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My World: In response to the Newtown Massacre

Jean Henderson

New member
I live in Connecticut, about 70 minutes away from the scene of the elementary school senseless tragedy on Friday in which 20 first graders and 7 adults were murdered within minutes. Both of my two children, through close friends, have links to two of the deceased. I was inspired to make some photos of my granddaughter yesterday simply out of gratitude for her still being alive. She is dressed in her Cinderella dress up dress. Her name happens to be Justice, so I'm calling it "Innocence of Justice."

p1335324450-3.jpg


"Innocence of Justice"

The State police just finished a news conference in which they emphasized that there are WEEKS worth of evidence analysis to complete before any kind of clear picture of the gunman's motivation might be discovered.

It has been reported already, though, that his older brother has been out of touch with the deceased gunman due to the latter's mental health issues yet no one in the local community who has been interviewed by the press seems to have noticed anything other than his quietness, great shyness, and status as a loner as well as possibly having been on the scale of an intellectual genius. IMHO -- and said from the perspective of someone with a mental health diagnosis myself -- I believe that my country's mental health services, together with the improved but continued stigma against anyone with such a diagnosis, is at the root of the problem. Still, I wonder why an upscale single woman had any kind of need for major assault weapons even if she was, as it is said, an avid gun collector.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Jean,

There's truly no answer, just grief, emptiness and regrets. Every so often, human beings become wild. The brain has a lot of primitive urges, behavior and impulse to constantly control, suppress and overcome. It's all a matter of nurturing empathy and not hate and putting weapons under smarter control. But first of all, there's empathy.

Asher
 

Jean Henderson

New member
Asher,

You are quite right in your comments about us as human beings.

The interfaith Memorial Service in Newtown has just ended at which President Obama spoke towards the end. I am relieved that this tragedy has affected him deeply enough, too, to know that we, as a country, have to change so that the price of our freedom is not continued violence to our young. I know the issues are complex -- not just about gun control at all -- but now, this night, I will be able to rest better knowing that all can recognize that it is love and human compassion that will prevail in the long run.

Jean
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It's moving to see so many tributes to the fallen children and adults in Newtown. Today, passing a church, I saw a flag at half-mast in honor of the slain whose lives were rubbed out in a senseless rampage!


_MG_2137B&W_3_in memorium.jpg


Asher Kelman: "A time for every purpose under heaven!"

But it's hard to be comforted and it's harder to face obsession with guns!

We need comforting and then some hard looks at our way of life!

Asher
 

Jean Henderson

New member
Yes, Asher, this tragedy seems to have touched the whole world. Let's hope that some real change comes from it -- like it did after Dunblane.

Jean
 

Bob Latham

New member
.......Let's hope that some real change comes from it -- like it did after Dunblane.
It would be nice to think so, Jean, but I think the scale of the challenge is wholly different.
The changes promulgated by Dunblane (and Hungerford to a degree) affected so few people that their voice was drowned out by the outraged majority. The British Government had the simple and unopposed task of modifying the existing control laws and it was all over in a instant.
The US administration has to contend with a far more balanced "pro- versus anti-" sentiment that they will consider political implications before giving voice to their opinions....and that's before the constitution is brought into consideration.
It appears to me that the debate will be more akin to the UK's "pro- versus Anti-" dealing with fox hunting. I don't mean to draw any parallels between killing foxes and the massacre (or massacres) that have taken place in the US in recent times. The fox hunting debate was a close split on public opinion and, although the "anti-" lobby won the day, it ended up with a change in the law that didn't appease either side. It was clear that political future was high in the minds of the law makers when the Prime Minister departed shortly before the vote! The effects of the law have not stopped the "sport" and have only served to inconvenience the participants whilst the objectors pursue them trying to gain evidence of minor infrigements.

Whilst Newtown was a criminal act, it is hard to label it as having true criminal intent....the reasons are much deeper and perhaps establishing them will give a better indication of where changes need to be made.

Bob
 
Whilst Newtown was a criminal act, it is hard to label it as having true criminal intent....the reasons are much deeper and perhaps establishing them will give a better indication of where changes need to be made.

