Tread gingerly

National dialogue in wake of shooting must be thoughtful, honest

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President Obama’s address to the heartbroken hamlet of Newtown, Conn., could scarcely have been more elegant or eloquent. It was a desperately needed salve on an aching, open wound.

In the modern age, the nation’s commander in chief has also become, de facto, the comforter in chief. Mr. Obama stepped into that role Sunday with grace and warmth.

As delicately as he tiptoed around the fresh pain of Friday’s mass shooting of 20 elementary school children and six adults, we hope he is no less discreet and assiduous in guiding the government’s response to the massacre. He will need as steady and calm a hand then as he exhibited on Sunday.

The emotional reflex for many, even as we cry for the children, has been to cry for the guns.

We understand the sentiment. But in truth, even in the grip of staggering grief, we’re hard-pressed to think of any new gun law acceptable to a free nation that would have prevented this tragedy. Indeed, a store in Connecticut, which boasts some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, reportedly denied the young suspect in this case the purchase of a rifle just days before the carnage.

On the contrary, perhaps there are laws surrounding mental illness that can be looked at. Critics note that the nation became so appalled at its inpatient treatment of those with mental illnesses – and so repulsed by the costs – that we may have gone too far in the other direction.

Are there enough community-based services available to parents and other relatives of those with mental illness? Are the laws regarding that treatment, or inpatient treatment, sufficient?

Again, this is a most treacherous area to trod. America has come light years from its past in terms of how it looks at and cares for people with mental illness, and we cannot go back. But we do no one any favor if we are too timid to explore whether we’ve been so cautious with them that we’ve abandoned them.

We talk endlessly today about children with special needs.

We don’t talk so much about to what extent those needs are being met.

A woman with a mentally ill son in Idaho wrote this weekend that, “I am Adam Lanza’s mother.”

“I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me,” Liza Long wrote, in a blog that has gone viral and even inspired NBC News to interview her.

After repeated violent episodes with the boy, and a social worker’s lame advice that she needed to get him charged with a crime in order to get him in jail, Long writes that she took him, again, to a mental health facility.

“On the intake form, under the question, ‘What are your expectations for treatment?’ I wrote, ‘I need help.’ And I do. ...

“In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness. ... It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.”

We don’t know how these issues play into the Newtown tragedy. But the suspect appears to have been clearly troubled – as did his predecessors in Tucson, Aurora and elsewhere. And these issues surely must play a central role in the coming national dialogue.

We may need an apolitical commission to delve into all these issues. Political expediency and poorly thought-out reactions to the Newtown massacre won’t do anything to honor the dead or prevent others.

Thoughtful and honest action just might.

Comments (41) Add comment
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faithson
4784
Points
faithson 12/18/12 - 03:00 am
5
12
justification

There is not one argument, not one, that can justify 30 round clips and combat weapons in the possession of the populous. Collectors, with certification, sure, but the average joe blow, no way jose. Do your best guys, but your blowin' smoke.

Jon Lester
2269
Points
Jon Lester 12/18/12 - 03:12 am
12
1
I happen to be a left-wing gun person.

I believe all rights secured by our Constitution are equally important.

The answers we needed the most are the ones that died with the assailant and his mother, of whom I shall not speak ill, regardless of anecdotal cause.

Regular readers of this page may be surprised that I've been more than a little dismayed by supposedly liberal voices expressing sentiments that are every bit as prejudiced, generalized and disparaging as those of the worst racists around. Personally, when someone seriously proposes repealing the Second Amendment, I immediately lose all trust, because, what's to stop them from pushing to compromise the others?

Two very integral parts to the problem are the state of mental health care in this country, and the way in which pharmaceutical companies are allowed to aggressively market their most potentially dangerous products in a free market. For the money we spend visiting similarly unspeakable horrors upon foreign peoples on a near-daily basis, we could be doing much more to cure the American psyche.

freeradical
1042
Points
freeradical 12/18/12 - 07:02 am
9
5
The Taliban has free access

The Taliban has free access to " 30 round clips " and then some .

