Editor,

For those individuals who own or are planning on owning an AR-15 or an assault rifle and feel it their constitutional right to have one I ask the following (First let me make it perfectly clear these are the rifles of choice in the majority on these mass shooting; they were made primarily for the military use).

It seems that all we hear from you is that it’s your right to have these guns and you need them to protect yourselves. You also say you fear the government will take away all your guns if you allow them to limit the guns you have now. Nothing is further from the truth. I believe that most citizens have guns for protection and hunting, myself being one of those people. I do not have, or need, assault rifles with high volume magazines to hunt or protect myself or my family.

If you are one of the people who feel it is your right to own one of these guns help us come up with a solution to all these mass shootings. Until now, all we hear from you is why you are allowed an assault rifle. Your NRA that represents you went from a recreational hunting organization to a political organization that fights for your right to own any gun you want. Why did they change directions? What we ask is that you take time and think about all the adults and children that have lost their lives, then, instead of fighting for your rights, help come up with a solution to these shootings. Pretend these children are yours. There is an answer; we just need to stop fighting and come together to end this terrible curse that has fallen on the United States.

Robert A. Nice

Redwood City

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(45) comments

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Westy,

On a different thread, I saw you used the A.P.A. and F.B.I. to refute the notion that mental illness might be at the root of mass shootings. Are you trained in and did you read the material used by those institutions? Or do you simply trust them as competent professionals in their fields?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Nice,

After two planes killed over three thousand people in the twin towers, the people in charge changed things at our airports. Do you remember being able to say goodbye and hello at the airport gate? I don't think that solution came from Boeing or people that fly. Maybe you are asking the wrong people to offer solutions.

People will find weapons to assist them achieve their goals. The U.S. Constitution provides my right to own firearms. It also provides a path to changing the law. Politicians and the media possibly aided our intelligentsia will continue to distract us until we replace them. That is the best answer I can come up with. Vote better.

Tafhdyd

Hello Wilfred,

Good to see your sage advice back in the DJ. I agree that voting is the tool of choice, unfortunately too many people that can, don’t. It is one of the most important rights that we have as a free society and so many people could care less. I have voted in the past 14 presidential elections and haven’t missed a state or local election in-between those either. I don’t consider it as much a right as I do a privilege and duty because if you don’t vote you have no reason or right to complain. Stay dry and have a nice weekend.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

Thank you for the compliment and be assured that I completely agree with your thoughts as well. Like you, my wife and I always vote. We do so out of a sense of civic responsibility and because we honor the sacrifices made by the men and women in service to our nation. In researching the validity of the logic being employed by gun control advocates, I came to the conclusion there is no relationship between availability of firearms and mass shooting in schools. At least not that I can discern. If you look at the links below, you'll see why. As you might know, Alaskans are armed to the teeth. Yet we are in the bottom half of mass shootings. Even the ladies in my wife's book club are proficient in the proper use of all manner of long rifles and some even have conceal carry licenses for handguns. One of the ladies carries everywhere not against the law and has a gun in every room of her house. Not because she is gun crazy or paranoid, but because she knows that by the time the police arrive... it is to late. Stay well and keep me honest.

https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/gun-ownership-by-state

https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/school-shootings-by-state

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

BTW, I forgot to mention in my previous reply that Jimmy Carter was my first Presidential selection. [ohmy]

Tafhdyd

Wilfred,

I took a look at the links you provided and found them very interesting, thanks. When I get some time I will try and go to the sources they mention to see if I can get a few more details.

I expected to see high numbers of guns in wilderness states like Alaska, but was a little surprised to see below average numbers is some other states with high wilderness areas like Minnesota, New Hampshire and Colorado.

For the states with the fewest guns, New Jersey and Massachusetts are tied and coincidently, or maybe not, they also have the toughest gun regulations of the states and Massachusetts also has one of the lowest gun fatality rates.

