Where Do We Go From Here?

There are 28 dead, 20 of them small children, in this morning’s Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting, with the dead shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, having first shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby home.  The school goes from Kindergarten through fourth grade, so these are very young children.

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

“But this one seems, feels like it’s in a whole different category — the age of the children, the number of fatalities. I’m not sure any of that requires saying more. You get it.

“I read a couple days ago that there are some 300 million guns in the US. Just under half the population owns a firearm. Let’s assume some truly radical shift in public opinion in the country and new regulations and laws get that number down to 200 million. What does that accomplish exactly?

“And let’s further note that the courts have moved decisively in favor of a much fuller interpretation of the 2nd Amendment which would make almost any sort of serious gun control impossible. Just days ago a federal court essentially made ‘conceal and carry’ the law of the land, or at least within that circuit for now. So what seemed a bit crazy a few years ago is now a constitutionally protected gun right.

“We know many cases of schools where people have to go through metal detectors. How much more on permanent lockdown do we want schools to be? Let’s call that half a rhetorical question. But only half.

“Don’t mistake me: I’m not making the argument that gun control wouldn’t be effective or the standard arguments that the guns were bought legally or by people with no history mental illness, whatever. I’d be ready to support pretty much all the things that normally go under the heading of ‘gun control’. But I’m hearing a lot of people saying we need to talk about guns, restart that conversation. And I agree, at least in the abstract. But what exactly are we talking about? And how we propose to get from here to there?

“I don’t want to hear about these tragedies being rooted in evil or the human heart. We know the human heart is a substandard product. It’s offensive to put this forward as part of a discussion about policy as opposed to theodicy and meditation. We know that the vast, vast proportion of gun owners use them legally and safely. We also know that gun deaths are rare in many other countries quite similar to the USA for the simple reason they don’t have so many friggin’ guns all over the place. …

“I’m not trying to stop the discussion. I want to start it. But I’m looking for some guidance on how it can be about more than words.”

In the abstract, I welcome the idea of a population armed to the teeth, ready to take to the hills and defend ourselves against possible tyranny.  And I believe that’s what the Second Amendment is about — tyranny, not hunting.  So part me really takes comfort in the knowledge that there’s all these guns and ammunition in private hands in our country because I think of all the dictatorships, current and historical, where the people are/were disarmed.  But on a day like this, facing so many actual dead innocents, there is no comfort to be found, and it’s almost impossible not to focus on the present danger from our fellow crazy citizens rather than some theoretical danger from our government.

2 comments on “Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. TAO says:

    I was so deeply saddened when I saw the news. I do think there are ways to greatly lessen the risk, and those should be the starting talking points. I don’t agree that every citizen should have the right to own a gun, and there are point of sale where that can and does happen. I also think there should be minimum standards each state law must meet or exceed. But that is me talking, who would never own a gun.

  2. Connecticut has strict gun laws.

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