TED Conversations

Kate Jones

Partner, Institute for the Advancement of Service

This conversation is closed.

The time is NOW for people to stand up and say 'No More Assault Weapons" and not wait for the government to legislate the change.

Change starts when people change, not when governments legislate change. Think back to the days when driving drunk was socially acceptable, no matter who died in the process. Then Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) formed. The rest is history.

The time is 'now o'clock'. We will change our resopnse to violence and stop purchasing violence video games as gifts for our children, and stop patronizing films that promote violence, mayhem and murder. Glorifying the horrific has become the norm.

What happened in Newtown, CT should never happen again.

Remember Mahatma Ghandi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world". The time is now o'clock!

  • Dec 22 2012: I think the main problem is the american hero raw model: "We are the good guys, so we must hit, kill and destroy"... this quote from "Get Smart" a TV show from the 60's (people of my age should remember), makes a very accurate portrait of the american hero (real and fictional). Just think about it for a second and realize mass media has being implanting this message in our brains since a century ago: "good people can kill and destroy, just because they are the good guys.". This is obviously immoral, unethical and even inhuman. I can assure you, no gun control will prevent events like the Newtown, CT, as long as the american public gladly accepts as OK, heroes that don't mind killing and destroying. Heroes don't hurt, destroy or kill in order to save the day, that is exactly what makes them heroes in the first place... Neither violence nor guns are necessary to preserve peace, and the proof is that British policemen don't carry guns with them... an heroic act on itself if you ask me. Do you want a real change? then start by disarming the police, if the British could and Americans can't... hmmmm well... what else can I say.
    • Dec 24 2012: A good number of friends became police officers (God help us) and I hear it anecdotally from them and elsewhere that the majority of police officers here in Canada will never fire their weapon in the performance of their duty during their entire career. These guys and a few girls face the unknown on a daily basis and have more reason than most law abiding citizens to have used their weapon but still they fail to do so. Why not?

      The police in Canada and Britain and elsewhere don't have to deal with the proliferation of guns and the gun culture that exists in the US today. There are something like 400,000,000 guns out there today in the USA. I would hope to see those numbers need to be reduced dramatically or nearly erased before we should ever expect police to be unarmed while on the job.
      • Dec 24 2012: Yes, of course. I did not said: "disarm the police tomorrow", it will be a process that may take several decades, maybe a century, but if the Americans don't start right now to think what do they need to do in order to disarm the police, events like the Newtown, CT will continue to repeat over and over again, and more frequently. I agree, one of the first steps they need to take is to reduce access to guns, however no gun control will have a positive effect unless it is accompanied by a shift in education, they need to get rid of the "cowboy like" kind of hero, to understand that real men (and women) don't need a gun to proof it, and most importantly they need to realize that guns without responsibility and self-discipline will only bring them self-destruction.
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    Dec 21 2012: This is a different question than "should the 2nd amendment be repealed?" I don't own a gun and I don't want to own one. It would be great if people get rid of guns or stop using them for violence VOLUNTARILY. I do not agree with the idea of government forcefully taking guns away from people.
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    Dec 18 2012: blame canada, before some starts to blame us. so a schoolboy grabs a gun, walks into the school, shoots the manager, the psychologist, random kids, then himself. and the topic of discussion is ... guns. of course. maybe there are some minor details here to clarify first? what was the kid's problem with the psychologist? how was his relationship with the parents? with his classmates? with the teachers? was he bullied? was he punished too often too severely or with no reason? was he abused in some way? why was he so desperate that he killed himself instead of bearing it? was he mentally instable? started to lose it? nobody noticed it? nobody asked what is the problem? no no no. these questions might lead to answers we don't want to hear. let's just blame canada.

    edit: my bad. he was not a boy. already 20. the questions remain.
    • Dec 18 2012: Kriaztian, I agree guns did not cause this man to go postal, but without his M4 rifle he would not nearly have killed so many, he would just be like those knifers in China or Britain who rarely kill someone and when they do it's only a handful of people, not 27.
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        Dec 18 2012: so your recommendation is that we should just leave our kids in misery, but take away the guns so they can!t hurt anyone, and just suffer silently.
        • Dec 18 2012: An assault rifle ban can be enacted tomorrow, while societal change will take much longer, if it were up to me and I were an American then we do both, but I have to ask, you, our resident libertarian, are you actually considering... you know, dare I say it, extending a helping hand to the weak and vulnerable who can't pay you for that service... May Rothbard forgive your soul and cleanse it of that cancerous thing which those of weaker mind refer to as a "conscience"...
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        Dec 19 2012: John, I just gave Krisztián my first 'thumb up' ever and I did not expect this day to come ever, to be honest ... ;o)

        But there is nothing in what he stated on which I could not agree on.

        It has become already this repetitive ritual following any horrible and deadly rampage : We talk about technical details over and over again instead of the true circumstances what caused those people to do what they did and what we as a society missed to do to prevent those tragedies.

        As it is with technical disasters, it usually follows a chain of multiple events to finally burst in a single catastrophe.

        So let's talk technical then. I figure, that a standard Walther PPK pistol is not considered to be an assault weapon, yet it goes with 21 rounds per minute. Assuming an average reaction time of a regular police patrol to arrive at the scene - without gaining overview of the situation - would alone give a non assault weapon a theoretical kill-rate of approximately 140 shots, inclusive several times of reloading of a 7 round munitions magazine.

        So is just banning assault weapons really a wise and working decision? I have my doubts!

