The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    Yes, it's about Guns, because Treating Guns like Favorite Toys is Killing Us


    After every major gun-inflicted tragedy we're told by the pro-everything-that-shoots bunch that it's too soon to be talking about gun control.  We hear again that guns don't kill people, it's the people misusing the guns who kill people.  We hear that they could just as well be using knives or garrotes or box cutters or poison or 3,000 pound vehicles.

    On Friday we awoke to another unspeakable mass murder, this time involving our precious children, and I have to believe it is, at last, sadly, the turning point we've been waiting for.  We'll be having the conversation we should have kept going before, and this time something will get done.  We will not stop until we get control over our fascination with owning military-type weapons.

    On Friday, December 14, 2012 a 20-year-old man killed his mother, took guns from her collection, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and deliberately shot it up, killing six adults and 20 children, most of them First Graders.

    He took three guns into that school and methodically shot and killed 20 (yes, twenty) small children. He used weapons more suited to combat than to hunting or self-defense and he was able to do that because in the United States of America private citizens are allowed--even encouraged--to own combat weapons.

    These are the types of guns he used:

    Photo:  New York Daily News

    It's a solid fact that the United States--either through outright permission or through cowardice in the face of bullying opposition--has declared guns to be free agents, not subject to any but the most basic, toothless laws regarding safety or security or limitations.

    How could that be?  It could be because so many people, including politicians who are supposed to be up on those things, want to believe that one single clause in our constitution--the grievously misunderstood Second Amendment--says so.
    This one:

    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.

    There is nothing in the Second Amendment about an individual's right to keep guns.  Not unless that individual becomes a well-regulated state Militia of One.

    There is nothing in the constitution that gives copyright rights to the National Rifle Association (NRA), allowing them to drop important words that tend to get in the way of their mad, skewed interpretation.  ("A well-regulated Militia" sticks in their craw,  undermining their entire premise, so it's out).

    Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

    We want to believe our constitution is not for sale, but, in fact, the NRA has found a way to own an entire amendment.  It's now impossible to think of the Second Amendment without making a connection to the National Rifle Association.  They use it to convince the gullible that the government is coming to take their guns and the only way to stop them is to invoke their "constitutionally guaranteed citizens' right to bear arms."

    They've co-opted and corrupted a constitutional amendment and turned it against the very government that instituted it and implements it. (The original meaning, that is--having to do with giving the states the right to organize a militia--or, as we've come to know it, the National Guard).

    The fact is, even if the Second Amendment were abolished, guns would not be banned in this country.  Gun ownership is a long-established right, almost universally accepted and woven so tightly into our fabric there's no danger of a Great Unraveling.  It won't happen.

    Where we differ--often mightily--is in what kinds of guns should be legal for private citizens to own and how they should be regulated.  Whenever a fresh gun-induced tragedy strikes, the argument starts all over again.  Those on my side pick up the fight for smaller calibers and stricter gun control and the "assault weapons are guns, too" crowd digs in and buys more firepower, just to prove they can.  It's now a multi-billion dollar industry, and the NRA, thanks to the politicians they own (along with--let's not forget--the Second Amendment), will go on daring us to try and do something about it.  They have no fear, and why should they?  They've never lost a battle yet.

    I say let's take that dare.  Right now.  Today.  While the memory of 20 little first graders and the six adults who died trying to protect them is still so raw it's making our hearts bleed.

    In voices as loud as those gunshot booms resonating throughout the halls of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, we can demand the end to the sales of military weapons and the ammunition that goes with them.  We can force the licensing of firearms, demand oversight at gun shows, and find a way to follow the paper trail for every gun owned in this country.

    We don't need to ban all guns in order to get the assault weapons craze under control.  The collectors want those big guns because they want them and they think that's reason enough to make it a right to own them.  It's not.

    The NRA has been pretty silent the last few days.  In fact, they're downright invisible. They took down their Facebook page and they're not answering their Twitter-phone.   If they're regrouping, trying to come up with some good reason why assault weapons shouldn't be banned, I can save them some trouble:  There is no good reason.

    Wanting to own one because its big and bad and exciting is not a good reason.  Wanting to own one because you think the government is going rogue and you might need it to protect yourself and those around you is insanity.

