The hopelessness of discussing school shootings

OK, so we have another mass shooting in a school, and this one may be a record-breaker, in the K-12 category. Twenty children dead, several adults.

We’ve had the obligatory statement from the president. There’s no reason for the president of the United States to comment on such things, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with his job description. After the Columbine shootings, I wrote about the absurdity of reporters standing outside the White House for hours waiting for the president to say something. But it’s expected now. People don’t think about what the president’s job is and isn’t; he’s expected to be emoter in chief.

So he said something, and he shed tears. He might as well. I mean, what do we expect him to do? He indicated his intention to do something:

President Obama, in one of his most emotional speeches as president, wiped away tears as he spoke about the shooting from the White House’s briefing room. “Our hearts are broken today,” Obama said. He promised “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this,” but did not say specifically what he might do….

What would he do, indeed?

I don’t normally post about stuff like this because there’s really nothing helpful to say. These things fill me with hopelessness. The only thing that would do anything to prevent such events in the future would be a level of gun control that would mean changing unshakable reality in this country by 180 degrees.

Understand me — I’m not proposing anything, because I don’t know of anything that would both solve the problem and also be achievable.

Here’s why it’s so hopeless: Even if, by some miracle, we bypassed or reinterpreted the Second Amendment so as to allow for the strictest laws in the world regarding gun ownership, we still would not have solved anything. Which is why you don’t see me going around advocating gun control.

That’s because the guns would still exist. And the gun-rights people are right: If you outlaw guns, outlaws will still have guns. The problem is that there are just so many firearms out there in this country. Even in the most repressive, worst jackbooted nightmare for the gun rights people, with police rounding up all the guns they can lay their hands on, there would still be so many left that you would see incidents such as this school shooting still happening from time to time.

It’s an economic problem — too many guns chasing too many potential shooting victims. There are at least a couple of hundred million guns in the country — I’ve seen statistics suggesting there are 90 for every 100 people. And of households that have one firearm, more than 60 percent have multiple guns.

You know what this situation reminds me of? Slavery before 1860, and why it was such an intractable problem for the country. No, gun lovers, I’m not saying it’s the moral equivalent or anything like that. I’m saying the dynamics of the political challenge are similar.

There were about 4 million slaves in the country when South Carolina seceded. Here in SC, there were more slaves than free people. Slaveholders were so invested in the institution that there was no possible political or legal solution that would have induced them to give up their slaves. The position of white elites in this and other states (but most especially this one; SC had always been the most extreme on the issue) was essentially that you’d have to pry their slaves from their cold, dead hands. And that’s what happened. It took a war that killed more Americans than ALL of our other wars, from the Revolution through Iraq and Afghanistan, combined, to end slavery. And we’re still wrestling over the repercussions.

For Barack Obama, if he wanted to address the gun issue meaningfully, the political obstacles are very similar to those that faced Lincoln dealing with slavery. Lincoln had to spend the early months of his administration, the early months of the war, insisting to the world that he was NOT the abolitionist that the Southerners depicted him as. It’s not that he was pro-slavery; he was always opposed to it. But even well into the war itself, he saw abolition as a political impossibility. He and others saw the fact of those 4 million slaves as something they didn’t know how to deal with. It seemed unimaginable to many anti-slavery pols then that former slaves could just co-exist with former slaveholders in the future.

Obama is to gun-rights people, in a way, what Lincoln was to the slaveholders. He didn’t run on a gun-control platform, and has never made any serious proposals to limit gun rights, that I can recall. And yet I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there has NEVER been a president of the United States as distrusted by gun-rights people — and I mean serious gun-rights people, the sort who would list the 2nd Amendment as a top concern.

For Barack Obama to step out and advocate anything that would put a serious crimp in gun availability in this country would create a political backlash that — while it wouldn’t be the same as secession (and the reaction would be more individualized than a state-by-state thing) — would probably outstrip anything sense, in terms of the sheer passion of the response.

It would be the most politically (and, frankly personally — the Secret Service would have a horrific new challenge on its hands) risky thing I’ve ever seen a president do in my adult lifetime.

Which is why I kind of doubt we’ll see it.

Which is why waiting for the president to say something about such things seems so hopelessly pointless…

47 thoughts on “The hopelessness of discussing school shootings

  1. Bart

    At this point, I only know one important fact – there are 20 children who won’t be here to celebrate Christmas, the New Year, another birthday, or the opportunity to grow up. Today, their little bodies are lifeless along with several adults.

