Kaitlin Roig, heroine; John Lott, moron

Teachers in the U.S. don’t make much money: they’re woefully underpaid despite their onerous work and responsibility for educating the next generation. But there’s not enough money to pay teachers like Katilin Roig, who saved her classroom during the Newtown shootings. She describes what happened in this interview with Diane Sawyer. Listen to how well she protected her kids:

And although much of the attention on this tragedy has focused on the children, let’s not forget the heroism of those teachers who didn’t make it as well—the ones who died in acts of pure altruism, defending their charges.

In contrast, here’s the odious John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, paying lip service to the tragedy while calling for less gun control and freer access to semiautomatic weapons. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who has four children, isn’t having it. Then read the comments on YouTube, which largely support Lott.

It’s gonna be a tough job to pry the guns from Americans’ cold, dead hands.

h/t: Geoff

141 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The immediate problem is prying the gun idea from some cold, dead brains.

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      More Bullets, Less Brains.

    • Duncan
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      I am amazed at the clarity of thought this incredibly brave teacher showed in such a terrifying circumstance.

      This all brings back the horror I felt of hearing what happened in Dunblane.

      It’s a pity we can’t all leave it at expressions of horror, empathy and support for at least a short while before diving into a debate about politics etc.

      • gbjames
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Why is it a pity that people want to do more than express horror? What exactly is wrong with wanting to prevent future horror?

        • truthspeaker
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Apparently having the appropriate emotional reaction is more important than actually doing something.

        • Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          For one thing, it’s probably not a good idea to wrestle with difficult problems while you’re emotionally distraught from the incident that causes the need to review these problems.

          • gbjames
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            We are, sadly, living in a time where these things happen constantly. It is unreasonable to tell people not to “wrestle with difficult problems” under such conditions. It is an argument for paralysis.

            • Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              No, I’m just arguing for a little time to carefully draft action that will be effective.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

                Define “a little time”.

            • Gary W
              Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

              We are, sadly, living in a time where these things happen constantly.

              There has never been an incident like Newtown (20 young children and 7 adults shot to death at an elementary school).

              It is unreasonable to tell people not to “wrestle with difficult problems” under such conditions. It is an argument for paralysis.

              No, it’s an argument for waiting until the immediate emotional trauma of the tragedy has subsided, so that people are less likely to be blinded by anger and grief, and are in a better position to think clearly about the best way to respond.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                The exact body counts vary from event to event. Every time one of these slaughters occurs we hear from people like you that “now is not the time”. It is clear that it is never the right time from the viewpoint of gun advocates.

                Your objections ring hollow. Perhaps you should refrain from making them until after the trauma of the moment subsides and you can think clearly about how to respond.

              • Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

                Thanks Gary, you said it much more articulately than I did

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                Every time one of these slaughters occurs we hear from people like you that “now is not the time”.

                The days following a national tragedy are most definitely not the time. A month or two from now, people will be in a better position to think clearly about the best way to respond to the tragedy.

                I doubt there will be any dramatic change to gun laws. Most likely, any change will be largely symbolic, as it has been in the past.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                I’m willing to wager that a month or two from now we’ll be confronted with yet another school/mall/somewhere slaughter and you’ll be telling us all that “now is not the time”.

                And why don’t you take your own advice and stop commenting on the subject until you can think more clearly?

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

                I’m willing to wager that a month or two from now we’ll be confronted with yet another school/mall/somewhere slaughter and you’ll be telling us all that “now is not the time”.

                I’m willing to wager that you have no interest in a serious public discussion about gun control, but simply want to exploit people’s grief and anger for political purposes.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

                I’m not the one trying to shut down serious public discussion, dude.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

                I’m not the one trying to shut down serious public discussion, dude.

                No, you’re one trying to exploit people’s anger and grief to advance your political agenda, dude. You also apparently don’t understand the difference between censorship and discretion.

            • Alektorophile
              Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              Well said, gbjames. I simply don’t get the “not now, too soon, let’s talk about it sometime in the future” argument. It’s what one hears constantly on Fox et al. whenever something like this happens. Gun violence is not a new phenomenon, the issues have been argued over and discussed for decades, and I fail to see how any new legislation could be considered to be “rushed” and not carefully drafted, even if it did magically pop into existence in a matter of day (a rather unlikely event to say the least).

          • notsont
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to ask the parents of the kids killed to draft the legislation. Your argument lacks any merit at all.

            • Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

              Many people besides those immediately affected are emotionally distraught (well that Might be too strong a word at that) by the shootings. I’m merely pointing out that rushing into action without cool, careful consideration is probably not a good idea

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

                There is no danger of “rushing into action”. The problem is exactly the opposite. We have been paralyzed into inaction for decades.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

                There is no danger of “rushing into action”. The problem is exactly the opposite.

                There’s a danger that the acute anger and grief people are feeling in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy will produce a knee-jerk political response.

                We have been paralyzed into inaction for decades.

                No, your political goals regarding guns have been defeated through the democratic process for decades, because there aren’t enough people who share your views to accomplish them. That’s not paralysis. It’s democracy.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

                “It’s democracy.”

                And so is doing something about it now.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

                Well, what god-awful ‘democracy’… I find it telling how certain people in circumstances like these recite words like ‘democracy’ as though they had some sort of absolute and quasi-religious significance that at once stops ant kind of questioning dead. The infantility of mind they display does not seem much different from John Lott’s.

              • Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

                QUITE A BIT DIFFERENT, ACTUALLY. I just don’t see much point in making changes without proper, calm rationalization.

              • gbjames
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

                Rationalization? We have no shortage of that.

              • suwise3
                Posted December 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

                It’s the lobbyists. Not entirely the same thing as democracy.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        It’s a pity we can’t all leave it at expressions of horror, empathy and support for at least a short while before diving into a debate about politics etc.

        Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?

        This is the repeated gun apologist argument that sets me off as much as religious special pleading. Why should gun killings be exempt from acting against them starting immediately, if not before? In what other case do we wait for some indefinite “short while”?