Indeed. And although cartoons are hardly appropriate under these circumstances, this one from Dec. 19th does reflect the on-line discussions about this latest tragedy where the gun lobbyists keep defending the ludicrous situation.

BTW, I'm not saying the gun policies are the only issue at hand, they are not the real issue but rather a symptom, but that would take another kind of discussion and I'm not sure this is the podium for that, especially during the funerals.

Cheers,
Bart
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Indeed. And although cartoons are hardly appropriate under these circumstances, this one from Dec. 19th does reflect the on-line discussions about this latest tragedy where the gun lobbyists keep defending the ludicrous situation.

BTW, I'm not saying the gun policies are the only issue at hand, they are not the real issue but rather a symptom, but that would take another kind of discussion and I'm not sure this is the podium for that, especially during the funerals.

Cheers,
Bart

Bart,

That cartoon is hardly inappropriate in a memorial. surely following the pain and the comforting we must have a reckoning. So you could have posted it in good conscience.

In the USA, the two layers, public sentiment v. tradition and then the constitution allows some stability but also room for movement. The tradition of gun ownership is boosted by the rich folklore of gun toting cowboys saving widows from greedy ranchers, outwitting bank robbers and rescuing captured maidens from the wild Indians. This fabric is further buttressed by the war stories. To the southerners, the gun gave them the power to defend their properly from carpetbagging Northerners. The North felt the gun gave then the higher power of noblesse of doing what's right.

It's so valid for the cartoonist to represent the gun-lobby as a church as it's fed by the same infectious meme process whereby ideas spread like viruses and become more or less fixed beliefs like the idea of
"up" and "down". So when such concepts, acquired by influence, are tested by the outside, they are defended as if life itself depended on these notions.

When the tragedies hit home, however, the core meme ideas can be changed. That's built in to our psyche too. Senators, shocked by the human loss, react and the thoughts of political survival start to get weighed in their constancy. So there's hope!

Asher.
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
It is a tragedy. The fist concern should be for the victims and their families

The entire discussion about firearms generates a lot of unease here. Tradition or not, the ease of acquiring firearms removes one hurdle. The argument that the person commiting such a crime could get hold of the arms anyway does count only partly for me. It requires more planning and leaves more traces in an environment where laws governing firearms are more restrictive. This planning could make a few step back from their idea. For the U.S this discussion is moot. Pandora's box is open and I do not think that the lid can be closed in one generation. The firearms are there. From a purely logical point of view, adding armed guards is understandable, but it is applying cold-war logic on society level

The other path to pursue would be to bring back more sanity into the current society. I have a feeling that this could be as difficult as collecting all firearms which are out there.

I hope that there are enough people taking this tragedy as motivation to care more about the people around them. This could be a first important step.

My best wishes go to the victims and their families.

Best regards,
Michael
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It is a tragedy. The first concern should be for the victims and their families
Yes, and after the immediate morning, if we are going to do something new, it must be done while it still hurts!

For the U.S this discussion is moot. Pandora's box is open and I do not think that the lid can be closed in one generation. The firearms are there. From a purely logical point of view, adding armed guards is understandable, but it is applying cold-war logic on society level


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 98,817 public schools during the 2009-2010 school year. (Read more: Number of U.S. Public Schools — Infoplease.com). So imagine that with universities, cinemas, churches and schools, we'd need some 300,000 armed guards who's need training, health plans and pensions. Administration would require an army of supervisors, psychologists, trainers and profilers so that the total manpower would be about 350,000. At a minimal cost of about $50,000 each, then we're talking 15 billion US $ without counting pension plans and buildings for administration and costs to other government agencies for integrating intelligence and training.

Now if, instead we's accept the generous offer of the NRA and take their volunteers, where would we be? Now who belongs to the NRA that has time to do this? Well, we'd have, just for schools alone, some 100,000 mostly white men between the ages of 60 and 75 who have the time to spend, all day, guarding a school. Now imagine if just 1/5,000 is a religious end of the world believer in the apocalypse and that the sinners need being nudged to realize that their time has come. They'd pass all the tests for mental illness! They'd have an exemplary record of public service. However there's a real risk that some 20 nuts would perhaps be guarding our kids in locked down schools! So I believe that the odds are that one of the guards would go ballistic each year and we'd have an even worse massacre!

