder 26 of his fellow man in cold blood. But we still don’t know much about his state of mind or what set him to this bloody task. But I’d say that the China slasher was a nutjob as well.

Newtown is a tragedy, but is this a national tragedy? In my eyes, no. But it does highlight some serious issues. First, you can’t legislate away evil or crazy. Second, we have got to have a serious debate about mental illness in this country. Third, “gun free zones” are unsafe ( see issue number one).

Bad people are going to do bad things no matter what the laws are. They are criminals and the law doesn’t mean much to them unless they know that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. If the perpetrator is criminally insane then the ability to reason and consider the consequences of his actions is impaired. How can you legislate that?

One of the things I learned as a force protection officer in the Air Force was that hard targets deter threats. Schools in particular, and others where large groups of people congregate should be hard targets. Responsible, properly accredited citizens should be allowed to carry weapons and armed guards should be provided in areas that feel the need. Bad people, even crazy, bad people should look at a school and say to themselves, “too hard, I’ll fail.”

On Friday, the threat was mentally unstable but even in the recent past the threat has been terrorists who will use any form of violence at their means including items we consider mundane. As a Nation we have enjoyed a relatively safe society and have become complacent. We should all be vigilant to threats, no matter the source and should work together to harden our community’s critical infrastructure against threats. I would say that schools are critical infrastructure as they house our most precious resource; our children.

Unfortunately, the timing of this horrific event couldn’t be worse. Our Nation faces an impending fiscal crisis. This might sound harsh to some of you, but by focusing on the event in Newtown, we take the pressure off of the President and Congress to work out a deal and this is a mistake. They deserve every bit of our attention. Their inaction got us into this mess and further in action will affect us all, in many negative ways. The grieving process for the Newtown tragedy will go on for some time. On the other hand, as a Nation, we are on a train with no engineer or conductors and we are heading at breakneck speed for a cliff. No one is paying attention.

Finally, I’d like to leave everyone with a thought. This has already been politicized before anyone knows what the facts are. Draconian gun laws were enacted in the United Kingdom as well as in Australia after mass casualty shootings. Politicians took advantage of heated public emotionalism fanned by a media bent on “ratings” to pass laws that result in such silliness as the British government incarcerating an SAS hero who had an illegal handgun. Do not let that happen here. Engage your elected representatives. Join and support the NRA.

Firearms aren’t at fault here. In fact, just the opposite holds true. Firearms are one of our only true deterrents and responses to criminal insanity, no matter what form it takes. I ask my fellow countrymen to grieve for the victims but to not act rashly. Don’t treat the symptoms and think that you have cured the disease.

223 Responses to “Newtown CT – A Tragedy”

  1. CJ says:

    Let’s take emotion out of it and do some simple maths.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    Why does the US have 9.2 deaths per 100,000 citizens, versus the UK have 0.25?

    Is there something so dramatically more violent, depraved, or criminal about the US? Rates of violent crime are comparable; rates of addiction are comparable. The two governments in their relative freedoms (freedom of speech, religion; legal elections and transparent and peaceful changes of power) are comparable.

    So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s the easy availability of guns. At what point does this simply become a public health issue, like smoking or alcohol and get the same level of focus on fixing it?

    I’m a rational guy. I understand that there is a constitutional right to bear arms, and I understand why – it’s not self-defense or hunting or sports; it’s to defend against tyranny. But this hasn’t prevented the banning of machine-guns, the banning of body armor, the restriction of sales of certain technologies (i.e. night vision, thermal scanners) to LE and MIL only.

    So why is it such a stretch that high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons shouldn’t be in the hands of civilians when they are so easy to mis-use and / or steal and end up being used in mass-casualty events with such shocking regularity?

    Another analogy – when one failed terrorist attack was attempted using shoe bombs, people all over America started taking off their shoes to be able to fly. When one failed terrorist attack attempted to use liquid explosives, liquids were banned on flights without a whimper from the Personal Liberty crowd. We’ve had 31 mass-casualty shooting events in the US since Columbine and we’ve done NOTHING to change the laws; in fact we’ve made it easier to get the tools that make these killings easier.

