Another school massacre


One more mass shooting at a Florida school on top of the dozens we’ve already had.

What is wrong with this country? This is lunacy. Gun violence it totally out of control. No child should have to be afraid of being shot at school.

Why aren’t the spineless idiots we elected to congress doing something about this?

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 30,000 firearm deaths in the U.S. every year and over 70,000 non-fatal injuries.

There will always be delusional people with violent and behavioral disorders, but they shouldn’t be allowed to even get close to guns, let alone purchase them.

I don’t care what the Second Amendment might say, it’s time to break the gun culture in this country.

  • A complete ban on private citizen ownership or possession of automatic and semi-automatic weapons
  • Sale or transfer of any firearm must be accompanied by a through background check, a mental health assessment and a firearms safety course
  • Single-shot hunting rifles, muzzleloaders and shotguns could be purchased for hunting
  • Handgun purchases only on a demonstrated need-to-own basis
  • Firearm ownership and possession would require licensing
  • Purchase of ammunition would require proof of a firearm ownership license
  • All purchases of ammunition would be tracked and registered in a federal database
  • All firearms would be registered and all firearm owners would be registered, along with which firearms they owned
  • Firearm owners with children in the house would be required to keep firearms in a locked firearm safe
  • Convicted felons permanently lose their right to own any firearm. Former felons caught with a firearm would be subject to a prison sentence
  • Black market sales of guns or ammunition would incur an automatic 10- to 20-year prison sentence and would be rigidly enforced
  • Criminal activities involving firearms (even simple possession) would incur mandatory prison sentences

Horrific, sad, and maddening. We are all looking for ways to stop it. I could be wrong, but here is my take.

My opinion is that school shootings are a ‘meme’ that spreads from mind to mind, like the ice-bucket challenge. They are patterns of thinking where a certain action is followed by a certain reaction.

In case of school shootings, for many years there is this meme of a disgruntled kid who is tortured by his peers for years, finally ‘takes matters in his own hands’ and ‘shows who is boss’. In this state of mind, the kid has nothing to lose, and feels like his life is over anyway. Nothing matters, but making a final statement. A cry for help to be heard, and to end it all. At an early age, a human psyche doesn’t have enough hardening. Anything that happens feels like a life and death situation. These kids are unable to see the bigger picture, and that it does get better. Their hurt ego, and confused mind drives them insane, tunnel visioned, and lead to picking up a meme as solution to their problem.

What is the solution to end these shootings once and for all?

Is it a ‘gun problem’? Yes, and no. If theoretically there was a way to get rid of the guns, would it solve the problem? Not really. The guns are just a tool of destruction, albeit an effective one. The core problem would remain, and unfortunately there are many ways to destroy people in mass other ways, besides shooting them. The easiest of course is using a truck and driving into a mass ceremony, like a terrorist not long ago. School shooters could become school arsonists, they could poison people with a gas, etc. I don’t want to give ideas, but you get the concept.

Can we stop bullying and creating an environment so toxic that turns kids mad? Yes, and no. We certain can improve this situation. We can do that by education, etc. But likely we can’t change human social behaviour over-night. We can’t force change either. If you punish a bully constantly, he may turn into a school shooter himself.

What can we then? We should stop the propagation of the meme. Without the meme, disgruntled kids won’t think of school shooting as a solution in their darkest hour. We have to replace the school shooting meme, with a new meme, where the kids seek professional help.

How do we stop the propagation of the meme? Well, this is actually possible. The first step is we have to have a rule that media can only do very minimal reporting on such events. We should punish any news organization that spreads the meme and creates a story around it. We can never show the face of the shooter, we don’t talk about the victims, we don’t keep going about it for weeks. And the same would apply to any public figures or celebrities. Politicians will not be allowed to use the events to push their agenda, even if they have the best intention. And, generally every private person should stop talking about it. The appeal of a mass shooting with no coverage would fall dramatically because it’s not a statement anymore. It’s an unnoticed event that ‘nobody cares about’.

