Tag Archives: Sandy Brook

Are Gun-Free Zones Working?

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After the Sandy Brook school shooting left 20 children dead, the American government, media, and public demanded stricter gun laws. Some even demanded the United States banning types of guns and creating more gun-free zones across the country. Though I support stricter gun policies, especially ones focusing on individuals with mental illnesses, I do not believe banning guns and creating more gun-free zones will make the country safer. 

Is the United States becoming more Violent?

English: Clean-up crew at the ruins of Bath Co...

Clean-up crew at the ruins of Bath Consolidated School. (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Due to the media’s ability to focus only on mass-shootings, many Americans believe the country is heading toward a violent future. Inreality, the most mass-killings in the country occurred in the year 1929. Due to the ban of the evil alcohol (sounds familiar) the mafia and other gangs became involved in illegally selling alcohol to the American citizens, resorting to violence during turf wars with other gangs. Though what occurred at Sandy Brook was horrible, the deadliest school-related massacre in America occurred in 1927 when school board member Andrew Kehoe, upset with a property tax, wired the school building with dynamite and set it on fire. After the school building blew up, he drove the scene of the crime in his car where he blew his car up, killing him and a few more adults. A total of 45 people, including 38 children, were killed. And when the town population contained only 300 residents, everyone knew someone that died. According to FSU criminologist Gary Kleck, there are 2 million defensive uses of firearms by law abiding citizens each year, though those stories do not make the news. Though the media has painted a picture of a violent future for the United States, the country saw its worst days when Al Capone called the shots.

How many people die each year from guns?

In 2010, 11,078 people were killed because of a firearm, 26,009 died from an unintentional fall, 33,041 died from positioning, and 33,687 died from a motor vehicle accident.  Though guns play an important role in violence, Americans are more likely to die while driving in their car. According to the FBI, between 2007-2011, 8,967 people were murdered with knives or cutting instruments, 3,918 people were murdered with knives or shotguns, 2,918 murdered with blunt objects (bats and hammers), and 1,874 were murdered with rifles.Even if guns did not exist, thousands of people would still die every year from another weapon. Let’s not forget how the Aurora Movie Theater Shooter had a bomb set to explode if someone entered his apartment; that would of killed a lot more people if he had succeeded. 

Do Strict Gun Laws work?

Western Europe has some of the strictest gun laws, yet three of the worst school shootings in the world took place in either Britain or Germany. In China, a country that bans guns, it is common for a school attack to take place each month; instead of guns, the killers use hammers, knives, and meat cleavers to kill school children. In Kennesaw, Georgia, the law requires that each household (with a few exception) own a firearm. In 2007, Family Circle named it one of the 10 best towns for families. The reason is probably because ever since the law passed in 1982 requiring everyone to own a gun, crime rate has decreased 50% and continues to decrease, having one of the lowest crime rates in the country. The residents believe it is because criminals know that everyone had a gun, thus it is best not to rob someone’s house. Strict gun laws do not guarantee safety since criminals do not obey the laws and will do harm, even in countries where guns are not allowed, the criminal still manages to kill. Meanwhile a town with a lax gun law boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Do Gun-Free Zones work?

No guns

No guns (Leo Reynolds)

In 1999, John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago published a study that stated that mass shootings usually occur at places were firearms are banned, such as schools and malls. A shooter does not want to be shot before he finishes his goal of killing. When he goes into a gun-free zone, he knows that no one will be able to fire back at him. The Aurora movie theater killer, who killed 12 people, had 7 theaters to choose within 20 minutes of his house to commit his vicious crime. He did not choose the farthest theater or the closes theater, he chose the only one that banned concealed handguns. In the past, several shootings that occurred on gun-free zones were stopped when a civilian ran back to his car to get a gun out from the glove compartment and then confronted the shooter. Though some people are outraged that President Obama proposed more police officers in schools, the large number of mass shootings that require at gun-free zones show that gun-free zones do not work; to the shooter, he knows he has plenty of time to kill before the police arrive.

Conclusion:

Though people have gone anti-gun crazy since the Sandy Brook shooting, the facts show that the United States is not becoming a more violent society. While the media and politicians call for stricter gun laws, stricter gun laws will not deplete all gun crimes since criminals do not follow the rules; meanwhile Kennesaw is one of the safest towns in the country due to its relax gun laws. Gun-free zones do not work since majority of mass-shootings have occurred in them since the shooters know no one will fire back at them. If the United States government wants to decrease the overall crime rate it should focus on decreasing poverty and assimilating immigrants since gun violence is more likely to occur to minorities and those in poverty. The country should also focus on researching mental illness and making health care more available because majority of mass-shooters were suffering from a mental illness. Also, the country should increase funding for education since countless studies have shown that an educated person is less likely to commit any type of crime. America needs to remember that the whole society needs to work together to address these issues in order to decrease violence in the country.

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Media Loves Mass Shootings

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The Media loves mass shootings. After all, it is the public actually turns on the news channels in order to find out why the shooting went on a shooting range. Within hours of the Sandy Brook Massacre several news outlets were interviewing the children who, hours earlier, were climbing out windows so a shooter would not kill them. Weeks later, an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser was on the front page of Aol. While an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser may be interesting, the media “forgot” to mention other news stories that involved an armed civilian shooting a potential mass shooter, injuring him before he could kill more people.

A few days before the Sandy Brook shootings, Jacob Roberts opened fire at Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon. Upset over a break-up, Roberts took his anger out on innocent shoppers, killing two. Roberts would have killed more when Nick Meli took out his gun and confronted the shooter. Roberts backed off into a store and pulled the trigger on himself; he was dead by the time the cops arrived. Meli has a concealed weapons permit and when he saw the shooter, he risked his life to save the lives of others and his friend. Meli should be considered a hero, but the media does not mention him. When Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts held a press conference he thanked the police officers but made no mention of Meli.

Two days after Sandy Brook, 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia exited the Chinese restaurant he worked at and started firing at the theater located next door, injuring one person. Before Garcia could enter the theater, where he planned to kill everyone on sight, he was shot four times by an off-duty deputy working at the theater. The off-duty deputy, Sgt. Liza Castellano, should be a nation-wide hero for preventing another movie theater mass murder, but only the local news outlets and bloggers covered her story.

Though Sandy Brook is one of worst mass murders in the United States’ history and is the reason why it was the top news story in December, the media has a history of downplaying civilians’ actions in preventing mass shootings. In 1997, Mississippi high school student Luke Woodham killed two classmates and wounded seven after a breakup with his girlfriend (his x-girlfriend was one of those he killed). An assistant principal retrieved his gun from his car and confronted the shooter until the police arrived. Yet not all media recognized that the assistant principal used a gun, even CNN failed to mention it. As with most news stories, the story focused majority on the villain, not the hero. In 2002, Peter Odighizuwa went on a killing spree at Appalachian School of Law in Virginia after finding out he had failed out of school. He killed three, including a dean, a professor, and a student. Though the media praised the students who tackled the shooter, the media failed to mention how two students used their own guns to stop the shooter. When Tracy Bridges, a county sheriff deputy, and Mikael Gross, a police officer, heard gun shots, each ran to their cars to retrieve their own guns. Each tracked down the shooter and approached him at different angles and got him to drop his gun. Once he dropped the gun, other students tackled the shooter.

Mainstream media has a history of omitting heroes who used guns to saves lives; to them, the better stories are how loners used guns to kill a large number of innocent lives. Though the Texas Movie Theater shooting took place after Sandy Brook shooting, the media thought an interview with the Sandy Brook shooter’s hairdresser was more newsworthy than the heroics of Sgt. Liza Castellano preventing the next movie theater shooting. The media may believe ratings or politics are more important than the news, but to the average person, it is nice to hear about the everyday hero.

Common Sense: One Method of Gun Control

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On December 16, 2012, President Barrack Obama announced to the American public his four suggestions to Congress on how to decrease gun violence in the United States. Though banning military guns, cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, assigning police officers to public schools, and doing research on mental illness will all play an important role in decreasing gun violence, there is one inexpensive object that is free to all that can decrease gun violence: Common Sense. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary common sense is a “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Everyone has common sense, yet people in general do not always use it as much as they should. In a country where gun violence is resulting in hundreds of deaths each year, it is up to gun owners to use common sense to prevent innocent people from dying.