    Tom Toles, the Washington Post

    In case you missed the latest craziness coming out of my state, Michigan, I'm ashamed to report that on the day before the mass shooting in Newtown, our legislature passed a bill allowing guns in classrooms.

    The legislation is the largest rewrite of Michigan’s concealed weapon law since lawmakers made hard-to-obtain permits much easier for adults to receive beginning July 2001. Applications exploded. There were 351,599 permit holders as of Dec. 1, one for every 20 adults.
    Most of the attention on the new bill has focused on provisions allowing hidden handguns in places where they are now forbidden, such as schools, university dorms and classrooms, and sporting stadiums.

    The time for talking is over.  Now we act.  We get it done.



    One of the NRA's loudest arguments for owning a weapon is for self-protection. That argument didn't help Ms. Lanza one bit.

    Maybe that's why the NRA is noticeably quiet.

    If anybody feels it takes a military style weapon for self-defense, we really would be in trouble.  Good thing that's not the case.  So that argument makes no sense.

    For many in Newtown, Connecticut guns were their favorite toys.

    The Mom of the killer had a lot of local company in her fondness for owning and shooting them. Newtown may yet be a hard sell on gun restrictions. And if Newtown is a hard sell....what chance is there for federal action?

    See NYT article on Newtown: A Town at Ease with Firearms.

    From the article: There are long waiting lists for shooting at the three local gun ranges, there are free fire areas near homes in town for those who cannot wait to pop off some rounds at an official range, the town is home to the gun promoting National Shooting Sports Foundation (their newsletter is called 'Pull the Trigger'), the locals shoot at exploding targets filled with Tannerite (a mix of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder) available at gun stores that 'shake houses' when hit by bullets, this year the sheriff was unable to tighten up rules on the free fire zones in the town due to overwhelming opposition from Newtown residents concerned about 'their rights' and his proposals were just rejected in September, someone from the National Shooting Sports Foundation giving the crackpot gun lover response to restrictions saying that swimming was more hazardous than guns.

    That is chilling, NCD.  I hadn't seen that.  Now we'll see how the town reacts to this.  And what, if anything, will change.

    Yes, chilling.  Is it too much to hope for some real soul-searching going on in Newtown among those who just a few months ago were leading the charge against any gun regulation?  Newtown's recent history also means that IF they act soon, they are in a position to lead a stampede on this matter.  That thwarted sheriff could turn into a national spokesperson and leader.  That is the way I have to look at it right now.

    I was googling for some information on early historical facts about mustering.  Many people don't know that right after the Revolutionary War that all able bodied men from the age 18 to 45 years had to muster with their rifles and guns to train as a state militia.  This was usually in early spring before planting depending on the state's climate.  It usually lasted at least 3 days.  Not all of the men actually owned a weapon but had to turn out just the same.  These events were held in several towns across the state so the men could travel to them in a couple of days.  That way the men where not gone to long from their families.

    I found this that explains the history of the 2 nd amendment and the history to bare arms.  It is a good read and covers the court cases up to the present.

    This short read is easy to read and understand. 

    That link is great.  I'm trying to think if I want to add it to this post or save it for another.  Probably the latter.  Well worth the read.  Thanks.

    Just one more comment about the weapons that was used.  A .223 millimeter bullet is designed to bounce around in the body until it hits a bone.  A 9 millimeter bullet is designed to go into the body and explode on the way out.  This ammo is designed to kill with one shot. 

    I have really been upset because I already knew this and have had visions of the carnage.  I feel the members of the congress should have to see pictures of that class room as part of the debate behind close doors.  Let's not sanitize this anymore.

    I bet a lot of the pro gun would change their minds and put these weapons in their proper classifications under the Gun Control Act. The role of government is also to protect the capitalist from themselves.  

    Again, you've come up with a good idea.  Make them look at the carnage and then see how they'll vote from then on.  Your descriptions of what those bullets do is shocking and make Friday's events even more horrifying.  I'm sick of allowing those politicians to be sheltered from the effects of their own decision-making.  They took on the obligation to protect the citizens when they took office.  We've let them get away with too much for too long.  This is the perfect time to call an end to it.

    It was released in the news Saterday that each child had 3 to 7 shots in them. There is no sane reason for hand weapons of war to be in the hands of the general public. I am not against guns and rifles that is used by sportsman. Congress needs to see the damage from all the recent shootings.

