Distraction by Insanity

Is it okay to sit around helplessly and pretend that we can't doing anything about assault weapons and rapid fire magazines?

Distraction by Insanity

Of six top factors contributing to gun violence in this country, FIVE of these factors are regarded by many politicians as demanding of expensive handouts, not worthy of serious investment or government consideration.







But the sixth has assumed enormous importance as a highly successful distraction.  It is more and more apparent that the issue of regulation of weapons of mass destruction will be yet another division in what amounts to the political abyss separating the rational from the political in America.

The culture of violence that is drowning us is exemplified by men in the congress who have refused more than once to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the huge increase in gun sales since the Sandy Hook massacre, the pathetic demand to arm teachers against interlopers, and serious men all over the country that are issuing fierce pronouncements about "any moves to take their constitutional right to self protection away".  Liberals (translation: President Obama) are scheming to remove from men that dark hard serious stiff thing that protrudes from the body and lets the whole world know that here is a REAL man.  You can construct your own translation of that last part.

Forget that serious and law-abiding sportsmen with gun and dog managed just fine when we did have a ban on assault weapons.  Forget the testimony from the wounded, from survivors and those that grieve. Forget the honest efforts by panels commissioned to include the NRA.  Forget the legalisms, and the false statistics about the uselessness of gun control: "Crime up.  Invasions up." (Somehow there's no mention that murder and suicide by gun IS dramatically lower in countries with fewer guns). “Enforce the law we already have".  "Control the assault weapons and soon the criminals will all have them and the honest householder will be helpless".  

Forget the tiny 6 year olds with their bodies blown to pieces by rapid fire.

We should remember instead all the sexy cowboys and monster-whacking games, the “patriotism” of the NRA, the muzzle-loader sentence in the Constitution and the culture that cannot seem to either negotiate or change for the better.  That's the final answer?   Are we all crazy?

