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The Standard

America’s gun tragedy

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, December 15th, 2012 - 143 comments
Categories: crime, us politics - Tags: , , ,

Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends, and the many victims of America’s latest shooting incident:

Connecticut shooting leaves 20 children dead

At least 28 people, including up to 20 children between the ages of five and 10, have been killed in a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook primary school in Newtown, a small town in rural Connecticut.

The gunman, found dead at the scene, was identified by a US law enforcement official as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who is suspected of killing his mother Nancy Lanza at home before driving to the school and beginning his rampage. [Quote updated from updated source]

It seems to me that the frequency of these events is increasing. Over recent years in America:

April 1999 – UNITED STATES – Two heavily armed teenagers go on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Denver, shooting 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.

July 1999 – UNITED STATES – A gunman kills nine people at two brokerages in Atlanta, after apparently killing his wife and two children. He commits suicide five hours later. …

October 2002 – UNITED STATES – John Muhammad and Lee Malvo kills 10 people in sniper-style shooting deaths that terrorize the Washington DC area.

November 21, 2004 – UNITED STATES – Six people are killed when Chai Soua Vang, a 35-year-old Hmong immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, shoots eight people while deer hunting east of Birchwood in northern Wisconsin. A truck driver from St. Paul, Minn., Vang is sentenced to six consecutive life terms in prison.

March 12, 2005 – UNITED STATES – Seven people are killed and four wounded when Terry Michael Ratzmann opens fire at a Living Church of God service at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ratzmann, a 44-year-old computer technician, the commits suicide.

April 16, 2007 – UNITED STATES – Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, becomes site of the deadliest rampage in U.S. history when a gunman kills 32 people and himself.

October 7, 2007 – UNITED STATES – Six people are killed and one wounded when Sheriff’s Department Deputy Tyler James Peterson goes on a shooting rampage at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, in Crandon, Wisconsin. Peterson, 20, then shot and killed himself. …

January 8, 2011 – UNITED STATES – Then-U.S. congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords is target of an assassination attempt in Arizona in which six people are killed and 13 wounded. A person familiar with the case said this month that Jared Loughner, the man accused of the killings and wounding Giffords, is set to plead guilty in a Tucson court on Tuesday.

Now consider the events this year alone:

April 2 – A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting rampage at a Christian college in Oakland.

July 20 – A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

August 5 – A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by a police officer.

August 24 – Two people are killed and eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City at the height of the tourist season.

September 27 – A disgruntled former employee kills five people and takes his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.

October 21 – Three people are killed in a Milwaukee area spa including the estranged wife of the suspected gunman, who then killed himself.

December 14 – A shooter opens fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing several people including children.

It doesn’t take a fancy infographic to spot a rapidly increasing trend. It paints a picture of a society that is falling apart. I don’t think America will ever seriously confront the gun lobby and take steps to end this madness. That’s America’s real gun tragedy.

143 comments on “America’s gun tragedy”

  1. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 1

    “US media reports as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza,”. Later reports say it was his brother I think Adam. Wouldn’t want to hang the wrong guy.

    I have just read Bravemouth about Billy Connolly’s 60th year. He went to Somalia as part of a drive to help them by group called Comic Relief. A little girl was rescued from a fall but died because her family couldn’t afford the needed medicine. The poor people being operated on in the most primitive conditions by stalwart medical staff who are saints makes the sad brainstorms of USA citizens appear less headline worthy. But still we are swamped by USA news and must share their tragedies and listen to their President condole. No-one else gets a look in when the USA is around to define our news of the world.

  2. vto 2

    Here’s an idea to stop people being shot ……..

    Ban guns. The less guns there are then the less people will be killed by guns.

    The USA reaps what it sows.

    • Colonial Weka 2.1

      No need to ban guns, and it wouldn’t work in the US anyway. They should be regulating gun ownership much harder though. Unfortunately I tend to agree with r0b, I doubt that the US will ever address this in any meaningful way. Gun ownership and violent culture are too complexly intertwined. The future of the US ain’t going to be pretty.

      • vto 2.1.1

        Yep. What gets me is the whole inanity of the gun debate there. These people that shout about the somethingorother rights to arm blah blah blah – what a load of cockypop. Let’s all get ourselves a tank and some rpg’s.

        I mean, that seems to be the level of debate.

        And the unfortunate thing about it all is that americans seem to want to keep projecting their warped view about arms, fostered by this crazy attitude, onto the rest of the world, resulting in more wars and mroe people being killed.

        Thanks USA. Good one.

        • VindowViper 2.1.1.1

          I think that loaded guns should be given to school-children in order that they can ‘defend’ themselves ../sarc

      • QoTViper 2.1.2

        There’s banning guns and then there’s banning guns. Handguns? Rifles? Maybe ok. AK-47s? Why the fuck does a civilian ever need to be able to walk into a shop and buy an AK-47 over the counter?

        • Actually I’d argue that the handgun is overall more dangerous than the AK-47 in the context of widespread usage, as the concealable nature of the handgun allows for an element of surprise to killing that prevents easy notifications of the authorities or simply avoiding dangerous people.
          Obviously that part is not as relevant to mass-shootings like this one, in which the AK-47 is the more dangerous weapon, but the USA needs to ban both the military assualt rifles and handguns if they want to prevent gun-related deaths.
           
          Really, the only weapons people have an excuse to own for use are knives and hunting rifles.

          • QoTViper 2.1.2.1.1

            Hey, I said “maybe okay”. If you’ve got a culture of gun-entitlement like the US clearly does then I can at least vaguely understand the macho bullshit attitude towards carrying a handgun. Even carrying one concealed. But assault rifles? Should be an obvious line in the sand for anyone.

            • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Oh, totally agree with that. If this escalation continues we’ll start having Americans claiming they have a right to own a grenade launcher or something.
              And while I understand the macho/defensive attitude that leads people to want (concealed) handguns, it’s a terrible idea and we shouldn’t entertain it. Even in a country with crazy gun entitlement. =/

  3. This is a sad and tragic event, just because it happens in the USA doesnt make it less sadder, Not sure about the gun debate, if the shooter got his guns legally or illegally.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      The guns were legal. Belonged to his parents. Guess they were bought for ‘protection’.

  4. Arto D. 4

    Great speech by Obama. Pity he don’t shed no tears for the hundreds of children blown away by USA bullets and bombs in Gaza City.

  5. Arto D. 5

    The guns aren’t the problem. The society that creates these murderers is the problem.

    • VindowViper 5.1

      Well yes I agree that it is the nature of society that is the root cause. Tackling that massive issue however is not within the grasp of this generation.
       
      In the meantime taking the guns off them would be a useful preliminary step.

      • aerobubble 5.1.1

        Picks up gun, feel strong, in control for first time in life, I can matter, I think to myself, I do matter, I am God now. I can choose who lives and who doesn’t, all those years, decades of media, corporations, government taking away my humanity, making choices for me – in my interest….

        …sorry, mate guns aren’t the problem, and taking guns away won’t deal to the cause, that America is a corrupt theocracy mimicking a real moral and ethical society. They hate themselves, their hate nature, they hate future generations, oh sure you’ll find a few nature reserves, some regulations that push pollution out of harms way (yet won’t solve the looming crisis), and most people are just nice and normal, but push exploitation to its extreme and you’ll get America of today.

        Anyway you can’t have a gun debate in America until you don’t need to control guns in the first,
        nobody is going to give up that sort of personal power unless they already trust government. America is a fractured society designed to allow a few to divide and conquer the rest.

        Now the children are being attacked, my heart goes out to their parents.

    • Colonial Weka 5.2

      Guns might not be the problem, but gun laws are, and they are created by that same society.

