How do you regulate crazy? [Update 2½]

Bird Dog's picture

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.

As part of "well regulated", it has been clear to me for awhile that there are certain people who are not qualified to own or possess firearms. Obviously, Lanza is one of those.

So were Holmes, Loughner, Cho, et al. The question is, how to prevent? Psych tests? References? Jeffrey Goldberg:

(1) This is a gun country. We are saturated with guns. There are as many as 300 million guns in circulation today (the majority owned legally, but many not) and more than 4 million new guns come onto the market each year. To talk about eradicating guns, especially given what the Supreme Court has said about the individual right to gun-ownership, is futile.

(2) There are, however, some gun control laws that could be strengthened. The so-called gun-show loophole (which is not a loophole at all -- 40 percent of all guns sold in America legally are sold without benefit of a federal background check) should be closed. Background checks are no panacea -- many of our country's recent mass-shooters had no previous criminal records, and had not been previously adjudicated mentally ill -- but they would certainly stop some people from buying weapons.

(3) We must find a way to make it more difficult for the non-adjudicated mentally ill to come into possession of weapons. This is crucially important, but very difficult, because it would require the cooperation of the medical community -- of psychiatrists, therapists, school counselors and the like -- and the privacy issues (among other issues) are enormous. But: It has to be made more difficult for sociopaths, psychopaths and the otherwise violently mentally-ill (who, in total, make up a small portion of the mentally ill population) to buy weapons.

(4) People should have the ability to defend themselves. Mass shootings take many lives in part because no one is firing back at the shooters. The shooters in recent massacres have had many minutes to complete their evil work, while their victims cower under desks or in closets. One response to the tragic reality that we are a gun-saturated country is to understand that law-abiding, well-trained, non-criminal, wholly sane citizens who are screened by the government have a role to play in their own self-defense, and in the defense of others (read The Atlantic article to see how one armed school administrator stopped a mass shooting in Pearl Mississippi). I don't know anything more than anyone else about the shooting in Connecticut at the moment, but it seems fairly obvious that there was no one at or near the school who could have tried to fight back.

Here's a picture of the guns Lanza had.

Any one of these is ideal for home defense. Joking aside, I am a little uncomfortable about the assault rifle. However, according to NBC News:

(1) Lanza left the assault rifle in his car, [UPDATE:] What can I say, it's a fluid situation. The NYT reports that Lanza "fired a semiautomatic rifle loaded with ammunition designed for maximum damage." [/UPDATE]

(2) He was denied the purchase of a rifle at a sporting goods store (although this is unclear because I can't tell whether he was actually denied purchase or was just not willing to wait out the three-day cooling off period),

(3) The police recovered four handguns at the school, so somehow Lanza got ahold of two handguns that were not in his household [UPDATE:] Sheesh, the above NYT report contradicts the four-handgun story [/UPDATE]

(4) On Wednesday, he was in sort some of verbal argument with four staffers at the school.

Perhaps some higher level of vetting could be applied to assault rifles and similar classes of weapons (although it wouldn't have made a difference in this case). Perhaps a stiffer penalty for those who don't properly secure their weapons. According to press reports, the two handguns were owned by Lanza's mom, and she paid a dear price for not keeping those guns out of the hands of her son. Perhaps, as Volokh suggests, if a couple of staff at the school had access to firearms, lives would have been saved.

UPDATE 1: Via Floater, Lanza's mom was a gun enthusiast. A dear price paid for such avocation. Apparently, Lanza was in the Newton school system but left.

UPDATE 2: This, to me, is sensible. 

UW law professor Michael Scott has looked at the psychological profiles of the gunman in these mass shootings. He qualifies most as "disturbed" in one way or another, with a number of them seeking vengeance for some perceived alienation from society.

"Predicting future activity and future dangerousness is inherently difficult, but nonetheless, we can identify people who are in some form of mental crisis and try to intervene early on," Scott explained.

That said, Scott believes a number of factors have contributed to a recent spree of mass killings across the country, with five widely publicized shootings in the last six months.

"It's not uncommon to see a spade of these where one follows another one fairly soon after," Scott said.

Scott said part of the solution is paying more attention to mental health and helping these individuals before their actions turn deadly. He also believes it has become easier to acquire powerful combat weapons and large amounts of ammunition, making it more accessible to gunmen like Lanza.

Scott also said security could be improved in public buildings where these mass shootings tend to happen.

