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Manchin writes: "If we let irrational fear and antagonism control the debate, then we will continue to be a nation of violence. We need leaders who can be open-minded. We can't villainize those who disagree with us, and we can't dismiss their legitimate concerns outright."

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is calling for a balanced approach to mass killings. (photo: AP)
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is calling for a balanced approach to mass killings. (photo: AP)


Another Path to Stopping Mass Violence

By Senator Joe Manchin III, The Washington Post

22 December 12

 

n the days after the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., I made it clear that I believe it is time for us to move from rhetoric to action to prevent future acts of senseless mass violence.

Since then, much has been made of those comments - some of it accurately reflecting what I said, some not. Because I am an A-rated, lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and a proud defender of the Second Amendment, some people viewed my comments as a tipping point in the debate about guns in America.

The true tipping point, of course, is what happened in that elementary school on Dec. 14 - the unimaginable slaughter of 20 children and the teachers and staff members who were defending them. When children die tragically, it rips at our very hearts. Even in our grief, we demand a reckoning.

That reckoning is now upon us, and we owe it to those children and their families to take it seriously. As a nation, we must reconsider the treatment of the mentally ill. We must challenge a popular culture that accepts stomach-churning violence in our movies and video games. We must look at the use of high-capacity ammunition magazines and military-style assault weapons.

Committed gun owners like me can and must listen to reasonable ideas about preventing mass violence. But whatever steps we take must be comprehensive - and must bring the entertainment industry and mental health community to the table. We cannot snap our fingers, push one-track legislation that focuses exclusively on guns and pat ourselves on the back. Such an approach certainly won't fare well in Congress. More important, it won't fully address the problem.

I truly appreciate President Obama's intentions to "push without delay" a set of recommendations to address the kind of madness we witnessed in Newtown. However, an administration-led approach, without significant input from the entertainment, gun and mental health communities, will not meet the crucial test of credibility. It excludes too many of the voices that must be heard if we're going to get this right after so many decades of bitter stalemate.

If the administration fails this credibility test, and if it takes a guns-first approach without addressing the other factors at play, we will be no closer to resolving this problem than we were in the days before the horror in Newtown.

No matter how strongly any one of us holds our positions, we all must be willing to respectfully hear each other out - elected leaders must hear recommendations from the mental health community; gun-control advocates must listen to gun rights supporters; the entertainment community must listen to those who want to see less violence on their screens. And vice versa.

If we let irrational fear and antagonism control the debate, then we will continue to be a nation of violence. We need leaders who can be open-minded. We can't villainize those who disagree with us, and we can't dismiss their legitimate concerns outright. We cannot pay lip service to those perspectives; they must be the driving force of change.

At the same time, as a proud gun owner and a member of the NRA, I will continue to urge the organization's leadership to come to the table because I would like to see a more meaningful discussion - because every group with a role to play in this conversation should contribute. I'm open to a discussion about whether we need more security in our schools, as the NRA proposed in Friday's news conference, but that can't be the only measure that comes out of this. An all-or-nothing approach from any of these parties won't result in the changes we need to keep our children safe.

Because if you think the problem of mass violence in our country is about just guns, you're wrong. If you think it's about just an entertainment industry that markets violence to kids, you're wrong. If you it's about just insufficient security at our schools, you're wrong. If you think it's about just the lack of mental health services for troubled young people and adults, you're wrong. We need to address all of them. I, for one, simply cannot support any proposal that doesn't address all aspects of this problem.

So, I propose an alternate path: a national commission on mass violence. Such a commission could lead the national conversation that is desperately needed in the wake of Newtown. It could hold public hearings, after which it would issue a report and recommendations based on facts, not emotions or preconceived notions of what it takes to end mass violence in America.

When the president announced his task force this past week, he said it would not be one more Washington commission, "studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside." That is certainly not what I envision for this group. The worst possible outcome would be another Simpson-Bowles commission, whose excellent blueprint has languished despite bipartisan support. Instead, this panel would have teeth - more like the 9/11 Commission.

I am not the first to suggest this approach. My friends Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. John McCain of Arizona have advocated a similar effort for years. And I believe that such a commission could go well beyond the work of the president's task force and help provide a fuller understanding of the root causes of senseless acts of violence.

That's because finding a comprehensive solution will take effort - the effort to talk with experts from a variety of fields, including mental health and entertainment; the effort to carefully craft recommendations that seek to avert unintended consequences; and, most important, the effort to build a consensus to move forward on a matter that has divided our country for far too long. Putting forth this effort doesn't mean it would have to take forever - but it certainly means it would take more than a few weeks.