So while instinctively, the claim that "bad guys with guns can be stopped by good guys with guns!" is intuitively appealing and seems self-evidenty correct, statistically, it's risky when scaled up to 100,000 schools and peopled with self-selected gun enthusiasts, all beyond an age where they could combat an evildoer with anything but firing the gun!

The other path to pursue would be to bring back more sanity into the current society. I have a feeling that this could be as difficult as collecting all firearms which are out there.

Michael, you are realistic. The folks in the USA are resistant to change and owning guns is considered something like believing in the bible and salvation, part of the way of life in being American.

I think the answer is to take up the offer of the NRA to weed out the mentally sick and disturbed from owning assault rifles. Let's take that offer seriously. It wouldn't be too hard to add automatic pistols too as they have ready-load cartridge packs! Let's agree with them and have all owners of automatic weapons be tested to see if they are mentally able to handle decision making at the level required for such a weapon. Charge $1,000 for the medical, background and psychological testing and then we'd have none of the socially marginal types that committed these horrible massacres being able to own or carry such a weapon. It would immediately remove at least 50% of all the automatic weapons from private ownership!

Asher
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
Our sympathies and our prayers are with the victims, the children and their families.

Without any comment from me, for I am but an outsider, I urge you to read the following:

THIS

and AND THIS
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
There are no "outsiders", Fahim, when mankind witnesses the massacre of innocent children, you just live further away than others.

Bob

Thank you Bob. You are absolutely correct. It is just that I have been chastised, previously, for making my opinions known is such matters.

Best regards.
 
There are no "outsiders", Fahim, when mankind witnesses the massacre of innocent children, you just live further away than others.

I agree with Bob. But I'm also glad that I live further away, when I read that the sales figures of the military-style Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic rifle as used in the latest assault on innocent people* went through the roof this 'Christmas' holiday. They have not learned anything.

* Besides what is going on at places like Syria, to name only a single example.

Really glad to live where I do, where people are also crazy (but unarmed).

Cheers,
Bart
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
In order to avoid any misunderstanding/s let me quote my original comment:

"Our sympathies and our prayers are with the victims, the children and their families.

Without any comment from me, for I am but an outsider, I urge you to read the following: "

I followed this comment with a link to two articles.


"...Without any comment from me, for I am but an outsider, I urge you to read the following:"

I did not want to make any comments on the ' Links ' I provided; because they are political. And I am an outsider to the political scene in the States. " without any comment from me " refers to the political implications of the links I provided; which I gathered was obvious.

I hope that is clear.

And let us, please, not derail this thread by bringing Syria or other countries into this already horrific and tragic happening to the children ( adults ) that are the subject of this thread.

Regards.

p.s. And yes Bob and Bart, I am deeply shocked, saddened and angered when innocent children are massacred. Wherever that might be. Life is precious. All life.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
"

And let us, please, not derail this thread by bringing Syria or other countries into this already horrific and tragic happening to the children ..........."

To he extent that The United States believes in and has external policy based on a strong belief in exceptionalism and being a world power of significant reach and influence, we must also have earned moral authority and that must come first from how we respect, above all, human life, irrespective of any labels we give to each other. If we don't treasure above all our "rights", the safety of our children and are unwilling to make profound sacrifices to this end, how can we stand? Conversely, if we do not have anguish at the suffering of children in Damascus, then we have no moral backbone nor compass for our own affairs. What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas!!

Asher


,
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
Asher, please express your moral outrage ( and justifiable passion about such occurrences ) in the ' Provactive ' section, where such issues might be discussed.

The OP was expressing her grief at the senseless and tragic loss of innocents lives in this post; concurrently
expressing her feelings for another child " simply out of gratitude for her still being alive. "

Thank you.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher, please express your moral outrage ( and justifiable passion about such occurrences ) in the ' Provactive ' section, where such issues might be discussed.

The OP was expressing her grief at the senseless and tragic loss of innocents lives in this post; concurrently
expressing her feelings for another child " simply out of gratitude for her still being alive. "

Thank you.

Wisdom, indeed! But it's not just outrage I feel, rather it's a sense of duty.

Thanks as always,

Asher
 
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