The link for mass shootings and school shootings is unfortunately more vague. They list the top ten states with school shootings with California, Texas and Florida leading the way. Three states with high populations so understandably more shootings. When they switch to per-capita shootings, Washington, D.C. is tops, not sure why, they are not a state and are not in the list of shootings by state. Alaska is second and Louisiana, Delaware and Alabama follow. They do not list all states by per-capita, just the ones listed, but do list all the states and number of shootings.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Taffhdyd,

Because I'm on vacation and pressed for free time, I have not followed up on the peculiarities you noticed. I will pursue government stats, if they exist, when I can make time. If you have time and interest to help would be appreciated. I want to keep the focus on semi-automatic rifles and school mass shootings. Thanks for making your observations.

Tafhdyd

Wilfred,

Not to worry. Enjoy your vacation time and stay well!

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

I shall Tafhdyd. You do likewise.

Jorg

It is quite obvious that the right-wingers commenting on this site simply do not grasp that the main and overriding problem is that the 18-year old loony who shot up the Robb Elementary School had too easy access to assault weapons and ammunition. And why don’t they understand?

Terence Y

It is quite obvious that rabid left-wingers commenting on this site would rather prioritize screeching about gun control over school safety and actually doing something to make schools harder targets. Why don’t they understand?

Jorg

Terence Y: The vast majority of us understand why “hardening schools” is neither possible, nor workable. We also understand that this is just an effort to sidetrack the real issue of gun availability and the need for better gun control. Don’t ask me to explain what’s so obvious to most of us. You wouldn’t even try to understand. The “hardening schools” idea is gobbled up by the easily fooled, who have no idea what it would take to do that, and how undesirable it would be. Perhaps I’m too conservative, old fashioned enough to believe that kids go to school to learn the 3 R’s, reading, ‘riting and ‘ritmetick.

Btw.: You haven’t mentioned your idol, Trumputin, lately. Have you finally realized what a fake he is?

Terence Y

Jorg, the vast majority, if not all (although some don’t want to admit it), of us understand the Dem’s version of gun control is neither possible, nor workable. There are over 400 million firearms in this country and if needed, individuals can manufacture their more firearms, or print them. You say hardening schools is not the answer, where’s your data? Sorry, your opinion is not data. We already see what happens with soft schools. I believe Missouri now allows teachers to carry concealed guns and I hear Ohio’s governor is expected to sign a bill permitting schoolteachers and other public school employees to carry firearms. I guess these states actually care about kids more than folks screeching about gun control. BTW, I don’t need to mention our great President Trump – he lives in your head rent-free. We understand why you don’t talk about treasonous Biden – no accomplishments as far as the eye can see with his America Last policies.

Westy

Amen Jorg. Ted Cruz suggested each school have just one door in and one door out. That will solve all the problems! Yeah, let's "harden" those schools.

edkahl

Gun don't kill people - inattentive parenting does. Guns or no guns the anger in the young men would still drive them to use other ways to kill children in the schools they blame for their rejection and isolation. Teachers know who these socially isolated young men are but they have no qualified counseling resources to refer them too.

Jorg

Ed: Wouldn’t it be better to make it harder for angry civilians to get their hands on guns? Now, even a deranged 18-year old can walk right into a gun store in some states and buy assault weapons and a pile of ammunition. For what purpose other than killing others? We can talk medical health, failed parenting and other side issues forever, while mass shootings keep occurring, more and more often.

Tommy Tee

Ah--channeling your inner Ted Cruz, I see.

Westy

Oh now it's the inattentive parenting. I thought it was the mental health crisis? Or the video games? Or the pot (as Marjorie Taylor Green suggested yesterday)? Or the schools that aren't "hardened" enough? Or that there aren't enough guns being carried by teachers? It would be hilarious if kids weren't dying due to the excuses used to shore up the interests of gun manufacturers.

Jorg

Westy: If it weren’t for all the tragic deaths, the compact stupidity would be laughable!

Terence Y

Yes, Jorg – compact stupidity is an apt description of Chuck Schumer, since Schumer recently blocked a school safety bill. It would be hilarious if kids weren’t dying due to Schumer valuing politics more than our kids.

Jorg

All too typical from the other, non-caring side, to try to pass something, anything, that sidetracks the issue, which is much needed, overdue gun control. And very convenient, of course, to blame Schumer for stopping it.

Terence Y

All too typical from Dems to play politics by not passing anything which addresses the issue instead of caring about the safety of our kids. And it’s very convenient, of course, for Dems to provide cover for Schumer’s intransigence.