        Hurricane Sandy? The latest aircraft accident? The latest tsunami, the Fukuyama accident, 9/11?

        Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

        • Gary W
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Why should gun killings be exempt from acting against them starting immediately,

          For the same reason it would be a bad idea to change the laws regarding the treatment of terrorists immediately after a terrorist attack: because people would be more likely to make rash, knee-jerk decisions driven by fear and anger instead of calm, considered decisions driven by evidence and reason.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            change the laws regarding the treatment of terrorists immediately after a terrorist attack

            Wasn’t it called the ‘Patriot Act’?

            Of course, ‘patriotism’ often seems to mean ‘America having all the guns’.

            • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:18 am | Permalink

              also, this was not an attack by an outside agent maybe operating under his own brand of patriotism, but a mentally-impaired American — probably not a criminal & almost certainly not a foreign terrorist.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

                Yay! Osama killed ~3000 people (which Dubya used as an excuse to start the Iraq war and kill tens of thousands more, but hey, who’s counting?)

                While Americans with guns in 2010 killed 11,000 (and 19,00o0 killed themselves, which is surely preferable to killing someone else)

                Conclusion: Osama was an amateur, compared with the NRA.

                (Sarcasm? What, me?)

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:42 am | Permalink

                That’s 19,000 not 19,00o0 of course.

            • Gary W
              Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

              Wasn’t it called the ‘Patriot Act’?

              Yes, that’s a good example of the foolishness of this kind of knee-jerk reaction to a national tragedy. The Patriot Act was rushed through congress and signed into law barely a month after the 9/11 attacks. Are we to understand that you’re a fan of the Patriot Act?

              • GM
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

                We got involved in the Iraq war a considerable amount of time after 9/11. An extended amount of time doesn’t mean individuals will appropriately assess the situation and reacting immediately doesn’t necessarily mean that decisions made in anger or heightened emotion are wrong. For instance, soldiers that jump on grenades that are thrown into camp make that decision in heightened physiological states.

                Quashing discussion is the best way to attain poor outcomes.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

                We got involved in the Iraq war a considerable amount of time after 9/11.

                The Iraq War was primarily justified by the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was a military threat to the stibility of the middle-east, not because of 9/11.

                But your point is specious anyway. Taking the time to thoughtfully debate and deliberate the proper policy response to a national tragedy obviously will not guarantee that the reponse will be wise. There are no guarantees. It is, however, more likely to wise than a knee-jerk response rushed through the political process while people are still reeling from the tragedy. I think the Patriot Act is a clear example of a unwise, knee-jerk response to a tragedy.

              • microraptor
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

                @Gary W
                President Bush exploited the surge in national anger over 9/11 and the consequential boost in popularity he received as a result in order to convince the public into going along with the Iraq invasion. Without 9/11 occurring, he almost certainly wouldn’t have been successful at selling the idea.

              • GM
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                Yes, the pretense of WMD’s was the primary argument delivered to the US citizenry, but one can not ignore the intentional association of Iraq and Al Qaeda that was mentioned in speeches across the country. Polls showed that two years after the war almost half the country (48%) incorrectly believed there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

                That you would label my argument as specious and then later acknowledge the truth of it suggests you should look up the definition of specious. Perhaps you meant “self-evident”.

                Nonetheless, so far you have offered up anecdotal evidence, at best, for your position that individuals often make regrettable decisions in emotionally heightened situations. In fact, the daily, anecdotal evidence that soldiers make countless appropriate and reasonable decisions in war zones should lead one to believe that heightened physiological states are not a necessarily major impediment to decision-making. The corollary is that individuals shouldn’t then monitor message boards and lecture individuals on how they are making rash decisions simply because something happened recently.

                Further, the appropriate response to a position you find disagreeable is to lay out your argument against the position, instead of taking the patronizing route of suggesting that people not make up their own minds soon after a tragedy because they aren’t possibly as reasonable as they will be well into the future.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                Raptor,
                President Bush exploited the surge in national anger over 9/11 and the consequential boost in popularity he received as a result in order to convince the public into going along with the Iraq invasion

                No, the primary reason given by the Bush administration for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and was a clear and present danger to the stability of the middle-east, a vital national interest of the U.S. and its allies. This had nothing to do with 9/11.

                GM,
                That you would label my argument as specious and then later acknowledge the truth of it suggests you should look up the definition of specious.

                I have no idea where you think I “acknowledged the truth” of your argument. I clearly stated that your argument is specious because it confuses possibility with probability. Yes, it’s *possible* that calm, thoughtful deliberation over time will not produce a better policy than knee-jerk reaction in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Possible, but unlikely. The Patriot Act is a clear example of the folly of rushing to action in the wake of a traumatic event. I’m not sure what part of this you don’t understand.

              • GM
                Posted December 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

                Look up the definition of specious. It means seemingly true but in the end false. If you say the argument is specious you can’t say it is technically true, which you have done.

                And re-read your comments before posting. You can’t confuse possibility with probability since they carry different connotations. You probably meant to say that I confused possible with probable, though that’s disingenuous since you refuse to offer any odds yourself. If you are going to say something is improbable then marshall your evidence and do some statistics. You’ve parroted the same Patriot Act example over and over again while I have pointed out that individuals across the globe make rational decisions in stressful moments.

              • Gary W
                Posted December 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                If you say the argument is specious you can’t say it is technically true, which you have done.

                For the second time, no, I didn’t say your argument is true (or, rather, valid), “technically” or otherwise. Your argument is invalid (and specious) for the reason I explained.

                You can’t confuse possibility with probability since they carry different connotations.

                I’m not confusing them. You are.

              • microraptor
                Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

                @ Gary W- If 9/11 hadn’t occurred, Bush would never have been able to sell the idea of invading Iraq to dispose of Saddam and his non-existent WMDs to the US public. It’s as simple as that.

              • GM
                Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

                “Taking the time to thoughtfully debate and deliberate the proper policy response to a national tragedy obviously will not guarantee that the reponse will be wise. There are no guarantees.”