We cannot have this conversation without gun owners and groups like the NRA. Sportsmen, hunters and gun owners must have a seat at the table. They've been vilified for so much of the mass violence in America, and that's just wrong. They're hurting about Newtown as much as the rest of us.

If you blame the NRA for what happened there, you're blaming 4 million law-abiding Americans who tuck their children safely into bed every night and who teach them to respect firearms and to use them safely. And if you blame them, you're also blaming me, because I'm one of those 4 million NRA members.

Responsible gun owners should be at the forefront of any effort to find a balance between rights and responsibilities to make America safer for our children. We understand better than most that guns made this country free and are an important part of our culture and heritage.

I make this solemn pledge to all my friends who are proud, law-abiding members of the NRA: I will defend the Second Amendment with every fiber of my being. And I make this solemn pledge to all my friends in the media and entertainment industry: I will defend the First Amendment just as vigorously.

I'm never going to give up my guns - that will not happen. I support a sensible, comprehensive process that can lead to reasonable solutions regarding mass violence. I will weigh the evidence for any proposals put before me, including ways to address high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons, improve mental health treatment, and transform a culture that glorifies violence.

We cannot take a single-issue approach to this problem. The causes of mass violence run deeper than that. Any solution that doesn't take all concerned parties into account will lack the credibility it needs to become a reality. But we should all be looking for a comprehensive fix. We owe that to Newtown.

This is the way we responded to challenges in West Virginia when I was governor. After tragic mine disasters, we called a brief time out, huddled up and created a plan to protect our miners. We didn't quit mining; we made the mines safer. That's similar to what this country did after Sept. 11, 2001: We didn't quit flying; we made flying safer.

For the sake of our children, we need to call a time out from politics as usual so that guilt by association doesn't become guilt by conversation. No one should be branded a traitor for being willing to talk with others who see the world differently.

The Newtown tragedy has changed our nation forever. And as we are changed, so must our thinking be changed. We must act in such a way that those beautiful children and courageous adults who tried to save them from unspeakable horror shall not have died in vain.

 

Comments   

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- The RSN Team

 
+82 # indian weaver 2012-12-22 15:00
This guy is a jackass with lots of hot air like all politicians. A coward. I've written this elsewhere on these blogs the following: Australia suffered its largest massacre 15 years ago, over 40 people in all including over 30 tourists, all at once. And you know what? Within 12 days (2 work weeks) Australia had seriously revamped its entire gun culture by outlawing hand held weapons of mass destruction, the assualt weapons and large magazines, etc., those guns invented to kill people, not other reason. Australia also bought back all assault weapons owned by private citizens at their cost + 10%. So, since 15 years, Australia has had no massacres. Is this rocket science? Less weapons of mass destruction, less destruction of humanity? Australia had to be commended for doing what was necessary, 15 years ago. Us, clueless and cowards to this day, and forever apparently. We have no leadership and this author is among the losers afraid to face up to the fact that with our 3 million (?) assault weapons loose in amerika, take cover. There's no stopping the massacres until those are removed. And paranoid losers will argue their right to keep murder weapons to take out their fellow humans. We are not Australia. We are not enlightened, at all. Just the opposite. We are becoming more and more evil as a country, rapidly.
 
 
+8 # countmarc 2012-12-23 00:51
Way to go, Mate.
 
 
-18 # MidwestTom 2012-12-23 07:02
Australia has a smaller population than most of our states. Australia is far less concerned about the rights of their minorities thab we are, and Australia is far less of a melting pot, hence a far more unified nation. with a far smaller drug culture. In America one constantly hears that peopler want guns for protection, Tje question is from whom?
 
 
+22 # reiverpacific 2012-12-23 09:14
Quoting MidwestTom:
Australia has a smaller population than most of our states. Australia is far less concerned about the rights of their minorities thab we are, and Australia is far less of a melting pot, hence a far more unified nation. with a far smaller drug culture. In America one constantly hears that peopler want guns for protection, Tje question is from whom?

Bullshit!
Australia is a damn sight closer to being a democracy than the USA has ever been (I sometimes wish I'd have moved there when I had the chance after being a few times working in Indonesia). Australia has no NRA as a primary shoot-from-the- hip power base (Now they want to arm teachers, how creative!), they have Universal Healthcare and a good overall safety net, world class art, music and food; so what the Hell has that got to do with whether it is larger of smaller?
The US should CELBRATE it's diversity instead of trying to fight it, and yet it seems bent on holding on to a white male power heirachy, fortunately seemingly futilely.
O' aye, and WHEN PRITHEE did a US president apologize to the Aborigial peoples of this nation, by far the poorest and neglected demographic, as the former Australian PM Ken Rudd did to the native "Abbos" in (I think) 2008?
It's you who are out of date, like your country!
 