"We don't have to live in a fortress society," Scott said. "There are ways in which we can design buildings and develop procedures that don't have to be overly intrusive and don't have to restrict our routine activities, but still give us better protection."

By Scott’s count, there have been about 75 mass shootings in the United States since the University of Texas killings in the 1960s. Scott said 600 to 700 people total were killed in those events.

"It's never any one thing, so if we're trying to protect society, we need to make sure that we have a safety net that addresses all of the, at least the half dozen contributing factors that make it easy for or allow these shootings to happen," Scott said.

A couple of things. One, since Loughner slaughtered six in Tucson, I haven't seen any substantive legislation or policies that would effectively deal with those mentally ill who pose a potential violent threat to public safety. Another, owning and possessing a firearm is a right, no less of a right than practicing your religion, assembling a protest or speaking out on a controversial issue. But there's one difference, "well regulated" is attached to the right to bear arms. And, of course, with rights come responsibilities. We can regulate but we can't ban outright, although I think we can--and should--enact a ban on the ones with confirmed psychological issues. I don't think there's any one answer, or magic bullet if you will.

UPDATE 3: Here is the heartbreaking story of a mother who is terrified by her mentally ill son. It doesn't sound too far from Nancy Lanza's situation

 

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Per your update on Wisconsin gun laws

(#297921)

I think that's generally the norm.  Details differ from state to state.  In NC you get pre-cleared for a hand-gun purchase by local law enforcement.  That clearance costs $25 and gives you one certificate to purchase a handgun.  You can purchase additional certificates at $5 per which are good for a few years. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Does the pre-clearing involve an interview?

(#297923)
HankP's picture

Or is it just a paperwork check?

 

I blame it all on the Internet

The pre-clearing can involve just about anything

(#297926)

the sheriff's office decides is pertinent but is usually a background check at minimum.  The only restriction on the sheriff's dept is that they need to issue or deny with cause within 30 days; they can't sit on an open application indefinitely.  Also, the permit is needed for private sales of handguns as well.   

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

OK

(#297936)
HankP's picture

did you get interviewed, or was there just a background check?

 

I blame it all on the Internet

I didn't get interviewed, but I'd be the lowest priority

(#297940)

Military clearance, stable job, homeowner, no record, no unpaid fines, and the pistols I've purchased would be on the low end for flag raising.  Also, I'm not claiming the sheriff's office does interviews as a matter of course.  It seems to me that they'd be more efficient and just deny the permit with cause and it would be on the purchaser to appeal. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Ha. Good thing they don't read this site

(#297942)
HankP's picture

the bourbon love (or should I say obsession) might raise a few eyebrows.

 

Seriously, though, I think an interview may be a good idea, especially for handguns and semi-automatics. Easy to pass for most people, but you never know what a crazy person might say.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

The problem with an interview is simple

(#297948)

women would never receive a permit.   When Sheriff Cuddly gets asked why this is the case he'll reply " 'Cause theys all nuts", a rare moment where Cuddly is absolutely right yet still has his chestnuts roasting over an open fire.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Identifying violent people

(#297892)

Identifying violent people with mental illness is nice but there will almost certainly be a big backlash to any reporting and enforcement mechanisms.  The moment someone gets a diagnosis that falls into the "too dangerous to own a gun" category, they will get filed in a government database of some kind.  How do you think that will go over?  The government will spend millions in the courts defending itself from gun fetishists who got the wrong diagnosis.  Also, it appears that it is already illegal for "mental defectives" and institutionalized people to own guns

 

Ban assault weapons.  Ban high capacity magazines.  Close the gun show loophole.  Limit the number of guns an individual may own.  Jail time for people who's guns are used in crimes.  Long wait times for gun purchases.  Those are obvious and cheap things to do.  More expensive controls might include - visits of all registered gun owners by ATF agents yearly to check on safety.  Maybe we should get creative.

What about making anyone who wants a gun

(#297901)

be part of a well regulated militia. That's what your constitution calls for after all. It's put alot of people off and mean some training for the rest. Central stockage of certain kinds of guns - specifically those with no other puropose than killing many people - handguns and assault rifles - as part of the militia organisation.

That feels good to say but

(#297925)

That feels good to say but Scalia has destroyed any sincere form of originialism.  It is gone if it ever existed in the first place.  We have the America that exists, not Scalia's or the Founder's.  