                Those are your words. Time does not yield the best decisions. That was half of my argument, and you admitted as much.

                The second half is that individuals can make rational decisions in stress. And unless you are going to say this doesn’t happen; you must yield that position.

                Despite all this you fail to give any other evidence and instead resort to juvenile nonsense. I explained how you confused what the words probability and possibility mean with probable and possible. Your response was not a thoughtful expose on what you actually meant or where I erred, but an intemperate response.

                I do hope you are one of the individuals who are paid to troll forums as I’d like to think an individual wouldn’t be this immature unless they were paid to be.

        • Vaal
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Exactly!

          It’s ludicrous.

          When people are dying from a mechanical issue with a vehicle, we act quickly to fix it immediately. The re-call starts immediately. We don’t “wait until some future time when the problem is past.”

          When there’s an outbreak of a disease, do we wait until all the dying is done and behind us? “Don’t act now, we won’t be rational!”
          No.

          And of course you give all the other tragedies for which we act immediately.
          It is as you say special pleading…just in the case of gun crimes, to say “Hey, let’s all not talk about how to fix this…let’s wait some more on this one…”

          Gimme a break.

          And btw, it’s often “breaking points,” where an issue comes to a head, that serve to motivate people to fix things. Most people who have had to fix something big in their life, be it abusing substances, food, whatever, will point to specific peaks in their problem which compelled them to finally act and say “Ok…I’m doing something about this NOW. THIS is the point at which I start to change.”

          Further, I find the “don’t talk about the issue of gun control now because it’s so emotional” to be terribly condescending. It’s much like the condescension we often speak of when saying to the religious “I don’t need religious belief to get through life…but the common man does, so let’s not take it from them, it would be too traumatic.”

          I’m horrified by the tragedy, but feel entirely rational about the gun control issue – my view hasn’t changed at all (I’d be for it) in some blinded-by-emotion state. I’ve seen a great amount of RATIONAL arguments for gun control since the shooting, that are much the same as “down times” in between shootings. So it’s not like meaningful, rational arguments aren’t being made do to all the emotion. In other words, to people who try to tell me “don’t talk about gun control issues now, so close to this disaster,” if YOU feel to overwrought to think clearly about gun control fine, you don’t have to talk about it. But don’t project, and don’t go telling us we ought to clam up our thinking or speaking about the issue on specious grounds.

          Vaal

          • Vaal
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            My “exactly” was, if not obvious, in agreement with Torbjörn Larsson’s post above.

            Vaal

          • Gary W
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Further, I find the “don’t talk about the issue of gun control now because it’s so emotional” to be terribly condescending.

            No, not because “it’s so emotional.” Because people are not likely to make rational decisions when they’re traumatized by grief and anger, as in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting or a terrorist attack. I’m sorry if you feel this observation is “condescending” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

            Your analogies to a lethal car defect and a disease outbreak don’t make sense. A lethal car defect and a disease outbreak are likely to continue killing people immediately. So there is a strong incentive to address those problems immediately, and little or no benefit to waiting.

            • Guy
              Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

              A lethal car defect and a disease outbreak are likely to continue killing people immediately. So there is a strong incentive to address those problems immediately, and little or no benefit to waiting.

              Where as the slaughter of innocent children (and adults) from the continued easy access to high powered semi automatic weapons is likely to stop on its own accord in the foreseeable future?

            • Vaal
              Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

              Guy made the reply I was going to make.

              As if you know the next slaughter might not be right around the corner (statistically…horrible gun crimes ARE happening immediately).

              And as if the slaughter of this many children was NOT a “strong incentive” for action immediately? Let’s just wait this one out hoping another slaughter doesn’t happen as we twiddle our thumbs? (Like, you know, what just happened while people twiddled their thumbs after the theater massacre?)

              And, again, I deny that people at this point are not reasoning intelligently or rationally. I see plenty of rational discourse on this subject right now, in papers, on the web, etc. So I see little support for your claim that people won’t think rationally about the issue at this time.

              Vaal

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

                Where as the slaughter of innocent children (and adults) from the continued easy access to high powered semi automatic weapons is likely to stop on its own accord in the foreseeable future?

                You missed the point. A mass shooting is a discrete event. When it’s over, the deaths stop. The next mass shooting is not likely to occur for weeks or months at a minimum. In contrast, a lethal disease epidemic or car defect is an ongoing event that will continue causing deaths until it is addressed. The potential number of deaths, especially from a lethal disease, is also much higher. That’s why an immediate response would be necessary. And why Vaal’s analogy doesn’t make any sense.

                Guy made the reply I was going to make.

                Then see my reply to him above.

                And as if the slaughter of this many children was NOT a “strong incentive” for action immediately?

                Why is the slaughter of “this many childen” a strong incentive for action immediately? The children are already dead. No action is going to bring them back.

                And, again, I deny that people at this point are not reasoning intelligently or rationally.

                Then you presumably also think it would be appropriate to debate the waterboarding of terrorists the day after a major terrorist attack, and rush through legislation based on the outcome of that debate. After all, you never know when the next terrorist attack is going to happen, and the potential casualties of a single attack are in the hundreds or thousands. So apparently we have to act very quickly.

              • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

                this is my feeling exactly — we hae to craft rules to prevent any future slaughters of babies.

              • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

                Agree — lets have time to clear our minds first

              • John Scanlon, FCD
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

                A mass shooting is a discrete event. When it’s over, the deaths stop.

                Well that’s clearly not true; the ‘mass’ deaths are barely a blip on the monthly gun-homicide totals, and I doubt that a plot of frequency-vs-victim# for lethal shootings would be distinguishable from a Poisson distribution. (Has someone checked?)

                Lets not just go after the statistical spikes, but reduce the area under the curve.

              • Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

                You’re absolutely correct. I think we’re descending into a Wild, wild west society. Aren’t we supposed to be more evolved than this?

