This Is Definitely The Time To Talk About Gun Control

shutterstock_56517394Another horrific day of gun violence in this country, and another day that we are reminded this is “definitely not the time” to talk about gun control.  Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza is suspected of entering a school in Newtown Connecticut filled with K- 4th graders, opening fire, and killing 20 children and 6 adults. His father was found dead at his home in Hoboken, New Jersey. It seems he killed his father, travelled to another home and killed another family member, then travelled to the school where his mother worked as a kindergarten teacher. She is one of the victims and it has been speculated that most of the fatalities occurred in her room.

This is a horrible, horrible tragedy. My heart bleeds for these families. I’m a parent, and I simply cannot understand why it is considered disrespectful to demand a conversation about the plague of gun violence on our country, and the necessity for stricter gun control. I’ve already heard on a seemingly endless loop –  ”today is not the day for that discussion.”

Can someone please tell me when that day will come? When? And why is trying to change policies that make it easier for these types of awful things to take place considered disrespectful to grieving families?

Jeff Goldberg, reporter for the Atlantic, was just on MSNBC speaking about the violence:

“It’s a relatively safe country, given the fact – and this is what we have to focus on there are 300 million guns in the United States of America …We are a country that is saturated with guns. So it is somewhat of a miracle that this doesn’t happen more than it does… I don’t know how to explain any of that, except to say that maybe this is the day to talk about those issues. As much as I understand the impulse to say, ‘this isn’t the day for politics,’ maybe we should be having a frank discussion about how to defend ourselves against this kind of violence – how to shape policy so that it doesn’t happen quite as often.”

He’s right. He’s absolutely right. We’ll mourn. We’ll offer our condolences. We’ll remind all of those around us that this “isn’t the time” to talk about our country’s serious problem with gun regulation, and we’ll move on. But these families won’t. They will be destroyed forever.

Not even 5 months have gone by since the last, awful mass shooting in Aurora happened. How much more commonplace will these events become? When will we decide that we have a real problem in this country and actually address it?

Virginia Tech Shooting survivor Colin Goddard told MSNBC today:

“We have to make our decision makers believe as we believe that we are better than this, that we deserve a nation that is better than this, that they can make decisions that will make us all safer in our schools, in our churches, in our daycare centers, on our streets. There are things that we can do that we’re not doing. And it’s past due that we get them done.”

Yes, it is.

A very emotional President Obama just spoke calling for “meaningful action.” I certainly hope he’s referring to some change in policy. This could be his legacy and change things in this country immensely.

(photo: Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock.com)

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    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I’m just devastated. This is such tragic tragic news.

    • chickadee

      And coming on the heels of the two handgun incidents over the past week, it merely highlights that it’s a discussion whose time has most certainly come.

      Having said that, I am reluctant to launch into a discussion right now, simply because I would hate to sound like I am using this tragedy as a platform for my strongly-held beliefs. It’s a difficult situation, most emphatically for those poor families. I have been sitting here trying to imagine how they must feel. Horrific.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        I feel the same way, I just can’t even imagine, and looking at the news, I can’t stand seeing these kids faces and the parents, it’s just beyond horrible.

      • chickadee

        I know. I can’t bear that the children were kindergarteners. Obviously it’s not okay for any child to be shot, but they were babies. I keep thinking of what my own looked like in kindergarted and then I start crying.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        I know. I’ve been crying all day. This is just awful.

    • Lawcat

      Certainly a time for discussion, just not today :( Not only about gun control, but about access to mental health treatment as well.

    • NeuroNerd

      I think, more than gun control, we need to talk about societal safety nets for the mentally ill. I am quite confident that, in the next few days, a history of disturbing behavior and mental problems regarding the shooter will come out. A common theme with these stories, besides the gun violence, is the fact that the perpetrator fell through the cracks of the very broken American mental health system.

