Monday, October 09, 2006

How To Stop School Shootings

In the wake of the recent spate of school shootings, the net is now awash with news stories, opinion pieces and blog postings on the topic. The Whitehouse is even holding a special summit on the topic. One rather alarming suggestion that keeps appearing is that teachers and other school personnel should be permitted to carry concealed weapons. As best as I can tell, such an idea is positively insane. Yet, it appears to even be getting some support from politicians.

Consider the facts for the moment. The one thing that makes school shootings relatively easy is the ready availability of firearms. If guns were not available to disgruntled students, and others, then shootings in schools would be much harder to pull off. Indeed, guns are a necessary condition for recent outrages. If this condition was removed, then there may still be violent incidents in school, but the chances are they would give rise to much less carnage.

Nobody will disagree that a person with malicious intent, armed with a hunting knife, box cutter, or some other kind of weapon would still be able to inflict considerable harm. However, the harm that could be inflicted would be greatly reduced. This is because an attacker would have to gain proximity to their victim. Also, should a person be intent on committing multiple homicides, they would ultimately have to deal with the effort involved in committing such acts. Also, whilst an attacker was focused upon one victim, others may have a chance to escape. Compare this to a case where an attacker has a firearm. Under these circumstances, an attacker need not get close to their victims. Also, much less physical effort would be involved. In addition, people attempting to flee could be easily stopped.

Thus, rather than arming teachers, we should instead control access to firearms far more closely. This would help reduce instances of school shootings. In fact, this is not a new idea. President Clinton proposed a host of restrictions on firearms, in the wake of the Columbine massacre. These never managed to get passed into law though, due to the lobbying efforts of gun makers and the NRA. The gun lobby are aware of these facts and already have spokespersons appearing to suggest that this strategy did not work last time, so it will not work if tried again. We should not be persuaded by this rhetoric.

It is important to realize that it was a Republican controlled Congress that failed to pass these proposed laws. As there is a fighting chance that the Republicans will lose a large number of seats in the upcoming November elections, it may be timely to try this again.

It is no great surprise that the homicide rate in the US is as high as it is, given the ready availability of firearms. Other countries with stricter gun laws may have higher rates of assaults, but this is not too high a price to pay. I for one would rather face a belligerent person with a broken bottle, or a knife, rather than the same individual with a firearm.

As for the proposal to arm teachers, it makes no sense. All this would do is increase the availability of firearms in schools. This would make things worse not better. So, to stop school shootings, get rid of the firearms. If this requires changing the Constitution, then so be it. Such an approach would address the underlying disease, rather than merely offer palliatives for the symptoms.

The CP

4 Comments:

Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

I agree with you, CP.

I'm trying to think of some smart ass comment to add, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel. (Heh. Shooting. heh)

Speaking of fish, mixaphorically, the other day when I was casting my pearls into the murky, waters of my freshman students' swinish minds, I saw the pale bellies of some half-formed thoughts swim obscenely behind their glassy eyes and then retreat, like frightened cave trout, from the light of reason to their dark hiding spaces behind the. . . umm. . .kelp. . . of religion, the reef of television, and the whale piss of what their parents were told to tell them to think, and I thought to myself: I'll bet every one of these fuckers is "anti-gun control."

Okay, I didn't really think that. But they are. They don't want anyone controlling guns!

I mean, how the hell else are we going to keep the bloody British away from our women folk and whats ours? You tell me that, Philoshophy man!

Anyway, people are jerks.

Love,
TS

This may amuse you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeIC0HaUPbU

7:38 PM  
Blogger Clampett said...

Damn British, always stealing my newspapers before i wake up. I need like 3 stinger missles to keep them away...those bastards.

“I for one would rather face a belligerent person with a broken bottle, or a knife, rather than the same individual with a firearm.”

Hmm, that’s where we disagree.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4985634.stm

(“David Hill is a consultant at Red24, a personal security advisory company, with 36 years experience in the police.
In his time as an officer, he personally faced a knife and a gun but he believes police now have an increased threat of violence in daily situations.
Although the federation figures for gun and knife attacks suggest the threat is receding, Mr Hill's belief is supported by the Home Office's recorded crime statistics, which show a slight increase in assaults on police constables from 21,927 to 23,267 last year.
It is the high number of knife attacks that worries Mr Hill the most. He says he would prefer to face a gun than a knife because a stabbing victim is more likely to receive a fatal injury.
"Obviously if you're shot in the head or heart, that's it. But a bullet often goes straight through the body without doing a lot of damage.
"If you're stabbed, you could be dead in three minutes if it cuts a vital artery.")
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,29389-2304912,00.html

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2209635,00.html

Anything is a weapon if you hold it right, CP.