    And why is it some people who are so enamored of the 2nd Amendment have no problem proposing the deportation of all those they disagree with (51% of the country at last count) and have no problem ignoring the 1st, 4th, or even the Declaration of Independence (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness)? Or the writing of the founders (The Constitution is not a Suicide Pact)?

    I started reading this blog because it was a good source of information about the tools being used by war fighters, Law Enforcement, hunters and backpackers all over the world, and because of my background in the military and hunting it was interesting to me. It’s sad that apparently a pre-requisite of readership here is that I also must walk lock-step with the view that all people should be armed, all the time, everywhere. Obviously I disagree with this, and it’s sad that apparently the majority of commentators here want nothing more than an echo chamber of the like-minded.

    • james says:

      unforyunately the stats on wiki are way outdated and far from accurate… please work with facts that are current

      • CJ says:

        Maybe provide some if you find mine inaccurate?

      • CJ says:

        Or are you arguing that the facts are wrong, and that the UK has more gun deaths per 100k citizens than the US?

        • Angry Misha says:

          CJ, I’m sure someone has already mentioned it, but here we go:
          1. Irish Republican Army. Last time I checked, Brits weren’t manufacturing Ak-47 & other Warsaw pact weapons nor were semi automatic rifles legal. So, riddle me this; “how’d they get them” (Not to mention the explosives)

          Oh, and here’s a fun fact, The IRA was responsible for killing over EIGHTEEN HUNDRED of YOUR citizens who were LEGALLY UNARMED. In addition to these numbers, they wounded another 20,000. Many of those casualties were children.

          Now, let’s talk about the recent terroris attacks you had. Once again, your “Laws” did t stop them from procuring explosives, transporting them, planting them, detonating them and murdering with them.

          If I hadn’t served with some valiant Brits who would I’m sure bust you in the slats for such rhetoric, I’d be burning the Union Jack.

          • CJ says:

            When the IRA was doing their worst, the gun attacks were largely contained to Northern Ireland; when they attacked England they used bombs because they couldn’t get guns into the country easily. And you’re also adding to the IRA death toll a whole lot of sectarian killings between the IRA and the Loyalists, as well as armed attacks on British forces in the area who were most definitely not disarmed.

            And where did the IRA get their guns? Mostly from the USA, who sent them to support their ‘oppressed brothers’. Same with the explosives. But I’m fairly confident you believe that if more citizens were armed, the Troubles would have magically not happened. Personally, I believe that if the general population was armed, the Troubles would have been a whole lot worse, with tit-for-tat revenge killings happening all the time and a across-the-board escalation of force.

            I do know a fair number of Her Majesty’s Soldiers; those I have spoken with about this are as shocked and appalled by the gun culture in America as I am; I doubt you’d find many supporters there.

            The laws didn’t stop the terrorist from buying the PRECURSORS to the explosives; they made the explosives themselves. And since those precursors are available in any hardware store and require only a rudimentary knowledge of chemistry to assemble into a bomb (think ANFO) it’s a slightly different issue than guns. And I can guarantee you that if the 7-7-2005 terrorists had easy access to guns in the UK, they would have used them, just like they did in Mumbai. They had all been to terrorist training camps.

            And for about the 3rd time now I am an American citizen and former USAF airman; I just live in the UK.

            • SSD says:

              I do know a fair number of Her Majesty’s Soldiers; those I have spoken with about this are as shocked and appalled by the gun culture in America as I am; I doubt you’d find many supporters there.

              Raise a sheep and all he will ever utter is “BAHHHH…”

    • Nic says:

      CJ, I don’t think this is a legitimate argument – it’s rather obvious that there will be more gun-related deaths when the access to guns is easier. The real comparison should be between the total death rates – for instance using this source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

      Think about it… someone who wants to kill another person will do it wether he can use a gun or not – if he has no access to a gun he meight use another weapon such as a knife, crossbow, baseball bat, etc. People have been killing eachother for ages – only the instruments have changed.

      On the other side, I do believe that guns have made killing easier. Perhaps this murderer in Connecticut could have been overpowered by school staff if he had been using another weapon instead of a firearm. Of course, banning firearms doesn’t make it impossible to get one, but it wouldn’t be as easy. However, if someone else in the school had carried one, this situation might have ended differently.

      So it’s a very difficult debate and I don’t have the answer for it.

