Time for a Change

“Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming.The officers led children past the carnage. “They said ‘Close your eyes, hold hands.’”

How many times do we have to repeat this scene before we tell the ideologues who run the NRA that they no longer have a veto on gun legislation? Even the rank and file of the NRA believe in background checks to keep criminals and the mentally ill from getting access to firearms. But Wayne LaPierre and his minions want to protect the right of gun show dealers to sell to anyone with no background checks needed. This has to stop. Congress needs to pass a bill with the following pieces, now.

  • No gun show loopholes for background checks
  • Ban assault rifles
  • Ban large magazines for semi automatics

This is at least a start. One other matter that needs our attention is the care for the mentally ill. Most of the mass murderers in the past two decades were severely disturbed men, in some stage of Schizophrenic Breakdown. Clearly Adam Lanza fits the profile perfectly;the loner with the overly protective mother, who probably bought the guns for him, never realizing they would be used to end her own life and those of her beloved students. In the 1970’s Ronald Reagan decided to change the way we treat mental illness in America.

The Reagan and subsequent state administrations promoted the trend to community-based care by closing nine state mental hospitals; only five remain in operation today. Between 1957 and 1984, the California state hospital population dropped 84%. Together, these developments placed the primary clinical responsibility for mental health care on the counties, which were forced to rely for the bulk of their funding on the State.

In our state we can directly track the rise of homelessness to Reagan’s action and when he became President he carried out the same philosophy.

In 1980, congress proposed new legislation (PL 96-398) called the community mental health systems act (crafted by Ted Kennedy), but the program was killed by newly-elected President Ronald Reagan. This action ended the federal community mental health centers program and its funding.

By putting the responsibility to care for the mentally ill in the hands of cities and towns we have essentially decided to wash our hands of the issue, leaving it to the police to lock up the most severely disturbed. We must understand that the combination of paranoid disorders and drugs like Methamphetamine are deadly. It could also be that the combination of paranoid disorders and first person shooter games are also toxic, because a kid like Adam Lanza had rehearsed the scene of his killing hundreds of times on the screen before pulling the real triggers.

Finally, on the issue of gun control, it is time for the politicians to stop cowering in fear from the NRA and pass legislation quickly.


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44 Responses to Time for a Change

  1. Rick Turner says:

    The gun nuts are already saying that if the teachers had been armed, the guy could have been stopped. Highly unlikely. “The right to bear arms” was written in before the days of even six shooters…the days when if an American Indian got within bow shot, he had about twenty to thirty times the firepower of a musket wielding former colonist. The right to an assault weapon is not what the second amendment is about, or if that was about citizens maintaining arms parity with the government, then we should all have machine guns, hand grenades, and rocket launchers in our closets and be driving tanks.

    Homelessness is NOT a local problem here in Santa Cruz…that is to say, the homeless migrate here because the weather is nice, the food in the dumpsters is good, and there is a bit too tolerant an attitude for them which allows the meth and smack addicts, the obnoxious, and the thieves to run rampant. Five homeless people bashed in the head of another over a drug issue a few weeks ago here. They camp along the barely used railroad tracks, they camp in the woods and start forest fires, the harass citizens down town. And most of them come from other states…

  2. len says:

    What can we do with a culture that has more one to one and one to many communication than any time in history but lost a sense of intimacy, the one emotion that soothes the pain and mends the disturbed?

    I can’t wrap my mind around this one this time. Perhaps because I am numb from the conflict in the election, the commonness of it, or that I am living in a state and family full of gun crazies, working in a business full of gun crazies and all too aware of how many edge cases walk the halls of society. I live in a world that is insulting as a point of pride but where a misplaced hug can cost a career. I see people guarding their children from the predators but unable to pull them away from violent TV and video games. I see theft defended as a right of business but art stolen and passed about like a joint at a Dead concert. We nurse a broken faith and wait for indifferent justice.

    I can’t wrap my mind around it and I am too cried out to cry. I don’t think there is a sad enough song left in me. Lacrimare mortis.