    We can ask ourselves all of the questions possible about how to prevent a tragedy like this one and in the end, there are no real answers, just more questions.

    Who knows exactly what drove the man to commit senseless murder of innocent children and adults? Who knows the demon in his soul that would drive him to slaughter children?

    Whether the weapon is a gun, a knife, explosives, or any other means of destruction, the end result is still the same and the children are still dead.

    For now, let us be sad and mourn the death of 20 children who won’t be with Mom and Dad tonight. Let us be sad and mourn the death of the adults who won’t be home with their families tonight. Let us also be sad that something, somewhere, and somehow drove a young man to the point where he was willing to commit mass murder and jolt the nation once again over another senseless act of violence.

    Whether you are a believer or not, tonight, say a prayer for the victims and their families. And when you see your children and family, give them a hug and let them know how much they mean to you. Tell them you love them, because the victims of today’s violence won’t be able to tell or hear those words ever again.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    It’s just really sad and depressing because there is nothing we can do to stop this from happening from time to time. It just sucks. And it sucks more because it makes the anti-gun people fight with the gun-people.

    So we fight, pointlessly.

  3. Lynn

    It would be significant if the President discussed treating and caring for the mentally ill. Mentally healthy people don’t shoot up movie theaters and elementary schools.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Nearly as intractible is the problem of serious mental illness. We sweep that one under the rug as well. Together, we get this. And the one last week. And the one before that. And the one before that.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    Bad things happen. Sometimes they are caused by human beings, which gives us the illusion that we might “solve” the problem. We might minimize it by choking off the supply of souped up guns. We could amend the Constitution.

    We’d still have plenty of violence. I mean, it’s really sad these children were killed this way, but plenty are killed by child abusers and wars…..and just random street violence around the world. And many die from malnutrition and lack of medical care…..

    Many people died on 9/11/2001 of causes other than terrorism. Are their deaths less important?

  6. tavis micklash

    Im fine for the president speaking. Its meant to be a point of comfort when the govt really cant do crap about it.

    Media are going to be lined up waiting for the word anyways. They are in such a rush to present news, ANY news be it unsubstantiated or not they might as well wait for the President to say something.

    I found the media coverage terrible. I know its a very fluid situation but I thought there was some obligation to do fact checking rather than put every person who claims to have any knowledge on National TV.

  7. Steve Gordy

    This also points out that the death penalty isn’t that great a deterrent for crimes of this nature. Some of these gunmen (all of the ones I can recall have been men) WANT to die,going out in flood of blood if not a blaze of glory.

  8. Karen McLeod

    Trying to outlaw guns won’t fly in this country, at least not right now. But is there anyway we can take the glamour out of killing? So many TV shows, video games, and such encourage “play” violence, while at the same time delivering a very sanitized version of murder. Our video “heroes” are a little too heroic, and btw never get messily killed or maimed themselves. If they do die the worst result is “game over.” It becomes all too easy at that point for some folks to imagine themselves at least as an antihero and commit such indiscriminate atrocity. I wonder if so many of these murderers kill themselves because they are suddenly confronted with what it’s really like.

  9. Herb

    Cars don’t kill people, people kill people with cars. But every car in the country has (or is supposed to have, and most do) a registration, in plain sight, very quickly traceable to the owner.

    Couldn’t some things be done to slow this down a bit?

    But you’re right, there are so many angry people who cannot control their reactions; quite frankly, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often than it does, as horrifying as it is.

    These kids are not just anybody’s kids, they are all our kids and our grandkids. Every time such a senseless thing happens, a part of all of us dies.

    ‘Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’ (Genesis 4:10)

  10. Pat

    Brad, I know you and all of us are at a loss for anything meaningful to say about such a tragedy. to reply about the President’s role, this shooting is a national tragedy and we have to mourn as a nation. I heard Rev Eugene Peterson (Presbyterian pastor and author of The Message)on the radio and he said, “Thank God our country has a president who knows how to mourn.” I agree. There will be a time to address the issue more in depth, but for now, as a country, we are in mourning. I appreciate what the President had to say and I appreciate the scripture he quoted.

  11. Kathryn Fenner

    Something could be done, starting with doing our best to tamp down the coverage of these events. They are not more frequent than before, but they do appear to inspire others who want to die in a laze of “glory.” Don’t click on articles about the shootings.

