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Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?

What will it take for reasonable conversation about changes to our gun culture? Patch columnist Heather Borden Herve asks if the number of Newtown’s dead is finally reason to say, “Enough.”

I’m tired of the rhetoric, from all sides. I’m tired of the pro-gun statistic fight against the anti-gun statistic fight.

There comes a point where ‘this’ quote citation to defend constitutional originalism and ‘that’ quote citation to defend constitutional interpretation is basically like arms buildup. I’ll see your statistic and absolute proof that the Founding Fathers wanted us to keep our guns, and I’ll raise you my statistic and historically empirical evidence that they never could have imagined semi-automatic, rapid-firing reloading guns in the hands of citizens!

Quite honestly, I can’t decide if I’ve intentionally used that ‘arms buildup’ pun or not. Because I just don’t know what makes it through the rhetorical barrage anymore.

On each side, we find our numbers and quotes to defend our position and we’ll continue having the same argument unless we say, “Enough.”

Can we consider the possibility that a document that is almost 226 years old might need us to legitimately reconsider the context of 2013 when figuring out how to move forward? Can we consider that the unfathomable slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in a school, a place once considered a safe haven, is a price too high to pay to ignore that?

Because while we may debate the certainty of what the framers of the Constitution really did want when it comes to the Second Amendment, what I think we can all agree on with absolute certainty is that the individuals who wrote it did respect thoughtful consideration, reasonable debate, and discussion without absolutist decree. If they were content with failure to change, we never would have had found ourselves independent of England’s rule to begin with.

The closest thing I’ve found to even begin to approach reasonable discussion about the gun rights debate is an article in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg — a link to which was posted in one of the 110-plus comments of a Wilton Patch article I wrote last week about a local group that met with state legislators to talk about the issue. (I’m sure the reader who made the comment and link will be surprised that I’m citing it here, as he and I stand, by and large, on opposite sides of the debate.)

The Atlantic piece asserts that there are steps which could be taken to reduce access to guns and ammunition “for the criminially minded, for the dangerously mentally ill and for the suicidal, and that measures could be taken that sensibly restrict access to weapons and ammunition that “have no reasonable civilian purpose, and their sale could be restricted without violating the Second Amendment rights of individual gun owners.” However, he concludes, these efforts would be noble but “too late” to have any meaningful impact on the rate of gun violence.

He writes that it’s too late because of the number of guns — 280 to 300 million — in private hands in this country.

While I disagree with much of what the Atlantic writer asserts — from an emotional standpoint — I have to give the writer credit for speaking to experienced people around the country on both sides’ frontlines of the gun discussion: victims of gun violence, researchers, law enforcement officers, gun enthusiasts, and lobbyists and activists.

It’s a step toward acknowledgement of what each side believes; it concedes that each side has some ground, at the very least; and it starts to establish a foundation for how pro and con advocates might be able to stop ramming each other and start listening, if not conceding, to each other, “You’ve got a point.”

I acknowledge that I tend to come at this issue from my own, emotional perspective. Even this opinion column has to take a side, by definition, if not just by its headline. But the emotional arguments of gun-control crusaders that get belittled by the gun-rights activists are just as outsized as the fear-mongering assertions made by those same extreme gun-rightists meant to stop anti-gun advocates in their tracks.

But I suspect there are plenty of people in the middle who would like to figure out a way to move toward this rational discussion about how some changes can be made.

Haven’t we had enough of the killings to try? I guess not when some people think we don’t have enough guns, as if the solution to gun violence is more guns. Or that it’s too late to do anything about it because there are too many guns out there already, so why try anything at all?

We can keep headed the wrong way down the road, where more deaths are sure to happen, and just continue going the wrong way because we’ll eventually get to where we need to go. The world is round so all we have to do is circle the globe, we’ll get there eventually. But by then, there won’t be enough of us left on either side who say, “Enough.”

The Atlantic piece ends with Goldberg writing about gun-control advocate Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign, who asked, “’In a fundamental way, isn’t this a question about the kind of society we want to live in?’ Do we want to live in one ‘in which the answer to violence is more violence, where the answer to guns is more guns?’” Goldberg adds that in a nation with 300 million guns, it’s an irrelevant question.

That’s exactly why my initial question — “Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?” — needs to be seen as anything but irrelevant. It’s become the most relevant question of all.

Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM
I'm also intreaged by your theory that the closing of state mental hospitials was a bad thing. So where was the private sector to pick that up and do a better job at delivery care than the state could ever do?! You're not advocating opening up state hospitals again, are you?
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Gun deaths have nothing to do with the prevalence of guns in the country. That would be a false conclusion that is not defensible. (And no, I am not talking about total number of guns--I am talking about the prevalence of guns: i.e., the highest percentage of the population that own at least one gun--the U.S.A. is nowhere near the top in that category. There are countries that have more prevalence of guns, but less deaths. So the theory that "too many guns" lead to more gun deaths is an outright falsehood. Also: Anywhere from 10 to 16 countries surpass the U.S.A. in the total rate of deaths by firearms. South Africa and the Phillipines are right up with the U.S.A. in those rates. Switzerland is about half that--and the numbers are SMALL--tiny. No one has answered why we accept death rates from automobiles that DWARF gun death rate--yet some sectors are obsessed with gun deaths--usually the same sectors that like to trash the U.S.A. every step of the way on every topic every chance they get....but it is sensationalism, grandstanding, and creeping socialism, etc.
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Her's what Susan ACTUALLY said--instead of what others tried to sensationalize she said: "I do believe many of the tyrants (i.e. Hitler) did the same thing to his people then he turned on them and you know the rest." Never even mentioned the "Nazis". That's false sensationalism by another person; never used the word "rapists"--that's sensationalism by another who likes to put inflammatory words into other people's mouths&then attack the other person&continually repeat words/phrases that the person never used(old, tired tactic). FACT: NONE of the phrases she's accused of using did she actually use. And finally: FACT: I'll use the word Nazis&Hitler: they took guns away from citizens & tortured citizens& put them to death in addition to taking their guns: FACT. AlsoSusan said "I believe"--referring to an urban legend that although not technically true--has a kernel of truth to it&everyone knows what fascists/communists do. A postscript: The "expert" blogger who has no solution to offer--merely trashes the U.S.A.& conservatives every chance he gets, falsifies people's swords, attacks the straw man he created himself--that "expert" hasn't put forward 1 solution to the problem--but spent HOURS & HOURS trashing others. That "expert" (KD=AT=BL)only parrots a few small measures--then acts like it will change the world while he falsifies words of people truly debating the issue with false information...and if you ask a direct question or show his point to be moot, he runs away....
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM
MAINSTREAMING mentally struggling persons is THE EXACT reason why this event occurred--the EXACT reason. It is a liberal/progressive policy that has been foisted onto the education system and has led to a torrent of bullying and excessive spending and detrimental effects in public education. It is a policy that was used in a black and white fashion when it was removed--it is cumbersome and not able to be handled by the schools--yet sectors of society and the schools themselves INSIST on remaining in the mental health business at GREAT COST and harm to society....
Richard Cass January 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM
The Nazi party developed from the the far right; one faction was a paramilitary, anti-communist group. Calling any type of liberal a fascist is simply ridiculous.
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Yea! We're "only" #10 in gun death rate behind Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, Swaziland, Columbia,Brazil, Panama and Mexico! Let the good times roll!
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Certain bloggers muddying the waters and TOTALLY OFF POINT to the original challenge by Rob will not accomplish anything--and the persons muddying the waters know deep down inside that there is nothing to accomplish here that will change anything about Sandy Hook--sad that they are actually "USING" the sandy Hook incident to grandstand and move away from the root cause of the specific incident. This is a typical tactic in propaganda, creeping socialism and welfare statism, and people who think "government control" will create utopias--all reasonable people know that is baloney....
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:11 PM
@ RC: Totally inappropriate....
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM
To fair I just realized that the initial posts Mary wrote (and that I referred to here) were actually in a separate debate on the Patch. However what she said was accurately reflected. Mary Davis 8:48 pm on Monday, January 7, 2013 “Actually the rights in The Bill of Rights are God given, they are NOT earned and they are presume to be preexisting and without end….the government may elect to reduce magazine capacity for their own military if they choose, but the rights of the citizens shall not be infringed. You have the right to defend yourself using the arms of the day whether it be a musket, an AR-15 Bushmaster or someday photon blaster. This right the government can never take away or diminish. No rule, law of congress, executive order by Obama, law by Feinstein or any other politician can legally take this right away. It was given by our Creator as an inalienable right”. Mary Davis 7:04 pm on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 Liberals aren't interested in debate or discussion. They don't care about the rules and the ends justifying the means. We had a great country until liberals and progressives set us on the path to more socialism potentially tyranny. With Obama, it's never been worse. Its hard to be upbeat when I can see it all crumbling around me... some of you act like nero.. as we burn” Yep. Lots of wiggle room to compromise with her.
