Astonishment at the recent massacre is misplaced: it was foreseeable, and preventable.
It is easier to obtain lethal weaponry in our society now than any any previous time in history. Massacres like that at Newtown and elsewhere are the result. We don’t have more homicidal maniacs now than in the past, but we have magnified their power by granting them access to advanced military technology. State of the art flintlock muskets in 1789, when the constitution was written, shot a maximum of four rounds per minute and required the full attention of the operator during that period. Bushmaster’s AR-15, the weapon used to kill 20 six-year olds and their teachers, can shoot 45 rounds per minute: as fast as one can pull the trigger (Bushmaster, for reference, is owned by Cerebrus Capital, 875 Third Avenue in New York, give them a call at 212.891.1558 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are so inclined: here is the executive team).
It is also no mystery who commits atrocities like this: all of the massacres from Tuscon to Connecticut were committed by the same person — a man with a gun.
Conclusion: our children, our leaders, even you yourself, darling reader, are at risk — random chance is all that protects us or, realistically, ever can protect us given the speed with which this technology can be deployed — until we remove devices like those used Friday, semi-automatic rifles and handguns, and special ammunition, from private ownership.
As long as this technology is in general circulation, there will be more killings like this, as sure as shooting.
For a gripping commentary on the related issue of mental illness see ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America published yesterday in HuffPo.
In England, “on 13 March 1996 Thomas Hamilton walked into the gym at Dunblane primary school and killed 16 young children and their teacher. He also injured 13 other children and three teachers. Hamilton, a former scout master, then shot himself,” the BBC reports. Sound familiar? In November 1997, handguns were banned in the United Kingdom. A fine example.