Silver Linings- Seeing Small Light in the Tragedy of Newtown

Originally posted on February 17th on an older version of this blog

Today, while browsing the internet and coming across some good ol’ Sunday morning politics, I came across a story that ended with a statement from some who represents the NRA that not only peaked my interest but seemed so immoral that it couldn’t get passed up.

“The National Rifle Association distanced itself Tuesday from a comment made by a lobbyist for one of its “chartered organizations” in Wisconsin, who said recently that gun rights proponents need only to wait out the “Connecticut Effect” before passing laws loosening restrictions on guns.” (full story here)

“The brush-off came three days after Welch was recorded telling an audience at a Wisconsin state NRA meeting that the group has ‘a strong [lobbying] agenda coming up for next year, but of course a lot of that’s going to be delayed as the ‘Connecticut effect’ has to go through the process.'” (full story here) And here is an audio of his comment.

Wisconsin lobbyist Bob Welch, shown here in this 2004 photo handing out literature during his Republican primary run for the U.S. Senate.

Now, before I talk more on what I think, I went and looked up information on Bob Welch. I couldn’t find much, but here is what I found. According to his lobbying firm:

“A graduate of MATC and Ripon College, Bob is a  land-surveyor by profession, and served in the State legislature for twenty years. Bob was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1984, quickly rising to leadership positions.  After ten years of service, Bob was elected to the State Senate in 1995, serving until  2004. The eventual sale of the surveying business allowed Bob and Jeanne to  expand and diversify the services of The Welch Group. An active member of  national political organizations, Bob has expertise in both national and international  policy and business.” (Source)

That’s about all I can find that speaks to his character from him officially. I am trying to stay unbiased on forming an opinion of him, outside of this comment, but cant seem to find much. If anyone knows more please email me at mlchrzan@outlook.com. But right now, seems like he is no different from those who would knowingly surrender what is best for everyone in place of personal gain. Not my type of person and not one I particularly care for either.

So, now onto what I think, after finding all of this… I hate that this is what had to happen to make this a reality with all my heart and soul, but do you know what’s the glimmering sparkle of hope for the Newtown shooting? It’s outside of the talk on gun violence (and violence in general) that has been LONG overdue.
It’s that, for the first time in this type of situation happening, and it has happened FAR too often, I don’t know the name of the shooter. I know little to nothing about the shooter. Every time someone talks about it, they talk about the tragedy of almost 30 lives being lost, a number of those being children. They talk about the 2 administrators that immediately ran to protect their students after they heard the first shot. They talk about the teacher who hid her 30 students in cupboards and took the bullet for them. They talk about what should be talked about so that we can finally enact common sense, positive, change that we all so desperately need. I hate silver linings. But I understand how dark it would be without them. Don’t let the “Connecticut Effect” pass. Especially not before we get some shred of future peace and justice for those children and educators. Silver linings. Got to hate ’em.
So no, Mr. Welch, the ‘Connecticut Effect’ will not pass so that you can continue lobbying. Because people, the people who those you lobby to, are tired of the games and the antics that halt progress and, eventually, hurt us all. We’re tired and we want change and we will get it.
That’s Where I Stand
Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Silver Linings- Seeing Small Light in the Tragedy of Newtown

  1. ” They talk about the 2 administrators that immediately ran to protect their students after they heard the first shot.”

    If we had any common sense we would repeal the insane Gun Free School Zones Act and see that the next time an “administrator” hears gun shots she will have a load AR-15 with a 30 round clip in her hand with a few seconds. If that had been true at Newtown there would be one dead Adam Lanza, probably a suicide, as we was scared off by determined armed resistance.

    But my thought on Newtown is that it is a monument to people who hate guns more than they love kids.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    1. I see that as a fair judgment in that last sentence. I think Newtown has gotten very politicized and it has become more about the guns than the safety of children, so I definitely agree.

      But to that point I would refute the idea that more guns is the answer as well. I’m going to be a teacher, that’s what I am studying in college right now. A part of that studying has lead me to learn about developmental psychology. I think these kids would be just as, if not more, traumatized seeing an administrator or teacher they know and love kill someone than have those people- who are pillars of safety for them- then become dangerous.

