from a recent article about gun tragedies:
"Dante said there is a special place in Hell reserved for those who do nothing in a time of moral crisis. Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
We have men and women in Congress who avert their eyes, and spout empty rhetoric after each mass murder. A few try to bring Bills to the floor, but most turn their heads away, and talk about what a “difficult” vote it would be for them.
Their fingers are on the trigger as surely as the shooters.
But there is one other group – you and I. We don’t confront this profound evil. We allow it to become routine, we allow ourselves to become numb to a senseless slaughter of epic proportions. We sigh and move on. Yet a majority of us favor background checks, gun registration, bans on assault weapons, bans on high capacity clips, bans on semiautomatic weapons, and bans on the online sale of ammunition. These preferences span both parties and most of the nation geographically.
Until we act on those preferences and make support for insane gun policies political suicide, we, too are enablers, we too, have our fingers on the trigger, and we deserve our own circle in Hell."
On a much smaller scale Melrose citizens are enablers of our own Circle of Hell. Instead of standing up to corrupt politicians and failed policies, we sigh and move on. It's our own fault that things are as bad as they undeniably are now.
Yes, the central point is spot on. Yes, on a much smaller scale. For any who need to reassure themselves that there are no human consequences of our bad local politics, you are either deluded or just one of those from within the administration who will bash away with wrong-headed actions in order to fulfill the unholy political agendas. There is very real human suffering resulting from the ugly and inhumane local politics. So far Melrose has been very fortunate in avoiding the kinds of epic school tragedies occurring all over the country. But no one should feel confident that Melrose is immune. In fact some of the dysfunction here makes us more vulnerable to the possibility of very tragic consequences. Beyond that though, the small incremental tragedies have been occurring unacknowledged for some time. The way the district botches Special Education and refuses children in need time and time again, is a sadly perfect example. The way that civil rights have been wantonly violated is another example of how bad politics and bad decisions have created a tinder keg here. The rape of children at the Y that took place for 14 years is another horrific example (how conveniently and quickly this atrocity has vanished from the local dialogue), especially in view of how the community leaders circled around to protect those who knew but did nothing rather than standing up to protect the children. The mostly hidden tragedies of suicide and overdosing are another face of a community that does not take responsibility for itself despite displays to the contrary. It goes on and on. Melrose desperately needs to grow up. It can start by sending some powerful messages of NO to contemptuous officials at the polling booths next month.
All of us are horrified with these mass public killings - any human person would be.
However, what is always missing from these conversations is the "elephant" in the room - a topic that no one wants to discuss and which has been implicated in just about every one of these horrible incidents - mental illness and depression.
I agree with some of the suggestions noted by a previous poster - however, it is also a fact that none of these proposed changes would have prevented any of these latest mass killings. They are certainly "feel good" fixes but that's all they are.
Parents, relatives, teachers, and friends might turn out to be our first line of defense in reducing these mass killings. But that would put the onus on both you and me - and are you willing to step up and notify federal, state, or local officials when you see someone having serious mental instability or delusional tendencies with access to guns?
Therein lies the problem - access to guns. We don't know whether a mentally unstable person has access to guns. That's what we must ensure.
A majority of the nation agrees that assault weapons are one of the major problems. There is no need for anyone but the military to own them. Make them illegal. It's true some won't turn them in, but every mentally unstable person won't have ready access to a gun on a whim.
Got carried away and didn't intend to take this thread farther from the main point. Citizens have a duty to act when things aren't right. Speak up. Call out bad acts. Vote for the people who want to make things better than the status quo.
Australians Are Disgusted At The American Response To The Oregon Gun Massacre
by Judd Legum Oct 3, 2015 5:41pm
In 1996, a gunman opened fire at a popular tourist destination on the Australian island of Tasmania. Using a semiautomatic rifle, he killed 35 people.
Australia responded by reforming their gun laws. High powered rifles and shotguns were banned and uniform gun licensing requirements were imposed for the guns that remained legal. The country also implemented a buyback program which resulted in the destruction of more than a million firearms.
