When Will We Ever Learn?

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posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 09:56 AM
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More than a decade ago, one of the worst tragedies to ever strike on American soil occured when the Twin Towers were attacked. It doesn't matter whether you think it was an act of terrorism or was perpetuated by TPTB. The morning of 9/11, after the towers began to fall and people realized the number of potential victims, the outcry from the American public was deafening. We screamed at the top of our lungs and begged the government to do something to ensure a tragedy like that never happens again. Our cries did not fall on deaf ears.

Within hours of the towers falling, then President George Bush held a press conference and assured the American people that this attack, the murder of thousands of Americans, would not go unpunished. Vowing to make us the safest nation in the world, he assured us that government would do everything in its power to protect us from future attacks and that those responsible for the attack would pay!

Action is what we sought, and action is what we got.

More than ten years later, we are still fighting in the Middle East. Thousands more lives have been lost in the process. We have hunted and assassinated people all over the world before they could harm us again. We now have the Patriot Act and advanced screenings at airports. Our phones can be tapped, our emails can be read, cameras can track our every move. On one order, a drone can be deployed and murder someone in Yemen while he sits in his home with his family.

We have allowed ourselves to be X-rayed. We have permitted full body searches. We watch children being interrogated and people being treated as criminals despite having done nothing wrong. Ever. We pay more to fly on planes in order to cover additional security measures. We have armed marshalls, all powerful TSA agents, and even random searches for public transportation users on subways and buses.

Now, all these years later, the American public is changing its tune. End the war in the Middle East! Bring our men and women overseas home! Stop spending trillions of dollars of our money on war! No more war!

Interestingly, some of these people are the same that were crying for revenge.

Now, we have the latest tragedy -- the Newtown, Connecticut massacre that left more than two dozen people dead and claimed the lives of the most innocent in our society-- children. People are angry. People are scared. People are vulnerable. People want action.

Within an hour of the Newtown killings, people began clamoring for gun control. Take the guns! Disarm the public! Ban assault weapons! Once again, our demands did not fall on deaf ears.

This time it was President Obama that took the podium and ensured the American public that he heard their cries. He promised to use "whatever power his office holds" to ensure a tragedy like this never struck America again. And legislation began pouring in from every corner of the country. Vows to make assault weapons illegal were screamed in earnest.

Interestingly, one of the first pieces of legislation to be brought forth was from Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and bans all large capacity magazines. He has tried, unsuccessfully, to get this same legislation passed before, but feels now is the perfect time to get it passed.


A longtime advocate for gun control legislation, the New Jersey Democrat has pushed similar bills in the past, most notably following the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others in Tucson in 2010. They have failed to gather the necessary support to become law, though Lautenberg's office, like others on the Hill, feels that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday has altered the political dynamics of the debate.


Link: Gun Control Legislation from Frank Lautenberg

Now, before people start arguing again about whether or not assault weapons should be banned, or what parameters should be set to determine what constitutes a high capacity mag (is it 10, 20, 50?), I would like to point out that, much like 9/11, we are all still too emotional to view this tragedy objectively.

Once again, we are allowing the actions of a few to affect the rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding citizens. The crazies in this world are running the show and we are nothing but puppets allowing them to control us. Terrorism has won in my opinion.

Here is an alarming headline that got my attention right away:

Mass Killings Occur in US Once Every Two Weeks

Really? Every two weeks? Now I am really afraid.... wait, what exactly constitutes mass killing?
According to the article above,


Using news accounts and FBI records from 2006 through 2010, the most recent years for which complete records were available, USA TODAY identified 156 murders that met the FBI definitions of mass killings, where four or more people were killed.

All told, the attacks killed 774 people, including at least 161 young children.


So a mass killing is when four or more people are killed? Four people dying is certainly sad, but personally I am not sure it would constitute a "mass" killing.

Let's look at the numbers a different way: According to the above, in five years (starting in 2006 and ending at the conclusion of 2010), nearly 800 people have died from "mass" murder. The average is 160 per year, or .44 persons per day. That equals one person dying every 2.3 days about.

Now, let's look at the weapons used in some high profile "mass" murders:

According to the article A Guide to Mass Shootings, from the years 1982 - 2012, the majority of mass murders were carried out using semi-automatic handguns. Not assault weapons. In fact, nearly twice as many.

How many more rights are we going to freely give away in deference to terror?
How many more times are we going to react emotionally to a situation only to realize the ramifications of such legislation years later?