Tommy Tee

It's The Fox narrative, word for word.

Ray Fowler

Good Sunday afternoon, Westy

I would have liked to participate in this conversation earlier, but I have been out of commission due to some medical issues over the past couple of days.

Separating the wheat from the chaff in your 6/3 6:52 pm post, we’re left with hardening schools with armed teachers and mental health issues. Your cohort, Jorg, believes that hardening schools is something gobbled up by the easily fooled. You seem to agree. In the case of the Uvalde tragedy, you said, “Armed teachers would not have given the shooter second thoughts.” I asked how you acquired information that suggests armed teachers would not be a deterrent. I’m still waiting for a response.

As you may or may not recall, I said programs to arm teachers could be a logistical nightmare. It might work, but a principal cannot just start handing out pistols at an after-school faculty meeting. However, perhaps the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program could serve as starting point for programs to arm teachers. While arming teachers is permitted in as many as 32 states, it does not make sense to implement a program that might run smack dab in the middle of a logistical nightmare.

Would hardening schools with armed teachers work? A Purdue University professor found that “having either an armed guard or armed staff on school grounds can reduce the number of casualties in a mass shooting situation by up to 70 percent by, at the very least, slowing an attacker.” I’m sorry to disappoint Jorg, but maybe it’s not the folks calling for hardening schools who are the ones easily fooled.

I have been clear that we, as a country, should move forward with universal background checks, waiting periods, restrictions on weaponry, gun safety technology, and improved mental health services. The role mental illness plays in mass shootings cannot be denied. No matter how many laws are passed to reduce gun violence, without preventative mental health programs… the number of potential mass shooters will not be reduced. Did you see President Biden’s speech last Thursday? He is calling for “common sense” gun policies. He talked about background checks, an assault rifle ban, “red flag” laws and other measures. The president also mentioned… wait for it… more mental health services.

I posted last week, “The lack of authentic, available, and affirming mental health services has made our ability to identify and eliminate potential public safety threats extremely difficult plus it has hindered efforts to help those in need to manage mental health challenges.” This cannot be dismissed as a red herring. Consider what has transpired over the past year or so. Police departments across the country have started to look for ways to integrate mental health professionals into calls for service involving someone who may be suffering from a diagnosed mental condition. Additionally, schools all over the country are already moving to address the negative psychological effects on students’ mental health following COVID lockdowns. Would anyone be surprised that untreated mental and emotional trauma suffered by students over the past two years may be manifested as acts of violence in the future?

Addressing the mental health factor in mass shootings has been done before. In 2016, President Obama signed into law mental health reforms which were intended, in part, to get help for those who may use guns violently. It looks like we need another investment in accessible quality mental health services.

Coming full circle… I have two questions for you regarding mental health and mass shootings. These are not rhetorical. First, do the shooters from Aurora and Boulder Colorado, the El Paso Walmart, Marjorie Douglas Stoneman HS, and Buffalo NY look like happy, well-adjusted people to you? Second query… You said, “School shooters go in with the expectation that they will die.” Does that sound like something a person in good mental health would do?

Jorg

Ray: Again, you side-step the real issue with an avalanche of words, but without addressing the only sensible, immediate solution, which is to raise the age limit from 18 to 21, and ban military style assault weapons and the like for civilians. Several of the mass shootings after 2018 could have been avoided just by raising the age limit.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

You say "Several of the mass shootings after 2018 could have been avoided just by raising the age limit." Using the commonly accepted definition of mass shootings... a shooting with at least four victims... there have been approximately 2200 such shootings since 2018. Six of the most deadly mass shootings were committed by persons under the age of 21. Do you have anything to support your claim that "several of mass shootings after 2018" were done by persons under 21?

I almost hate to ask the question because I feel it trivializes the topic. It's not about numbers... it's about people. However, in my view, misleading and unsubstantiated claims can also trivialize the discussion.

You can argue for raising the age to purchase weapons from 18 to 21, and it is perfectly reasonable for you to do so... if the age of majority is raised at the same time. Why? We expect 18 year olds to register for the draft or volunteer for military duty, and we expect them to have the maturity to cast votes in important elections. So, if the age to purchase guns is increased to 21, then no voting or draft eligibility until 21 as well. Is that OK with you?