 
+2 # Adoregon 2012-12-23 13:44
The answer: From each other.

From the [apparently] random acts of preposterously violent insanity that erupt with shocking regularity across the landscape of USA.

Guns are weapons designed to kill.

They replaced crossbows, longbows, swords, spears and clubs.

All are weapons designed to kill.

The grasped blade at close range, the spears and arrows at a further distance, guns at a greater distance yet.

Weaponized aircraft, missiles and, now drones, facilitate killing at ever greater distances.

The greater the distance, the more impersonal the killing.

When killing, whether by a deranged individual, sanctioned by a "sovereign nation," or as "entertainment, " becomes a casual part of daily life, it is the culture and not [merely] the weapons available, that needs to be examined most closely.

Why do some insane people choose to manifest their malaise by killing others?
i.e. why not kill only themselves?

Is the "coat of varnish" we call civilization as thin as it appears to be?

Where are the precogs?
 
 
+50 # treadlightly 2012-12-22 15:16
Great, bring the responsible gun owners to the table. Ask the hunters among them how often they have found it necessary to empty a 10,20,30 round clip at a 180 pound whitetail deer. There will be an outcry from the wild hog hunters "I have already heard what they have to say" they are convinced that they need these mega magazines to control the massive wild hog infestation. Whatever. Senator, I believe you want what is best for the schools. Addressing all the factors that need to be discussed is going to be quite a task. I hope a rapid agreement can be found before we have to watch all this mind numbing violence again. Jack Pinto and all his friends and teachers deserve better than what you people have been delivering lately.
 
 
+6 # readerz 2012-12-22 22:53
It's not funny, but I have an image of gun-owners going "hog-wild." Also a Biblical image of the legion of demons in the swine running into the sea. The hog hunters at least prove that the assault weapons aren't kosher.
 
 
+85 # AUCHMANNOCH 2012-12-22 17:25
This bloke says that he is a "proud gun owner." Proud is an interesting word and means:
"Feeling pleasurable satisfaction over an act, possession, quality, or relationship by which one measures one's stature or self-worth." Quite sad really that anybody's feeling of self worth is lifted by owning a gun.
 
 
+6 # Pickwicky 2012-12-23 15:08
Auchmannoch (that's a mouthful:

Right you are! Your focus on "proud gun owner" is hitting the nail on the head. Senator Manchin over and over offers a self-defense, an apologia--and then defiantly boasts that he will never give up his guns. This "proud gun owner" declaration is nearly drowned in his cliches. So glad you caught the real meaning of his article.
 
 
+57 # Yakpsyche 2012-12-22 20:51
I think a national comission would be nice, but it would be worthless without one additional factor: Money! All these nice recommendations can be made but they will be sabotaged again and again by those with a financial interest in the continued sale of arms. This is big business. The USA is the major arms supplier to the world. So, as usual, the collective well being is held hostage the financial pressure of the wealthiest, who always want MORE!
 
 
+23 # intheEPZ 2012-12-22 21:01
It is the very essence of evil to proclaim the need for more evil following evil's manifestation. No we don't have to listen to the owners of assault weapons. They are ASSAULT weapons. As in ASSAULT and battery. No we don't need another commission like the 9-11 commission? Which 9-11 would that be, Senator? The inside job in NYC or the inside job at the Libyan embassy? The one that led to more violence? Or the one that exposed government ineptness? What teeth? We need to ban these weapons NOW, and open a TRUTH commission to address the lies of our recent past.
 
 
+25 # ganymede 2012-12-22 21:05
I think the vast majority of people have had it with the NRA and its insane policies. Manchin is a very conservative Democrat who represents one of the poorest and most backward states in the country. These people have been brutalized by the vestiges of racism and classism. The late Sen Harry Byrd of West Virginia, who started off life as a KKK racist and ended up as a somewhat liberal Democrat understood these people
and might have been able to help if he were still alive. Manchin is too late with too little. Now is the moment that people have to pressure en masse our politicians to support legislation to ban the sale of all assault weapons and seriously regulate gun and ammunition sales. I for one will join a march on Washington because this is what it's going to take. We are not a barbaric nation even though it seems that way.
 
 
+7 # CAMUS1111 2012-12-23 05:30
You mean Robrt Byrd, and he may have redeemed himself, but he was never "somewhat of a liberal."
 
 
+11 # wipster 2012-12-22 21:14
Guns don't kill people...
People with guns kill people...
 
 
+18 # irvingwood 2012-12-22 21:15
This clown, like the NRA, will be left in the dust as the debate moves towards methods of getting rid of all guns, certainly handguns and assault rifles, from US streets and homes. May he rot in hell for his mealy-mouthed vacillating.
 