This is not just theory. In certain areas of the world, criminals are hidden away from public attention in a similar way for the same reason. They are not given their fame and attention they seek, thus the attraction is much less to commit the crimes in the first place.

The school shooting meme is very strong. There is lots of documentation about old events, people made movies and books about them, etc. It can’t be erased in an instant. It will take maybe 10 years or more until the grip of this meme starts to fall apart. But by consistently applying the policy we can make it happen.

The media just has to understand, that this is not the time to make a quick buck. By blowing up these events and by talking about them for weeks, they are putting down the foundation for the next several shootings. They are directly responsible for them. They have to understand what is going on (I bet they already do) and they have to stop.

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I agree with you about the recent plague of school shootings by other students being a meme, of sorts, that certain vulnerable students fall victim to. As evidence of this, the U.S. has always been saturated with guns, yet this school shooting scourge didn’t exist 20 years ago, before the Columbine shootings.

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t confined to schools, bullying and disturbed student. Neither the Sandy Hook School killings, the church shootings in Texas nor the horrendous Las Vegas mass shootings, for example, were committed by students. Even if we consider these incidents as part of a larger, societal meme, it still doesn’t explain the fact that, according to The American Journal of Medicine, the U.S. has six times the rate of gun deaths as our neighbor, Canada, and 25 times the firearm-related murder rates of other high-income, developed countries. And that’s just one source of many that cites similar statistics.

Yes, it would be difficult to remove most of the guns from a country with the highest per capita gun ownership in the world — even with a mandatory, government buy-back program. There’s also some superficial logic in gun proponent arguments about outlawing guns resulting in only criminals having guns. There are other easy ways to commit mass murders, like driving a pickup truck down a bicycle path in Manhattan. And both Great Britain’s and Australia’s gun control efforts had mixed initial results, but have had longer-term success. ( Here’s a story about Australia’s experience from Reuters: )

None of this clouds the fact that there are 30,000 firearm deaths in this country each year and twice as many injured, yet our lawmakers refuse to do anything about it. These school shootings, as horrendous as they might be, are just the obvious tip of an iceberg of gun-related epidemic of violence in this country. The absurd rate of gun homicides in America speaks for itself in the following chart from Everytown Research.

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That chart is somewhat misleading though. It’s a cherry picked list of countries. There are 17 countries with higher rates than the US, and there is a gradual decrease with 17 countries between US and Canada. Clearly that chart was produced with an agenda.

Also, it’s important to consider that all the non-US countries except for Canada and UK are small countries with a high standard of living. The US is big and it has all kinds of areas with poor and rich areas. If we were to compare a rich area of the US with these cherry picked countries it would be similar in rate. Some areas of the US are as poor as some South American nations, which have higher than the US gun homicides.

Also, we must consider the long term consequences of an unarmed population. Many of the European countries where gun ownership was severely limited or fully banned have been overrun by various dictators and occupiers, and people were slaughtered and then enslaved because they didn’t have a fighting chance. The US on the other hand has a very stable democracy partly because no dictator even tried to take over the country knowing full well the risks of an armed uprising. This is a long term benefit and contribution to wellbeing of gun ownership. The price to pay is all the shootings and accidents. It’s a choice between two bad outcomes. :frowning:

Having said that I don’t own a gun, nor do I plan to own one. I don’t know what is the best policy. Maybe in the future we will have a supercomputer or a general AI that can calculate all the interactions and complexities of policies like gun control and give us an answer we can trust.


I agree that it’s a meme that the media just can’t resist. I think there should be some coverage about what is learned and what is different about each shooting. I think there should be some attention given to the lives of the victims if those closest to the victims want it that way. There should be no attention given to the shooter’s identities, only to their pattern of behavior so that we might better predict and prevent such patterns.

I agree that if a person wants it bad enough, they would attempt another way of mass killing if they didn’t have guns to rely on. I just think guns make it the easiest of all the methods. Many people who have tried to make bombs ended up blowing themselves up. Vehicles aren’t as easy to bring to crowds. Gas requires knowledge of chemistry and methods of weaponizing beyond common knowledge. In contrast, guns are easy to conceal and bring into tight spaces. They don’t require a whole lot of skill to operate. And they can be reloaded.