Yeah, but that's not even an originalist argument

(#297930)

The Constitution doesn't specify what the militia was.  The 2d Amendment grants the states the right to maintain a well-regulated militia but grants 'the people' the right to keep and bear arms.  The militia acts, not the constitution say able bodied males are members of the militia, it never specifies that 'the people' are.

'Well-regulated' in the context of the time meant regular or organized militia, something we might recognize as an order of battle.  This is in contrast with irregular militia, ad hoc formations, and volunteer organizations.  That meant that the states could specify and outfit units.  Battalion A with three companies of infantry, one of rifleman and one of grenadiers; grant commissions and warrants and deploy them as military units within the state or provide them to the federal government at the direction of the President.  It did not mean, per your idea of originalism, that it actually expanded the power of the govt, contra the entire intent of the bill of rights.

 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Hang on!

(#297944)

If this is the text:

 

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.

 

I don't think it's a stretch to say either that people can have arms only for the purpose of being in a militia (the text does say well regulated, not ad-hoc). A stretch would be to say that a well regulated militia is no longer neccessary to the etc and so your guns should be surrendered.

 

Certainly there seems to be no constitutional right to arms for home defense or hobby shooting or even for hunting.

 

I just think a lot fewer people would enjoy owning a gun if it involved turning out 10 weekends a year to drill, march and shoot whatever the weather. It would certainly dampen the consumerist purchaser who has to get a gun just like they need a fridge that dispenses water from the door and a tv with 5 speakers.

 

Anyway, in Switzerland they force the young folks to have guns and use them on a regular basis. Most of them seem to have a pavlovian allergy to the things as a consequence.

Nyoos, that's why you have to go back to the original

(#297949)

meaning of 'well-regulated'.  In short, it meant that states could field organized military units.  In Europe, this would have been considered treasonous if done without the consent of the national authority.   It did not mean that the entirety of the male population between 18-45 could be well-regulated.  Bottom line, as I said to Heet, your interpretation would mean that the 2d amendment actually increases the authority of government, odd for a document that was designed to limit authority.  Then there is the 'right of the people'.  'The People' if used consistently specifies individual rights not authorities or powers of the federal or state govts.

 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

OK, that makes some sense to me.

(#297951)

I can see the argument I think - since states need to raise militia, people can have a gun. There is still a strong conditional link between those two ideas though. There is no - and has not been for some time - a well regulated and ordered militia in the states that draws apon armed citizens. I just can't see how it is possible to read only the second half of the clause. Must every syllable of the constitution limit the powers of government. It seems the first half of the clause is trying to set a limit on the second half, not increase the power of the government, but reduce the amount that uit is being reduced by.

Further complication

(#297962)

10 USC 311:

 

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
National Guard.

 

Why?  Because conscription is only constitutional under Congress' power to "call out the militia".  Eligible for the draft = member of the militia = right to keep and bear arms even if one reads the right as restricted to the militia.

*smirks*

(#297964)
M Scott Eiland's picture

It would be amusing to hear the gun grabbers react to this by claiming that therefore women have no right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Or watching Gloria Steinem making another run at the Equal Rights Amendment with the Second Amendment cited proudly as a need for doing so.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Well it's too bad about all the disabled people.

(#297965)

You know, ineligible to serve in the militia, and therefore ineligible to own firearms?

 

Not to mention we sad sacks with fallen arches, or those who failed the 4-F physical, mental or moral entry exams. No guns for us!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Hey, If You've Got Eyes And A Trigger Finger, You've Got Game

(#297967)
M Scott Eiland's picture

And in any event, the gun grabbers are the ones forced to make that argument. It's their problem.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's not how I read it.

(#297955)

I read it as removing federal authority to disarm the populace and states.  It gives the states the right to field 'Armies', something that even a colonial state was capable of, without requiring consent of the Federal Govt.  It also gives the right to the people to be armed.  I don't read the two clauses as being dependent upon each other, any more than I read the 1st Amendment right of the people to assemble being dependent on them exercising the freedom of the press.

'Must every syllable of the constitution limit the powers of government.'  No, the Constitution specifies powers of the government, or the rationale for how it exercises power, the Bill of Rights sets limitations on those powers. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

DC v. Heller

(#297946)
Bird Dog's picture

The Supreme Court was clear in ruling that gun ownership is an individual right, tied to the natural right of self-defense. Back in the day, at the time the 2nd Amendment was written, there was a broad overlap between the militia--the body of all citizens capable of military service--and the people.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

What a court of clowns.