      Not to mention, many studies show the more guns that are around, the more likely someone is to be killed or severely injured by them, so why would we put guns near children on an everyday basis? I understand the thought, it would protect them from incidents like this, and to that extent it is noble. But these incidents, despite their recent surge, are rare. Children go to school almost every day of the year. It is in their best interest not to have guns on their campuses/school grounds.

      The idea that we defeat an ideology or problem with that same problem is a hypocrisy that sorely needs to stop. It is so prevalent but if we want to solve these issues we have to come up with better solutions. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. “I’m going to be a teacher, …”

    My wife is a teacher with very little kids with ADHD. She said to me that if there was an active shooter in her school her kids would be unable to hide in a closet and keep quiet.

    We have at least one school district in Texas where select teachers are allowed to carry a concealed handgun in school (after getting a Texas concealed carry license and approval from the principal). They have been doing it now for at least a couple years with no problems whatsoever.

    If the school district where my wife teaches ever approves it she will also get a concealed carry license.

    “I think these kids would be just as, if not more, traumatized seeing an administrator or teacher they know and love kill someone than have those people- who are pillars of safety for them- then become dangerous.”

    I would like to suggest there is one worse trauma for kids than that. It is being killed by a psychopath or seeing their friends killed by a psychopath.

    “Not to mention, many studies show the more guns that are around, the more likely someone is to be killed or severely injured by them, so why would we put guns near children on an everyday basis?”

    People who get concealed carry permits are some of the most law abiding people in the U.S. They do get arrested sometimes for firearms violations, but at a rate very slightly lower than sworn police being arrested for firearms violations.

    Police carry guns. Does that make society more, or less violent?

    Those studies are highly biased too. Where I live in Texas, a small town, it is like an armory with how many guns people own, but our homicide rate most years is 0 per 100,000. Also they count suicides, but people who commit suicide with a gun mean it. They will use some other means if necessary. The U.S. and U.K. are often compared re guns and gun crimes. Since they largely banned a lot of guns the gun crime rate in the U.K. has gone up, in fact doubled. More importantly re suicides, the U.K. has an almost identical suicide rate without nearly so many guns.

    Bottom line is this. Don’t believe every study unless you really know what they are counting, and what their agendda is. Statistics lie and liars use statistics. 🙂

    “But these incidents, despite their recent surge, are rare. Children go to school almost every day of the year. It is in their best interest not to have guns on their campuses/school grounds.”

    I disagree about “best interest.” It is in the best interest of our children to properly protect them, either with armed police, or legally armed and law abiding citizens. The President, Congress, and well to do people have armed guards. Why can’t our kids be guarded with armed citizens?

    “…if we want to solve these issues we have to come up with better solutions.”

    Putting armed people in schools helps protects kids, but it doesn’t solve the underlying social problems. That is true. But it is does not have to be an either/or question.

    We can protect kids, and try to solve problems, and we can do both.

    regards,

    lwk

    1. Oh cool! What subject does your wife teach? I hope its math, I always love meeting another math lover.

      So, some things I noticed in that last reply:

      “They have been doing it now for at least a couple years with no problems whatsoever.” No problems so far. Just having those guns around means it is more likely that someone will get hurt by them.

      I would have to agree with you about the trauma. However, as I pointed out before: psychopaths- rare, teachers- constant. A one time event with a psychopath can be gotten over with the help of a psychologist. Seeing that teacher everyday after, especially for the youngest children, can not.

      That also leads to this ideas of a “good guy with a gun”, which I find to be very hypocritical. We say we want violence to be a last resort, no one really cares for it, but then how can there ever be a such thing as a good guy with a gun? I understand the concept, a defender and such, but then what do we qualify as a good guy? I personally don’t think someone who is willing to take another’s life counts, but that’s a debate for another day I suppose.

      Then there was this point- “People who get concealed carry permits are some of the most law abiding people in the U.S.” That may be true but even the most law abiding citizens can make mistakes and if that mistake is in a school, it could cost us the life of one of our children and that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.