 

English: Clockwise start at the top left: Gloc...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nancy Lanza, the mother of Adam Lanza, knew something was wrong with her son, something more than just autism. Though he was awkward and lacked social skills, he was known to go into outburst in high school that required the school to contact his mother since she was the only one who could calm him down. Adam avoided social interaction, had zero friends, and was teased; he was the type of person who could become the next Columbine Shooter. My generation went to high school after the Columbine School Shooting, knowing that the loners being picked on could resort to murder in order to take revenge on the school bullies. He was an unemployed 20-years-old, living with his mother after dropping out of Western Connecticut State University. After his parents divorced in 2010, he cut off all contact with his father and older brother, an example on how he was angry about his parents divorce. Adam was also seeing a psychiatrist. Something was wrong with Adam, yet his mother kept several types of guns in the house, including the Glock 10-mm handgun, Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun, and Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the Sandy Brook Elementary School Shooting. When Adam went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a rifle, he chanted his mind after he was told that there was a waiting period. He knew at home he had the Bushmaster AR-15, the assault-type weapon similar to the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military, capable of firing 45 rounds per minute. Adam also knew how to use the guns since his mother had taken him to the gun range several times over the years… Even though Nancy knew there was something wrong with her son, she kept several guns in the house and taught Adam how to shoot. No parent with a child suffering from a mental illness should own guns in her house, much less teach the child how to use it.

On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler, 62, murdered his sister and then set fire to his house in hopes of burning down his neighborhood and killing everyone. When firefighters arrived at the scene, he used a semiautomatic rifle to kill two firefighters. After exchanging gun fire with an off-duty cop, Spengler used a handgun to fatally shoot himself. Spengler was not new to murder, after all, he used a hammer to kill his grandmother years ago when she refused to give him money for drugs.This also meant that Spengler was a convicted felon and not able to buy guns, yet he was able to obtain the two guns used in the attack. Did he purchase the guns from a guy selling guns from the trunk of his car? Did he purchase the guns from a gang member in the shady part of town? Did he steal the guns from a woman who lives alone? No, he asked his 20-year-old neighbor to assist him to a gun shop where he picked out the guns while she made the purchase, a “straw purchase.” Did Dawn Nguyen know Spengler was a former convict? There is a possibility because other neighbors have told police that they knew he killed his grandmother and served time in jail, making it possible that Nguyen knew she was committing a crime by purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. But even if she did not know, why did she not question why a man in his sixties was not able to purchase the guns himself? It is common knowledge that only convicted felons and locked-up mental illness patients cannot purchase guns. No one should purchase guns for someone she barely knows.

On September 12, 2012, a two-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with a handgun and died. He was at home with his parents, one of which is a cop, when he picked up the loaded gun from the table and shot himself. Sadly, this type of gun accident is why 120 people between the ages 1-19 died in 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control. Every year hundreds of children die from guns because their parents did not keep guns away from them. Even a police officer, who knows how to use a gun and how dangerous a gun is, kept a loaded gun on a table in the same house as his toddler lived. Why would parents keep a loaded gun on a table? Did they think their “terrible two” son would not find the gun? As every parent knows, toddlers are magnetically drawn to dangerous objects; but yet some parents still do not keep their guns locked up on a high shelf. If one must own a gun in the same house as where children live, then they need to keep the gun unloaded, the bullets in a separate location, the safety on, and the gun locked up on a high shelf. Too many innocent children die each year because their own parents lack the common sense to keep a loaded gun away from a child.

The United States government can pass all the gun laws it desires but the laws will not work if people lack the common sense to follow the laws. Gun owners should not keep guns in the same house where someone with a mental disability lives or teach a person with a mental illness on how to use a gun. A citizen should not purchase a gun for a stranger/neighbor/friend in any circumstance since there could be a reason why he himself could not purchase the gun; plus, the gun buyer could also face 10 years in prison for purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. Parents should not keep a loaded gun in a spot where children can access the gun. If everyone just had common sense when it came to guns, then there would be less gun violence in the country.