What Might Work?

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A childhood memory from Germany, late fifties, early sixties: I was sitting on a crowded bus, in Bad Godesberg. I was on the bus physically, but mentally I was miles and miles away, in one of those childhood vacant spots where imagination and longing intersect to make the real world vanish. I was vaguely aware that the bus briefly stopped and started again. All of a sudden, a man sitting across from me slapped my face, not hard, but hard enough to wake me up.

“Steh auf, Kleiner!” (Stand up, little one.)

A woman had gotten on the bus and there were no free seats. As a child, I was quite rightly expected to give her my seat, which I did, with an apology, as disapproving grownups glared at me.

I wonder what would happen in America today if someone did that. Would the police be called? Would the man be arrested? Would he be charged with assault or child abuse?

I am not advocating corporeal punishment on any level, by parent or stranger. What I am trying to point out is that there was, in that time and in that place, an attitude that society as a whole was responsible—to an extent—for the behavior of the individual child.

I know that attitude was once present in America, too. For a blatant and humorous example, think of A Christmas Story, when Ralphie’s mother calls Schwartz’s mother to complain that Ralphie learned “… THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the F-dash-dash-dash word…” from Schwartz. Ralphie didn’t, of course (he learned it from his father), but that was how the neighborhood parental network worked in those days.

Yet only a few generations later, when one of my children cheated on a test and was justifiably punished by the school with a failing grade, I went to talk to the teacher about what had happened and what the details were. To my surprise, the teacher was nervous and wary, and when she was done, and I told her I intended to reinforce the school’s discipline with my own, grounding my child for x-number of weeks, her reaction was one of surprise and relief. She had honestly expected me to raise hell because my child had been flunked. She told me that was the usual reaction of parents to any kind of discipline: a bad grade, suspension, getting kicked off a team, any form of punishment.

For another, parallel sea-change in attitudes, consider a slice of life from a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. A friend of mine, younger than I, told me how in high school in the mid-seventies, he and his best friend used to ride their bikes to school every morning during duck and pheasant season with their shotguns in cases across the handlebars. At school they would hand the shotguns to their principal, who leaned them up behind the door to his office, along with others from other students. After football practice, the boys would collect their shotguns and hunt their way home.

And apparently, according some cursory research, up until sometime in the late seventies, early eighties, many American high schools had their own rifle teams, where teenagers could train and compete, just as they might in football or track.

And yet today, in a very different slice of life from 2018, in a suburb of Miami, Florida, a young man, a former student, walked into a school with an AR-15 and murdered seventeen people.

What has changed? It’s not guns; the AR-15 has been around for almost seventy years. It’s not kids; the human animal does not have the same genetic capacity for rapid evolution that a dog has. We are basically exactly what we were 50,000 years ago, and parents back then almost certainly had much the same problems parents have today.

I am suggesting that as a society we have lost a communal, a cultural sense of right and wrong and, more importantly, an understanding that, as a concept, consequences for bad behavior are at least as important as rewards for achievement. Note I did not say there should be rewards for good behavior. Good behavior was expected back then, taken for granted, and should be expected today. Nor did I say rewards for trying, as in trophies for participating; losing is as much a part of growing up as winning, and of the two, losing is probably the more important part.

Since the vast majority of young people would never dream of doing anything evil, let alone something as inconceivable as the Florida shooting, what are some of the influences that might have caused this young man to commit such an atrocity?

I’m not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or a social worker, or a teacher, but—according to the news reports to date—this young man gave numerous signs that he was in trouble. And it appears—again from early news reports, and keeping in mind that hindsight is always 20/20—both the FBI and local law enforcement dropped the ball badly.

But beyond all that, here was a young man whose mother had died this past November. Didn’t it occur to someone that even a mentally healthy kid might have some problems with the unexpected death of a parent, never mind a kid who was showing, as his public defender said, every red flag there is?

It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, and I’m sure both FBI and local law enforcement get inundated with warnings about any number of things, but perhaps certain combinations of warning signs should be taken more seriously. That’s a reasonable subject for public debate.

President Trump has vowed to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” and I applaud him for the intention, but it will be interesting to see what happens ‘twixt cup and lip. Jimmy Carter tried to federalize mental health, an action that was reversed by Ronald Reagan, who believed it was a states’ issue. Given the federal government’s frequently dismal bureaucratic track record, I’m inclined to agree with Reagan, but clearly funding is lacking is certain areas. More to the point, very conservative types like me believe strongly in the individual right to privacy, and how do we, as a nation, reconcile privacy with tracking and investigating warning signs? That’s another subject for public debate.

Equally important is changing the stigma against metal illness. For example, nearly every soldier who has experienced the horrors of war will return home with some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder, but that does not automatically translate into a danger to himself or to others. These issues, and more, must be discussed and debated and agreed upon.

Various social media sites loudly tout their role in bringing the world together as one big happy family freely exchanging ideas around the world. The truth is that social media giants too often block ideas they disagree with while inexplicably allowing others—consider violent jihad videos—to air. I am not blaming social media for the actions of a disturbed man, but if animal abuse is one of the standard, universally accepted signs of dangerous mental illness, one that will be followed by violence against humans as surely as night follows day, then posting gruesome pictures of dead and possibly mutilated animals on social media should raise a red flag. It should be at least as easy to flag and filter pictures of dead animals as it is to block a Prager University video presenting the actual FBI statistics on police shootings of black men; or a video in support of Israel; or one questioning why Western feminists don’t speak out about the abuses endured by Muslim women. Those are just some of the videos that have been blocked by YouTube. Yet, it was on YouTube that the Florida shooter stated his intention to become, “a professional school shooter.” The shooter’s personal videos of dead animals were posted on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, another social media site that prides itself in the free exchange of those ideas it agrees with.

Again, it’s easy to waggle an angry finger at such social media sites, but they are not responsible for what happened. What they are responsible for is taking a good long look at themselves and their criteria for freedom of expression.

I have heard right-wing pundits assigning blame to some of the ultra-violent Hollywood movies and video games that saturate the market today. I don’t know what the effect of those might be (I find them so moronic I have trouble believing anyone with an IQ greater than his hat size could be influenced by such stupidity), but I have read that child pornography has a pretty well-substantiated link to child molestation, so the same might be true of make-believe violence. This too is a subject worthy of public debate.

Much has been written about the decline of the nuclear family and the effect that has on troubled youth. In the shooter’s case, his adopted parents both dead, it’s hard to make a case for any societal failure, but keep in mind that it is one of primary contributing factors to the murder rate caused by urban drug gangs, so it too should be a topic for discussion.

Drug abuse is another. I have no idea if this young man was on any kind of legal or illegal drugs, but there is no metropolitan area in America that does not have a murder rate directly attributable to drugs and gangs. Not to guns, but to drugs and the violence of gangs. I have written before about the well-known and well-documented reasons why impoverished young inner-city men gravitate to gangs. None of this is secret, and solutions have been suggested, but local metropolitan governments seem to lack both interest and will. Both the problem, and the reluctance of city governments to even discuss the problem, let alone deal with it, should be another matter of public discussion.

Ever since this atrocity occurred, progressive politicians and pundits and the media have been screaming for gun control, excoriating the “all-powerful” NRA, and pointing self-righteous and dishonest fingers at the greedy and bloodthirsty gun industry. Never mind simple little facts such as a single anti-gun billionaire (Bloomberg, who is just one of several) outspending the NRA four-to-one to promote his anti-gun agenda. Never mind that gun companies work on a razor-thin margin, many are struggling to stay alive, and one giant, Remington, has declared bankruptcy. Never mind that blaming the NRA for a lunatic’s evil is like blaming the AARP for an old person’s bad driving. Never mind that blaming the gun for violence is like blaming the spoon for obesity. Guns are an easy target, you should pardon the expression. Mental health, social and cultural constructs governing adolescent behavior, drug abuse, the breakup of the family unit, gangs as substitutes for absent fathers, the negative aspects of social media, all those things would require real thought and effort. Marching and carrying a sign, or manipulating the emotions of a distressed voting base, those are easy.

But actions which might make a real difference will take a long time to enact and to implement. It took multiple generations to get where we are; it will take just as long to reverse the trend.

In the short term, what can be done? The first and most obvious is to better protect schools. In oblivious irony, many of the same progressives who rail against guns in private hands are the same progressives who applaud kneeling for the national anthem as a way to protest purported police brutality. Okie, dokie, that’s logic for you. But let’s put that idiocy aside and try to live in the real world. How many police officers do you think it would take to protect a school the size of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Over three-thousand students, multiple buildings with multiple floors and multiple entrances and exits, spread out over multiple acres? How many? This is a logistical topic that is better discussed by professionals who know what they’re talking about, but let’s say, conservatively, ten officers, daily, for the entire school year. That should do it. The average salary of a police officer in America is $61,000 a year (and it should be more, given what they are required to do), so who is going to pay the extra $610,000 a year? For just one school budget? Most public schools in America today can’t even afford to pay for the materials the teachers need to do their jobs. How much higher are you willing to see your taxes go? Remember, unless you are in a tiny community, your town has multiple schools in it, all deserving of protection.

The NRA has regularly called for the arming and training of those teachers and/or administrators who would be willing to take on that additional responsibility, and every time the NRA does, anti-gun progressives and their unthinking followers howl that such an action would endanger children even more. Never mind that to get a concealed carry license in America requires background checks far more thorough than the current standards. Never mind that most professional and reputable defensive shooting schools require a concealed carry license before you can take a class, precisely because it is an additional safeguard against potential liability. Never mind that, statistically, licensed concealed carry holders commit fewer violent crimes than law enforcement officers. (Don’t trust me on any of this; do your own damned homework before you shriek that I’m a lunatic, and by homework, I mean something a little more meaningful than going on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns or Everytown for Gun Safety sites, both of which were recently awarded four Pinocchios by the Washington Post.)

Not every teacher or administrator would be willing or have the capacity to act as an armed guard, but for God’s sake don’t stop the ones who are willing and who have the capacity. Would you rather hang up another “Gun Free Zone” sign and pretend you’ve accomplished something?

What about more laws? Just this morning I heard a pundit telling the same lies that have been told for over a decade:

We must close the gun show loophole! Don’t trust me, Gentle Reader. Do your own damned research and go to a gun show and try to buy a gun from a licensed exhibitor without going through a background check. If you can do it, I’ll reimburse you for the cost of the gun.

We must stop people from buying guns illegally over the internet! Oh, For God’s sake. Doesn’t the mainstream media ever report real news? The Government Accounting Office (GAO) was ordered by anti-gun Senators Schatz (D-Hawaii), Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Rep. Cummings (D-Maryland) to assess how well the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was enforcing firearms laws on the internet. To do so, the GAO conducted a series of seventy-two sting operations online, attempting to illegally purchase firearms without obeying the mandated background checks and laws. Out of seventy-two attempts, the GAO failed seventy-two times. The GAO then turned its attentions to the Dark Web, the shady and—I assume—illegal terrain of people who wish to remain anonymous because what they do is illegal. Out of seven attempts, even in that nether world, the GAO was successful only twice. I would argue that Warren, Schatz, Cummings, and the GOA could make better use of their time assessing how well the FBI responds to warnings about aberrant behavior.

We must ban assault weapons! The AR-15 is not an assault weapon. (Apparently—I haven’t researched this because I don’t frankly give a damn—Progressive liberal Joe Scarborough, the rabid anti-gun Morning Joe Scarborough, ran for Congress in 2013 from Florida’s 1st District, and at that time courted the NRA vote by defining an “assault weapon” as “anything the government would fear the people could use to protect their rights.” It’s a pretty accurate ideological definition, but not a legal one.) But apart from the fact that the AR-15 is not an assault weapon, does no one remember that Bill Clinton did ban so-called “assault weapons,” a ban that was allowed to expire in 2004 precisely because it had no discernible effect on violent crime. That verdict is according to multiple governmental and academic studies.

We must pass more laws! All the gun-control laws in the world will never stop either criminals or lunatics. If such laws worked, we could have stopped at Thou shalt not commit murder.

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78 thoughts on “What Might Work?”

  1. Growing up in the late 50’s, early 60’s was the best time to grow up. We were always out riding bikes, playing games, always at a friends house, going swimming, fishing, hunting, etc. Our neighborhood had a baseball diamond, and we all played together, grown ups and kids alike, we had a horseshoe pit as well. We were gone from home from dawn to dusk..great times.

    My parents were very strict in matters such as manners, thank you, please, your welcome, can I help, were expected every day. We respected our elders, helped them pack groceries in the house, make our beds and keep our rooms cleaned. If we did this we were rewarded by getting to go out and play. It was a carefree time, and parents never had to worry where your kids were, or what they were up to, because believe me, if we misbehaved we paid for it with punishment such as a belt across your butt, (Which rarely happened in my case, but knew it could happen!) or grounded. You learned real fast and found out you could do more things and have more freedom if you behaved. My parents were active in my life as with the other siblings, always went to parent/teacher conferences, praised you for work well done in school, helped you if you had problems with homework. They knew who your friends were and knew their parents. Every one always socialized, you would always see a neighbor on some one’s porch visiting. If you were at a friends house at lunch time, you were expected to sit and have lunch with them. When we visited relatives we were expected to sit, not run around and speak when spoken to, no misbehaving was allowed.

    Hope I am not boring you..but my point being, what changed?? We had no crime in our neighborhood, all kids went to school, no kid ever was mean to another, oh yeah we had snowball fights, mud ball fights, but serious sports we all rallied together. I am so glad I grew up with parents who cared how they raised their kids, and realize more and more just how lucky I was.

    I think over time, parents got too busy, just kind of let their kids raise themselves, no interaction with them, technology happened and things just seemed to go south. I have watched parents with kids today in stores, they let them run all over, destroy things, run into and knock people over and if you dare say anything to them, you get unloaded with a bunch of verbal abuse from the so called parent. I know of a woman who had a boy who when she would try to correct him, he would say : “you can’t touch me, I will turn you in!” this is a true fact, needless to say he ended up in a boys home because he was too young for prison. So what happened??? Why did kids turn so rebellious , hateful, and downright mean??

    With all the insurance nonsense today, people cannot afford health care, and even if they can pay $2000 a month which is absurd, mental health is going by the wayside. All factors are playing a role. Kids bully other kids, nothing gets done about it, parents have got to see and admit their kids mental health instead of thinking it will go away, it will not, it will only get worse. We couldn’t wait to go to school and see our friends, yet some kids today are just plain afraid to go to school and some parents have just plain went to home schooling.

    When I was in high school, the boys all had a gun in the gun rack of their truck, they were never stolen, or they took them to the principals office until after school. Never once did you ever hear of any shootings during school hours. Several; friends would go hunt after school like pheasants, deer, etc. I just don’t see how things got so bad or why.

    I get so tired of some people who keep saying and pushing “Take all guns” etc attitude. Guns have not changed over hundreds of years…people have. Until you fix “people”, morals, lifestyles nothing is going to change. But what can change is how adults keep their guns. They need to be locked up in a gun safe so that will eliminate kids taking them. Are they stealing them from friends or neighbors?? Keep them locked up!! this starts with YOU!! Times have changed so it is YOUR responsibility if you have guns, for you to lock them up!! If you hear of someone who is making or posting comments of shooting, it is your responsibility to report them!! Quit looking the other way!!

    Well there it is, the ugly word….responsibility….a hard word, and very hard for some people indeed..Society has to change. Instead of going forward, we are going backward.People have to start to work together, make the world a better place for everyone..it starts with you.. well my two cents worth..thank you.

    JP, an excellent article, as always!! I wish more people in this world had the common sense that you do! have a great day! 🙂

  2. I taught U.S. History in a high school outside of Memphis, TN from 1994-2016. The small town rapidly expanded over that time and the student demographic changed. What also changed was the behavior of parents.
    In the mid-90’s, a large percentage of students were from either blue collar homes or farms. Just the threat of calling a parent was enough to set most students straight if they misbehaved. On the rare occasion when a phone call was made, the child showed up the following day a much improved, better version of his or her former self and it usually stayed that way throughout the remainder of the year.
    When I was growing up and did something that was worth a phone call home from the school, the only thing I feared more than a reprimand by a teacher or administrator was what I faced when I got home. My Mom, who spent years raising my sister’s and me alone, was very loving but when it came to discipline, she didn’t mess around. We were taught how to behave and if we decided to behave differently, we also decided to accept the consequences.
    The above mentioned town grew very quickly because of its small town charm, good schools and close proximity to a fairly large city. Blue collar families were replaced with wealthy white collar families and the shift in teacher/parent interactions took a decided turn for the worse. I too began to dread calling parents. The majority pointed a finger at everyone but themselves. Suddenly it was my fault their child was failing. Ignoring the fact that a large part of their child’s poor grade might have been 30, 40 or more absences, never studying before tests or having been caught cheating. I was available an hour before school started and an hour after school for tutoring every day. Very rarely did these accusing parents children come in for help and if they did, it was one or two times and then they’d fade away, despite doing better after coming to see me.
    The administration, who at one time backed teachers, began to agree at least publicly with parents because to do different, might derail their fast track to eventually working on the school board.
    The number of parents who attended parent/teacher conference nights dropped drastically over the years. In the four hour blocks in the evening that allowed parents to make appointments to talk to teachers, the hallways were ghost towns. I had years where no parents came, despite making dozens of phone calls to struggling students parents letting them know I was available to try and help their child do better.
    I’m not sure when it began to happen but parents became more concerned with being their child’s friend than parent. When that happened, their offspring became manipulative and began to work their parents against the schools. Children are now allowed to sit for the national anthem. It’s no wonder they have so little regard for our country. Religion is gone. No consequences for actions. Someone, usually the parent, will come and mop up whatever mess their offspring created.
    I’m sure this is coming off as a giant rant, and I guess it is. I got out of teaching for many of the above reasons but there are still a lot of good kids going through our public schools, parents who hold their kids accountable and above all, the vast majority of teachers are dedicated, caring role models who bend over backwards daily to do what’s best for their students. Would I go into teaching today if it was like it was when I first started? Absolutely. Would I become a teacher today, knowing what was ahead of me in today’s schools? Absolutely not. And that is sad because it’s a noble profession.