Ann Melby Shenkle


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Neamand January 14, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Ann I agree that this current national discussion is a distraction. Violence is violence and is a societal issue. When life is so cheap that kids are illegally obtaining a weapon and murdering another kid for a pare of sneakers, then the issue isn't how the murder was committed, but why. We are far to focused on the how and not the why. As to your statement regarding manhood and the need to prove it, I would introduce a simple fact, the fastest growing demographic within the NRA (and gun ownership in general) are women. Women are also outspoken regarding the loss of gun ownership www.youtube.com/watch?v=odSxU3evHsU As to the paranoia about loss of rights that is a fact. There have been several studies done over the last 4 years that demonstrate the rapid loss of our rights (freedoms) within the last 12 years. Don't believe me :http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com/2012/06/timeline-of-loss-of-constitutional.html There is then a certain paranoia about the government. Is it justified? only time will prove that right or wrong, but it is an absolute fact that our rights have been infringed upon and up to now there has not been a large outcry. Perhaps this is the first of many.
Allen McQuarrie January 14, 2013 at 10:58 PM
When education, mental health, addiction treatment and recovery human services budgets are cut to the bone, that is no time to have unregulated loopholes encouraging the sale and widespread distribution of military weapons. Allen McQuarrie
George January 15, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Ms. Shenkle: You seem to frequently confuse what the law is and what you think it ought to be. There is a difference madam. The "muzzle-loader sentence in the Constitution" that you dismiss is an individual Constitutional Right granted to the people of the United States. Why do you make vain attempts to diminish it's value? Your arguments are based purely on emotion without any historical or legal support for your position. If you wish to surrender any of your individual rights as a U.S. citizen, there are at least two alternatives available to you. First, you could work toward the repeal of the Second Amendment through the Amendment process provided by the Framers. Secondly, you may seek refuge in one of the more enlightened countries with fewer guns. Before you decide, I hope that you will read the history of our founding and every word of the Constitution. Your protected political speech could offer a meaningful contribution to the national discussion especially if you avoid historical fiction, distorting the rule of law, and any attempts to legislate from your computer keyboard. George
Madeline Rawley January 15, 2013 at 03:44 AM
In reply to your question at the end, Ann, Are we crazy? If this slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut does not produce laws that will help to prevent more of these slaughters, then, the answer is "Yes" There has been a lot of fog created by all the hot air spewn out on this issue. The ottom line questions are: Why can't the Congress pass a law that would not permit weapons of war, assault guns with high capacity magazines to be owned by our citizens? There is no need for anyone to have such a weapon. Why can't the Congress pass a law that would require background checks in an attempt to keep any gun out of the hands of a mentally disturbed person or a criminal? The government does not permit anyone to drive a car. There is a licensing procedure designed to attempt to ensure that cars are driven by people who know how to drive. That's a check on keeping our roads safe. Why doesn't the government take similar steps in regard to assault weapons and background checks? Everyone needs to contact their legislators and ask them these questions.
George January 15, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Ms. Rawley, The State of CT has the firearm restrictions that you are advocating for Congress to adopt. The killer was in violation of CT's laws. My question is whether there is a law capable of preventing the murder of innocents.
Linda Ciulik Wisniewski January 15, 2013 at 02:53 PM
My right to own an assault weapon defended at the expense of the lives of innocent children? No thanks. Women, children and young men killed in our streets, homes and schools and nothing is done, because some think they need to be ready to defend themselves against the government someday? No thanks. We are better than this.
Richard Lane January 15, 2013 at 07:58 PM
I have yet to hear a single cogent argument as to why we need assault weapons in our home to protect ourselves, or anywhere else for that matter as individuals. And what ever happened to a "well-regulated militia"? Seems that it went out with the Whiskey Rebellion. Thank God that was put down by George Washington and his troops or the wild west (of Pennsylvania) would have been just that, the wild frontier of the 13 lonely states.
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:32 PM
The leftist emotional drumbeat of "ban guns or regulate them into oblivion" is enticing, under the name of security. But it is illogical, and proven to be ineffective. They often ask what's the "need" for certain types of guns. Who are they to say what a law abiding gun owner may want or need, especially given the abject ignorance of firearms displayed by those screeching loudest for their removal? There are many types of hammers. Would these same folks pontificate to a carpenter that they don't see a need for so many types? Silly, you ask? No, since hammers are used to kill far more people each year than so called assault rifles. So if the uninformed may decide what others "need" based on a desire to see less of an object that's used in crimes, it's not silly at all. And not "made up" statistics, as alleged, unless you think the FBI cooked the crime statistic books.
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:32 PM