  3. Fentex says:

    I see a lot of people discussing keeping weapons from the mentally ill. I don’t think such provisions would prevent these disasters.

    As a species and as ordinary sane people we are dangerous, violent, predators.

    Keeping firearms to a minimum minimises potential for such horror, but attempting to target people one might predict will do such things is folly for everyone has the potential. If the plan is to keep guns out of the hand of dangerous people, then you need to keep them out of everyone’s hands.

    The gun nuts are already saying that if the teachers had been armed, the guy could have been stopped. Highly unlikely.

    I think you are wrong to call it highly unlikely and imply the suggestion is nuts. If it’s given the assault is occurring then the most likely way to stop it is for well armed defenders to react quickly.

    You cannot argue against arming teachers by saying it would be ineffective because you’re likely wrong. It is, at that point, the only effective option. It may be silly and dangerous because ramping up the number of guns that proliferate may very well lead to ultimately more tragedy through an increase in the number of small incidences, but in this specific case an armed teacher may very well have decreased the damage.

    Is there a practical and effective political path to reducing the number of guns in the U.S?

    Suppose there is, it doesn’t seem likely, but suppose a path is plotted. Might not taking pragmatic steps until the ambition is met, involving encouraging the arming of responsible people, provide defence against the current but planned to be reduced threat?

    Suppose there isn’t, suppose the culture is so embedded that the mystique, bravado and proclamation of independence cannot be turned aside. Then what practical and effective options exist?

    Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing writes about trying to understand the situation and what the facts are. It’s sober reading.

  4. Hugo St. Victor says:

    The bodies haven’t yet been returned to their families, their loved ones. The memorial services haven’t begun. Only the Mafia does politics at a funeral.

  5. Rick Turner says:

    Gun control is not politics. It’s sense.

    And arming teachers? Fucking give me a break. And then you’d have to put them in body armor, because the first thing a shooter would do upon entering a classroom is take out the teacher who would hardly be expecting the next visitor to be armed and aiming. A shooter would barely have to aim if it was a 12 gauge they were carrying. Yeah, just what we want, gun fight at the OK Grammar School. No, this arm everyone idea is totally sociopathically insane.

    Gun owners should be licensed with tougher testing than drivers…all gun owners. Clips larger than 7 or 8 shots should be totally banned; they only exist for evil purposes. All weapons that could be easily converted to full automatic firing should be banned. No sales of guns should go un-registered. Any crimes committed with guns should have an automatic ten year additional sentence applied. Sales at gun shows should be simply shut down. Perhaps gun owners should have to report their arsenal every year and be ready to prove it, and any unregistered guns found during legal searches destroyed and the owner prosecuted.

    Target shooting…fine. Legitimate hunting…fine. Legitimate self defense weapons…fine. Historical collections…fine. Everything else…gone, scrap metal, land fill, deep six…

    The people who don’t want us to talk about this now and just hoping it will all blow over as it has in the past. But never before were the victims so young, so innocent, so incapable of mounting any defence, and so trusting of adults. I can only hope that this is that straw on the camel’s back of it all.

  6. Fentex says:

    Ban assault rifles

    It seems a diffilcult objective given the 2nd Amendments talk of militias, which to be effective require such weapons.

    If you don’t want the 2nd Amendment to gaurantee rights to such weapons it must be modified.

    If you want to disregard it do you not invite others to disregard what they do not respect? Such as the federal governments current complete disregard for the 4th Amendment.

  7. Rick Turner says:

    We are way overdue for a re-write on our constitution. Scrap it and start over.

    And it will be a cold day in Hell when that happens…but it would be very Jeffersonian.