From the war on drugs, to the war on terror, to the war on guns -- WHEN WILL WE LEARN?

Drugs are still rampant. Cartels are killing tens of thousands to secure their illegal profits.
The war on terror rages on. Thousands of lives have been lost fighting in the Middle East. But still, suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and the killings of girls attending school still occur on a daily basis.
Now we have the war on guns.

Finally, the hypocrisy of this legislation is hard to ignore. As many know, the US "blessed" the shipment of weapons to the rebels in Libya from Qatar and is considering aiding (some say they already have) the rebels in Syria. From assault rifles, to machine guns, to small arms -- apparently it is OK to supply other countries with these weapons when the US deeems it necessary. I wonder if the government will give us back our weapons when the time comes (whether it's ten years, twenty, or fifty) to fight oppression on this side of the world?

I just would like people to think about how many rights we, the law-abiding citizens, are willing to give up all in the name of making us safer. And at what point do you say enough is enough?




posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 04:08 PM
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Within days of the tragedy, when it was made known that Adam Lanza may have suffered from a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome, people began jumping to the conclusion that it was the disease that was partly to blame, if not fully to blame, for this latest incidence of violence.

One of the threads on ATS, that thankfully received little attention, was entirely written supporting this notion. That the mentally ill, as a collective group, should be held responsible for this incident and that the mentally ill should be "dealt" with in a manner that ensures no more heinous crimes can be committed by those that suffer from mental illness.

Now, the first problem with this theory is that Autism is not technically a mental illness. Currently, it is considered a neurodevelopmental disability. The second problem with this theory is that it creates this correlation:

People with mental illnesses commit mass murder, therefore all persons with mental illness should be [removed, separated, institutionalized, etc.] in order to prevent such crimes from occuring again.

Interestingly, within minutes of such insinuations on varying web sites and blogs, support groups of the mentally ill and support groups for autism began speaking out. Here is one such example:

Priscilla Gilman: Don’t blame autism for Newtown tragedy


And if study after study has definitively established that a person with autism is no more likely to be violent or engage in criminal behavior than a neurotypical person, it is just as clear that autistic people are far more likely to be the victims of bullying and emotional and physical abuse by parents and caregivers than other children. So there is a sad irony in making autism the agent or the cause rather than regarding it as the target of violence.

This country needs to develop a better understanding of the complexities of various conditions and respect for the profound individuality of its children. We need to emphasize that a developmental disorder is not the same thing as a mental illness and that most mental illnesses do not increase a person’s tendency toward outward-directed violence.


In short, study after study shows that there is no correlation between people with mental illnesses and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities and acts of violence.

I of course agree with this and was quite happy to see that professionals everywhere were quick to dispel this false connection.

However, it lead me to realize one other side to this --

How likely are law-abiding citizens, with or without firearms, likely to commit mass murder? Does this then mean or insinuate that all persons that own an assault weapon of any type are more likely to commit mass murder? People are certainly quick enough to defend the minority of our society, but what about the majority? After all, the majority of people in this country are decent, law abiding citizens.

We are, afterall, getting lumped together with every other mass murderer out there. We will be forced to give up assault weapons because of the actions of a few. We are being lumped together with all mass murderers in the same (false) manner that mental illness sufferers were getting lumped together with those few that did commit heinous crimes and did suffer some type of either disability.

Laslty, as I have shown above in the opening post, just as many mass murders were committed with non-assault type weapons.

What happens then?

Do we ban all handguns too? Some of this crimes were carried out with a standard .9mm Glock.
What about arson? A family of four was murdered in NJ some years ago (a mass murder by FBI standards) by setting the house on fire while they slept.
What about knives? Crossbows? Bombs? Suicide bombers?

All of the above can kill more than four people in a relatively short time period -- and remember that 4 is the number the FBI uses to label a crime scene "mass murder".

Four.

As a final thought, how many people ten years ago thought that you would no longer be able to bring a baby's bottle full of milk on a plane?

How many people ten years ago thought that the TSA could have a full body X-ray done of us in the airport?

How many people ten years ago thought that Americans could be detained indefintely by simply connecting the word "terrorism" to a suspected crime?

How many people thought that a US President would sign legislation allowing an American citizen to be killed on foreign land without a trial or due process?

How many people thought the word "terrorism" would be so widely used and applied to so many types of crimes?

All of the above have been put into law by different Presidents, of different parties. This is most assuredly a bipartisan issue in my opinion.





 
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