(#297947)

The commerce clause nonesense and their free speech inc decisions and now this - I hadn't read anything  on HellerDC. I really had no idea this was all decided only in '08. It seems they just invented a natural right to self defense and decided the 2nd amendment applied outside militia use too. How you can decide that a sentence that starts "A well regulated militia" doesn't have anything to do with militias is beyond me.

 

Of course there was an overlap between militia and populace - that's what a militia is usually defined as. That doesn't mean that the word just dissappears. It's still there, along with "well regulated". 

Fascinating

(#297959)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Funny how savaging the actually rather ancient concept of a natural right of self defense snuck into the litany of Supreme Court and gun bashing.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Of course its an ancient concept

(#297970)

(though not perhaps as universal as one might imagine). I just don't see how it's promoted in any way by the text quoted which does not refer at all to self defence of individuals.

It's pretty clear

(#297935)
HankP's picture

that given the context of the times (original intent) that it didn't mean anyone could buy a gun - specifically minors and slaves, to start with. I don't think nyoos' idea is that much of a stretch, it makes sense to ensure that all citizens of majority age are qualified to maintain and bear arms. But as you've pointed out, even the military doesn't allow unlimited carry.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

I Like it Heet, Easy Solutions, Easy to Implement...

(#297896)

...easy to enforce, easy to understand.

 

And the 2nd Amendment is largely intact.

 

Heet the Legislator, again:

 

Ban assault weapons.  Ban high capacity magazines.  Close the gun show loophole.  Limit the number of guns an individual may own.  Jail time for people who's guns are used in crimes.  Long wait times for gun purchases.  Those are obvious and cheap things to do.  More expensive controls might include - visits of all registered gun owners by ATF agents yearly to check on safety.  Maybe we should get creative.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

 

 

I suppose.  There would be a

(#297897)

I suppose.  There would be a huge gun-fetishist backlash from any of these rules, though.  The NRA would mobilize and we'd hear the same brainless talk of patriotism and founding fathers and freedom turned up to 11.  "O is takin R gunz!" would show up on twitter feeds.  Threats to Obama, D politicians will shoot up.  Media personalities, and anyone else really, who dares to support gun controls will also be targeted.  Some will probably succeed, I imagine.  Lots of arrests.  Underground gun fetishist groups will just go ballistic, many of them Aryan Nation and fringe survivalist types.  It will be pretty entertaining to watch, really.

Look it at this way:

(#297900)

If a 27 year old woman can put herself in front of a homicidal maniac with a gun and give her life for her first graders, then then our elected representatives can damned well get out ahead of the NRA and Glenn Beck's temper tantrum.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

I Like the Entertainment Factor Even Better...lol....

(#297898)

 

I agree with all that you predict, but so what? As you say, There is a fun factor...in anything difficult to achieve.

 

But all of it is reasonable....and entirely necessary.

 

Traveller

Regulating crazy is easy

(#297882)
HankP's picture

it's as easy as regulating sex. It just requires a massive, intrusive government involved in every aspect of your personal life. That's why regulating guns is the more conservative approach. Regulating guns involves your possessions, regulating crazy involves your mind.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Screw the Gd-damned 2nd amendment.

(#297875)

Seriously. To utter hell with it. As someone somewhere pointed out, we were told throughout the Bush years that "the Constitution isn't a suicide pact" as the Patriot Act dismantled the 4th Amendment and made torture US policy.

 

Go and read about some of the people who died.

 

Read about Victoria Soto, who hid her children and confronted the gunman, telling him the kids were in the gym. She showed more courage in the last moments of her life than the average gun-fondler at the NRA prancing around in fatigues will display in a hundred years.

 

At this point, I'm not willing to sacrifice one more child to the NRA or the gun fetishists. Bird Dog, you asked if we "can regulate crazy." The answer is no, but we sure as hell ought to start keeping tactical weapons away from the crazy. If that makes Wayne LaPierre cry, so be it.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

See my update

(#297887)
Bird Dog's picture

nt

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No right is absolute, Bird Dog.

(#297891)

The 1st Amendment doesn't allow me to call for the overthrow of the government or to threaten individuals I don't like. The 4th Amendment did not survive 9/11 and the Patriot Act.

 

We can (and should) ban high-capacity magazines, and assault-type rifles. I'd throw in bulk ammo purchases, too. It's absurd that there are more restrictions on the amount of Sudafed that you buy than on the number of bullets.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Huh

(#297916)
Bird Dog's picture

I'm pretty sure I said that with rights come responsibilities, and that "well regulated" attaches to the right to bear arms.