  6. Bill 6

    There are many societies much more disintegrated than the US. (eg. How stressful would living in Gaza be and how easy would it be to obtain a gun there?)And these random or illogical shootings don’t appear to happen there, so…must be something else, no?

    Said it before and I know some people have a kneejerk reaction to the suggestion.

    But the prevalance of psychotropic medication in the USA is enormous. And none of the drugs on the market have ever been the subject to any reasonable testing regime. They also claim to treat chemical imbalances in the brain that cannot be measured and that have never been shown to be a cause of depression etc (eg serotonin).

    And there is the withdrawal effects of those medications which is major (much, much more wider ranging and severe than withdrawal from addictive illegal highs)

    On the random/illogical shootings (ie, not the shootings where the newly redunadant husband shoots his wife and three kids etc), there appears to be a pattern of psychotropic prescriptions prior to the event and either a self managed withdrawal (cold turkey) or a self managed reduction in or other mis-management of dose.

    • Arto D. 6.1

      I agree. Big Pharma has the USofA drugged up to its eyeballs.
       

    • One Tāne Viper 6.2

      Do you have any source for the stated pattern?
       
      I couldn’t find anything.
       
      I did find <a href=”http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/”>this</a> though:
       
      <blockquote>It is commonly assumed that mental illness or stress levels trigger gun violence. But that’s not borne out at the state level. We found no statistical association between gun deaths and mental illness or stress levels. We also found no association between gun violence and the proportion of neurotic personalities.
      Images of drug-crazed gunmen are a commonplace: Guns and drug abuse are presumed to go together. But, again, that was not the case in our state-level analysis. We found no association between illegal drug use and death from gun violence at the state level.
      Some might think gun violence would be higher in states with higher levels of unemployment and higher levels of inequality. But, again, we found no evidence of any such association with either of these variables.
      So what are the factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level?
      Poverty is one. The correlation between death by gun and poverty at the state level is .59.
      An economy dominated by working class jobs is another. Having a high percentage of working class jobs is closely associated with firearm deaths (.55).
      And, not surprisingly, firearm-related deaths are positively correlated with the rates of high school students that carry weapons on school property (.54).</blockquote>
       
       
       
       

      • One Tāne Viper 6.2.1

        PS: the new comment authoring tools suck, and I am unable to edit the comment to fix the errors. Bizarrely, I can edit this reply though. The original comment was supposed to look like this:

        Do you have any source for the stated pattern?

        I couldn’t find anything.

        I did find this though:

        It is commonly assumed that mental illness or stress levels trigger gun violence. But that’s not borne out at the state level. We found no statistical association between gun deaths and mental illness or stress levels. We also found no association between gun violence and the proportion of neurotic personalities.

        Images of drug-crazed gunmen are a commonplace: Guns and drug abuse are presumed to go together. But, again, that was not the case in our state-level analysis. We found no association between illegal drug use and death from gun violence at the state level.

        Some might think gun violence would be higher in states with higher levels of unemployment and higher levels of inequality. But, again, we found no evidence of any such association with either of these variables.

        So what are the factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level?

        Poverty is one. The correlation between death by gun and poverty at the state level is .59.

        An economy dominated by working class jobs is another. Having a high percentage of working class jobs is closely associated with firearm deaths (.55).

        And, not surprisingly, firearm-related deaths are positively correlated with the rates of high school students that carry weapons on school property (.54).

        • Bill 6.2.1.1

          Try CCHR (Citizens Comminsion on Human Rights). They have a documentary that is annoyingly ‘american’ in its presentation but that contains some very insightful (and disturbing) info around psychotropic drugs, their testing regime and the suggestion of a link between desisting their use and violence.
          http://www.cchr.org/videos/marketing-of-madness.html

          • Rodel 6.2.1.1.1

            CCHR is just a branch of ‘church of scientology’..well known for opposing medical models of mental illness and not  a reliable or objective source of information.

        • Colonial Weka 6.2.1.2

          The problem there is they seem to be treating all gun deaths as one big category. I think you would need to break that down considerably – the reasons for school shootings will be different than the reasons for drug trade shootings. Ditto domestic shootings.
           
          I think Bill has a good point, although I see it more as a bad mix of gun culture, psychiatric culture, violence culture, and the general craziness of US culture.
           
          I also think there are significant differences between somewhere like the Gaza and the US (and even treating the US as one place doesn’t really work). Living in a war zone is different than living in a place where you are told you can have everything but where everything is a lie.

          • Bill 6.2.1.2.1

            They, the CCHR do (from memory) differentiate between different shooting scenario’s. That is why I said in my original comment that the issue was the so-called ‘mad’ shootings. Not the ones with logical – ie, understandable, no matter how disagreeable – targets such as family, boss, drug clients/dealers and so on.

            edit. Oops. Sorry weka. Misconstrued the focus of the first part of your comment. Will leave this up anyway.

            • One Tāne Viper 6.2.1.2.1.1

              The Atlantic article would tend to argue against that though, at least that is, if the incidence of mental illness is matched by consumption of psychotropic prescriptions.

              • Bill

                <blockquote>…if the incidence of mental illness is matched by consumption of psychotropic prescriptions.</blockquote>
                Can you see how problematic that would be insofar as there is now a ‘pill for every occasion/life event’? The things are dispensed like fcking lollies… because you moved house, because your mother died, because you didn’t get that promotion, because you feel a bit down, because you feel a bit anxious, because you’re suicidal, and in the end ‘just because’.
                So the correlation will either be there or not depending on what it is that you consider mental illness.
                The simple approach is to simply find out whether there are any ‘mad’ shooters who do not have a history of prescribed psychotropics and who have not recently stopped using them or changed their dose in one way or another. And marry that up with the numbers associated with other killings (the ‘sane’ ones) and see if the numbers are the same across categories of shootings.
                To be clear,the suggestion is that all the ‘mad’ shooters have a psychotropic drug factor in common. So,  that’s not to say that no other people who kill others don’t have a history of prescibed psychotropics. And (obviously) it’s also not to say that all people on psychotropics will kill in a random ‘mad’ fashion if they stop or drop their dose.

                • VindowViper

                  I’m very inclined to agree. I’ve personally witnessed up close and personal the extraordinary effect of Prozac.
                  http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/features/drugs-medical/ssri-suicide-akathisia.html?utm_expid=3607522-0#.UMxIq-S8708
                   
                  Of course the next question is … why so much depression and anxiety? Why all this extraordinary drugging?
                   

                    • VindowViper

                      What the fuck does Scientology have to do with my elder daughter trying to kill herself, two weeks after starting a course of Prozac? 

                    • Bill

                      By way of comparison OTV and Rodel… You’re probably well aware of my dislike for authoritarian leftists for the damage they have and continue to cause. But that doesn’t mean I discount everything they say. Hell, I even agree with a lot of their analysis while despising their influence.
                       
                      But if you simply can’t take on board anything that is any way connected to the cult of scientology, then there are numerous other sources out there that, unfortunately, seem to have to out of their way to dissociate themselves from scientology because scientology has been put up as an effective block to the debate. Y’know? Say anything critical of psychiatry and you must, de facto, be sympathetic to scientology.
                       
                      Maybe try MindFreedom International http://www.mindfreedom.org/mfi-faq/intro-FAQs
                       
                      And if you cannot entertain the possibility that Thomas Szazs co-founded cchr with scientologists even though he himself is not one… in the same vein that the likes of myself with work alongside people of many political stripes even though I don’t ascribe to the world views of their organisations, then you can still have a look at the likes of .
                       
