Wow, just wow:
In the increasingly confrontational debate over the nation’s gun laws, two female archetypes have emerged.
There’s the grieving mother whose child was killed in a shooting and whose pleas for stricter regulation seem unassailable. And there’s the flinty mother who wants maximum firepower to take matters into her own hands to protect her brood.
Yeah, so a parent whose child was actually murdered is equivalent to a crazy woman who has fantasies of fighting off a horde of home invaders.
It was precisely Nancy Lanza’s unhinged fantasies that allowed Newtown to happen. The Newtown shootings happened because a mentally ill young man had easy access to guns because his mother was a lunatic prepper. Gayle Trotter is not a legitimate counter to the parents whose children were murdered in their classroom. Gayle Trotter is Nancy Lanza. She’s not a potential victim just trying to defend herself. She’s a dangerous lunatic who thinks that the rest of us have to suffer the occasional mass murder just so she can indulge her paranoid delusions.
You’d think the “liberal Washington Post” could see the difference between the moral standing of the two “archtypes”… but alas, no.
Whenever I see the ‘there are two types of people in this country,’ frame in an op-ed I just stop reading. It’s about as hackish as it gets.
@Spaghetti Lee: It isn’t an op-ed. It is “reporting” in the politics section of the paper.
Woah. I have to admit I missed reporting on this. Does reporting exist that details Ms. Lanza’s unhinged fantasies or predilection for lunatic prepping?
When was the last time a bunch of armed gunmen burst into a woman’s house and threatened to gun down her family? I mean here in the US, not in some gangland massacre in Mexico. Does this have even the slightest relationship to reality, or are they trying to evoke some kind of 19th century memory of vulnerable white women in frontier Indian raids or something?
There are far more cases of women with severe postpartum depression shooting or drowning their own kids than random gunmen staging a home invasion.
@Corner Stone: “Nancy Lanza prepper”–Google is your friend.
@Corner Stone: I don’t know what her particular motivations were, but she was apparently an avid gun collector and tried to get her son involved in shooting as well as a way of dealing with his social awkwardness and isolation. Probably should have secured the guns better.
@Corner Stone: Yes, all the news accounts of her described her as a paranoid government-phobe. She was a gun nut.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@jonas: As the guy in the gun fetish thread that Doug put up the other day: Having a gun tends to make you fantasize about needing the gun in ways that you never would have thought of if you didn’t have one.
Damn, female archetypes sure have changed since I was a teenager.
@jonas: Ok, I see now she was seriously into the “prepper” movement. Hadn’t followed up on that reporting, either.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): It also makes you fantasize about people behaving in ways that don’t interfere with your visions of yourself as savior and protector. When Gayle Trotter tells her fantasy, the “babies” are always “screaming in the background,” never getting in the way of the ammo spraying from her high-capacity mag.
Ever since the days of Stephen Cannell & The A-Team, I’ve sort of accepted the idiocy of pop culture nonsense where heroes are bulletproof and guns just go Bang! until the wicked fall down as one of the dumb things we live with.
In the last weeks, it finally sunk in : There are people who think this is how things actually work.
Probably 27% of us.
Have any of the wingnuts chimed in on the end of the hostage stand-off in Alabama?
Have they taken umbrage at the statist fascists intruding on this poor mans right to use his guns and bunker any way he pleases?
Surely this is another case like Ruby Ridge or Waco?
@GregB: You mean the “decorated” Vietnam “Era” vet?
@dr. bloor: Yeah. This set of Google results is really very informative reporting. And quite definitive.
@jonas: Based on what please?
Gin & Tonic
How about the archetype of mothers like my wife, who has not had any friends or relatives murdered, but is horrified by the idea of someone owning or carrying firearms in or near our house, because she’s smart enough to know the statistics about who predominantly gets killed by guns.
@Gin & Tonic: Sorry, there can only be two. Like virgin/whore, you know.
@GregB: As soon as Barack Obama expresses his joy and relief that the hostage child was returned home safely to his parents, they’ll start wailing about how sad the fate of the hostage-taker was, and that he was actually a true, if somewhat misguided, patriot who was martyred for his love of liberty and the HIgh Holy Second Amendment. And that the parents of the chIld faked the whole thIng anyway, wIth Obama’s help. Take it to the bank.
You’ve been a real rock in this debate over guns, CS. It’s a testament to your superior liberalness that I find bracing and worthy of a Purple Unicorn Award. Ratfucker division.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Gin & Tonic: or the mother in Chicago who just lost the fourth of her four children to unpublicized gun violence.
Gin & Tonic
@Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, I guess there are only two kinds of people: those who divide people into two kinds of people and those who don’t.
Nancy Lanza was like any other Republican — paranoid wacko about imaginary threats while living under the same roof as a ticking time bomb. There was the open-carry soccer mom who was killed by her also gun but husband, no one could have predicted, etc. they all do it to some degree and in some context. I guarantee you there’s some out of work asshole here in my state who’s been obsessing over Benghazi and is going to be caught completely off guard when the lege stops his unemployment checks this week.
You mean all of the bad guys aren’t terrible marksmen?
Christ. Nancy Lanza was a prepper.
Maybe I’m a bad liberal. I know it’s fairly common for women who experience sexual abuse to become interested in self-defense and guns. It is hard for me to not be sympathetic with them. I know they can offer a feeling of control when that has been taken away.
Have any of the wingnuts chimed in
Give guns to kindergarteners, etc.
You probably think I’m kidding. I wish I was kidding. I wish I lived in a world where something like that could be safely assumed to be a joke. But no.
@Corner Stone: Very nice. Next thing you know, you’ll be wiping your own ass after you shit.
@Corner Stone: http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/south/12009331593026/gunman-s-aunt-speaks-out-about-the-conn-shooting/
A bunch of Minutemen broke into a house in AZ and killed a family. Of course, in this case the gun nuts were also the killers.
