Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Insanity reigns

From the Newtown Bee and posted at Foxnews.com
Good God. There's been another school shooting. This time at a small elementary school in Connecticut:
A gunman opened fire Friday inside a Connecticut elementary school, and multiple people -- including the shooter -- are dead, according to officials. 
Reports also said children were shot but it remains unclear whether any were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Authorities said the gunman, who was not identified, is dead. An official with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that the man apparently had two guns.
Earlier reports of a second gunman are unconfirmed. The Connecticut Post reports that police are also questioning a handcuffed man in connection with the shooting. Witnesses told the newspaper he was led out of the woods by officers. 
Shortly after 9:40 a.m., authorities reported that a shooter was in the main office of the school. A person in one room had "numerous gunshot wounds," police told the Hartford Courant. 
A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher was shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital, but it was not clear if that was the only injury.
The Newtown School District has locked down schools as a preventive measure to ensure the safety of students and staff.
This, on the heels of the mass shooting at a shopping mall in Oregon, the Jovan Belcher shooting, the shootings in Minnesota and the many many more. When will it end? When is enough enough? It's time for common sense to reign instead of insanity and terror. Parents should be able to send their kids to school without fear of a gunman shooting students and staff.

We all await more information about the number of dead and injured and also about the gunman. Rumors are beginning about a large number of injured. If we care, we will fervently hope this is not true. More will be added to this post later when more information is available. The public is becoming numb. In America, we have too easy access to guns. There are so many guns owned by so many people that it's inevitable that some of them will get used in heinous, senseless and preventable shootings. For now, we watch and listen. We shake our heads. We say something has to be done. Our elected officials will remain mute. The shootings will go on until maybe the public's boiling point will come to a head and demand for a plan from our leaders will become too loud for them to avoid. We must be better than this. We just can't expect parents to want their children to be in the photo provided by the linked article at the beginning of this post and not want to do something about the carnage. As for me,  I'm traveling to visit my grandchildren to watch some of them in a holiday performance. I will give them all extra hugs and hope that their schools will be safe from the violence that happened today in Newtown, Connecticut.


I have been traveling today to visit my grandchildren and go to a holiday program for the five year old. At the beginning of the program, the director of his school asked for us all to think of our families and hold them dear and to think of their safety in light of the horrific shooting today. By that time, we had all learned that 20, and I repeat, 20, young children were brutally murdered for no reason by a young man with several guns and lots of rounds of ammunition. He had murder on his mind. He was a killer of young children like my grandson. There were not many dry eyes at the program. As I watched the the children perform tonight, I thought of the 24 five year olds on the risers, and then of a shooter walking into the room and shooting their beautiful little bodies. It was almost unimaginable to think of that whole riser of children being shot down at one time.

I can't even begin to add all of the posts and articles that have been written by so many people. Unfortunately, there are a few from the far right who have held to the NRA poisonous talking points. Shame on them. Mike Huckabee is just one. Here is what he said today:
"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"
This line of reasoning isn't new for Huckabee.
Speaking about a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. over the summer, the former GOP presidential candidate claimed that such violent episodes were a function of a nation suffering from the removal of religion from the public sphere.
"We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem," Huckabee said on Fox News. "And since we've ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised ... when all hell breaks loose."
What in the world was he thinking? This is so ludicrous and sick that I can't even comment on it.

Ann Coulter weighed in stupidly today:
Ann Coulter, the acerbic conservative pundit, defended concealed-carry laws hours after a gunman killed 26 people in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The laws, which allow gun owners in some states to carry covered firearms, have been a flashpoint for gun-rights activists who say concealed weapons help responsible citizens defend themselves.
"Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws," Coulter tweeted on Friday morning.
She linked to an op-ed she wrote in 2007 defending the laws after the deadly mass shooting at Virginia Tech, the country's worst school shooting.
The massacre in Connecticut -- one of the states that issues concealed-carry permits -- on Friday has the second highest death toll.
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who allegedly killed his kindergarten-teacher mother and at least 25 others at the school -- including 18 children-- was killed during the rampage. His cause of death is still  unclear.
Gun rights activists, Coulter included, have been quick to deny the need for stricter firearms regulations, most recently after the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Shut up Ann Coulter and Mike Huckabee. Stop talking. Don't tell those of us who are trying to stop these shootings to keep quiet after the every day carnage. Just shut up. Your comments are so insanely wrong and so insanely insensitive that no one even knows what to say about your nonsense and idiocy. This is the NRA philosophy that has brought our country to this point- to this point of a young man mowing down little children in an elementary school less than 2 weeks before the Christmas holiday and during the Chanukah celebrations.