Having said that, I don’t know how you can control guns without making people all the more desperate to get them, empowering the black market. Plus you have to find a way to overcome the heavily financed gun lobbyists. Some would say that this is the price we must pay to live in a country as free as it is. I just don’t feel that free myself.


First of all, thanks for engaging me on this. :slight_smile:

Yes, the chart is cherry picked to only include countries with similar standards of living to the United States. It omits countries like Honduras, Swaziland, Venezuela, etc. It also omits countries between the U.S. and Canada for similar reasons, like Montenegro, Paraguay and Nicaragua. And it omits very small countries between the U.S. and Canada, but all those very small countries have very similar levels of firearm violence to Canada, and their inclusion would only make the chart more damning of the United States. It also omits our next-door neighbor, Mexico, with its catastrophic drug wars, which, by the way, is just barely ahead of the United States in firearm death rates.

Most of the countries listed aren’t especially small and they also have sizable populations in both rural and urban areas. Even so, yes, it’s difficult to get apples-to-apples comparisons regarding size, population densities, urban to rural balances, etc.

I don’t think the European wars of the past would have been prevented by a highly armed population. If anything, it would have made their wars more violent. Today, they’re less armed than ever, and Europe is (coincidentally) at peace.

As for the United States, our civil war was the bloodiest in history up to that point partly because of a fully armed citizenry equipped with rifles. I think it’s important to remember that most in-country wars are civil wars, and any civil war with firearm-ownership levels those like ours today would be catastrophic.

As for occupiers being dissuaded from invading us because of our high levels of gun ownership, I don’t think our citizenry, despite the high handgun and rifle ownership, would be much of a match against a modern invader armed with ballistic missiles, tanks, artillery, jet bombers, etc. I’d prefer to leave the defense of our country to our military and not to the citizen militias that the Second Amendment refers to.

I own three guns: a 9mm H&K pistol, a .22 caliber rifle and an old 12-gauge shotgun that I inherited from my dad. I grew up on a cattle ranch where guns were always with us every day. I got the .22 on my 12th birthday, just like my brothers did. My family members were all hunters and, today, I do a whole lot of communication work for hunting and shooting organizations.

This might make me a hypocrite, but it’s my close association with all this stuff that’s helped convince me that something needs happen besides a continuation of the status quo. I’m not against gun ownership. I’m against the wrong people having unfettered access to an entire armory of highly lethal weapons.

As iraszi pointed out, that chart is misleading.
This snopes article describes where that chart came from, what it is really supposed to enumerate, how it’s been mis-cited, how it misrepresents data and who did the conflating.

Most gun violence statistics that you’ll find in the popular media include suicide by firearm, which is usually nearly 3x the murder by firearm number. This is a whole separate issue from gun violence. There is far too much stigma attached to seeking mental health care in the US, and far too many roadblocks for those who try to seek help for others while still respecting their rights. There’s a very fine line there.

According to FBI stats (Crime in the United States) there are between 8000 and 9000 murders by firearm each year in the US. The CDC stats say 11,000. That’s about 3.5 per 100,000.
None of that is to say this isn’t 8000+ too many deaths a year, but there are estimates of somewhere north of 100million lawful gun owners in the US (and only about 5million of them are NRA members.) I don’t believe in painting all of them with the same brush as the unlawful ones or the crazy ones out there.

I don’t have the answer for how we can stop the crazies, or the terrorists for that matter. I have no answer to the pain and loss families see every day due to all the violence in our society, not just guns, but all of it.

These shooters self-perpetuate with the idea that they can become in death what they never were in life. That HAS to be taken away from them. The sensationalistic news media needs to stop focusing on what the killer had for breakfast that day. But they can’t help themselves in the race for ratings and the American Public just eats it up. Which side of that conversation is worse? What would happen if the American Public themselves refused to watch, refused to click? Would that send a message to the news media? Can we all at least try to start there?