Prepping for a hypothetical doomsday that never came, while unwittingly sowing the seeds of doomsday for herself and 26 other people.
Not really. No one should feel bad about defending themselves, but guns are a tricky choice to make for the means of self defense. That have ways of creating tragedy from directions not anticipated. When you have a gun, whether righteously or not, you also are more likely to become a target for lethal violence, because you are choosing a lethal defense.
@General Stuck: I understand you’re a real douche with a relentless hard on for anyone who has dared disagree with you. And I’m ok with that.
But shouldn’t we adhere to a reality based environment even when it describes a situation we’d prefer to characterize differently? Ms. Lanza makes an easy buttonhole. She had guns, she made decisions we’re not sure about, her child committed an unspeakable act. Therefore she must be a nut and a wacko and lived her life according to a code that’s so far out of the mainstream we just push her into a cubby hole and move on.
Well no. She’s a human being and she made choices and some things went horribly wrong. IMO, we don’t really know exactly what, except for the horrible outcome.
But what if she just had two guns? Would that make her a gun nut? Five guns? What if she was a “prepper” because she purchased food in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club?
I’ve seen info going a lot of different directions regarding her supposed state of mind through life.
I for one do not think it’s too much to ask to get clear reporting without the slang and adjectives for sensational description.
If she had a blog or a diary or a video like that fucking nutter from TN who said he would start shooting people if laws were passed then I’d say, “Well, fuck yeah this is a real problem.”
But just because people here want to characterize someone who has made different decisions and lived a different life than they do/did, I’m not going to automatically call them guilty or insane.
I think that’s fair and I’m sorry if that offends you Blog Sherrf.
@Corner Stone: Lanza’s choices cost a lot of children their lives.
Sometimes people need to face the consequences for their actions.
Well, I read about it happening a month ago (depending what you mean by “bunch”, even a single armed man is a serious threat to a woman or a child.) I’m sure there was an incidence of home invasion in your city this week; that’s about how often it happens.
Contrary to what is often asserted, we do actually have a number of studies on how often guns are used in self-defense. If you restrict the statistical definition of “self-defense” to the least ambiguous case – a victim draws and fires a handgun while being assaulted – then, on average, it happens an estimated 60,000 times a year. That’s Hemingway, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) 87 (1997): 1430. There’s no study that estimates it less than 45,000 annual incidents. That’s compared to the roughly 12,000 times a firearm was used in a homicide.
Home invasion is fairly rare, and in the US, it’s fairly rare to have people invade your home while you’re here. In countries like the UK or Australia it’s a lot more likely – four times as many home invasions occur while the home is occupied, according to comparisons of BJS and Office of National Statistics (UK) data.
I know everybody waves around that study that a firearm in your home is more likely to be used to harm you than to defend you (according to an incredibly narrow statistical definition of “defend”, which doesn’t include any instance where the gun was used to defend one resident of the home from another, for instance) but it’s hardly the last word on the subject. According to some more generous estimates defensive handgun use by private citizens happens more than a million times a year.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Joel: I gather Nancy Lanza and her younger son were estranged from her ex-husband and an older son. If he knew his mentally disturbed son was living in a house full of guns and an eccentric mother, I think deserves his share of the blame.
LOL, no offense taken, and that could be your longest comment on this blog. The rest of us aren’t the ones hammering others for four plus years now on degrees of purity to true liberalism and the stuff of real democrat. That would be you. T’was a love tap to your glass jaw/
@ChrisNYC: Wow, that’s definitive. So is Marsha Lanza Nancy’s sister or her former sister-in-law? The quotes describe her as both unless they are two people with the same name.
And that’s some weak sauce my man.
@dr. bloor: I don’t even know what this means. But I’m sure that somehow that makes me ignorant. Or something something mumble.
@Joel: Read that article again please.
@Gin & Tonic: There are 10 kinds of people: Those who can count in binary and those who cannot.
Yippee, Chet’s here.
from the internet, the flash – apparently official – irony died at 9:01 p.m. Central standard time, 10:01 p.m. Eastern standard time, some 12 minutes ago.
@General Stuck: There’s nothing about gun ownership that is antithetical to liberalism. I’m not sure how it could be construed in any way?
@chopper: I enjoy different opinions and takes on items. I think you have me confused with someone else.
And if you fucking disagree with that I’ll follow you from thread to thread to make sure you fucking regret it!
Show us the links, please.
@Corner Stone: I take no responsibility for TPM’s atrociously common typos. I saw the lady interviewed on tv in the days after. She was the aunt of the shooter and talked about how she and his mother would discuss prepping. Sorry that doesn’t live up to your high standards. Which apparently include “whatever floats yer boat” for the lady who had an arsenal, a really screwed up kid with access to it and took him to the shooting range for kicks. Freedom!
IMHO Nancy Lanza comes across as one of those mothers who thought medications were all bad and that her son was absolutely positively not going to be medicated. From what I can see he did need to be medicated. He probably needed to be on an anti-depressant, maybe an anti-psychotic – some psych med. My guess is she pulled him out of school when the school told her he needed meds/counseling/psychiatric care and she was in denial and/or one of those anti-vaxxer types.I admit I am saying all this without any proof, she just comes across like that kind of person from what I read about her. She didn’t want her brilliant computer nerd son to be contaminated by those chemicals.
Reportedly she had 5 guns.
@Omnes Omnibus: Evidently he doesn’t feel as though he’s convinced all of us that he’s full of shit, and wants to take care of unfinished business. Either that, or he’s a little low on cash and the NRA is paying him by the post.
No there isn’t, I agree. But I’m not the one nonstop regurgitating left wing dogma for years now on this blog, in efforts to cast dispersions on others for positions that are also not anti liberal. Again, that would be you.
And what does it matter whether there is some official determination Ms Lanza was a so called ”prepper’. She did prepper things and left her guns open to her disturbed son who murdered a bunch of 6 year olds. Just seems like an odd choice of pedantry for a real true liberal like yourself.
