Newtown aftermath

The web is, of course, full of thoughtful pieces (and not so thoughtful pieces) about Friday’s tragedy.

Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times was a definite keeper.

IN the harrowing aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut, one thought wells in my mind: Why can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars?

The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard who has written an excellent book on gun violence.

So let’s treat firearms rationally as the center of a public health crisis that claims one life every 20 minutes. The United States realistically isn’t going to ban guns, but we can take steps to reduce the carnage.

American schoolchildren are protected by building codes that govern stairways and windows. School buses must meet safety standards, and the bus drivers have to pass tests. Cafeteria food is regulated for safety. The only things we seem lax about are the things most likely to kill.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has five pages of regulations about ladders, while federal authorities shrug at serious curbs on firearms. Ladders kill around 300 Americans a year, and guns 30,000.

We even regulate toy guns, by requiring orange tips — but lawmakers don’t have the gumption to stand up to National Rifle Association extremists and regulate real guns as carefully as we do toys. What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.?

As one of my Facebook followers wrote after I posted about the shooting, “It is more difficult to adopt a pet than it is to buy a gun.”

Read the rest of the column by clicking here.

6 Comments

  1. Jack

    December 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

    The NRA and NRA lackeys in Washington and in state legislatures created this reality. Weakening national laws and states implementing stand your ground and right to carry laws that foster a cowboy/outlaw mentality that is right out of the pages of a cheap dime western novel.

    As a nation we are allowing this to happen. As a nation we are turning our backs on our children by supporting the interpretation of an amendment that the founders of this country could have never considered a possibility – that we would turn our guns on ourselves. Could they have dreamt of an aftermath that we are now living through – families having to bury their three, six and ten year old children because as a people we want to make a profit from the sales of fire arms?

    Is Sandy Hook the cost of doing business? Are we going to allow the deaths of our children to be placed in the “It’s not personal, it’s just business,” category? Or are we as a people going to take a stand and do what is right by those whose very-young lives were taken so brutally and thoughtlessly.

    Thus far two culprits have been identified as being the reason why Sandy Hook happened. The mention of mental illness was quick to be stated and then of course that god has been taken out of our schools. It turns out the culprit is anything but, “We the People.”

  2. Frank Burns

    December 17, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Stricter control of mentally unstable people needs to be a consideration. What happened? These type of mentally unstable people used to be picked up and placed into an institution to protect the community from their behavior. Is this another case where the ACLU has caused the endangerment of society due to their frivolous lawsuits?

  3. david esmay

    December 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Started with Reagan, Frank. It’s called budget cuts, instead of treatment the mentally ill have been put on the street or incarcerated for the past 30 years. This is another case of the moronic Republican ideology in practice.

  4. Frank Burns

    December 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    It looks like my first analysis is correct. The ACLU does have a hand in this.

    ACLU role in stopping the forcible medication of mental patients. http://www.redstate.com/jack_savage/2011/01/09/is-the-aclu-directly-responsible-for-the-massacre-in-arizona/

    ACLU role in fighting the forcible institutionalization law. http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/aclu-killed-connecticut-forcible-institutionalization-law-that-might-have-prevented-killings/

  5. david esmay

    December 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Right-wing blogs aren’t reliable sources.

  6. david esmay

    December 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm