Comments on: Newtown: Family drama as national tragedy Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:47:54 +0000 hourly 1 By: MoBioph Mon, 17 Dec 2012 19:28:26 +0000 In 1986, the N.R.A.’s interpretation of the Second Amendment achieved new legal authority with the passage of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, which repealed parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act by invoking “the rights of citizens . . . to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.” … In an interview, former Chief Justice Warren Burger said that the new interpretation of the Second Amendment was “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

The above is from “Battleground America – One nation, under the gun” by Jill Lepore, in The New Yorker, April 23, 2012.

By: meherc Mon, 17 Dec 2012 06:33:41 +0000 “And we should never forgive those who shrug their shoulders and hide behind vague words by long-dead men to excuse their cowardly inaction”


It’s ridiculous to say that a family squabble or a desire for publicity caused this. It was untreated mental illness and lack of gun control that were the culprits. Ayn Rand is a loon. We need more community, not her inflated idea of the individual.

By: flyingdutch18 Sun, 16 Dec 2012 13:43:12 +0000 “… the Constitution’s apparent guarantee for us to bear arms?” It is rather the fundamentally flawed jurisdiction by the Supreme Court. As long as this jurisdiction is upheld and assault weapons – supposed to be used in wars – are not banned by Congress nobody should wonder if these atrocities occur time and again.

By: Anonymous Sun, 16 Dec 2012 12:06:28 +0000 Wapshott, why is it suddenly alright to use unsubstantiated “facts” to describe the killer?

“A young man, he had had little chance to leave his mark on the world. Likely frustrated and angry, he appears to have been intent on ending his mother’s and his own young life in a blood-bath that would grab the headlines.”

How are those statements anything but irresponsible speculation written for the sole purpose of framing your aimless and pathos-driven argument?

I understand these events are tragic. Just like Anton Breivik’s actions were tragic, and just like Min Yingjun’s actions struck a chord. Yes, the murder of 26 white, upper-class Americans is quite a chore to stomach especially when there is no apparent motive, and most of the victims had yet to celebrate a birthday with two numbers on the cake. Nobody is going to argue that it’s a sad state of affairs, but I have an idea for you (if you want to seem sympathetic). Instead of rattling off some Ayn Rand quotes and expressing your disillusionment with social media (which, by the way, has NOTHING to do with shooting); instead of making feeble attempts at humanism with a bunch of faux-utilitarian rhetoric; instead of disparaging a family that you know virtually nothing about (as only ONE photo of the killer and his mother are currently available to the public), maybe you should try to access a human emotion. In the face of violent anger, to respond with violent anger is to catalyze combat. Perhaps one should feel sorrow for the circumstances that led Adam Lanza to murder 20 children. Maybe the most depressing angle here is the angle from inside the Lanza household. I am not condoning his actions, but I am advocating taking a deep look into the circumstances that drove him to such horrific lengths.

I liked your article a lot, besides the desperate plea for gun control and the irresponsible speculation about Lanza’s private life. Before ANYONE can say ANYTHING about the causes, we should first allow the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation, and base our opinions on the FACTS they unearth. To respond with such emotion and vitriol is only fueling an already well-stoked fire. Take a second to breathe, to reflect, to mourn and allow the smoke to clear before making these huge political assertions and undoubtedly imbuing many of your trusting readers with MORE SENSELESS ANGER.

Yes, this is a terrible thing, but can’t we let at least 72 hours pass before turning it into another proving ground for political ideology?

By: flyingdutch18 Sun, 16 Dec 2012 09:06:59 +0000 “…the Constitution’s apparent guarantee for us to bear arms?” This guarantee is not apparent at all! It is the result of fundamentally wrong judgments by the Supreme Court. Somebody above wrote that the American society is built on violence. This is sadly true, and as long as there is no consensus that at least assault weapons should be banned from use by citizens nobody should wonder if mass shootings and murders like this occur time and again.

By: Titos2Cents Sun, 16 Dec 2012 04:37:53 +0000 There is nothing quite like a knee jerk reaction to highlight the bad decisions that occur after a tragedy. Now we have politicians trying to fix the wrong problem and using tragedy to push a political agenda. I don’t understand why people want to blame horrific acts on the tools used to perpetrate the horror, instead of the sick individual who performed the murders. Let’s stop talking about the evil handguns that this 20 year old couldn’t legally possess. Let’s instead talk about the fact that he stole them from his mother after he killed her in her home and then drove to the job she loved to slaughter the innocents she taught every day.