In the last 19 years, there have been no mass shootings in Australia, defined as five or more people being shot.
The effort in Australia was not particuarly partisan. It was led by John Howard, Australia’s very conservative Prime Minister. Rather, the gun control measures were seen as a matter of basic humanity and common sense.
In his emotional speech following the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left 10 dead, Obama pointed to the Australian example as a potential path forward.
“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it,” Obama said.
After a string of gun massacres over the last 3 years that have left hundreds dead and thousands injured, the United States has had a much different response. America has done nothing.
In the wake of Oregon mass murder, Australians are disgusted and perplexed by the American response.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Pascoe blasted American society as immature and unable to take basic actions to save lives:
In his very fine speech this morning, full of sorrow and frustration, President Obama made a mistake: Australia is not like the United States. We decided not to be.
We decided to grow up instead and become a more reasonable, rational society that explicitly values human life and prefers to think the best of people, rather than the worst.
The US is too immature a society to be allowed to play with guns. It has never shed its Wild West mythology. Americans still use their courts to kill people, which sends a message in its own way… It’s a country that values property more than life.
An editorial in Brisbane Times castigates America’s inaction on guns:
At Oregon last week, four guns were recovered – three pistols and a semi-automatic rifle. Did Mercer have the right to bear those arms? Yes, he did. From that question and answer flows the grim crimson tide. And from that flows, as always, the arrant nonsense from the NRA, and those of like mind, that guns are good, that guns are not the problem, that the president is politicising the issue. He should be, indeed he has been, with limited success. However, such is the web of lobbying, money, political support and sway, interconnected with the myriad legal jurisdictions, that we despair of seeing radical progress.
Yet we must condemn. America prides itself on being a light in the world for democracy and liberty. Yet within its borders it is armed to the teeth. This is a tyranny, borne on a historical anomaly, that must end. Surely, if the phrase “land of the free” stands for anything, it is the embracing of the freedom not to have to live in fear of the gun.
News.com.au, which bills itself as “Australia’s most popular news site,” suggested it was time for America to rethink the 2nd Amendment saying “the legacy of America itself” was at stake:
You sense that President Obama’s legacy as President is on the line here. But so, too, is the legacy of America itself.
America’s gun laws date back to the period in the late 1700s and the time of the War of Independence against Britain. It’s in this long gone era that the second amendment to the constitution was passed — an amendment which permitted and today still permits gun ownership to all.
This archaic law is viewed as sacrosanct by some, but Mr Obama clearly believes it must be challenged.
The same site interviewed David Herber, an Australian who lives near UCC in Oregon. Herber said he supported more gun control in America, but the political system in the United States is dysfunctional:
“As you are likely aware we have had a great many similar tragedies in the United States,” he said.
“Several that you would have thought would shift the needle of political debate, like Sandy Hook, have really done nothing other than become talking points in the national debate”…
“The majority of Americans worship the Second Amendment more than the Bible”…
The disgust is not limited to Australian shores. The New York Times struck a similar note. “Mass shootings have become an unsurprising part of American life, with lame public rituals in which politicians express grief and then retreat quickly into denial about this scourge,” the paper’s editorial board wrote Friday.
For someone who normally posts such intelligent remarks, Real Facts, your comments about guns was disappointing.
from Washington Post:
Mythbusting: Israel and Switzerland are not gun-toting utopias
By Ezra Klein December 14, 2012
My post "12 facts about guns and mass shootings" included a mention of Israel and Switzerland, societies where guns are reputed to be widely available, but where gun violence is rare. Janet Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center School, has actually researched this question, and she wrote to tell me I had it wrong. We spoke shortly thereafter on the phone. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post
Ezra Klein: Israel and Switzerland are often mentioned as countries that prove that high rates of gun ownership don’t necessarily lead to high rates of gun crime. In fact, I wrote that on Friday. But you say your research shows that’s not true.
Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased.
For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence.
Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid.
The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t. Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer.