              • Gary W
                Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

                Well that’s clearly not true; the ‘mass’ deaths are barely a blip on the monthly gun-homicide totals,

                Of course it’s true. I was talking about deaths from a mass shooting, not all gun-homicide deaths. If mass shooting deaths are only a blip on the total, and the total is what really matters, there’s no reason to act quickly after a mass shooting.

                Fanatical gun control advocates are simply trying to exploit the public grief and anger in the aftermath of Newtown to try and rush through legislation that they haven’t been able to pass under normal conditions. It’s a dishonest and cynical political ploy. Fortunately, Congress doesn’t appear to be willing to play their game. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, perhaps mindful of a potential backlash if he’s perceived to be exploiting the tragedy, has called for “a thoughtful debate.” Congressional Republicans are cautiously signalling a willingness to revisit some of their positions. No one seems in a hurry to vote on anything.

              • Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

                @ Gary

                Decent people everywhere did come to a conclusion about waterboarding very quickly: it’s a barbarous form of torture, torture yields unreliable information, and therefore, waterboarding shouldn’t be done.

                Also, if you want to talk about analogues they aren’t apt, your waterboarding analogy fails far worse than the defective car analogy (and the car analogy doesn’t even actually fail: there’s something wrong in the car’s machinery that has the potential to cause death, so it needs to be addressed. Now just substitute “society’s” for “the car’s”). Waterboarding is an action we perform on other people that causes them harm. Regulating access to firearms is NOTHING like that.

              • Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

                analogues = analogies

              • Gary W
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

                Decent people everywhere did come to a conclusion about waterboarding very quickly: it’s a barbarous form of torture, torture yields unreliable information, and therefore, waterboarding shouldn’t be done.

                Polling has repeatedly found that a substantial majority of Americans believe that the use of torture is sometimes justified against terrorists to obtain information that could be used to prevent an attack. In the immediate aftermath of a major terrorist attack, support for torture would almost certainly increase.

              • John Scanlon, FCD
                Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

                “there’s no reason to act quickly after a mass shooting”

                So you keep saying, but that can only be argued for certain values of ‘quickly’.

                There are, however, excellent reasons to act before the next one, or the one after, or the one after that…

            • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

              Then I guess it’s a good thing the traumatized friends and family involved wouldn’t be the ones drafting and enacting legislation.

            • Vaal
              Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

              Gary,

              A mass shooting is a discrete event. When it’s over, the deaths stop.

              But America’s gun obsession, the route of the problem is not a “discrete” event, it’s present at all times, with gun tragedies are ongoing as we write, and the next massacre percolating in this present atmosphere. This is the point you don’t seem to get.

              The next mass shooting is not likely to occur for weeks or months at a minimum.

              Right. If the President said “Let’s not discuss gun control right now after the slaughter of all these kids. After all, the next tragedy is not likely to occur for weeks or months. So, we’ve probably got time to put off any action and do other things in the meantime.” I’m sure that would go over well. (Well, maybe with the NRA). No, this is not a rational-sounding approach.

              Why is the slaughter of “this many childen” a strong incentive for action immediately? The children are already dead. No action is going to bring them back.

              Wow.

              The point is the sooner action comes, the more likely gun deaths, including such tragedies, may be reduced.
              It’s not like this is some out of the blue event that has never occurred, so we have to stop, gather our wits and for the very first time start pondering “Hey, maybe allowing all these guns isn’t the best idea.” Like no clear thinking has ever occurred on the subject! People have been thinking about and examining this problem for a long time. This gun issue is more like someone who has been overeating and under exercising for years and years, and we know the health risks involved, yet this person’s blood pressure is up every year at the doctor, then he get’s pre-diabetes, then heart pains, then a minor heart attack, maybe a stroke…the indications keep coming that he has to change his behavior and there are already rational paths available for doing so. Any ONE of those events, those signs, ought to spur this person into changing his behavior AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to prevent ongoing deterioration.

              Then you presumably also think it would be appropriate to debate the waterboarding of terrorists the day after a major terrorist attack, and rush through legislation based on the outcome of that debate.

              You make it sound like a debate would occur in a single day and then action would immediately be legislated. No such thing is being suggested here. Getting off the collective butt and doing something about the problem doesn’t entail immediate legislation must occur, but that at least a process of acting toward goal solving occur. But it at least seems to be spurring Obama toward action in addressing the problem, and we’ll see what type of ideas his team comes up with.

              Unfortunately it’s very unlikely that any policy will arise that will make a dent. Because they will be so limited, just pecking at the edge of the problem. So the gun-loving Americans can still say “we get to keep most of our guns! Yay!” But it’s the gun-culture itself that is I think that is the root of the problem. This desire-for-guns that is instilled in Americans. It’s just bizarre (and clearly deadly). If the desire for and worshiping of guns itself could be ameliorated then some actual major reduction in gun crime is much more likely. (There are many societies filled with people who do not own guns and are just as happy as they have no desire to own them…and their gun crime is nothing near America’s).

              Vaal

              • Gary W
                Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

                Vaal,

                As usual, your long-winded reply simply doesn’t address the problems with your claims and arguments that I described. We do at least agree on this:

                it’s very unlikely that any policy will arise that will make a dent.

                And yet for some reason it’s really important to start working on this likely-to-be-useless policy change right away, instead of waiting until the trauma of the tragedy has subsidided. Yet another demonstration of the irrationality of gun control fanaticism.

          • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            Plus. One.

        • RF
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          One thing that I’ve noticed about this blog is that quite a few of the posts are obituaries. From now on, I’ll make a point, when I see such a post, of posting a comment, and instead of reflecting on the life of the person, or the loss of their death, I’ll simply exploit their death to promote my personal political beliefs, and I’ll be sure to accuse anyone of disagreeing with me as being morally repugnant. If anyone complains, I’ll accuse the complainers of engaging in “special pleading”, and ask why the death exempts the political issue from being discussed. Because, apparently, that is appropriate behavior at this blog.

          • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

            Why DO the deaths exempt the issue from being discussed?

            The deaths are the reason we need to have a discussion.