    Then contact your Senators and Representative about your desire for a constitutional amendment to severely restrict these assault weapons!

    Or else just tut tut and wait for the next one.

  12. Ralph Hightower

    It is totally senseless and I’ll refer to the gunmen as “it” since they aren’t any more human than Osama bin Laden; I wouldn’t even consider Osama as sub-human. It was pure evil like Hitler.

    Any mass shooting venue is tragic: workplaces, malls, movie theatres. But schools and colleges? At Blacksburg, VA, college students were on their next step towards being our future leaders.

    But children? They are our future!

  13. Scout

    I don’t mind the President speaking on the subject. I don’t know why. I think it helps that I believe him – his expressions of sadness and concern seem very sincere. It would bother me immensely if a President felt obligated to talk out of some sense of duty but didn’t seem to feel what he was saying.

    I don’t think it matters that it’s not a policy speech. I think it is enough to offer words of comfort.

    Maybe that’s a F/T difference?

    But I do kind of wonder if there was some way to limit access to, at least, assault weapons, for people with documented cases of mental illness that could lead to aggression, impaired judgement, and social difficulties, if it could make some difference. Even though all those guns are still out there, how many of these things are cases of ease of access in the moment when in a certain state of mind, where one or two more barriers might make a difference?? I don’t know the answer to that. And maybe it’s not feasible. But it should at least be explored.

    BTW, the President just spoke again. Part of it at the end sounded to me like he might be laying the groundwork to try and propose doing something more.

  14. bud

    I blame the culture of violence we have in this country. We are so obsessed with killing that it’s no wonder so many disturbed young men get caught up in the frenzy. There are the warmongers who trumpet every opportunity to send our young people into foreign wars at the drop of a hat. We have the obsession with the death penalty that makes “heros” out of so many killers. Then there is the manufacturers of the video games and movies that provide the necessary “training” for folks to do the killings. Then there’s the media who go on and on and on about any of these tragedies that effectively gives “folk hero” status out of these killers. And finally there are the NRA types who jump up and down at even the most modest attempts to keep dangerous firearms out of reach of the mentally disturbed.

    Until we can come to grips with our national obsession with violence we’ll never see a reduction in these violent acts. I’d start with abolishing the death penalty. Perhaps a bit less attention focused on these crazies would go a long way toward reducing the rock star status of the killers. With less attention paid to these people it is highly likely there would be few incidents.

  15. Doug Ross

    It is going to be VERY difficult, probably impossible, to limit access to weapons to those who would generally be considered mentally ill. A big part of the problem is the reluctance to label people (especially children) as mentally ill. It appears in this tragic case, the mother was well aware of her son’s issue and had the financial resources to address them but chose not to. Instead, she (allegedly) allowed him to become absorbed in video games and even took him target shooting. There is no amount of legislation that would have prevented this tragedy from occurring.

    I would be interested in knowing what kind of prescription drugs this guy was on. The number of kids on drugs that are specifically intended to alter the brain’s chemistry is staggering… ADHD didn’t seem to exist back in my school days…. certainly not to the degree it occurs now. SOMETHING has changed. And t would be difficult to convince me that all the potential long term side effects of those drugs is fully understood.

    So ban all the guns you want. It won’t prevent criminals from getting them or using them. I agree with bud that this is a culture issue related to the glorification and desensitization of violence. We glorify a military that has killed many more children unintentionally than died in Newtown on Friday. We are hellbent on proving our strength through force.

  16. Brad

    What Doug and Bud fail to understand is the fundamental difference between killing under military authority and killing on one’s own initiative.

    That’s really one of the big problems with “first-person shooter” video games. They do what we’ve been doing in our military since the Vietnam era — conditioning people to acquire a target and fire at it with deadly effect, almost as a reflex — but without the essential context of military training, which is discipline and obedience. Military people are trained to kill when ordered to do so, and only to shoot at approved targets. Video games tend to train to shoot to kill, period, without any controls.

  17. bud

    Doug and Brad together illustrate the problem. Doug, for his part, gets the problem with obsessing over the military. Brad dismisses that as though you can somehow waller in a culture of killing, the military, without creating an environment that thrives on that culture. Eventually it will spill over with disasterous results.