  8. Hugo St. Victor says:

    shimmy shimmy, do-wop do-wop, shooby dooby and swoop swoop. Even in the realm of Comedy, the Borsht Belters say, the secret of al humor is……um………..timing! Same with politics and with social politesse. This conversation would suit the seasonal harvest of ingredients reaching their peak somewhere around January 3 – 8. Pair the wines. Meanwhile I will be reflecting upon the relationship of digital entertainments to operant conditioning and psychopathic fugue states, I’ll review Court dicta re the Second Amendment, and will reread “La Place de la Concorde Suisse”, by JTM’s cousin John A. McPhee, the thinking mammal’s New Journalist and a collegian of Jon’s. Prayers of Peace for the quick and the dead, Selah~~~

  9. MSS says:

    Dianne Feinstein – who knows the power of guns (a fellow member of the SF Board of Supervisors killed Harvey Milk and the Mayor of SF in front of her) – will introduce gun control legislation on the first day of the new Congress.

    In China a crazed man slashed dozens of children with a knife and all lived. In Connecticut a menally ill man shot 20 children with assault weapons and all died.

    The Founding Fathers could never have imagined that assault weapons might be used for “protection” (as presumably the shooter’s mother had hoped); or that the “freedom to protect oneself with guns” might be used to excuse large-scale shootings.

  10. Rick Turner says:

    The other huge issue is identifying the mentally ill and unstable among us and not waiting until they take out dozens of citizens to do something. This guy was clearly known to be disturbed by his peers and his teachers. His mother must have been in total denial, and she paid the first price for it, reportedly with multiple gunshots to the head.

    Teachers are already “under the gun” teaching classes with way too many students, and I can’t imagine many teachers wanting firearms training nor wanting to be engaged in a gun fight in a classroom full of kids.

    So what do you do? Locked steel doors on every classroom with video monitors so a teacher can see who wants in? Bullet proof glass on every outside window on the ground floor? 12 foot tall walls and security gates around every school?

    No. You go back to banning any gun that shoots more than seven rounds. You limit the number of guns that anyone is allowed to have. You require re-upping universal gun registration every two years. You require a bonding process for gun ownership. You make gun ownership a lot more like having a driver’s license and car registration with mandatory insurance. And you throw the book at violators.

    And you get real about mental illness in our society. We have a lot of actual and potential murderers out there who are one hair away from flipping out and taking a lot of innocent people with them.

    The mechanics of delivering death have way outstripped our moral, mental, and emotional capacity for restraint.

  11. Rick Turner says:

    I’d like to point out that the very first phrase in the 2nd Amendment calls for “a well regulated militia”…”well regulated” should include reasonable restrictions on who and what.

  12. Fentex says:

    I share a quote, for it’s concise summary, from a member of a mail-list I’m on – a response to the suggestion the correct and only solution is for teachers (or indeed everyone) to be armed for their self defence:

    One Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher was extremely well-armed, with items likea Bushmaster rifle, a Glock and another handgun. Her adult son murdered her with one of her own guns, then took them to her workplace, where he proceeded to kill 20 children, ages six and seven, and 6 adults, and then himself.

    Also for those who think doughty patriots with guns can defend themselves from a tyrannical government, please see Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian complex. It’s a morons power-fantasy daydream.

  13. Rick Turner says:

    Well, it seems that the shooter’s mother was NOT a teacher at that school.

    The rest is quite correct. Unless the “right to bear arms” includes fully automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades, heavy and light artillery, tanks with functioning machine guns and cannon, helicopter gun ships (black ones, perhaps?), drone aircraft with missiles, etc., there is nothing much that one could do against the National Guard. And that’s all pretty much paranoid ranting, anyway. And the paranoids who do try to act out have all wound up dead or in jail here so far.

    Sorry, Len, the South will not rise again…

  14. Anonymous says:

    @Rick Turner

    Sorry, Len, the South will not rise again…

    No problem. The Union is decending to meet it. We shall gather at the river…

  15. len says:

    rats….. that was me.

    About the time we get it together, the Grays will come back and claim their pets.

  16. Rick Turner says:

    The “pets” of the Grays were black slaves, and they were not treated well…only slightly better than Vick treated his pit bulls… What goes around comes around, and all that…

  17. Roman says:

    Hugo St. Victor :
    …the relationship of digital entertainments to operant conditioning and psychopathic fugue states, ~~~

    @Hugo St. Victor

    Bravo, someone finally hit upon it!! ‘Banning’ is reflexive, meaningful change isn’t possible without addressing what’s saturating the gray matter between our ears.