      • memer

        Very much like Jared Loughner, the guy who shot Gabrielle Giffords. He went to high school in the school district where I used to teach, and believe me when I say that Tucson (and Arizona) has abominable mental-health services. And if you’re low-income or without health insurance, forget it.

      • chickadee

        Yes, a CT newspaper http://newtown.patch.com/articles/reports-of-shooting-at-sandy-hook-elementary-school is now reporting that Ryan Lanza is alive and it is suspected that it was his developmentally-disabled brother who might have done this.

      • alice

        i’m not very familiar with the standards of mental health care in other countries. how do they differ from ours?

        when speaking of ours: i know there are a lot of holes to fall through, but i don’t believe it’s as easy as some people think to simply “quarantine” an individual that someone else believes to be mentally unstable.

        unless you referring to mental instability in relation to gun control. in which case: HELLS BELLS YES!

        the background checks we use now for gun sales (which aren’t even used for all types of sales..wtf) barely screen for psychological factors. these backgrounds checks are primarily focused on criminal backgrounds. psychological screening i believe comes into play only if you’ve A) been institutionalized or B) had a court legally declare you as mentally unstable in some form.

        these backgrounds checks do not factor any other psych “red flags” because, well, most of the redflags are confidential.

        wouldn’t it be fantastic if a therapist/school counselor/social worker could file an official report on an individual, effectively labeling them as “unsuitable to possess firearms” ?? yes, that would be amazing. but even as i typed it out, i heard a civil rights lawsuit being written…

    • alice

      i don’t mind talking about it today, just not in the context of “IF we had stricter laws THEN…”

      what happened in CT shouldn’t be a platform for stricter gun control. these senseless tragedies don’t make a person go “you know, after seeing what happened in CT, i now realize…” yet you still have gun-control proponents trying to manipulate the conversation that way. people who believed yesterday that we don’t need stricter gun control are not going to believe anything else today.

      what happened in CT is a horrible senseless act of violence. and those will always exist.

      independent of that: yes, we still live in a country where gun culture is so engrained that any discussion of “control” is tantamount to a war on freedom. we can’t have a conversation about “is this best?” or “what is needed?” because we’re still so focused on “but it’s OUR RIGHT!!!!!!!!!” (and the paranoid slippery slope theory that if we change anything it will be the beginning of a nondemocratic state)

      Other countries laugh at us, at our ridiculous “john wayne” gun toting culture, but we still see it as a badge of honor. America, the land of the free! Look how FREE we are! I just bought this semi-automatic at Walmart and an assload of ammo over the Interwebz!

      but as much as i want to punch every cardcarrying NRA member in the face, plenty of people on the other side are just as delusional. Gun control doesn’t prevent humans performing unspeakable acts of cruelty against other humans. And if you try to use today’s tragedy as a “could’ve been preventable” talking point, then you’re just creating more unproductive noise, in my opinion.

      • Rational person

        Nice, you want to punch people in the face for belonging to an organization to preserve rights, nothing more. Maybe people with hot headed tempers and a propensity for lashing out violently to solve their problems, such as yourself, apparently, are the real problem, and not guns.

      • Once upon a time

        Is that really all you got from that?

      • alice

        :headdesk:

        i think you need a better definition of “rational” if that’s what you took from my post

    • Kassandra

      No, we don’t need to talk about gun control.

      We, as a society, need to end the stigmas associated with mental illnesses, and we need to make sure that people start to put their mental health in the same area they’d put their physical health.

      If a person wants to inflict harm on another person, or group of people, gun control is not going to stop them. It’s only going to punish the responsible owners.

    • JulesSF

      Like Maria said, “if not now, when” can we at least have a discussion? These rampages keep happening more and more frequently each year, and the gun rights advocates say “now’s not the time to discuss this, now it the time to mourn.” But then the conversation never comes up again. Are we as a society not capable of mourning and looking at our policies at the same time? I’d be okay with postponing this discussion for a more appropriate time, but that time never seems to come up. Now IS the time that we take a good, hard look at our gun laws and protect our children, friends, neighbors and loved ones.