@catclub: I was hoping someone would mention that one!
So, three more guns than she had hands to hold them.
Can we stop framing the msm as ‘librul’ thereby following the rw stereotyping and call them out what they really are ? Incompetent shills for the rw idiocy.
Don’t know about the meds thing, but she was actually in the process of having Adam committed to a mental health facility. That may well have been the motive here.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Chet: Here’s a link. Could you please point out the parts of this paper on OVERESTIMATING THE EFFECTS OF GUN USE where the values you cite are located?
@amk: It is being done ironically.
@General Stuck: The difference is that I happen to enjoy reality, and reality based determinations. I don’t repeat dogma of any variety and it’s pretty ridiculous for anyone to try and accuse me of that.
What makes her a prepper? What are prepper things? What, inherently, is wrong with prepping?
The only thing I’ll agree with you on here is that she, and any other gun owner, must secure access.
And I think you meant “aspersions” but the little things are such a part of your charm.
Shorter Washington Pest:
Both sides do it, both are equivalent, rinse and repeat.
@Corner Stone: Since when is 5 guns not an arsenal? What is it? A flock? A school?
@Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, I know and I think it’s time we retired irony. It only perpetuates the librul media myth giving them a complete free pass on their accountability
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@ChrisNYC: It would obviously be a murder, except that’s for ravens. I’m assuming it’s a wedding, especially if one of them is a shotgun.
@Cacti: What if I told you our president owned 3 firearms?
Ha! You ARE reality corner stone. Should have been dispersed the aspersions. I’m so glad you voted for
RomneyObama last election. CS of the left.
igottachangemynym (formerly DE)
It’s teh internets, fellow human, you get to do that here!
@ChrisNYC: Where’s the cutoff? One? Two?
@ChrisNYC: If you think of guns as tools, five is not necessarily an arsenal. If it’s handguns and assault weapons, maybe; otoh, if one hunts and/or target shoots, different guns are better suited for different types of tasks and five might be a reasonable array of tools.
This is the best summary of the whole issue I’ve ever seen.
Not just her, but LaPierre too, and all who share their views— and their arsenal.
Thank you for this.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Sure. That’s the matter just under Table 2B: “True total Defensive Gun Use: .076 million (or 76,000)”. Hemingway concludes that the estimates in Kleck and Gertz are too high by a factor of as high as 33; but Hemingway’s own estimates of the “true” incidence of defensive gun use are still in the 50-80 thousand times per year range.
Even the least generous estimates of defensive gun use place it at almost four times the rate of firearms homicides. You’re free to ignore the evidence, but please stop claiming it hasn’t been provided.
@Corner Stone: Listen, you challenged arsenal. I maintain it’s the right word.
Thanks for the link.
Also, too, I vote for a murder of guns, even tho the ravens have already taken it.
@Corner Stone: The cutoff is FUCKING ZERO for parents of criminally violent insane kids who can gaIn access to theIr parents’ guns by kIllIng them and pryIng theIr guns out of theIr cold, dead hands. But we can’t enforce that cutoff or even know when that sItuatIon’s comIng, so the right thing to do is to make these 30-whatever-shot-at-a-time firearms off limits to everyone not in the armed forces.
@Omnes Omnibus: Sorry I don’t buy it. An arsenal is a collection of guns. 5 is a lot of guns. For one person and her deeply disturbed son, 5 guns is a lot lot of guns. I’ll stick with arsenal. I think it bothers people because of the connotation but that connotation is important, it has that connotation because they are deadly weapons. We are allowed to recognize that.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): A wedding! Very good.
@ChrisNYC: Of course I challenged it. What are you, fucking stupid? Is 3 guns an arsenal? Is 2 rifles, 2 shotguns and a handgun an arsenal?
Is 10 .22 bolt action rifles an arsenal?
You used it and maintain it as valid. Please tell us, what is an arsenal. Is it one firearm? One .50 rifle? A 30-06, a .22 and a 20ga? What is it?
@Corner Stone: What’s the cutoff for kids killed? One, two? What’s the cutoff for classrooms blown away? One, two?
@ChrisNYC: So would you describe my Iver-Johnson single barrel 20 gauge shotgun, Lefever side-by-side double barrel 12 gauge shotgun, and Model 1898 Mauser bolt action rifle as an arsenal?
@Ash Can: Thank you. This is exactly what I meant.
I appreciate your help in this matter.
@Corner Stone: As always a model of good reasoning. I explained above. A collection of guns is an arsenal. That’s what the word means — a collection of weapons. Sorry the word arsenal makes you so uneasy. Maybe the NRA can change the dictionary next session.
“Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.” – Sigmund Freud
I have no idea if Nancy Lanza was “prepper” or not. Having just chased down a bunch of links it all seems to come down to a single quote attributed to her ex-sister-in-law. It may be that she was a “prepper” or it may be one of those internet zombie things, hard to say. If there’s a more fleshed-out case for her prepperism maybe somebody could link it.
Are there civilians who own AR-15s who aren’t paranoid fantasists?
@Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, I would have no problem doing that. What do you object to about that? What is the problem with the word? It’s like your calling guns “tools” above. Well, at a sort of pointless level of generalization, sure a gun is a tool. But the word weapon is much better because it’s more precise and really, in its fundamental nature, a gun is a weapon. That’s why people want them — for their weaponness. Why is there this need to jump to the euphemistic?
@shortstop: Probably not. Also, most non-civilians who own them probably are a little off as well. The military issues assault weapons to those who need them, so they don’t need to own them.
@ChrisNYC: I guess the reason I use the term tools as opposed to weapons is because I view weapons as something intended to be used against people. My shotguns are designed for hunting. The rifle was originally a German army weapon, but the stock was cut down to lighten it and re-purpose it as a hunting gun. As a result, I would view the use of any of these guns as a “weapon” as a misuse of it.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): That article he refers to is from 16 years ago. Clinton was just starting his second term. A lot of people now reading this blog were too young to drive. And that’s the most recent he could come up with, out of all those studies he assures us exist?
double post, so i deleted it. FYWP.