    • PC says:

      Your stats are skewed. The actual per capita homicide rate in the U.S., according to the chart, is 3.7, which puts us a little lower on the list.

      Also, gun crimes in the UK have risen 89% in the decade since the gun ban has been in place, while the US’s have steadily declined. The U.S. per capita may be higher, but we are heading in the right direction, while the UK is getting worse. Simple math.

      • Ajfortenbacher says:

        PC – Where are you getting your info from? From the data that I’ve read on this issue, you’re not even close to accurate.

      • Cailean says:

        http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime-courts/firearm-incidents-plunge-in-scotland.1354629019

        I’m a Scot, and for those of you who don’t know, we are part of the UK, but have independence in terms of some laws, health and education. It was in Scotland that the Dunblane massacre happened, and in recent years we have seen a huge decrease in the volume of gun crime.
        Say what you like, part of this is just that it is too hard to get a gun, and sentences are incredibly harsh, so most people won’t bother trying to get one.
        What I find interesting is the difference in culture, even in noticeable within the UK itself. Whilst crime is rising in the other regions, here it is falling, when other areas have reasonably frequent riots, it is coming up to the hundredth anniversary since we had any in Scotland (and that was a borderline Communist revolution, where tanks were deployed)/

        From what I can see, it is the culture that creates problems, not the laws. If it is common place to have a gun, someone will use it for the wrong reason. If it is common place to carry machetes, some will also use them for evil. Surely it is now time to look at root causes, and stop putting plasters (band-aids to you Americans) on gaping wounds and wonder why they don’t work.

  2. Pete says:

    As a LEO and former Marine I find the discussion of a persons RIGHTS ironic. Generally i shake my head when people argue either way when any of our constutional rights are concerned. Why argue? They are spelled out in black and white. Freedom of speech? I’m doing it now. Own, carry and shoot responsibly? I do that too. People find the Constitution convenient, when it suits their purpose. It’s funny how a person will argue with a peace officer and then say its their right of free speech. It was only convenient for them at the time because they didn’t want to be told to calm down, be quiet or that they were wrong.

    Gun control? Why not own a gun? I submit to background, urine, DNA and whatever they want me to do so I can legally own a firearm. Why is it a big deal? Because there are many people who are just scared. How do they react? Lets just take the “bad” thing away. I’ve learned, genrally by taking the hard road, trying to remove the source of fear is just cowardly. If you don’t like or agree with guns. Don’t buy them. If your afraid of bad people doing horrible things with them. Go get one and protect whats yours. Face fear head on and attack. If that does not work fall back, and flank em!

    To me the argument of gun control is just fear. Scared, desperate, hurting people trying to make sense of a bad situation. The point already been said…. You can’t stop evil people from doing evil gruesome things. We have no control over that.

    I’m sure that someone will have something to say about my relation to fear cowardice and guns so let me just say this. I’m a father of two amazing boys 2 and 4. If anything ever happened to them or my wife I’d be devastated. But I would never blame an inatimate object like a gun. There’s a scary place in Hell for Lanza I kinda wish that he would have made it out unscathed. Prison is not a nice place for a holes who do bad things to children. But a bullet in the head is the next best thing.

    • Pete says:

      Right on!

      • sandi says:

        I have no desire to own a gun, or no problem with anyone of sound mind owning a gun. The issue is to what extent we go with guns? Are any guns too large or powerful or dangerous. Why is the thought of opening this discussion bring fear to those opposed to gun control? You say if I am afraid go get a gun, I don’t want to sit in fear with a gun waiting for what could be. Just as you don’t want to wait in fear of your rights being taken away. Last night a 19 year old that graduated with my daughter threatened to come to our home with his Many guns(his words) and blow us all away because she posted that she wanted restrictions on guns. So you think I should do what hide her away today or give her a gun to protect her. What happens when someone like this boy who I believe is on steroids flips and comes to my home?

        • J.K. says:

          There are existing laws to teach that kid that making such threats are illegal.

          He could have easily made the same threat with his “Many knives.”

          FYI, a violent criminal can show up at your door unannounced.

    • Mike HUrder says:

      Amen Pete! Wherever it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, criminals and the criminally insane don’t go. They may be criminals and some may actually be insane, but they are not stupid.