                      Robert Whittaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic).
                      James Gottstein (co-founder of PsychRights http://psychrights.org/index.htm
                      http://psychintegrity.org/  
                      And so on…
                       
                       
                       
                       

    • Treetop 6.3

      The DSM – V is due out in 2013. It will be intersting to see what psychotropic medication is prescibed for and the dose.

      A lot of depression and anger is situational (grief, PTSD) and not a chemical imbalance.

      This is how wrong a GP can get it. GP doubles the antidepressant drug because of a close family member dying and the taker is being physically abused by the flat mate and the consequence is being at risk of harm due to being more medicated. The flat mate has entered the bedroom. The police have been called on occasion and the person will not press charges.

    • xtasy 6.4

      Bill, I fear you raise some valid points there!!!

    • mike 6.5

      I’m with Bill, anti-depressants are way over-prescribed in the US and could well be related to the bizarre incidence of such incidents in that country.
       
      The warning label for SSRI drugs says “May cause suicidal thoughts”, and Japan as added “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship [of hostility, anxiety, and sudden acts of violence] with the medication.” to it’s warning labels. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/151688.php
       
      There’s plenty of anectodal evidence: http://ssristories.com/

  7. Judging by some of the comments here, there doesnt seem to be a lot of heart.

    • VindowViper 7.1

      Well no … we’re all socialists here, and that must mean we’re all sociopaths. Almost the same spelling after all.

    • vto 7.2

      my comment was directed at non-heart matters of the post. what’s the problem with that? do you think it indicates something else like a lack of caring for victims?

    • xtasy 7.3

      SOCIALISTS have MORE Heart than you may think, because they are used to SHARING their heart felt emotions, not to selectively apply them to serve some particularly biased political, religious or other (selfish) purposes!

  8. You know what? Let’s start with disarming the military industrial complex and the US army! It makes me sick the way people waffle on about a couple of US children getting killed in another stupid massacre while everybody is shtum about the hundreds of thousands of brown children who get killed by the army of that same country.

    And the gutspa of Obama, the drone wielding war criminal to wipe away tears while he kills hundreds of innocent women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with his drones. Tumeke!!!

    What’s the saying again? What goes around comes around!

    • Anotherviper:
      Surly you dont believe what you say, did the labour hand out a memo, saying” if sympathy is given to the states, bring up gaza”
       
      These are little elementary school children that were murdered, and your happy that they got killed because they were American?

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        It’s the same mentality that weeps for Saddam Hussein – despite all his torture rooms, rape dungeons in every palace and gassing Kurdish villages. Thou shalt have no enemy before ‘Murica…

        • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1.1

          The torture argument is no longer operative, please re-adjust knee jerking output to reflect this, thank you.

          • Populuxe1 8.1.1.1.1

            Good, you can tell that to the football teams tortured for losing, the rape victims and the dead Kurds you horrible little turd.

            • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, I thought you were against torture per se, my mistake, carry on.

              • Populuxe1

                Of course I’m against torture and I’m against Guantanamo, but I regard the end of the Saddam regime to be a net good

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Goal posts being shifted somewhat I think

                  The argument that because Saddam was bad, people shouldn’t criticise the US is pretty crap when put explicitly.

                  If you were making some different argument, I apologise, and would welcome hearing it put.

                  But dragging out saddam’s crimes, as a means of ignoring the US’s, is pretty distasteful in my view.

                  And if you think it’s limited to gitmo, you weren’t paying attention.

                  And what, besides, “saddam is gone’ has been achieved in Iraq?
                  And the use of the word ‘net’. Does this imply a utilitarian approach toward the torture and what not?

                  • Populuxe1

                    I don’t mind people criticisng the US, I just wish they’d do it in some sort of context rather than the usual simplistic anti-American bleating that is the usual fodder of these posts. Look How far we’ve migrated from the horrible tragedy for those dead children and the idiocy of American gun laws to “America is an evil imperialist world bully”. I find that somewhat unpleasant.

                    I also get annoyed with the notion that America is the way it is because of capitalism and conspiracy theories, while completely ignoring that the US is the way it is largely as a direct result of the absolute necessity of the Allies winning WW2, the expectations that the US act like some sort of world police which has played into the hands of the military-industrial complex, and an astonishing naivety about the limits of the UN and the reality that global security has for most of the twentieth century has relied on the dirt under the US’ fingernails. It’s so easy to blame the US for everything without bothering to explore the complexities of the larger picture.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Well that’s fine, but responding with equally stupid stuff doesn’t really help eh.
                       
                      My general rule around news like this is that people will be saying a lot of stupid shit for 24 hours at least. Because they are humans.

                    • Arto

                      LOL! What about the 450 millions bullets the US “homeland security”ordered a few weeks ago. Which way are those guns pointed at! And don’t tell me those bullets are for shooting targets!

        • Where did I say I was happy about the death of those children? If you had read the link you would see that I have no such sentiments. When children die due to violence we should care. What get’s me is that people start to wail when its American children while the hundreds of thousands of innocent children who have died as the result of a criminal foreign policy of the the US nets no such reaction. That is not the same as saying I’m happy those kids died.

          And yes I mean that!

          • Brett Dale 8.1.1.2.1

            Anotherr viper”
             
            Anything short of writing this is a tragic event and thoughts with the victims ,is terrible, too bring up event around the world, is well pretty pathetic.
             
            This is a sad day for the victims and their families, a few words of sympathy would be the decent and human thing to do.

            • mike 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Brett Dale has spoken (repeatedly repeatedly) about what everyone should and should not be writting on this thread. Please comply immediately or suffer the shame of his disapproval.  

              • Morrissey

                Brett Dale loudly and shamelessly APPLAUDED the mass murder of children in Gaza last month, and also during what the Israeli government called the “twenty-two days of madness” in 2008-9.
                 
                Brett Dale’s admonitions are the admonitions of a merciless, carping hypocrite.

      • xtasy 8.1.2

        Are you part if the Zionist lobby? They count like: One dead Israeli will necessitate the revenge death of ten or hundred fold of Palestinians. Even their bile bible goes down that line of thought!
         
        So the same has been applied for the US for decades. I remember well many news reports, government announcements and so forth, coming from the “bastion of democracy”, as they like to view themselves. If one American is killed in Lebanon or Afghanistan, the news will go on for days, and the revenge will be prepared to kill or wipe out at least ten times as many in the country, from where the suspected assailants may have come.
         
        Obama himself is a hypocrite, wiping tears from his face, while he has no scruples using drone attacks, killing hundreds of innocent civilians as “colleteral damage”. That is the US. We have a case of “middle class” “value” persons being killed, same as in NZ the minister for migration likes to talk about “high value individuals”, when it comes to immigration choices. It is the size of the wallet, prospective income and so forth that determine the “importance” and “respect” for people.
         
        That is totally also what the media focus on.
         
        Every day hundreds or thousands commit suicide in poor countries, every day someone in NZ may commit suicide, there is daily abuse, harassment, rape and so forth, but what do the newsmedia focus on? Pippa Middleton and her “royal” sister now expecting a baby.
         
        Talk about brainwashing crap galore, that is just one bit exposing the nonsense.
         
        Yet I feel very much for the parents and others affected in this horrifying mass shooting. But it could have been prevented, yet it is NOT really wanted to change the rules and circumstances that would make a real change, yet again for economic and other political reasons!
         
        Who authorised to kill Osama, without trial, by the way???

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      God what a stupid, simplistic argument! You do realise that it was the threat of American military force that kept the Soviets from rolling over your homeland for 60 years. It’s that same threat of force that keeps China out of Taiwan and has a big role to play in preventing outbreaks of war among many regional powers. The US does many terrible things, but there are also many examples where they are absolutely necessary.