  3. I’ll agree with much of this except you trying to paint the NRA as some blameless entity. What do you think all those political contributions buy? They buy politicians. They buy the ability to block even the most common sense legislation geared towards better background checks for people under psychiatric care. You want to keep saying we don’t have a gun problem, we have mental health problems. Then you rabidly rail against any law to address said problem. You admit frustration about law enforcement not doing anything to prevent this latest mass shooting, but you effectively tied one arm behind their backs. The slippery slope arguments and false equivalency arguments don’t cut it any longer.

    1. The only difference between the NRA’s political contributions and Michael Bloomberg’s is that he spends vastly more. According to Politico, he has pledged to donate $25-million in political races just in 2018. And here is a quote from the hardly right-wing CNBC: “The conventional wisdom is the NRA’s heavy spending stops hundreds of politicians from enacting the ‘common sense’ gun-control laws they and everyone else would otherwise support. There is just one problem with that theory: it’s all wrong. [snip] The NRA, gun makers, and gun rights issues do not even show up on the OpenSecrets website lists for top lobbying firms, top lobbying sectors, top lobbying issues, or top lobbing industries for the years 1998-2017.”
      When it comes to “following the money,” the NRA can’t even compete with Mayor Bloomberg. If you agree with Hiz Honor that gun control will end crime, that’s fine. If you agree with the NRA that gun control is a fool’s game that offers promises that cannot possibly be kept and–worse–it doesn’t even address the real issues, then send your money and support to them.

      1. You mean addressing “real issues” like laws that keep guns out of the hands of people who are under care of psychiatric professionals, under domestic abuse orders, or other laws that specifically try to address these “real issues” but are repeatedly lobbied against by the NRA? Yeah, that’s a fool’s game. Common sense and addressing real issues are labeled slippery slope by yourself and the NRA people, because it somehow scares you in the wee hours of the night that some boogeyman will come take your gun next. Never mind the realities of this modern world we are living in, just hug that gun tight, and whistle past the graveyard. Nothing to see here folks, just arm everybody, and we’re all good. Gun laws don’t work, except in a whole lot of countries where it actually does. One day they will in fact come for your guns, and it will become a total ban, because your side refuses to make a single concession. Not one.

        1. Do your research: back in the early ’90’s, during a televised debate, Wayne LaPierre bullied Chuck Schumer into shaking hands on an agreement to work on mental health issues and keeping the guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Chuck Schumer later broke his promise (no surprise there) and refused to address the issue on Capitol Hill. Do your research: the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was first suggested by the NRA. Do your research: the NICS form (also known as 4473) includes the question, “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution”? Keep in mind that lying on a federal form constitutes a prosecutable federal offense, and then, again, do your research and tell me how many people who lied on their applications were actually prosecuted for that particular felony. The most recent research I could find showed a prosecution rate of 0.04%. That’s almost as effective a crime deterrent as Barack Hussein Obama’s releasing drug dealers from prison.

          1. Shouldn’t you have to disclose how much the NRA pays you to parrot all their talking points? It is really telling how hard you work to fit Obama bashing in as often as you can. Enjoy it while you can I guess, because the biggest Blue Wave ever seen is coming. Thanks to your Republican brethren, and their Infinite wisdom in electing the most pathetic human being on the planet, pretty sure this is your last stand. The left is activated like never before, and young people will no longer be sitting on the sidelines, and when that wave crashes it’s going to wash away a lot of the things you’re desperately holding on to.

            Sarah from Miami. Yeah, that’s in Florida.

        2. Well your gun control pals made it very clear last night in the Florida Townhall that they want more than just a few guns are determined to ban (and confiscate/criminalize ownership thereof) at a minimum all semi-automatic firearms. Realistically that means probably at a minimum 60% (and likely much higher percentage) of all firearms currently legally owned by millions of Americans. Good luck with that!

  4. True, the solution (which I’m not sure what it is) will not be a quick fix. Society develops and builds on one foundation after another. The problem is like a multi facets diamond, so many thing have contributed to it that it’s nearly impossible to break. Guns are not the problem, the problem is people and society and the tangled web they have weaved. Some how, we need to come together and try to untangle this web. I wish I knew where to start but I guess it would be to expand the research of JP’s post, and to draw what we know to try to pinpoint the root. And if we can’t remove the root we can keep what is growing cut down.

  5. I agree…it is a behavioral problem, a mental health problem…NOT a gun problem!! Why is it that no one can see this?

    Nancy Gallinger

  6. …war denn früher wirklich alles besser ?…versagen wir mit unserem Nachwuchs wirklich so sehr in der heutigen Zeit bei der Erziehung , nur, weil wir wollen, dass es unsere Kinder vielleicht mal besser und einfacher haben sollen im Leben als wir selbst ? Ist es nicht “generationsbedingt” normal es anders machen zu wollen, als die Älteren? Es ist wichtig, dass unsere Kinder Verantwortung erlernen und auch Konsequenzen bei schlechtem Benehmen bekommen, aber eben anders als früher … und das ist auch gut so…. Wir sollten alle, auch im Alter, etwas wieder hervorholen, nämlich das umeinander kümmern und aufmerksamer sein und auch respektvoller miteinander umgehen und nicht egoistisch nur nach sich selbst schauen. Die Kinder lernen von unserem Verhalten, wenn wir den Kindern zeigen Konflikte vernünftig zu lösen -nicht durch Gewalt und nicht mit Waffen sondern vielleicht durch zum Beispiel Diskussion bis zu einer richtigen vernünftigen Lösung- , dann übernehmen unsere Kinder wenigstens einen Teil von unserem Verhalten. Wir leben es der nächsten Generation vor ! Denn keine Mensch wird als schlechter Mensch geboren.

    1. I agree that children today aren’t being held accountable enough for their bad behavior. Adults do need to be more of an example. I worked many years at an elementary school ( Special ed Assistant) and a few at Juvenile Corrections. One father could care less if his kid did his homework. He spent his time playing video games. Once a boy was missing a lot of school. He was at home helping mom take care of the younger siblings. I told him that was her job and he needed to come to school. Well the mother told on me. I almost got in trouble by the principal. JP’s article was right on about principals not backing up teachers and staff as much. What does it say when the Governor of your state shuts down the Juvenile Correction and thinks they are better served at home? It tells the youth they can get away with a lot more. Melissa SD

      1. Melissa…. danke ….. mit einigen Lehrern kann man als Elternteil gut zusammen arbeiten, aber mit manchen geht das schwieriger, gerade, wenn man einen Sohn hat ….bei Mädchen ist viel mehr Verständnis von den Lehrern vorhanden, als bei den Jungs (ich spreche aus eigener Erfahrung)…. vorallem die Jungs (manchmal auch Mädchen) brauchen im Leben vernünftige Alternativen auch nach der Schule, um mit ihren Kräfte ausgelastet zu sein, zum Beispiel Sport im Verein (Fußball etc.) …..wir als Eltern sind das Vorbild für unsere Kinder und sollten uns mehr Zeit für unsere Kinder nehmen …. viele Grüße Manuela

  7. I was watching Colt .45, and it started with this saying which I think sort of suits today :. ‘ A gun, like any other source of power, is a force for EITHER good or evil, BEING NEITHER IN ITSELF, but DEPENDENT upon THOSE WHO POSSES IT.’
    Good for thought, cheers

  8. A very well written article. This guy had many psychological problems. He made videos of himself cutting himself on social media. Social services evaluated but found no evidence of anything wrong with him. The cutting alone should be enough evidence. I worked with youth that did this in juvenile corrections. Self harm is a serious issue. So many signs were missed with this guy. Maybe if someone paid attention or gave him the right services when he was younger none of this would have happened . I have been in Ca since Saturday. Drove down to Burbank. Traffic is insane. Going to UCLA medical center tomorrow that will be a worse drive. Traffic has doubled. Dennis Prager is suiing You and Google for a million. Melissa SD


  9. CNN’s debate last night. a student has came forward and said that he was given a scripted question after not wanting to his question about, “ Armed Guards.” Typical CNN Melissa


      1. True, But CNN has done other devious things. They aren’t always honest. They even had to fire
        three reporters. MelissaSD

  10. To a Liberal… “A lie is only a lie, if you are caught.”

    They truly believe the end justifies the means.

  11. Sarah from Miami,
    I wish, I dearly wish, I could disclose what the NRA pays, me but unfortunately they pay me nothing so there’s nothing to disclose. I find it fascinating, however, that you should assume that anyone who is pro-gun might not be capable of thinking for him or herself. By extension, does that mean I should assume any argument you might have in favor of gun-control could only come from one of Mayor Bloomberg’s organizations?
    Yes, I do enjoy bashing Obama because I was fool enough to buy his act the first time. I vote for him because I honestly thought he was what he portrayed himself to be. I was wrong, and hell hath no fury like a voter scorned. If you wish me to delineate precisely why I became so bitterly disillusioned, I will do so.
    As for the “blue wave,” you may be right, but it will have to be a law-abiding “blue wave,” one that respects the Constitution (and I’m referring more to freedom of speech than to the Second Amendment) and the rule of law. That would disqualify much of the noisier elements of the left, but perhaps there are some out there who are smart enough to have their own ideas, express them without violence or profanity, and appreciate the Constitution that gives them the ability to have a voice. If that kind of “blue wave” should come into power in Washington, it will be treated with far more respect than the far left has treated President Trump.

    1. Respect is earned. Trump is deserving of most of the contempt he reaps. Not all, but he is disgusting and not befitting the office. CNN hates him, I grant that. But he deserves quite a lot of it. He lies more than any man I have ever seen, that includes my ex husband. He lies about his lies. I never said you can’t think for yourself, but I would in fact love to see some original thought, hence the accusation. I watched 1 hour of Fox news this morning and 1 of CNN. You sound like you watched only one of those channels, and sorry if that’s mean.

      1. Fair enough. I have no intention of defending President Trump’s twitters; I think he is an exceptionally crude boor; his command of the English language is almost as bad as the average newscaster’s; he is probably a bully; and name a president since George Washington who didn’t lie. But I do sincerely believe that–for the most part–he is taking the country in more or less the right direction, or at least a better direction than Hillary would have. And I do also sincerely believe he is not anywhere near as contemptuous of the average, working class American, the deplorables, the bulk of the nation, as Hillary was, as Obama was, as Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer, Schiff, et al are.
        As for the thrust of the ideas in that post: most of those are concepts and issues I have written about before, but I want to reiterate one thing, because regardless what your feelings about gun-control might be, or what your feelings about the NRA might be, you need to know what the facts are. When I first joined the NRA back in the early eighties, my family and practically everyone I knew was horrified that I could support such a red-necked, right-wing, bloodthirsty organization. I was attacked so often by so many that I began to do my own research, which in those pre-computer days was not easy. But from that day to this, almost forty years, I have never once caught the NRA in a lie. They have said undiplomatic things; they have said the right thing at the wrong time; they have shown insensitivity; they have even sometimes shot themselves in the foot (you should pardon the expression); but when they give a statistic, or when they cite a study, or when they disprove some study paid for by an anti-gun organization, or when they report something in one of their magazines, it is always factually correct. They have to spend an inordinate amount of time refuting the lies that are told about them, but I have never caught them in a lie.
        For the record, this morning, as I sucked down my coffee, I watched a show on the history channel about the founding fathers, primarily about Alexander Hamilton. You think today’s politics are dirty? You think today’s politicians tell lies? Hoo, boy! The founding fathers make today’s crop look almost civilized. Nowhere near intelligent, but almost civilized.

        1. Well that’s not surprising since politicians have had many years to practise and much material to draw from.

        2. Ich habe gelesen, dass verschiedene große Firmen die Zusammenarbeit mit der NRA kündigen oder kündigen wollen ….was wird das (u.a. für die Mitglieder) zur Folge haben …. Manuela

        3. JP, I sincerely respect your intelligence and opinion, and because of that I would genuinely like to hear (at some point) more about why you think Obama was contemptuous of the middle-class worker, and how Trump is leading this country in a better direction.

          1. As a middle-class worker I will tell you some of the reasons why I think Obama was contemptuous of the middle class worker (these may or may not be the reasons JP has):

            1) Asinine economic policies which slowed down the recovery by placing excessive and unneeded regulations on industry which kept hiring down for several years and resulted in abysmal rates of growth.

            2) Asinine environmental policies which helped keep energy prices high and resulted in slower growth.

            3) The horrible Obama Care ACA law. Yes, some people who couldn’t get health insurance or at rates they could afford before the law got it from the law. But millions lost their care as a result. I was one of those who did. It was a lie when he said you could keep what you had. Mine was canceled and the replacement Bronze plan was totally worthless, yet the premiums were doubled and the deductibles were increased by 50%. This resulted in me running up way too much debt even though I didn’t go to the Doctor or did I have pre-existing conditions.

            Then I had to eventually drop health insurance and pay fines to the IRS. Now I owe several thousand to the IRS and am making payments and will have more accessed after April 15th of this year. Finally I haven’t been to a doctor for years and have symptoms of problems. If I die as a result I place at least 50% of the fault on Obama.

            Obama and his cronies often voice contempt for the typical Middle-Class worker who doesn’t have a PhD in African American studies or whatever social justice degree they consider to the the mark of the educated liberal and therefore must support their agenda.

            While the economy has substantially improved over the past year, because of what Obama did it will take many of us years to recover. As one who is in middle age and has to rebuild my retirement account from a zero balance I just pray that there isn’t another depression or foolish social justice policies coming that will destroy my chance at recovery.

          2. I second that request, just as sincerely! This entire post and each comment has beeen quite enlightening!

          3. The comment above hits a lot of points I agree with, but let me add some of my own.
            Socialists, in particular progressive socialists, believe more and larger government is necessary because the bulk of the people are not capable of managing their own affairs. That is, by definition, the height of contemptuous arrogance: “You’re not smart enough to care for yourself, little lady, therefore we’ll do your thinking for you.” Obama believed his untried vision of a progressive socialist government was more valid than a capitalistic paradigm that has not only worked for two-hundred and forty-two years, but has made America the envy of the world and the place everyone wants to emigrate to. I’ve written before about no culture ever adopting a socialist form of government that could endure, and there’s no need to rehash that here, but I would add that I think Obama bought into the kind of thinking—perhaps he was raised on that kind of thinking—that so many of the radical progressive left subscribes to: that despite the record of failures, the socialist vision of an all-powerful government overseeing universal economic equality would work this time. It has never worked before in the history of man, but, the socialist thinking goes, it always failed because those other leaders weren’t smart enough, or visionary enough, or didn’t take it far enough, but by golly, we’re smarter and we’ll go further, and we’ll make it work. A writer at the Hoover Institution expressed it with a wonderful analogy of a race horse that always loses: progressives believe the socialist horse is the perfect horse and can’t possibly be beaten; it’s just that he’s never had a good enough jockey. Obama thought he was the right jockey. And that is good old-fashioned arrogance, right there. Even Obama’s greatest supporters admit he was arrogant, and arrogance always carries contempt with it on the other side of the coin. God knows he was contemptuous of anyone with a different point of view, which included about fifty percent of the country. Remember his comment about working-class voters who get “…bitter [and] cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them…”? Remember his comment about successful businesses? “You didn’t build that business. Government built that business.” Remember the comment by his “Obamacare architect,” Jonathan Gruber about the stupidity of the American voter? Think of the contemptuous stonewalling of Republican congressmen by various bureaucratic Obama appointees. I could go on, but you get the idea. Anyone who thinks he is so much better than you, and that he or she will do a better job running your life than you can, is both arrogant and contemptuous of you, and in addition to Obama, that includes most of jackasses on Capitol Hill.

            As for Trump taking the country in the right direction, some thoughts:
            After eight years of being told America was too often on the wrong side of history and had too many sins to atone for, I am frankly delighted to have a president who loves America, praises America, and puts America first. Has America done bad things? Of course. Has America made bad choices in our allies? Of course. Has America made mistakes both in foreign and domestic policy? Of course. Has America used military might unjustifiably? Of course. Has America committed every goddamned sin and error that every other country has committed? Of course. The difference is that America has committed fewer of them, and—more importantly—has balanced those sins by doing far more good on this planet than any other civilized country in the last two-hundred and forty-two years.
            Beyond that, I am thrilled that Trump wants to concentrate on America’s needs and not on the needs of the world at large. I think of all the kind and well-intentioned people who build schools and hospitals in third-world countries, and I applaud their generosity and charity. But I wonder if those people have ever traveled through certain parts of Appalachia, seen some of the living conditions in parts of the deep southern back country, or spent any time in the Ozarks? Hell, look at some of the grotesquely impoverished inner-city neighborhoods where single mothers try to raise kids in fear they’ll either be killed by a drug gang or join a drug gang and do the killing themselves. No one’s heart can fail to be moved by photographs of suffering children in Africa, but far too many children in this country have needs just as compelling. Charity begins at home is common way of expressing it. 1 Timothy 5 (Instructions Concerning Various Duties) verse 8 puts it even more forcefully: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Not quite sure what Timothy means here by the use of the word infidel, but the instruction is clear enough, and I subscribe to it. No offense to the world at large, but if you’re stuck on the railroad tracks, and my wife is stuck on the railroad tracks, and I can only rescue one of you, I do hope your insurance is paid up.
            On a related topic, as to why I would prefer to focus on America first, do you remember the terrible famine in north Africa? Which one? There have been too many to keep track of, but if memory serves, it was the famine in Somalia in the early nineties that shook me badly. I contributed money to the (I think) UNICEF relief effort. Several years later, I read in one of the mainstream newspapers (probably either the LA Times or the NY Times) that less than one percent of the money, food, and medical supplies shipped to Somalia had actually reached the famine victims. The vast bulk of it had been stolen by a sinfully corrupt government or by local warlords. (I may have some details or dates or numbers wrong here, but the big strokes are accurate.) Now think of the Paris Climate Accord that Barack Obama supported and Donald Trump withdrew from. Trump’s withdrawal also included no longer contributing money to the UN’s Green Climate Fund. The Accord called for participating countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, yes, but through the Green Climate Fund, it also called for America to contribute money (far more than any other country) that would then be used to “encourage” emerging countries to “voluntarily” adopt green energy platforms instead of traditional fossil fuel platforms. It is so well-intentioned; how could anyone oppose it? Well, possibly because of the wasted money and effort of past charitable efforts, like the one in Somalia. If dictators and warlords would rather steal money than feed their own people, who is fool enough to imagine they will fulfill their promises and obligations with billions of unsupervised dollars intended to mitigate climate change? Hell, Solyndra didn’t fulfill its obligations, and over half-a-billion tax-payer dollars vanished because the government was too preoccupied braying about “doing the right thing” to bother supervising how their money was spent. I’m not arguing about climate change, or even the need to do the right thing. I’m saying throwing money at a problem, without any way of ensuring it is spent as it is supposed to be spent, may make us all feel good about ourselves, but it accomplishes nothing, and in the case of developing countries, it takes money away from my country, a country that is currently saddled with almost 21-trillion dollars’ worth of debt. Ask me where I’d rather see my money go.
            And speaking of money, that’s another reason why I think Trump is doing a good job: the economy is booming. Yes, I know Obama claims the credit, just as he claimed the stagnation for eight years under his administration was the fault of George W. Bush, but I don’t know anyone with an IQ greater than their hat size who takes either of those claims seriously. I do know that my 401K has increased more in a year under Trump than it did in eight years under Obama, and that kind of growth is good for America.
            I think rebuilding America’s military is also good for America. I think closing the border and controlling immigration is good for America. I think supporting law enforcement is good for America. I think our greatly increased GDP is good for America. And, forgive me for being so simplistically patriotic, but I think feeling good about America is good for America.

          4. JP, A good example of socialism gone wrong is, “Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.” It is full of
            corruption. They get tons of money from the government and private donations and can’t manage it. I think that is why,Trump this year cut some of their money. People don’t understand that and just want to lash at at him. With he money they get,Pine Ridge should not be in the condition it is.

    2. But you were in print ads for the NRA in the 80s; I always assumed you were a paid spokesperson. Was that a charitable appearance on your part?

      1. No, I was never paid for those ads or for hosting the “celebrity shoots” that were intended to introduce the shooting sports to Hollywood celebrities who had never fired guns before. The only thing I was ever paid to do by the NRA was to host a short-lived hunting series for them after “Simon & Simon” had gone off the air. The print ads were done out of personal conviction, a conviction I still have.

  12. I am amazed at how quickly the “Left” moved to hold our children hostage only to extract from the adults (the real adults) the items that could protect them. Yet the “Left” have no solution in hand of how to end the school shootings.

    Equally amazing that this same group that is chanting for the protection of the children will not end abortion. To me that says you are not as concerned with the lives of children as you proclaim to be.

    Mary Ellen

  13. …ob das eine gute Idee ist Lehrer zu bewaffnen ? Das fände ich doch sehr bedenklich, dafür sind meiner Meinung nach Polizisten etc. da. Schule sollte doch ein “waffenfreier” Raum sein, an dem sich Kinder wohlfühlen sollten…aber, wenn man wiederum in den Nachrichten liest (ich hoffe das ich keinem Unrecht tue und es stimmt, was unsere Nachrichtendienste hier in Deutschland übermitteln), dass ein an der Schule eingesetzter Sicherheitsbeamter /Hilfsheriff nicht geholfen hat und sich hinter einer Deckung versteckt hat, statt zu versuchen den Angreifer auszuschalten kann ich nur mit dem Kopf schütteln , aber wahrscheinlich ist das der natürliche “Überlebensantrieb” des Menschen und er war in “Schockstarre”…vielleicht ist es besser das Alter für Waffenbesitz noch oben hin anzuheben und das man vielleicht nicht unendlich viele Waffen besitzen sollte, wozu braucht man als Privatperson ein ganzes Arsenal an Waffen ( außer vielleicht Jäger, die zur Jagd mehrere Waffen zur Auswahl haben müssen), wenn man schon unbedingt eine Waffe haben muss reicht da nicht auch nur eine kleine Waffe aus ? Diese würde den Zweck doch genauso erfüllen oder…..Manuela

  14. …welches Strafmaß wird der Täter von Florida bekommen …Psychiatrie lebenslang….? Hat er überhaupt nach dieser Tat noch ein Recht auf sein eigenes Leben ? Hier in Deutschland gibt es keine Todesstrafe mehr….für manche Täter würde man sich das wünschen….darf man sich überhaupt als Christ(-in) so etwas wünschen oder gar (laut) denken ? Er ist leider Gottes auch ein Lebewesen…ich hoffe, der Täter bekommt seine gerechte Strafe….Manuela

  15. Guns have been around for a long, long time…. so, what has changed? Clearly, it’s the behavior of some sick individuals. This is a great point, Jameson!!

    It’s my opinion that respect is the missing value here. Lack of respect for nearly everything. There are a lot of reasons for this (parenting, video games, lack of God in their lives, etc).

    I appreciate your article on this issue, Jameson!

  16. I come to the site after watching an old show to see what you were up to these days, and interesting conversation for sure. I am not much of an argue on the internet type guy but I think I can offer a bit to this all since I am a Vietnam vet. you and a buncha others on here and the internet and news want to arm teachers and maybe hire guards and I say no way. I was a 24 year old in 1968 and I did 427 days in country with 8 weeks stateside at dix in training before we set boots in country. I volunteered wasn’t drafted thought I could help kick some butts as we all did back then. By the time we set base by a crappy little river in nam, I had done about 3 months of every day and a buncha nights training of every kind of combat and ready to bust ass skills ever known to a man. we also trained every day after our endless running when we weren’t in combat. I saw action 6 times that I would consider heavy crap another few that were chasin bad guys or snipers. of the 6 times one was the famed tet offensive and I was not in the worst of that but it was pretty afwul. What I want to speak on is this notion of a English teacher with a gun or a gym teacher hell even the weekend warrior security guard. in the worst of the combats I saw i’ll tell you it ain’t like a movie and there aren’t very many heros. if I had 30 men around me and I mean ranges of age and in country time these were all men that we were taught to kill and we were some of the hardest and fit sons of you know whats on the planet. we were locked and loaded. when it all went crazy those 30 men did all sorts of crap, fired wild at shadows,, or screamed like nuts and chaos. and most to be honest froze or just got the hell down and tried to live. We had some of the guys you’d see on a movie who ran forward and plenty of us risked our lives but mostly fear and self preservation was a lot of our emotions. of the 30 there were people who ran away in the other direction and a few I saw lost their water. it wasn’t john wayne and audi murphy. there was a lotta barney fife. so this idea that you arm some teachers is as stupid as sending 18 year old kids to war. when the bullets start flying people freeze and that encludes a good many law enforcement and other trained folks. study after study shows it that few of us are equipped to be Rambo. sure, some of us got there in nam, and sure the 6th time of combat I handled better but I didn’t stop being scared until I stepped of the plane back on American soil. hard truth but it is. the guy who goes to shoot up a school is wired way different, and hes locked and loaded to kill in a way no teacher is ever gonna be hes calm hes focused and he’s ready to kill. Mr. Anderson the geography teacher might get trained to be a good shot but he aint no killer and he sure doesn’t have ice water in his veins. So I say to you with much respect that you gotta knock that off. I live abroad now but I still ache for my country and still consider myself a patriot. thanks, Ken

    1. Ken,
      That’s the first intelligent argument I have heard against having armed teachers. I don’t agree with you, but you raise a very compelling point, one that must be considered.
      What you witnessed in Viet Nam is, in my far more limited experience, precisely what I would expect: out of any group of people, no matter how well-trained, some are going to freeze, some are going run, some will stand and do what they were trained to do, and some will stand and do what they were trained to do even as they lose control of their bladders or bowels. I would go further than you and say there are no Rambos, and I doubt any soldier ever lost his fear before, as you put it, stepping out of the plane back onto American soil. But, like you, they did what they had been trained to do in spite of their fear.
      But, that said, while no one can predict who will stay in control and who will not, it doesn’t vitiate the argument in favor of armed teachers or coaches or administrators, and I will try to explain why I believe this.
      According to the most recent news report (which may or may not be true) not only did an armed and presumably trained “resource officer” (whatever that is) hide outside, but the Coral Springs Police Department claims that when they arrived, three Broward County deputies (who clearly were trained) were also hiding outside. As you experienced in Viet Nam, even the best-trained professionals can succumb to their own fear.
      But now consider the Texas church shooting, where a napping civilian heard the gunfire, ran outside with his AR-15, and engaged the shooter, putting an end to that incident and possibly (it’s unclear) preventing another planned massacre at another location. Or consider the hundreds of thousands—literally, according to the Center for Disease Control; other studies put the figure much higher—of ordinary citizens with guns, some trained, many not, who save lives and prevent crimes every year. No one can predict who will rise to the occasion and who will not.
      Having argued with you, I will now put out another argument against myself, and that is that some people, well-trained, well-armed, and well-intentioned, may lack the mindset to be able to shoot another human being. That too is something that must be taken into account. I have taken multiple defensive shooting classes with various instructors, and they all talk about the need to train the mind at least as much as the body. Again, that is one of those things no one can predict, either about themselves, or about another person. Of all the many extremely courageous men and women in law enforcement I have had the privilege of knowing, many have had to kill people in the line of duty, but only two had that particular ability to shoot and kill men without being adversely affected by it. Most had as much difficulty dealing with their actions as I did dealing with being a victim. No one wants to do such a thing, but some can and will, while some will panic, and no one can predict which is which. But that doesn’t mean an armed and well-trained civilian in a school might not save lives.
      For the record, the internationally acclaimed Arizona-based school, Gunsite, is the gold standard of defensive shooting schools. Founded by the late Jeff Cooper, it is a school that intensively trains civilians, law enforcement, special forces, and some of those strange and unnamed governmental agencies that spark the imaginations of Hollywood producers. Gunsite has offered its famed intensive five-day, starter class, FREE, to any school superintendents, assistant superintendents, and school board presidents to help them “formulate programs within their schools to train and arm their teachers.” If anybody can provide the training, it’s Gunsite.
      Thank you for your comments, and thank you for your service. You are a patriot, and I wish you well.

      1. I was a classroom teacher for several years before finishing a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and may I offer another point: I cannot imagine picking up a weapon and firing against a student, a kid that you have been partially responsible for. In war, you shoot people you have never seen before. In law enforcement, you do the same. Asking a teacher to fire a weapon on a kid they know is extremely emotionally complicated to say the least. For me, the more troubled the kid was, the more I empathized with them, which partially contributed to my change in vocation. But if a kid that I knew came in my room and started firing, one of the precipices of social psychology dictates that we cannot predict what we will do until we are in a specific situation, but I don’t think I would be able to shoot them.

        1. Michele,

          Those are fair points. The response of those who think teachers should have the right an option to carry is simple. This is not a mandated thing, but rather an option for those who are capable and want to. Those like yourself who can’t or won’t are not going to be forced to do so.

          I disagree with Trump’s suggestion that those who carry should be paid extra

  17. Jameson I have always stated for the most part that the gun isn’t responsible by itself for death. The person behind the gun has to consider what he or she is doing when a gun is used. Some people have good intentions when a gun is used while others have bad intentions. However I don’t see any reason why a regular citizen has a need for a gun such as the AR-15 or something like it. You tell us readers to do our research not to just trust your words. Today when I saw your words of “The AR-15 is not an assault weapon.” I did some looking about assault weapons. Like you I really didn’t give a damn about what are considered assault weapons and what isn’t but your statement made me curious. I found a PDF from the California Attorney General’s office on assault weapons and AR-15 was listed by the AG office as an assault weapon.

    Nancy Darlene

    1. Well, at least you tried, Nancy Darlene, and kudos to you for that. I would suggest that the California Attorney General’s office is not a reliable place for any information about any kind of firearm, but that is typical of the kind of misinformation you will find on any site, governmental or private, that has an anti-gun bias. Hell, you’ll even find that kind of misinformation on a lot of pro-gun sites, so let me see if I can make it clear.
      An “assault weapon” is actually a meaningless phrase that may or may not have been coined by Adolph Hitler, and that has been co-opted to mean any self-loading rifle that looks vaguely like a military weapon. If the military were to use that phrase (and anybody in the military who knows more than I, please weigh in here and correct me if I’m wrong), it would apply to a selective-fire rifle, which means a rifle that can fire either in semi-automatic mode or in fully-automatic mode. A famous American example is the M-16, but there are an array of similar firearms manufactured by multiple companies in multiple countries. An AR-15 and similar rifles, can only be fired in semi-automatic mode, and have the same basic mechanism as self-loading deer-hunting rifles such as the Browning BAR, or the Benelli R-1, or various other models, most of which have been discontinued. The difference is that a rifle capable of fully-automatic mode can be designated an assault weapon, but self-loading or semi-auto rifles (two phrases for the same type of action) cannot. The media and most politicians neither know the difference nor care enough to do the research to learn the difference, because the phrase has such ominous connotations in the public mind, and as we all know, it’s all about swaying the public perception.
      Personally, I don’t like these rifles. I don’t find them aesthetically appealing, and I’ve never found the need for firing multiple rounds quickly while hunting. But that’s my prejudice. I know guys who love them, find them attractive and reliable, and swear by them. To each his own, said the old lady as she kissed the cow.
      I hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for explaining that much more clearly for me Jameson. I really do appreciate it. My experience with guns I admit is limited and I am not a hunter.
        I’ve only shot at tin cans back in the day under my dad’s supervision. Through
        personal use I have only used the .22 rifle and pistol and the .38 special as well as
        a 30-30 and an old 12 gauge. Thanks again. I hope and Darleen have a good day. 🙂
        Nancy Darlene

        1. Nancy,

          Having the recreational shooting experience that you describe, I’d be willing to bet, that you would love the AR-15! It is much like shooting a larger .22 rifle without the recoil of the 30-30. It is a wonderful platform for women or smaller framed people.

          Try it, you’ll like it!

  18. The term “assault rifle” is really just an emotive and pejorative term anymore used by those who fear and/or hate firearms. It has since lost any legitimate or helpful or useful meaning. The AR-15 and the millions of other non-selective fire semi-automatic long-guns currently owned legally and responsibly by millions of Americans ARE NOT “assault rifles.” For those who are ignorant please don’t assume “AR” refers to assault rifle either. Do you homework if you don’t know what it stands for.

    Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of the term and attempt at classifying certain firearms into it, but it really just proves to me the term really serves no legitimate purpose. As was pointed out above it was apparently coined by Hitler (or at least promoted by) purely for propaganda purposes to instill fear into anyone who opposed him and the German military might. That is to say, it was a term used to gin up fear of how powerful a German infantryman was because of his “super assault rifle.”

    The Garand type rifles used by US Soldiers and Marines during WW2 where just as effective and look nothing like what those who liberally throw the term around now would describe as “assault,” yet the semi-auto version is widely available and equally effective (arguably more comparing .30 cal/30-06/.308 against the .223) as the AR-15 (though I grant you Garand type firearms are harder to handle because of the more powerful calibers and being made of a lot more heaver metals, receivers, etc). Not to mention the Ruger Mini-14 which is also a .223 like the AR-15, but is a Garand type rifle and has been used in few mass shootings, yet because other than being magazine fed doesn’t fit into the fear mongers definition of “assault.” To me just more proof of the nonsense of the term.

    Then there is the many hundreds (if not thousands it really is hard to keep count) of other types and models of semi-automatic rifles that are around that may or may not be called “assault” which are also capable of doing what the AR-15 does. The point being that there are a lot that aren’t counted so singling out just a tiny subset makes no logical sense. However, should one subset somehow get banned (and confiscated as since there are millions out there—good luck with that—you will get a civil war before you will get them), then the banners will have to eventually include everything by piece meal.

    Regardless, all of them have legitimate self-defense and sporting purposes (other than hunting). Whether a particular firearm has a hunting use if really irrelevant though as the 2nd Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting game animals or varmints (non-human ones anyways).

    Today the term is used for propaganda purposes to demonize lawful firearms and lawful activities engaged in routinely by law-abiding American citizens.

  19. A very interesting and informative conversation/debate, with points well-written and well-discussed, but as I read through the string I became aware of one glaring omission; that of comparative morality. Please allow me to explain. when I was a child, my mother made me go to church school every single Sunday.
    I hated it.
    But, the thing is, some of that morality must have rubbed off. I wonder how many of today’s youth ever were taught right from wrong in a structured setting like a church? It’s a pretty good bet that none of the people responsible for the mass shootings in the past thirty or forty years ever had any formal morality training. And I don’t mean just religious experience. Even atheists admit that there is a difference between right and wrong. Raising children to be morally responsible has to start with parenting, but it must continue through their teachers, clergy and peers, and doesn’t necessarily end with their adulthood. In fact, it should never end.
    Thanks JP, for providing this forum and allowing us all to participate in the discussion.


  20. Even after the Florida shooting thousands of schools still remain wide open and lack security. I want to know what is the FBI and other agencies going to do fix the problems they have? How are those agencies going to communicate when they get a report of a youth like this again? In addition, this boy was in a class for emotional problems in school. I want to see the IEP. Why was he taken out? Why wasn’t he given more services. I am for having a gun in school. I wouldnt give one to every single teacher. I think just one or two. I get there are some logistical problems with this. But there should be one gun on campus. If there was a campus in Florida maybe some of the teenagers would still be alive.

  21. Jameson, you are a wonderful, eloquent writer. I love reading your writing and have for years. You are 100% correct on dealing with mental health, but we are no more closer to finding a resolution with that than we are with getting kids to be slightly accountable for handing homework in on time in the classroom. I say this because I am a teacher. No teacher wants a gun in their classroom. We have teachers who were in the military and fought in Afghanistan and ALL of them think arming teachers is the worst idea. Schools are supposed to be safe. Our lessons are sometimes censored to protect children who come into our classrooms from all walks of life, yet we want to bring guns into school? That seems like an oxymoron to me. School is sometimes THE safest place for a child, away from the harm of a parent or something external going on in their lives. I’ve helped countless children in that capacity. As an educator, I never thought I would be listening to a loud “bang” in my school and immediately think if the key to lock my classroom door is close enough in my reach. We talk about active shooters among the staff, and I have many ideas of what I would do to protect the precious lives of my students. Train me and put a gun into my hand, and yes, I might act quickly and rationally to fire at the perpetrator aiming to harm innocent lives. But then what? I go home and live with taking someone’s life? What becomes of me? I have young children of my own, a husband, and a life I built and am building for my own family. Am I to toss it aside because putting guns into the classroom and arming teachers is the most effective solution we, as a society, can come up with? I watched one of my children die in my arms. Days before, I saw that same child bleed heavily from an artery in an arm. I’m still haunted by those images. I couldn’t imagine inflicting pain onto another human being intentionally and watching someone else’s child bleed out and all because of me. Do I want to protect my students? Yes. Do I want to see mental health warning signs addressed? Yes. The truth is it’s harder to go that route than you think. We have several at risk students in our school who are brought before administration and STILL excuses are made and parents get up in arms that we dare insinuate their child could be the next shooter. You started with a wonderful point that society needs to hold children accountable for their behavior. That starts with the parents. Teachers can’t even give children a 0 on work not turned in because they make an excuse for everything. Can you imagine what would happen to a teacher who shot a child in self defense? The parents of the shooter would probably sue and say the teacher acted unjustly, without probable cause and even better, claim the teacher never liked the child. These are excuses we hear and see everyday for holding young people accountable. I know parents who can’t even admit or acknowledge their child has ADHD or is Autistic, and I think how sad that is for that child to have to suffer because the parent won’t care for the child the right way. How I wish I could adopt so many children so they could receive the proper guidance and love. Instead, I do my best to reach those children during school hours. Parents need to do a better job of recognizing warning signs from their children and stop putting their blinders on. Sandy Hook, Columbine, and many other school shootings occurred because parents forgot that their lack of parenting has a direct, negative influence on society. A friend of mine lost their child at Sandy Hook. Given their family tragedy, I would think putting a gun into the classroom would cause some severe emotional trauma for their remaining children who are trying to grow up without their sibling. I am the daughter of a Purple heart, Vietnam Veteran Marine. My father is 100% against his own child from ever firing a gun and aiming to kill someone. Your points are well thought out and from the heart, but I have to respectfully disagree that putting guns into a classroom is a good solution to today’s problems. There just has to be a better and more effective answer, and it starts with the parents.

    1. I worked at an elementary school for many years and a juvenile corrections for a few. I saw a lot of bad parenting. Like you wanted to bring kids who were neglected home with me. I worked, as Special Ed Assistant. I think the mother pulled her son out of the Special needs class he was in. She was in denial of many of his issues. You bring up many good points. Of course there would be many logistical problems with having a gun at a school. You wouldn’t have to keep them in the classroom. You could just keep one in the office somewhere in a box that is locked and hidden. And if possible maybe the not share any of this with the students. Like I said above, thousand of schools still remain wide open. Doesn’t seem like anyone has come up with plan. All agenecies including police response need to be more organized. Melissa SD

    2. I know of no one who is proposing mandating that all teachers be armed or be forced to be armed. Trump hasn’t said that nor has the NRA. This is strictly on a volunteer basis. You WOULD NOT be forced to carry.

      Understand that if you don’t allow teachers who 1) want to carry and 2) are trained to carry then the only alternative is funding more police or armed security in schools and control entry into school through reduced number of entry points, ID checks and metal detectors, etc. That could mean like going on a plane flight you have to arrive well before class begins and the end of open high school campuses (sorry kids, but you can’t jump into your wheels and run off to Taco Bell, Arnold’s Drive-In or whatever for lunch anymore).

      I definitely agree that many of the problems we are seeing with children today are caused by poor parenting and parents not spending enough time with their children. One parent households doesn’t help either.

    3. I couldn’t agree with you more about the best solution being for parents to step up to the plate and actually do some parenting, but I disagree about the need for armed teachers. First let me reiterate that not all people are suited for concealed carry, whether in a school or anywhere else, and those people should certainly not carry firearms. Those who are comfortable with guns, and who are willing to take the time to be properly trained, and the time to practice, should be allowed to. All the teachers in your school might well feel uncomfortable carrying a handgun in their classroom; or they might all have moral objections to it; or they might, like you, be unwilling to live with potential consequences of having to use a gun, and that’s fine; those are all decisions that should be made by each individual and within each individual school. But there will also, thank God, always be some people who have what is referred to as the “sheepdog” mentality, protectors of the flock, and if they are willing to take the time, the training, the regular and constant practice, and the very real weight of that responsibility, we could use them.

    1. Schulen sollten ein Ort des Lernens sein, Lehrer sollten Pädagogen sein (im Umgang mit Büchern und Wissen ) und dafür zuständig sein, dass Kinder lernen und Polizisten sollten zur Bekämpfung der Kriminalität (und im Umgang mit der Waffe) zuständig sein , jeder, wie er/sie seinen/ihren Beruf gewählt und erlernt hat ….darum sollte man die Berufe und Institutionen so lassen , wofür diese im ursprünglichen Sinne bestimmt waren/sind ….. Manuela

      1. And yet, Manuela, in pre-war Germany, prior to the confiscation of firearms, it was not uncommon to see licensed teachers and even, occasionally, licensed students, with sidearms on their hips. Case in point: a friend of mine, a dog trainer, was the youngest man in Germany to become a licensed Jaeger (for American readers that would be, roughly, “professional hunter”), at the age of sixteen, and as such, he was expected to enforce the law in his hunting district, something that involved wearing a sidearm. His teacher was also a professional hunter who used to take his pistol off at the start of the day and place it on the corner of his desk. The day my friend wore his pistol into class for the first time, his teacher’s only reaction was to have him stand in front of the class and demonstrate how to safely unload and disassemble his pistol. Nothing has changed in those eighty years: not the guns, not the children, not the teachers; but there has been a sea-change in morality and the sense of right and wrong and the comprehension of consequences.

        1. Danke für Ihre Antwort, ich schätze Sie und Ihre Ansichten sehr….aber ich tue mich wirklich sehr schwer, mir vorzustellen, meine Kinder einem Lehrer mit Waffe anzuvertrauen, Schießübungen auf eine Zielscheibe ist doch ein großer Unterschied zu einem wirklichen Amok , dafür sollte doch speziell dafür geschulte und ausgebildete Einheiten wie zum Beispiel Polizei oder Spezialeinheiten dafür zuständig sein und nicht die Lehrer ….die Zeiten haben sich geändert…..auch die Kinder, da die Erziehungsmethoden sich geändert haben…. Aber vielleicht sehe ich das auch etwas anders (“engstirniger”), da ich in Deutschland lebe und nicht in Amerika…. Manuela

        2. …und heutzutage dürfen in Deutschland noch nicht einmal mehr die Kinder an Karneval Spielzeugpistolen mit in die Schule nehmen, da wurde an der Schule meines Kindes von den Lehrern erzählt, dass die Kids von der Polizei verhaftet werden, so dass mein Kind keine Lust mehr aufs Kostüm hatte ….(Kinder glauben diesen Unsinn ) ….so sehr haben sich die Zeiten (u.a. auch die Lehrer) hier geändert….