 
+6 # margpark 2012-12-22 21:21
At the moment I think that parents who have an adult child who they consider possibly dangerous should be heard in court. I don't think the adult child should have to commit a crime to be sent to confinment. Too many parents have a dangerous adult child who they cannot commit to confinement and treatment. And I am not at all sure that meds handed out freely to patients who have problems will work. They need time with an understanding psychiatrist to listen and learn and heal. (I believe insurance companies have led to psychitrists handing out pills and not talking to their patients enough.
 
 
-2 # Pickwicky 2012-12-23 15:15
margpark--sever al 'experts' have stated that deranged individuals of the mass shooting type do not seek help or, and most importantly, do not let others get help for them. Those who are persuaded or forced into therapy do not stay in therapy--and their anger and violent tendencies grow because of being put in therapy. Discouraging.
 
 
+23 # wwway 2012-12-22 21:29
The right only has one idea and open mind. Theirs. They aren't listening and haven't been listening for more than 30 years. The right has been imboldened by Americans gullible acceptance and it's full steam ahead. Those 20 children are just colateral damage in the war against big government and a their self-righteous definition of the 2nd Amendment. They will never embrace "common sense" gun control because "common sense" to them is more guns. Only a united iron will of good will Americans against the right and the NRA will force the right out of the conversation. We have to move on without them. They aren't listening.
 
 
+16 # beeyl 2012-12-22 22:17
"If the administration fails this credibility test, and if it takes a guns-first approach without addressing the other factors at play, we will be no closer to resolving this problem than we were in the days before the horror in Newtown."

No, we'd be one major step closer to the solution you yourself advocate, although tepidly ("We must look at the use of high-capacity ammunition magazines and military-style assault weapons.")

The fact is, there is a strong (and negative) correlation between the strength of a country's gun laws and numbers of gun-related deaths. Yes, there are anecdotal exceptions, but any dipshit who's taken Intro to Stats knows these are called "outliers" when they fall far outside the main group of data.

Since we know that gun regulation is effective, let's take that step first, followed quickly by investment in and improvement of our mental healthcare… and then we can debate the far less obvious connections between gun violence and video games.
 
 
+13 # jlg 2012-12-22 22:38
There can be little doubt that our treatment of mentally ill people needs radical review, and that our entertainment industry's glorification of violence also needs serious review. Both of these are huge, multi-faceted issues - with many interested parties involved. Suggesting one commission to consider not only these issues but the possible control/regulat ion of guns sounds like a process that will maybe report a decade from now - that's not acceptable. Measures to control automatic weapons, clip sizes etc are probably among the least contentious (?) issues, and should be addressed immediately, while the 3? Commissions deliberate on more complex arguments in these contentious areas.
 
 
+17 # readerz 2012-12-22 22:51
I don't have a problem with target shooting or hunting (in moderation, only deer or over-grazers). I have a huge problem with handguns or automatic weapons.

This Senator is trying to bury the issue by appearing to be reasonable.

Will he talk to crime victims, because he does not mention them. Crime victims want to remove weapons from the population. There is no Amendment that protects crime victims; we are witnesses to a crime; only "society" as a whole is legally a "victim" of a crime, and that means that the crime victim can only sue for monetary damages. No rights in the Constitution means that there is more of a likelihood of people to overreact.

Where is the legislation that gives us mental health treatment?

Why won't these legislators renew the "Violence Against Women Act?"

How about the huge gun lobby and their money?

What about the 2nd Amendment, which (as the other article states) was only intended to provide inexpensive militias that would prevent armed rebellions against the government? Why are textbooks written to make the 2nd Amendment look like advertising for gun makers, and not a temporary historical need?

Commissions don't work: The government did not allow the 9/11 Commission to review all evidence, only some (notice that Bush didn't want to testify); and then its recommendations concerning ports were ignored.
 
 
+18 # Ronnybabby 2012-12-22 23:04
Sounds, er, pretty good, for a politition. Open minded, include all stakeholders at the table, etc. How ever any attempt to stall meaningfull action would be playing on the short attention span and memory of the majority of our population. The remedies do not need to be addressed in one single very mamoth package. We need to be prudent yet urgent with the obvious, like banning of asault weapons.

By the way I have been a gun owner for over 50 years. They are a valuable tool, too often missused. It would be a sad day if the actions of the NRA caused me to lose my right to have them.

"guns made this country free"? Guns allowed this country to be stolen from the native Americans. Don't give me that "died in vain" bullshit.
 
