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15 December 2012 @ 05:16 am
Knife vs Gun--No Contest  
22 Children Stabbed in Attack at Chinese School (Zero Fatalities)

26 Dead in U.S. Elementary School Shooting

How Australia Dramatically Reduced Gun Violence After Deadly Mass Shooting

We got a great example of the folly of the "anyone who wants to kill people will find a way to do so even if guns are banned" position today. Twenty school children were shot in Connecticut on the same day as twenty-two school children were stabbed by a man in China. Dead kids from guns: 20. Dead kids from knives: 0 And the knife guy had more chances. --Jim Beaver, actor (Supernatural, Justified, Dexter)

We may not be able to end violence completely, but we could reduce the body count. As to those who say we shouldn't talk about it now--we never seem to get around to talking about it once the publicity dies down from the most recent mass shooting. Maybe if we'd gotten around to talking about it until we had a collective plan we could implement--to even SEE if it would reduce this kind of violence--this might not have happened.

It seems to me there are three things we need to do: 1. Decide how people acquire and monitor their guns (this shooter used his mother's weapons against her and others--they weren't secured even though his brother said he had a history of mental illness) and what guns are available.

2. Make help more readily available and affordable for those suffering from mental illness or even who are simply troubled and need some support. We need to take a good look at how difficult it is to get someone committed even when they show signs of severe mental illness. In our zeal to stop abuse in institutions we've gone too far in the other direction. Many families struggle with potentially violent family members and can't do anything about getting them help if they are unwilling unless there is abundant evidence of threats--and even then, help lasts for a brief time until they are "stabilized."

3. Stop using the names in media reports. Today we saw the poor brother mistakenly identified as the shooter--then he learns his brother shot his mom. I can't begin to imagine how devastated he is right now. The families go through hell. The fame factor is, I suspect, the reason these shooters want to kill as many as possible so they can be more famous than the previous shooters. Without the fame they know they can get, I suspect some of them would simply commit suicide which is sad but so much better than taking others with them. We can still examine their lives and report on them--just remove the name. Use, in this case, the Newtown shooter. The Aurora shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter (1) or (2), and so on. Or place and year if there are more than one or two. The 2012 Newtown shooter...whatever. It isn't that hard. Some say well bloggers will release the name. Ok, maybe, but we can direct at them our collective scorn which can be a pretty potent force. I don't think it would happen more than once. Ask the Cooks Source lady...

Whatever we try, if it doesn't help we can always try something different. But up until now we haven't tried much of anything. It's ridiculously easy to get guns, ammo, even body armor. It's harder to get (and keep) a driver's license!

I'm going to start prioritizing donations to gun control advocacy groups like http://www.bradycampaign.org/ because we need to help them be as powerful as the NRA when it comes to influencing politicians.