One other point that has been made clear over the past week. Most mass shootings are accomplished with handguns not military style assault weapons. When the assault weapons ban was in place between 1994 and 2004, there was little effect on the number of gun violence incidents and homicides.

I have been advocating for a series gun policy changes since last week... before President Biden's speech last Thursday. The things I have suggested line up with much of the president's ideas.

Jorg

Ray: My fault! I should have expected such nonsense from you! Just more of the same BS, without responding to my point.

Terence Y

Welcome back, Ray. It appears you’ve painted Jorg into a corner, yet again, and forced Jorg into his cycle of deflection (because he can’t censor you). I see you’ve earned a few more exclamation points. I was lucky enough to earn a “flat Earth” from Jorg the other day.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

You feel the answer to curtail mass shootings would be to implement an assault weapons ban and raise the lawful age to purchase a firearm to 21. It matters none to you that the previous ban had no appreciable effect on firearms related violence and deaths or that your statements about the age of most mass shooters is false.

You're convinced taking assault weapons out of the hands of 18 year old "loonies" is the answer. Mass shootings involve a series of complex factors and as a result we need a more comprehensive approach to fashion solutions and policies to address those complex factors. That's not nonsense.

Again, are you OK in raising the age of majority to 21? It's a simple question. Your response?

One other item... are you still advocating that homeowners lock away a single shot firearm in their homes for purposes of protecting their families?

Jorg

Ray: Yes, firearms should be locked up at home for everybody’s protection. For the rest, I have expressed my opinion and should not have to do it again. Just read what I wrote. However, your statements are dead wrong! Bans did work in the past, and raising the age limit should be a no-brainer.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

Let me save Terence some time... it appears you have limited experience with firearms. That's OK. However, when such limitations inform an opinion and that opinion is further bolstered with unsubstantiated claims... such an opinion may bring only limited value to a larger discussion... whatever the topic.

Your idea to wave a wand over the age restriction to purchase firearms is not a bad idea but it may be fraught with legal entanglements. Additionally, you feel your claim that most of the mass shootings in the US have been committed by persons under the age of 21 makes your idea a "no brainer." However the numbers don't validate that claim. I have asked twice... no response... are you also supporting raising the age for draft registration, voting, etc.?

You further claim that the previous assault weapons ban worked. It just "worked"... no explanation or evidence to tell us how well it may have worked. Earlier this year at the Johns Hopkins' Summit on Reducing Gun Violence in America, concerning the 1994 ban, it was reported that there was "really, very, very little evidence, almost none, that gun violence was becoming any less lethal or any less injurious during this time frame. So on balance, we concluded that the ban had not had a discernible impact on gun crime during the years it was in effect." But there is some good news... the report went on to say there "could potentially produce at least a small reduction in shootings" with a long term ban. The potential for a small reduction in shootings is there. To your point... will another ban stop mass shootings? As most mass shootings are committed with handguns, the answer has to be "No."

So, do we just shrug and accept mass shootings? No. Let's look at more effective ways of reducing gun violence by keeping guns... all guns... out of the hands of persons who would use them destructively. Let's see what Congress does with assault weapons following President Biden's speech last Thursday... but let's not delay in getting better background checks, waiting periods, gun safety technology, red flag laws, etc. in place.

A National Institute of Justice study had its research into mass shooters published last year in "The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic." After interviewing the researchers, Politico... a left leaning news source... reported on the study saying, "a data-backed, mental health-based approach could identify and address the next mass shooter before he pulls the trigger — if only politicians are willing to actually engage in finding and funding targeted solutions."

I'm not an expert but I doubt if that data-backed mental health-based approach would spend a lot of time on male gender expectations of toughness and ad campaigns portraying automatic weapons as "sexy." I could be wrong.

BTW... is your muzzle-loader safely stored at home?

Jorg

Ray: I have had more than enough of your nonsense, - not worth spending more time on. You even have an opinion on MY weapon and military experience! Yeah, as if you would know anything about my background! Kind of silly of you to offer an opinion, - but what difference does it make, you do that all the time about things you neither know much about, nor understand.