I think there should be a higher level of qualification for those who wish to have more lethal firearms, and there are some people who fall short of having this right.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Two thoughts:

(#297917)

I'm not sure that the Congressional GOP or the Supremes would let any sort of restriction on guns fly.

 

Second, I don't think that there is any need for civilians to have high-capacity clips, magazines or drums, or for any of us to have semi-automatic weapons like an AR-15.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

It certainly assumes a situation that no longer exists

(#297877)
HankP's picture

I still wonder why "originalists" always seem to drop the whole "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state" part.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

And who in hell needs

(#297878)

a handgun capable of firing five effin' rounds a second? Just what do the gun fondlers think they're going to defend themselves against?

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Helpin` Out...The Heroine of Sandy Hook...(image)

(#297885)

702531381

Traveller

Thanks Trav, and there lies part of the problem.

(#297893)

Six weeks from now nobody will remember her name but Lanza will have a Wikipedia page.  There isn't a day of the week I wouldn't prefer to read a case study on what motivated her to sacrifice herself for others.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Six weeks from now

(#297905)

Conservatives will be back to: 

  • calling public school teachers lazy
  • saying we should fire more than the 600k that we've already fired during the recession 
  • calling for further cuts to their pay
  • demanding their retirement money
  • and redirecting whatever $ they can to charter schools that cost more but don't have better outcomes

"hero" isn't compatible with this message.

Lets move the debate from Guns to Mental health and Guns..

(#297864)

I am more concerned with standards and screening for the mentally healthy than I am to keep regular people from having guns.. Now I am against not doing research on gun violence by the CDC. I should be informed that owning a gun makes those in my house three times more likley to die by gun violence and five times more likely to die by suicide with a gun.

 

I also would have little trouble with restrictions or longer waiting times or mental health screens if the off set was fortress America... Guards and guns etc... 

 

Some experts quoted say that just having mandatory treatment and screening for all primary and secondary school children for Suicidal depressive disorders with an anger component. Could potentially solve a large chunk of this problem before it happens... 

 

It seems to me we have a cost and a choice on how we pay as a society. There will always be horrors and spree killers. Armed guards or mental health treatment along with some greater standard of screening for gun purchases and responsibility for securing and reporting theft. I'm also not sure that this is not an educational problem. In our school system do we teach our children how to deal with emotional issues and mental health problems? What is normal vs not? The general publics knowledge is horrid on health. Educated people in other fields have a surprising low understanding of healthcare in general not even getting into mental health issues... Anger is a good sign of depression in men... etc... 

 

It seems that we seem to get stuck in the same ruts of policy choices or debates when this kind of issue arises... We go to our corners on guns ... and the choices on this issues.. We get the, you can't/shouldn't politicize this tragedy. I want solutions such as better mental healthcare and ending the drug war.  These even in part seem like easy policy choices that should lower gun violence and deaths. Walls and Armed security etc seem like solutions to the wrong problems.... It reminds me of the false policy debates on taxes and growth/job creation vs services and costs in general. It is likely the false policy debate on we have a spending problem vs we have a demographic and legacy cost problem along with use of the tax code to attack things that are not politically possible any other way...(Political shock doctrine.) Fiscal cliff vs slope etc...(Understanding that predictability and unpredictability is a problem.) See debt ceiling as an example of this also....

 

We need better more nuanced policy choices and we need two parties ideas to find the best or most balanced ones...

 

I do have a question for the conservative posters that come here. Is the best policy choice for the country as a whole in order to solve a problem in the most cost effective way. Is this more important than a sub optimal outcome that advances a philosophical view that costs more and does not have greater than simple majority support? 

 

 

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Mental health is a dangerious area for government involvement

(#297910)
HankP's picture

specifically because it's not a science, it's subjective. And in practical terms, anything other than extreme cases will be matters of interpretation subject to the courts and various appeal processes.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Davinci, I'm just going to type what everyone is thinking

(#297868)

You haven't posted here in a bit and I'm sure everyone is wondering why you couldn't have led off with a 'Darth, you're right.' 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Nice try I might have been gone but I remember the posting rules

(#297871)

NT .... 

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

I'm seeing some of this in the Rice thread.....

(#297866)

nt

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Entirely missing the point, IMO.