@johnny aquitard: It was a good point.
@Omnes Omnibus: But it’s for hunting — it is a weapon. Bow and arrow. The thing with the rock in the rubberband. These things are weapons. We have a separate word because they are for a different purpose — to inflict damage. Because guns, particularly, are special, there is a whole separate vocab. And, I might add, a separate amendment — it’s a right to bear ARMS. The push to exercise the special right but to simultaneously say, “Oh it’s no different than a spoon, really. Or a paintbrush” is maddening to me.
The gun laws being proposed wouldn’t have limited the options of the victims in any of the scenarios she cited, and might have prevented some of them from even happening. I’ll take that as an implied endorsement for Obama’s proposals.
@Omnes Omnibus: Hilarious. Remarkably, turkeys, etc. wiggle around less and are ready to become human food after these “tools” are applied to them.
Guns are weapons. They’re made differently for different purposes, but they’re all weapons.
Before the thread goes even more arsenal, I wanted to make sure y’all had seen Lawrence O’Donnell’s epic smack down of Gayle Trotter last week, the same day she testified at the Senate committee hearing.
Worth watching. Delicious.
@shortstop: I had several other examples of “tool”-targeted animals besides turkeys, but accidentally zapped them: why no edit function half the time these days?
@ChrisNYC: @shortstop: You are right.
I do see a difference between the designed solely for people killing and the not expressly designed for, but easily capable of, people people killing. Owning a several of one type does trip my look out sensors, but owning several of the other does not necessarily do so. YMMV.
@Suzanne: We do? Do tell.
pseudonymous in nc
Flinty mother™ is a trademark of Koch Industries, solely manufactured for political purposes.
The puke funnel in full effect.
And how would any of the proposed legislations change that? Any private citizen looking for home defense should be able to pass the background check, would be able to buy any number of rifles, shotguns, and handguns and any amount of ammunition needed to protect your home from a reasonable number of defenders, and should be able to properly secure their weapons.
But even so, nobody has made the case that more guns is a net benefit over fewer guns. For every armed homeowner protecting their home, there’s usually an armed invader. That’s a scenario that was created (and potentially prevented) by more guns, but unless every homeowner is not only armed, but can successfully defend themselves against those invaders now armed by more guns, the armed invaders are going to come out ahead in this formula. And that doesn’t count the household murder/suicides, the suicides, the accidental shootings, and so on.
@SiubhanDuinne: I’m not a huge fan of LO’s, but happened to catch that in passing last week and was really amused. I assume the reaction on the right was that he was bullying the badass, straight-shooting little lady, or something equally contradictory.
I’ve seen an amazing amount of winger perversion of the concept of women’s best interests over the past year, but this woman takes cynicism to a new level. When she’s not telling us we need assault rifles to protect our babies from bands of home invaders, she’s been arguing against the reauthorization of VAWA on the grounds that men might be falsely accused of domestic abuse.
The prophet Nostradumbass
So, what, is “prepper” the new term for “survivalist”?
Does anyone think it strange that the NRA wants a list of crazy people documented but not a list of gun owners?
Could it be because of the heavy overlap between the two groups?
@Chet: You fucking tool. Only a dumbass would take something that eviscerates skanky methodology in a study as support for the same study’s conclusions.
.The article both blows the shit out of the practice of using surveys to estimate gun defense numbers, as well as the surveys themselves.
All you’ve managed to ‘prove’ — and what the author was demonstrating — is not only are those numbers biased, but they are inaccurate. IOW, the exact value of the numbers in the table you cite is that they are shown to be worthless.
@Grincheuse: IIRC, all three were found guilty of the charges.
Those comparisons are shit, because crime is recorded and reported very differently in different countries.
If you’re going to validly compare crime across countries, surveys such as the UN survey of crime trends are a far better comparison.
It doesn’t include home invasion as a crime. England and Wales have over twice the rate of assault as the US, and about one and a half times the rate of burglary. Links are included in this report here.
But there are two problems with this comparison, and Chet’s arguments here.
(a) he’s cherrypicking, by comparing the US with England. Most of Europe has far stricter gun laws than the US, so are equally valid for the purpose of this comparison. If we compared the average rates for countries with high gun control versus low gun control, the rates of assault, rape, etc. are going to come out quite similar.
(b) For the biggest crime of all, homicide, everywhere in Europe bar Estonia is lower than the US, most of them several times lower.
In summary, if you compared other developed nations to the US system in the most favourable way, you’d say US has about half the assaults and robberies and one third of the rapes – but twice the homicides. That’s cherry-picking outrageously in favour of the US, and I’d still take the other systems over the US. If you average out across developed nations, you’d be looking at relatively similar levels of crime except homicides, which would again be far, far greater in the US. A nation with gun control is safer than one without. The international comparisons are extremely clear on that.
Thank you for this.
We’re a nation of Freedom- and Fantasy-loving peoples–evidently Amendment the Second is all we have preserving both.
Spouse’s winger friend posted Real True Facts on her FB page today about the many ways Americans die. And gosh, don’t you know that “firearm murders” were way down on the list? I asked le spouse what about all the rest of the firearm deaths, the ones that are not murders that had been carefully scrubbed from the datum presented?
She’s conjuring a way to pose the question.
Where? Link please. I want to see where 4, 5, or 6 violent men busted down the door and terrorized a mother and her children.
For those of us in the reality based community, “bunch” does not mean “one”.
.Uh, no as a matter of fact 4 or 5 armed thugs did not break into a home in my city and threaten some poor woman and her kids.
Where the hell do you live? Mexico? Or just inside your own paranoid fantasies?
Someone pointed out the other day that one of the reasons other countries have higher assault rates is that people (usually young men) get into the same kinds of stupid fights all over the world, but in the US those stupid fights are more likely to be lethal for one or more parties because of guns.