            And what do you mean quite a few of the posts at this “blog” are obituaries? Do you mean out of all existing posts, or only out of those dealing with the Sandy Hook tragedy? Even if the latter, I don’t think anything Jerry’s written about it could be described as an obituary.

            ???

            • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

              I agree, & there’s no better time to discuss the issue than now

            • RF
              Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

              I never claimed that the deaths exempt the issue from being discussed.

              And there have been quite a few deaths that Jerry has posted about. Sally Ride, just off the top of my head.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Also, it is telling. When the apologists ask for (always atrocious) special pleading as a stop gap measure to stop democracy and free speech in action, we know they are scared.

        But nevertheless, the temerity of even suggesting to “wait a while” sets me off. And it isn’t as if this hasn’t gone on for quite a while. There are abundant ideas of what to do (remove guns from the populace) and what not to do (wait for the next massacre to happen).

        • Duncan
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

          Wow. I don’t often comment here and rarely on serious subject matter but I seem to have set some hares racing without meaning to. My comment (3rd in the list) about holding off on debate ‘for a short while’ was triggered by feeling that if I’d lost a child in this way I’d prefer the mass media debate AFTER my child was buried. That’s the short while I referred to.

          “temerity of even suggesting to “wait a while””

          Torbjorn, I think you’ve seriously misconstrued my intent. I am very far from being a ‘gun apologist’ and I’d appreciate it if you could retract that assertion.

  2. Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Clearly, the only way to solve violence in America is for citizen access to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The 2nd Amendment was specifically designed for the God-given right to own air-to-surface weapons, air-to-air missles, and 20mm guns.

  3. darrelle
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The teacher was amazing. I’ll have to wash my face now.

    Lot apparently has a room temperature IQ. Whoever is pulling his strings should be ashamed of him.

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Lot apparently has a room temperature IQ.

      I understand you mean Celsius, not Fahrenheit. The guy is a genuine imbecile (or at least he talks like one).

      • darrelle
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Nice!

  4. nurnord
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Jerry, the comment section on YouTube for the Kaitlin Roig video (at top) seems to be overrun with claims she ‘was’ a pedophile. I say ‘was’ because the comments also say ‘RIP’. A quick search engine search suggests this is the latest troll meme on YouTube.

    Nice people, eh ?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      Who but a pedophile would take all the kids and hide in a cupboard instead of, oh I dunno, waiting in the classroom to be slaughtered like everybody else…

  5. NewEnglandBob
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    John Lott refuses logic and reason. He is a very dangerous person, spreading his nonsense.

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the shooting in Aurora Colorado take place during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” [2012 Aurora shooting].

      How many other theaters in the neighborhood were showing that movie at midnight?

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        Anyway, folks who go to the movies at midnight are no more deserving of sudden death than any other moviegoers.

  6. GM
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Though Lott seems like he intentionally disregards much data that contradicts his positions – another fine poster boy for epistemic closure – Lott must be willfully ignorant if he is going to say that the bushmaster .223 used in Newtown is just like hunting rifles. The magazine of the bushmaster carries many more rounds than a typical hunting rifle and is therefore unnecessarily dangerous.

    It is doubly sad that Soledad then transitioned to talking to Deepak Chopra in hopes of having a more reasonable conversation.

    • DV
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      John Lott vs Deepak Chopra – choice of lesser insanity.

    • HB
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Lott also lies about the nature of the ammunition and its purpose. According to Wikipedia anyway, the .223 inch round fired by the bushmaster and other assault-style rifles is the “ancestor” of the NATO 5.56 X 45 mm round. The Wikipedia page I looked at noted that this design results in “fragmentation [that] creates a rapid transfer of energy which can result in dramatic wounding effects.” The ammunition used in the CT massacre was designed to kill and maim people, not small game; the rifle used in this heinous crime was designed to fire that ammunition.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        A rifle with such impact delivery as capable of shooting your way through an entrance would likely make small game stew, wouldn’t it? I don’t see how Lott’s description would make sense.

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

        shit, i don’t even like to see these weapons used against small (or even large) game, as I’m a vegetarian because I don’t approve of the
        meat industry’s murder of sentient creatures. However we must get over the emotionality of the moment if we are to craft a response that is sensible.

    • RF
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh, wow, it has a large magazine? Really? I bet it also doesn’t emit a cloud of cloud every time it’s fired. Does smokeless powder constitute making something “unnecessarily dangerous”? You don’t absolutely need to have a trigger than can be depressed with only one finger, do you? Is any gun that has any feature that is not absolutely necessary to hunt “unnecessarily dangerous”? I guess a rifle that has any magazine at all, rather than requiring the shooter to chamber a new round each time, is “unnecessarily dangerous”. It’s pathetic what passes for an anti-gun argument.

      • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Is there an answer to the question: “Why do you need such a large magazine” that isn’t: “So I can mow down as many people as possible before reloading”?

        • RF
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          Is there ANY answer to the literal question of why does one need a large magazine? No, neither hunters nor school shooters need large magazines, making your question disingenuous. But if the question is “Why is a large magazine useful?”, the answer is, quite obviously “So I don’t have to reload as often.”

          • Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            Jeebus.

            “Why do you need such s large magazine” is a perfectly legitimate question.

      • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Imagine your reply as given to a pedestrian by a motorist:

        P: “Hey, this is a residential area! Do you need to drive 70 mph?!”

        M: “Oh, wow, 70 mph. So what. I can do what I want.”

        At which point the police step in and say: “No, you can’t. The speed limit here is 25 mph, and you’re being issued a hefty citation.”

        We put limits on things for good reasons.

        • RF
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Is it too much to ask that you collect your silliness into one post? I never said that it’s okay to drive 70 mph in a residential area, let alone that it’s illegal, so you’re engaging in blatant dishonesty.

          • Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            It’s dishonest to ask you to imagine your reply in a different but analogous situation? The unnecessarily large magazine = the unnecessarily fast driving.

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        i think your second to the last sentence might be correct.

