Carpenter: What rights for victims of gun violence?

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Walter Carpenter of Montpelier.

With all this talk about our beloved Second Amendment I want to ask a question. It is probably an ignorant one, but I possess a solid reason for asking it. After all the massacres of innocent Americans lately (four more Americans died a couple weeks ago in New York state, felled in a shooting by a man with no criminal record except a traffic conviction), I want to ask about those Americans like me who do not love guns or who do not feel (even if they do own guns) the compulsion to own an arsenal of military-style weapons for any of the reasons given by the NRA on why it is necessary to own them.

As far as I know there is no constitutional amendment on our behalf like there is for the NRA. Despite all the bills out there on the federal and state levels calling for things like background checks or regulation of assault-style weapons (Colorado just signed one. Vermont’s are languishing.) to hopefully reduce the 30,000 or so Americans lost annually to gun violence, there is no legislation I know of to guarantee the rights of unarmed citizens from wanton victimization by the Second Amendment. While the NRA and other gun aficionados can tout the second as their unfettered right to own unlimited firepower, perhaps we need an amendment of our own to protect us from getting shot at in public places anytime America’s longstanding gun culture gets a hair across its brow.

We never learned who shot at us, why they did it, or what weapon they used. If the gun firing at us had been one of those available today perhaps even the infinitesimal forewarning we were lucky enough to get may not have been enough to save us.

I survived a drive-by shooting (Boston, 1972) and want to know the answers to these questions. I was 17 years old, sitting at a park one summer’s night with some friends when a strange car pulled over out of the darkness and compelled us to hit the dirt for our lives as the bullets flew over us. We had maybe a second’s warning before the anonymous shooter fired at us. This warning — A group of Vietnam veterans fresh from the jungles of Southeast Asia were with us that night. One of them just saw the rifle barrel protruding from the window of the unknown car and shouted the warning just in time. — is probably why we survived with no casualties. We never learned who shot at us, why they did it, or what weapon they used. If the gun firing at us had been one of those available today perhaps even the infinitesimal forewarning we were lucky enough to get may not have been enough to save us.

Twenty years later I lost a female friend to semi-automatic fire at her work as a town clerk in New Hampshire. The gun was wielded by a local citizen and deer hunter who had been a responsible gun owner with no criminal history. I knew him, but not well. He lost it over a denied zoning permit, bought the semi (easy enough to do back then), and three women went down that day. One survived, though barely, and is crippled for life.

In light of these experiences, in light of all the recent tragedies we have suffered as a nation, I want to know the answer. Do we need a constitutional amendment of our own to secure our rights not to become indiscriminate targets? Do we survivors have to hear the sounds of those shots fired at us in our sleep so that the Second Amendment can go on unimpeded? Forty years later I remember the pandemonium and the unimaginable fear of wondering whether I would live to see age 18, or even the next five minutes, as vividly as when the bullets were ripping through the leaves above our heads.

Does anyone in this state, in this country, give a damn about the survivors of our national fetish with guns?

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107 Comments on "Carpenter: What rights for victims of gun violence?"

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2 years 10 months ago

Last week I attended a school safety forum at the Williamstown Elementary School that was meant to inform the parents and community about some hardware security upgrades we were making to the building as well let folks know about the in-building emergency procedures. This forum was a very direct reaction to the ever increasing assaults by firearms on our nation’s children and young adults in our schools and more specifically the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Parents are justifiably worried about the safety of their children, and the school staff is appropriately concerned regarding their ability… Read more »

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

“False arguments over non-existent rights to own and access without restraint and restriction any firearm cannot be allowed to override our right to and need for a safe society.” Apparently you have not read the 2nd Amendment or the Federalist Papers that clarify and reiterate the exact meaning of it! I am so sick of hearing people claim that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t give us the right to match arms with the government. Dont even respond with the “oh so you should be able to have a nuke” comment because thats not what the 2nd says at all. Its about… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“I am so sick of hearing people claim that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t give us the right to match arms with the government. ” I am so sick of hearing this argument. The idea that the 2d amendment grants us the right to own an Abrams tank, a grenade launcher, or whatever else to match arms with the government is an argument which seems beyond reason. Although I do not have time now to research or get into it, it seems ludicrous that the well-regulated militia called for in the 2d is hardly one where a government, any government for… Read more »

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Walter, Apparently you didn’t read my reply. I didn’t say the 2nd applied to tanks i said it applied to the common foot soldier and what they could “bear”. Also as you stated you didn’t have the time or maybe dont want to take the time to research it but the government wanting the people to match arms was the exact reason the 2nd was written. They had seen first hand what a government out of control can and will do and wanted to make the this could never happen again in our country. It had absolutely nothing to do… Read more »

Carl Fyrdman
2 years 10 months ago

Walter, While I’m not sure where this train of thought will end, the fact is that the Colonial militia had cannon as well as small arms. These cannon were among the things the British troops went after when performing their raids in Concord, Somerville, and Salem Massachusetts. This becomes more relevant when we see that the militia was specifically designed to consist of “the body of the people” (Madison). The Founders clearly intended the militia to be comprised of all free men (variously from 16-60 as expressed by the Pennsylvania Minority, or all free men 18-45 per the Militia Act… Read more »

