December 15, 2012

Again

Could we maybe take a break from insisting that gun control could not have averted this crisis? Could we maybe stop saying that people who really want to kill people will find a way, no matter what the restrictions? Could we maybe, just maybe, look at the bare facts?

A guy killed 26 people – 20 of them kids. He did it with a gun. Also, fewer guns and fewer bullets mean fewer people have, you know, guns.

Tonight, our nation is mourning the deaths of little children. We’ll go out of our way to demonstrate our compassion for the parents and sadness for the loss and horror that someone stalked the halls of an elementary school – an elementary school – and took out the students and the adults who work with them.

I call bullshit.

Until we’re ready to do something about the fact that people stroll about our society with weapons designed to kill, I don’t want to fucking hear it.

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16 Comments

  • Reply Anjali December 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

    So heartsick.

    I don’t want to hear it, either.

  • Reply Jennifer December 15, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Until we’re ready to do something about the fact that we are a culture that systemically permits adults to abuse, neglect, shame, torment, and fail to meet the needs of children, some of these children will KILL. They will KILL with GUNS, with EXPLOSIVES, with FIRE, with KNIVES, or with their OWN BARE HANDS because they are TRAINED to do so. They are trained to believe that powerful people have the right to obliterate the souls of others; so they get themselves some power and they obliterate the souls of others. Until we own up to the fact that we protect adults’ rights–to own guns AND parent abusively and neglectfully–over children’s needs we are all going to continue to hear it.

  • Reply melanie December 15, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I kinda don’t want to hear about ONLY gun control either, I get so sick of that particular drum being banged as a cure all. In fact come talk to me when we give two shits about our mentally ill, because I will tell you from my point of view, we keep fucking FAILING them. No SANE person goes out with guns and kills babies, can anyone tell me otherwise? There are nearly always warning signs when someone does something this horrific. Do you know what to do if you see/witness those warning signs? Where the hell are all the fundraisers and celebritity faces for mental health care? Why do I feel like the lone voice in this? Where is the outrage against video games that are so realistic they could probably be used as training simulators for our military? Sure I don’t think sane people use video games to train for mass murders either, but are their ANY studies that look at the correlation between that filth and those individuals who do these types of crimes? An FBI profilier was on the news afternoon saying that the vast majority of these offenders are male, 18-25ish, nearly always white, have some mental illness backgrounds, hard time in schools, cant find jobs and feel helpless, like they have no control over their lives. Seems like we could take information like this and start trying to educate everyone about signs and what to go if you suspect someone is a threat. I get really angry when I feel like no one wants to look at the root of the problem, because lets be honest here, its also against the law to take firearms on school property and murder people, and he sure had no problem breaking those.

  • Reply Erin December 15, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Amen.

  • Reply Selena December 15, 2012 at 3:44 am

    I totally agree with the ladies above who are writing about mental illness. Normal sane people don’t kill children.
    I live in Canada and our gun laws are much stricter than the US. Do we have mass shootings here… yes, we’ve had a few. Are they the same frequency as the US? No and hopefully never. Will our laws take guns out of the hands of all the crazies here? Probably not, BUT it will help. There will always be crazy people out there doing bad shit but lets not help them out by making it easier for them find the resources to kill themselves and others.

  • Reply Jennifer December 15, 2012 at 3:46 am

    what she said.

  • Reply Kristina December 15, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Emily, I respect you and frequently agree with you on big-ticket issues. But I have to say that it is just as frustrating to hear that gun control alone would solve the situation. And it’s not even about what the solution is to this kind of problem. It’s about the fact that the bodies aren’t even cold yet and people are using these families’ pain and grief to advocate their political position and/or OPINION about gun control. Because that’s what it is. An OPINION. There is no absolute right and wrong here. I’m not saying the conversation should never happen or that some kind of reform isn’t necessary, but can we give it a day? Maybe two? Maybe until people have had time to bury their children? Maybe we can pour that energy into prayer or good thoughts or hugs for our own kids or however you pay homage to the victims of something as horrific as this? Having lost my brother in a tragedy, albeit not the same kind of thing as what happened today, but still horrific and senseless and sudden, the last thing I would have wanted to hear in the 12 hours after his death is strangers making statements about how his death “proves” their opinion.