    I think I like this idea, too.  

    One way this might be made to happen: if showing the images behind closed doors is blocked in either chamber, all it takes is a small group of courageous members to go to whomever is blocking their showing and say unless the block is removed and the images shown, they will be leaked to the media (if they have not been already) along with the name(s) of those members of Congress responsible for blocking their showing.  

    If the debate is proceeding in good faith and there seems to be forward motion towards meaningful action, such a threat might not need to be made.  Good to have that in the back pocket, though, in case the discussions bog down.

    Already one of our senators, Mark Warner, who has accepted NRA support in the past, is moving on this.



    Ramona - not sure if, even now, I am able to comment coherently on this topic.

    I am finding it interesting that the target of my anger is not so much with the young, mentally ill boy who actually murdered these victims in such a horrendous and senseless act, but rather the gun nuts and their puppet master, the NRA;   as well as the pundits and politicos who care most about $$$$ and personal gain. 

    Of course there is We, The People, who haven’t done near enough to ensure positive and viable gun control legislation/laws are in place to provide much better safeguards for us and ours.  I know I haven’t – but I plan on doing so much more now. 

    What I do know is that we must care about others wellbeing as much as we do our own family, friends and neighbors. 

    I’m hoping that we will be kinder to all; lessons will be learned and we must never forget that indeed, we are only powerless if we choose to not take positive action.

    I refuse to ‘not even try’.  I refuse to allow their vile bully brigade to enable more killing of children or any. 

    Yes, as you stated, ‘The time for talking is over.  Now we act.  We get it done.’

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD, great acronym) is one group that has done a great deal to actually bring about cultural change on the whole subject of drunk and intoxicated driving.  I've seen enormous positive change on that issue in my lifetime. 

    I really think it's going to be mothers, in particular, who are going to be the leaders getting this done.  Mothers Against ______ _______ (fill in the two blanks to create another powerful acronym, or come up with a better one, to serve as a sustaining rallying cry, on this gun issue)? 

    Hmm...first crack at it: MAGEC: Mothers Against Guns Endangering Children

    Or it could be MAGIC:  Mothers Against Guns Injuring Children.  Great idea!

    If some of the Newtown mothers--later, once they have had time to go through enough of the grieving process--plus some of the Columbine mothers plus some of the...

    With all that has happened, such a group might just be too formidable for the lawmakers to say no to.

    I would join in a minute.  Protecting children should be our foremost obligation.  Somehow we as a nation have dropped the ball--if we ever held it.  Children are injured and killed every day and it goes on without rioting in the streets or even a cry for government intervention,

    And here we are, talking it up again, knowing that we're really as powerless today as we were yesterday.  Yes, we need a coalition--a movement for the kids.

    And I don't ever want to hear any more shit about how bad public teachers are for kids.

    According to the medical examiner, all of the children in Newtown were shot with the rifle:

    The problem is that that particular rifle is the most popular rifle in America.

    You therefore cannot do a hell of a lot about getting rid of it unless you are willing to go house to house and pry it out of a lot of Americans' hands, to paraphrase a famous NRA slogan.  I would suggest all advocating for gun control measures of some kind  in wake of read the article in this second link, so that you sound informed on what you want to happen with this kind of rifle rather than sounding like you are someone who doesn't understand guns and rifles and is coming for each and every gun out there. That's simply because I believe doing the latter will turn off the majority eventually, once the initial emotional reactions to this case have waned.

    First, as the article notes, handguns by far kill the most people in our country. Rampage killings by semi-automatic rifle don't. Crimes of passion are greatly aided by handguns. Revenge killings are greatly aided by handguns. Etc.

    Those who want to see results as to saving lives will go the Bloomberg/Guiliani-style route and advocate for restrictions on handguns and on high capacity magazines for them and for semi-automatic rifles and things like "cop killer bullets" .

    I think those who just want to try to get rid of this rifle because it is involved in some rampage killings will fail, because they have a more vivid emotional reaction to rampage killings that does not take into context what can be prevented and what cannot. This one very popular rifle is already out there in mass quantities, and is not causing anywhere near the number of deaths and maimings as handguns, day after day.