John Greenberg
2 years 10 months ago

Whatever a militia may have been in the 18th Century, it clearly was NOT one individual acting by herself. Prior to Heller, courts read the 2 clauses of the 2nd amendment together, which meant that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was a right attributed to a “well-regulated militia,” NOT to individual citizens. ((One might also note that the framers knew the difference between “the people” (2nd amendment) and a “person,” (5th amendment)) such that even without the militia clause, the right is not intended to apply to individuals by themselves. As to the KIND of… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

There are many who will claim the 2nd amendment states “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That is incorrect as the above phrase is part and parcel of a larger sentence, and that larger sentence provides valuable context that until very recently was well accepted by the federal court systems (ie. there was no individual right to “bear arms”). Here is the text of the 2nd amendment to the US constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and… Read more »

Tony Lolli
2 years 10 months ago

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, the one that matters is the opinion of the US Supreme Court and they have already addressed this question.

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Rama,
Your statement “Arguments made by various people over time regarding the need to arm oneself against one’s government cannot remove those words” is incorrect. I’ll say it once again. The EXACT reason the 2nd Amendment was written was because our founders had seen firsthand how a governement can get out of control and take away the peoples rights. The founders wanted to be certain this would not happen again in our country.
No matter how much you want the 2nd to mean something else it’s still not going to change.

Dina Janis
2 years 10 months ago

check out Century International Arms in Franklin county and then keep talking your bs!

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, and conveniently located near the U.S. border for easy international shipping. http://www.centuryarms.com/ I’m only asking, I don’t honestly know … how much trade do they do with Syrian Government or rebels, or other 3rd world dictators, organized crime, or drug dealers? The NRA and Wayne LaPierre are really about the “money”, and the 2nd Amendment just gives them a platform to protect the gun traffickers. Since Congress allowed a loophole in the Brady Bill (Sen. Chuck Schumer alluded to compromise in recent hearing), I suspect there are ways to sell guns and weapons to “anyone with the cash”, just… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“I could see in the eyes of our educators how emotionally devastated they were just to have to discuss this possibility with the children entrusted to their care. And believe me when I say I was overcome by a very deep sense of sadness.” Rama, what an amazing post. Thanks so much for sharing it. As I read through it, I was also overcome by that same “deep sense of sadness.” If this is what we have come to, telling our children that if one does not make it into a classroom or shelter in time, they are “on their… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Here is the thing about our “National Conversation on Guns and Gun Violence”. It’s not really a conversation, it’s two groups screaming at each, both sides completely convinced they are in the right and unwilling to listen to anything from the other side of the issue. The reality that none of seem to recognize, is that we really don’t know. We don’t know what a “common sense approach is” We don’t know what policies are completely ineffective. Why, cause we have never made a really serious study of the issue at hand. The last time our society tried to seriously… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

I’ve been shot at several times – perhaps intentionally off-lined and sometimes maliciously. Once when I was 10/11 years old walking on a country road and someone decided to watch me flinch. At least once while walking in some woods near farmland from random spraying of bullets from multi-bullet chambers – I could hear the boys hooping it up down on the farm – probably 2-3 rounds per second slamming into the trees around me. Living in DC I’ve seen weapons brandished out car windows (probably not our beloved Secret Service/FBI/DHS boys). I’m starting to believe that we should hold… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Living in DC I’ve seen weapons brandished out car windows (probably not our beloved Secret Service/FBI/DHS boys).” Wow, Roger. We are brothers, having gone through the same things. Although I did not put it in the above commentary which the vt. digger so kindly printed, I have also seen weapons brandished outside of car windows. I have also helped someone who got shot. This was in Boston, where I lived for a time. I think it is a good idea that you have about holding the manufacturers/sellers of firearms directly liable for the mayhem incurred by their products.

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

The “right” of someone to purchase, without limitation, enough firepower to instantaneously create a war zone at the cinema, elementary school or shopping mall, evidently takes precedence over anyone else’s right to be safe in their community. Wayne LaPierre is like a character out of Doctor Strangelove, except he’s unfortunately all too real. The very idea that the solution to a massive gun problem (which the NRA created) is more guns is pure lunacy. And the longer we allow politicians to drag their feet on rationale gun control legislation the more likely it is that the carnage will continue unabated.… Read more »

Dave Bellini
2 years 10 months ago

The pink, fluorescent, strobe lit, elephant in the room is mental illness. The debate how much ammo a magazine should hold is a red herring. Will it make a significant difference in outcomes if legislation passes to limit gun style and magazine capacity? Maybe we’ll have 5 dead bodies instead of 15. So, this is the answer? Look at the mental state of the killers in Newtown, Aurora and Tucson. Closing mental hospitals and constantly underfunding community mental health providers is a large part of the problem. Vermont had over 50 secure beds at the old state hospital. The new… Read more »

John Greenberg
2 years 10 months ago

” Maybe we’ll have 5 dead bodies instead of 15. So, this is the answer?”

Clearly, it is not a complete answer to the question of gun violence. On the other hand, it’s a very adequate answer to the people who will remain alive rather than joining the other 5.

The Talmud says: “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Sanhedrin 37a)

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Clearly, it is not a complete answer to the question of gun violence. On the other hand, it’s a very adequate answer to the people who will remain alive rather than joining the other 5.”

Thanks much, John. You’re right here. It is an adequate answer. And if we had adequate controls in place, we might not have those five.

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

If only there were a law against threatening the life of another…
Oh wait, there is.
If only there were a law against threatening the health of another…
Oh wait, there is.
If only there were a law against a felon, pot smoker, or mentally disabled individual from owning a firearm…
Oh wait, there is.

So all the laws are in place. Perhaps instead of creating new laws restricting a constitutional right, we could just enforce the ones we have. If only…but then so many people would be denied their opportunity to complain. And I guess that would be the true tragedy.

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

Seriously Patrick,do you really think it’s a constitutional right to purchase, with hardly a restriction, enough armament to instantaneously create a war zone at the mall? the firepower to kill 25 people in the time it takes to dial 911? The means to defend ones self from the Army? That’s typical NRA claptrap that the majority of their members don’t even believe.

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

Interesting how you have to put your words in his mouth to confabulate an argument.

Perhaps you wouldn’t have an argument were you limited to what was actually said?

2 years 10 months ago

Well said Stuart! :-)

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

Walt,
I believe we have a right that should be protected. I believe those who are so eager to restrict this right out of existence for all Americans for their own personnel peace of mind because of what someone, somewhere, maybe might just possibly do with this right, have lost their way.

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“II believe we have a right that should be protected.” Patrick, I agree with you in a way. That is what this commentary above is about: do not us unarmed folks have a right to be protected as well. Yet, in what you say is the right to protect yourself from everyone else because there are so many weapons out there, so easily obtained, by so many people, almost no matter how crazy they are. In a sense we are arming ourselves to the hilt to protect ourselves from ourselves because we are all arming ourselves. It is insane.

Jason Wells
2 years 10 months ago

Dial 911 = about three to four seconds assuming such that’s 6.2 rounds per second on target. A fully auto machine gun does not shoot that fast and if you are aware those have been and still are illegal without massive red tape. The firearms you wish to ban are NOT capable of that PERIOD. If you want to have a debate please know the facts first. Do you own a firearm, ever used one, or even know the difference between full auto or semi?? P.S. You might be happy to know that we cant even get ammo anymore as… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Well said. :-)

Cheryl Ison
2 years 10 months ago

I live in Australia. We are an unarmed society (mostly). There are relatively no occurrences over here of your massacres. One thing I do not understand is why one person requires more than one gun to defend themselves. I admit knowing little about guns but an assault rifle does not sound like a weapon of defence. So why??

Evidently it is your constitutional right to bear weapons, but is it not also the right of every citizen to life and liberty.

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

Cheryl:

How I would love to move to Australia:) imagine, an unarmed society where you do not have to fear being shot at the whim of someone with an arsenal. Imagine.

Jamal Kheiry
2 years 10 months ago

Vermont has some of the most lenient firearms restrictions in the nation, and yet its firearms violence rate is far less than that of states with strict firearms laws. The explanation is that people make the difference. Not the firearms. Passing laws to control people isn’t nearly as easy, so nobody focuses on the real problem. Hence, the drive to control firearms; it’s simpler. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s simpler.

Dina Janis
2 years 10 months ago

Yes- Jamal- and Vermont is responsible for 30% of the guns that are confiscated in Boston every year from criminals and gangs as a result of our lenient laws- and – while you are at it- check out Century International Arms- in Franklin County- one of the worlds largest assault weapon retrofitters – 500 of their guns were confiscated from mexican drug lords in the past 2 years alone.
We can sit in our green mountains and turn a blind eye- or we can wake up and be good american citizens

Jason Wells
2 years 10 months ago

Dina, I don’t dispute your claim of 500 of the firearms confiscated in Mexico came from VT but I wonder how many of those were part of Fast and Furious?

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

“And Vermont is responsible for 30% of the guns confiscated in Boston…” Not really. At least according to the Boston Police Superintendent in the 3 Aug 2006 Free Press “Boston Billboard Pins Crimes on Vermont Guns”: “Boston Police Superintendent Paul Joyce said Vermont is not a significant source of guns used in crimes in his city, but that Florida, Maine and New Hampshire are. “We only had one illegal gun end up in Boston from Vermont in 2005,” Joyce said, adding that “secondary markets” for old guns, such as flea markets and “kitchen table” sales, make it more difficult to… Read more »

Jamal Kheiry
2 years 10 months ago

Ms. Janis,

I believe the data you provided serves only to reinforce my point. People, not firearms, are the factors that determine firearms violence.