@slightly_peeved: I know it’s shit, of course. The UK Home Office doesn’t maintain a separate category for home invasions…
Or, to put it another way, it seems very strange to brag about the “low” assault rate in the US without realizing that all of those gun homicides are assaults. A homicide is an assault that ends in death.
You know, I totally agree that Nancy Lanza probably should’ve kept her guns somewhere other than in the home where her “severely withdrawn” said-to-be-on-the-ASD-spectrum son could access them. But I’ve said this before: The only source for the ‘Lanza was a prepper’ theory, in all those many links, seems to be her ex-sister-in-law!
My very own youngest brother, dearly as I love him, still believes — after almost 20 years of corrections — that I took my husband’s last name when we got married. And if I were somehow to become media-worthy, Baby Brother would insist, in all sincerity, that I was a good Catholic girl (even though I left the Church more than forty years ago, and wasn’t a believer even while attending parochial school).
Lanza obviously made some really bad, tragic, horrible decisions, and 26 other people suffered as a result. But just because she had guns in her house and a severely disturbed son doesn’t mean she was a “prepper” or a Scientologist, or a firebagger, or any other doubleplus ungood category of reviled subhuman behavior. Leave the making-up-horror-stories silliness for Faux News and its
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Yup. Just like ‘tactical’ is the new word for ‘combat’.
See, if the gun nits buy combat rifles with combat sights loaded with combat ammunition, and they also wear combat vests and combat jackets and combat bags, and go to shooting ranges where they simulate combat conditions, it starts to look an awful lot like they might be fantiasist Walter Mitty types who like to play ‘Army’.
So instead they buy their tactical rifles with tactical sights loaded with tactical ammunition, and they wear their tactical vests and tactical jackets and carry their tactical bags, and go to shooting ranges where they simulate tactical conditions, and they instead tell themselves they are such serious badass motherfuckers.
@Anne Laurie: No, 26 other people didn’t “suffer” as a result. Twenty-six people died as a result, and many, many more suffered as a result, often more than the ones who died. Don’t minimize the results.
And yes, the late Nancy Lanza was VERY much at fault. She more than anyone else knew how fucked up her son was, yet she ignored it. Was she technically a “prepper”? Who cares? She was obviously worse. She couldn’t protect the rest of the world from her son or, ultimately, from herself.
What a jerk the WaPo writer is. I’m so sick of the ultra-savvy cynics in that job.
There’s this nasy implication that the grieving parents are JUST LIKE the weapons salespeople who appear in front of these panels and you know what?
They’re not the same.
The parents at Newtown didn’t VOLUNTEER for this. They were minding their own business until Lanza’s GUN somehow magically and inexiplicably was found discarded next to their dead 6 year old. It’s a dusgusting smear to compare them to paid lobbyists.
NOT volunteers. UNWILLING actors hijacked into this paranoid fantasy.
They dropped their kids at school and entered “gun culture”. That’s not tge same as adopting it willingly.
And, why don’t we know more about the weapons cache and the gun owner(s)?
I was told gun nuts wanted to get to the bittom of this mental illness- mass murder thing.
How are we supposed to do that if the shooter executes all the witnesses and destroys his computer record?
We can’t “blame” guns and we can’t gather facts on the people either? I guess tgat woukd be in bad taste and disrespectful to the gun lobby.
A visualization of one what was lost to gun violence in the U.S. in 2010. Let it run and play with it a bit at the end. Click in individual lines.
But Chet will no doubt find it all trivial in light of his single hypothetical situation and well worth it.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
Prepping is big business just like selling weapons is big business. I was a clerk at a health food store outside Atlanta 20 years ago. Bad location for selling health food. These were supermarket shoppers.
Recognizing this, the owners of the store diversified. They went heavy into crackpot cancer cures and survivalist gear. Targeting two sets of people who were terrified. Selling fear. Freeze dried food, water purification, special “survivalist” seeds which were just ordinary garden seeds packaged in foil, tracts on the end of the world and how to make fuel out of potatoes or whatever. You wouldn’t believe the mark-up. Prepping is profitable.
Probably too late to mention this now, but I thought you would know that – that part of the comment would have probably been addressed better at Chet. Sorry :)
I have to agree with Cornerstone and Anne Laurie. There’s a lesson when you look over the results from googling “Nancy Lanza Prepper,” and that’s “consider the source.”
I’d hate to hear what my inlaws would say about me, and I’m well aware of what I’ve thought/said about many of them on occasion! Makes you wonder what other news items we all believe to be true when it’s all just everyone re-quoting the same single, questionable source in one big circle.
We really don’t know what went on in that house — unless you’ve had a kid or other family member with mental health issues, you have no idea how hard it is to identify, find, or get the help you need. Then you also have to get the person with mental health issues’ buy-in and cooperation, which is notoriously hard to do.
People can feel a lot of shame about not having a typical kid/family member and so they don’t share the details of their life with others. Or they do share the details and other people say really unhelpful things. Either way, that makes them loathe to talk about what’s going on. Was Nancy Lanza in denial or putting on a good face for everyone else? Or a little of both? Who can know?
The world is full of people who have mentally ill relatives and are at a complete loss about what to do. And in the vast majority of the time, the person with the mental health issues is much, much, much more likely to be a victim of a crime than to commit one.
This story was everywhere and then it was nowhere, which means there wasn’t much follow-up to confirm or deny the intial speculations. The only fair things to say about Nancy and Adam is that we really don’t know.
In the end, Nancy Lanza was as much a victim as those school children. Sorry, but nobody deserves to die just because they had a difficult kid they didn’t know what to do with.
@jonas: Well I have to say about 2 weeks ago a family friend had a man and his girlfriend break into her home and shoot at her in the middle of the night. she played dead and the 2 drug addicts seemed to have thought she was. she is elderly with health problems nearly crippled something to do with a hip replacement and there is no chance having a gun would have made her safer but home invasions do happen. this was a “nice” neighborhood 1 acre lots probably most homes in $400k range…I don’t think most of these make the news. It’s not exactly common either and I don’t know what kind of policy you could make that would have prevented this.