Laws are for the law abiding, not the criminals who care for nothing beyond the terror they can instill. No number of gun laws can prevent this type of tragedy. Not even a month ago, halfway around the world 20 children and one adult were assaulted in a knife attack at a school in China. Think about that – a mass assault in China, a communist country where firearms have been completely outlawed and unavailable to the public for generations. Such attacks at schools were responsible for the deaths of over 20 students in China in 2010 alone. Think about the fact that children were killed by evil men and not a single shot was fired.

Just over 11 years ago, four passenger jets were hijacked and used as missiles to perpetrate terror on a mind-blowing scale. How hard are those jets to procure? The point here is that we are not going to legislate jumbo jets or knives out of existence, and even if we had, we would be addressing a tool, and not the problem. The problem is that sick individuals like the pathetic excuse for a man I refuse to even name went on a rampage at a school knowing that the media would blast his name across TV sets around the country. That the media would keep the story alive for weeks and months, and that we would tie his name to this tragedy so his sorry excuse for a life could be tied to something in infamy.

We are a society without responsibility. We thrive on infotainment and immediate satisfaction, and we have lost the sense of community and human decency that prevented this type of behavior 30 years ago. It’s not the guns that kill, it’s the people – and until we can sort out that dilemma you can pass every law on the book and ban every tool in the tool chest but it won’t fix the problem.

By: mmcg Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:19:29 +0000 I was recently on a flight from Chicago to Phoenix, and the passenger next to me in first class looked to be a normal white business man in his late 30’s, held his IPad viewing a shooting rampage for 2 hours straight. I could hear it through his headphones, and when he noticed I was glancing at his screen, he held the IPad closer to his face. I also have a friend with a 9 year old, with a handheld device that is all about shooting, and when his device is taken away he throws an unbelievable tantrum. It is not just about guns, it is the gleam and glamour of cool gun shoot outs. On the other side of the shooting is the bad guy. When one who becomes so desensitize, the shooting and killing is grossly alluring, and for the impaired individual it becomes a fantasy almost with an impulsive nature to act out.

By: wilhelm Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:10:08 +0000 Ironically (given the author’s atomistic tone) it is the breakdown of social cohesion that leads to the devastation that took place at the Sandy Hook school, not ‘mommy issues’. Mom and son were operating within a larger cohort that framed their attitudes and understandings, proclivities for guns, and approaches to conflict resolution.

If only the society in which they lived had mechanisms for social/psychological intervention, 26 others might still be alive.

By: MitchS Sat, 15 Dec 2012 16:50:12 +0000 Bottom line is this: Guns do not kill people. People kill people. Every time something like this happens with an obviously mentally ill person doing something horrific (using what appears to be guns legally purchased and owned by his mother) that everyone starts pointing fingers at people who are legal and responsible gun owners. We don’t hear anything about the weekly massacres in Chicago due to gun violence, but these horrific events have people pointing their fingers at anything attached to the NRA and responsible people. Mentally ill people are committing these crimes. Can’t remember the last time a responsible gun owner did this? Also, enough of classifying any long rifle as an “assault rifle”. Nicholas Wapshott is yet another irresponsible journalist provoking people with that use of terms.

By: Acetracy Sat, 15 Dec 2012 14:46:51 +0000 Wapshott repeats this distorted view of America’s frontier past as well as this falacy that individual rights are respected in this country. For example: “America offers every one of us a special consideration that puts our singular personalities above communal demands.” This statement is completely bogus. Look at the lack of property rights that individuals face when oil/gas pipelines come through their property, or pollute their drinking water. Even in Conn. a use of eminent domain went all the way to the Supreme Court when a local town teamed up with a developer to throw out power residents.

We are no more interdependent today than we were 100 or 200 years ago. Not a single pioneering family made it on their own. They needed seeds, tools, livestock, etc. to start a homestead, and very few made it through the first winter. And without law enforcement and courts in the frontiers, these individuals were often at the mercy of the powerful elite (ranch wars of Colorado for example).

Articles like this give a false sense to Americans that once in our frontier past we didn’t face lunatic massacres. Our Native Americans today, or what’s left of them, can prove how false that premise is.

The reality is that America has not given up on its frontier mentality that with a gun you can settle disputes and make your own “justice”. That is what the NRA, the far right and other gun toting idiots in this country insist is a “right” – no it is just barbarism.