Monday, December 17, 2012

Who Needs Assault Weapons? (Updated)


On Dec. 14, the day an armed citizen killed 26 unarmed women and children at a Connecticut elementary school, the NRA's Twitter account went silent. It has not tweeted since. Meanwhile, its Facebook page has disappeared, along with those 1.7 million "likes." Navigating to now redirects to the Facebook homepage.
~ Slate

I wish to God she had an M-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.
~ Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX, on Fox News

If school teachers are now to be armed, wouldn’t the teachers have to carry around their assault rifles at all time since they would not know when an attack would occur? Indeed, given the low likelihood of such an attack, should they also be equipped with ebola-medical kits, rabies treatment packs, floatation devices, and other equipment for more likely threats. The average soldier, after all, carries as much as 135 pounds depending on their unit. Should our teachers carry less to protect our children?
~ Law Professor Jonathan Turley

. . . teachers are not soldiers, nor do the vast majority of us want to be soldiers. Could we ever train teachers and other school personnel as well as we would need to? Realistically, can we create an armed line of defense between these peculiar Rambos who want to kill us for reasons none of us truly understand? I don’t think so.
However, the ethical and moral question is: do we want to give over every safe space we have — even our homes, churches and schools — to violence? Do we want to make every caretaker — every parent, minister, teacher, coach, nurse, Scout leader — into a potential soldier? I say no. And it’s time to tell the NRA, the multi-billion dollar arms business and the government that we refuse the escalation of violence.
Teachers: we are not soldiers.
~ Claire B. Potter, Professor of History at The New School for Public Engagement, New York,

Who needs an assault rifle to go hunting? You can't even use the prey that you kill with an assault rifle if you indeed do it. No one needs an assault rifle to go out and shoot a deer. No one needs an assault rifle that's capable of shooting 10, 20, 30 rounds off at the same time to shoot a duck or to shoot quail. It does not make sense.
~ Don Lemon on CNN

In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.
Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
. . . We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
~ President Obama speaking at the Newtown, CT, Prayer Vigil


After mass shootings, it’s always said we must improve our mental-health system and the treatment of those who may be prone to violence. Of course we should. But this noble sentiment is too often part of a strategy to evade any action on guns themselves.
Not this time. Americans are not the only people in the world who confront mental-health problems. We are the only country that regularly experiences horrors of this sort. The difference, as the writer Garry Wills has said, is that the United States treats the gun as a secular god, immune to rational analysis and human intervention.
We must depose the false deity. We must act now to curb gun violence, or we never will.
~ E.J. Dionne on National Memo

It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way.
. . . Everything has to be on the table.
~ Senator Joe Manchin D-WV, and member of the NRA

We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.
~ Congressman Gerald Nadler, D-NY

Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's Morning Joe, via Blue Virginia
You know me. I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA's highest rating over four terms in Congress...There's no easy ideological way forward...I come to you this morning with a heavy heart and no easy answers. Still, I've spent the past few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers, while daring to question my own long-held belief on these subjects. I've always taken the libertarian's approach to Hollywood's 1st amendment rights and gun collector's 2nd amendment rights, and I stood by those libertarian beliefs after Columbine, after Aurora, and after Arizona..."
I knew the ending of this story because we've all seen it too often. I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything, it must change everything, we all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable.
...our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled, high-caliber, semiautomatic, combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas...
We've already given up too much ground across America. We've already ceded too many schoolyards, too many shopping malls, too many movie theaters, and too many college campuses. We must give no more ground.
For the sake of my four children, and yours, I choose life and I choose change. It's time to turn over the tables inside the temple, and for the sake of our children, we must do what's right. And for the sake of this great nation that we love, let's pray to god that we do.

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