It basically happened because she was elderly and clearly easily overcome. the guy had done some handyman work for her and knew she lived alone, had some cash on hand etc.
I have also encountered a grieving college student whose parents had recently been murdered in a home invasion. that was about 10 years ago. I don’t think it’s a statistically large enough group to drive policy but they do exist.
Harder doors, alarms, lights outside, tough locks, awareness, don’t keep cash in house are better than guns. Also I think dogs are considered a more effective deterant. My gun nut relative considers his guns to be bait for robbery, therefore he never brags about his collection, keeps them in safes, and tells his family not to talk. They are like valuable antiques to burglars. If we go to regulations about requiring insurance like I’ve heard of, we are also going to have to have privacy laws on the insurance companies keeping the info private to prevent burglers from getting the lists and using it to target the owners.
I don’t think anyone is dinging Nancy Lanza for having to take care of a troubled child with a behavior disorder. Lots of folks have that burden, and deserve our sympathy and support. But very few of them keep an arsenal of loaded guns laying around for that troubled son to act out in such a tragic way. Lanza was negligent for that reason, not whether she was a prepper or not. She taught her troubled son how to use those weapons, for whatever reason, and had them available to use as he did. When she her self was trying to have the boy committed. That may not be legally accessory before the fact, but it is damn close to it, if not depraved indifference. And no one has suggested, as you imply, that she deserved to die for her errors in judgment. Which is an amazing statement for you to make on this thread. Her negligence cost 26 young lives and her own, that should not be shrouded in liberal sense of empathy. It needs to be highlighted, because no doubt there are other gun lovers out there with similar circumstances.
I don’t really buy this. I’m perfectly willing to debate what kind of duty a gun owner assumes when they buy the gun, or what the extent of their responsibility towards others is, but I won’t say they have NO duty.
I think they themselves recognize that there is SOME duty. That’s why they make a distinction between “responsible gun owners” and “irresponsible gun owners”. What is that distinction? They can’t use “responsible” as a shield and then run away from it when it’s inconvenient.
Lanza can do anything she wants in her own home. What she can’t do is “defend” her family and put 26 other families at risk without some analysis of what that risk is and who should bear it. People who had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions she made and no control over her weapons are bearing the entire burden that SHE took on. That’s just unfair. We’ve shifted the burden from gun owners to everyone else.
If I buy a nail gun and an AR15, are my duties to others the same re: those two “tools” as far as the safety of others?
Or does the AR15 carry a higher burden? If the weapons stayed in the home, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But they don’t. They grow legs and end up in elementary schools. That has to be reckoned with. Not for gun owners. They presumably considered the risk within their own homes when they bought the gun. But for others.
Sorry, but this is bullshit. It’s not even close.
@Kay: The standard for the AR-15 should be higher. Just like the standard should be higher for the nail gun than for a socket wrench. Even if one views guns as tools, failing to recognize that they are dangerous and easily lethal is simply stupid.
@jonas: I believe it was a SWAT team on a drug bust with the wrong address.
Has anyone pointed out to Trotter that the grieving mother is real and the flinty mother is her fantasy?
That happens all the time. Often being armed is quite helpful to the victims, too. Just google “woman drives off home invader” and click on news. Dozens of articles from all over from the past month or so.
While it is fantastic to think that someone with a pistol is going to ward of a suicidal and heavily armed attacker (hell, whole platoons of the US army have difficulty accomplishing this)I find it surprising that people don’t believe that you can scare/fight off non-suicidal attackers. It happens so regularly I’m stunned people aren’t aware.
@Kay: Agree 100% about the burden being shifted unfairly to the rest of us. It’s ridiculous for the gun advocates to act as if non-gun owners don’t have a stake in this.
On the question of Ms. Lanza’s culpability, unless it turns out that her son cut through a gun safe and a separate ammo safe with a welding torch to gain access to the weapons, hell yeah she bears some responsibility. Even if he did, she had no business maintaining an arsenal in the presence of an unbalanced person at all.
And while I recognize the stigma attached to mental illness — not to mention the power of denial to which practically all parents are subject — it’s not as if she was without resources to address the problem.
Still, the language in the original post skeeves me out a bit: “lunatic prepper” for the mother and “mentally ill young man” for the son. It seems to remove agency from the son and assign it all to the mother, which is just another species of dumb female archetype.
I thought those three wheeled vehicles that people buy were dangerous for little kids. But they’re legal and someone who owns one can certainly put their OWN little kid on one on their property and add the risk of head injury, roll-overs, whatever within their family. What they can’t do is allow access to their kid so the child drives it around a playground, because then they’ve added a risk to MY kid, and I don’t have any control over that, other than to deny my kid use of the playground. Is that fair? Who is responsible for this risk? Who took it on when they purchased it? The person who buys it or everyone else?
I just object to treating what are decisions about acceptable risk as natural disasters. I’ll give the lobbyist who testified that she needs a high-powered weapon to protect her family the benefit of the doubt. I’ll assume she’s educated herself on the risk-benefit to her own family. But what if her gun walks? Is her decision still purely personal, or are other people now IN THIS whether they like it or not?
I guess what I was trying to say is, there’s an awful lot we don’t know about this story, starting with whether or not she was indeed a prepper, or just really disliked by her sister-in-law. Others on this thread have assumed Mrs. Lanza purposely kept her kid from taking needed medications or that she was a “paranoid wacko Republican.” How anybody knows these things, I can’t begin to guess.
Wouldn’t it be tidy if she was paranoid? Then we could be sure that this was a special case. But as far as I can tell, not being a part at all of the gun culture, a fair amount of otherwise typical families have five or so guns about. I haven’t seen anything about whether Mrs. Lanza’s guns were locked up or not, though Adam was probably smart enough to get at them even if they were “secured.”