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

I am continually amazed at the people blaming guns rather than the shooters. What amazes me more is the people calling for gun bans, magazine restrictions, background checks, etc, etc don’t even know the first thing about firearms or self defense and most of you wont even bother taking the time to do the research. The facts are clear as day and readily available. Stop wasting your time listening to the myths and lies being pushed on you. An AR-15 is only an assault weapon in the hands of a person assaulting others. In the hands of good people it… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“I am continually amazed at the people blaming guns rather than the shooters….An AR-15 is only an assault weapon in the hands of a person assaulting others. In the hands of good people it is a defensive gun.” Justin. I think you have it wrong here. Those of us advocating gun control, especially those of us who have been fired at or have suffered in other ways, are not blaming the gun itself for our intractable problem of gun violence. We are blaming the culture which promotes such easy and all but unregulated access to just about anyone now (in… Read more »

Stuart Lindberg
2 years 10 months ago

Walter, Is it time to restrict your right to free speech which allows for every form of deviant violent behavior to be promoted on television, the internet, books, movies and the internet? Is it time to restrict doctor’s and pharmaceutical companies economic freedom by stopping them from pushing hard core, mind bending, psychotropic medications on our children? Maybe it is time to allow the Bible back in our public schools instead of just our public prisons? There are 10 clear commandments in the Bible. One of them is quite relevant to the discussion of violence in our society. It is… Read more »

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

Stuart. What is religious morality?

Stuart Lindberg
2 years 10 months ago

I saw a movie once where only the police and the military had guns. It was called “Schindler’s List”.

Gun control worked great for Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Not so good for the victims of the gun violence. Millions of unarmed civilians successfully murdered in the 20th century. This is why the Second Amendment needs to be protected.

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“It was called Schindler’s list.”

Stuart, having studied the history of the holocaust, lived in Israel, and seen Schindler’s grave, and talked with many survivors of the camps, that statement is not even worthy of an answer. Many elements caused that horrible time. The problems of guns and the lack of guns were only one of these elements.

2 years 10 months ago

Walter, I have to tell you, responding with “that statement is not even worthy of an answer” is the kind of answer people offer when trying to defend something that can’t be rationally defended without resorting to emotional responses completely devoid of any sort of rational thought.

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

Anyone who honestly believes that advocating gun control is advocating totalitarian rule is living in a world so divorced from reality their comments are truly not worth responding to.

If you believe the solution to despotism is cheap, plentiful assault weapons, please visit a few of the more violent countries in Africa or South America.

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

Patrick….I think the people who have “lost their way” are the 70 left bleeding on the multiplex floor, shot In under five minutes because it’s as easy to buy an assault weapon in this country as a bag of popcorn. Second amendment rights shouldn’t be expanded to include weapon systems. Everyone believes this “right” has limitations….you may believe it doesn’t cover grenade launchers (hopefully) while I think high capacity magazines have got to go……but we all have a saturation point……the challenge is to find some common ground about where that point is and begin considering not only the right to… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Walt, you really need to do some research and actually go do some shooting. Every statement you have made is an emotion laden exaggeration that only serves to accomplish alienating people you should be trying to engage. You obviously don’t know a thing about firearms. There is simply no way a person who has even a little practical experience and training could make the statements you are so carelessly tossing around. I have to wonder, are you actually a troll who is trying to make those seeking changes in our countries firearms look like complete idiots? Seriously. Assault weapons are… Read more »

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“You obviously do not know a thing about firearms.”

Mark, I do know what it is like to be on the receiving end of them. Apparently, in your eyes at least, that is being “emotionally laden.” No matter what type of weapon it is, the effects are basically the same, especially when you are its intended victim. This is something which cannot be denied.

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

Walt, What’s wrong with a grenade launcher? You can go buy a standalone or under barrel 37mm launcher right now. And that is as it should be. If you want to sit in your backyard shooting flares and smoke rounds, well it’s an expensive but relatively harmless hobby as long as you don’t set the place on fire. However if you go and try to buy high explosive rounds for your grenade launcher, then you can expect a visit from the nice gentlemen at the BATF. Because high explosives are tightly regulated and we have a slew of laws restricting… Read more »

Margaret Newton,
2 years 10 months ago

In the late ’60’s we hosted a beautiful young boy from Chicago’s South Side for a summer holiday at our home in Wisconsin. He told us he often heard gun shots at night and sometimes witnessed daytime gun fights/shootings on the streets, and the victims. That was everyday life. Tragically, it happens all over America. I doubt I’ll see an unarmed America in my lifetime; tragically,I doubt my young grandchildren will see it
Maggie Newton

Dina Janis
2 years 10 months ago

this editorial is totally right on-

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks much, Dina:)

Jim Barrett
2 years 10 months ago

It is obvious the writer would like all of us to be like sheep, and when approached by an enemy ask them to shoot you in the head to avoid any prolonged suffering. Everyone has the right to defend themselves from quacks even though the writer thinks you don’t.

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

What does “When approached by an enemy” mean? It sounds like the same paranoia that fuels the NRA’s absurd “good with a gun vs bad guy with a gun” campaign…How does turning the country into an armed camp insure anyone’s safety? Who wants to live like that? Wayne LaPierre’s fantasy land built on the blood of innocent people while he makes millions shilling for the gun industry. Pathetic.

Jed guertin
2 years 10 months ago

Take a look at what’s out there now that would be considered “bearable arms” In 1 hour they could kill more people than a battery of 1700’s cannons I not sure our founding fathers would have written the 2nd amendment the way they did,

Thanks for the comment Rama.