(#297856)

Access to/availability of firearms is a side issue. The important issue is that mass murders are preventable, and that early detection/intervention is a hell of a lot more important than whatever tweaking to gun control laws & regulations people might have in mind at this point.

 

Mass murderers fit a couple of highly specific psychological/demographic profiles. They tend to be clinical narcissists, they tend to spend weeks or months planning their attacks in advance, attack locations tend to be chosen deliberately, generally at least one other person has some advance knowledge about the attack, there are certain common behavior patterns in the final weeks, days & hours before an attack (farewell videos, odd finality to interactions with family & friends, withdrawal from social contacts, quitting job or school, isolation, fascination with firearms & mass violence). The public can, and should, be educated to be able to identify these patterns. More importantly, effective types of intervention need to be established and widely disseminated. What do you do with someone that might be spiraling towards violent apocalyptic type behavior?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Bull

(#297859)

Unless your premise is that clinical narcissists occur at higher rates in America, you'll need to come up with a better explanation for the statistics we are looking at. These shootings are simply far more common in the US than in Europe, where gun availability is far more restricted. They are even more common in US states with easy gun access than those that have more stringent laws.

 

There are nuts everywhere. What changes is their ease of access to weapons and ammunition.

 

These weapons were legally owned by a gun nut, who managed to achieve no safety for herself while putting others in harm's way. 

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I think you're missing my point if you think

(#297860)

I'm saying narcissism is the only factor involved.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Here is your point:

(#297862)

Access to/availability of firearms is a side issue.

I don't think I missed it. I think it's a bad point.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

No, the point is that there are identifiable patterns

(#297899)

that are prelude to a mass murder attack, and we must as a society focus on how to effectively identify and intervene before these crimes happen. Gun purchase/ownership should probably be part of the profile. 

 

Merely banning assault weapons at this point isn't going to prevent the next 20 or 30 mass casualty attacks, and that is why I say it is a side issue.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The case of AUstralia suggests otherwise

(#297906)

Our 1996 reforms were precipitated by the Port Arthur massacre, the 13th mass shooting in 15 years in which five or more victims died in places like Hoddle and Queen Streets in Melbourne and Strathfield Plaza.

 

 

The central provisions of the reforms were the ban on semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns, accompanied by gun amnesties and two national buybacks, which together saw some 820,000 guns destroyed. Because of their rapid firepower, semi-automatics are the guns of choice for those intent on killing many people quickly. John Howard introduced the reforms to prevent US-style mass killings, not primarily to prevent criminal or domestic gun homicides or gun suicides.

 

In the 12 years since the law reforms, there have been no mass shootings.

 

http://www.crikey.com.au/2008/09/09/what-john-howard-could-teach-the-us-about-gun-control/

While We Are At It, Fun In Las Vegas Last Night...Panic...

(#297847)

...actually, I am much more concerned abut these in that they happen every single day, man on woman...just flat out murder, here in full  public view.

 

I miss BD being around, but again, he asks the entirely wrong question:

 

How do you Regulate Crazy?

 

You can't, don't even think about.

 

LAS VEGAS — Police on Saturday continued their search for a motive for a Friday night murder-suicide at a busy Strip casino in which a man shot and fatally wounded a woman and then killed himself as gamblers fled in terror.

The incident unfolded about 8:30 p.m. near the front entrance of the Excalibur hotel-casino as a gunman shot the woman, who was a vendor at Excalibur's concierge desk. The man then turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. The woman was pronounced dead later at a local hospital, police said.

Neither the gunman nor the victim was identified, and a police spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the relationship between the two wasn't immediately clear. The victim worked at the concierge desk as a vendor for the travel website VEGAS.com.

An unidentified hotel worker told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the woman was working when her boyfriend shot her in the face and then turned the gun on himself.

 

However, I might even  postulate that we don't want to regulate such an essential  factor in the human condition...guns yes, crazy maybe not.

 

Traveller

 

 

 

Possible Motive (Speculation, But Still...)

(#297846)

 

...he kills his mother because she doesn't love him, (stay with me here), then, he goes to the school and kills who she does love, her students, and who she told him that she loved more than him.

 

There you have it.

 

Traveller

Mother was a gun "enthusiast"

(#297838)

 

According to this article in the New York Times.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/nyregion/friends-of-gunmans-mother-his...

 

Most of the victims were killed by multiple shots from the assault rifle.

 

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/15/15932666-newtown-victims-all-...