I can hear the howls now: "but hammers are necessary". I'll leave the intent of the Second Amendment for another time. Let's choose baseball bats and golf clubs. Both are used to assault people. In the case of baseball bats, far more often than "assault" rifles. If you argue that baseball is a legitimate recreation, but target shooting or hunting are not, you're showcasing your bias, and illogic, and your desire to ban guns because of some inane phobia. If two recreational objects are used for murder, and one is used far more often than another, you should ban the one used more often, if you're rational and believe a ban will work. Picking the one that scares you more, rather than the one that is used to kill more people, is insanity exemplified. We also need to ask: What, EXACTLY is your intent with more laws? The answer is usually to decrease murders and violent crime. Yet EVERY time gun bans go into effect, murders stay the same, but the objects used just differ, school assault rates stay the same, and violent crime increases. The OPPOSITE of the intended effect. As for the comment about murder and suicide by guns being lower, well, the total number of murders and suicides is the same. So it's OK if you're murdered but they didn't use a gun? You go around pounding your chest about the decrease in gun murders but there's the same number of murdered people and you think you've accomplished something other than punishing the innocent? You are a fool.
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Chicago: total gun ban, and murder central. Gun murders. CT: strictest "assault weapons" laws in the nation, and you have Sandy Hook. United Kingdom: ban on most weapons and extremely strict regulation of those left, and you have a violent crime rate around 2000 pre 100,000 people, versus that in the U.S. of 350/100,000. Gun bans and regulation are PROVEN, time and again, to not work. Not made up stats, but hard cold facts, which liberals deny. No surprise, as reality is tough for most libs, and they prefer their fevered imaginations of utopia, if only they could get government to control everyone. So, what law do you think would have prevented Sandy Hook?
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:34 PM
If you're still for banning firearms given the evidence that bans increase violence and decrease safety, and given that "assault rifles" are used for fewer murders each year than hammers, then your attempt to ban is a self serving action to assuage an irrational fear. So let's not sugar coat it in the "good for the children" mantle. You think you have a right to prevent others from having guns, because you're frightened of them. You're a controlling busybody but don't have the guts to admit it. As for the ridiculous statement about "the pathetic demand to arm teachers", what is pathetic about that? Armored car drivers are armed, because their cargo is precious. I think our kids are a damn sight more precious than money. Oh, and if there IS a shooting in the victim disarmament zones that are our schools, who do you call? The police. Why? Because they have guns, that's why. So having the guns there 10 minutes earlier is a pathetic idea?
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Semi-autos are not military assault weapons. They have no 3 round burst nor automatic fire. "Assault weapon" is a term used to leverage your fear. As if the weapon has a mind of it's own and will go out assaulting folks. How about my right to own a car defended at the expense of the lives of innocent children? There are many, many many more children killed and maimed by drunk drivers. The appeal to emotion just doesn't pass the logic test. As for the killings in our streets, the media would love to have you believe there's cherubs being gunned down. The fact is, the majority of child gun victims are teenage gang bangers, who are criminal predators, not innocent passers-by. They're ALREADY engaged in illegal criminal activity, with banned guns. More laws will not have any effect on their behavior nor their statistics. As for defending against the government, well, those who are ignorant of history are condemned to relive it. You don't have to look to Mao, Il, Stalin, Hitler, Castro. Look right in the United States. Did the government unconstitutionally kidnap Americans of Japanese, German and Italian descent during WW2? You bet. Now, you may argue that they didn't kill them. But since they didn't that made it OK? While we're talking history, let's talk about Wounded Knee in 1890. The government disarmed the Lakota, then massacred them.
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 08:50 PM
People who had similar thoughts and beliefs existed before the Revolution. They argued there was no need for arms to defend against the government the government. Here's what Sam Adams had to say about them: "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." --Samuel Adams
Don Talenti January 15, 2013 at 09:05 PM
At the time, "well regulated" meant "well armed and trained". The documents written subsequently by the men who wrote the Second Amendment made it plain that they meant every able bodied man was to have a weapon in their home. It SPECIFICALLY did not refer to an organized army such as a National Guard. As for the term "assault weapon", see my post below. Why is it that you suppose I should have my right to have a weapon in my home limited because you don't want to have one in yours? And why is it that you think my right to own something should be limited because someone else committed a crime with that object? While we're at it, why is it that some people seem to think it is morally superior to be a dead or maimed or psychologically traumatized victim, than an empowered and armed citizen who protects their life, their loved ones and their possessions? I would never think to mandate that you have a gun in your house to defend you and yours. What hubris it is, for you to suppose you can tell me what I ought to have, or not have, in my home. As for the need for weapons, ask yourself how much trauma could be inflicted on you or yours by a criminal or lunatic before the police get there, assuming you were able to call. You also realize that the majority of the time, the police prevent no crime - they merely fill out the report and notify the next of kin.
Ann Melby Shenkle January 15, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Looks like Mr. Talenti has published his own blog. He appears to have a lot of facts, but look them up! The murder rate in England is nowhere near what he says. I suggest readers re-read the post in Patch by Rebecca Savastio. She has done all the cogent research, the real stuff, and can help sort out facts from fearful reactions.
Don Talenti January 16, 2013 at 01:16 AM
The rate of murders and suicides are about the same, from the year of the handgun ban in 1997 (long guns were already extremely regulated much prior to that), until 2011. In 2000, England had 1382 intentional firearm injuries. In 2010 it had 1949. Oops! They went up! In 2000, 9% of homicides were by firearm. In 2010, 9% of homicides were by firearm. No change. Oh, and the murder rate in England? 606 in 1997. 636 in 2011. Unless you think the English Home Office is lying about the number of murders. Perhaps you should refer them to the Patch post where you directed other readers.