    And even if they were successful, they wouldn't save that many lives. Restrictions on large magazines and types of ammo would ameliorate some of the damage in rampage killings, but it wouldn't stop them (see China, they can be done in schools with a knife,)

    But putting a lot more restrictions on handguns and types of ammunition could show a lot more results as to saving lives in killings and maimings of passion And you could do it without getting as many rifle enthusiasts pissed off and supporting the NRA against your aims

    I really think it is a question of which do you want--to lash out over rampage killings and get nowhere, or to have handgun controls that could save a lot of lives? The sad facts are that you cannot stop rampage killings without getting rid of all weapons, just ameliorate the amount of damage they can do. The really driven killers will plot around any restrictions. We would instead have to start locking up a lot more mentally ill people (which again, probably wouldn't have happened in this case of a simple personality disorder with few threats as far as we know so far) and have highly trained armed guards at all public sites.

    Speaking of the latter, an aside. Comes to mind that metal detectors and searches of bags have made many schools and other public places like airports, courthouses, government buildings and skyscrapers a lot safer than they were several decades ago, but lots of civil libertarians don't like them. When you have to go through them, it's hard to bring guns, and it's hard to bring knives, period. Personally, I think this is something people should be talking about now, too. You have to build a truck bomb or crash an airliner into them now to cause mass death at these places, can't be done with guns or knives unless you're an expert sniper aiming at windows. And with the latter example, I'm not just talking about 9/11.

    Finally, is it just me who sees a strong logical disconnect between the goals of gun control  measures and the ability to stop rampage killings? Can't anyone else except gun enthusiasts see through the grief that they are not making sense about prevention?

    P.S. An editing nit: the credit for the picture of the guns should read: New York Daily News. I have been reading their coverage, even though it's tabloid-y (which would make sense because they are a tabloid -doh,) but they also been quite on top of the story at times and researching stuff that others aren't touching. They also have been digging up a lot of gossipy information which  may or may not end up mattering as to figuring out what happened with this kid--such as, Mom getting a quarter of a million dollars a year in alimony?!

    Thanks, aa.  Changed.

    We're going to piss off rifle enthusiasts and the NRA no matter what we do.  Unless we do nothing.  We're pretty good at that.

    I have no problem with pissing them off.  They've been pissing me off for years.

    Ramona,  I think you're not getting my main point, these are out there, people that have them like them, they are not killing kids or anyone else with them, and you are not getting them back easily:

    Gun makers do not release sales figures for specific types of firearms. But Mr. Halbrook, who compiled manufacturing estimates for a lawsuit, said that by a conservative estimate, 3.3 million to 3.5 million AR-15s were made in the United States from 1986 through the first half of this year and were not exported. A similar estimate, for manufacturing from 1986 through 2009, was summarized by a District of Columbia circuit court judge as sufficient evidence that the rifles were in “common use.”

    Enthusiasts praise the AR-15 rifle as lightweight, durable, accurate and, compared with other long guns, gentle in its kick. They describe the rifle as a gadget geek’s dream — the “Barbie doll” of firearms, as one gun dealer described it — because of an array of accessories that allow it to be easily customized.

    You want to save and protect kids killed by gun violence in numbers more than the infinitesimal percentage affected by rampage killings, you have to go after handguns. As far as rampage killings like this one, there is little you can to stop them, all you can do is possibly make body counts lower, and you might do that by making certain kinds of ammo real hard to get. But keeping minds set on rampage killings really doesn't come anywhere near solving the actual gun violence problem in our country. The unlikely dream of getting rid of rampage killings is like a psychological delusion that things would be safer, when in reality if that could happen, things in this country wouldn't be much safer at all.

    What I am seeing in a lot of reaction to this crime seems similar to me to letting what terrorists do affect what we do; the rampage killer wins because everyone is having an illogical fear reaction to what he has done.

    They have yet to bury all 20 of the kids killed in Newtown and we get AA:

    "the infinitesimal percentage affected by rampage killings"

    "all you can do is possibly make body counts lower"

    "What I am seeing in a lot of reaction to this crime seems similar to me to letting what terrorists do affect what we do; the rampage killer wins....."

    Pardon if the 'infinitesimal percentage' happens to be someone's child. And 'body counts'? Cold hearted only begins to describe this comment.