 
+15 # indian weaver 2012-12-23 05:51
I think very few folks think hunting rifles and pistols should be outlawed. I don't. But: WE MUST OUTLAW ALL ASSAULT STYLE MILITARY WEAPONS DESIGNED TO KILL HUMANS. AUSTRALIA DID IT. I don't think this nation has the balls to do what is courageous, get rid of all assault weapons currently loose in our nation in private hands, and never produce them again, for anyone except military. It won't happen. We're doomed to the NRA's policies and big money. The NRA is no good, is a legitimate target for destruction if it doesn't get it.
 
 
+25 # DrEvel1 2012-12-22 23:20
Nancy Lanza was "a proud gun owner and a member of the NRA". Look what that got her...
 
 
+8 # The Oracle 2012-12-22 23:41
There is only one thing that will work. Complete gun prohibition. If there are guns around people can get them. An assault weapons ban is ridiculous half-measure (though better than nothing). Two semiautomatic 9MM handguns with 15 shot clips can dispense 30 deadly bullets as fast as you can pull the trigger. What's the difference? It's guns and mass death or no guns and thousands less deaths. There's no middle ground.
 
 
+21 # Tigre1 2012-12-23 00:26
It would be nice if our blah-blah delegated "leaders" would READ the damn amendment.
The 2nd Amendment, in 18th century language, says: 1) we need a well-regulated( trained, organized) militia...2) ANYBODY WHO OWNS A GUN IS A MEMBER of that militia, and...ready for this? EVERY GUN OWNER IS SUBJECT TO LEGITIMATE ORDERS FROM THE GOVERNMENT...

So...assuming we ever have any BALLS and HONESTY in the US government again, the government will simply call evening meetings for drill and practice...I'd call it for Monday and Thursday evenings...Foot ball, you know...and everyone who owns a gun and DOES NOT APPEAR as ordered in AWOL and subject to militar code penalties.

It's LEGAL, it's IN the SECOND AMENDMENT.
Read the damn thing. Read what else the sainted Constitution says about the MILITIA. Even YOU with your private education, Chinny-Chin man, can understand it if you read it a couple of times.

And every clod who feels pride in his pistols but doesn't want the responsibility will give up his guns rather than Monday night football, because no longer owning guns automatically opts one out of the militia...it's IMPLIED in the AMENDMENT.
Look and see.

READ THE DAMN THING. And please stop lying about it.

And call the damn meetings. Oh, I forgot: you're a SENATOR and have neither courage nor manhood...
 
 
+2 # NOMINAE 2012-12-24 01:53
@ Tigre1

Part I

I sympathize entirely with your position, but it is no longer that simple. The Supreme Court has issued a decision confirming the right of U.S. citizens to own guns for home protection. (an easy google)

You are correct that no such provision was ever in, or ever intended by, the Second Amendment, but private ownership of guns is now the law of the land thanks to the Supreme Court.

That said, (and I grew up on a ranch in Montana and spent four years in the Military) there is no citizen walking who can dream up a legitimate need for armament with a killing capacity beyond that of a rifle and/or shotgun for hunting and varmint control, and possibly a revolver for the house. (When you live in no-kidding remote areas, you are forced to be your own "emergency services outlet".)

Personally, however, as long as the ranch .12 gauge was handy, I never did find the need for a handgun in the house.

Military weapons make no more sense for any civilian than allowing citizens to own Military Tanks and Surface-to-Air missile batteries.

Cont'd
 
 
+5 # NOMINAE 2012-12-24 01:54
@ Tigre1 , cont'd

Part II

The NRA does not now, and never did, "protect Gun Rights", they are now, and have always been, the hired smokescreen for the U.S. Armament Industry. These people have as much concern about the victims of their multi-billion dollar industry as do Tobacco Manufacturers, or Monsanto Executives. The NRA is about fomenting FEAR in every guise imaginable, because FEAR is what sells guns the world over. It is THAT, not "rights" of any kind, that is the true bottom line in that racket!
 
 
+6 # countmarc 2012-12-23 00:49
Nix the entertainment industry because of the 1st Amendment. Congress can't agree on what direction the sun is going to come up on, so don't expect much there. The NRA has already made their position known. My only question is how one becomes a PROUD gun owner?
 
 
+8 # Charles3000 2012-12-23 01:54
The 2nd amendment refers to a "well regulated militia" and that militia needs regulation. All, and I mean all, of these militia weapons could be collected into a single location in each community such as a fire station operated 24/7. The guns would be available to the militiamen at any time they wish to use them but withdrawing them from storage would require proof of ownership and the owner would need to pass the responsible person scrutiny for having a valid reason to need the gun.
 
