The Wrong Fight At The Wrong Time

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

ImageThe horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut have left us all with a sense of shock and helplessness. Twenty elementary school children dead, six educators slaughtered, and a place we all like to think of as a safe haven from the misery of the world polluted by horrific violence wrought  by weapons more properly used on a battlefield.  Politicians from President Obama to New York Mayor Bloomberg have called for “meaningful action” to combat gun violence which is endemic to America.

But does this mass murder of innocents present the right case to support effective gun control? From what we know now the answer is “no.”  The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was a troubled teen who suffered from either Asperger’s syndrome or a personality disorder according to the New York Daily News. One family friend described the young man, saying, “This was a deeply disturbed kid. He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.”

Lanza also had strange permutation of the syndrome in that he was impervious to normal stimuli. Another “longtime” family friend said Lanza had a condition “where he couldn’t feel pain. A few years ago when he was on the baseball team, everyone had to be careful that he didn’t fall because he could get hurt and not feel it.”

Asperger’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  which allows the sufferer to maintain high academic and cognitive functioning but handicaps social interaction. It is the classic high school brainiac who is unable to ask a member of the opposite sex out on a date. The cause is unknown but certain genetic markers may be present to suggest that is its origin. Thus, Lanza may have acted from a motivation he had little control over and which no amount of gun control or mental health legislation could control.

Additionally, the guns used in the slayings were purchased legally by Lanza’s apparent  first victim, his mother, Nancy. Lanza stole the weapons — a .223 Bushmaster assault weapon*,  and two semi-automatic handguns, a 9 mm Sig Sauer, and a 9 mm Glock — after murdering his mother and thus began his rampage. The simple fact is that no gun control measures either on the books or reasonably under consideration could have stopped such a disturbed person from acquiring these weapons if he was willing to kill to get them.

As much as many of us would like to see guns regulated at least as much as cars or liquor, the facts here do not present the best case to achieve this goal. The American love affair with guns is seemingly getting stronger with sales of firearms setting new records. Gun manufacturers and their minions at the NRA have succeeded in scaring many Americans into believing that Obama and the Democratic Party have a secret agenda to disarm the public.

In fact, the public’s support for gun control has been on a steady decline according to polling conducted by Pew Research. Even the school mass murder at Columbine registered only a bump of support which quickly vanished. The chart below (from the Huffington Post) graphically demonstrates the public’s attitude about guns in an era of distrust with government and the political process.

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It would take a paradigm shift in the culture to create the political will to take on the Second Amendment.  It is a telling — and perhaps damning  — fact that even the death of 20 children under age 10 is simply not enough.

Source: CNN; New York DailyNews; Huffington Post

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

PSs:

Our good friend, slartibartfast, has provided a link on the effectiveness of the federal ban on assault weapons. It’s good reading. Here it is: Did the federal ban on assault weapons matter?

*Also commenter, Roman Berry, (9:19 am) has provided some context for the term “assault weapon.”

Thanks, guys.

547 thoughts on “The Wrong Fight At The Wrong Time

  1. “but I think both you (and Bob) are off base if you use them for anything other than risk analysis.”

    What else did I use it for??

  2. I can’t recall where I read that you were twice as likely to be killed by a falling vending machine than in a terrorist attack; but I did read it a few times back when the 9/11 report was first published.

    Maybe in the Atlantic Monthly??

  3. Florida Man Invokes ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law After Shooting Fellow Pizza Customer
    By Scott Keyes on Dec 19, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/19/1360511/michael-jock-shooter/

    Excerpt:
    A Florida man defended his decision to shoot an impatient pizza customer over the weekend, citing the state’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law.

    Michael Jock, a 52-year-old resident of St. Petersburg, was standing in line behind 49-year-old Randall White at a local Little Caesars on Sunday when Jock grew angry over White’s complaints about the speed of service. The two began to shove one another, prompting Jock to pull out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver that had been concealed on his person and fire twice, hitting White both times in the lower torso.

    The Tampa Bay Times has more:

    After the shooting, both men went outside and waited for police. Jock told officers the shooting was justified under “stand your ground,” [police spokesman Mike] Puetz said.

    “He felt he was in his rights,” Puetz said. “He brought it up specifically and cited it to the officer.”

    He told officers he feared for his life. He mentioned that he thought White had an object in his hand, then backed off that when officers pressed him. Florida’s “stand your ground law” says people are not required to retreat before using deadly force.

    Police, however, disagreed with Jock’s interpretation of the law and arrested him on charges of aggravated battery and firing a weapon within a building.

    • blood hell……

      That stand your ground law is one of the DUMBEST they have come up with……

      Fact is…. I am 5ft tall…. and “roughly” 120 lbs…..

      in some cases some people could look VERY dangerous compared to me…..

      Would this law make it OK for me to just shoot a 6 ft tall large guy who was walking behind me ?????

      This situation almost looks as if this shooter was LOOKING for a REASON
      to use this law….. Wanting a chance to shoot somebody and not be on the hook for it……
      I imagine there are a LOT of people who are actually LOOKING for an
      excuse to USE this law……

  4. Justagurl, I worry about you, now that you told me your statistics. DO NOT BUY PIZZA. (BTW, in another Florida case, a man shot another man to death over a pork chop. Perhaps the warning should be: DO NOT TRY TO EAT ANYTHING IN FLORIDA.)

  5. When I lived in NYC, even though I am about the same stats as justagurl, whenever I was walking behind someone and we were either somewhat close and no one else around, or it was dusk or later I always would say, “It’s just me” so they would not be afraid. Under stand your hround you had better let them know early on you are not a threat to them, of course even if you said it they can claim you did not.
    Thta this person thght he could use the SYG as his excuse is enough reason for legialators to start looking at the law, if only at the wording (foget that it is assinine and opens the door to unjustified killing)

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