Archive for December 16th, 2012

Guns are not the problem – the attitude of people who use them for evil purposes is the problem

And it has to be said, the way these horrible events play out in the media is part of the problem too. An unfortunate example of this is the way that the day-to-day small-scale shootings from robberies and various personal disputes which would normally get local attention only, are automatically given national and international attention in the days after a mass-shooting. This, it could be argued, gives disturbed people an opportunity for notoriety by having the media link, without due cause, their act to the mass-shooting.

I don’t often defer to actors for their opinions, however Morgan Freeman has made a very good point about all of this in recent hours. His point, which I’ll let him explain in detail, is that we should be focussing on the victims and not the murderous lunatics as the notoriety which these murderers receive helps to fuel other murderous nuts. He says we should think of the victims instead of thinking of increasing regulations on guns as we would see less copycat killings if the murderers didn’t become famous for “going out in a blaze of glory”. I think Morgan has a very valid point.

You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine?

Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.

(h/t The Examiner)

It is a natural part of human curiosity that we want to know why events like this happen, and to that end it probably is important that we get to know who is responsible for this type of atrocity, but it is also important that we don’t make a martyr out of someone by plastering their name and face over every news bulletin for days and even weeks. The victims are much more important.

To that end, again courtesy of The Examiner, here are the names of the victims of this latest tragedy.

– Charlotte Bacon, born February 22, 2006, female

– Daniel Barden, born September 25, 2005, male

– Rachel Davino, born August 17, 1983, female.

– Olivia Engel, born August 18, 2006, female

– Josephine Gay, born December 11, 2005, female

– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, born April 4, 2006, female

– Dylan Hockley, born March 8, 2006, male

– Dawn Hocksprung, born June 28, 1965, female

– Madeleine F. Hsu, born July 10, 2006, female

– Catherine V. Hubbard, born June 8, 2006, female

– Chase Kowalski, born October 31, 2005, male

– Jesse Lewis, born June 30, 2006, male

– James Mattioli , born March 22, 2006, male

– Grace McDonnell, born December 4, 2005, female

– Anne Marie Murphy, born July 25, 1960, female

– Emilie Parker, born May 12, 2006, female

– Jack Pinto, born May 6, 2006, male

– Noah Pozner, born November 20, 2006, male

– Caroline Previdi, born September 7, 2006, female

– Jessica Rekos, born May 10, 2006, female

– Avielle Richman, born October 17, 2006, female

– Lauren Russeau, born June 1982, female (full date of birth not specified)

– Mary Sherlach, born February 11, 1956, female

– Victoria Soto, born November 4, 1985, female

– Benjamin Wheeler, born September 12, 2006, male

– Allison N. Wyatt, born July 3, 2006, female

May they all rest in peace.


December 16th, 2012 at 04:16pm

The US Shooting – some thoughts, but not debate right now

An email to 2UE’s John Kerr. Respectfully, I think it is too early to debate US gun laws. This email does not do that. If you wish to engage me in debate on the subject, please note that I will not reply until later in the week. Nothing can be gained out of debating this at this moment when the emotion of the horrifying shooting largely obscures logic.

Good morning John,

The shooting in the Connecticut school is truly horrifying, and it is disturbing that anyone would ever be of a mind to inflict harm on innocent children, or the adults who were harmed for that matter. Many families will never be the same, and that is a terrible tragedy.

This is clearly the work of a mad man, possibly even an evil man. It is horrifying and I am very sad for everyone who is involved.

I must say though, I am quite disgusted by the people in the US who are using this tragedy to try and score political points on the gun control debate. That may be an important debate, but surely they could at least let the families get their heads around the tragedy, and allow law enforcement officials to figure out what exactly happened, and why, before passing judgement on what laws they think should or should not change.

The debate about gun laws is one better held when the emotion of what has happened has subsided, so that any decisions which are made, are based on facts and not a natural emotional knee-jerk reaction. Evidence of that, to my mind, is the fact that Connecticut has some of the stricter gun laws in America, and this is mostly being overlooked at the moment by people who are engaging in debate on the subject.

And for the people in this country who believe that a blanket ban is an obvious answer which should have been implemented years ago, I believe it is important to recognise the cultural differences between Australia and the US. Our laws work here for the most part because our country was founded peacefully and we therefore do not have as defensive a mindset. The mindset in the US is very different, and while something may need to be done, simply applying our laws to their country will probably do more harm than good as people will, for lack of a better term, cling to their guns, and violently so, if their government tries to outlaw guns. I should also note that, while we don’t have mass-shootings here, when people want guns in Australia, they find them, as evidenced by the spate of drive-by shootings in Sydney in recent years. It worries me that people in this country immediately decry American laws without giving any thought as to why they have them in place. I think that the views expressed in this country would have more effect on the US debate if more thought was given to those views.

Out of respect for the families of the fallen, I will not engage in a detailed debate of the intricacies of the US gun laws this morning, however if this is still of interest next weekend when the emotion of this awful event has subsidied, I would like to discuss this with you and get your input.

I hope you have a very nice week.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

2 comments December 16th, 2012 at 02:29am


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