Their affinity for mass killings with explosives notwithstanding .

Until you man up & address why an entire demographic of overaged

mama's boys with doctorates & Phd's desire to do as much killing as

Hitler & Stalin it is you that are the glaring smoke blower.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 08:14 am
17
5
"There is not one argument,
Unpublished

"There is not one argument, not one, that can justify 30 round clips and combat weapons in the possession of the populous. "

There is not one argument, not one, that can justify a car that is capable of driving faster than the speed limit, yet we still have them.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 08:16 am
14
6
And YES there is a good
Unpublished

And YES there is a good argument. The Constitution was written by men who had JUST overthrough a tyrant government, and they wanted to ensure that it could be done again if need be. A 30 rnd magazine (no one makes a 30 rnd "clip") will at least give the people a fighting chance.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 12/18/12 - 08:28 am
15
0
Yes, let's look at the other issue

Yes, let's look at the other issue. People with severe emotional problems used to be placed in institutions a lot more regularly than has been the case for the past couple of decades. It's relatively recently been the practice not to institutionalize, but to medicate and let the mentally ill stay wherever they live, if they even have a place to live.

Judges used to put emotionally ill in state mental institutions for evaluation at any sign of irrational behavior. Schools used to expell students at the drop of a hat for unusual behavior. THIS idea we should medicate and let them stay out of supervised control is faulty and THAT'S what should be addressed.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 12/18/12 - 11:58 am
16
0
In 1927 in Bath, Michigan the

In 1927 in Bath, Michigan the worst U.S. school massacre in history occurred and dynamite was used, not guns. The murderer was a distraught political candidate.

KasparHauser
350
Points
KasparHauser 12/18/12 - 08:47 am
0
2
Cowards...
Unpublished

Looks like the AC is running from this topic with its tail between its legs just as quickly as the NRA, which took down its Facebook page after all this happened (AGAIN), this time during the important Christmas gun buying season.

That must be how editorial trolls and website owners hold their hands over their ears and chant "I can't hear you, La, La, La, I can't hear you, ..."

nofanofobama
6750
Points
nofanofobama 12/18/12 - 08:59 am
15
2
when can we start dicussing

when can we start dicussing the real reasons we have these killings---as long as we do not start honestly addressing the moral decay of our society and just blame guns ...we will never solve the or even get a handle on the real problem.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/18/12 - 09:01 am
4
15
Why do people always seem to

Why do people always seem to leave out the, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" part?
It sounds like the founding fathers expected folks to have, "good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder". The 2nd Amendment was written to insure the federal government could have a sufficient fighting force in case of invasion or rebellion, not the other way around. The Constitution provided a method of changing the government through peaceful means, ie. Congressional election every 2 years, Presidential every 4, and Senate every 6. What they feared were groups that would try to violently overthrow the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT or invasion from some other nation. That's where the militia part comes in. It insures the federal government via the President and Congress could call up the state militias to put down a rebellion. Sorry to burst the bubble of those who mistakingly (probably due to NRA propaganda) hoped that it allowed them to violently overthrow the US.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 12/18/12 - 09:06 am
14
2
The Real Purpose of the Second Amendment

Along Humble Angela’s line, that’s what most people don’t understand, even some avid gun enthusiasts. It’s why military style weapons with large magazines should be allowed. This is not about hunting. The more equal to military small arms of today, the more closely the intent of the second amendment. The writers of the Constitution were keenly aware of the danger of government and a STANDING ARMY ON OUR SOIL. Our huge police forces from the national to the local levels would have them saying, “See, we told you.” That’s what the second amendment is about. Threats to freedom.

The Bill of Rights, and in particular the second amendment, is a limit on the national government. The writers were aware of the dangers of national government and wanted to limit that power. They knew the second amendment limited the power of government. The second amendment took the power away from the national government to regulate firearms.