    Why don't you do your own post on how to solve America's gun violence problems. Saving even a dozen or so from being mowed down with military weaponry by the next psychopath would be considered progress by many.

    You don't go hunting with AR 15 and killer bullets. There can be a buy back program. A cash bounty when you turn them in. Make the bounty price high enough and you will get quite a few out of the public. This has been done before. We can change the loop holes at gun shows for a background check. This will help with small hand guns. Mayors of Cities need more options to put in place restrictions that meet their city's needs and will work for that city. This will leave sportsman's with their guns suitable for sports and people will still be able to have hand guns. They just won't be able to buy new millitary grade hand weapons and their large capacity clips, and barrels. This will reduce the deaths but not all of it.

    I get your point, aa.  I know there are probably hundreds of thousands of weapons out there that don't belong in homes, they belong on military posts.  The fact that the owners "want them" isn't a good enough reason for them to have them. 

    I think it is you who is not getting the point.  It takes a tragedy like this to mobilize people who already knew that Glocks and Bushmasters should never have been a part of our gun culture--who sat back and watched, horrified, as the numbers of those weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens grew to such a magnitude there was little chance of ever getting them under control.  Something like this school tragedy had to be the catalyst for action.  It had to happen sooner or later, because gun ownership is out of control in this country and if we go on doing nothing, it'll only get worse.

    We've been hearing for years now about our need to revisit the gun laws (or absence of, thanks to the gun nuts stoked by the NRA), and here we are, still talking, still waiting for somebody responsible to come along and say enough is enough.

    Well, now is the time.  Gun owners aren't necessarily gun nuts, but gun nuts are always gun owners.  We need to address the problems we have with the gun nuts, and we have to stop being polite about it, in case the NRA's feelings get hurt and they try to do something drastic.  Screw them.

    Unless we do nothing. We're pretty good at that.

    Yes, it seems to be our 'modus operandi'. 

    With all the outrage and concern being expressed, it would be interesting to know how many who have taken the time to blog, comment and lament, have written and/or called Congressional members, President Obama and others who actually have the ability to take positive action sooner rather than later; and/or urged friends, family members and others to do the same.

    Even speaking with local government representatives and getting it on community meeting agendas in the hopes to at very least get a letter of support written to WH and Congress about positive and viable changes in our gun control laws would be beneficial.



    (sent earlier today)
    Honorable Senator Warner:
    I am encouraged to hear that you are taking at least a step away from the National Rifle Association in the wake of last week's national disgrace as well as tragedy in Newtown.
    Given your history on this issue, and having worked as a committee staff person for the US Congress earlier in my life, I believe you have the potential to be a particularly effective leader in what I hope will be upcoming efforts by Congress to better regulate gun and ammunition sales in our country.
    There simply is no justifiable reason why a citizen wishing to own a military-style weapon should be able to purchase one.  Buying an AK-47 has nothing to do with hunting. 
    Some of the measures taken in New York City by Mayors Bloomberg and Giuliani have focused on trying to save lives taken with handguns, by limiting types of ammunition that may be purchased ("cop-killing bullets"), for example.  These should be considered for adoption as national measures as well.  Again, purchasing this type of ammunition has nothing whatever to do with hunting.  Barring its sale will save lives.  Restrictions on high-capacity magazines for handguns as well as semi-automatic rifles would also seem to be a prudent measure we can and should take nationally.
    The National Rifle Association must no longer be able to thwart necessary measures to protect the safety of our children and other citizens, who will continue to die needlessly in the absence of action on this matter.
    Thank you for listening.
    Sincerely yours,

    Excellent.  If you have no objection I would like to print this out and use as an example to assist others in composing their own letters.

    Did you also send to your members of Congress and President Obama?  I also urge you to send to your local newspaper.

    Your letter could encourage others to contact and publish.  Just think, it could be the impetus for dozens of others to take proactive and positive action.  cheeky

    Thanks for sharing.

     If you have no objection I would like to print this out and use as an example to assist others in composing their own letters.

    Sure, if you wish, although if I were writing it now I might weave into it suggestions from trkngmom (screwed up the spelling on that, I'm pretty sure), such as on cash-back for returns, and, building on what ocean-kat wrote, note that millions of right-thinking gun owners as well as non gun-owners support these and other kinds of reasonable, safety-enhancing restrictions.  A few of the comments, having to do with particulars on where Senator Warner has been on the gun issue, and my background, are not going to be relevant for other letter-writers.  Please feel free to improve upon what I wrote in these or any other ways of your choosing.  Thanks.