      • vto 8.2.1

        Gidday pop. That view of yours lines up with the discussion last weekend about paying the least possibly possible wages for things and the view you expressed there that it is a big old nasty world and if you don’t get in first then you’re stuffed.

        • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1

          So basically you don’t give a fuck about world peace. Weird. In any case international trade in a peaceful, stable environment is far more lucrative than war.

          • muzza 8.2.1.1.1

            Which obviously is why there are so many wars, weapons of all/every kind on earth in space, military and intelligence budgets/contracts totalling trillions of dollars per year, oh you mean we live in peace times, because of all the weapons of war, sounds great pop, I got ya!

            Yup peace must be better for control – woops I mean business…woops I mean the environment, woops I mean population control, woops I meant resource control/stealing.

            Wars are manufactured to create control Pop, so your saying to anyone they are not interested in peace is a bad joke. The war machine/industry is self sustaining dont you worry about that, and it has no intention of stopping anytime soon, not even when there nothing left!

            Peace indeed

            • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1.1.1

              yes muzza, try to get your pea brain around the noticeable absence of World War 3. The rest is just business as usual.

              • muzza

                Lol, yeah nah, pop she’s going great mate…

                Let’s just call them Kinetic Military Actions then eh!

                Biggest Kinetic Military Actions budgets in history, thats your peace time right there….

                And in case you can’t work it out with that massive brain of yours, the Banks/War Machine work hand in glove, so while one crashes the global economy, including trade you refer to as being so profitable, the other ensure the distractions and Kinetic Military Actions continue.
                Either way the same people pocket the profits, and keep the control.

          • vto 8.2.1.1.2

            “So basically you don’t give a fuck about world peace. Weird. In any case international trade in a peaceful, stable environment is far more lucrative than war.”

            Well pop, if you had read my comment properly you will notice that it wasn’t about world peace, it was about your own views on the world. Those views have been expressed in this thread, as I point out, and were in essence the same as those expressed the week before about poverty and wages and how we should pay the absolute minimum we can get away with and bugger the effects.

            That was what I was getting at. Your view is essentially get them before they get us. And that view is certainly one way that some people live their lives. Good luck to them I say – it aint for me. Good luck pops.

      • Arto D. 8.2.2

        Yep the same threat of force that nuked the Japs twice, when the Japs were already dead and buried (they were ready to surrender by then).

        • Populuxe1 8.2.2.1

          Your ignorance of history is impressive. Japan was not “dead and buried”, nor were they “already ready to surrender”. The Navy might have been demolished, but as Germany demonstrated following WW1 that is only a temporary condition for a determined militaristic power – especially if you believe your Emperor is the descendant of a god. For instance, when not working on their biological weapons programme:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731
          The Japanese were making delightful little toys like this:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_balloon
          And the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite the US’ relative ignorance about radiation and fallout, still managed to prevent far vaster Allied and Japanese casualties given the alternative:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Downfall
           

          • Pascal's bookie 8.2.2.1.1

            ” given the alternative”
             
            False dichotomy watch.
             
            Could have easily told the japanese that their options were ‘surrender to us now, or the russians after they invade you.’

            • Populuxe1 8.2.2.1.1.1

              As if that argument would have any impact on people who retained a lasting contempt for the Russian military since Tsushima and whose soldiers continued to hide out on Indonesian islands into the 1970s under the impression the war was still on. You greatly underestimate Japanese resolve.

              • Pascal's bookie

                 
                 
                You really are a bit dim eh pop?
                 
                Try and keep up. On history would be a good start. but in the immediate term, avoiding false dichotomies would be the call of the day.

                • Populuxe1

                  Well you could try responding to historical precedent rather than your fanciful rhetorical nonsense and ad hominems. But whatever. ‘Murica is bad, m’kay.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    What ad homs? I’ve been mocking the arguments you have been making, and saying why. I mean, it’s hardly my fault you resort to false dichotomies and straw men now is it?

                    “Murica is bad, m’kay.” Speaking of fanciful rhetorical nonsense and strawmen.

                    Care to justify using that, with quotes? Much obliged.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well I could start your tendency to fling around terms like “false dichotomies” and “straw men” (which I suspect you don’t really grasp the complete meaning of) as if they are an adequate substitute for reasoned critique. They’re not. Oh, and your forgot “logical fallacy” – that’s always a good one. Why don’t you explain why my examples are wrong or used incorrectly rather than your usual sophomoric posturing? K’thanx’bi

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Sure:
                       
                      “Murica is bad, m’kay.”
                      That’s obviously based on the south aprk drug councillers line that drugs are bad. In the cartoon it’s used to show that the guy doesn’t have any argument to why it’s true, just that they are bad. If that’s suposed to be a represntation of anything I said then it’s a strawman. It is a strawman in the sense that you are implying that I am like that south park cartoon character in some way. You have misrepresnted what I was saying, in order to attack some south park like character.
                       
                      And the argument that the use of nukes on japan must only be compared to worst case scenrios of a land invasion is  a false dichotomy in that there were other options. You presnted it as a dichotomy, if not one, the other. But that’s not actuallt rue is it? Ergo, the dichotomy is false

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      And just to clarify, are you saying that my accusing you of using strawman and false man dichotomy arguemenst are ad hom?
                      If so, lol.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Don’t sweat about PB, Populexe. For all his False dichotomy accusations here he called me wanker yesterday because he equated my dislike of the North Korea spending money on missle technology as a support for death camps.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Lol, that’s not actually what happened, but I’m not surprised that you think so.
                       
                       

                    • felixviper

                      In fact that’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what happenned.
                       
                      The Contrarian tried do create a false dichotomy there too, in that if the NK govt didn’t spend certain resources on one particular evil it would have those resources available to use for the common good.
                       
                      Pascal’s bookie pointed out that the NK govt had plenty of other evil options.

                  • the pigman

                    Populuxe, you ARE presenting a false dichotomy.

                    You are presenting America’s options as:

                    a) Kill 240, 000 people by raining fiery death on major Japanese civilian centres; or
                    b) Invade by land at that time and suffer Allied casualties.

                    This is just TINA bullshit!

                    Sorry if this is too creative for your GIANT BRAIN (unlike PB, I do fine with my mung bean) but how about:

                    c) Not dropping a second fucking bomb after already obliterating 160, 000 civilian lives in Hiroshima;
                    c) raining fiery death on a sparsely populated village instead;
                    d) raining fiery death on a Japanese military outpost;
                    e) raining fiery shock and awe on an unpopulated area;
                    e) pursuing the terms of the existing peace negotiations via the Soviets;
                    f) presenting a FUCKING ULTIMATUM BEFORE YOU OBLITERATE 240k lives.
                     

                    These are only a FEW of the WILD, OUT THERE alteratives open to the allied military generals. But unfortunately Truman and Churchill (disappointed as they were that they had not had the chance to roast some Jerries) decided Japan would be an appropriate military target and agreed that the use of such a weapon would have a deterrent effect on the Soviets (who conversely, had actually been given some fucking notice of the existence of this weapon).

                    The more I read your shit, the angrier I get, so I’ll leave it at that.

                    • VindowViper

                      The primary reason for Hiroshima and Ngasaki had litle to do with ending the war with Japan. It was all about the upcoming negotiations with Stalin.

                      The Russians had defeated Germany with a massive build up of conventional material and were dominant in Europe.

                      Truman needed the demonstration of his willingness to use nuclear weapons to stop the advance of the Red Army.The sequence of events and the dates are the compelling evidence for this argument.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well hooray for Harry Hindsight. Feel better now? I love that you think you can second guess some of the most brilliant strategists and tacticians in history. Oh, and war is an evil, dirty business. Quelle surprise.