Reasonable people know what to say. As I said, I can't even begin to link to them all. But I found this one to be particularly cogent and sensitive. It is written by conservative David Frum:
A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer, as are half a dozen other factors arising from some of the deepest wellsprings of American culture.
Nor can anybody promise that more rational gun laws would prevent each and every mass murder in this country. Gun killings do occur even in countries that restrict guns with maximum severity.
But we can say that if the United States worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be many, many fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut. 
And I'll say: I'll accept no lectures about "sensitivity" on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.
It's bad enough to have a gun lobby. It's the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them - and about the people who condone them. 
Thank you David Frum. Today is indeed the day to talk about what to do about gun violence. The NRA needs to be quiet and join the rest of the country who are so outraged and so sad about a day like today and do something about the gun violence. I have been near tears all day. Spontaneous vigils are occurring all over the country. I have never seen so many people tweeting and writing on Facebook about this tragedy. President Obama wiped tears from his eyes and tried to begin the healing that will take way too long. As my son said to me tonight, thinking about his own five year old son, "There's a whole classroom of kindergarteners who won't be in first grade next year and won't be in second grade the next year..." How can a school heal? How can a community heal? How can a country heal? Enough is enough. Here are President Obama's words:

We just have to be better than this. Please, President Obama, lead us in a real effort to stem the tide of gun violence. Listen to the voices of the survivors. Listen to the voices of people with common sense. Have the courage to silence the voices of the gun rights extremists who want to silence people who care about the lives of small children in all classrooms all over our country. Yes, Mr. President, our hearts are broken today.


  1. Sick sick sick. Will even THIS be enough to wake up America to the dangers of our lax gun laws?? Mass shootings are increasing at a dangerous rate. Even with Aurora, nothing has changed. Will the death of at least 27 people, including 18 kids 4th grade and under, at an elementary school even be enough to move our leaders to action? If not, how many mass shootings a month does it take?

    When confronted by the horrifying numbers (84 dead each day from homicides, suicides and accidents, and over twice that number injured), the gun guys are quick to give the excuse that this is the price of our "freedoms" and "liberty" and hide behind the Second Amendment. Have them look into the eyes of these 27 grieving families and try to give that sickening justification! Those children, and all victims of gun violence, had a stronger right -- the right to life, the right to freedom from fear, the welfare of our people!

  2. As an Atheist, I naturally reject the idea that tragedies like these are the result of a lack of prayer in schools. I don't see how praying to a mythical being is somehow going to safeguard our children or society as a whole. While I don't think religion is the answer, I do think awareness will go a long way. Consider the previous school shootings; what is the common thread tying these tragedies together? All were males, all had access to firearms as we all do, yes, but in all cases, inadequately treated mental illness was a major factor in their lives.

    Our attitude towards mental health, one forged in shame and mockery, is deplorable. Our culture derides the very notion of a citizen seeking professional help for the demons that possess them. When the few do attain help, its limited; crippled by a lack of available healthcare funds to treat them coupled with an inability to apply meaningful civil committments to the most dangerous cases. This attitude is further exacorbated by an entertainment culture that uses Psychiatric patients as little more than convenient punchlines to jokes or as the deranged villians in violent films and pop-television. Society is so callous to the suffering of the mentally ill that it took nearly 100 years of war for American service personnel to get meaningful help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even now, knowing what we know, these patients, who we owe more than a thank you to, hurdle a mountain of bureaucracy and machismo to get so much as a modicum of treatment.

    I am as sickened by the rush to blame the NRA and gun owners for this as I am the talking heads at Fox and MSNBC shoving microphones in the faces of the Newtown children who will be forever traumatized by what they saw and heard yesterday. When something terrible happens, it seems as if Americans have one set reaction and that is to form electronic lynch mobs on Twitter and Facebook. Make no mistake, if your reaction to this tragedy is to politicize something as immovable as Roe v Wade, if your answer is to play the same old song of more gun control while ignoring the mental health crisis facing this country, these children, these teachers will have died in vain.

    Over the last 12 years, Americans have made themselves perfectly clear: they do not want more gun control. Indeed, concealed carry is the law in every corner of the country and applications for licensure and training is at an all time high. Its time to change the conversation on violence; focus more on the root causes and less on the object. I beg any reader to realize this is a huge and multi-faceted problem, but to go down the same path of political sniping and spin is an exercise in futility.