      • GM
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Given that you labeled my argument as “anti-gun” instead of “anti-semiautomatic rifle with a large magazine” you either didn’t read my post or willfully misinterpreted it. That you can’t, or won’t, have a reasonable discussion about lowering shots fired per minute is disappointing. If you are interested in arguing that large magazines aren’t directly responsible for increased violence in shootings such as Tucson, Aurora, or Newtown then please explain how reloading less doesn’t lead to more time shooting individuals.

        • RF
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Semi-automatic rifles with large magazines are a type of gun. Furthermore, you implied that anything not absolutely necessary for hunting should be illegal, which logically implies that all guns should be illegal. That instead of actually dealing with my counterargument, you petulantly declare that I am not being reasonable, is disappointing. “Large” magazines certainly make shooting slightly easier, but not by much. It’s telling that you don’t address the question of just what size is reasonable, or whether we should just ban all magazine entirely, nor do you address any of my other points.

          • GM
            Posted December 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            Wow, semi-automatic rifles are a type of gun, who knew?

            My argument doesn’t apply to a typical shotgun that holds at most 8 rounds. So it isn’t anti-gun to be anti-magazines that hold 30 rounds. That you conflate the two smacks of paranoia.

            I did imply that anything not necessary for hunting should be illegal because of space constraints. So let me clarify: guns are an efficient and more humane way of hunting than bow hunting, especially when large animals have to be tracked after the arrow has hit them. So, not all guns should be banned.

            Finally, you didn’t make an argument, you pointed out that I was not clear enough for you, so I have specified.

            In regards to not specifying an exact number for how large a magazine should be; I’ll first say that you didn’t specify a number either so don’t be hypocritical. And given that a tactical shotgun usually holds no more than 8 rounds, let’s start with 8 being the maximum number of rounds a sportsman should be able to purchase.

  7. Dan
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I read More Guns, Less Crime when it came out about 12 years ago. At the time, I had the sense that here is a serious researcher, reporting a counter-intuitive yet plausible phenomenon, despite his stated personal aversion to guns. I’ll admit, he got me to reconsider my stance on gun control back then.

    The problem is that I think it’s easy to get drawn in by this image of himself he portrays. The book does not read like something written by an ideologue. It was only after I noticed…
    – how closely he associated with conservative media like TownHall.com and Fox News
    – his posing as his own student to praise himself on the internet
    – his association with the pro-gun lobby
    – other researchers unable to reproduce his results
    …that I started noticing that his pre-determined answer to everything was “more guns.”

    He’s a tricky guy to argue against, because outwardly he gives an air of respectability to the anti-gun crowd, even though they certainly weren’t reserving judgment until the data came in. Soledad O’Brien does exactly the right thing in the video: challenge him on the specifics. Even if his seemingly-rigorous research regarding aggregate crime rates in More Guns Less Crime were accurate and done in good faith (which is treating him pretty generously), it couldn’t possibly justify his confidence every time he goes out on TV and recommends more guns as a way to have prevented various individual incidents.

    • Sawdust Sam
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Lott doesn’t allow for human nature. It’s my understanding that most people find killing another person very difficult: there are instances of soldiers going through the motions of attacking the enemy, but avoiding killing (perhaps someone with more knowledge will be able to expand).
      The second thing most people would do when pointing a firearm at another person is shoot; the first thing they do is hesitate. Anyone who has decided to kill themselves after a murderous spree is not so constrained.
      Arming teachers would save nobody.
      But nothing is simple.

  8. Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing that Lott is just one more hypocrite and would never want to live in a place where everyone had a gun, like, oh, Somalia or Afghanistan.

    • RF
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      1. Does “everyone” in Afghanistan have a gun? Given their misogynist views, I would find it quite surprising if women have guns. But hey, no need to let actual reality get in the way, right?
      2. I guess someone who claims to be against global warming, but prefers California to Alaska must be a hypocrite, right?

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        love the asine comments, dear. I do love when you have nothing but nitpicking to do and ignore the actual point of my post. Always know that’s when you’ve failed.

  9. Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The idea that more guns in more people’s hands will make people less violent and also better able to defend oneself is a form of dystopia and counter-intuitive since it hasn’t worked.

    Sort of like organized religion! When has religion every brought peace?

    From 1984:
    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ingnorance is Strength

  10. jesse
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    People need to flood Congress with letters. This webpage makes finding Congressional addresses and phone numbers easy.
    http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

    • RFW
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Note carefully, people: a *letter*. A handwritten letter at that. A legible handwritten letter, even if you have to write it ten times before it’s readable.

      Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

      Computer-printed letters are too easy to generate en masse and are therefore slightly discounted relative to the handwritten ones. Misspellings, bad grammar, poor handwriting also lead to the recipient getting a bad impression.

      • RF
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Of course, mindless argument like “Lott has said something that I don’t like, so he’s a moron” might also give a bad impression.

  11. neil344
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Adam Lanza’s mother had lots of guns. Did that protect her? No, it killed her.

  12. Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Roig is an amazing person. In another interview she had the presence of mind to consider the atheists in that bathroom: she told the kids to pray, but also said something like “those of you who don’t believe in god, think happy thoughts”. Amazing woman. My heart goes out to her.

  13. Matt Bowman
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I watched the Kaitlin Roig interview Friday night and burst into tears. You just want to hug this teacher and tell her thanks. What a wonderful person to have the presence of mind to reassure her students in the way that she did.

    As for Lott, he really is a complete moron. I’m now at the point where I just have absolutely no respect at all for anyone that would own a semi-automatic weapon. I don’t care if you are a hunter, a collector, a target shooter, or you own it for self-defense. If we listen to idiots like Lott, teachers will have to arm themselves like Rambo. What these gun nuts are saying is yes, you must be armed for your own protection and if you don’t you will be at risk. We are being threatened. All this is said in the name of freedom and Second Amendment rights. Now they want to get rid of every gun law and eliminate gun free zones. And this is supposed to result in a safer place?