    • Jaseman

      Now is definately time to talk about gun control. But not how you may think. Gun control does absolutely NOTHING to stop these kinds of trajedies. NJ has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and Conneticut isnt far behind. Yet these strict laws did not stop this from happening. Why? Because our current laws only work to penalize lawful citizens for the actions of those who ignore the law.

      Yes, we as gun owners are very concerned about losing our 2nd amendment rights. Why, you ask? For one, it allows us, as Americans, to defend all of the other rights afforded to us in the Constitution. It also affords us protection from our own government. Yes, a very small minority of gun owners scream revolution and wear tin foil hat, but every cause has its extremists. More important is that the best way to control a population is to disarm them. History is full of citizens who were turned to subjects by having this right taken away. And finally, our gun rights allow us, individually, to be responsible for our own protection.

      Gun control has done nothing to make our world safer. In fact, there are many examples to the contrary all around the world. It only succeeds in the government taking ‘control’ over its citizens, while giving you a false sence of security.

      So yes, let’s have an HONEST discussion about gun control, and how it has nothing to do with crime. And while we’re at it, let’s discuss the mental health issue that is really the root of these type of tragedies. Let’s stop demonizing the inanimate object, and work towards REAL solutions.

    • Jaseman

      Now is definately time to talk about gun control. But not how you may think. Gun control does absolutely NOTHING to stop these kinds of trajedies. NJ has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and Conneticut isnt far behind. Yet these strict laws did not stop this from happening. Why? Because our current laws only work to penalize lawful citizens for the actions of those who ignore the law.

      Yes, we as gun owners are very concerned about losing our 2nd amendment rights. Why, you ask? For one, it allows us, as Americans, to defend all of the other rights afforded to us in the Constitution. It also affords us protection from our own government. Yes, a very small minority of gun owners scream revolution and wear tin foil hat, but every cause has its extremists. More important is that the best way to control a population is to disarm them. History is full of citizens who were turned to subjects by having this right taken away. And finally, our gun rights allow us, individually, to be responsible for our own protection.

      Gun control has done nothing to make our world safer. In fact, there are many examples to the contrary all around the world. It only succeeds in the government taking ‘control’ over its citizens, while giving you a false sence of security.

      So yes, let’s have an HONEST discussion about gun control, and how it has nothing to do with crime. And while we’re at it, let’s discuss the mental health issue that is really the root of these type of tragedies. Let’s stop demonizing the inanimate object, and work towards REAL solutions.

      • Rita

        I call bullshit on this! I am sick to fucking death of NRA and second amendment apologists. And I own a gun. Today 20 babies died. DEAD. 5 and 6 year olds. So yeah, let’s have an honest discussion on this. Wanna protect yourself against the government? Have a grenade launcher, tank penetrating weapons, nuclear arms? I just love symbolic gestures. Let ‘s talk but first read 9 facts about guns and MASS murders in th US. By Ezra Klein @The Washington Post. And Geography of gun deaths @the atlantic.com. No, gun control is not the full answer, but it is part of the equation. From someone who is a gun owner, ex-NRA member and doesn’t even have kids. Enough already!!

      • Jaseman

        Then tell me, Rita, because I AM open to discussion, how any more gun control will help? Banning high capacity magazines? At 27 dead the shooter needed to use two handguns, and quite possible had to reload. I know let’s ban evil black assault rifles! Nope. Shooter left his in the car, so it wasn’t even used. Should we make it illegal for felons and the legally mentally I’ll to own guns? Well it is already.

        You see, no amount of ‘control’ would have prevented this tragedy. When an individual is determined to commit these horrendous acts, they WILL find a way. Adding laws that restrict the average, responsible, sane citizen only, do nothing more than make people who are afraid of guns feel warm and fuzzy inside.