Don Talenti January 16, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Interestingly, in the U.S., in 1992, there were 757 violent crimes per 100,000, and a murder rate of 9.3/100,000. In 2011 those numbers FELL to 386 and 4.7 respectively, despite a widespread increase in gun ownership, and the sunsetting of the ban on "assault weapons". Hmmm, how is it that with the expiring of the ban on assault weapons, and increased gun ownership, crime went down in the U.S., but in England, with it's near complete ban, murders did not change, neither did the percentage of murders committed with firearms, nor was there any change in firearms injuries? What has the ban on guns in England produced? A violent crime rate that is at least 3.5 times HIGHER than that in the United States. Here's some links so you can familiarize yourself with the actual data, and not some liberal fantasy of what the data should be. Perhaps before you exhort readers to look up facts, you should do so yourself. From primary sources, not leftist liberal blogs. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/violent-crime http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/crime/
Richard Lane January 16, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Mr. Talenti assumes alot in this discussion, apparently concluding that everyone who opposes the current state of affairs is opposed to guns. Perhaps I should note here that I am a lifelong voting Republican with conservative views about bearing arms. I grew up with guns, hunting. I am a qualified marksman and competed in rifle competitions. My dad owned a Colt .45 and a .38 and taught us how to use them safely. While in the Navy I was in charge of shore patrol in several unsafe places, including armed patrol for authorized good reason. I've seen what a knife, a broken bottle, and a firearm can do in the hands of a drunk or angry person first hand. I have not a single problem with well regulated concealed or military carry of a firearm when the need is there. I've seen all sides. I have so far not heard a single cogent argument for an assault weapon in a home. I believe in "a well-regulated militia", and the closest we have to that today is the National Guard. I'd have more to say on this but the heavy weaponry at all costs advocates would no doubt add many posts to this, still without necessarily stating any cogent reason anyone needs an assault weapon capability in his own individual possession (without a 'Whiskey Rebellion' need to call up the well-regulated militia of the states of which he or she would only be a part if so qualified and trained).
Don Talenti January 16, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Mr. Lane, please do not put words in my mouth. I made reference only to what was directly stated. I would also point out, especially given your stated experience, that you apparently are unaware that semiautomatic weapons, no matter how scary looking all in black, are not military assault rifles. They do not have automatic fire, nor 3 round bursts. As for the fact that YOU don't see a need, why would you assume that to be a valid criterion to prevent others from owning them? And again, as I stated earlier, read the writings of those who drafted the Second Amendment. They are clear in that the right to arms was for the citizens, exactly so they could fight back against the government. It was not to ensconce that right in a government controlled standing army, such as a National Guard, but with the individual citizen. But the onus is not on me to defend my right. The onus is on you to state WHY you feel I should not have a semi-automatic. Based on fact, not an emotional "I don't think you need that" argument, which is infantile and ludicrous on the face of it. I don't care what YOU think I might "need". Who are you to judge that? Owning the firearm is not a crime, and my owning it impacts you not a whit. So long as I am not infringing on your rights with that firearm, it's none of your business. This idea that you punish the innocent because someone else committed a crime is insanity.
George January 16, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Mr. Lane, the Framers were not granting a Constitutional Right to the National Guard or any government controlled entity. George Mason, a co-author of the Second Amendment, stated: "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." His statement leaves no doubt as to the original intent of the Framers. The Right belongs to the people and is secured by the Second Amendment.
Richard Lane January 16, 2013 at 03:36 AM
Well, enough. This is not about me or what I would like. Nor is it about what I think you might need or what you might like. Its about what the Second Amendment means, within the context of us citizens. There is the Second Amendment and why it was drafted, word for word in a concrete context. Nor can one amendment stand alone from the other nine ratified along with it in 1791. We all know about King George, quartering of foreign troops, etc, this historical context. Whiskey Rebellion, 1794, also in context. George Washington was obviously not against the right to bear arms. He called up the militia, not the national guard or the standing army (neither existed). 16,000 plus of everyday citizens took their muskets and marched to the west to put down the armed insurrection. They did, No contradiction with the Second Amendment. Call an assault capable weapon just another "arm" if you like. In one sense it is. But so is a hand held bazooka. Where in the world does the design capability fit the home? And there is that pesky clause, a well-regulated militia. You don't know what I own and I could care less what you own. Whether it is a cogent argument to go on though about the assumed 'right' of 300 million plus individual American citizens to own an assault capable weapon to oppose the government if they just wish, would be, as someone might say, "insanity". We all know where that ends. Period. I'll take whiskey.
Don Talenti January 16, 2013 at 03:48 AM
As I've said, look at what those who penned that Amendment said in their subsequent letters, articles, and treatises. I think, sir, the reason you don't hear a cogent argument, is because you are determined not to listen. Have your whiskey. I'll take liberty sober. :)
David Neamand January 21, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I read her blog and attached a post therein, her figures are incorrect


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