    How do gun nuts expect schools to protect themselves against attackers armed with semi-automatic weapons? Imagine, the daily routine, the students are lined up outside the classroom, the teacher peeks into her classroom with her gun drawn, rolls around the edge of the door, checks the coat room, yells, “clear” to the students and they all run in the room happily yelling and screaming, hanging up their coats, putting their backpacks away, getting to their desks, and settling into their seats. And what the hell are they supposed to do at recess? Do we need teachers hiding in the bushes watching for attackers? Will secretaries have pistols in their desk drawers? Will teachers have semi-automatic rifles draped across their backs?

    News networks need to do a better job when they are interviewing gun nuts. I keep seeing jackasses making ridiculous suggestions that go unchallenged. If we follow every suggestion to make schools attack proof, our schools will look like jails. Our playgrounds will be surrounded by twenty foot high fencing with barbed wire. Schools will have lookout towers. Schools won’t have windows.

    I’ve been consulting at schools and homes for children on the autism spectrum for many years. I’ve walked into a lot of schools, in a lot of towns, across a number of states. The security has become a little tighter, but for the most part schools are open places where teachers, students, parents, and visitors move about freely. It would be a terrible shame if that changed.

    Fortunately, I’ve never been in a school under attack. But on 9/11 I was observing a kindergarten classroom at an elementary school in PA, and I will never forget it. Teachers and other professionals at the school were pulled out individually and updated. It is weird when you look back and realize everyone in the school was safe, but at the time it is terrifying because you don’t know what hell is going on. I can tell you it is a different experience when you have to act normal as thoughts and worries are streaming through your mind. When you are looking at little kids and they are having circle time and you are wondering about what is happening out there, it is scary and it is upsetting. Teachers and their students need to feel safe. Schools need to be safe. Period!

    I wish more Americans cared about kids, teachers, and their neighbors, more than they cared about shooting their pink AR-15 at the range. I’m sick and tired of it and I hope enough Americans are sick and tired of it to see some real changes made in our laws.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      “If we follow every suggestion to make schools attack proof, our schools will look like jails.”

      Too late. Many of them already do. Every high school my wife taught at in Texas had a full time police officer on campus. Some schools have metal detectors. And all across the country every single child knows the term “lock down”.

      • Matt Bowman
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I agree, we are getting closer and closer.

  14. Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I’d like to believe the support on youtube is a biased sample of the US population, and a result of gun-lobbyists descending in hordes on the video to create an illusion of mass support.

  15. Jim Jones
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    “It’s gonna be a tough job to pry the guns from Americans’ cold, dead hands.”

    I’m not worried about their cold, dead hands. It’s their cold, dead brains that concern me.

  16. Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    The perverse reasoning of Lott, like Pratt seems awfully like reasoning of many Republicans during the recent elections. There is some deep disfunction of the brains of so many people. Can it be fixed by education?

    • RFW
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Gut analysis: old, fat, white, heterosexual guys who idolize things military have awakened to the fact that they are not the only people in the US – and that, in fact, they’re wildly outnumbered.

      Result: not too different from a toddler throwing a tantrum and holding its breath until it turns blue.

  17. Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Lott was throwing out false stat after false stat, lying with impunity. It is unfortunate he was not coupled with a credible researcher who could have rebutted his false claims one after another. Fact do matter – which is why he threw out false ones continuously to support his position – and I am afraid Soledad changed no minds by simply responding with “you boggle me”. She is well intentioned, but is still a prisoner of the postmodernist new journalism that believes a reporter’s role is to put ideologues in front of the camera, and not to fact-check their BS.

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree. She should have ripped into him. What he said was completely insane. The idea of giving people fair time to share their opinions backfires here because these are crazy ideas and there are crazy people that believe them and the more this garbage is repeated the more the nuts believe it.

  18. marksolock
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

    • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      So please, right-wingers, please stop your shameless (& shameFULL) attacks on teachers, already.PS, I’m not & never was a teacher; I don’t have the guts for such a job.

  19. RF
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve watched you make post after post cynically taking advantage of this tragedy to advance your ideology, refusing to acknowledge any validity to opposing points of view, and launching personal insults such as “child killing advocates”, my respect for you has decreased nearly to the point of being non-existent. A while ago, you posted an entry asking your commentators to practice civility, and yet you refuse to do so yourself.

    Lott says that all of these shootings have one thing in common: that they take place in gun-free zones. O’Brien responds that they have another thing in common, that the shooters had automatic weapons. This is both false and a complete non sequitur. Do you take her to task for her false facts and complete lack of logic? Of course not, because she agrees with you. You don’t care about facts or logic, all you care about is whether people agree with you.

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Calling a public figure a moron isn’t uncivil and is totally fair game. Read the rules again. And, please don’t talk about respect when you are spewing idiotic ideas. O’Brien misspoke when she said, “automatic” weapons instead of semi-automatic weapons. Big whoop. The point is, we are all fed up, and we want your guns.

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

        yup, time is needed for all sides to think clearly, not emotionally. After all, who wouldn’t be horrified by the slaughter of kindergarteners?

      • mordacious1
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        BTW, semi-automatic weapons are much more effective than automatic weapons, unless you’re being attacked by thousands of people. The Army teaches 3 round bursts if you’re on full auto.

      • RF
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Calling a public figure a moron, when the only basis presented is that the public figure disagrees with you, most certainly is uncivil. Calling everyone who disagrees with you “child killing advocates” is uncivil. And your implied statement that you don’t have to respect me if I have ideas that you don’t agree with is exactly what I am talking about. You didn’t name one thing I’ve said that is wrong. I have no doubt that gun control proponents would make hay out of Lott if he had made a similar misstatement. The hypocrisy is what I’m criticizing.

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          The guy IS a moron, so he’s fair game. Calling a commenter names is not. If you have problems with me calling Lott a moron, then I suggest you go frequent another website, as I won’t be lectured on how to be “civil”. Got it?

    • gbjames
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Given your disrespect for our host, I’m trusting you can recall that you are free to go to other websites to comment. Or has someone locked you into this room?