I think the idea of “bunkering” our schools is an awful idea. It will do more damage to our society than the any rational changes to modify the 2nd amendment.

For now maybe we should tax guns and ammo sales to cover the cost of this “bunkering.

2 years 10 months ago

Jed, trying to compare an AR-15 to any sort of artillery is not only silly, it tells me you likely have zero actual experience with firearms. This is the sort of silly emotional back and forth that not only contributes nothing to the issue being discussed. An AR is a weapon that was originally designed for competitive target shooting and chambered a far larger round in it’s initial configuration (.308). There seems to be this silly idea that a weapon carried by a soldier is somehow more dangerous, has more killing potential. Do any of the people pontificating about this… Read more »

Jed guertin
2 years 10 months ago

Dear Mark, 1. Who said I was comparing anything to the AR. 2. While we’re at it the Newtown guns used in the incident allowed the shooter to send 155 rounds, each round capable of killing or wounding a child into the school hallways in less that 5 minutes. That’s an an average of 1 round in less than 2 seconds. 3. Regarding the Aurora shooting you sort of glossed over a few points. a. The Remington 870 is not your average shotgun, 8 rounds in rapid succession. Nor is it likely it did most of the killing. b. The… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

#1 – Ok, my bad, which bearable armament were you specifically referring to with the statement “Take a look at what’s out there now that would be considered “bearable arms” In 1 hour they could kill more people than a battery of 1700′s cannons?” #2 – A statement about each round having the potential to kill a person is correct. The problem, is that it bears no resemblance to the practical reality of firing a rifle quickly with the intention of hitting an actual target. This very sick young man fired a 158 rounds at grouped people and only managed… Read more »

Jed guertin
2 years 10 months ago

Mark, You’re yelling again. I’ll only respond to one of your “points.” Just don’t have the time. Also, have another response below. REGARDING # 4: “No aim needed rapid fire killing machine” YOUR RESPONSE: “This is another statement that is so silly that I can only offer that once you have handled and fired an AR-15 you will understand why aiming the weapon is actually quite critical to the process of shooting a given target.” SIMPLY VERIFIES MY STATEMENT. You see the people who were using these guns WERE NOT SHOOTING AT A GIVEN TARGET. They were simply spraying bullets… Read more »

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Our founding fathers wrote the 2nd at a time when they themselves were using modern arms. The guns they were using were far superior to what the British had. They had seen many improvements in arms and also had repeating arms at that time that fired about 7-8rounds per minute compared to the 2 per minute that muskets were capable of. They also saw the Kentucky long rifle introduced that was far more accurate than the musket. Many of the framers of the BOR were inventors of all sort of new items that were a huge improvement to life back… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Ok, I have to tell you the ” your yelling again thing” was really funny. :-) I almost started my last post off with “Oh Jeb, there you go again” :-) (I am not sure if we are in the same age group, but if we are, the “There you go again” might give you a laugh) You are completely misunderstanding my point about guns and crowds. ALL guns are incredibly dangerous when being fired into a crowd. We tend to have assumptions about firearms based on what we see in the media, both news and entertainment. The AR-15 has… Read more »

Julie Hansen
2 years 10 months ago

I am still stuck on the teachers saying how sad they are that they cannot let a child in the door. Are they seriously saying that they would follow such a policy; that they would relinquish their own sensibilities on behalf of a policy? They are still grown-ups capable of making decisions.

Wow.

Ann Braden
2 years 10 months ago

The policy is the best people can come up with when confronted with the threat of a gunman in their school. The doors are locked to keep the intruder out. If you open it up because someone is knocking on it, you are risking the lives of all the students hiding in the classroom. This is the reality they’re facing at every lockdown drill. To attack the TEACHERS in this situation to the opposite of what anyone should be doing. They are given the protecting the lives of the children in their care ON TOP of the work of teaching… Read more »

Dave Bellini
2 years 10 months ago

SOME SUGGESTIONS TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE: 1. Pass state laws that mirror the federal law prohibiting violent convicted felons from possessing firearms. This is a no brainer. 2. Background checks. 3. Increased funding for totally rebuilding the “community mental health system.” (Presently a joke) 4. Mental hospitals and “reform schools.” Some people need to be in an institution and some kids should not be “mainstreamed.” This isn’t politically correct; but it is correct. 5. More EAP’s for employers who don’t have one and more robust EAP’s for those employers who do. Disgruntled employees have been involved in many shootings. Current… Read more »

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

I have to stand in awe of the paranoid fantasies that so many of you have about firearms and firearm owners. The real wonder is that you are so immersed in this nightmarish fantasy world that you don’t even see the obvious holes in your stories. Were someone else to post similar fantasies about the dangers of a certain race or ethnic group most of you would rail against the idiocy. When it is your own delusion though you will spew away with paranoid fantasies and see yourself as some sort of heroic figures. Quite frankly, you look like fools… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“I have to stand in awe of the paranoid fantasies that so many of you have about firearms and firearm owners.”