 

 

And her weapons were unsecured

(#297842)
HankP's picture

but, but, but - she had the weapons for self defense! How could she ever have been harmed by them?

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Crazy has been with us forever.

(#297832)
aireachail's picture

But these types of shootings have not.

 

So I'm not convinced that the "crazy" part of the equation is the one that can be fixed.

 

There's something profoundly sick about our society as far as guns are concerned. Specifically, it's this notion that a gun can solve one's miserable little problems and somehow set things right. And it's not just the crazy who believe that.

 

 

And why, specifically, schools?

(#297852)
mmghosh's picture

Bad memories?  

 

I didn't particularly like high school.  Especially exams and testing, although I was good at them, I could never really see the point.  And Singapore has become a dumb society with its insistence on exammery (yes I know their "IQs" are the highest).

It's not just schools, Mannish

(#297858)

It's wherever there is a perception that the victims will be defenseless.  These things don't happen at shooting ranges, gun shows, militia HQs etc, where folks are tripping over each other's ammunition belts.  Ft Hood may seem like an exception but it isn't.  Same same with the Towle Stadium shooting on Ft Bragg.  The killer knows his victims will be defenseless.

I'm not suggesting these places be defended, it's just that they are obviously undefended (seems odd for military bases, I know) so they become the targets for the loons.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Not always defenseless Darth

(#297886)

a few years ago a guy who had a beef with the cops walked into a restaurant where 4 uniformed, armed police officers were eating. He walked up their table, opened fire and killed all 4 of them. It's true that one of the officers managed to get off a shot which the assailant later died from but if 4 armed trained police (probably wearing bulletproof vests) do so badly when faced with an unexpected attack what makes you think the general public is going to do much better?

 

Of course those officers would have done better if they were on their guard like they would have been if they were actively engaged in police work. But that's the point. People can't walk around on a hair trigger alert with weapons out all of the time. If they did  the number of accidental shootings would dwarf the number of mass murders.

 

The Fort Hood shooting?

(#297861)

It doesn't seem like heavily armed military bases are any particular deterrent to the crazies.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

They aren't. That's what I'm saying.

(#297863)

From the outside looking in one may think the military is heavily armed.  On base, performing routine duty the military is disarmed, with weapons secured in vaults.  A person with access to a base has a generally defenseless population to attack.  There are MPs but they, like cops anywhere, take time to respond.  The Hood and Bragg shooters knew this and took advantage of the situation.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Now that is fascinating

(#297876)
HankP's picture

if the military figures that it's safer to have people generally unarmed (specifically people who are trained in the use of arms), why would it make sense for the general population to think that more arms in the hands of amateurs would lead to safer outcomes?

 

I blame it all on the Internet

More from John Cole...

(#297879)

who, unlike Jeffey Goldberg, actually served in the military:

When we were in Camp Doha in Kuwait, we would have rotations. Alpha troop (my unit), would go run border missions in Iraq while Bravo troop would do maintenance on their vehicles (the sand just killed tanks and wore down our equipment), while Charlie troop be in what we called Z-phase, which was running the security for our base. We had towers and gates and 12 foot walls, and armed troopers at every gate with mirrors to look underneath cars and plenty of folks to investigate people coming in as civilians to run base operations (cook, give haircuts, etc.)

So why am I telling you this? Because in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions in the world, even with clear Rules of Engagement, every time I went on gate duty, there was a piece of tape over my ammo clip on my M-16 and M1911 .45. Why? Because the most heavily armed military in the world did not want accidental shootings. If a situation arose, I would have to eject my ammo clip, remove the tape, and reinsert and work the action before I could fire.

This was in a combat zone. Yet I have spent the last two f*ing days dealing with armchair commandos telling me they need unlimited firepower to be safe in… Connecticut.

If there are bigger pussies in the world than gun nuts, I don’t know who the f*k they are.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

It's actually pretty simple

(#297883)
HankP's picture

gun nuts believe that the more armed citizens there are the safer society will be. So why don't we have 55 gallon drums filled with loaded weapons at every street corner? Wouldn't that be the safest possible society?

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Perhaps some higher level of

(#297826)

Perhaps some higher level of vetting could be applied to assault rifles and similar classes of weapons (although it wouldn't have made a difference in this case).

It might have if it reduced the number of assault rifles in circulation.  Without an assault rifle, even though he didn't use it, maybe he wouldn't have carried out his plot.  Hard to say.  In any case, there is zero rational or defensible reason for citizens to own assault rifles.  Get rid of them.