 
+1 # Nel 2012-12-23 03:04
"If we let irrational fear and antagonism control the debate, then we will continue to be a nation of violence."
I agree.
"…elected leaders must hear recommendations from the mental health community."
I do not agree because the Senator’s thinking is not logical, unless he wants to provide medical, mental treatment for the "violent nation" (including the president and his killing list.)
The mental illness is a copout bigger than guns.
Conservatives and liberals are in the same club when it comes to irrational talk, easy solutions to problems they have created themselves such as interminable "preventive" attacks around the world (cowardly) killing adults and children.
Consider the possibility the Newtown murderer was mocking Congress and the President.
 
 
-7 # indian weaver 2012-12-23 06:02
Yes Obama the War Criminal needs to be committed to an asylum for the criminally insane. Add to that list: maybe 100s in our government, but at the top of the list go our cowardly lying vicious war criminals leading our country into collapse, from within, not from terrorist, but from our domestic terrorists: our government. Add dubya and most of his family and all of his friends and former cabinet, right after Obama and biden and /// That is where mental health solutions start: imprisoning those committing Crimes Against Humanity that were supposed to be our "leaders" but turn out to be our enemies. Obama belongs to the criminally insane, lock him up now.
 
 
+1 # hbheinze 2012-12-23 07:20
Indian Weaver, I agree. Perhaps the root problem is the culture of violence, death & sociopathy that starts at the top of the government, where the first solution is to bomb, drone, invade, occupy, torture, maim, & kill. With a deeply sick government, how can the nation be healthy? Of course the eternal question is, what can we ordinary people do about it in the face of Money & Power?
 
 
+3 # Pickwicky 2012-12-23 15:27
indian weaver--I can't disagree with you about Bush and Cheney, but I do disagree with you about Obama. Everyone is tired of hearing Obama inherited these problems from Bush--even tho it's true. The Ship of State can't be turned on a dime. I wish it didn't take so long to close down Bush's projects, but at least, Obama is doing that.

Obama is not criminally insane, and it not helpful to exaggerate in this way.
 
 
+19 # wullen 2012-12-23 03:51
And how many more people will die while you're "studying" and commiserating? Let's start with banning these weapons which we know
facilitate mass killings and then go study the factors of cause.
 
 
+10 # kalpal 2012-12-23 04:01
It is essential for the right wing to squeeze an admission of partial guilt from others so that the NRA does not take the full brunt of America's disgust with assault weapons and oversized magazines and drums. In fact it is only the NRA who lobbied for those items to be easily available to the general public.

It is Wayne LaPierre and his masters among gun makers who pushed to insure that any nut can get these if they want them by circumventing any method that might exclude their sale.

The guys who commit mass murder and mayhem are not lifelong professional criminals who kill lots of people and then commit suicide. They are mentally ill who find it easy to buy devices allowing them to run riot and then die or be imprisoned.

Adam Lanza was not a felon till he stole his mother's assault weapons and killed her. He did not go out and become a drug dealer, bank robber or a burglar?

It is doubtful we will ever understand his need to young kill children and then himself. I think the school adults were killed because they impeded his desire to harm the children.
 
 
-2 # indian weaver 2012-12-23 06:06
Trying to understand the criminally insane, those like Obama and Dubya, is impossible. Simply remove the weapons of mass destruction. We can all understand that more weapons of human mass destruction means more human mass destruction, or not? Why such people act our will never be understood. How they act out is a no-brainer - the NRA gives them the ability to take out your entire neighborhood / school / family / Wal-Mart etc. just like we've seen for years. The weekend of the Newtown massacre saw at least 3 other mass killings, most not publicized and none publicized in our corrupt news media. And the government continues to crawl on their slimey bellies into bed with the mass murderers producing weapons of mass destruction for us all to buy and use.
 
 
+4 # gdp1 2012-12-23 04:54
...the wisdom of the west was: Turn your guns in to the Sherriff when you got to town....It worked for them, it worked for Australia, but it won't work here....unless you ILLEGALIZE THEM, buy them back at retail+15%...PE NALIZE THE OFFENDERS.....l ike I was saying: it won't work here...
 
 
+1 # indian weaver 2012-12-23 06:09
You're right. Australia did it. We won't. We're doomed to constant massacres. So, where do I buy my next assault weapons and large volume cartrige cases. Why, right down the street 2 miles, and we're all going down there these days because we need to remove the government. In that way, those who promote assault weapons are almost right. The government is the problem, and the government (read: each individual member of Congress and the entire Administration) support assault weapons because they are the problem.
 
 
+1 # thomachuck 2012-12-23 20:23
Have you heard the one about the Second Amendment was written to permit the government to maintain order and to stop uprisings, duh, not to overturn the government?
 