Gun deaths in the US since the Sandy Hook Shooting: 3,151. I suppose, though, that these gun deaths are just fantasies conjured by deranged and paranoid liberals in awe of their delusions:) When you’ve nearly been one of these statistics it is not a paranoid fantasy.

Gun-death tally: Every American gun death since Newtown Sandy Hook shooting (INTERACTIVE). – Slate Magazine
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

No the fantasies are the guns causing the problems and the dream that restrictions on the law abising will make a difference. The fantasy is that ONLY the deaths of upper middle class whites matter. The non-whites and poor whites forced to live in the hellish conditions that classism and poverty breed are not as human as upper middle class liberals apparently. The heroic fantasies that so many on left have that they hold the solutions to societies ills, “DO AS I DEMAND AND THE WORLD WILL BE A PARADISE” are a problem. Your mother lied kids. You are not… Read more »

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

So all we need to do – in addition to being armed to the teeth – is eliminate food stamps, head start, affirmative action, the civil rights act, the voting rights act and Medicaid and all will be well? I’m sorry Stuart, some types of weapons and their capacity to inflict catastrophic damage in a matter of seconds ARE the problem. Guns should be regulated at least as well as toys and gun manufacturers should not get a free pass on liability because our politicians are spineless.

2 years 10 months ago

Walt, is it possible the issue is less spineless politicians than perhaps one where the politicians are actually basing their decision to or to not support legislation based on what they are hearing from their constituents?

2 years 10 months ago

The cause of a firearm injury or death is the projectile being launched out the end of a barrel at either side of 1,000 feet per second. The reason those projectiles are the cause of some many injuries and death is the ready availability of firearms – they are as easy to locate as a used television. That is the primary problem, and until we deal with the easy availability we won’t get anywhere. A great starting point is the requirement that every firearm be accompanied by title that, just like an automobile title, ties a specific firearm to a… Read more »

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

“The cause of a firearm injury or death is the projectile being launched out the end of a barrel at either side of 1,000 feet per second. The reason those projectiles are the cause of some many injuries and death is the ready availability of firearms – they are as easy to locate as a used television.”

No Rama, someone has to make the decision to harm another person. Like it or not that’s just the way it is. Pontificate, lie, scream and fabricate you cannot change that simple truth.

Welcome to the real world. Enjoy your stay.

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“welcome to the real world. Enjoy your stay.” Stuart, the real world is what Rama said. The real world is that the cause of firearm injury or death is someone sending a projectile of lead at a 1,000 or more feet a second at someone else. You can argue all the socio-economics you want, argue all the class issues you want, blame us liberals all you want, but if it is a fact based in the real world that if the anonymous shooters who fired at us that night did not have the means to do this in their possession,… Read more »

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

So what were the regulations like at the time on buying a gun in that burg? Try to understand. Heroin is illegal. It’s still available. During that great social experiment called prohibition alcohol was still available. Criminal empires were built on supplying alcohol to those that want it. I’ll tell you a secret, banning something assure that there will be a criminal market to supply it. Stunned? Well , you might want to sit down for this one. Criminals don’t obey the law. Now if you care to provide a picture of a 15 year old from NYC buying a… Read more »

John Greenberg
2 years 10 months ago

Great argument! Murder is illegal, and people still kill each other. So we might as well go ahead and legalize it.

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

So, in “the real world” you inhabit, it is impossible for someone to accidentally kill someone using a firearm?

Since, according to you “someone has to make the decision to harm another person”, no gun has ever been fired accidentally by a user.

This view is absurd. Pontificate, lie, scream and fabricate you cannot change that simple truth.

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

Of course there are accidents. If you care to note though the general tenor of the op-ed piece and those howling in support of it was evil gun owners blowing away children and movie goers.

To be a little less flip about it. the conversation is about violence. Some like our chum Rama see gun control as being the cure.

Some of us see that as being akin to regulating cars to stop drunk driving. I.E. idiotic, simplistic, dreaming. Complete and total denial of the many problems that CAUSE violence.

Get it?

Walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

Evil gun owners DID “blow away children and movie goers” And why would working on the “many problems that CAUSE violence” prevent us from also implementing some restrictions on the capacity to create carnage in the time it takes to dial 911?

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

“Of course there are accidents. If you care to note though the general tenor of the op-ed piece and those howling in support of it was evil gun owners blowing away children and movie goers.”

I was responding to your comment alone, specifically the blatantly false statements in it.

Get it?

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

Dave and Walt, you are both getting hysterical. Typical behavior for those that are trying to convince others that your emotional tirades are in fact carefully crafted logical debating. Matches do not cause arson even if they are used by an arsonist correct? The firearms do not cause the killing even if killers use firearms. The math is the same. What causes a person to become an arsonist? There is no one clear answer. What causes a person to become a killer? Again, there is no one clear answer. Shall we ban matches, Shall we make every farmer buying diesel… Read more »

Peter Liston
2 years 10 months ago

Other reasons to own a gun (besides killing people):

1) skeet shooting
2) target practice
3) biathalon
4) hunting
5) crime deterrent
6) preservation of a family heirloom or historical object

I actually believe the #5 is a terrible reason to own a gun … but the point is debatable.

