Yes, hug your kids extra-tight … but then do more

Adrian Walker and Joan Vennochi both said exactly what I’ve been thinking ever since the politicians’ pronouncements on yesterday’s events started pouring in.  Walker:

Many people spoke Friday of praying for Newtown and of holding their children tight. Both of those acts are important. But let’s not leave it at that.

It is time for the majority to take on and win this debate, in the names of all the victims who ought to be alive, in the names of the children who went to school Friday but didn’t go home.

Vennochi:

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook horror, Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, would do what parents across America will do — hug our children, tell them we love them, and remind them how deeply we love each other.

If that’s the best we can do for Sofia Lebinski [a child who survived the shooting] and the children of America, it’s not nearly enough.

President Obama has done some good things for this country, but dealing with gun violence has sadly not been among them.  That has to change, and it has to change now.  What to do?  Well, the latest reports indicate that the shooter killed his mother and then took three semiautomatic guns that belonged to her – purchased legally, as far as we know – to the school.  Bob is right that “crazy people” shouldn’t have access to weapons.  But we should go further, IMHO – more restrictions on mentally ill people buying weapons apparently wouldn’t have had any effect on what happened in Newtown.  Nobody outside of the military and law enforcement needs to be able to buy the guns that were used yesterday.  We need the assault weapons ban back, and there’s a bunch of ammunition that should be banned as well.  That won’t solve all the problems, but it would be a start.

Let your representative in Congress know what you think.  Let Senators Brown and Kerry, and Senator-elect Warren, know.  And tell the President while you’re at it.  They work for you, not for the NRA.

Meanwhile, stories of incredible heroism are emerging from accounts of the horror inside that school.  Both the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and one of its teachers, Vicki Soto, died yesterday in the course of trying to protect the students in their care from harm.  More such stories may well yet emerge.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung

Town officials in Connecticut say the principal who died in the rampage at an elementary school was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him.

Dawn Hochsprung was gunned down in Friday’s massacre in Newtown. Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien says administrators were coming out of a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school and ran toward him.

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12 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Also worth reading is

    this argument between the non-gun nut wing (lapsed BMGer and GOP stalwart Peter Porcupine) and the full-on gun nut wing (GOP state committeeman Brock Cordeiro) of the Massachusetts GOP.

    • Full of ...

      I can think of NO good reason why the now-murdered mother of the shooter should have been allowed to have both the weapons and the ammunition for those weapons. The shooter apparently used his mother’s weapons to kill her, then the victims, then himself.

      Yes, of course there are a host of other issues raised by tragedies like these that need to be addressed.

      The first on the table, though, is to get these abhorrent guns off the streets. The right wing is gung-ho to suspend all kinds of constitutional rights in pursuit of Muslim bogeymen — nothing in the proposed and much-needed gun control legislation begins to approach the travesty of the abuses authorized by the Patriot Act, the former administration, the treatment of Jose Padilla, and a long list of others.

      I’m not saying that two wrongs make a right. I am saying that choosing to take these weapons and their ammunition off the street is much like restricting the “right” to yell “fire” in a crowded theater than anything else, and the group that objects seems perfectly happy with virtually ANYTHING they decide is ok.

      It’s time to put a stop this insanity.

    • The normally substantive Gary writes

      Rather than your modest proposal, I’m rather fond of a strategic approach: given a risk of terrorism in schools, how to defend?

      For example, wouldn’t an emergency exit in each classroom be kinda a good idea rather than rely on the let’s crowd into a corner defense?

      For example, perhaps some concealed carry training for the teachers?

      For example, an armed security director on staff of each school?

      Of course, Republicans are going to be all behind the massive expense of rebuilding the nations schools to these new specifications. They’ll all of a sudden be behind infrastructure spending.

      *

      Gary admits in this comment that he owns two semi-automatic weapons. (Why?) Maybe one owns such things out of some kind of very exciting fantasy, and thus gun discussions with even otherwise reasonable gun nuts veer off away from reality into a parallel world where we rebuild schools and give principals arms training.