 
+11 # pcullen 2012-12-23 05:30
I disagree Joe, it IS first and foremost about the GUNS, specifically the high capacity assault rifles like the one used in the Newtown massacre. There is no valid reason to allow Americans to own them. What's next? Freely available rocket launchers? Tanks to those who can afford them? Just visit a gun show and buy all you want with no background checks! The time to act is now and IMMEDIATELY ban assault rifles like Australia did! And yes, I do blame YOU and all NRA members. Your membership dues support the bullying campaign tactics of the NRA against politicians who give so much as a hint of opposition to gun control. If you're really serious about fixing the problem then I encourage you, Joe, to lead by example and publicly revoke your NRA membership. Join or start a responsible gun organization that holds no lobbying power. Start/advocate a gun buyback program. Yes, we do need to address all the related issues but right now we're all just sitting on our hands! Do you really feel safe visiting a shopping mall? A public park? A sporting event? ANY public gathering? The next psycho with an assault rifle is just waiting to unleash his fury on unsuspecting citizens somewhere! Haven't we had enough mass slaughter of the innocent? What about our rights to feel safe? Every time I drop my daughter of at school I worry. Yes, security measures have been beefed up but that's no defense against a heavily armed madman - and with body armor to boot - with a gun of mass human destruction.
 
 
+1 # FDRva 2012-12-23 07:03
Useful item from Sen Manchin.

We have here mostly a mental health crisis--particu larly among youth--who have committed virtually all of the massacres of recent years.

Between youth's not-so-hot economic prospects and their frequent immersion in a hyper-violent video game and fantasy movie culture we have many ticking time bombs out there.

I think it important that we realize that the 1st Amendment protects freedom of religion and freedom of speech--but some legal beagles have broadened that from "speech" to "freedom of expression."

I would submit that there is no constitutional right to become rich by marketing military firearms trainers as "games and entertainment," & driving youth violently crazy in the process.

That form of 'expression' needs to be taxed or regulated out of existence.
 
 
0 # DakotaKid 2012-12-23 07:44
Senator Manchin: You write, "If you think [one thing or another causes gun violence]...you 're wrong."

Well, you're wrong. Dead wrong. If you think guys like you who are elected to act in the public interest but continue to fight efforts to curb the gun trade aren't guilty of a massive moral failing and contributing to the rise of America's feral gun culture you're not only wrong, you're a fool.
 
 
-7 # cordleycoit 2012-12-23 07:55
Why should I sit down with people who know nothing about fire arms except blind hatred? It's like making a deal with a rattle snake. The NRA generally is unable to do it's job well. Jeff Cooper was the last person on the board who represented my point of view. The elderly women and young people need to understand the gun is simply a tool. To the left it has a mystic power.My neighbor came into my yard with a club ro "Kill my dog." He became enraged when I warned him that he was trespassing and libel to be shot if he continued to attack my mutt. But he removed himself from my property. Much later he told me he was having a problem with Methamphetamine and was being stupid. I am glad he sought help. The nearest policeman is forty five minutes away.
 
 
+8 # oldbonesinTaos 2012-12-23 08:20
Two comments: It appears to me that the 4 million members of the NRA have been hijacked by the leadership that has sold its soul to the weapons makers. I would hope sportsmen would come to the table, but in my opinion the NRA has disgraced itself over the years and should be shunted aside. Second, Great Britain has the same video games and violent movies. Yet, because they have strong gun control legislation they do not have the violence we have. We need to get on with it. Support sensible gun control legislation as suggested most recently by Cory Booker on the Huffington Post. Then we can work on improving the mental health system.
 
 
+1 # Skyelav 2012-12-23 11:32
I believe GB does have a lot of violent crimes which surged up when their gun ban took effect. But that said, where does the problem lie? It lies in the disempowerment of, especially, but not limited to, men.
 
 
+9 # HerbR 2012-12-23 08:35
How is it possible that so-called 2d Amendment "rights" be allowed to overwhelm our collective expectations to lead peaceful lives ? Does not the preface about militias condition and limit severely every single word that follows ?
 
 
0 # robniel 2012-12-27 09:05
Quoting HerbR:
How is it possible that so-called 2d Amendment "rights" be allowed to overwhelm our collective expectations to lead peaceful lives ? Does not the preface about militias condition and limit severely every single word that follows ?


The right wing Supreme Court knuckledraggers apparently didn't see it that way.
 
 
+6 # mblockhart 2012-12-23 08:45
He claims he isn't, but what he's really about is placating the NRA with delays when we know right now that there are some common sense things we can do about the gun portion of this problem. It will be hard enough to get the gun laws done now, harder the longer we wait and justice delayed is justice denied. Some of the other things, like refunding mental health care. are definitely going to take a longer time, especially with this Teapublican House. Let's move on what we CAN DO now.
By the way, the NRA doesn't represent its members, it represents only the gun makers and sellers.
Also, the 2nd Amendment doesn't trump the rest of the Constitution and "heritage" does not trump current affairs.
 