              • billy fish

                Re the statement on the IJA having nothing but contempt for the Russians – calling false on that. The Soviets handed the IJA some significant beatings in 39 which significantly influenced the IJA General Staff and showed up the weakness of IJA forces vs the Soviet Army.

                Not commenting on anything else as its quite a bun fight

          • Morrissey 8.2.2.1.2

            You don’t know what you’re talking about, Populuxe. I advise you to do some serious and sustained reading before you comment on this topic again. A good start would be The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth by Gar Alperowitz.
             
            Off you go now, and start reading.

          • the pigman 8.2.2.1.3

            You’re amazing, populuxe.

            It’s amazing that you think pointing to Japanese military research (of which we can be assured ALL powers undertook) is being used as justification for your own brand of revisionist history and civilian mass-murder. And you have the gall to attack others as ill-informed!

            Facts:

            – It was the combined view of the American military generals that Japan was already defeated by mid-1945 and would surrender pre-invasion;

            – Japan was already negotiating for peace through the Soviet Union with whom they already had a neutrality pact (as I recall the USSR went ahead and declared war on them again only the day after the Hiroshima bomb was detonated);

            – the use of the Atomic Bomb had the obvious chilling motive directed towards the USSR to sort out the Allies’ WW2 endgame (which was a moveable feast);

            – even the coldest argument for the bomb’s necessity can’t get around the fact that there was clearly no military necessity to elect civilian areas as the hypocenter for detonation (you could read 100 articles in support of its use and never find an argument to support this appalling war crime).

            For something fairly lightweight, check out – http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0806-25.htm

            Furthermore, you will recall that in addition to the mass-murder in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, there was a further genocidal act in Nagasaki on 9 August.

            It is well documented that between 7 – 9 August were spent in urgent meetings of their military debating the four pillars of their surrender, namely:

            1. the preservation of the the Emperor and whether or not he’d renounce his divinity,
            2. which arm of government would be responsibile for disarmament and demobilization,
            3. The continued occupation of the Japanese Home Islands, Korea, or Taiwan and whether this would continue; and
            4. Delegation of the punishment of war criminals to the Japanese government.

            They had been debating these before Hiroshima, but, as you might have noticed in the recent TEPCO/nuclear disaster fracas, things move slowly in Japan because that is just how things are.

            It is extraordinary that the presence of Japanese wartime atrocities allow you to become an an apologist for the mass-murder of 240,000 people.

            • VindowViper 8.2.2.1.3.1

              It is extraordinary that the presence of Japanese wartime atrocities allow you to become an an apologist for the mass-murder of 240,000 people.
               
              Exactly. While history has amply condemned the Japanese atrocities; conventional wisdom was far kinder and apologetic about the American nuclear equivalent. Especially as how they were so completely without military or moral justification.
               

              • Morrissey

                “…conventional wisdom was far kinder and apologetic…”
                 
                You mean the massive propaganda and disinformation offensive mounted by the U.S. government and its media and academic functionaries. “Popular wisdom”, i.e. the great majority of people in the world, has never accepted that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was either morally or militarily justifiable.

              • xtasy

                Hah, yes, the US committed “clean” and “morally justified” mass murder, avoiding themselves to get their hands dirty. Just build a hydrogen or nuclear bomb, drop it, and the civilians and collateral military personnel will drop like flies hit by insect spray.
                 
                It was even “scientifically” valuable, as it served the “common good” enabling “research” of the effects of nuclear blasts and radiation.
                 
                But those nasty Nazies got their hands dirty by turning the gas taps open, a few dozen or a few hundred at a time dropped like flies. Primitive that is, right, not justifiable at all.
                 
                Also the Japs were too cruel and murderers on a smaller individual scale, again “primitive” and not so “humane” at all, right?
                 
                US imperialism at its worst was shown in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And the Korean war was not fought for the protection of liberty and the rights of Koreans, it was all about strategy, and a need to safeguard spheres of influence, favouring the US, and trying to stop the communist expansion.
                 
                Add the cold war arms race, and the US gave the USSR and Mainland China every reason to arm themselves to the teeth. But then again, to be fair, the supposed “socialist” or “communist” nations of that age were anything but what they proclaimed also.
                 
                Let us look at the present and future now, as history is sooo depressing.

      • ROFL! Talk about simplistic!

        So it’s OK when we do it but not when the others do it?

        • Populuxe1 8.2.3.1

          It’s not ok when anybody does it, but I do notice a tendency to not share the blame around

      • bad12 8.2.4

        Your examples of what the US military machine has prevented are both absolute speculation, the wet dream fantasy of many a cold war arm-chair warrior,
         
        The examples tho of the US war machine murdering innocent women, children, and, non-combatants all over this world are cold hard fact…

        • Populuxe1 8.2.4.1

          Speculation? I’m sure there are a lot of Poles, Czechs and former East Germans who would beg to disagree regarding the USSR, and China has always maintained that Taiwan is a rogue province that it wants back – incidentally Taiwan has a defense treaty with the US – but you may remember Tibet? Yes? By the way, who put the DMZ between North and South Korea? “absolute speculation, the wet dream fantasy of many a cold war arm-chair warrior” – fuck you’re thick. You might try reading some world history and geopolitics rather than chant mindless slogans.
          I have never denied that the US has done horrific things, but the sanctimonious opprobrium is entirely one-sided and overly simplistic.

          • bad12 8.2.4.1.1

            When challenged you spread the false argument of the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, whereas your original argument is that if it weren’t for the good ole US of A there would have been the tromp of Soviet soldiers footwear through the streets of New Zeland cities and towns is as i have said mere speculation,
             
            The US, even with a million man army on hand in Europe in no way prevented the Soviet take-over of Eastern Europe, the fact is that on a naval ship during the war the US, and, Britain agreed with the Soviets takeover of Eastern Europe,
             
            At any time after the Communists regime seized control of China and befor the US ramped up the tension in the area by signing the defence pact with the Taiwanese,(or more to the point those Chinese who chose to invade Taiwan after the Communist take-over of China thereby dispossessing the native Taiwanese of their homeland), the Red Army could have invaded the island of Taiwan so your portrayal of their intent to do so is mere speculation,
             
            I well remember Tibet, historically a Chinese province and in terms of this discussion of NO significance either as the US failed to prevent the Chinese repatriation of that province,
             
            Your later comments just add proof to my original contention that you are using the examples of a wet dream armchair warrior in an effort to uphold a position in a debat e,as your example,(particularly of a Soviet invasion of New Zealand) are laughably false this makes you also merely a target of mirth and your resort to abuse as a tool of debate simply shows you have a depth of intellect on a par with Slippery the Prime Minister…

            • Populuxe1 8.2.4.1.1.1

              Um, no dick, I was talking about Europe. If you had ever read TravellerEv’s website you would know she(?)’s Dutch. Your “will no one think of the indigenous people” bleat is a trite attempt to derail the reality of Taiwan’s precarious situation and is almost entirely irrelevant, but I’m curious as to what you think would happen to the indigenous Yuánzhùmín should China invade Taiwain. Nothing good I’m willing to bet.