Individual rights are assured with the Bill of Rights and it’s inconsistent to argue for the other freedoms and not the second amendment. Frankly, what was intended might scare some today. The writers wanted people to have a way to resist government whether anyone wants to admit it or not. THEY KNEW GOVERMENTS CAN GO BAD.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 09:21 am
12
4
"The 2nd Amendment was
Unpublished

"The 2nd Amendment was written to insure the federal government could have a sufficient fighting force in case of invasion or rebellion, not the other way around. "

And you know this how? Logic dictates that since the framers had JUST overthrown the government, they knew that it is sometimes necessary. Why would they want to prevent it if it became necessary again?

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/18/12 - 09:26 am
4
8
They had also just FORMED a

They had also just FORMED a government. Read.

faithson
4784
Points
faithson 12/18/12 - 09:33 am
3
6
Intent

To much talk of 'fending off' the government to justify ownership of such an amazing amount of firepower.
This paranoid undercurrent perpetrated by the NRA and embellished by supposed 'libertarians' is ludicrous. Have at it if you must, but if ever there was a 'parting of the ways' on an issue, the idea that my neighbor needs to arm himself like a solider in Afghanistan, is one.
This is only one small piece in the work ahead. As many have stated above, mental health issues should also be addressed.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 12/18/12 - 12:00 pm
11
2
They had also just undergone

They had also just undergone a revolution against the most powerful government in the world and were in fear of such tyranny. Honestly, we can debate what should be done today, but the intent of the writers of the second amendment is crystal clear from any serious historical perspective.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 09:37 am
8
4
Of course they formed a
Unpublished

Of course they formed a government. What a rediculous statement ...what choice did they have after they just overthrew the one that was there? ..... Anarchy? It doesn't change the fact that the KNEW that there are times when the people MUST overthrow a corrupt and tyrannical government.

faithson
4784
Points
faithson 12/18/12 - 09:41 am
3
12
became necessary again?

paranoid illusion, to much faux/rush/glenn/hannity propaganda. This acceptance of an end-times philosophy skews one's perspective as these boards so often prove.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 09:42 am
11
4
It sounds like the founding
Unpublished

It sounds like the founding fathers expected folks to have, "good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder".

So, techfan.....you agree that the founding fathers expected the people to have pretty much the equivalent firepower of the average soldier of the time?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 09:44 am
7
4
Faithson. It happened
Unpublished

Faithson. It happened before, why is it paranoia to believe that the same thing can happen again? Why is it paranoia to believe that the founders wanted the people to be able to defend themselves against their own government, but NOT paranoia to believe that they needed to be able to defend themselves from invading countries? Neither has happened......................yet.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 12/18/12 - 09:48 am
8
2
Faithson, no one wants civil

Faithson, no one wants civil war, but that's another issue. Historical accuracy of the meaning and reasons for the second amendment is another. Sure, I see what you mean about it all sounding extreme today, but we are not allowed to pick and choose the personal freedom amendments we uphold. And to put this back on issue, the discussion today should be about mental health, not a constitutional right to bear arms.

Fiat_Lux
14845
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/18/12 - 09:57 am
10
3
Looks like an even split this morning

About half those commenting appear to have been awake and listening during 9th grade civics, while the other half either slept through it or credulously swallowed the disinformation and anti-constitution indoctrination being put out as higher education since at least the mid-1970s.

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 12/18/12 - 10:12 am
8
4
I am constantly amazed....

At the argument about high capacity arms. Can ANYBODY point to me, a case where a HC weapon was used to kill someone, that a traditional hunting weapon would not have been equally lethal?

I can only think of one, and that was the shootout in Hollywood a few years back. Just like turning healthcare upside down for 15% of the people; you want threaten the second amendment over a rarity.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 10:19 am
5
4
Exactly, isanotheray. During
Unpublished

Exactly, isanotheray. During the assault weapons ban (incorrectly named because a pistol grip does not make a weapon an assault weapon) you could still get a 10 rnd magazine. It only takes seconds to change magazines. Bayonett lugs were banned as well, because we know that those drive by bayonett killings were rampant!