Switzerland has also been moving away from having widespread guns. The laws are done canton by canton, which is like a province. Everyone in Switzerland serves in the army, and the cantons used to let you have the guns at home. They’ve been moving to keeping the guns in depots. That means they’re not in the household, which makes sense because the literature shows us that if the gun is in the household, the risk goes up for everyone in the household.
EK: As I understand it, there’s a stronger link between guns and suicide than between guns and homicide. And one of the really interesting parts of your paper is your recounting of the Israeli military’s effort to cut suicides among soldiers by restricting access to guns.
JR: Yes, it’s very striking. In Israel, it used to be that all soldiers would take the guns home with them. Now they have to leave them on base. Over the years they’ve done this -- it began, I think, in 2006 -- there’s been a 60 percent decrease in suicide on weekends among IDS soldiers. And it did not correspond to an increase in weekday suicide. People think suicide is an impulse that exists and builds. This shows that doesn’t happen. The impulse to suicide is transitory. Someone with access to a gun at that moment may commit suicide, but if not, they may not.
EK: I was surprised by one statistic in your article: You said that Israel rejects 40 percent of its applications for a gun, the highest rate of rejection of any country in the world. And even when you get approved, you say that “all guns must have an Interior Ministry permit and identifying mark for tracing.” That seems like it might make people think twice before they shoot from a gun they know the government can track.
JR: That’s a requirement. I don’t know a great deal about the ballistics issue there. But that is in the regulations.
EK: Israel and Switzerland are both small, highly cohesive countries. So some say that the difference in gun crime shows that there’s something about American culture that’s leading to these atrocities. Do you buy that?
JR: Israel is not a peaceful society. If there were a lot of guns, it may be even more violent. Israeli schools are well known for having a lot of the kicking and punching type of violence. I don’t know that Switzerland has that reputation. But Israel does, and it seems that the lack of guns promotes the lack of firearm violence rather than there being some nascent tendency toward peacefulness and cohesion. That cohesion may or may not exist, but not having guns prevents guns from being used in violence. People do still commit homicide and suicide but they do it with less lethal means. The most common form of suicide in Israel is strangulation, which is striking, because it’s not that common elsewhere.
EK: Not to derail the conversation, but given that most industrialized countries have quite strict gun laws, if they don’t use strangulation, what do they use?
JR: I don’t know what other countries have, but I’ve read about suicide in Israel, and it’s striking there, because there’s an age discrepancy. Between ages 18 and 21, when people are in the army and have access to guns, firearm suicide is very common. At other ages, strangulation is very common. So it does seem to suggest that people commit suicide with what they have access to even in the same society.
Thanks to all the posters for the information above - fascinating information!
Concerning Australian situation - they still have mass killings but a lot fewer than kin US. Also, Australia has only 23 million people compared to 330 million in the US (therefore US has potential for having more mentally and depressed citizens), it's constitution does not give citizens gun ownership rights unlike in the US - and this is a big difference between the two countries. In Australia, Switzerland and other countries, you have to have a good reason to own a gun which greatly restricts gun ownership.
The only way things can change to make a significant impact on US mass killings - is to CHANGE THE SECOND AMENDMENT - and forget about getting this done in our lifetime!
Take a look at the last 27 mass shooters...20 of those were raised in fatherless homes. This isn't about guns; it is about the destruction of the traditional family unit...and that rests entirely at the feet of the Left. This country needs to re-evaluate what it means to get married and, more importantly, what it means to be a parent. With such a high divorce and single parent rate; there are bound to be kids struggling with mental health and other issues that slip through the cracks and turn to violence. Just a shame. All of this talk about guns is nonsense.
"that rests entirely at the feet of the Left"
Oh sure. How many marriages did you say Trump has had? Those RightWing Bastions of Family Values.... Such sophisticated understanding of Sociology!
You can cite as many anecdotes as you'd like. The fact is that the divorce rate is double now what it was in the 60's and 70's and the number of single parent households is nearly triple. These trends have a direct correlation with these violent acts, not to mention the staggering murder rates in the inner cities. The policies of the Left have facilitated and enabled this attack on the traditional family and these horrific acts of violence are a direct result.