 
+6 # moby doug 2012-12-23 09:03
Notice how this spineless worm and "proud gun owner" rushes to defend his keepers in the NRA. "M'lady doth protest too much."
 
 
0 # thomachuck 2012-12-23 20:27
Manchin is right; you have to have a consensus view of all these representative parts of the population, especially those who know a lot about handling mental illness. You can argue that we'll just discuss the topic to death, but without sober and sane discussion, you could wind up with the draconian measures that the NRA rails against. Step into the arena and pick the door you want to open and good luck.
 
 
0 # robniel 2012-12-27 09:06
Quoting moby doug:
Notice how this spineless worm and "proud gun owner" rushes to defend his keepers in the NRA. "M'lady doth protest too much."


He's afraid of being primaried, like most of the coward legislators.
 
 
0 # The Voice of Reason 2012-12-23 09:35
I made it clear in my rhetoric, that it is time to move from rhetoric to action, so long as the action mirrors the rhetoric that mirrors the inaction that defines modern day politics.

And whatever you do, the American public should never mobilize itself and REPEAL THE 2ND AMENDMENT. Just let the politicians continue about their business as usual and do what they do best, which is ... which is ... just what do politicians do best?

And as we are changed, so must our thinking be changed to conform to what the politicians tell you to believe. Keep drinking alcohol, keep getting drunk, have more sex, and leave the pols to their money and their NRA, Oil Criminals, and [your $B industry here], bankrollers. In other words, butt out.
 
 
+10 # Inspired Citizen 2012-12-23 11:23
Manchin wrote, "transform a culture that glorifies violence."

So long as the corporations making movies, TV shows and video games are thought to have rights, including 1st Amendment rights, then they will be free to promote violence. In order to curb their expressions and promotion of violence is to pass an amendment to the Constitution that says only living, breathing humans have constitutional rights, not properties (corporations). Once corporations have privileges and not rights, then the content of out product can be regulated.

This is why the effort to overturn Citizens United is important. Move to Amend wants to end corporate rights, and that would mean much more than preventing corporations from running the government which is what we have today.
 
 
+3 # Pickwicky 2012-12-23 15:30
Hear, Hear.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2012-12-24 02:13
@ Inspired Citizen

What you contribute here could not BE more important. Yes. What you outline is precisely the direct the future *must* go, if we are to have an extended future at all !

I personally loved a hand-written sign that I saw in a film of an OWS camp:

"I'll believe that Corporations are People when Texas executes one of them" !
 
 
+5 # BobWhite 2012-12-23 16:37
What crap. People in the USA are murdered with guns literally daily. We don't need to study anything. Ban guns except for military and police.
 
 
+3 # revhen 2012-12-23 17:18
I've often thought that guns are a substitute for men not secure in their masculinity. I could say more about this -- but you get the picture.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2012-12-24 02:08
Quoting revhen:
I've often thought that guns are a substitute for men not secure in their masculinity. I could say more about this -- but you get the picture.


This is almost universal in the case of weapons with a kill capacity beyond that of the hunting rifle and/or shotgun and the common revolver.

Even in *THOSE* cases the true "inner motive" can often be "iffy", but there is at least some sort of "plausible deniability". :)

The sort that just does NOT wash in the case of assault weapons and billion capacity clips. If you need *that* kind of firepower to bring down Bambi, there won't much meat left on the bone anyway.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2012-12-24 02:25
@ revhen

This sense of relative male inadequacy is so much part of the basic male psyche that Samuel Colt, in the 1800's advertized directly to that foible when he introduced his famous Colt .45 as: "The Great Equalizer".

Such a sales point did not, of course, refer to the balance of power between a man and a target rabbit.
 
 
0 # robniel 2012-12-27 09:07
Quoting revhen:
I've often thought that guns are a substitute for men not secure in their masculinity. I could say more about this -- but you get the picture.


The appropriate word is "coward".
 
 
+3 # charsjcca 2012-12-23 19:21
The United States Senate has been at it for years. The difference between a Saturday Night Special and a drone is the research that comprehensive research universities have produced. Dwight David Eisenhower made the statement on January 17, 1961, in his farewell address that we must watch the military-indust rial complex. These universities were named in that speech. So long as we have drones we will have machines of death and nothing will change. We teach our children not to value human life and that is the problem. It is our culture and we teach this lack of value.
 
 
+1 # thomachuck 2012-12-23 20:39
Some of the comments expressed here are by themselves enough to scare me about the mental stability and reasoning ability of the population at large. Some of these individuals have guns. Think about it.
 

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