  • Reply Jennifer December 15, 2012 at 4:35 am

    I believe there is a difference between using words to process and make meaning of events and using words to prove an opinion or promote an agenda. It is very likely that even those who make the strongest calls for action are typing through tears.

  • Reply Kristina December 15, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Jennifer, I don’t disagree. We’re all processing and I respect that. But still, I know what it’s like to see my loved one’s face and the blood-smeared vehicle in which he died plastered all over the news – and seeing other people making blanket statements or that they know what the solution is and how his death could have been prevented would have made the worst day of my life just that much more terrible. It’s about focusing on what today is about – the incredible pain that these people are in and having respect for their pain and their pain alone.

  • Reply Jennifer December 15, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Kristina, I admire your empathy and respect for the suffering of so many. I am sorry that your empathy and insight come from your own terrible experiences. Nothing about any of this is good. I hope we can do better.

  • Reply emily December 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Oh, good lord, I would never say gun control is a cure-all. Our problems are multi-faceted, including the way we treat children and the fact that we treat mental health as a stigma when we pay attention to it at all. Don’t even get me started on video games and gun toys. But the fact remains that there were 20 empty little beds, not to mention the big ones, last night because of a gun. And so maybe we need to make it harder to get guns, rather than talking about making it harder to come into an elementary school.

    Krista, I respect your opinion and feel very much for your pain. I don’t consider this a political agenda, so it doesn’t seem the wrong time to say it. I think it should have NOTHING to do with politics. If someone I loved died of cancer and at the funeral people said “We need to find a cure” or made a donation to a cancer charity in my loved one’s honor, I would consider it appropriate because it’s about addressing what happened. Gun control has everything to do with those 26 people and nothing to do with politics.

    • Reply Lilian Nattel December 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Agreed. To me mourning without a call to address the problems is indulging in melodrama for those who are not directly affected. The reason I say that is that people die every day, children die every day, lots of them, in very sad circumstances, and nobody pays attention. Nobody can or we’d all stop living. This is other people’s business only because it hit the news, it made headlines, it made videos and it happened in a nice place, a place like yours or mine. But it really didn’t happen to anyone but the families it happened to, and to my way of thinking to make it our business is meaningful only if we can advocate for real and tangible ways to prevent this from happening again. Gun control–yes. Better recognition and treatment for mental illness–also yes. But the first can have an instant impact. The second is longer term, more complex, and is impacted by other systemic problems, like health care availability.

      • Reply melanie December 16, 2012 at 2:40 am

        I was not necessarily responding just to your post, my twitter and FB feed was full of similar statements, it just frustrates me that so many seem so narrowly focused. I believe our CULTURE is what is causing the problem, not the oldish technology that is guns (even semi- and fully automatic ones). I do not disagree that there are enormous errors in our laws regarding guns and I join the choir of voices that would love to see some of those errors corrected. That said, technology in media is so new and I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what the effects of this NEW technology is doing to our brains, let alone developing ones in children and adolescents. I get so angry that celebrities are so lovely to become the faces of (insert nearly any disease here) and fundraise for their cause, but we seem to have no empathy for the disease spectrum that is mental illness. We are forgetting that these boys who commit these crimes DID NOT ASK TO BE ILL. People may say gun control laws could have the quickest impact, but I think there are other avenues that would be quick as well. I do not understand why just because we have the technology to make realistic killing games, that we as a society think its a good idea. When I was a kid I was playing with an atari (handed down from a neighbor) playing astroids, pacman and pong, in 34 years we’ve gone from astroids on green/black screens to grand theft auto and worse! I think we do have the power to make changes but I want us to be smart, I dont want us to focus on just the tool because its not just knives or guns, it could be bombs next and I believe that until we change our bloodthirsty need for violent movies and games, and start caring about the ill they will always find a way to exact terror and revenge.

        • Reply Lilian Nattel December 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

          “I believe our CULTURE is what is causing the problem” – I think that’s very important to talk about, and I believe it goes beyond mental illness. What is it in American culture that leads to so much violent crime, not only in this kind of terrible tragedy, but an annual homicide rate per capita that is multiple times other industrialized western countries?

  • Reply devon December 16, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Earlier this week a man made a similar attack on a school in China. He only had a knife. Those 20 children, though badly injured, are alive. I get the “people will kill with other things if a gun isn’t available” argument. It’s just that “other things” tend to be a good bit less efficient at killing than guns.

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