Ray Fowler

Jorg, Jorg, Jorg...

No one said anything about your military experience. You have summarized that experience for everyone in these pages already. However, your posts over the last week or so have betrayed a limited knowledge about firearms. You claimed the Uvalde shooter used incendiary ammunition... that was not true. You seem to confuse the features of automatic and semiautomatic weapons. You support reinstatement of the 1994 assault weapons ban without fully appreciating that it would not affect a majority of weapons used in mass shootings. More? Your position that homeowners might keep single shot firearms locked up at home for protection suggests you may not be familiar with that type of weapon and its limitations.

Jorg... don't let facts get in the way of your opinions. You can have the last word.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hi Ed,

Your opinions are sound and rational, at least from my perch. Unfortunately your wisdom falls on deaf ears. Since childhood I have wondered how the people of pre-WWII Germany were whipped up into a frenzy by loons in government. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword. Feed people what they want to hear and you are free to go about your agenda.

Terence Y

Mr. Nice – an AR-15 is not an assault rifle. Conflating the two doesn’t help and if anything, makes us question the real agenda of yourself and others. Should assault rifles (remember, AR-15s are not assault rifles) be banned? Maybe, but it depends on who owners/buyers feel they need protection from (ask folks in Ukraine).

Jorg

Terence Y: Where on flat Earth do you get that nonsense from?

The AR-15 (various weapons manufacturers make their own versions) is a type of semiautomatic, or 'self-loading', assault rifle; an assault rifle allows the user to fire multiple shots in quick succession. Do you get it now? No?

Tommy Tee

An AR-15 can be turned into an automatic weapon by fitting it with a bump stock.

Terence Y

Jorg, you don’t know the definition of incendiary ammo; you provide arguments in support of arming teachers and then you say arming teachers is “stupid.” What makes us think you know the definition of assault rifle? To make it simple, I’ll give you a hint… “Assault” begins with the letter “a” and so does “automatic.” “Semiautomatic” starts with the letter “s” so it’s not an assault rifle. Do you get it now? No? BTW, thanks for another one of your flat Earth’s. I am starting to miss your exclamation points though, so please share a few.

Jorg

Terence Y: Have you no shame or decency at all? Here you engage in a trifling exchange about exactly what to call a weapon that was used to assault shoppers, innocent little school children, teachers and so many others! Have you no feelings for those who were victims of those deadly assaults, or the friends and families left with incurable heart aches for life? What’s your point? Whether you understand it or not, the AR-15 seems to be the preferred weapon in most of the more recent, deadly assaults!

Terence Y

Jorg, have you no shame or decency at all? Here you are, using false and misleading information in an attempt to push a false narrative and you're trying to blame me for your manufactured outrage? I’m not sure why you’re getting hot and bothered… If you didn’t want to be exposed, you shouldn’t have responded with fake news. BTW, thanks for the two exclamation points.

Jorg

Terence Y: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/6/8/2102943/-Two-decapitated-bullet-pulverized-children-a-Uvalde-doctor-s-story?detail=emaildkre&pm_source=DKRE&pm_medium=email

Do you understand now what kind of ammunition was used? No?

You know better than the doctor who examined the mutilated little bodies? Yeah, that figures.

Terence Y

Jorg, what part of the definition of “incendiary” do you not understand? It’s obvious you don’t know what kind of ammo was used. Yeah, that figures. BTW, please limit yourself to handing out exclamation points and “flat Earth’s” instead of trying to redefine the definition of incendiary.

Tommy Tee

Terence--Mr. Nice did not say an AR-15 was an assault rifle. He mentioned owning an AR-15 OR an assault rifle.

Terence Y

Tommy – Mr. Nice is conflating AR-15s with assault rifles. Read the rest of his letter and you’ll notice Mr. Nice makes no distinction between AR-15s and assault rifles. Now instead of screeching about assault rifles, how does Mr. Nice feel about making schools hard targets? How do you feel about making schools hard targets?

Jorg

Robert: Indeed, who needs assault weapons, except those who plan to kill as many as possible, as quickly as possible? These are military weapons meant for war and not at all suitable for hunting, target practice or home defense. Such weapons don’t belong among civilians, no matter how insane you are!

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