    As a culture, we’re light years beyond Ralphie’s obsession with an ‘Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle’. Today, far too many live in an altered state where extreme violence is nurtured and celebrated. To wit, the rot found on many teenage boy/young men’s media devices – smartphones, xboxes, playstations etc. Any guesses on what occupied Adam’s day?

    Banning implements without addressing the stimulation is perverse folly.

  18. len says:

    Rick Turner :The “pets” of the Grays were black slaves, and they were not treated well…only slightly better than Vick treated his pit bulls… What goes around comes around, and all that…

    I was thinking Ancient Aliens but hey, karma is a witch. A sad thing is knowing because of my wife’s job with special needs children just how many Adam Lanza’s Reagan put on the street then and now. Some of the kids she works with scare the hell out of her. A few years ago, those kids had special schools. Now they mainstream them as fast as possible claiming it is their civil right to an equal education when in fact it is just a way to cut the budges.

    The shock on the faces in CT is terrible. People think that happens in the states where the gun crazies live, but it happens where there are crazies with guns. I’m in favor of getting the assault weapons and large clips off the streets as fast as possible, but that one is about how much do we trust our military much less the crazies. The paranoia is real enough and events of the last few years have done nothing to abate it.

  19. len says:

    True Roman, but prove it. Head over to Raph Koster’s blog and have that argument with the top talents in game design. As many times as the operant conditioning argument is presented, they are as fully prepared to yell it down as the free music folk are ready to dismiss that one.

    It’s a big problem of the culture and it manifests in multiple domains: we are possessive of our demons, our addictions and our obsessions and wwe are ready to defend our rights to them to the death of whoever disputes them. I repeat: we have to turn down the psychic temperature in this culture if we expect to have sober rational conversations.

    As I said, we have communications galore but intimacy is almost non-existent. Tragic.

  20. Rick Turner says:

    Len, guys with beer bellies and AR-15s can’t do much if the US military is turned upon it’s own people. Think Branch Dividians… To think that owning one or more assault rifles is to be safe from having one’s “freedoms” taken away is utterly magical.

  21. woodnsoul says:

    Taking an objective look at the situation here, http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2012/07/21/the-declining-culture-of-guns-and-violence-in-the-united-states/#comment-43131

    On a macro scale, we are becoming less violent and fewer and fewer people are owning guns at all.

    Trying to control insanity, the likes of which, we just saw in Connecticut, is almost impossible. Lucky he didn’t try fertilizer and a Ryder truck like Timothy McVeigh, or a Molotov cocktail. The Norwegian killer used a hunting rifle… I don’t think there will be bans on those, not here.

    I think the problem is a lot more complicated than simply banning some weapons. While that might make us feel good, I don’t believe it would actually accomplish very much at all. I think a reasoned approach might take us a lot further down the road. I’m not sure what that is, but simply banning some forms of weapons, is putting a band-aid on a guy with a sucking chest wound.

  22. woodnsoul says:

    And video games have been proven to incite violence and dehumanize the gamers… I think the one common thread with all of the killers recently is that they are all gamers. Yet I don’t see anyone voicing serious opinions to ban those???

  23. len says:

    @Rick Turner

    I agree completely, Rick. It’s that the arguments pro and con can almost be quoted by number at this point. CNN comment sections are … classic.

    woodnsoul sez: I think the one common thread with all of the killers recently is that they are all gamers. Yet I don’t see anyone voicing serious opinions to ban those???

    It’s been a raging debate in gamer circles for awhile. The game designers claim there is no proof. The operant conditioning aspect of games gets a lot of cred (better thinkers, strategists, planners, etc.) and no blame (ready to use guns, more violent, makes the sick sicker). The usual suspect: so much money in games everyone defends it the same way they defended smoking, the web, and other things that seem obviously harmful when taken to extremes.

    The gun defenders will tell you a car kills people too.

    Obama has it right when he says if there is ANYTHING we can do to change this, we should. So even if the hair splitting is fine and neat, we have to start talking percentages of changes that turn the tide.