And I believe that there should be sensible restrictions on guns. I favor universal background checks over outright bans. Prevent the mentally ill & those with criminal backgrounds from buying guns legally. That’s sensible.

But saying that there is NO reasonable reason to own a gun isn’t sensible.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“So, in “the real world” you inhabit, it is impossible for someone to accidentally kill someone using a firearm?” Dave, the shooters who shot at me and my friends that night did not do it by accident. They did it on purpose. The shooter who killed my friend with a semi-automatic weapon did not do it by accident. He did it with deliberate intent. Argue is as you might, but in the real world that we inhabit this is what happens. Neither incident here was an accident. While many of the 30,000 or so Americans who die annually due to… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“The firearms do not cause the killing even if killers use firearms.”

Stuart, if you say we are getting hysterical, you are getting insane. Guns in the hands of people do harm to other people. While the gun itself is an inanimate object it is a tool. Without this tool, and the easy availability and the largely unregulated manner in which to procure it, all, or most of our American brothers and sisters below here would still be alive.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

2 years 10 months ago

Walter, unless I am terribly misinformed, my understanding is that a firearm actually requires a human to make a conscious decision to pull the trigger. It is possible that guns have been sneaking out at night and going on rampages, but, it seems like I would have heard something about this if it were really happening.

You have a better chance of being beaten to death, stabbed or shot with a handgun that you do of being shot with a semi-automatic rifle of any sort.

I notice no one has even tried to respond to my original post above.

Jed guertin
2 years 10 months ago

Walter,

You’re not being hysterical. Look up Alex Jones and Guns on Youtube, sadly, this is probably one of the sources of Mark’s information.

Talk about hysterical!

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

Mark,

Unless I am terribly misinformed, the only reason one own a gun is to kill people.

When I see some use for a gun other than killing, your analogies will be valid.

2 years 10 months ago

Well said Stuart!!!!!! :-)

2 years 10 months ago

“Walter, You’re not being hysterical. Look up Alex Jones and Guns on Youtube, sadly, this is probably one of the sources of Mark’s information. Talk about hysterical!” Jeb, refusing to accept facts, well documented ones at that, which you don’t like, or do not support your world-view is childish. I am not sure who Alex Jones is, but I suspect he is some conservative nitwit wearing bible blinders. The sources of my information are, The FBI – This report by the congressional research service: Gun Control Legislation William J. Krouse, Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy November 14, 2012,… Read more »

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

Mark, Once again you fail to grasp the irony. When you make up some inane none sense about guns going out on rampages, don’t be too shocked when someone counters with another equally simplistic argument. Guns are for killing things. When you can show me some actual practical use for a gun other than this, you will have a point about knives or cars causing more deaths. But I suppose someone who lives in a world where we should all be able to easily purchase cheaply made assault weapons designed specifically to make it easier to kill large numbers of… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

David, I can’t help but wonder if you really read my post and bothered to check the statistics I cited. “When you make up some inane none sense about guns going out on rampages, don’t be too shocked when someone counters with another equally simplistic argument.” Based on the poor grammar and spelling I am going to make a guess that you are unfamiliar with hyperbole. This is when a person makes a point about a concept or idea using an exaggerated or extreme example. Yes, guns are designed for killing. It is also a FACT that a gun requires… Read more »

David Bell
2 years 10 months ago

Mark, As this conversation is getting boring, this will be my last post, and unlike you I actually mean what I say. “Yes, guns are designed for killing.” Good to see you finally admit this. Now while it would be nice if you could acknowledge that putting weapons whose purpose is to kill in the same category as a knife or car is absurd, I won’t hold my breath. “What I did do, was make a factual statement about the likelihood of an individual being stabbed with a knife or shot with a handgun vs the likelihood of being shot… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

The velocity of a 5.56 round from an AR-15 id between 3600 and 4200 feet per second. The variation has to do with the size of the actual bullet (the projectile part of the round the weapon fires) and the powder load in the round.

Mike Barone
2 years 10 months ago

As I have stated in a previous post on another page. Our law enforcement response to a 911 call is, if even a minute later, to late to help with your immediate emergency. Any emergency! In their best effort to help “having every intention to help you” and be there for you, it is with their personal regret as they only have an investigation of the crime as a tool to help. We learn first aid, emergency care, fire prevention, driver safety, disaster preparedness and etc. to save ourselves as disasters arise or should have prepared. It is our responsibility… Read more »

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Making America safer requires changing social policy.”

Right on, Dave. I agree. This would involve raising taxes, even on the rich, and we cannot have that, god forbid. Sadly, it takes one to do the other.