It would also be tidy if we could be sure that Mrs. Lanza could have and should what her son was capable of but most people with mental illness don’t commit crimes, they have crimes committed against them. My impression is that Adam was very withdrawn and passive. Most pointedly, Nancy herself obviously guessed wrong about how safe she was in a house with five guns, let alone a house with five guns and Adam.
You can assume the worse about the Lanzas or you can do as I do and just say all of us in our armchairs don’t know anything. For all I know, there’s a family around the block from me with five guns about, and those guns are going to be used horribly a week from now. This isn’t about the Lanzas, whatever the unknown specifics are, this is about our incredibly sick and disfunctional culture around guns.
And also, why doesn’t anybody ever dump on the dad?
I think she could have addressed it and failed. People fail all the time in dealing with mental illness, even if they try really really hard. From what I’ve read it’s not true that there are these clear warning signs. Psychologists say they’re not better than parents at predicting a violent break.
The reason I focus on the weapon as far as prevention is exactly that: she could have done a good job with addressing the mental illness, and he could break in spite of that. We’re never going to be able completely control other people. The element we CAN absolutely control is the weapon, because it’s just an object.
The word arsenal can apply to any collection of firearms, no matter what type or even if they are inoperable.
@Spaghetti Lee: This is why I’d actually like to see some liberals stop with the “Don’t be so paranoid – no one wants to take away the guns you already have” line to assuage the nutter fears. First of all, they don’t believe it, anyway. But more importantly, if we have to live in a world where it’s apparently not laughable to assert that the answer is to have teachers packing heat in every classroom and secret marshals sitting in our church pews, why can’t someone assert that maybe the better answer is to go collect all the guns and melt them down? We know that sort of action would never be legislated or enforced, but start moving that Overton window back to the middle, you know? I’d love to have the end result be “Fine, we won’t kick down your door and take your rifle, but you need to register it nationally, provide proof of completion of a sanctioned safety course, buy a safe and annually deliver proof of liability insurance on your firearms.” If there’s no credible threat of trying to reach further, you’ll never get to a reasonable middle ground unless you spend 20 years changing perceptions by having the NRA helpfully wave its rump in the air all the time, eventually turning enough people off to starve it of political air.
Kay, of course I am against what we allow with guns, of course I think there should be many more controls, of course I think there are a lot of irresponsible people out there, up to and including the jerk who was tailgating me the other day in the rain. I never go near guns and would be seriously creeped out if I found out anyone I knew had ’em about.
But I’m bothered by everyone jumping on Nancy Lanza. As far as I can tell, she didn’t do anything illegal, or that different from most gun owners. It’s this insistance that she should have known something about her son that she clearly couldn’t have known — does anybody think she wanted to be murdered?
I agree. I would be fine with any risk-benefit analysis offered if I could get an admission from gun enthusiasts that THAT is what we’re doing here. We’re measuring the risk they undertook willingly within their own family and asking how much of that risk they’re passing to others. It starts at 1% and goes to 100%, but I insist it be something.
It’s not a screwdriver. It’s lethal. Surely the owner assumes some responsibility in securing it. Is it impossible to secure? Okay. I’ll accept that if that’s the argument, but that doesn’t absolve the owner of responsibility. In fact, it goes the other way. If guns are impossible to secure and control within a gun owner’s home than we’re talking about more risk to others. I was only going with the “responsible gun owner” idea because gun owners insist there’s a crucial difference that has to do with control.
Kay, reading over the comments you posted while I was writing mine (and also doing little things around the house), we aren’t that far apart. Most likely nobody could have known what Adam Lanza was capable of and there are way too many #$%$%^^& guns around us.
Maybe this is going to be like drunk driving. In the last few decades there’s been growing pressure against it and some people who would have driven a little drunk before, don’t anymore. Basically responsible people can probably be hectored into being more careful about gun ownership, maybe even into giving it up. But we still have stinking drunks on the road.
I’m not jumping on her. I’m not in the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” camp. People are complicated. Guns are not. That’s why I want to regulate the weapons. It’s a hell of a lot easier than regulating everything and everyone else AROUND the weapon. That’s what seems so nuts to me. Why are we regulating schools around guns? Jesus Christ. That’s insane. Regulate the guns.
I’d be more than happy to leave her family out of it, in fact, I prefer a “weapons-based” approach. The gun people won’t let me! They insist I make these judgments regarding intent and degree of culpability and “responsible” verus “irresponsible” because they don’t want to reach the weapon.
@Kay: This is, I think, the critical rhetorical step that needs to occur to really change perceptions and our gun-worshipping culture, and we’re not even close to taking it. Forget whether or not Nancy Lanza was to some degree motivated in her actions by fear of the end times or big government or whatever. The end result is that she didn’t think she was being irresponsible, probably in large part because she never thought of the potential externalities of her actions, and yet those externalities occurred, anyway.
And this is the way with the entire gun culture. As you noted, firearms have a funny way of “walking” out of good homes and onto the streets, where they find their way into the hands of meth addicts and mentally disturbed people. No one, when purchasing a firearm, thinks about their role in that happening, because that’s not their purpose. Similarly, no one thinks that gun they keep under the bed to fend off intruders will be found by their 8-year-old to tragic effect. And yet, it happens. No one thinks about the fact that their purchase of a shotgun or handgun or ammo, or membership at a rifle range where you shoot human-shaped targets, supports businesses that have no compunction about manufacturing or stocking for sale the sorts of human lawn mowing machines we keep seeing in these mass shootings, or contributes to our culture. And yet, they are a part of that ecosystem when they enter the world of firearm ownership, or buy ammunition. LaPierre and friends keep pointing to all the criminals out there with guns, obtained and kept illegally. Well, why and how is it that those bad guys can get their hands on such things? Certainly not because of the collective actions of non-owners.