      Also, I would say police having guns DOES make society more violent. All of us having them does, so much research shows that (and I do read up on the things I read, I understand bias and try to keep it out of my process, especially when writing :-)). And I would be interested to read a new article/study where you learned about the UK’s gun crime rate, cause I’m intrigued at how a society that does not have guns had their gun crime rate double. I just did some digging and while I can find they hide a lot of their numbers, the numbers on gun crime in the articles I’ve read only date back to the early 2000’s. (email it/them to me at mlchrzan@outlook.com)

      I also find it hilariously hypocritical of you to say people who use statistics are liars after just having spewed out some yourself haha. Not all statistics are bad or wrong, but it takes a discerning, educated mind to know how to weave through them (for instance, if I hear some stats from MSNBC or FOX, I now to usually double, triple, and if I have time, quadruple check them with credible sources).

      And fair point, “best interest” is very subjective. To your point about armed guards, most of my schools growing up had armed guards, metal detectors, etc. They felt more like prisons than places of learning. Perhaps until we can fix the social issues, that is a viable solution but it needs to be thought out and well done, not just started because its an “easy fix” because our kids are worth more than that.

      In the end we all want the same things, to protect our children and loved ones and you’re right I think we can have it all we just need to come to some compromise about how. And I am hopeful, despite all the signs otherwise, that we will be able to do that soon.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  3. “And I would be interested to read a new article/study where you learned about the UK’s gun crime rate, cause I’m intrigued at how a society that does not have guns had their gun crime rate double.”

    As a quickie I Googled something like “gun crime doubles in U.K.” I have some other stuff on this, but just something quick you might find credible – an ABC News story (ABC news is hardly pro-gun or Conservative):

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3083618&page=1#.UOzIGoLTncd

    Gun Control Isn’t Crime Control
    April 26, 2007

    his past Tuesday the governor of Virginia announced he would close the loophole that allowed Seung-Hui Cho to buy the guns he used to kill 32 people — and himself — on the Virginia Tech campus. OK, it’s a good idea to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable. But be careful about how far the calls for gun control go, because the idea that gun control laws lower gun crime is a myth.

    After the 1997 shooting of 16 kids in Dunblane, England, the United Kingdom passed one of the strictest gun-control laws in the world, banning its citizens from owning almost all types of handguns. Britain seemed to get safer by the minute, as 162,000 newly-illegal firearms were forked over to British officials by law-abiding citizens.

    But this didn’t decrease the amount of gun-related crime in the U.K. In fact, gun-related crime has nearly doubled in the U.K. since the ban was enacted.

    Might stricter gun laws result in more gun crime? It seems counterintuitive but makes sense if we consider one simple fact: Criminals don’t obey the law. Strict gun laws, like the ban in Britain, probably only affect the actions of people who wouldn’t commit crimes in the first place.

    England’s ban didn’t magically cause all British handguns to disappear. Officials estimate that more than 250,000 illegal weapons are still in circulation in the country. Without the fear of retaliation from victims who might be packing heat, criminals in possession of these weapons now have a much easier job, and the incidence of gun-related crime has risen. As the saying goes, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

    (there is more to the story if you go to the url above, but I think the above shows what I am talking about).

    Any serious search will show a bunch of stories saying essentially the same thing – Believe U.K. Guardian and/or Daily Mail – two Brit papers had some stories too.

    regards,

    lwk

    1. I agree with the sentiment, gun crime is in fact not crime control, and the police should not be the only ones with guns, but giving me an opinion piece someone submitted to ABC is not going to do the trick haha. I could, just as easily with a Google search, find opinion articles from reputable papers/news outlets that speak to the counterpoint.

      I’ll look into those other two British papers and some research journals in my own time later.

      Thanks

      1. Gun crime doubles in a decade

        By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor7:00AM GMT 27 Oct 2009

        Offences involving firearms have increased in all but four police areas in England and Wales since 1998, figures obtained by the Tories reveal.
        One part of the country has seen the problem increase almost seven fold as the availability of guns, and criminals’ williness to use them rises.
        The number of people injured or killed by a gun has also doubled under Labour.