    But if we don’t turn down the heat overall in the culture, it won’t do enough. We need to put more ice under the penguins.

  24. Fentex says:

    far too many live in an altered state where extreme violence is nurtured and celebrated. To wit, the rot found on many teenage boy/young men’s media devices – smartphones, xboxes, playstations etc.

    This is nonsense. If it were true violence would have been trending upwards in all places these games are played.

    Instead of, as it has, trending downwards in all places these games are played.

    There’s a simple reason these rampages happen – because the guns are there to be used.

    There’s no shortage of people who get angry enough to run amok anywhere. But they generally harm themselves in places where they can’t simply pick up the tools to harm others.

  25. woodnsoul says:

    Perhaps it is only an instance where those who are most easily disturbed are set off.

    Considering the number of guns out there, the instance of gun violence of this sort is low. Admittedly no consolation if you are a victim. But the levels of violence overall are dropping as well as the gun violence.

    This looks to be another Polly Klass type of situation, where violence is actually coming down and yet 3 Strikes is passed filling the prisons as never before. I wonder what the unintended consequences for banning guns will be…

  26. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Me too, through & through, woodnsoul. Easy does it. &?? the order of the day.

  27. Rick Turner says:

    Three strikes should be a good idea…and it would be if it really were about three violent crimes. I just don’t think that habitually violent people should be roaming about. The recidivism rate is just too out of hand. Same with sex offenders and child molesters, though I wouldn’t be so generous as to give three strikes to them…two maybe…maybe…with solid monitoring. It’s not about punishment so much as keeping violent crazies where they can do no harm to ordinary innocent civilians. Treat them decently, don’t execute them, but get them the hell off the streets. It’s the mental illness thing again, and psychiatrists don’t seem to have a great track record when saying that some of the perpetrators are “cured”…especially with regard to sex offenders and pedophiles.

  28. Woodnsoul says:

    @Rick Turner

    The issue with 3 Strikes is that crime is and was actually coming down – pretty significantly. It is a Red Herring that the media use to sell advertising – the news makes us feel like there is more crime, when the reality is very different. And most of the 3 Strike offenders are small time drug users, who have filled the prisons for very little return to the public dollar. There are certainly some very bad actors who are behind bars as well, but the average 3 Strike offender is a drug offender.

    I agree with efforts in the mental health front, though, like weapons, one needs to tread carefully and not throw our freedoms away for some ill-conceived feeling of safety.

    My point is to look carefully at what we need to accomplish and see if it can be done and at what cost. The Brady Bill didn’t stop the kind of insanity we saw last Friday – I’m not sure anything will. In Norway, they have some pretty tough gun laws and they still had a horror equal to our own.

    I think a more comprehensive program would be in order, but that still won’t make our world safe from insane people. It is a risk we face in today’s world, much like our forefathers faced wars where 10s and even 100s of thousands were killed in a few hours. Early US settlers and Native Americans killed each other with some regularity and often much savagery, with little regard to whether the victims were adult males or not.

    Let’s use some perspective and try to get this right. It might benefit us all.

  29. Rick Turner says:

    I am totally aware that our utterly insane drug laws are responsible for much of the overcrowding in prisons…which, to the initiated, are often referred to as “the university”…as in where one learns how to be a better criminal. In my past, I did a fair number of volunteer prison gigs as a sound tech and also as an artists’ escort. The word from inside is, “If you’re going to break the law, make it Federal”, and “You don’t want to be here.”

    But we should really be dealing with victimless crimes in a much different way. Legalize it, regulate it, and keep the real criminals off the streets.

    And then start dealing with mental illness and it’s manifestations including homelessness as a national problem. I also think that if schools were better funded, and if class sizes were brought under control, folks like the CT shooter would be identified as truly in need before they raid the family gun cabinet and go people hunting.

  30. len says:

    We have to face the reality that the mainstream schools cannot be expected to educate the violent mentally ill as a right of citizenship. We have to quit disgusing budget cutting measures that eliminated the schools designed, equipped, staffed and trained to handle the minority of violent students by calling it mainstreaming, and labeling it a fundamental right.