We need to tell people that if they want to be a part of that system, then they’re responsible for the consequences, either individually or collectively, when it inevitably affects the rest of the population who’s chosen not to be a part of it. Owning a rifle shouldn’t be the same as owing a lamp, and pretending that it’s not a tool designed primarily for killing living things. Whether that means proposing strict liability standards (ie, someone stole your gun? Tough shit, you’re still on the hook for compensatory damages. Which would naturally lead to a safer environment run by insurers and the providers of high security storage facilities) or something else, we need to re-set the tables so that there’s a recognition of the rights of innocents not to be randomly killed at the movie theater, and that right should be protected as well as we can, even if it means that the rights of someone else to collect Russian sniper rifles from the Afghan War is impeded.
As an aside, I think the corollary to this is that people need to start tilting that scale of rights, too, by mocking and belittling the person who thinks collecting Russian sniper rifles from the Afghan War is so fucking awesome. It’s a hobby, just as idiotic and stupid to me as my hobbies might seem to another. Except that my hobbies don’t generally make me look like I’m desperately trying to compensate for something.
@Ohio Mom: she did not deserve to die, but if she didn’t hoard those guns, what’s to say that she would have? And her decision to hoard said guns enabled the murder of those 26 children. If she had not died, wouldn’t that be negligent homicide?
@Ohio Mom: @Ohio Mom:
I agree with you on “soft” public health efforts, but make no mistake. Drunk driving went down when they started mandatory three day jail stays. They regulated, and they regulated harshly. They didn’t ask people nicely, or beg the “spirits” industry or auto industry for permission.
At the very least, if gun owners are going to tell me they treat this tool with special respect, that they are “responsible” they can’t ALSO tell me it’s a tool like any other, because then I start to doubt whether they treat weapon like a weapon.
They can’t argue that it’s lethal and therefore they show a heightened awareness of that lethality WHILE telling me it’s a screwdriver. If you really think it’s a screwdriver you probably shouldn’t have it :)
I have another one! A couple of years ago we had the “hot car cases”. That’s the tragic situation where a distracted parent leaves an infant or young child in a car babyseat and the child dies of heat prostration. Typically, the parent zones out on the way to work, the child is asleep, and the parent believes they have taken this child to daycare. The parents are beyond distraught when the child is discovered. One parent wrestled with the responding police, trying to get the officer’s gun so he could kill himself. That’s how culpable that parent felt.
County prosecutors took two approaches. One group didn’t charge. Clearly, these were accidents. No charges, tragic accident, parent has been punished enough.
Some prosecutors, however, DID charge. One of the prosecutors said that he was a father of five and this would not happen to him, ever. This “accident” was not an “accident” to him, but negligence.
And these were their own kids! This accident affected ONLY their own children. Yet, they were charged. It’s difficult to assign culpability and levels of responsibility and duty but we do it all the time! We just don’t do it with guns. Why is that?
By the way, could gun owners please stop fucking pretending that driving your ass to Walmart and buying a gun and ammo along with the frozen pizzas and bags of Doritos is some brave, rebellious, difficult, studied, heroic act?
You bought a fucking consumer good.
Your actual act of acquiring the firearm was no more complex than that done by anyone who buys a gallon of milk or a DVD or a chocolate cake.
So many of these fucking loudmouth gun owners blathering in various public fora yammer as if their having acquired a firearm was some sort of solemn act.
You fucking bought an item. You went to a store, used your cash or check or credit card, and you bought something.
That’s it. You’e a “gun owner” because you bought something.
It’s not an achievement. It’s not the result of any more sacrifice than the same amount of money would have required for any purpose.
You bought something.
@ChrisNYC: @Denali: If the number of ravens is below five, I believe the proper term is “manslaughter.”
@Joel: You think she was “hoarding” guns, I think having guns in the house (or anywhere else) is abhorrent, but from all the threads on guns I’ve read since Newtown, it seems that five isn’t so unusual a number for a gun owner to own.
In the aftermath of Newton we learned that one of my husband’s co-workers has about that many. He appears to have a sentimental story behind each one: this is the one I got for my birthday when I was whatever years old, this one I inherited from my grandfather… I could have lived very happily without ever hearing that story and I’m glad we don’t live near that family or see them socially. As long as he doesn’t bring any of them into work!
I think MCA1 is right on the money about changing the culture; until we can make that happen, having five guns is going to seem as normal to gun people as having five magazine subscriptions going at the same time seems to me.
There’s a chicken-and-egg question here, and that is, what can be changed first, and make the other happen? Will we be able to make being part of the gun culture socially unacceptable, and that will lead to the laws becoming more strict, or is it possible to get the laws made more stringent and then attitudes will follow?
I have to say, I think the culture will probably have to change first, before the laws, just as general attitudes toward gays and lesbians changed before the laws started changing. That’s not to say that gays & lesbians didn’t push for change, and that those of us who hate gun culture can’t also start pushing. But I have a hard time imagining any new and effective gun regulation happening any time soon, as much as I’d like to see it.
@Ohio Mom: I asked earlier whether civilians who are not paranoid fantasists possess AR-15s. Nobody, but nobody, elected to make a case for that.
We don’t know that Nancy Lanza was a prepper. We do know she was irrational in a way that placed her own pathological desires above the lives of others. Calling her “as much a victim as the children” her son slaughtered using her unsecured semiautomatic is monstrous.
Interesting seeing this point of view….
I grew up in a rural area where a .22, a shotgun, and a deer rifle were standard farm equipment. Skill with firearms was encouraged. Sending 12-year-olds off to the sandpit to shoot cans with .22s was normal. Back-pasture clay pigeon shooting was a family activity. “Got your deer yet?” was the normal greeting in the fall. My mom’s varsity sport at state college was the women’s smallbore rifle team.
Now I’m back in a small rural town, with an “arsenal” of a couple of shotguns and .22s. Mom still enjoys having us come over and shoot clay pigeons in her back field.
I’m not seeing the great evils of “gun culture” here.