      Jumping on the gun-ban bandwagon is just the perfect bully pulpit for the loonie left to go prattling on. If they are ever successful in disarming America, what will they do when they are still getting shot? Blame Bush?

      Be ready Pete. They are coming for us.

  3. xander says:

    Here’s your answer: The Constitution is as relevant today as it was in 1787. This is a Local and at most a State issue. There is no reason for the Fed, who one must admit has trouble managing simple mail service, to create clumsy rules and unwieldy and expensive new government agency manpower. Those who see a national assault wpns ban as the answer are foolishly shortsighted and will achieve little more than the creation of a new black market for arms and more government we can’t pay for. The knee-jerk reaction to run to the Fed to somehow solve this and other issues is a sign of national weakness. Call your Congressmen, talk to your local police and community leaders, not to mention your neighbors, if you really want to get a handle on this. Then again, a lot of the Fedgov supporters these days (funny how much they hated government from 00-08) are mouth-breathers who would rather sit in front of their computers blogging than to talk to their neighbors on a regular basis and get civically engaged at the local level. What was that statement by JFK….”Ask not what your country can do for you…..”

  4. Al says:

    One big difference between the USA and Europe is that the US citizen has the tools and ability to defend their nation. It’s not an issue now but with China on course to become the dominant super power, rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan, middle east and Africa, limited mineral resources and the Western civilization quite possibly now in its desendency. What the situation be like 50 or 100 years from now? Due to the financial crisis, we’re cutting defence budgets, reducing the size of our military. God forbid what if there is another World War, will our governments have the means and willpower as they did before or will we fall like many civilizations in history have done. If America lost its military it would still have the ability to defend itself and fight for every inch of American soil, could Europe do the same?
    That said, we owe it the 20 beautiful children to do something. Not to shift blame but for the NRA, government and other departments to find a solution. Putting security guards in every school is not feasible, who will pay for it when we’re on a fiscal cliff and need more cuts. Some ideas already mention seem to make sense like improved screening and health background checks, license categories with limitations for hunting, sports, home defense and collectors.

  5. Big G says:

    Not one inch! Regulate the drugs, media, and mental health professionals first.

  6. BradKAF308 says:

    You have the right to keep and bare. You have a greater responsibility to safely keep and store! If you aren’t keeping positive control over your guns then you aren’t responsible. Due diligense, it’s on your hip or in a safe. If it’s anywhere else you can’t use it but maybe a bad guy can. That “bad guy” might just be an EDP in your family, or a friend of the family. Gun control is you having active control on your guns. This imediate discussion is not about terrorist, bad government etc. it’s about each gun owner not being part of the problem. People who come to this site are mainly protectors lets keep it that way. Lets be resposible. Over seas we safely disposed of used batteries to deny the bad guys. Lets safely store our guns to deny those who shouldn’t have access. Take the wind out of the anti crowds sails, and contribute to collective safety. Exercise your rights AND resposibilities! They are a matching set.

    • Padawan says:

      This, exactly, is my point of view. Make gun owners legally responsible for their guns. Anyone that would mind being “forced” to follow gun safety rules, including storage, shouldn’t be allowed to own a firearm.

  7. momorris says:

    Keep the guns, but the price is children being massacred every so often.
    Your choice.

    • SSD says:

      I don’t like moral relativism but that’s as stupid as saying

      Keep the cars, but the price is children dying in a crash everyday.
      Your choice.

      • momorris says:

        yeah, fair enough. Its your country (I am from the UK, so an obvious commie).
        Just saying keep the guns, keep expecting kids to get killed.

        • nodakYoter says:

          Is your logic typical in the UK? Or are you special? Don’t be a coward, stand up against evil, fight for your people. If not, then you are simply another sheep, oblivious to the outlaws around you. Go give peace a try, I’ll cover you from here, and you can thank a person like me someday for living to see another.

  8. All you Brits, Scots, Aussies, etc. need to understand – Americans are different; we have gun rights as a part of our constitution – the ONLY right the founding fathers put above the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is the right to freedom of speech – it is the difference being a citizen and a subject

    Here’s another thing – I personally speak for myself and many others in telling you to keep your opinions to yourself on the topic of guns in the USA – we as a country have been bailing out other English speaking countries for a century and a lot of Americans have died to preserve your freedoms as limited as they are