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM
The Nazi Party was evolved out of a Socialist party in Germany--a few of you need to get your money and your tuition back on that history course you took from a (liberal) professor.... ;)
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I wonder if the great country part was before or after slavery, or women being given the right to vote?! Billy Joel said it best: "the good ol days werent always good".
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Question Ryen: What if Ms. Lanza had been required to keep her Bushmaster (or all her guns) in a locker at a gun range because she had a person with acknowledged mental illness at home? I know you will say "Well, he wasnt officially diagnosed, blah blah"....but for sake of argument what is your position on a requirement like that?!
Richard Cass January 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Ok, well you're wrong. There is nothing else to say about it.
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I do not engage directly with any bloggers who consistently mis-quote others, try to sensationalize other people's comments, do not stay on point, do not answer questions directed to them about their own QUOTED comments, regularly engage in gratuitous personal attacks (calling people "danger to society" and "liars", etc.) or persons who make a comment and then say "I know what you are going to say" in their comment before the other person has spoken. It has been proven above that such people are not interested in actual debate or discussion, are biased, and have no real solution to add to the conversation. The truth hurts sometimes....
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Adam Lanza--while defective and suffering in the public school system and home school system unnecessarily--was immensely smart, but emotionally and psychologically damaged. Only partial reports on that came out in the lackluster media reporting. After whatever help he had and whatever precipitating event occurred--Mr. Lanza would have acted with the weapons available no matter what REASONABLE "system" or "storage" was in place--that has been stated and proven time and time again....
Rob Gianazza January 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Ryen, I'm going to disagree with you on this and ask that you spend a little time with Charlie Manos, Director of Special Education Services. Each student is individually evaluated and an Individual Educational Plan is developed for the student. Some students are out sourced due to the nature of their particular needs. Others are educated in classrooms with their peers, but assisted by a paraprofessional. They may not follow the regular school curricular, their IEP spells out their curricular according to their needs. The key is the IEP. How it is developed and evaluated.
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Slavery was around for MANY MILLENIA in the Western culture and still basically exists in some cultures. The U.S.A. was very late on the slavery scene--and mild about it compared to the history. (Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the thread--but some commentators apparently suffer from...well...I will leave that unspoken.....) Also has nothing to do with the greatness of the U.S.A.--it is well-documented--that has NOTHING to do with the thread, though. ;) LOL I would rather be a U.S. slave in 1860's with a decent or mediocre owner or a common household slave in ancient Greece than I would want to be a low-income laborer or poverty level worker in a fast-food restaurant in the modern Western world today--and any true educated thinking person--allowing for personal opinion and personal foibles and idiosyncracies--would agree with that if they actually think about it and understand the comment. Got that: BETTER to be an 1860's slave (median type) or an ancient Grecian slave--moderate household) than a low-income fast food laborer in the West today---got that liberal bloggers?
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I disagree with you Rob--the system does not work at all. Only works for certain "easy" cases. Schools should not be in that business--not cost-effective. the schools are WAY outside their original mandate and they are sinking and failing. just a matter of time. Adam Lanza is an example of the failure of a town and a public school--exacerbated by the broken family problem and the mother's inability to get traction and cope with this herself. Complex--but the public schools are NOT the place for this sort of kid and many more like him--the public schools are beginning to fail in great patches around the country with REGULAR kids--never mind emotionally challenged and psychologically challenged kids...
Ryen January 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM
I quote a source: "The National Socialist German Workers' Party (abbreviated NSDAP), commonly known in English as the Nazi Party, was a political party in Germany between 1920 and 1945. Its predecessor, the German Workers' Party (DAP), existed from 1919 to 1920. [The term Nazi is German and stems from Nationalsozialist, due to the pronunciation of Latin -tion- as -tsion- in German (rather than -shon- as it is in English) with German Z being pronounced as 'ts'.] The party was founded out of the...volkisch German nationalist movement...that fought against the uprisings of communist revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany." These parties advocated a form of socialism and movements in Germany became common during and after World War I, influencing Nazism.... We can argue forever about the "right-wing" and "left wing" part of it--especially in Germany--but the fact is that the political spectrum is better thought of as a CIRCLE rather than a line--maybe that is your confusion Richard. If you go far enough left or far enough right--you eventually come to fascism--there is CERTAINLY fascism on the right and left--if you do not realize that then you are simply wrong....