      • It should be noted

        ‘crowding in a corner’ saved lives.

        One of the teachers got all her students to hide in the cubbies of their room.

        The shooter came in, asked where they were, she lied, saying they were in the gym, and sacrificed herself to save her students.

        Had they been running out when he arrived, it would have been target practice. In a cubby, protected by a brave and intelligent and poised teacher willing to sacrifice herself to save her students, they lived.

        RyansTake   @   Sat 15 Dec 8:27 PM
  2. Rupert Murdoch thinks it's time to ban assault weapons.

    Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?As in Oz after similar tragedy.

    — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) December 15, 2012

    That’s his tweet. Really.

  3. The whole enchilada

    It is time to repeal the second amendment and install gun laws as they have done in Australia. We constantly nibble around the edges of a problem and do not cut off the head of the hydra. No second amendment would do 2 things. It would make carrying handguns and repeating weapons illegal and secondly send a clear signal that there is an attitudinal change in the American public. It is the latter rugged individualistic fortress mentality that has long ago lost its appropriateness in a modern society. While we spend the years repealing this horrid albatross around our necks we should adopt gun control laws as they have done in Australia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Arthur_massacre_(Australia)

    • Anachronism

      A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      The term “well-regulated Militia” had a rather specific meaning in the late 18th century. It’s not clear to me whether this implies an individual or a communal right to arms. And finally, the definition of arms has expanded a great deal since then. (Oh dear! There’s no more anthrax available. Could I please have a small nuclear device instead?)

      A more rational polity would repeal this amendment and replace it with something more appropriate to the 21st century.

  4. One quibble

    Repealing the 2nd Amendment would not per se make carrying such weapons illegal. It would simply remove the constitutional prohibition on Congress and the states from doing so, but they would still have to enact actual legislation in that regard. What it would also do is force the pro-gun forces to quit hiding behind the Constitution and debate their reasons for gun availability on the merits.

  5. Not letting a tragedy go to waste.

    Why do we want to treat the symptoms? It doesn’t take much of a thought process for a potential murderer to come up with instruments of mayhem other than guns. Would we really be safer with more stringent gun control? Australians haven’t. What of Mexico’s gun control? (Isn’t that run by US government agencies through “Fast & Furious”?)

    Are we a safer people under the Patriot Act passed by our politicians in the panic days after 9/11? Do you feel safe under NDAA? In the Connecticut tragedy a man reportedly on psychotropic drugs took guns he was not authorized to have and committed a terrible crime. A crime of the insane. One we see often. Without access to guns would he be able to find another tool for mayhem? Would you? Would pursuing the problem of mental instability through the use of powerful drugs be wiser than allowing criminals, that don’t obey laws (hint: that’s why they’re criminals), to be armed over law abiding citizens?

    I don’t have firearms myself. I don’t want to nuisance of maintenance. I get safety from the neighbors that do have guns. A long list of gun owners is an area seems to keep the break-in numbers low. (Don’t think the police records of gun registrations don’t get around.)

    So we watch the tragedy become a media event. The same politicians that could care less about children snuffed out in foreign land by drone strikes in illegal wars can weep their crocodile tears before camera and spout how important life is and how gun laws will save the nation. When will we learn to stop chasing the monsters on Maple Street?

    • police records of gun registrations

      funny about gun registrations – in the 1970′s my parents house was broken into almost every other month – for 6 months – both my parents worked and I was in middle school. My parents applied for and got gun permits – they never got guns – never had another break in – after they got their permits.

      • Publc agencies are, well, public.

        How much “confidential” information is available in a public office to people that really don’t need the information? Clerical staff, janitorial services, friends and family of staff, and people that can use the information for their own gain? Anyone still notify police as to when they’re on vacation?

        Not just police. Courts are famous for having staff notify mob operatives on planned raids, etc. How many of us really think our tax information is secure? Under the expansion of militarized police powers I doubt if the problem will shrink.

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