 

Perhaps a stiffer penalty for those who don't properly secure their weapons. According to press reports, the two handguns were owned by Lanza's mom, and she paid a dear price for not keeping those guns out of the hands of her son.

This sounds reasonable.  Lock people up who let their guns be used for crimes. 

 

Perhaps, as Volokh suggests, if a couple of staff at the school had access to firearms, lives would have been saved.

This is absurd.

Actually the assault rifle was the main weapon

(#297839)

used according to the medical examiner statement that was just released.

Yeah, I just saw that too.

(#297840)

Yeah, I just saw that too.  Must have put the rifle in the car before shooting himself.

There was a 4th weapon

(#297843)

He had the two pistols and the AR15 with him but there was another long gun in the car according to CBS.

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57559395/conn-school-shooter-had-4-w...

Oh I see.  I thought initial

(#297845)

Oh I see.  I thought initial reports said he had the assault rifle in his car, though.

Not necessarily

(#297828)

Perhaps, as Volokh suggests, if a couple of staff at the school had access to firearms, lives would have been saved.

This is absurd.

 

There are many schools that have police stationed in the school on a permanent basis. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea but the presence of trained police in a school most certainly could save lives.

I took "a couple of the

(#297835)

I took "a couple of the staff" to mean elementary school teachers.  Which is absurd.  An armed guard is more reasonable.

LOL...So We Hard Target Our Schools, Have Police, Locked Doors

(#297829)

 

...a military camp of sorts.

 

What lesson, long term, the next 60 years or so, are we teaching our children?

 

Except our moral cowardice to tackle the craziness of guns in Americka...

 

I grew up here in open schools, on farms and in urban environments, nobody had military weapons...and I'm not sure that semi-automatic Glocks aren't military weapons...

 

The only thing I'm learning is that this generation are cowards...and refuse to deal with the root issues of this problem.

 

When you wonder about who killed these kids....look in the mirror and YOUR failure.

 

Traveller

You misunderstand me Trav

(#297831)

I don't think having police in schools is something to happy about. Unfortunately in some schools it is necessary. Those are typically high schools in inner cities or rough areas. Lower levels of violence are more common in such schools but it would be harder for a mass slaughter to take place. That's all I'm saying.

 

I certainly don't think having armed guards in elementary schools is something to aspire to.

aspirations

(#297833)
Jay C's picture

I certainly don't think having armed guards in elementary schools is something to aspire to.

Although, to judge by a non-trivial percentage of the public commentary re the Newtown Massacre, this is precisely the the "aspiration" we should all be having.

 

IOW, any alternative - anything - that would preclude or deflect any public discussion of the extent to which an absolutist obsession with firearms has become (contrary, despite the fantasies of the gun-nuts, to most trends and attitudes in American history) a seemingly non-negotiable non-issue in our political discourse. Even here....

I would appreciate it

(#297834)

if you would not include me in the group who doesn't want to discuss it. I think we need to have the discussion and we need better gun control. That doesn't preclude me from pointing out that schools that have metal detectors and armed police present are less likely to see this sort of thing happen.

OK, Floater, you're excepted....

(#297837)
Jay C's picture

.. though the fact that even an intelligent and reasonable person such as yourself* might have to bring up the issue of "hav[ing] metal detectors and armed police present" in the context of a K-4 elementary school in as "safe" a community as Sandy Hook, CT says a lot right there....

 

 

* you post at The Forvm: what else should we conclude?

I am so sick of the action movie-based fantasy that

(#297827)

comes out in the wake of every mass shooting.  "If only everyone had been carrying a concealed pistol, a lone hero would have stopped the bad guy in his tracks. Clearly the best way to keep everyone safe is for everyone to be armed with a loaded weapon at all times and in all places."

 

I'm just sick of it.

 

Yes.

(#297945)

All it would do is change the planning of these attacks, and generally they seem to be well planned. 

Joel Myrick

(#297855)
Bird Dog's picture

There are other examples.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Only one of those appears to be a classic mass shooting

(#297895)

the rest appear to be someone who killed some people and whose getaway was stopped by an armed citizen--great to have happened, but not the fantasy scenario that the right's been saying would have happened in the event of a mass shooting.

I ignore them because they

(#297836)

I ignore them because they are either morons or hopeless gun fetishists who don't deserve a response.