This picture sums up the effectiveness of the 90's assault weapons ban.

http://gunway.s3.amazonaws.com/shot_photos/fb265323dbf2ac586f4505009a26f...

CobaltGeorge
149956
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/18/12 - 10:31 am
6
4
I Guess I Have

come on board too late. RM and Angela has already stolen my comment.

Off the record, just think for a minute the way our government is going under the control of the Hammer & Sickle man and merry followers. Could they be to scared of True Americans having the same fire power as they do?

CobaltGeorge
149956
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/18/12 - 10:55 am
2
1
Here's A Link

to all the facts you need on Gun Control:

http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

Bizkit
29184
Points
Bizkit 12/18/12 - 11:10 am
7
0
Right, limit guns or

Right, limit guns or ammo-then they will just make a pipe bomb that will kill more people at one time and increase the toll. You can't eliminate a means to kill people-it's ridiculous. Alchohol and drugs kill more people than guns but I don't see a rush to ban either-just the opposite. What about obesity=dang a real killer-we need to force people to lose weight by regulating their food intake and exercise. Studies have demonstrated a clear link with movies, TV, and game violence and bullying, school performance, and violence. Our problem isn't the peripheral use of weapons but a society gone amuck. It's difficult to rationalize to a young mind about killing-because we have the death penalty, abortion, and war that are OK to kill humans, but no murder, gang violence, no torture, or other violence. They get mixed messages.Studies indicate our sense of morality develops as we develop.

Bizkit
29184
Points
Bizkit 12/18/12 - 11:13 am
8
2
I just want a weapon to

I just want a weapon to protect myself in case Pres. Obama decides to kill another American citizen without due process-me. That's a good reason to have a gun for protection from a govt gone awry. Course I guess if he uses a drone then it won't matter, but a kid can take a radio controlled airplane and make a bomb drone just as effective. Gee, I shouldn't give them any ideas.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/18/12 - 11:18 am
9
4
Good point.....I was called
Unpublished

Good point.....I was called paranoid for believing that the government can turn on its citizens....yet this president has already killed at least one of its citizens without due process.

billcass
682
Points
billcass 12/18/12 - 11:26 am
10
5
Hypocrisy

I believe the president's speech was well toned and well timed. But I cannot help but notice the hypocrisy of President Obama and others on the left who openly champion the "right" of someone to murder their own child in the name of "choice" advocating an end to violence against children. More children are killed every day in the name of "choice" then were killed in Newtown. Yet they get no press, no presidential outrage, and no call to ban the barbarism that cuts their lives short. Are they any less worthy of our sympathy than those children killed in Connecticut? But just as those on the left accuse conservatives of cowering to the special interests of the NRA, those on the left won't dare take a stand against abortion for fear of angering the special interests of Planned Parenthood and its ilk. Sheer hypocrisy.

dichotomy
30503
Points
dichotomy 12/18/12 - 12:55 pm
1
1
The issue of "militia" has

The issue of "militia" has been decided by the SCOTUS and the phrase 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" is pretty clear.

Humber Angela makes the valid point behind the 2nd Amendment. Our founders did not trust Government and decided that all citizens should retain the right, and capability, to defend themselves against an oppressive government in addition to self defense. As we all see, governments can become oppressive and they have rapid fire weapons. The citizens should be allowed to keep up with the threat as best they can afford. I'm not even sure that our extreme licensing procedure for fully automatic weapons is constitutional considering the extreme expense and fees involved.

There is a reason for the 2nd Amendment. There is absolutely NO reason for our idiotic policy of allowing the mentally ill to roam the streets and be "mainstreamed" with no system in place to control or treat them. All of these cases of mass shootings have been committed by person who had previously identified as having some type of mental illness and/or being withdrawn sociopaths not fitting the norm.

I am not inclined to give up my constitutional rights so that society can feel good about not inconveniencing their little homegrown nutcases and sociopaths which they have spent 40 years mainstreaming, protecting, and refusing to forcibly treat because it might violate their "rights".

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