    Brad seems to understand the need to limit guns. Or at least try to reduce the obscenly easy way of acquiring guns and huge ammo clips. Yet Brad continues to entertain this fantasy that the military is so well trained and disciplined that no soldier could ever, ever, ever kill someone outside the conditions of battle. Pleez, what a croc. Just tell that to the folks killed by the Ft. Hood killer.

    Both Brad and Doug seem to understand the problems associated with mental health. Both miss part of the bigger picture. And therein lies the problem. Everyone points to someone elses obsession as the root of the problem. I say it’s all of the above.

  18. Doug Ross


    And yet despite all that training and discipline, children ARE killed… sometimes by mentally ill soldiers but more often by bombs than bullets.

    We need a culture of peace combined with swift and severe punishment for anyone who decides to harm another person.

  19. Brad

    Who said anything remotely like “no soldier could ever, ever, ever kill someone outside the conditions of battle.” Certainly not I.

    I will say what is true — that it is extremely unusual for soldiers of the U.S. or Britain or other liberal democracies that respect the rule of law to deliberately kill noncombatants.

    (Even in the extreme exception of My Lai, you actually had a perversion of military discipline acting upon those soldiers — most of whom fired on civilians only after being directly ordered to do so by Lt. Calley. An officer who becomes a homicidal maniac is far deadlier than a private who does the same, because then the whole system of discipline and legal authority is turned on its head.)

    But if you put guns in a lot of people’s hands, there will be aberrations, and some of those aberrations are going to become murderers. And if you do so completely outside the context of military discipline (and there are far more privately held guns in this country than there are military small arms), you are particularly opening the doors to mass killings.

    Yes, atrocities are sometimes committed by individual members of even the most disciplined military forces. But the capacity for such evil is so much greater when there is no context of discipline at all.

  20. bud

    I’m all for a Doug’s culture of peace. Not going to EVER get there by obsessing over war. Nor do we get there by utilizing the death penalty. Either you’re for peace or you’re against it. There’s no compromising.

  21. Doug Ross

    Just a few of the very long list of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

    “March 11, 2012 – Kandahar massacre – At least 16 civilians, including women and children were killed after a ‘rogue’ US serviceman entered their homes and began to open fire in the Afghan province of Kandahar.”

    March 1, 2011 – U.S. helicopter gunners killed nine Afghan boys ages 7–13 who were collecting firewood. A tenth boy was injured in the attack.

    May 11, 2011 – NATO troops killed a 12 year old girl along with her uncle when they accidentally raided the wrong house outside Jalalabad.[20]

    February 12, 2010 – 5 Afghan civilians including two pregnant women and a teenage girl were killed when US special forces raided a house in Khataba village, outside the city of Gardez where dozens of people had gathered at the home to celebrate the naming of a newborn baby. The U.S troops tried to cover-up evidence of the botched raid and admitted only month later that they had killed the civilians

  22. Bart

    Emotions will run high on the senseless deaths of 20 children and 7 adults last week. 27 deaths at the hand of disturbed young man who by the written accounts suffered from mental illness for most of his life. Based on the description of his behavior by those who knew him and from the comments made by a former babysitter, his actions are probably not an anomaly. The babysitter said his mom told her to not turn her back on him and to be careful around him. Whether this is accurate or not, I don’t know but it seems to fit another story shared by a mother with a son whose tendency to violence parallels this story. Her other children know to run and hide in the car and lock the doors when he goes into one of his violent rages and threatens his mother with a knife. Unfortunately, incidents like this are not as uncommon as one may think, we just don’t hear about it.

    Whether we want to admit it or not, there is still a stigma attached to a person or family if mental illness is present in one or more members. The quiet conversations about another person or family who happens to have a mentally disturbed member still take place and the subject is always talked about in quiet, hushed tones as a general rule. We don’t like to openly discuss mental illness and we don’t like to face the tough questions and answers when it comes to dealing with mentally disturbed people. We look for words to minimize the appropriate description of a mentally ill person by using terms to soften mental illness. Sometimes it is appropriate to say, “that person is batsh!t crazy” and needs to be in a safe place, away from the public. While it may be insensitive, we need to face certain facts – sometimes the truth is not all warm and fuzzy, cloaked in softly worded descriptions to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

    But, we don’t want to violate their civil rights or deny them the opportunity to function in an open society, do we? So, by the virtue of protection of civil rights and denial of the existence of mental illness, we allow the obvious to go unchallenged and when the twig breaks and 27 people are shot, instead of looking at the problem with the person, we look to confront an old argument about gun control. We try to find someone or something where we can place or associate blame for the tragedy because that is human nature. We want answers but sometimes the answers may be obvious but we refuse to acknowledge them.