        3. Zusatz: ….Jäger, Polizisten, Mitglieder im Schützenverein etc. sind eigentlich äußerst selten die Täter ….

        4. JP, Very interesting points. Manuela, I bet right now,that unfortunately, there are guns hidden by students all over High school campuses. My mom taught High school in the 90’s and had students tell her there were guns hidden all over campus. That they needed them to get home because they lived in very bad areas.(somewhere in valley along Sherman Way). Maybe now there are not as many guns but I still believe there are some. Did you know this boy was adopted from Russia? The mom was fifty when she adopted him. They paid 50,000 for him. Knew he was a drug baby. Everyone told her not to it. They also paid 15,000 for the bother when he came along. When he was 2 he threw the neighbors 4 month year old baby in the pool. He wanted to see if it could float. I think the mother’s heart was in the right place when she started this process. But he was just way more then she could handle. Manuela,I understand how you feel, but I think some of the teenagers lives could have been saved if there was a gun on campus. Melissa SD

          1. Danke für Dein Verständnis Melissa, das freut mich….nein, ich wusste nicht, was das für ein “abgedrehter Freak” (der Täter von Florida) schon in jungen Jahren war, was für ein Monster …meinst Du die Tat des Amoks hat was mit der Drogenvergangenheit seiner leiblichen Eltern zu tun? Wird diese Aggressivität dabei schon im Mutterleib beim Fötus festgelegt ? Ich bin der Meinung, dass kein Kind “böse” geboren wird, sondern das Umfeld, in der das Kind aufwächst, prägt das Kind und jeder macht aus sich selbst, was er ist und ist für sich selbst verantwortlich…
            Meinst du wirklich, dass ein Lehrer an der Schule mit Waffe diese Situation eines Amoks wirklich klug meistern könnte, er bekommt nur eine Einweisung und keine vollständige Ausbildung, wie ein Spezialist (z.B. Polizist, Spezialeinheit), selbst diese müssen sich im Inneren der Seele überwinden , auf einen Menschen zu schießen und dieses hinterher mit sich selbst und seinem eigenen Gewissen zu verarbeiten, ist bestimmt auch recht schwierig. Stell dir vor, in dieser Situation des Amoks nimmt ein Lehrer die Waffe und erschießt im Stress versehentlich ein unschuldiges Kind, ich glaube der Lehrer wird nie wieder glücklich sein im Leben und wird das auch nicht für sich selbst verarbeiten können . Wer würde dafür die Verantwortung übernehmen?
            Ich bin der Meinung, dass man im ersten Schritt präventiv arbeiten sollte…also vorbeugend…. Hilfen und Perspektiven den Kindern, Eltern und Jugendlichen anbieten (gerade bei Problemfällen). Die Eltern sollten sich mehr zutrauen auch nach Hilfen zu fragen und sich mehr um ihre Kinder kümmern, die Schulen sollten mehr mit Eltern und auch mit Behörden zusammenarbeiten , dies gilt natürlich auch im umgekehrten Sinn….
            Ich finde es gut, dass die Überlegung eurer Regierung da ist, das Alter für Waffenbesitz auf 21 Jahre anzuheben, das ist wäre ja schon mal ein Anfang , denn in Kinderhand gehört meiner Meinung nach keine Waffe, sondern z. B. ein Fußball oder ähnliches… Kinder sollte Spaß im Leben haben und Lehrer und Betreuer (zum Beispiel ein Sport-Trainer) sollten Kindern diesen Spaß am Lernen und am Leben vermitteln, aber nicht mit der Waffe in der Hand…. aber das ist ja auch nur meine Meinung…..viele Grüße Manuela

        5. Let’s not forget that seeing hunting rifles in pickup racks was also very common in many parts of the USA around hunting season.

          Many High Schools used to have shooting ranges on campus.

          With all of that there was never any shootings.

          That is guns were just as widely available, but you NEVER had school shootings. The only thing that has changed is the students.

          In my day (I’m in my 50’s) disputes between students were never settled with more than a fist fight. I could have gone home and grabbed one of my Dad’s handguns, but that though never crossed my mind.

          1. My husband is in his early 40’s. He grew up in a hunting town. I bet he is one the last group of High School boys that got to bring there guns to school for hunting after school.

  22. Herr Parker, Sie wurden damals angeschossen und sehr schwer verletzt . Sie hätten nach einem Streit mit Ihrem Nachbarn fast Ihr Leben verloren…..
    Hier nun einer meiner Gedanken: …hätte dieser “durchgedrehte” Nachbar vielleicht damals keine Waffe besessen, wäre es vielleicht “nur” zu einer Schlägerei gekommen, aber nicht zu so einer dramatischen lebensbedrohlichen Verletzung, die an Ihrer Seele zehrte und vielleicht immer noch zehrt … Wären Sie zu diesem Zeitpunkt wirklich in der Lage gewesen zurück zu schießen und einen Menschen zu töten ? Könnten Sie jetzt einen Menschen erschießen …nicht ein Wildschwein oder Hirsch oder Hasen, sondern wirklich einen Menschen ?…. Das ist doch ein großer Unterschied dies mit dem eigenen Gewissen und vor Gott vereinbaren zu können. Es fällt mir schwer zu glauben, dass man so einfach eine Waffe einsetzt auch in Notwehr (ohne Bedenken und Angst in der Handlung gelähmt zu sein), anstatt andere friedlichere Wege der Konfliktlösung zu finden und diese zu wählen, oder die Hilfe der ausgebildeten “Gesetzeshüter” in Anspruch zu nehmen….
    ….Ich hoffe, ich bin Ihnen in Ihrer Seele mit dieser Frage nicht zu nahe getreten, wenn ja, war es nicht meine Absicht und es tut mir sehr leid….Manuela
    Gott schütze Sie.

  23. ….ich habe gerade in den Nachrichten gelesen… wieder eine Schießerei….an der Central Michigan Universität…..2 Tote….der 19 jährige Täter sei noch auf der Flucht…

  24. A few years back I wrote on this page about gun control and mental illness after a mass shooting took place.

    Here we are again.

    Now, like then, I will point out that many of the more well known mass shooters in recent history were being seen by psychiatric professionals, and were know to be dangers to themselves, and in some cases possibly to others. Virginia Tech Shooting, Aurora Theater Shooting, Gabrielle Gifford’s Shooting…etc… I refrain from naming the shooters because, well because they are ass-hats and their names are not worth speaking.

    Reporting such people as those responsible for the shootings above is not a requirement. There is no federal law that requires states turn over such information. It’s voluntary. Some states do it, most don’t.

    Is this an answer that can help at least curve some further incidents? Should states be required by law to report information to the NCIS on mentally ill people who are being treated as out-patients, who are a danger to themselves, and maybe to others of they get off their meds? If states don’t report this information should they fined and/or lose federal funding?

    All of those shooters I mentioned above purchased their guns legally. They were never stopped or flagged by the NCIS. It was never know by the NCIS that they were considered dangerous or unstable.

    If they were flagged maybe a shooting could have been averted. Maybe. Of course once a flag is up what then? Gun purchase is denied. . . then what? The easy part is denying the purchase. The hard part is what to do after that. Law enforcement visits the person who was denied his gun purchase to make sure they don’t have access to more guns? That could take a lot of manpower to tackle. What is there are other guns in the home owned by other family members (like the mom of the Sandy Hook shooter… they were her guns, not his). Then what?

    I am all for arming competent teachers. How many banks in the USA that have armed guards actually get robbed compared to those banks that don’t have armed guards? Pilots have lock boxes in the cockpit where they keep guns ever since 9/11. There have not been any incidents with shootings on airplanes from their guns. Armed security guards have crap training, and you don’t hear about incidents with them… at least I don’t recall hearing any. Why not let some teachers who are capable and willing keep a secure lock box in their room that contains a firearm? I’m all for it. There is very good training out there… Front Sight comes to mind, as does Thunder Ranch. I’ve been to Front Sight a few times.

    Longtime NRA Member

    TD Bauer

    1. As you point out, merely denying a purchase is not enough. Think of criminals, the vast percentage of whom don’t even bother trying to purchase a gun legally because they know they would be turned down, but they still manage to get their hands on whatever they want. Think of the terrorists in Paris, Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Turkey, and other countries, who were able to get firearms and murder hundreds. What the next legal and constitutional step might be after denying a purchase or flagging a potential threat, that I don’t know, but it’s good Americans are having these conversations.
      Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ recently announced they would provide free training to school administrators, assistant administrators, and school board members.

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