I think Irazi already pointed out what the Snopes article went into detail about except for the figures being from 2003, which I didn’t know. I didn’t do any detailed research on the chart — I found it at the last minute to augment my argument that gun-related deaths and injuries are way too high and much higher than other high-income nations.

Despite the graphic not portraying all nations, it still demonstrates how the United States stacks up against comparable nations with high standards of living. A graphic showing that we’re marginally safer than Mexico, followed by Uruguay, Panama, Brazil and South Africa doesn’t exactly make me feel at ease.

I didn’t differentiate between homicide, suicides or accidents because my argument isn’t about any one of them. My argument is that, despite the reasons, guns in America are killing and injuring far larger numbers of the country’s citizens than in nations with comparable standards of living, education and income levels.

I think this level of violence is not simply coincidental with us also having, by far, the highest levels of gun ownership in the world. Even modern, high-income countries like Switzerland and Finland that are next in line (albeit half of our levels) have mandatory licensing requirements and tough regulations regarding gun ownership. They also have far fewer gun-related homicides, which I suspect can at least be partially attributed to their gun control regulations. I see no logical reason why we shouldn’t do the same other than public sentiment against it.

I don’t think there’s any magic solution to this problem. And I don’t think that implementing my list of proposed remedies in my first post is realistic given public anti-gun control sentiment. Even so, these are the things that I wish could happen and have happened in most nations with lower gun violence than ours.

At the very least, the gun lobby in this country needs to be broken so that our representatives in Washington can at least debate the problem and try something without having the threat of the all-powerful gun lobby fighting against them in their next election.

Below is a graphic from Wikipedia showing those countries for which figures are available. I’m reasonably sure it would pass the Snopes sniff test.

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You’re welcome! We’re all trying our best to figure out the solution I guess… :confused:

I wholeheartedly disagree. There were multiple tyrants taking over entire countries with minimal armies, because the population was effectively sitting ducks for them. People were fighting with rocks against guns. Having guns would’ve given them a fighting chance and many times they could’ve preserved their freedom. I know this from my family history told by my parents and grandparents. And, unfortunately I have seen the dynamic first hand in another non-european country from more recent history. People in these countries suffered for many decades under these regimes. So much torture, suffering and poverty…

Can you give examples from the past hundred years? (Not a rhetorical question. I’m really wondering.)

The only invasion like that that comes to mind is Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, but then that was a European country invading a poor, unarmed African country. I suppose the Turkish war against the Armenians and the subsequent Soviet occupation might qualify too, but that was arguably an European-Asian war and part of a larger conflict.

Anything over, say, 150 years ago wouldn’t really be relevant since it predates modern armaments, like rifles and high explosives. My reasoning there is that small arms wouldn’t make a very effective deterrent against a modern army, whereas prior to that, regular citizens would own, more or less, the same weapons as the invading armies and could easily have made a difference.

There was this campaign. Not sure if it qualifies. It was implemented after the fall of Dunkirk where the British Army had to abandon its armament.

In response to an earlier post B,

If we could find some way of helping those 20,000 plus cases of suicide before they resort to using a gun, that would put a huge dent in the death toll.
Suicide, by any method, is a real problem here. It’s even more of a problem in many comparable European countries.

Actually one of your wish listed items is already Federal Law.
Convicted felons already lose their right to firearms ownership for life (unless fully pardoned.) This Federal law even applies to anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse. There is already a prison sentence involved for felons in possession of a firearm.
See Federal gun law, Prohibited Persons.

On the subject of criminals and mandatory firearms charges, here are two lists (I’m doing two to be bipartisan.) Use your browser Find function and search “firearm.” None of these should have ever been commuted, I don’t care how much time they’ve already served.

There is a Federal law barring straw purchases (which might technically fall under black market sales.) There most definitely should be Federal law regarding black market gun sales, along with funding to actively seek and prosecute it.