              • bad12

                Really Dutch, which just makes your bullshit about the good ole US of A saving the day from the Red hordes even more childish,( did you garner your facts from a comic book, Captain America by chance you intellectual midget???),
                 
                On a warship at Yalta Stalin,Roosevelt, and, Churchill made a deal with the Soviets which allowed for Soviet Russia to keep Eastern Europe as Soviet client states after the end of World War 2,
                By the wars end the Soviet armies were of such a size and capability that if they had of  so chosen they could have with the element of surprise rolled straight across the American and British forces in Western Europe, instead the Soviets, as agreed, stopped at Berlin and allowed the British and Americans to enter west Germany as agreed,
                 
                I am sure the indigenous people of the island of Taiwan do not see the invasion of their homeland by a horde of mainland Chinese as irrelevant and your wee quisle of a query is just another of your pathetic and childish arguments designed to further obscure your shortcomings as an armchair warrior enfolded in a wet-dream of being connected to some US military machine protection racket…

                • Populuxe1

                  “On a warship at Yalta Stalin,Roosevelt, and, Churchill made a deal with the Soviets which allowed for Soviet Russia to keep Eastern Europe as Soviet client states after the end of World War 2,By the wars end the Soviet armies were of such a size and capability that if they had of  so chosen they could have with the element of surprise rolled straight across the American and British forces in Western Europe, instead the Soviets, as agreed, stopped at Berlin and allowed the British and Americans to enter west Germany as agreed,”
                  So I entirely imagined the cold war then, oh good. Regardless, there is this thing called MAD.
                  “I am sure the indigenous people of the island of Taiwan do not see the invasion of their homeland by a horde of mainland Chinese as irrelevant and your wee quisle of a query is just another of your pathetic and childish arguments designed to further obscure your shortcomings as an armchair warrior enfolded in a wet-dream of being connected to some US military machine protection racket…”
                  And you’re argument is still irrelevant to the security of Taiwan, but you go ahead and swing that nylon grass skirt and rattle your plastic hey tiki
                   

                  • Arto D.

                    Ah! The USA are the protectors of indigenous peoples. Yeah right!

                    • Populuxe1

                      Taiwan enjoys the protection of the US. The indigenous people of Taiwan, remarkably enough, live in Taiwan. Are you retarded?

        • OneTrackViper 8.2.4.2

          Speculation!  Get a grip.  How about you read up on a bit of history ie real history, not the santised crap our education system puts out (like what governor Hobson said in the front room ).  Without the us war machine as you put it (ie American soldiers risking and losing their lives), it would be highly likely you would be speaking Japanese now and Britain would by speaking German.  But I wouldn’t want to upset your anti-american ideology.  I know it is upsetting for you that the country that most exemplifies freedom, free-markets and capitalism has done so exceptionally well and weilds so much power on the world stage.  Sort of puts the niggle in the back of your mind that, just maybe, socialism/communism isn’t all its cracked up to be.  (because if it was you would have already moved to Russia, China, North Korea or Cuba)

          • Pascal's bookie 8.2.4.2.1

            It’s also true that if japan hadn’t bombed pearl harbour they would have fared much better, and thea if the germans hadn’t invaded russia they would have ended up controlling western europe. 
             
            So wow, counterfactuals be counterfactual. Update at 11.

            • Populuxe1 8.2.4.2.1.1

              If you did have any grasp of world history, you would know that Japanese imperial ambitions in the Pacific at least go back to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, if not earlier. I’m not even going to bother with the rest of your shallow stupidity.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Well aware of the history thanks. But the point remains that the US needed Pearl harbour to enter the war, and the germans were beaten in Russia, not france.

                • Populuxe1

                  And the US indeed got Pearl Harbour. 
                  I think it would be also reasonable to say the Germans were partly beaten in North Africa. Had ANZAC troops not kept the Germans distracted there, the Russians may well not have had enough time to rearm and mobilise after the disastrous Ribbentrop Pact.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Which has how much to do with the US? 

                    • Populuxe1

                      Your the one steering this car up a particularly windy detour, you tell me.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      If you can’t follow a simple enough conversation, perhaps you should just stay quiet.
                       
                      But since I’m feeling helpful;
                       
                      The argument was made that if it wasn’t for the US we’d be speaking Japanese and that Germany would have won the war, and that this reflects well on the US, and because of that we somehow owe the US a debt of gratitude.
                       
                      I pointed out that the US enetered the war because she was attacked, (rather than because of any concern about NZs freedom), and that the German war machine was destroyed in Russia, not western Europe. 
                       
                      This goes to show that counterfactuals can be made to show anything, but primarily that we don’t ‘owe’ the US anything. She acted, as nations do, in defence of her own percieved interests.
                       
                      You then piped up about N Africa, which had nothing to do with the topic as far as I could tell.

  9. infused 9

    Obviously linked to climate change

    • infused 9.1

      On a serious note I think Obamas tears are a bit OTT. While guns may not be the issue, gun control seriously needs to be pulled in over there.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1

        Criticising the dude for crying? really?

        • Morrissey 9.1.1.1

          Criticising “the dude” not for crying, but for the most disgusting hypocrisy.

          • Colonial Weka 9.1.1.1.1

            Obama is a hypocrite, no doubt about it, but tears aren’t a product of politics, they’re a consequence of emotion. It’s normal to feel more for people you have a connection to.
             
            There’s a reason why emotion is considered irrational.

            • Morrissey 9.1.1.1.1.1

              He had a direct connection to the victims of Gaza, because one word from him would have stopped Israel’s rampage.

              • Colonial Weka

                Intellectual connection, yes. Emotional connection, unlikely. You don’t get to be prez of the US without seriously dampening down stranger empathy. You can’t really have someone who’s job it is to kill innocent civilian strangers who feels too much about that.

  10. The news today is about the children that got murdered and the loves one they left behind, too bad some others dont see it that way.

    What the families must be going through is horrific. what the police must of saw who first entered the building is unimaginable.

    Thoughts with them.

    • One Tāne Viper 10.1

      When is the right time then Brett?

      Has Jon Stewart got the rules right?

      • Brett Dale 10.1.1

        Its a massacre of school kids who have nothing to do with policies, I find it quite
        repugnant that people dont have the human decency to give thoughts and wishes to the victims, to bring up other world events of wars and shout out hypocrisy is hypocritical in itself.
         
        Its a sad  day for the families there, too bad some here wont admit it, because it’s America.

        • mickysavage 10.1.1.1

          Maybe it is about not having this debate after the next mass killing occurs.  Maybe the policies are really important in that they can stop one of these incidents.
          Brett I do not see the comments here as being disrespectful.  I actually think they are trying to address the issue.

        • xtasy 10.1.1.2

          Brett Dale: Your comment is representing the mindset of the human product of modern media brainwashing. You focus on the “emotions” and stubbornly want to look for the “blame the criminal” game, rather than bother to research and analyse any likely causes.
           
          Policies do very much have something to do with how societies are run and managed. They affect behaviour, also criminal behaviour.
           
          Indeed, it is not an “accident” that such mass shootings happen again and again, so frequently in the US. It is a combination of too free gun laws, and also of a total failure of mental and other health services working effectively. The incident is also a result of social ills, allowed to fester under a system where some middle class and better off can indulge in narcissistic and bizarre life styles or whatever, where there is no sufficient social cohesion, where individualism comes much on top of anything else, and where people can live in places, to dream up wild phantasies of shooting dozens of people for “power games” or insane “fun”.
           
          Add the media with widely available products that glorify or permit at least highly violent games, behaviour and so on, and then you have a recipe for disaster.
           
          But NZ is not far off, by the way. The media here loves crime, it makes headlines and sells, and advertisers want news to sell, so they will get more attention when a rape, murder or else is reported in the news, which they intersperse with commercials. Great stuff for business that is!
           
          The media also is high on self indulgent show competitions and performances, and social sharing and education are very down on the scale of priorities. That is what goes on here in NZ, same as in the US. A young teenager learns quickly, to be extreme, demanding, resolute, forceful and stand out, that is the way to go, no matter at what level.
           
