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devil duck

guns

So as shalmestere points out, the organization that has been warning us for decades about the Soviet-style police state that will ensue if ordinary citizens can't have high-capacity semiautomatic assault rifles in their homes now proposes that the Federal government hire hundreds of thousands of armed security guards, at taxpayer expense, and post one or more at every grade school in the country. Because that doesn't even remotely feel like a Soviet-style police state.
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What really angers me is just how many people seem to think that *all* of us should own guns because "an armed society is a polite society." First, I haven't seen one single scrap of actual evidence that that's even *true,* and second, what about my right NOT to own a lethal weapon? Or go for a walk or to a movie or the grocery store without having to worry about one of these armed but polite people getting mad at his wife and deciding to blow away a few people as a stress reliever?
Disclaimer: I am a life member of the NRA.

However, its policies are not always mine; and yesterday, its spokesperson Wayne LaPierre shot himself in the foot. As Hudebnik points out in the post just atop this, more guns in the school won't work and are, in fact, counterproductive.

I believe that the right to bear arms also implies the responsibility to bear them safely. I live in a state which requires the passing of a safety course in order to become a licensed gun owner. Hunters must take a course in hunting safety before acquiring a hunting license. Home permits generally state "sportsman", not
"carry concealed"; for that, one must have "proof of need". It does NOT give anyone "the right to carry"; it permits him to carry his unloaded firearms only to and from the range - in a locked container with the ammunition kept separate from them.

Do I believe everyone must (or even should) own a gun? No. Some restriction is a very good idea. So is weapons safety training for everyone, even those with no inclination to own a firearm. This education should come early, preferably in high school.

Can we prevent tragedies such as last week's shooting from ever happening again? No. Banning firearms will not work. Folks inclined to kill will use their bare hands if no other weapon is available. Will a firearms ban slow down killings? Possibly. Or not. I could do a lot of damage with a knife, and someone recently sent around a youtube demonstration of rapid-fire accurate archery shooting using Medieval techniques. (Sorry; I didn't save the link.)

One of the things that will help alleviate the problem is to improve our mental health facilities. (And yes, I also recognize that not everyone requiring mental health professionals is a danger to himself or others. It is those who are who are the problem.) And, in fact, the definition of "mentally healthy" comes into question often enough to be problematical in itself. Who gets to define terms? But people who threaten damage to themselves or others require help, whether or not they want it. Is it a violation of their civil rights? That's a question for the ethicists. But catching those who seem to function normally until they strike to kill will probably never happen.

Another way will be to stop glorifying the killer. Seriously - do we really need a full week of coverage of the tragedy, with repeated full details of the killer's last moments, and all sorts of theories as to "why he did it", with little or no evidence, to the virtual exclusion of everything else? He did it: he's dead, and he, at least, won't be doing it again. But please don't publicize him for the next wannabe antihero to emulate or try to outdo.

There are no simple answers, and no 5-second cures. But we can find reasonable answers which answer both our freedoms and our safeguards, provided we are willing to be reasonable about it.
Will a firearms ban slow down killings? Possibly. Or not. I could do a lot of damage with a knife...

I heard on the news that the same day as the Newtown shooting, somebody walked into a gradeschool in Hunan province, China and stabbed 22 students with a kitchen knife. All the students and the attacker survived; the attacker is now on trial.

I haven't been able to document the above. But here is a similar story from 2010, describing four school stabbings involving a total of 90 victims... but only five fatalities.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people... but people with guns can kill a lot more people a lot faster than people without guns.
Oh, and I agree with you that, whatever the underlying merits of the NRA's positions, yesterday's public statement was astonishingly stupid and tone-deaf. As osewalrus points out here, there were lots of better things he could have said without betraying the organization's principles.