And this kind of thing needs to be stopped:

A few of the others on your list are also laws in various states already, with varying success. We have a law here involving unlawful firearms possession that comes with a mandatory 2 year sentence, most often dropped in return for a plea bargain on other crimes.

The real problem with laws is criminals tend to ignore them.
And I have no desire to punish the law abiding.
Any law proposed, in order to gain traction, has to deal with the criminal element out there, first and foremost. It may not seem to be addressing the problem of mass shooters, but it would definitely be a start in addressing the overall problem of violence involving guns.

I think the British were saved by what’s always played to their advantage: Britain is an island. The Nazis lacked the naval capacity to launch a successful invasion of, what was then, one of the world’s strongest military powers.

All that aside, though, I do agree that a well-armed citizenry can form an effective counter-insurgency after a successful military invasion.

I don’t think citizens using small arms could prevent the invasion by a well-equipped army, but the subsequent occupation could fail by death from a thousand cuts. Small arms-equipped insurgencies in Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq managed or are managing to thwart the best efforts of the U.S., even though the initial engagement and/or occupation of those countries was a complete blow-out.

I agree. Since high school, I’ve had six friends, acquaintances and relatives kill themselves with guns. One was my best friend. One failed but was seriously wounded. One blew of the top of his head with a shotgun. One was a friend’s 8-year-old who was playing with a handgun found in his parent’s bedroom. One was after a long bout of depression. The last one was a co-worker who shot himself in the head just this past year.

Maybe some of these would have happened by other means if a gun wasn’t there — not all of them, though.

That’s true. There was a controversy here in Utah a couple of years ago about the state selling convicted felons hunting licenses. They claimed there was no law against obtaining a hunting license, just in using a firearm. My real point, though, was needing more aggressive enforcement of those laws and stronger sentences.

I agree, there are some crimes that warrant incarceration for an eternity. The shooter in the Florida school massacre being one of them, no matter whether he was a disturbed teenager or not.

What I was getting at is that if strict gun control legislation was passed and enforced, a black market for guns and ammunition would undoubtedly happen. It would be lucrative and as difficult as the black market for illegal drugs. Even so, it would provide a means for law enforcement to, at least, inhibit the spread of guns by making their unauthorized sale a felony with prison sentences attached.

State-by-state laws are sometimes difficult to enforce or only have limited effect when the neighboring states’s laws don’t match up. Here in Utah, a hour’s drive to Wyoming to buy fireworks and a two-hour drive to Nevada to gamble make Utah laws against those things somewhat meaningless (not that I think we should have those laws in the first place). Didn’t the Boston Marathon bombers do much the same in your state by heading up the road to New Hampshire to buy explosives that weren’t available is Massachusetts?

We live in a country that still has tens of thousands of people serving time for non-violent drug offenses that would be better treated with help than incarceration. Yet we allow almost any citizen to amass an armory of lethal weapons of the kind used in the Las Vegas Strip massacre. That demented lunatic might have broken hotel rules by bringing thousands of rounds of ammunition and a dozen rapid-fire rifles into his room, but he was in total conformance with the laws of Nevada and the U.S. until he actually started shooting people from his hotel window.

I’m not really suggesting that just because we’re wrongly imprisoning addicts that it’s okay to also imprison gun owners. What I’m saying is that the country is irrational when it comes to priorities on these kinds of things.

There’s really no compelling reason for an average citizen to own a semi-automatic rifle, much less one with a bump stock. I wouldn’t mind a bonafide collector, with a solid background and mental health check, getting a license to own guns like this as part of a collection.

I’m not, however, okay with the current situation where an average guy, like me or you, can walk into a gun store and buy the stuff with minimal hassle. It’s not that either of us are irresponsible, but some minor inconvenience to the public seems totally acceptable if it makes a significant dent in the tens of thousands of people killed each year. Even if we could save 500 lives in a year it would be worth it.