        You want to get to the root of the problem, we need to learn to identify mental illness in people BEFORE they do harm to themselves and others. We need to learn to identify the differance between simply mentally ill, and a potential rampage killer. And we need to learn how to do it without making mental illness a stigma. But it’s much easier and more convenient to place control on an object.

        You can call BS on all th 2A arguments you want, but our founding fathers saw, and lived through, the problems of what happens when a government who had more power than the people whom it governed.

        Yes, America has a culture of guns. But that is not the problem. The real issue is that we have a culture of ignorance and blame.

      • alice

        actually, he murdered all the children and adults with a .223 bushmaster semiautomatic rifle. and the examiner reported that of the bodies he examined, all had multiple gunshot wounds, from 3 to 11 shots each.

        so i think it’s pretty fair to assume that high capacity magazines with assault weapons played a role in this massacre.

        not exactly the “two handguns, reloading clips” scenario you first thought.

      • Lawcat

        “You can call BS on all th 2A arguments you want, but our founding
        fathers saw, and lived through, the problems of what happens when a
        government who had more power than the people whom it governed.”

        Newsflash: The government has more power than the people whom it governs. Unless you have a stockpile of nukes somewhere.

    • Jenna

      The day will come soon. Maybe next week, maybe even tomorrow, but I agree that it’s not appropriate to turn this political before they’ve even had time to wipe up all the blood.

      The day is coming very soon. But TODAY is not it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christina.s.peters Christina Spando Peters

      Civilization is Breaking Down…with the child killings taking
      place

      We must understand that somehow it does takes a village to
      grow children.

      I am not here to judge, but to make my evaluation.

      I am a grandma, I love everyone’s children and
      grandchildren.

      The
      whole society must help in raising our children, weather it is by actually
      helping or helping mold the morality of all the children. Children require
      a lot of LOVE. Our society needs to show more love and compassion to our
      young ( and our old.)

      A society that does not care for its young and old will not
      survive. Complacency is the tool used to chip away and destroy Great Societies
      throughout history.

      Working Mom’s are not afforded to physically be there to
      raise their children during the formative years (0-5). It is not always the fault of the parents,
      as the economy is calling evermore for both parents to work, and of course the
      division of the family and having a one parent family does not afford stay at
      home Moms..

      Children learn to conduct loving interpersonal relationships
      from the very early mother/ child relationships. A lack of this causes lack of trust, and maladjusted children, in
      certain cases, I believe it is leaving our children feeling angry by not having
      the time with their Moms 2. Taking God out of schools has had a very
      negative response on our society.

      When I was a child,
      God was mentioned in the Pledge
      of Allegiance. And the schools did not seek to downplay God, even though we
      were taught to accept ALL people’s religions, and concept of God. Children were raised with some fear and
      understanding for consequences from a higher power than ourselves for negative
      behavior. Acknowledgement of a higher power did not guarantee good behavior,
      but, was a detriment to a lot of really bad behavior. The early homogenized
      version of God gave a child a basic
      understanding, which could be accepted or rejected upon maturity.

      Today, the school system does not give that picture to
      children , but, rather gives a neutral
      teaching of bad and good…for everything
      is a choice…sexual behavior, gender, even being spanked or reprimanded by your own parents, etc. can be a calling
      for the state to intercede, and take your children away, in certain instances.

      Children have emotionally immature brains that cannot
      comprehend the total outcome of certain behaviors in many instances, like
      mature adults. A lack of
      clear cut positive guidance by
      the schools leaves the child with a lack of
      security, they should be receiving from general society, and especially
      our teaching institutions. The schools
      have at least the same influence on your children as you do, for they are
      forming their experiences, sometimes more hours a day than you as parents are.

      The
      brain of the immature also cannot delineate between fact and fantasy. All
      the Movies, Television, Games that have demonic exposure , monsters,
      vampires…bloodsucking, violent killings and evil cannot be clearly
      identified by children’s brains as fantasy. They grow up seeing violence as a primary nature. Mankind seems to be moving backward and
      becoming uncivilized, especially with the media depiction of reality.