    1. As you can see, you are the only one to comment on this post. Your comments are ridiculous and reflect the sick views of the gun lobby. Yes, we have a problem with mental health services in America- a terrible problem. But we have a problem with easy access to guns by the same folks who are mentally ill and shouldn't have them. It's the guns. The guns made the difference. He couldn't have bludgeoned the children to death. He couldn't have kicked them to death. He knew the guns would do it. Please don't say any more on this post if that is what you think. I am not accepting excuses any more from those who are in denial over the guns. Your views are irrelevant to the situation. And you are wrong about American views. Americans have made themselves very clear in poll after poll after poll. They want sensible gun laws.Even NRA members want them. Apparently you don't. I couldn't disagree more with the link you posted. It does not reflect the views of most Americans and certainly not of just about anybody with any sensitivity to what has just happened.

  3. Oops this doesn't fit with your anti-gun agenda. I'm betting you don't have the guts to publish it.

    1. No anti gun agenda here. The story is what the man said he did. There is no way to know if he actually did and he didn't fire a shot. Did he do any good? He didn't shoot the guy or stop him. He just took out his gun, according to his story, and stood behind a pillar. I wouldn't be passing this one around as a story about a permit holder who stopped a shooting.

    2. A recent study found one striking pattern in the data: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. [...] And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed”. SOURCE: www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation

      The report goes on to note:

      “Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says [Dr. Stephen] Hargarten [a leading expert on gun violence and emergency medicine], ‘given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.’ A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders.” SOURCE: www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation

      So much for silly fairy stories, GMC70--come back when you have some facts to back up your statements.

    3. Laci,

      I read the article you posted with interest. However there are some things that seem to conflict. For example:
      "Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public."

      Not too long ago on this blog I made the argument that there could be a correlation between the increased number of guns and the steady drop in both violent crime and gun homicides. Japete countered this by providing data which suggested that the percentage of households with guns has dropped over the years. If the increase in the numbers of guns cant be used to explain the steady drop in crime, how can the same numbers be credibly used to explain a rise in mass shootings?

      "And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed."

      Can you tell me why an armed citizen who is wounded or killed trying to stop a mass shooting is considered a failure, yet an unarmed teacher who rightfully and honorably dies shielding children in a mass shooting is considered a hero? They both seem pretty equal to me.

      “Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says [Dr. Stephen] Hargarten [a leading expert on gun violence and emergency medicine], ‘given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.’ A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders.”

      So after the author's two month investigation, they werent able to find a single example of armed civilians missing their target and causing more bloodshed, so they had to use an example of police officers missing and causing more bloodshed. Though we have discussed instances of armed citizens using restraint by not shooting when it was unsafe.

      "released a new Department of Homeland Security-funded video instructing the public on how to react to such events. The six-minute production foremost advises running away or otherwise hiding, and suggests fighting back only as a last resort. It makes no mention of civilians using firearms."

      This was quite germain to me since just this last weekend during my Army Reserve drill, my entire unit was required to watch this video. That's right, soldiers, most having served in a combat zone were required to watch a video encouraging them to only fight back if you cant run away or hide. As with most govenment entities, rules tend to be followed to great lengths. So soldiers and even armed Border Patrol agents are required to watch this video. And I actually follow the logic of the video. That being when a person is unarmed, be it by personal choice or regulations forbiding it, when confronted by the disparity of force, those are your best options.

    4. I'm happy to hear that your reserve unit was required to watch this helpful video. There are so few incidents of armed civilians stopping mass shootings that it's hardly worth the mention. Clearly it doesn't happen. Have there been many instances of armed citizens wounded or killed in mass shootings? If so, who says they aren't heros? Or maybe they are just stupid for trying to do something they didn't need to do and then get themselves shot. The teacher in Connecticut was doing her job as teachers are trained to do. That is how I was trained during lock down drills when I was working at the School District. I was not trained to have a gun. My job was to stay with the children and keep them calm and safe.

    5. But....you said that there was ZERO instances..not "so few."

      C'mon...keep your stories straight.

      Congratulations on doing your job as you were trained. Some teachers wish to be trained so that when the bad guy appears at the door, they can actually defend the children. They don't have to go find him.

    6. I publish this comment only to show my readers how ridiculous are the arguments.