If we keep responding to each other, these hour-long posts are going to kill my entire Friday that I’m taking off work. :smile:

A bit of perspective from the UK:
If you think more guns makes a society safer, you are crazy.
If you think that arming the citizens of Germany, France, Italy or Spain would have stopped dictators taking over, you are wrong.
If you think the media is to blame for school shootings, would you rather they not report these things? Would you want to censor bad news in case people get the idea to commit any kind of crime? Where does that stop ?
Oh and by the way, those countries with more gun deaths than the US? They are either war zones or they have even more guns per head than the US.
To use any of these arguments to justify US gun culture is frankly baffling, sad, crazy, insulting to history and civilised society.

You may be embarrassed by Trump (you should be) but he’s just a buffoon. What you should really be embarrassed by is your gun culture.

It is inevitable that this will happen again. And again. And again, and it will keep happening until you do something about it.

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The last and only school shooting in my country was in 1923. Almost a century ago. We are a small country but I’m glad that guns are not part of my every day life. Hunting is popular in rural areas here but there are strict controls. My heart goes out to the US. Hopefully they make the right decisions because whatever the solution is, the current situation is not working.

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Why? I think it would’ve made ALL the difference. At the beginning these dictators had relatively little fighting power at their command. It only became huge after they enslaved everyone and forced all resources to serve their armies.

I think armed citizens is a deterrent to a dictator. They won’t even try, because they know they would be on a suicide mission. History proves that while almost all nations were threatened or successfully taken over in the last 100 years by various dictators, the US had no such threats. There is a correlation between this fact and high gun ownership.

I’m happy to be proven wrong if I have a flaw in logic.

Mussolini was quite popular in Italy until well into World War II. A well-armed citizenry would have made no difference in his rise to power since, right from the beginning, he enjoyed the popular support of the very people who would have had the weapons.

The Nazis were elected into power in Germany. They consolidated and reinforced that power through legislative manipulations. Hitler enjoyed wide support from the German citizenry who viewed him as something of a hero. An armed citizenry would have made no difference since the public largely supported him or, at least, was willing to put up with him.

Franco came to power in Spain by winning the brutal Spanish Civil War, which was fueled by Spain’s armed citizens. The good guys lost and Franco won. Not only did a well-armed public not prevent a dictatorship, it fueled the war and killed a half million people.

With France, I’m not sure what dictator we’re discussing, Napoleon? The coup that brought him to power was over 200 years ago and occurred at the end of the French Revolution. Napoleon brought stability to France and projected French power across Europe, which made him very popular. This was back in the days when flintlock muskets were the height of military technology. I don’t think it’s very comparable to today.

I was thinking that, perhaps, dictators in less-developed countries who seize control through coups d’etats might be deterred by a well-armed citizenry. But gun control laws are usually pretty lax in those countries, and I can recall no instance when it’s made a difference.

Dictators don’t just spring into power overnight. They typically do so over an extended period of time as they’re developing a solid power base while quietly neutralizing their opposition through various means. By about the time they take over, it’s too late to stop them.

It’s probably a good thing for the US that we have a two party system and they tend to cancel each other out. Any dictator here trying to take power would pretty much have to fight a civil war with the other half of the population.

I take it you haven’t been to a gun store or any LLC-type operation even at a gun show, but it is mandatory that an LLC run a NICS background check on any purchaser. The two ways that NICS check fails are 1. face to face sales in most states don’t require one, and 2. failure by the US court systems in all jurisdictions to report data into it.

If a fully encrypted, well-maintained, single transaction, free-of-cost portal could be set up, I’m perfectly in agreement with face to face transfers going through an FFL. But a secure government anything is beyond wishful thinking, and it runs up against the Federal law currently prohibiting a national database. As seen recently in MA, it is far to easy to write and pass a law resulting in confiscation with no compensation in matters of firearms (a new law requiring bump stocks be turned in to police stations for destruction as of Feb 1st) and a database would make it way too easy to target lawful owners first. Honestly, most of the gun owners I know never even heard of a bump stock until Las Vegas, let alone owned one.

As far as hunting licenses go…there is no Prohibited Persons list for owning a bow and arrows, unless your state has one?

