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The Jehoshua Novels


Common Sense Isn’t At All Common

Take Louie Gohmert, for instance. Please.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, says he wishes Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, was armed with an M-4 assault rifle when she confronted Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 20 children.

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

Or former head of the Department of Education William Bennett:

The whole nation is mourning. It’s an important moment. Let the tears dry before we head off into all these directions at once,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Bennett, a Republican, also agreed with the idea that schools should have a gun.

“I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing,” he said. “It would have to be someone who’s trained, someone who’s responsible, but my God if you can prevent this kind of thing.”

Or John Hinderaker:

A logical starting point is to ask why mass murderers like Adam Lanza do it. Most of them don’t intend to survive; their murders are a form of suicide culminating in their own deaths. The impulse to suicide is understandable, but what is the point of murdering ten or twenty school children or mall shoppers first?

I think the answer, for most such murderers anyway, is that they want to go out in a blaze of notoriety. Typically people who have made little impression on the world in life, they want to become famous in death. Shooting themselves won’t achieve that goal, but shooting lots of others will. I think they inspire one another: the Aurora movie theater killer probably helped to motivate the Oregon mall murderer, and the Oregon mall murderer probably helped to motivate the Sandy Hook killer.

If this is true–and I think it represents common sense–then one practical response to the school/theater/mall murderers presents itself: we could ban all news coverage of mass shooting incidents. If newspapers, magazines, web sites and above all television and radio stations were prohibited from making any reference to mass shooting crimes, then the goal that these criminals seek–fame; in effect, immortality–would not be achieved. It is reasonable to expect that mass shootings would decline as a result. In a less restrictive version of the same approach, we could allow news outlets to cover such crimes, but prohibit them from mentioning the name of the killer or displaying his image. This, too, might reduce the number of mass murders.

The only flaw in my proposal is that it would be unconstitutional. …

Gee, ya think?

John is not giving up, though. He has a bright idea:

Within the realm of constitutional options, the most practical remedy I can think of would be to require that a certain number of teachers or administrators in each school be trained in the use of firearms and armed at all times. That would probably deter most school shooters. It is curious, but true, that even those killers who do not intend to survive their crimes never seem to open fire in the presence of another armed person. No one tries to shoot up a biker bar.

Of course not! Except for:

[the] 42 cops killed this year in America by gunfire? And the 67 killed last year? And the 59 killed the year before? The 1,132 cops killed by guns in the last 22 years? They were all killed by people who thinks cops don’t carry guns in America.

Nobody ever shot a cop knowing that cop was actually armed! That couldn’t possibly happen!

It strikes me that this belief that anyone — any ordinary person walking down the street — can and should be given a semiautomatic handgun or rifle and deputized to “go on, make my day” is not just delusional, but quite insulting to professional law enforcement. Anyone can confront a crazed killer, take him out, and save the day. It doesn’t take any special skills, experience, or training — just a few days of training at the local Y, and you’re good to go. Makes you wonder why anyone would bother to go through years of study and work to get a degree in criminal justice, or jump through all the hoops to become a police officer when, with just a few quick pointers your child’s teacher, or the school secretary or principal or guidance counselor, or the janitor, or the parent volunteer, can be expected to have the confidence, the response reflexes, the accuracy of aim, and the judgment to know exactly how, where, and when to fire their Glock 9 mm in a crowded hallway or classroom or theater or mall filled with running, screaming, panicking civilians and shoot the killer without injuring or killing any of the innocents flying every which way.

10 comments to Common Sense Isn’t At All Common

  • Cheryl Rofer

    Somewhere in all the reading I’ve been doing this weekend, someone said that guns make some of these people feel safe. If you have a gun in your house, you will be safe. If you have more guns, you will bbe more safe. So if the principal had had a gun, the school would be safe. Never mind that Gohmert’s sequence of events is impossible; the gun would have saved the school.

    This is, of course, magical thinking. The gun is a talisman, a protective spirit that will protect.

    I think we need to be saying not just that this will not work, not just the statistics that show that having a gun in the house makes gun deaths more likely, but that it is magical thinking about a piece of metal.

    Or, for those who are so inclined, a basis to mock just how stupid this kind of thinking is.

  • Kathy Kattenburg

    Great point, Cheryl. If guns don’t kill people (people kill people), then guns don’t save people, either.

  • Raja

    Wow: Waiting for the Apocalypse

    TPM, By Josh Marshall, December 16

    There’s been some level of mystery about just why Adam Lanza’s first victim, Nancy Lanza, had such a stock of weapons, particularly military style weapons like the .223 Bushmaster, the weapon we now know was actually used in the killings. She wasn’t just into guns. She was apparently stocked up for when the economy collapses and when everyone’s on their own with their guns.

    Yeah, like that.

    • JustPlainDave

      Let’s keep that one in mind too. If insufficiently accessible mental care, too ready access to weapons and increasing Gini coefficients are part of the problem, so too is peddling doom and the notion that the appropriate response is to withdraw from society and ensure that one can continue to “got mine” in the face of collapse.

  • yogi-one

    Watched part of Obama’s speech tonight.

    Lots of talk about “having to change”.

    NO talk about gun control.

    Sooo…how the heck does he expect the change to happen?

    Four more years of hope for change, talk about change, but not taking the bold initiatives needed to actually make change.

    Regardless of the fact that a majority of voters want him to.

    Because those voters don’t matter. They don’t finance campaigns.

    The NRA does.

    And when are we going to pass any laws to change THAT?

    Gosh, Obama gives good talk…no, wait, he gives GREAT talk.

    • Chief

      President Obama does not have to face re-election and has four years (two different Congresses, we have a mid-term in 2014) to get some legislation re: guns passed. It doesn’t take any reading between the lines to understand what he is talking about. And if this current Congress cannot get meaningful gun legislation passed, the Dems can campaign heavily against the stubborn Repubs.

      Personally, I feel that the NRA is a terrorist organization. No one needs any gun that can fire more than one bullet at a time. So, revolvers are OK, bolt action rifles are OK, single and double-barrel shotguns are OK. Guns used for hunting ate OK. Semi-automatic, fully automatic, any guns on wheels are absolutely prohibited.

  • actor212

    In the past thirty years, not one mass shooting has been prevented or stopped by a civilian wielding a gun. Not one.

    More guns is not the answer, or to put it another way, just imagine if Nancy Lanza had a gun, none of this would have happened.

  • [...] I initially posted this as a comment here: President Obama does not have to face re-election and has four years (two different Congresses, we [...]

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