heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Another day, another school shooting

What is it with Americans?

The anti-gun lobby is gearing up, and the well-funded NRA and pro-gun lobbies are going to look for a reason to protect their "constitutional right" to own weapons. However, this seems to me to be a smokescreen that is missing the point.

There are a number of countries where private citizens own guns. Some may be rifles, some may be a little more, but it seems repeated school shootings are a rather American thing.
This isn't to say such things never happen elsewhere - Finland had two in 2007; and as for the UK, I can remember Hungerford (1987), and Dunblane (1996). Britain's school shootings. Both referred to as "massacres" because these sorts of events just don't happen in Britain.

In America, there have been two school shootings in 2012 alone (Chardon High School in February, and Sandy Hook Elementary School a few days ago). If I consider a "school shooting" to be five or more victims (as opposed to one fatality, which could be a personal thing), there were five in the 2000s (including that Amish one). If you count "any gun crime in a school" then the list is a fair bit larger, especially in the '80s and '90s.

From the '80s until now, I remember Hungerford and Dunblane. Wiki lists, from the '80s until now, over fifty incidents.

 

The problem can't be gun ownership, surely?

Then, reading on about Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre, Wiki quotes: "Students and teachers who knew Adam Lanza in high school described him as "intelligent, but nervous and fidgety", saying he normally avoided attention." and "According to former classmates of Adam Lanza, he was socially uncomfortable; he is not known to have had any close friends in school. The Telegraph described Lanza as "keen on computers and video games, and part of a group who would meet up for computer programming get-togethers".".

Brilliant. You could be describing me. It's another f'ked up geek.

But reading more, it looks as if his mother was not a teacher at the school as was originally reported, but was - in my opinion, a bit of a nut job. She is said to have been a gun enthusiast and a survivalist, who... quoting Wiki again: "who had turned her home into "a fortress" in which she was stockpiling guns and food to prepare for a possible apocalyptic event associated with the collapse of the economy.".

I think here is part of the underlying problem. Americans, it seems to me, need to have a certain state of background fear, along with rubbish like "alert levels". What is the state of alert of the US government today? Yellow? Orange? Taupe? A pinkish sort of mauve? What the hell does that mean anyway? Is the high street in Nowheresville, Wisconsin going to be shattered by a car bomb? Is UCLA going to be blown up by Jihadists? Is Utah going to be nuked from the face of the planet by teatime? Threat levels and colours don't provide these answers, and I bet if specific intelligence pointed to car bombs and nukes, Joe Public would be the last to know.
And, yet, Americans seem to need fear in their lives. Commies, ColumbianColombian drug dealers, me-hee-cans queuing up to take the cushy jobs at Kwik-E-Mart, towel-headed-sandpit-dwellers, Eye-rack-eez, Socialists, Nouveau-Ruskies (Putin's mob, et al), Chinkies spying with cheap home routers, Koreans copying American innovation and putting American jobs at risk, Taliban, blah blah blah.
This reached a new high (or possibly a low) with Dubyah's "War On Terror" which was a pseudo-conflict with no actual bad guy and no clearly defined objective. I reckon the War On Terror has done more to terrorise the American psyche than any number of whoever is the enemy-of-the-week right now.

So it is any wonder some people get a little carried away and prepare for a possible armageddon? Probably not.
Is it any wonder that their kids stand to be really screwed up? Probably not.
Is w*nking on about gun control or freedom going to change any of this? Probably not.

Maybe, some day, America will be brave enough to chase down its internal demons. Until then, expect a lot of procrastination and, more headlines like this.

 

As well as being upset and annoyed that it was a less than sociable nerdy type involved (this gives us a bad name, asshole!); I am unbelievably disconcerted at taking it out on a bunch of elementary school kids. At least when you're aiming at teenagers and college students, they might stand a chance of running or fighting back or hiding themselves decently. But... the wiki page lists the dead and it is sobering reading. Six years old. Six years old. Six years old. Six years old. Six years old.

Bloody hell.

 

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Rob, 19th December 2012, 11:00
Looking at the photos of the kids breaks my heart and, even now, several days later, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. My daughter will be six this time next month. I can't even contemplate how I would cope if I were in the Newtown parents' position.
Rob, 19th December 2012, 11:00
PS. Thanks for standing up for us geeks. :-)
Rick, 20th December 2012, 00:36
Your head will spin, it really will... 
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/17/anonymous_westboro_baptist_hack/ 
joe, 24th December 2012, 06:08
I don't think, the skooting has got anything to do with the war on terrorism, it is the television, the drug of the nation, maybe some games, like Call of duty but manely the stupod TV. Ultimate achievment is one TV in evry room and 24 hours of junk and violence.
Rick, 24th December 2012, 13:32
While I would say that television has its place, I would imagine that television is the symptom, not the cause. My mother (who is of American origin) says that it IS something in the mindset - for violence of this sort predates violence on television, and certainly predates computer games. 
Another way to think about it - we admire Jack Bauer's determination, Gene Hunt is a demigod, Charles Bronson is a one-man army, and Chuck Norris...is a parody of himself. Either way, other nations suck up this stuff. We enjoy the hairy exploits of Jason Bourne, we revel in over-the-top slasher horror like the SAW series. We even tolerate regurgitated remakes of Asian films that aren't a patch on the originals. 
Yet, somehow, we don't all go out and shoot the place up on a regular basis. 
Sorry, Joe, but I think blaming TV and computer games is an easy cop-out; a target for the mindless to shout about that neatly avoids anybody having to do any real thinking. After all, this is exactly the opinion given by the NRA (US pro-gun goons) who blamed TV, games, rap music etc and said the only way to sort out the problem is to have MORE guns. 
Do you still think it isn't something buried deep in parts of the American psyche? 
 
[ reference article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2251762/NRA-condemned-astonishing-response-Sandy-Hook-massacre-calling-schools-arm-themselves.html
David, 24th February 2013, 02:18
Dunblane was a school shooting, Hungerford and Cumbria (2010) involved the general population.
Rick, 24th February 2013, 23:23
Thank you David, you have just decimated by half (ho ho) the statistics for UK school shootings. 
So this is... um... ONE versus how many?

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