    Until a full investigation is completed, we won’t know if the young man was undergoing psychiatric counseling or if he was getting help with his obvious behavioral problems. Did his mom protect him from the world the way she thought was best for him by isolating him or keeping him close to her and always being there to fix things when they went wrong? Would he have been better served if he had been placed in a facility where he could get help? It is obvious she knew about his tendencies but still bought firearms and kept them in the home. But, did she keep them locked away in a safe or in a protected place, away from her son? Obviously not since the guns she bought were used to kill her and the other victims.

    We can delve into all aspects of gun control, the military, violent video games, and all of society’s ills but until we approach the problems with mental illness in an open and reasonable manner, incidents like this one will occur, again and again. And, even with a comprehensive approach with an agreed upon program, some will slip through the cracks and we will see it on the news where another mass killing has taken place.

    Last comment. The Norwegians have gun control laws yet one individual went to an island and slaughtered 85 young people. If one wants to kill others for whatever reason, they will find a way if the urge or compulsion is stronger than their ability to resist it. As for the statistical wonks, if you take into consideration the murder rate per capita as reported by the UNODC, Honduras had a per capita murder rate of 91.6 in 2011 with a total of 7,104 murders. The US had a per capita murder rate of 4.8 or 14,748 murders. The population of Honduras is approximately 7.7 million and the population of the US is over 300 million. One can always find an example to prove or disprove a point.

    No one is excusing murder but in the end, the root cause or reasons must be placed in some perspective and if solutions are to be found, if they exist, they must be found without the emotional rhetoric from both sides of the gun control issue. If pragmatism is possible on the issue, do we have the right people in place and in charge to exercise it? At this point, I seriously doubt it.

  23. bud

    Thank heavens we don’t live in Honduras. I suspect many of the guns used in Honduras came from the US. Money is a powerful motivator. And guns are a powerful force to reckon with.

  24. bud

    There are many third world countries with higher murder rates. Russia is also higher. But for the most part in the developed, western world the USA ranks far higher in murders than most of our counterparts like Canada, the UK, France, Germany and Japan.

  25. Doug Ross

    The largest number of murders in the U.S. are committed by age 18-29 year old black males against 18-29 year old black males. More than any other race/age segment… Think we’ll hear about that issue in the gun debate?

  26. Brad

    Probably, since it’s a fairly well-known statistic. But it will be something of a non sequitur, in terms of this particular discussion.

    Correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t really made a study of it), but aren’t these mass-shooting killers usually middle-class white boys?

  27. Kathryn Fenner

    I read that the middle class white male thing is becoming out of date and now is merely reflective of the relative percentage of whites to minorities.

    We have had several Asian Americans and others. Women are still a slim minority, though.

  28. susanincola

    @Bart, I think you’re confusing the shooter’s story with that of a woman who wrote an article called “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” but actually isn’t — she just also has a son with mental illness. I have not seen reported that Adam Lanza’s siblings were told to lock themselves in the car, or that he was prone to violent rages — that was about another unrelated boy.

  29. Brad

    Kathryn, you’re right! The Virginia Tech shooter was Asian, wasn’t he?

    That shows how little thought I’ve given to this, I guess. I just think of them all as a bunch of Lee Harveys…

  30. Brad

    I actually sort of consciously avoid learning a lot about these creeps. It bothers me a LOT that they succeed in becoming famous, so I feel like I’m doing my own small bit to right the balance of the universe, by ignoring them…

  31. Doug Ross

    “Correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t really made a study of it), but aren’t these mass-shooting killers usually middle-class white boys”

    Of course. But we only hear about the sensational killings… the day-to-day murders aren’t worth worrying about apparently.


    That’s two Newtown’s a month for 2012.

  32. Brad

    Doug, there’s another problem — America doesn’t pay attention if the victim is poor and black. Or brown. And if they only come in ones and twos, then there’s little chance of coverage.

    The unspeakable tragedy is that one black kid killing another black kid is sort of the proverbial dog-bites-man of homicide stories. It’s so horribly common that it doesn’t rise to the level of news. Or at least, BIG news.