    Congressional offices on the one hand tend to view letters that were obviously individually written by constituents as evidence of somewhat greater commitment on an issue than, say, petition signatures or previously-composed letters written by advocacy groups which require somewhat less time.  Many congressional offices have staff sift through many letters and present to the member, daily, a "representative" sample, of letters the staffer thinks are particularly worth the member's time to read for various reasons, usually short ones.  On the other hand, Congress often is moved, when it is moved, by organized pressure, pressure from mobilized groups of citizens saying and doing smart and sensible things.  Not an either/or but a both/and matter.  Different kinds of "contact your member of Congress" advocacy can be effective, in different ways.  Doing one doesn't in any way preclude doing others as well.

    The Quakers have, I believe, a belief/tradition that says if, as a citizen, you have not made a personal visit to speak with your elected officials at least once a year, you are not fulfilling your obligation in that regard.  Something like that.  A friend of mine, like me not a Quaker, shared that with me.  So he is trying to set up a meeting for the two of us for us to share a concern, probably with a staff person instead of the member.  Gotta try to walk the walk...

    Appreciate this and all your efforts. 

    Gotta say, I agree totally with the concept you note about speaking with your elected officials at least once annually.  Truth is that most seldom, if ever, even acknowledge we do have an obligation to sustain and nurture our democratic processes.  I do believe that the mess and chaos that is our government today is a direct result of the apathy and irresponsibility of We, The People.

    Dreamer, that is an affective, well intended letter and I agree fully with the intent. This comment is in no way meant as a rebuttal to that intent but just to throw out a few points about guns.

    Buying an AK-47 has nothing to do with hunting.

    I agree with that in the case of an AK-47 but while an AK is correctly considered to be an assault weapon, so is the Bushmaster which was used in the recent killing. They are, though, very different weapons. The AK fires a big slow round. It is a fairly crude weapon with sloppy action and lower accuracy than the M16 which is the military Bushmaster. Its sloppy, loose, high clearance mechanics allow the AK to be inexpensively built then dropped in the mud and picked up with reasonable confidence that it will operate just fine. That is one of its military advantages. The M16 has closer tolerances and its bullets have less total energy, part of which must be used to operate the automatic loading of the next round and the cocking of the firing mechanism. A bit of sand might make it quit at a very inopportune time. It is a much better, much more versatile weapon except, when it doesn't work in its real life military environment.
     The Bushmaster fires a much smaller round more accurately and at a much higher velocity. The smaller round is cheaper and the high velocity allows for much flatter trajectory thus smaller corrections when the range of the target changes. It also kicks a lot less. These are all advantages of this "assault weapon" over the AK assault weapon when it is used for hobby target practice or for hunting.
     My point is that just because it was designed as an assault weapon and fits the current definition of one does not mean that the Bushmaster is not a very good choice for many kinds of legitimate hunting.
     The term "assault weapon" is somewhat of a bad-connotation term that in actuality is often used in ways that make it a strawman with no legs to many people who are sane sportsmen or hunters but not likely to ever be maniacal killers of humans.

    Again, purchasing this type of ammunition has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting.  Barring its sale will save lives

    "Cop killing" ammunition is a term for armor piercing ammunition. Such ammunition is made of very strong steel or other compound enabling it to maintain its shape after impacting armor and thus penetrate further. In a light weapon like a Bushmaster the maximum armor that it might penetrate is the body armor that a cop might wear, thus the name "Cop killer". At much range, like with a sniper shot, the armor piercing round would likely have slowed enough that the cop's body armor would stop it. That's good. Across a room a standard round would probably take out the cop even if he had armor. Standard rounds will kill at any range if they hit an unprotected body.
     The other common type round is a slug or a soft tipped bullet or a soft lead hollow point. These are expected and intended to expand on impact and use all their energy within that body, tearing a bigger and bigger hole as it goes part way through. They are actually better killers of an unprotected body than an armor piercing round that might pass through the body leaving a small exit wound rather than one the size of an apple if it exits or a large jagged piece of lead inside if it doesn't.  
     Many serious gun users load their own rounds. This can be for economy or, in the case of a target shooter, to get maximum uniformity so as to make every round perform exactly the same thus giving more consistency. These persons must either save their old casings which can be recycled a few times or buy new ones and use molds to cast soft lead bullets. Other type bullets, full metal jacket is a familiar term, would be beyond the means of most to fabricate and all the separate parts would need be bought. Armor piercing is another step up the ladder of difficulty. These types of bullets possibly could be regulated to some extent, greater over time as the enormous stockpile is deleted.
     So, if ammunition is restricted but not outlawed, the most available kind, a standard lead bullet, the kind not being suggested to be restricted, would be the most deadly in likely close-range rampage killing scenarios, but at least the late-to-arrive first responders would have a better chance if hit.