          Hence an obsession with sex, bizarre behaviours, even violence in the media and entertainment sector, it all becomes the norm after enough inundation, which again leads to a need for media and entertainment providers to up the game even further.
           
          A tattoe on the bum or breast, wild, out of the norm sexual adventures, a punch up in mud amongst unclothed fighters, adventure tourism, eating maggots, cockroaches and enduring pain to the limits, this is now all totally “normal”, while when I grew up, this was all considered “insane” and sick in some ways.
           
          Welcome to the modern world, stop excusing your sick “policies” by distracting with emotive clap trap!

  11. Treetop 11

    No matter where the murdering of innocent children and adults takes place, being brutally killed is shocking and this must be condenmed.

    I cannot imagine the horror which the families are experiencing and they are left to cope hour to hour at this sorrowful time.

  12. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 12

    I counted Brett’s contributions of sorrow and criticism of others not matching his superior compassion today about the USA tragedy as eleven. One heartfelt condolence would have been enough. The rest is just wallowing in Uriah Heep-like self aggrandisement. Like this Charles Dickens character you are being unctuous, so superior in your tender emotions, so much more feeling than any of we lesser beings.

    Wring your hands, a sob a day reflects your great compassion for other humans. But expressing great sorrow will not improve the situation for the future, for all the yet-to-be victims,. They are affected by the lack of action on gun control because of Republican intransigence on passing restrictive gun laws. A successful gun control federal law passed would be a memorial to the dead, and acknowledge the eternal grief and anxiety of the remaining family.

    • Treetop 12.1

      The United States has two main internal problems, an irresponsible gun culture and depriving every citizen access to health care. Both are deadly.

  13. Pascal's bookie 14

    US conservative (outcast pretty much) Davif Frum on his reaction to the shooting, the reaction he then received, and his response to that:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/14/every-day-is-the-day-to-talk-about-gun-control.html

    A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer, as are half a dozen other factors arising from some of the deepest wellsprings of American culture.

    Nor can anybody promise that more rational gun laws would prevent each and every mass murder in this country. Gun killings do occur even in countries that restrict guns with maximum severity.

    But we can say that if the United States worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be many, many fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut.
    And I’ll say: I’ll accept no lectures about “sensitivity” on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.

    It’s bad enough to have a gun lobby. It’s the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police.

  14. Pascal's bookie 15

    And some good advice here, for parents watching the news with kids:

    http://t.co/1oCkx7EB

    ”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

  15. Lefty 16

    The violent deaths of these children is a tragedy.

    The very frequent violent deaths of children from US drones acting on Obama’s instructions are also a tragedy.

    But apparently the children killed by drones are just colateral damage and no reason for tears, while the world should mourn the American children because they are supposedly more innocent than the little ones in Pakistan or Yemen.

    Sometimes the actions and the irrational thought processes of some of our fellow humans are hard to stomach.

    • Arto D. 16.1

      True. Thats the difference between us and them. We are human and they are not. We deserve empathy and they do not. So the media would have you believe.

  16. xtasy 17

    Yes, for sure, the US have a big problem with the wide spread of guns in private homes, the relatively easy availability of guns and the worship of guns in general by those wanting to “defend” themselves from “crime”, wanting to engage in shooting “sports” or whatever.

    This is sadly another incident like so many that happened before. The gun lobby is very strong there, and they are adamant that guns are not the problem.

    I believe that the availability and wide use of guns is a REAL problem in the US, but at the same time I also believe strongly that there are other factors that deserve at least the same focus.

    The US is the prime example of a “laissez faire”, private rights above the community, capitalist, consumerist and also media wise highly brain-washed society, where rational, independent, balanced thinking and behaviour are becoming less and less of the norm.

    I witness the same having taken hold of NZ society since the 1980s and especially 1990s.

    We have very divided societies, there and here, we have a glorification of independent, individual freedom, allowing also wide spread ignorance, fed so by a commercialised, sensationalistic media, glorification of capitalist “rights” to sell and consume what people please, to indulge in lifestyles that individuals prefer, to reject the common, social responsibilities and rather look after number one only.

    In NZ murder, assault and rape have over decades become wide-spread, common offences, while decades ago it was rare to hear or read about such crimes being committed. Dishonesty offences are daily “normalities”, harassment, assault and so forth are also common, although the government wants to make us believe, that this has decreased substantially the last two years. Maybe many “low level” offences are not bothered with anymore, that the figures look better?

    The media seem to “feast” on individual incidents making great stories, touching the emotions of consumers, but they NEVER raise, discuss and address the likely causes!

    Pressures of economic and employment related causes are common, alcohol and drug abuse are common, that is in the US and here also. Social deprivation and a divide between better off and poor has grown.

    In reality, society in the US and also countries like NZ have broken down, and that is to a fair degree due also to the economic realities brought about through destructive economic policies pursued since the “Chicago Boys” as Milton Friedman’s disciples, and here Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, Ruth Richardson, Shipley and consorts, have set the tone and pace.

    Going around the bend, losing it, psychological and psychiatric break-down are very common occurences under such social illness that results from the ever growing divide, individualisation, division within society, and many seeing no purpose of any kind in their lives anymore. Add the hyped up entertainment industry products of violent, extreme movies, games, de-humanising sexual content and more, and you end up with nutters going to do such massacres.

    I expect much, much more of this to happen, and the likelihood of it to happen more so in large populations will not mean, this will never happen here (yet again).

  17. xtasy 18

    I may also confide, that in 1998 I worked for a NZ based media and entertainment distribution company, being the selling and marketing arm of very prominent international media corporations, where I witnessed, without any doubt, that highly explicit and violent computer games were being sold as CDs to 12 or 13 year olds, while the same games were having labels stating, that in the EU they would not be allowed to be made available or sold to persons aged at least 16, and in some cases 18!!!

    Even in the US some of those games were not to be sold to persons under age 16. Yet here in NZ, the company did widely distribute those very cruel and violent “games” to youngsters of virtually any age, as at least then, there was NO age restriction for the sales of them!

    That is New Zealand, dear friends, and I can assure you, I am telling you the absolute truth!

    I did not feel good working there, and after months I took the first opportunity to get out and start another job!

    Such games have allowed too many easily influenced youngsters to be de-sensitivised and learn that violence is not wrong, and something that is “normal” to deal with at an unemotional, alienated level. It is perceived as just being a “game”, but in real life, I fear some do lose it and cannot draw the line between fiction and reality.

    Anders Breivik may also somehow fall into that category, I am afraid!

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1

      Totally agree that restricted games should not be sold to those underage – they are restricted for a reason as are pornogaphic mivies and horror films. Age appropriate is age appropriate.
      I’ve gamed since the days of spacies parlours in the 80’s and in that time having games with 1,000’s of people have found the majority of the gaming community to be totally postive, non-violent and caring who can totally distingush between reality and pixels on a computer screen.No gamer I know of has difficulty distingushing between shooting pixels, often of aliens, and actually harming someone in real life.
      Video gaming doesn’t even appear in the FBI list of indicators related to youth violence. The fact that some of these youths play video games shouldn’t be a surprise any more than it would be to find they drink coffee or read Jack Reacher novels or go to action movies at the pictures.
      http://www.thefreelibrary.com/School+Violence%3a+Lessons+Learned.-a056750210
       
       

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1.1

        Having not really looked at Brevik in detail here’s what appears on the surface to be a reasonably detailed summation of him.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik

        Video gaming seems to be of little import.

        It’s interesting too whether violence has in fact increased over time and whether that is proportional to aspects such as population growth and legislative change.

        If our population has grown fourfold since the sixties should we expect 4 times as many murders?