ALEX BARNHAM
2 years 10 months ago

WANTED -AMERICANS -DEAD OR ALIVE – THOU SHALT KILL ONE ANOTHER AS IT IS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY

Jed guertin
2 years 10 months ago

Adam Lanza chose his weapons and magazines for the Newtown killing of 20 elementary school children and 6 adults with care. He went to the school armed with 10 (count them 10) 30 (thirty) round magazines. He left his 10 round magazines at home. Not enough killing power I guess. He also had 2 pistols and a shotgun. The shotgun he left in the car. And the pistols, as best as I can gather was used once, on himself. The police count was 154 shots in less than 5 minutes, accounting for walking, loading, and available targets, that’s probably 40+… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“You’re not being hysterical. Look up Alex Jones and Guns on Youtube.” Jed, thanks much for the tip. Appreciate it. I think I will do that. “You have a better chance of being beaten to death, stabbed or shot with a handgun that you do of being shot with a semi-automatic rifle of any sort.” Mark, I would like to see some statistics on this to back up what you said. Whatever the case, I do know that I would have a much better chance of surviving the first two than I would with a semi or a handgun. I… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Walter here ya go:
The FBI website has extensive crime stats. That is one fantastic source,I included a link for you and a number of others.

Here are some links:
http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp#%5B17%5D

http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/violent_crime/murder_homicide.html

This report by the congressional research service:Gun Control Legislation William J. Krouse, Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy November 14, 2012

http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2011-crime-statistics

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats

As you can these are all bastions of the NRA, especially Mother Jones. :-) (yes, that’s snark)

2 years 10 months ago

Michael, if you actually read my other posts, you would understand that my point is we don’t know enough about the problem to craft intelligent legislation because our society apparently decided to defund and stop any studies of gun violence. Please explain how the other links and stats are misleading. Again, I don’t have a problem with gun control, just stupid gun control that will not impact gun violence in a meaningful way. Handguns are used in 97.5% of all firearms homicides. Yet, we want to ban assault weapons? How is this logical. Again, I never said gun control was… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

“Mark, I would like to see some statistics on this to back up what you said. Whatever the case, I do know that I would have a much better chance of surviving the first two than I would with a semi or a handgun. I survived once; the next time I may not be so lucky. And it could easily happen again, in Vermont or anywhere else, despite your reassurances here. The thing is, Mark, is that you never know when it is coming until it has already passed and the results are in.” Walter, sadly, we live in a… Read more »

Christian Noll
2 years 10 months ago

Walter Carpenter nice work, almost one hundred comments for a vtdigger Op-Ed must be a record. Well done Walter.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Walter Carpenter nice work, almost one hundred comments for a vtdigger Op-Ed must be a record. Well done Walter.” Thanks much, Christian. While I have not tried to beat or set any records for commentaries here on the digger forums, I am glad the editorial got others thinking and responding to such a degree as they have:) Mark: I confess that the reason you posted these stats is a bit mystifying. The Mother Jones one is heartrending and does not do anything to promote the causes of the NRA, which may have been the reason for your little snark there.… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Walter, if you think my point is to support the cause of the NRA, you are not paying attention to what I am saying.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

Exactly what are you saying?

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Sandy Hook, with a total of 480ish killed (the Mother Jones link has the actual number). Based on this, you have a far better chance of being accidentally killed by a cop, than you do in a mass shooting. Cops kill an average of 650 completely innocent, by “accident” people each year.” Mark, the folks who let fly at me and my friends that night were not police. They were just random shooters. Statistics like what you put above here, and picking hairs over whether you have a greater or lesser number for this or that style of shooting, do… Read more »

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

“The shooting I was nearly a victim of never even made the headlines.” Enough, for the love of god. I personally think everyone here has been immensely polite about this particular line. It’s shady, sounds a lot like someone telling stories, yet they chose to take the high road because by and large they are good people. Regrettably I have a hard time finding the onramp to the high road so please let me be the first to say; no, Walter, you weren’t. You are telling stories and should stop. Now if this were simply a matter of someone telling… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“The blindingly obvious point Walter was making is that these types of shootings are common enough that they do not always, or perhaps even often, make the papers.” Michael, right on. You hit it perfectly. How many of the 30,000 or so annual gun deaths make the papers? Many do, for sure, the more sensational ones by the national media, and local incidents in local media, but a good many of these shootings are so common and go on without any notice from the local or national media at all, except, perhaps, for an obituary. “You are telling stories and… Read more »

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

Walter,
So… nothing then?
You make this alleged incident the centerpoint of your argument.
You seem to believe it gives you some moral authority or critical perspective on this topic.
This alleged incident is so central to your position you somehow found it necessary to trot it out again in the comments, outside of the original column, an additinal nine times by my count.
Yet you provide nothing that would support this (conveniently timed) tale, and insist its lack of verification in some way supports your position.

You are telling stories Walter. You should stop.

Charles Samsonow
2 years 10 months ago

Interesting to see how many people stay up in the wee hours – to answer this stuff. Just amazing . You are absolutely correct Walter – with the police carnage – related to innocent people – when they do it – it doesn’t mean anything – remember all the idiot lawyers and judges will – remind you – they are saving your life. But if you look at a cop wrong – or video tape them – or what ever else stupid stuff they can conjure up – you broke the law ! that is jail time and will be… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

SOME SUGGESTIONS TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE:

1. Pass state laws that mirror the federal law prohibiting violent convicted felons from possessing firearms. This is a no brainer.

2. Background checks.

3. Increased funding for totally rebuilding the “community mental health system.”

2 years 9 months ago

We really need to at least pass a background check bill. It is a shame that the bill got blocked in the senate. The NRA has a near stranglehold on the republican party. When are things gonna change?

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