        It emerged last week that armed police are to carry out regular street patrols for the first time to help combat gun crime in London.

        Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: “These figures are all the more alarming given that it is only a week since the Metropolitan Police said it was increasing regular armed patrols in some areas of the capital.

        “In areas dominated by gang culture, we’re now seeing guns used to settle scores between rivals as well as turf wars between rival drug dealers. We need to redouble our efforts to deal with the challenge.”

        There were 9,865 firearm offences in 2007/08, a rise of 89 per cent on the 5,209 recorded in 1998/99.

        Lancashire Police saw a 598 per cent increase from just 50 to 349 over the period while Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Essex all saw five fold increases.
        In total, 21 forces saw offences at least double over the decade while just four, Cleveland, Humberside, Cambridgeshire and Sussex, saw the number fall.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6438601/Gun-crime-doubles-in-a-decade.html

      2. Gun crime doubles in a decade under Labour

        Firearm offences in parts of England and Wales were sent rocketing to 9,865 in 2007/8 – up from 5,209 recorded in 1998/9.

        And in some areas of the country, gun crime has increased more than five-fold as gang violence continues to surge.

        The latest figures, which show a breakdown of gun crime by police force and region, showed that in nearly half of forces gun crime has doubled or worsened since 1998.

        http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/136561/Gun-crime-doubles-in-a-decade-under-Labour

        (* Like I said, it is extraordinarily easy to find these stories. *)

        lwk

  4. “I also find it hilariously hypocritical of you to say people who use statistics are liars after just having spewed out some yourself haha.”

    Agreed – what I am saying is that you have to look very seriously at these, no matter which side.

    Recently there has been a study touted that claims direct correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths. While that statistics might be true, it is also totally invalid in a major way.

    A person hearing that probably thinks this means more guns means more murders and gun crime. Actually what it means is more suicides and they will call suicides “gun violence’ which I think is totally deceptive. Most people think of “violence” as requiring at least two people, an aggressor and a victim.

    People who commit suicide with a gun really mean it. It is not a cry for help. If they don’t have a gun then they will find another way. I may have pointed this out before, but just in case, if you look at the suicide rate in the U.K. and compare it to the U.S., they are nearly identical. Yet the U.K. has far less guns. That in itself should show there is not a true correlation between guns and total suicides.

    So if you take out the suicides, then the whole study and its conclusion falls apart. Suicides account for two thirds of deaths with a gun.

    Yes, suicides are tragic, but a study claiming a correlation like the above is clearly designed to deceive. That is the sort of stuff you have to really look out for. Most gunowners like myself see instantly that the study can’t be true as stated because we have areas – like where I live – which are literally arsenals of privately and legally owned guns and we don’t have the problem this study claims.

    That is an example of how statistics are used to lie or deceive.

    regards,

    lwk

  5. “That may be true but even the most law abiding citizens can make mistakes and if that mistake is in a school, it could cost us the life of one of our children and that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.”

    Here is an interesting take on that by an ex-police officer.

    Everything that’s wrong with the argument against protecting schools with guns

    http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/09/03/everything-thats-wrong-with-the-argument-against-protecting-schools-with-guns/

    regards,

    lwk

    1. First, great articles, so thank you for the new knowledge. The gun control vs. crime control is one I will do a lot of thinking on. Right now, it seems to come down to crime control overall, not just guns. However, I still hold by the evidence that more guns = higher rates and chances of homicide (which you’ll see below).

      This one was particularly intriguing. The one loophole in his argument though is the assumption that teachers are the ones who should be armed/trained, which is not necessary or recommended. Also, he fails to account for the fact that more guns present leads to a higher probability of homicide, neither of those points are accounted for or argued against in his 5 points.

      http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

      So, as I said before, armed guards, checking everyone who enters a school, and other solutions are viable, but guns on school grounds is an point that doesn’t have merit. There are millions of schools in this country, the vast, vast majority of which have not shared the tragedy at Newtown. However, allowing them all to go and get guns and armed teachers/guards drastically raises the probability that someone will die, mass shooter or not, and that makes that solution very illogical.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s