    Neither you nor I nor anyone else can change the fact that “news” is something that doesn’t happen every day. Which we can still say about mass shootings. Not as persuasively as we could have said it once, but we can still say it.

  33. Kathryn Fenner

    It is a small sample, Brad. You cannot fairly extrapolate much of anything from such a small sample. If more were left handed or blue eyed, we wouldn’t know much from that, either.

    Look at how many hundreds of million players there are and how very few become murderers, mass or otherwise.

  34. Bryan Caskey

    If only there were laws against stealing guns, taking guns to school-zones, and laws requiring you wait a certain period of time, and laws against intentionally shooting innocent people.

    Oh, wait.

  35. Karen McLeod

    I keep hearing the argument that we need guns to ensure that our government doesn’t go wild and turn into a dictatorship or some such. Given the size and military capacity of our army, that argument makes no sense. I don’t think we’re depriving hunters of anything if we insist that they not hunt with assault rifles, or deny them ammo clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Can we not also insist that any gun sale (including those at gun shows) occur only after a thorough background check on the buyer? And perhaps require those who own more than 15 guns have a special license? I would recommend a requirement for would be owners to attend a gun safety class, but that doesn’t seem to do much. Could we require them to get liability insurance? After all, we require it for cars? And finally, can’t we manage better mental health care? Currently the only place to get it seems to be in prison, and I question the quality available there.

  36. Silence

    Karen, you are absolutely correct about improving the mental healthcare system.

    I think the liability insurance idea is a non-starter.

    The background checks ALREADY occur with sales at gun shows and retailers. It’s the private party sales (newspaper classifieds, etc.) where they don’t. I’ve got no problem with requiring it, but compliance might be tough to enforce.

    Constitutionally, there’s not a “right to hunt” per se but there is an established right to defend yourself, including from an illegitimate and hostile government. In fact, the old thinking on gun control was that legitimate privately owned firearms NEEDED to have a military application, not a sporting one. See United States v. Miller, from 1939.

  37. Mark Stewart

    So, Silence, that would imply today that I ought to be entitled to place a BM (intercontinental range not needed) in my back yard? At this point, simple firearms are hardly enough; are not even in Syria.

    Since that is so, maybe it is just simply time to rethink the Second Amendment. As it stands, it is both unclear and of increasing irrelevance to defense against tyranny. When it was written, a soldier probably had twice the lethality of your average back-country settler. That is hardly the case today – and hasn’t been since the civil war. It just might be that we as a society are ready to make new rules that relate to conditions in this century, and the one’s to follow. But we most likely won’t.

  38. Silence

    @ Mark – I think if we start rethinking amendments, why not rethink them all? The first for instance, or the fifth or tenth.
    Back in the day we obviously needed freedom of the press and the right to worship as we pleased. Nowadays, religion just causes dangerous conflicts around the world and well, with the internets and citizen journalism we need to be very careful about what people are allowed to read!

    All around the world we are seeing people rise up in armed resistance, in many cases successfully against tyranny and dictatorships. I won’t speculate as to the outcome or who will ultimately end up on top, but we are seeing civilian resistance in Syria, Mali, South Sudan, Libya and many other places. Much of the resistance in these places is armed with fairly simple weaponry.
    Just to be clear: I’m absolutely not suggesting that we are living under a tyrannical dictatorship or that we should be encouraging an armed resistance. We live in a country where our government has orderly transitions of power and with the exception of Richland County, we freely exercise our right to vote. But back to my point, just look what a lightly armed insurgency was able to do in Iraq and Afghanistan against the most powerful army in the world. IED’s, homemade shaped charges, AK-47’s and the like created havoc and cost many lives. How much trouble did Russia have in the Caucuses?

    Contrast that to societies where the civilian population is not armed: Bahrain crushed their resistance, the Saudi’s and the UAE showed up to help keep things contained. Many other would be uprisings have been put down in the early stages.

  39. Karen McLeod

    @Silence–you’re right; private sales would be hard to enforce; that’s one reason why liability insurance might be a good idea. If you sell/give a gun to someone without the formalities, then the trail stops with you, especially if that person uses it to commit a felony, or leaves it out where someone can easily get it. If someone steals it from him, he’d best report it immediately, or you may be the person in trouble. We require liability insurance for cars, and guns are as dangerous if not more so. Holding the registered owner of the gun responsible sound like a place to start to assure accountability.


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