        If it is no longer legal to rape or beat your wife and this is now a crime has violence against wives increased or decreased – what was the rate prior to the legislation changing?

        I certainly know some horrific stories of abuse.

        It’s well accepted that someone who is mentally unwell is more likely to have violence done against them rather than do violence themselves.

        In the past however many were institutionlised and there was much violence at many of those institituions. That violence was not ever reported as a crime.

        For many of those I know and those my wife has worked with they now suffer much less violence than they used to.

        I would hate to think that the violence I had inflicted on me at boarding school would still be getting repeated today.

        Does urbanisation play a part?

        That all being said I do totally agree that we have as a society become less concern with our overall population and for those at the bottom. Politicians denigrating our population give lisence for others to do the same and unless we have politicians who wish to stand up against the notion of survival of the fittest, walk over others to get what you want, who don’t want to accept that the collective society they live in is what allows those who are the best and brightest to excel and that opportunity should exist for the all and not just those with connections – in short some politicans who have some sense of collective responsiblity, egalitarianism,  and a willingness to look after all our citizens fairly then we’re doomed to see greater disparity and despair for those at the bottom. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
         

      • Arto D. 18.1.2

        Exactly. If video games were the cause of mass murder then it would be happening every day. However, they are perfect for training more drone controller-murderers.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1.2.1

          No more so than a remote controlled car.

        • xtasy 18.1.2.2

          From a psychological point of view you may be too swift with dismissing this totally. I am not claiming that such mass shootings are primarily caused by persons consuming violent video or game products for entertainnment, I am adamant though, that the high exposure common these days, to films, games and other media, creates a desensitivised mind in many, as that is the natural and only way many can cope with such high level exposure to violence and much other visual and audio inundation.
           
          Decades ago, when television was in its early days, people reacted more sensitively to violent pictures or anything else than today. Now it is common, and people watch the news, where suicide bombers are reported and sometimes shown having blown heaps of people to pieces.
           
          War and other events are presented in brief summaries of reports, and some have their dinner or drink a beer watching this, certainly not too few making jokes about it.
           
          That is what is common these days.
           
          And although there is not necessarily a direct cause and result link between violent games and movies on one hand, and mass murder incidents, I am convinced that there is at least an indirect link.
           
          The fact that such incidents seem to be happening more and more often, particularly in the US and also in some other “developed” countries, that is not just a kind of unusual “accident”.
           
          I also claim that since junk food has been sold widely and commercially, promoted intensively through agressive marketing, the dietary issues that populations with a high level of junk food outlets have increased substantially.
           
          So I leave it to you to make sense out of it, or not, but that is my view on this.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1.2.2.1

            Part of what I’m saying is that gamers are not de-sensitised to real-life violence. It’s easy to assume that they are but that doesn’t make it any truer than comics or rock n roll music.
            Most gamers are acutely aware of the difference between real violence and what they do.
            The de-sensitisation is much much more likely to be as a result of those things the FBI lists.
            The interesting thing is is that there is not even a correlation effect for gaming – youth violence has actually reduced as gaming has increased.
            Being white and male would have a much stronger influence in my opinion.
             

      • xtasy 18.1.3

        So it is Nietzsche’s fault now, is it???

    • infused 18.2

      Oh god, here we go again with computer games.

  18. tc 19

    And gun sales are through the roof up to and after the election with Smith and Wesson/Ruger reported double digit jumps in quarterly earnings.

    With the chemicals, climate (financial, political and actual weather) and general psyche of the American heartland this is sadly more in a continuing trend of an unhealthy society that expresses itself in violence.

    Look toward to some calm analysis of what events led this person to these actions.

  19. Johnm 20

    “The U.S. is seized by social ills…a rampant pathology — personal and collective that creates the noxious social milieu responsible for murderous rampages perpetrated by troubled souls. And it is time, we discussed the reasons: The soul-destroying, exploitative nature of late capitalism; the dehumanizing effect of a militarist empire and its concomitant violence coming home to roost; the toxic mythos of Hollywood’s fetishization of firearms; a generation of empathy-devoid, emotionally benumbed video game-addicted zombies. ”
    Phil Rockstroh

    The easy access to firearms is just crazy, it means any suicidal person with a hate grudge no matter how ill founded can go out in a blaze of carnage taking innocent lives with him. :-(

    • xtasy 20.1

      “The easy access to firearms is just crazy, it means any suicidal person with a hate grudge no matter how ill founded can go out in a blaze of carnage taking innocent lives with him”
      You just helped me realise another thing! You correctly refer to “him”, and as I can remember, all, or at least almost all such mass shootings, have been committed by MALES!
       
      Or does anybody have any info about a female mass shooter perhaps?
       
      It is clearly also primarily a male problem, while suicide may be more “egalitarian” in a way.
      Since gender equality has become widely accepted, perhaps with the exception of equal pay for work, it also appears that some males struggle with their identities and roles. It has already become evident in poorer performance of male students over the last decade or so, but this is another aspect to consider in this sad area as well, perhaps.
       

      • MrSmith 20.1.1

        It starts in the cradle with boys in blue and girls in pink, give the girls the doll and boys the gun, read them fairy tales, then nurture the mistrust with stories of tooth fairies, trolls, angels and god, then throw them to the marketers (wolves), who can blame them for being angry.
        It’s our fault!
         

  20. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 21

    We need to remember how the USA resorts to assassination of misguided people who want to lead policy in an unsuitable direction. Then there was the summary punishment of lynching, and the terror tactics of cross-burning and harrassment. Also they can groupthink themselves into cults like the KluKluxKlan. Then murdering those doing abortions, which is in their view unacceptable though murder of an adult isn’t. The religious wraparound culture did and does not create enough love, concern for others and tolerance to prevent these, may even subtly or not, encourage them.

  21. Pascal's bookie 22

    http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html

    By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

    On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

    And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. My son’s father refuses to be a part of Michael’s life for more than three hours a week. My son’s father is trying to take my time with my younger children away, because none of us are safe with Michael (I agree with this statement, but I don’t know that I feel like my children are any safer with their father, who has struggled with mental illness for several years).

    Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

    I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

  22. xtasy 23

    Must read:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/28/us-world-firearms-idUSL2834893820070828
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/its-guns-we-all-know-its-not-really-guns

    There are contradicting figures, but surely the US rates amongst the highest gun ownership rates per capita.

    Mike Moore raises some interesting points under the last link.

    Germany for instance also has a fairly high gun ownership rate, but most are just use for sports shooting or hunting, and they have far less shooting incidents than the US and many other countries per capita.

    You can look at other countries, and it is a similar story.

    The US has a major problem with violence, power, guns and choosing the wrong solutions to resolve issues. Mental health come into play, and also social deprivation, I believe, so much to study and learn from I suppose.

    It will be very interesting what Obama and his government will now suggest and do.

  23. Arto 24

    If Obama tries to make any moves against the gun lobby, I guess the representative from the military corporations will just take Obama to the side and show him the 1963 Dealy Plaza film – and that’ll teach Obama who the boss of America really is…

  24. vipreferredtoemacs 25

    Yep maybe “some guys” with a history of mental health issues – SRS med prescriptions – anger and violent threats manifest in blogs – an “I know better than the law” attitude that results in a conviction – convictions – blog postings aligning weapons with sex – a blog that glorifies weapons on Wednesdays – probably even if they posted a photoshopped image of a Prime Minister as an inscending target – yep maybe these guys shouldn’t have access to guns ?
    Think of anyone that fits ?

  25. vipreferredtoemacs 26

    I see sections 2.29 to 2.32 of the Police Firearms Manual 2002 already considers this situation.
    Hey Joe Green – you helped to edit this tome – you been thinking about this “some guy” ?

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