     Restrictions on high-capacity magazines for handguns as well as semi-automatic rifles would also seem to be a prudent measure we can and should take nationally.

    The Bushmaster's standard clip can be very quickly ejected by sliding the right hand forward hitting a small lever at the point where the clip enters the rifle and then the continued hand motion pushes the clip out and lets it fall to the ground. Another clip is then easily and quickly inserted  and the shooter can start pulling the trigger again. If the replacement clip is easy to access the whole operation should take about two seconds. Large capacity clips must have longer and stronger springs to keep the heavier load of unfired rounds pushed into loading position and are quite a bit more likely to cause the weapon to jam.

     Just sayin'. Nothing is simple.

    Thank you, LULU, for this information, which enhances my highly limited knowledge of guns.  The letter I sent is highly improvable.  I hope you and others will write better ones!

    A threshold problem up until now has been the unwillingness of Congress to do much of anything on this matter.  If Newtown proves to be the tipping point that gets Congress to realize it no longer has an option of doing nothing on regulating guns/ammunition, then the questions you are raising need to get pushed front and center into the debates about just what to do, what will get the best possible results.  Have you considered writing a citizen op-ed making just the points you've made here?  Seriously.  You might be able to find an outlet that would allow you to remain anonymous.

    The White House's talking points are clearly not "it's about guns," they are clearly "this is a complex issue." Carney said that over and over many times in his press conference today Reading between the lines, it sounds to me like they are going to support a return of the earlier assault weapons ban as Obama has supported in the past, and better enforcement of it, but then they are going to in the coming weeks....use the power of his office to engage the American people and lawmakers, law enforcement, mental health experts, educators and others in an effort to try to prevent these kinds of terrible tragedies from happening in the future. Lots of repetition of the mental health theme there, lots of "it's a complex issue." Not that much about guns.

    Well, we need to make sure it's about guns, too.  There is work to be done on a lot of fronts in order to make our national relationship with guns a safer one. we must seize this moment and this chance for a little more safety.

    Saturday night, I was at a (rather somber) party and I had been educating friends about the high-capacity clip issue all night. At the end, someone (for whom I do not care) remarked that if a killer could still kill five children instead of twenty, what difference did it make? I said "it makes a big difference to the thirty parents who still have their kid." Then I walked out before anybody could see me cry.

    We don't need an all-time win here. We just need to push--for specific laws, for better mental health care, for a change in the way people think. We could take our cues from MADD and the tobacco people. It's a long, hard way from gunsanity to gun sanity. We have to expect resistance, be patient and work along many lines. But these children and the president have given us an opportunity to do some lasting good. 

    The bill is already written and is a stronger updated Brady Bill. The Democrats and Senator Feinstein has been working on it for a year. It is the first order of business after the fillerbuster changes. The house will get it also at the same time. We need to keep pressure on the house. There will be bills on other concerns to follow. It is not easy talking to a nuckelhead. I am sure some were with you on your points.

    At the end, someone (for whom I do not care) remarked that if a killer could still kill five children instead of twenty, what difference did it make?

    Yes, well, that's a great example of how people will sometimes say truly idiotic things.  Fatalism, combined with the all-or-nothing mindset which says if we can't entirely solve a problem there's no point in making progress dealing with it, is a powerful barrier to change in a positive direction.  Of course, what is it?, something like 40% of the US public believes we are living in end times.  I don't actually care if a fellow citizen believes that, other than feeling sorry for their kids or grandchildren if they have them.  But if they do believe that, I would just like for them to get out of the way of those of us who are trying to make our times in the here and now just a bit better, whatever they turn out to be a prelude to.   