      As a society, we have moved away
      from the earlier violence necessary for existence. We are not fighting
      dinosaurs or ravaging beasts in the wild,

      Chemical
      Corporations are also bombarding us in our food and water sources, which
      has a definite reaction on the brain. Flavorings in our food’s are neuro
      toxins and change the brainwaves and thinking of those using it. There has
      been no studies on the effects of these neuro toxins on the brains of the
      young. Common sense tells us that the results may be a lot more
      detrimental to the young than the rest of the population. If the use of
      all the chemicals we use daily continues, we are heading for a complete
      breakdown in society, as we are becoming accustomed to seeing, especially
      in the young, as it is changing the brainwaves, along with poisoning our
      other organs and killing us by way
      of diseases. This current generation will not outlive its parents, as the
      media tells us continually. The chemical companies must be brought to
      responsibility for the use of these poisons in all our packaged and
      processed foods. Our government
      must take most of the responsibility, for everything from obesity to the
      violence, as they have stood by
      while all this is taking place,without banning anything which is unsafe
      for Americans to use. There must
      also be a law in place which states that any entity, persons, groups, or
      corporations that contributes to the demise of U.S citizens, knowingly, even with any negative studies
      continuing to market, without care, either to the food or water, will be
      considered committing treason and will be tried as such. I believe overall
      the collective use of all the above is being done decline the population.

      Another
      scenario is that all this violence from all of the above is to take our
      sovereignty away and our guns, so that we cannot defend our 300 million people from the corporate government
      which has taken over since World War II.

      President Eisenhower said to be wary of the growing
      Military Industrial Complex, which was on the rise in the 1950’s.

      I believe all
      the above are contributing to the violence we are seeing as norm today . We
      will see an increase in this deplorable behavior, until we as a nation becomes
      aware of these listed possibilities, and act to stop the uses of mostly the
      chemicals and violence in our medias.

      We must remember there is a growing increase of these
      situational killings, and we must study and find out why this is happening and
      eradicate that which leads these young to this end.

      In itself, guns are not the problem, but rather the
      scapegoat for the other reasons mentioned.

      In conjunction with the above mentioned, guns are a very
      dangerous combination, when people (especially our young, with immature minds )
      are being fed brain poisons and a heavy diet of violence in the media,
      with no moralities taught by the government forced educational system.

    • Sprout mom

      People who want to hurt others will find reasons to do so and be able to get the weapons they want to do so. Gun controI will be about as successful as our “war on drugs”.

      This requires a deeper look at ourselves: who we are as a people and how this person could have fallen through the cracks. Until we do that, another law on the books will be meaningless.

    • Daisy

      It’s not just the gun control laws, but the underlying gun culture. The US, at least as seen here in Canada, is a gun-toting, trigger-happy country where anybody can go pick up a gun at their local WalMart. That’s obviously an oversimplification, but the fact is that the sheer prevalence of guns in the United States, and the attitude that everybody has a right to own a lethal weapon, is unlike anything you’ll see in any other developed country. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, but [state] has some of the strictest gun laws!” but that’s compared to other US states, and quite frankly, that isn’t saying much. Compared to most other developed countries, there are no strict gun laws in the US.
      The only people I know here who have guns are hunters, and have to go through a whole lot of rigamarole of get one. Most Canadians just don’t believe there is any need for a gun for “personal protection”–if you think you do, you’re probably in a gang. In a country where everyone is running around with guns, I can see why everyone else would think they need one too. Until the whole attitude surrounding guns changes–that the vast majority of people don’t need guns, and shouldn’t have them–it’s going to be hard to change the laws, and it’s going to be hard for the laws to stop the violence.
      It’s true that guns don’t kill people, people do. But if people just plain didn’t have access to weapons of instant death, it would be a lot harder for them to kill anybody.