    There is no fundamental right for the violent insane to have free access to extreme means of committing violence. No matter how we dress that up for political correctness, it’s stupid.

  31. Woodnsoul says:

    The real issue is how to decide who is violent and who is going to do it. A good many of the people who do this don’t show the tendency until it is too late. This latest young man was seemingly very passive, except for perhaps when he was playing video games, until last Friday when it all went wrong.

    I agree with the basic premise. I have two boys in school and don’t want them with violent and insane people. It’s just a matter of how to get there without losing our freedoms.

  32. Rick Turner says:

    Well, we and our children have the freedom to be shot by insane people right now. Isn’t that enough?

    What freedoms would we lose in a world where class sizes were small enough and teacher training well enough funded so that educators might be able to spot troubled students and actually do something about these kids? I cannot believe that properly supported teachers would not be able to intervene where necessary. It seems that everyone around this guy knew he was off…except, maybe, for his mother who taught him how to shoot. So weird…

  33. Woodnsoul says:

    I just read a report that said he was angry because she was about to have him committed. Perhaps she was on the right track and just wasn’t fast enough or discreet enough.

    IMO and experience, teachers are NOT the folks I would trust to make psychiatric assessments of that gravity and complexity. Removing someone from society is a very serious thing and one we don’t want to take lightly at all.

    Not sure what will works here, but I don’t think teachers are the solution to the insanity problem.

  34. Rick Turner says:

    I didn’t say that teachers should make those decisions, but rather they are the first line of defense. They spend more time with kids than parents do…by far…and they’re more likely to be somewhat objective. They’re the ones who will see abnormal behavior and they have a contextual point of view. If you’ve got 25 kids in a classroom, you’re going to know which ones are likely to be at risk. If you’ve got 35, you might miss that shit.

    An interesting issue…in Waldorf schools, the teachers and students often go grade to grade, so the teachers really get to know the kids. I don’t know if there’s any long term studies on how that affects mental health diagnoses, but it would be interesting to check out.

    One thing we know for sure…parents are not the solution to the insanity problem. When kids withdraw, the parents go into total denial or act too late.

    I am very happy to have a teenager who likes his parents and talks in depth to them…

  35. len says:

    The kids my wife works with are already classified as special needs. That covers a spectrum of disabilities and behaviors. The difference is she and colleagues are trained to spot the violent ones. The trouble can be the parents. Some are as Rick say in denial and insisting these get more attention than can be afforded by staff or that the kid is ok and should be mainstreamed threatening to go to the school board or sue. Grandparents are even more apt to do this.

    The school board is often staffed with ambitious local politicians who hire the superintendant to handle the business of education while they handle the money as politicians do. It’s all turtles from there up. When it pushes back, it is politics back to the classroom where the teachers who are trained are forced to comply or lose their jobs. Kids who can be helped don’t get enough attention because kids who really do need a different environment get a majority of the hours because they can’t be left out of reach and can’t by law or policy be properly restrained. Add budget cuts to that which cut the number of aids. They can’t tie them up so each body with two strong arms is all they have. I’ve seen my wife come home bruised and battered because one of the other nasty truths is some of these kids are unnaturally strong and too many of them are aged past the grade they are in as other schools passed them up the grades to get them out of the mainstream or their own classes.

    So yes, they can be spotted and evaluated. No one is listening and some are in denial.

    Don’t expect mainstreaming to produce results. Mental health is part of the problem. Earlier identification is part of the solution. Better control of access to gun is part of the solution. You won’t get them all. Columbine’s will still happen. But Arizona and Aurora could have been prevented. My guess is so could Sandy Hook but I don’t know. Still if three in four can be prevented that’s a well worth the trouble.