    I'm glad to see the discussion begun on these terms. It is a complex problem that will need many parts to move us toward a solution. The assault weapon ban or closing the gun show loop hole may be the smallest part of the fixes but its one that the public might galvanize behind to get the ball moving. Limiting the size of a clip to ten rounds would probably have a greater effect in minimizing deaths than banning a particular weapon.

    But it needs to start right at the beginning. At the least one should have to take a test that shows knowledge of gun laws before getting a license to own a gun, like a drivers test. There should be a ten day waiting period when buying a gun, as there is in CA.

    Irresponsible behavior or misuse of a gun should cause one to lose their license to own a gun. Any conviction for a violent crime, like domestic violence, and you lose your gun license. If there is sufficient evidence to get a restraining order on someone that's sufficient evidence that they shouldn't have a gun. Gun ownership should at least require no evidence of irresponsible behavior. We need to change the mindset of a gun as a cool toy to an awesome responsibility. It can be done but it will take time.

    This is just a few ideas for curbing gun violence, there's many more that wouldn't restrict a responsible person's right to bear arms. Its easy to come up with some gun control ideas, that's why people (like me in this post) usually focus on it, but the other side of the coin is mental health. That's as important or perhaps more important than gun control. Its much harder to find articles on how to deal with mental health issues and its effect on violence. Hopefully there will be follow through and some help given to people and families dealing with mental health issues.

    Here's an interesting personal account of the mental health problems but as is so often the case, no suggestions for what can be done to amiliorate the problems.



    Three suggestions to help reduce the incidence of mental health problems (they can never be entirely eliminated):

    1. adopt and stick to a full employment policy, probably pegged at somewhere around 3-4%.  (Maybe Ben Bernanke would say 6.5%?  He's one of the very few elites willing to put a number on it as a benchmark nearer-term goal, to his credit inviting measurement of his own and other officeholders' performance.)  One of the reasons I've been yammering about passing a public jobs bill is that we desperately need to cut into the astronomical unemployment rate among our young people who are just getting out of school.  (Cairo, anyone?)  One of the great ways to help more people in a society feel at sea, directionless, useless, angry, defeated, and, yes, mentally unhealthy, is to tolerate a situation where there aren't enough jobs for people who are entirely capable of handling them or aspiring to hold them.  We're doing a hell of a good job of that. 

    2. devote the resources to expanding high-quality preschool programs.  This will help more kids get off to a better start in their lives. 

    3. expand community schools, which help kids obtain better access to critical social services, including mental health services.  The Coalition for Community Schools is an advocacy group promoting this:

    Each of these things we are entirely capable of doing as a society.  They are a matter of political will, and, I would argue, basic good judgment and common sense about how to build a better future as well as present for ourselves.  Are we going to commit to our future or are we going to allow the finite opportunities to build one pass us by, wringing our hands and bemoaning our increasingly unhappy fate?  


    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- With his wife, Juli, looking on at the postgame news conference and his young children close by, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's final remarks were not about his milestone 900th career victory.

    Instead, he was thinking about two 6-year-old boys who were buried Monday, victims along with 18 other children and six adults in a shooting massacre last week at an elementary school in Connecticut.

    "If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society," Boeheim said Monday night. "If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots -- this is our fault if we don't go out there and do something about this. If we can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have."


    "Jim Boeheim earns 900th win as Syracuse stops rally", nd (last night or today), at:

    this makes almost no sense, yes the world is saddened by tragedy but that's not a reason to stop people from owning a firearm, you also have a few things wrong with your facts about guns. the bushmaster 5.56 NATO "military-style" rifle was never used in the military and has only been used once in the police force WHEN THEY NEEDED AN ACCURATE FIREARM and that was in the '70s. no .223 bullets aren't meant to bounce around till they hit bone, its just a glorified .22 (which is a tiny caliber round) going reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally fast, yes hollow point bullets split up inside of a person body but it's only to disable a person and to stop ricochets. I know people on this chat will give me shit about this but IDRC

    You realize this is a 7 year old thread???

    Of course that's entirely appropriate. Like the Jubilee year or a seven year itch.

    You should see a doctor about that...

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