The largest massacre in American history, that of sept11, 2001, was committed by less stereotypical means…box cutters and airplanes. ~3000 people died. Compare that to the death toll in the famous Hollywood shootout involving fully automatic ‘assault rifles’ (not the civilianized semiauto only ‘assault weapons’ targeted by brady/awb)

But, yes, arming teachers is a terrible idea. Perhaps preparing a response plan with the local SWAT team would be more practical.

Oh, TS is entirely correct "They don't want anyone controlling guns!"

They observed that the current approach to gun control does not work:

http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Kimveer_Gill.

Constitutional scruples aside, the current approaches to controlling features/makes/models of guns are ineffective.

I propose a legislative package asserting mandatory background checks, mandatory gun registration, a tougher filter on the background check and funding for the BATF to enforce the pre-existing laws and fight the black market.

Look at 1994-2004. The Brady/AWB legislation was skirted by simply changing the name of the weapon and manufacturing the 'banned' (only banned when 3 or more were installed at once) parts inside the USA.

Civilianized semi-automatic Ak-47 rifles were banned by the AWB in 1994; but as of 1995 the Slr-95, BWK-2, Maddi, etc were selling like hotcakes. Hi-capacity magazines (for that model, up to 100 round drums) were imported/manufactured in masse in anticipation of the legislation and were available in large numbers throughout the duration of the ban.

On top of that, all 'assault weapons' made before 1994 were grandfathered in and were held/sold legally.

The measures did not work.

The biggest obstacle to an effective approach is realizing that the real problem is not ONLY the gun, it’s also the person, the community, the family, the school and the sorcery of events that results in a violent situation.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Dave Robertson said...

"The one thing that makes school shootings relatively easy is the ready availability of firearms."

You are a fucking moron. The only thing that makes school shootings relatively easy is the fact that THE SHOOTERS CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT THEIR VICTIMS WILL BE UNARMED WHEN THEY BEGIN MURDERING THEM, BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE ARE LAW-ABIDING. Most murderers are cowards who prey upon targets they view as easy and weak. Why feed that predatory behavior by disarming potential victims?

"Nobody will disagree that a person with malicious intent, armed with a hunting knife, box cutter, or some other kind of weapon would still be able to inflict considerable harm. However, the harm that could be inflicted would be greatly reduced. This is because an attacker would have to gain proximity to their victim. Also, should a person be intent on committing multiple homicides, they would ultimately have to deal with the effort involved in committing such acts. Also, whilst an attacker was focused upon one victim, others may have a chance to escape. Compare this to a case where an attacker has a firearm. Under these circumstances, an attacker need not get close to their victims. Also, much less physical effort would be involved. In addition, people attempting to flee could be easily stopped."

Are you so naive that you actually believe banning guns would prevent a murderous scumbag from carrying one illegally? What are you, 12? How would you put such aban into effect, aside from making policy? Could you implement measures that would GUARANTEE a gun-free campus, or would it only be gun-free for those of us who choose to participate, while the criminals carry guns unimpeded?

More importantly, how do you propose guaranteeing safety for every individual (through a gun ban) without trampling our civil rights? Are we supposed to just "trust you"?

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Tango said...

And thus the difference in mentality between the UK and US is made ever clearer.

Here in the US we have a little fragment of our Consitution called the Supreme Court. In 1856 they heard a case called South v. Maryland, and they clearly stated that the responsibility for the protection of each individual does not lie with the state, but with the individual. The term they used was "no affirmative duty of protection", but it translates into "the government cannot be held liable if they don't protect you". Since then there have been nearly a score of cases that have been decided with similar results.

Criminals and madmen(women) will continue to disregard the laws we as a society put into place. And while stories like these sell advertising - excuse me - are "newsworthy", they are (thankfully) the exception, not the rule.

While you can recite the names of schools involved in shootings can you mention five "ordinary" people who were part of the 1.5 to 2.1 million lawful defensive uses of firearms each year?

7:22 PM  

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