      • RF
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        How old are you? You clearly are not mentally an adult, if you think that a legitimate response to criticism is “Well, you’re free to go somewhere else.”

        How about YOU go somewhere else?

        • gbjames
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          I’m 62. You? Is that somehow relevant?

          When the criticism is “my respect for you is non-existent”, then yes, recommending that you consider going elsewhere seems entirely appropriate.

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Okay RF, apologize to gb james for calling him “clearly not mentally an adult”. Do you think that’s more civil than calling someone a moron.

          You will apologize in your next post or you won’t be around here any more. Got it?

  20. Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I have to thank Syracuse University Basketball Coach Jim Boheim for speaking out against unlimited firepower for gun enthusiasts. I’ll interested to hear what the NRA has to say Friday

  21. Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    The second amendment was written more than 300 years ago. At the time, you loaded your weapon one musket ball at a time. So did your enemy, the Brits. The poor Indians had nothing to counter your weapons.

    It’s outrageous when the second amendment is used as an excuse to commit a modern-day atrocity. After all, kindergarteners are hardly a threat to anything except a full 8 hours per night of sleep for their parents.

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      More than 200 years ago…

  22. Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Yeah, this kind of weapon should be limited to wartime use. You don’ need it to kill a deer, either

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      Bushmaster would be a poor choice for hunting anything but groups of people. Posters on other sites have stated that it’s only a .22 caliber, which means nothing since it’s the velocity and spin motion that does the damage, but most hunters prefer .30 and up for large game. I would also note that the top hunting rifles are bolt or lever action, not semi-auto.

      This being said, if hunting is your argument then a single shot rifle, bolt action, small magazine is what you would choose. A Bushmaster is only for feeling military. For home defense, a pump shotgun or revolver works just fine.

  23. pilgrimpater
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    The sooner that bloke turns into a pillar of salt, the better.

  24. Miljenko Ugarkovic
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Mr. Lott would be willing to publically argue that the terrotist attacks of 11 September 2001 could’ve been prevented if passenger airliners weren’t gun-free zones… Or maybe he did? Or someone else?

    • microraptor
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something by him arguing that point, actually.

      • Miljenko Ugarkovic
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Well. Can’t say I’m surprised. Horrified, but not surprised.

  25. Jim Bradley
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The worst act of domestic terrorism was likely Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 people (19 children) with a truck bomb made of fuel and ammonium nitrate in the Oklahoma bombing. In my view, something needs to be said for personal accountability rather than “global rules” which affect everyone. School access in our area (Southern California) is far too lenient and I don’t feel there is any defense again child abduction or a random act like what has happened, but that could easily be helped by closed campuses and gated entry, which may also decrease other problems (truancy, abduction by estranged spouses, etc).

    In terms of responsibility, the numbers of deaths from governmental policy due to corruption, inadequacy, and intentional acts (foreign wars, invasions of countries, domestic mishandling of events, such as happened in Waco, and many other events) vastly outnumber the baseline rate of individual “crazy” person acts. I’d like to see, for every law enacted on the citizenry, four or five laws that reduce the latitude of governmental irresponsibility and increase the transparency of government.

    On the individual front, a comprehensive review of why people in the U.S. have the right to possess firearms; how best to approach the problem of disturbed individuals (if there can be any solution given our infamous inability to predict behavior); how many law-abiding citizens own, use (for sport, hunting, and collection), and defend themselves with firearms is what would be helpful and informative, rather than journalistic sensationalism. I have a problem with the fact that the media profit from tragedy, and have an incentive to create controversy rather than present comprehensive information to help resolve issues. In my experience, journalists do not attempt to report news factually and completely: journalists have an ideology and rarely is there a journalist that even attempts to remain bias-free.

    John Lott used evidence and data, while Soledad used emotionality and “outrage”. Lott may still be wrong, but for a blog committed to critical thinking, I find the position that we do away with rights because there are a baseline of crazy people who abuse or kill others is not well argued. I don’t think we do away with the 1st amendment because some people cause great damage with lies, nor should we throw out the 6th amendment (right to a speedy trial) because it can be abused by lawyers or the 13th (involuntary servitude) because the public “wants something done” about a particular criminal event.

    Soledad doesn’t appear to know what she is talking about, showing unfamiliarity with what “semi-automatic” even means. A semi-automatic firearm is one that ejects the current shell and chambers the next round so that the gun can be fired again by pulling the trigger. There is almost no possibility of self defense with a weapon that must be loaded round-by-round, except perhaps by a revolver, which is not usually considered a semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles and handguns are a large percentage of owned firearms.

    Most gun battles occur at close range (<20 feet) and most of those bullets miss (incredible but true), even by the police, who are trained. (The adrenaline effects are profound, affecting memory (for three days) and also dramatically affecting the ability to exercise rational thought during and after the event). Outlawing semi-automatic guns makes personal self defense far less possible for large numbers of people that keep guns for self defense. A criminal has his life on the line, and is a rational actor to some degree. They are many times very concerned about encountering an armed person and the known presence of armed individuals halts many crimes before they occur.

    I propose we do nothing until we take the time to review a comprehensive assessment of facts and arguments: the actual likelihood of a "mentally disturbed person" committing this type of crime (most aren't organized criminals), the different incidences and prevalence of crimes with legal and illegal firearms, the baseline of crimes without firearms, etc. etc.

    • RF
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Schizophrenics kill at a rate about twice rate of non-schizophrenics. Black people, about eight times white. Males, nine times female. For all the advances in societal attitudes for mental illness, there’s still a lot of prejudice against mentally ill people, and an attitude that they are somehow to blame, are evil, and are not deserving of the same rights as everyone else. I think that people who are making all this noise about how we need to keep guns out of the hands of “crazy” people need to explain just why it’s okay to judge the mentally ill by what a few individuals do, but not okay to do the same with black people or men.


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  1. [...] Jerry A. Coyne wrote a very nice post about the reactions after the shooting.  [...]

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