Rob Gianazza January 11, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Ryen, the fact is that public schools are required by law, not by choice, to educate students with disabilities up to the age of twenty-one. It is not a business they relish, but one they must comply with. The cost of educating a non-special needs student is minimal compared to the cost of educating special needs students. Since no two special needs students are the same, each student is evaluated individually. The decision to provide services in-house rather than out sourced is based solely on student needs. Yes, economics does come into play. Sometimes specialists are brought in, some are contractual, others full time employees of the District. The parents have the right to challenge the school if they feel that their child is not being treated and educated as required by state law. I am no expert on this, but eight years on the Board of Education gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about special education. Again I urge you or anyone else with an interest to contact Mr. Charlie Manos at the Brookfield School Office.
Richard Cass January 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM
And what is your source? I'd be curious to read it. If I am wrong, I will demand a full refund for the course in fascism I took in grad school.
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Wow! The mindset is finally revealed! Didn't those ignorant people understand they were BETTER OFF AS SLAVES". Nice Ryen! I hope the world now sees whats behind the curtain of this ideology!
Ken D. January 11, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Yea he may have acted and stabbed his mother with a fork or something....now pumped hundreds of bullets into tiny bodies. My debate with you is over Ryen. These justifications and your slavery comments should sicken any eeasoning person!!
Ken D. January 12, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Ryen.....let me help you. Since you read Susan's post so carefully it must be that you need a cross reference. She did say Hitler and not Nazi. So I guess you must think she meant Hitler personally went around confiscating guns. Oh and she did use the word "rape". I made the leap of faith that you knew a person who commits rape is called a rapist. Are really so pedantic as to imply my saying Nazi instead of Hitler and rapist instead of rape is putting words in their mouth?! Boy thats lame.
Tim January 13, 2013 at 01:23 AM
I think he's be more fitted for MSLSD and it's line up of back to back freak shows.
Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:07 PM
You ask, Richard, and I deliver: It is a well-documented fact that fascism (as we know it in the West) arose in early 19th century Italy and derived it inspiration and impetus from extreme left-wing and extreme right-wing under-pinnings. This is not rocket science, Richard. Please see: Sternhell, Zeev, Mario Sznajder and Maia Ashéri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton University Press, 1994) p. 161. ^ a b Borsella, Cristogianni and Adolph Caso. Fascist Italy: A Concise Historical Narrative (Wellesley, Massachusetts: Branden Books, 2007) p. 76.
Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:13 PM
A typical re-wording by Ken! Thanks for more proof! I said "I" would be--I did not refer to any group of people--ha ha. Thanks for proving the stereotypes and political correctness and propaganda you foster, Ken! (KD=AT=JP=all the same person :) But it is better than that: not only did you re-word my actual language--like you do hundreds of times a week on this site--but you also proved that you do not understand my comment. Because you do not understand history and culture of the West. If you can compare and contrast a moderate Greek household slave and a moderate Civil War household slave and a low-income, urban fast-food worker with a family today--please blow me away and do it? I will wait. One thing you should not do is constantly try to twist other people's words and try to put your inane, ignorant words in their mouth--just not civil discourse, Ken. Speak for yourself, buddy? Agreed? LOL ;) Do not speak for me... LOL
Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:16 PM
You still added NOTHING to the original debate except "parroting" other's comments and cutting and pasting some meaningless statistics with regard to the root cause of the shooting. You just cannot fight your way out of even THAT paper bag...er, wet paper bag..... :) Enjoy! You are not an honorable opponent in debate KD=AT=JP=etc. Just read your attacks.... LOL
Jimmy Pursey January 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
There you are, Ryen. I see you've also bogged this thread down with your petty bickering, paranoia-fueled lies, and pseudo-intellectualism.
Ryen March 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM
NEWS FLASH: Headline: "Dogs Maul Toddler While Family is at Home" Storyline from the web: "A toddler who slipped outside through a doggie door was mauled to death by her family's seven dogs in the backyard while the attack went unnoticed by the child's mother and other relatives inside their home, a southeast Georgia sheriff said Thursday. Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith: "The child's grandmother told us she was lying in bed when she heard the pit bulls/pit bull mixes barking...she looked outside her window to see them dragging the girl. Smith said she began yelling, "They're killing Monica!" It was too late....Monica Renee Laminack, who would have turned 2 on June 1, was dead by the time an ambulance arrived Wednesday evening. Animal control officers used drugs to euthanize the dogs at the home on a rural road in tiny Ellabell, about 30 miles west of Savannah. Deputies found the girl's shoes, diaper and shredded clothing scattered across the fenced-in yard.... "They had dragged the child all over the yard. ... They tore her clothes all up," Smith said.... The toddler lived in a modest, two-story house tucked away from the main road." *END OF NEWS STORY* Where is the outrage? THIRTY FIVE (35) innocanet children die from dog bites and dog attacks EVERY YEAR! No one cares about that? Every year, year in and year out. Yet we are worried about a false solution to a gun incident--these laws and bans would not change Sandy Hook in the least! THINK about it!

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