The two terrorists in Boston did allegedly purchases fireworks in NH for their black powder. I would be interested in data regarding how handguns that are legally purchased out of state are brought back home to a different state. There is a Federal law that handgun transfers have to cross any state line through an FFL transfer, not just put in your pocket and carried across state lines. The same is not true though for long guns.

Like I said, I have a lot of friends who are lawful gun owners and I live in a state with THE most convoluted gun laws on the planet, used more to ensnare lawful owners than capture and successfully prosecute real criminals, certainly not something the entire country should emulate, as some politicians here are grandstanding, just like our MassHealth system should have never been the model for any country-wide policy (switching our system to government control came just in time for this state not to have to admit to embarrassing fiscal facts.) LOL. It’s a common topic of discussion here.

The death penalty is certainly valid for those who would commit atrocious mass killings. Those types have to be insane and put down like rabid dogs. If they ever did become sane again after such an event, how could they ever live with what they’ve done?

I’m just not sure how we went from a time not too long ago, when it was perfectly ok to bring a hunting rifle to school to go hunting on the way home, to now. How we went from teaching appropriately aged kids how to have behave safely around guns (leave it alone and notify an adult) to suspending kindergartners for chewing their poptart into the shape of a pistol. Something has gone very wrong, and I don’t believe it to be the fault of a bunch of machined parts.

I do believe though, that within the next generation, maybe two, after the Boomers are all mostly gone, you will see a confiscation here. I’m still too much of a Constitutional Colonialist Nor’easterner to think that’s a good idea though, certainly not if done without a Constitutional Amendment. But I’m a Boomer, from a much simpler time I guess.

Agreed. Politics in the U.S. swing back and forth so that neither extreme has a chance to become entrenched. I do worry about the polarization that’s happened over the last 20 or so years. Back when I was a kid, the two parties worked with each other to find compromises and solutions. It doesn’t seem to happen any longer.

Here, there are various hunts. The big ones are rifle-only. Others are muzzleloader hunts. And a few are archery-only. Still others are any-weapon hunts. My state was selling rifle hunting permits to convicted felons saying that, even though it was illegal for them to possess firearms, there was no law against them buying permits, even though those permits could only be used with rifles.

I think that’s part of the problem. The whole gun issue, like health care, is so controversial and polarized that no sensible consensus is ever reached. Instead, convoluted comprises are cobbled together in a shoddy piecemeal way that ends up making the problems worse.

I agree. I think I mentioned that I grew up with guns and still own some. When I was a kid, the school district would shut down the schools for deer hunting season. A common thing to do in my high school shop classes was bluing rifle barrels and finishing stocks. And, of course, the rifles were never disassembled before bringing them to school. Nobody thought twice about it. It was perfectly fine.

For whatever reason, though, society has changed. Guns were always dangerous, of course, and I suspect there were just as many accidents back then. In the rural area where I grew up, guns were tools and nothing more. There was nothing special about them, and no mystique was attached to them. They were used for hunting, killing farm pests and, sometimes, target practice.

Hunting is still a big reason to buy guns, but most firearms sold today are handguns not hunting rifles or shotguns. People buy them for self-defense or because they think it would be cool to own a gun. Very few of these urbanized people know how to handle a gun or have a need for one. All too often, they end up shooting themselves or a family member. Or once novelty wears off, the gun ends up in a drawer or on a shelf in the garage where it’s mostly forgotten until a child finds it. Spookiest of all are the people who develop a creepy fascination with guns and end up buying military-style rifles and bump stocks for absolutely no reason other than it being fun.

Whatever the reason, gun have evolved from being tools into fetishized objects that are involved in tens of thousand of deaths each year.

Nearly 3,000 people were murdered in the 9/11 attacks, and the country has spent around a trillion dollars on national security since then as a result. All kinds of laws were enacted, airplane travel became an ordeal, and individual rights to privacy have been severely compromised. Yet ten times that many people are killed each year in this country by guns and almost nothing is being done about it.

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