The recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is one of the most horrible in recent memory.  The actions of that young man were as incomprehensible as they were inexcusable and we as a country need to learn from what happened to better protect ourselves and our children.  What is even more inexcusable and, in my mind just as disgusting, is the way gun control advocates use this tragedy to support their agenda.  

As the details unfold we are starting to see there was a lot of anger and hate in this young man.  To be driven to shoot anyone 11 times, let alone a child, indicates this young man was feeling emotions no one reading this post has probably ever felt and hopefully will never experience. We don't know the relationship he had with his mother, whether he was told the divorce between his parents was because of him or anything about the family dynamics.

This is all irrelevant to the gun-control crowd and their fetish with anything high-powered.  It was the guns, plain and simple.  Not just any gun, but the 'assault rifle'.  That is what set him off. Simple, isn't it?  Unfortunately, in real life, things are usually not that simple. 

We need to take issue with this young man's behavior, not the methods he used to carry out his deeds just like we would any other criminal.  Killing is wrong, whether you use a gun, fly a plane into a building, set someone on fire with gasoline or run someone or a group of people over with a car. It is the killing that is wrong, not the methods employed.

It is the behavior and the cause(s) of that behavior that we need to be concerned with.

I was living on Long Island, NY when Colin Furgeson killed 6 and injured 19 on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train. 

According to the testimony at the trial Ferguson selected a commuter train headed to Nassau County. Once the train entered Nassau, Ferguson began shooting, selecting specific white people to gun down and sparing others. The reasons for his selection of who to shoot and who not was never made clear.

As he stopped to reload his gun for the third time he was overpowered by three passengers and held down until the police arrived.  He did not use an assault rifle.  He used a pistol. Every single law enforcement officer that I have interviewed regarding this said that if there was just one armed person on that train things would have turned out completely different.  Remember, he had emptied his gun twice and was reloading a third time before the passengers were able to overcome their terror and bum rush him.  Had the people on that train be able to protect themselves (had their own pistol) my guess and the unanimous opinion of the law enforcement officials I spoke with is that he wouldn't have managed to reload once.

I own an 'assault rifle' for home defense, specifically to even the odds against the increasingly frequent armed home break-ins by multiple intruders.  The rifle affords me protection from lunatics, in other words.  Now, I am free to forgo gun ownership and wait for the police to arrive and save me.  What usually winds up happening to people like that is the police simply gather evidence and notify the next of kin.  Will I get to my gun in time?  Who knows, but it is there and if I do get to it we now have a fair fight.  


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Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 20, 2012 at 11:09pm


Thanks for taking the time to comment.  We don't.


Comment by Pete Robson on December 20, 2012 at 10:47pm

You are right in what you say of course, its the actions of a deluded mind that kill. But can I just ask, because this is what is so difficult for the non US mind to understand, is given that there are deluded people out there, why the hell you would allow them access to weapons?

Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 20, 2012 at 1:41pm


Here are some more facts to consider:

* Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16] 

* Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18]

* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21] 

• 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"

• 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun"

• 69% personally knew other criminals who had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"[22]


All citations can be found here:

Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 20, 2012 at 1:09pm


Thanks for the comments.  You need to check your facts; your statement that the imposition of stricter gun laws bring down murder rates. This was a recognized fallacy back in 2000.

From the report:

" In Israel and Switzerland, for example, a license to possess guns is available on demand to every law-abiding adult, and guns are easily obtainable in both nations. Both countries also allow widespread carrying of concealed firearms, and yet, admits Dr. Arthur Kellerman, one of the foremost medical advocates of gun control, Switzerland and Israel “have rates of homicide that are low despite rates of home firearm ownership that are at least as high as those in the United States.” A comparison of crime rates within Europe reveals no correlation between access to guns and crime."

Go read the report.  It should clear up your misconceptions.


Comment by James Kz on December 20, 2012 at 9:24am

I would note your phrase "in recent memory." It is quick how the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, the mall shooting in Oregon, and the Aurora theatre shootings so quickly faded from the public conscious, even though they were all less than a year ago.

And yes it was the guns. The same day of the Newtown shootings, there was a school attack in China. With a knife. Numerous children injured and none died. Yes it is the guns.

The experiment has already been done: in every civilised Western nation in the world. Impose stricter gun laws, murder rates go down.

Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 20, 2012 at 9:08am


Thanks for responding. Great insights and you drive home a very profound point:  our fundamental approach to issues needs to be examined critically. We need to get a handle on why we as a species do things such as Newtown and what, if anything, we can do to mitigate against it.  As a naturalist I have certain opinions about the methodology used for approaching issues.  Yet, in spite of its unequaled track record of success, people refuse to consider naturalism because of what it implies about who they are in a very fundamental way.  That resistance will be hard to overcome.  


Comment by jay H on December 20, 2012 at 7:11am
This is what bothers me about this approach:

At the core of this problem is the mindset of treating an entire population, not on the harm that indivduals are actually doing, but according to what some crazy people might do. Because some nutter does something, the knee jerk reaction, the 'easiest' out is to restrict everyone.

Freedom should be based on a very different principle, that people doing no harm should be left alone. While gun ownership is an extreme case, this same logic is filtering through to other areas right now with calls for video game and film censorship; because, somewhere, someone might be motivated to violence. Back in the 90s the Clinton administration was very seriously pursuing a policy of restricting computer encryption technology to forms that could be read by government on the argument that criminals would use encryption to hide their activities. The only thing that saved us that time was that the tech grew so rapidly and it became so essential to business, that the government could not really control it.

If freedom can be justifiably restricted on the basis of what a small population of evil people can do, we have no freedom.
Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 20, 2012 at 12:15am


Worth at least 5 shekels and a bowl of soup. :)  I agree wholeheartedly.   It would be interesting to see what society will be like 300 years into the future.  They, like us looking back at society 300 years ago, will be convinced we were idiots. And by their standards, we probably are. :)


Comment by Frankie Dapper on December 19, 2012 at 9:11pm


Restrictions on guns is part of the answer, not a panacea. In the law of large numbers surely more restricted access will prevent some harm. Perhaps a greater awareness of severe alienation and mental illness and a responsibility to report observations will prevent additional harm.

Just as surely tragedies will continue regardless of measures and awareness, a mitigated scope of the damages is all that can be realistically expected. And unless technology and science advance and big brother state is forthcoming nothing will really change. 

My three shekels.

Comment by Richard Lawrence on December 19, 2012 at 8:21pm


Thanks again for the response.  I appreciate the intelligent comments. If the spectrum is spitballs to nukes I would have to say that assault rifles, or any firearms that shoot bullets, would be closer to the spitball than to a nuclear weapon.  Now, if you are talking about cruise missiles, howitzer shells and carpet bombing then we are much further over towards the nuclear side of things.

I agree with you that there needs to be a change and that a change is coming.  What I am concerned about is that everyone seems to think that more restrictions on guns is the answer.  It isn't.

Ever hear of Anders Breivik?  Hint: he comes from Norway.  Check out what he did. Now Norway has some pretty strict gun control laws so what did he do?  Went on E-Bay and bought what he needed, some of which came from England.  In his own words, "E-Bay is your friend."  Here was a cold, ruthless psychopath with an agenda.  It didn't matter what laws Norway had enacted, he simply went elsewhere and got what he needed.

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