    I don’t know all the facts about Sandy Hook. I’m not reading the material because I don’t want to have that conversation until the facts are in. It’s like Benghazi: we know it went horribly wrong but until we knew why, we couldn’t make a reasonable decision. In that case, today, we finally do know enough to say with some certainty that State blew it with Congress playing a significant role. In Sandy Hook, we have numbers, faces, and the second hand opinions of the neighbors. The person who could have made it clear was the first victim.

    I grieve and I think what can be done for the community is being done. What we do next is not in response to any of these even if they prompt us to respond. What we do next must be in response to our analysis of what our systems are doing wrong now and in the future. There is no prevention. There is management and control of resources.

  36. Hugo St. Victor says:

    I’ve learned, from others doing it, that it’s almost indispensable to study the origins of human violence, in persons and cultures alike. I’m no swami on the subject but much of what the thinkers with whom I happened to have worked does seem to bear on this grievous tragedy. And believe or not, the study of violent origins is not an entirely desperate nor tragic line of inquiry. In fact it can foster hope — which is what I like about it.

  37. Woodnsoul says:

    I’m not sure any could be stopped. If someone wants to kill people, they’re going to do it.

    How many youngsters who are normal, but slightly out if the mainstream will be victimized by well meaning, but unqualified people? It happens daily.

    Life is inherently dangerous. Most of us will die in the end. It would be nice to think we can control this sort of aberrant behavior, but I doubt it is possible, short of a Gattica type of society.

  38. Woodnsoul says:

    I agree. John Keegan wrote some excellent books about war and intitutionalized violence. There are some very good insights there.

    Plus, as a state certified old fart, I work hard to keep the world in perspective of some sort. I, for example, remember the 60s and 70s when there was an almost weekly bombing of a bank or other intlstitution: the SLA, Black Panthers and others. It was a much more violent time.

  39. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Well, not to be a story-topper, but it sticks in my craw that during the month of May, 1973, more TNT tonnage was meted by the U.S. onto Southeast Asia than was dropped by all the Allies combined during WWII. Yet my Boomers cared not, as we were so free to Disco after (A) conscription had been abolished at the first of that year; and (B) 18-year-olds had the vote. The whole Movement, in other words, ended in a victory defined by cowardice, and unspeakable callousness toward those firebombed. Disgraceful celebration.

    If “someone wants to kill people”, as you say, I say kill him first. The ancient predicate of the Just War Doctrine is protection of the Innocent. My more radical wing (Left and Right together) believes that “good violence” must drive out “bad violence”, but liberals and consensual moderates can’t handle such ugly stuff. So be it.

    The root of human violence is neither guns nor psychopathogy. It’s common Envy.

  40. Woodnsoul says:

    And fear. Manifested in many ways.

  41. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Yes. I grew up in fear. For seven or eight years the leaders promised Peace by Christmastime, and tragically I took them at their word every time, I guess because I was terrified of a kill-shot in some anonymous leafy jungle. But because I’d grown up not knowing of politicians as other than liars frankly I assumed that I’d die, in Southeast Asia. In my orbit refusal wasn’t thinkable so I grew up knowing that I was marked for Vietnam.

  42. Woodnsoul says:

    I understand your feelings from first hand experience myself. But that was long ago and far away. Though sometimes it seems like it happened this morning.

    One must move on and deal with today’s issues, hopefully bringing that experience to bear as necessary. IMO.

  43. len says:

    Stopping all violence is impossible. It can be stopped. A trained policewoman stopped it in a church a few years back after the shooter had made successful stops before walking into the officer’s church. Before that, a vice principal in Mississsippi did it after two people were killed. The police officers in NYC did but not without a lot of collateral damage. Sky marshalls have stopped disruption on aircraft. In Alabama we do have security officers in our schools. Yes, it can be stopped. But not completely and seldom in the face of overwhelming firepower used by someone with similar training if we accept the anecdotal evidence.

    This is a problem of percentages not abolition. There is no single solution and that is where the one-note zealots on all sides will derail this conversation and stop progress.

  44. Hugo St. Victor says:

    You’re right, it can’t be stopped, only arrested heroically. I really feel that the way to stomp (not stop) it is through a change of heart. A return to a culture more in tune with its humanity and Humanities.

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