        Don't get me wrong, I am opposed to the weapons lobby, yet the cause of the problem we are talking about is - for once - not located at this industry.
        • Dec 19 2012: "I figure, that a standard Walther PPK pistol is not considered to be an assault weapon, yet it goes with 21 rounds per minute"

          Maybe on the target range, not in real life. Besides, the it's (much) less accurate than a rifle and the bullets are less lethal, plus you have to reload more often, giving people a better chance to start a struggle.

          "So is just banning assault weapons really a wise and working decision?"

          If you've read my posts on this website for a while (and I know you have), you'd know that I've pretty much done nothing but advocate societal changes that would make society produce less deranged shooters. I've also made it clear in several posts that I believe there should be additional training requirements and registration, sure some people will still fall through the cracks, like Anders Breivik who planned for 9 years and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and trained for years on a target range and still needed the island nature of his target location and the naivite of the Norwegian police (who aren't exactly used to dealing with mass shootings because their society takes much better care of people than American society does), but that's a far cry from every idiot just being able to buy guns for a couple of thousand of dollars at the most and shoot a bunch of people the next day.
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        Dec 19 2012: Accuracy and reloading time is just a matter of training, and as you stated yourself, some gunman are even planning their assassination years at front.

        As vital body-parts and organs do not distinguish in between a small-calibre bullet or an armor piercing round, as they are soft targets anyway, their difference in penetrating power becomes irrelevant.

        I do not argue that a trained person will be able to do more damage with an assault weapon, yet reducing the body count statistically does neither fix the problem nor does it prevent those incidences from happening.

        Of course I read your posts and saw your approach on society, and I do not recall that I ever argued against it. But I also don't see any change in 'our' societies, to finally face and deal with the roots of our problems.

        Shouting 'No More Assault Weapons' in the US, is actually nothing but a lame compromise towards the weapon industry, the 'cowboy mentality' which is still alive in many minds and the preceded experience, that a total weapon prohibition comes only with a high price tag on 'lost votes'.

        If I follow this logic of selected availability, the US had to rethink the use of ammonium nitrate, which is widely used as fertilizer in agriculture, as this was the main component of the bomb Anders Breivik was using. Even though the purchasing of this chemical gets registered in Norway, and in many other countries as well, this won't stop any suicide mission anyway.

        A single car packed with this explosive next to a school will do more overall damage than any assault weapon ever will.

        So preventive measures which can easily be bypassed or substituted by alternative methods are pointless and does not protect anyone at all. At times even on the contrary.

        I think we do agree that assault weapons, violent movies and video games are not the cause of the problem, so why don't we stop naming just those and finally start to investigate and change the real cause and source of it?
        • Dec 19 2012: "Accuracy and reloading time is just a matter of training,"

          Up to a point...

          "some gunman are even planning their assassination years at front."

          Most don't.

          "As vital body-parts and organs do not distinguish in between a small-calibre bullet or an armor piercing round, as they are soft targets anyway, their difference in penetrating power becomes irrelevant."

          Oh, it matters, a rifle round has three times the kinetic energy. You have a pretty good chance of surviving a pistol round lodged anywhere but in your brain or your heart.

          "Of course I read your posts and saw your approach on society, and I do not recall that I ever argued against it. But I also don't see any change in 'our' societies, to finally face and deal with the roots of our problems."

          Guess what, I'm not king of the world, others decide these things, I can only suggest.

          "reducing the body count statistically does neither fix the problem nor does it prevent those incidences from happening."

          It saves lives...

          "Shouting 'No More Assault Weapons' in the US, is actually nothing but a lame compromise towards the weapon industry"

          Yup, but there are certain realities in the US (which I'm not from) that put constraints on what can be done right now.

          "If I follow this logic of selected availability, the US had to rethink the use of ammonium nitrate, which is widely used as fertilizer in agriculture, as this was the main component of the bomb Anders Breivik was using. Even though the purchasing of this chemical gets registered in Norway, and in many other countries as well, this won't stop any suicide mission anyway.

          So preventive measures which can easily be bypassed or substituted by alternative methods are pointless and does not protect anyone at all."

          You throw words like "easy" and "any" around like it's nothing. Did you know Anders Breivik bought a farm and pretended to be a farmer for years to get the ammonium nitrate? That just isn't the sort of dedication your average nutjob would display.
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        Dec 19 2012: It is fine with me if you think that 'No More Assault Weapons' is the best the US can do by the given restrictions, yet if those restrictions are worth the loss of human lives by staying untouched and unchallenged I do not agree.

        If the main focus stays on the 'how' only instead also on the 'why' part, we will have the same discussion again in just another time and we will never know if the number of dead people was really reduced by banned weapons or not.

        It is interesting that Switzerland, which has one of the most liberal weapon laws does not face as much rampage as the US does compared to the number of citizens. Also given the fact, that there is probably no other country on earth which has more assault weapons in private keeping, as all military personnel and its reserve keeps their Stgw 90 standard service rifle at home. Just recently, in 2007, the private keeping of ammunition got changed, so that they get handed over today only from certain alert states on.

        So how can it be, that even though assault weapons are that widely spread and easy accessible in this country to anyone who wants to get it, they do not report a single school shooting in between 1986 and 2010, at least this is the the timespan of the source I found at the SRV Television of Switzerland.

        So yes, 'No More Assault Weapons' but don't just stop there, as the cause of school shooting is hidden somewhere else, somewhere deeper in the fabric of society, which got to be identified and changed.

        Would this stop school shootings? No, yet it has the chance to save even more lives than 'just' some by banning certain assault equipment.

        And no, I do not expect you to solve this problem, as I was talking 'in general' in case this did not become clear.
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        Dec 19 2012: "are you actually considering... you know, dare I say it, extending a helping hand to the weak "

        we can compare our charity activities if you so desire.
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      Dec 20 2012: Six words: People are not bad, situations are. Create healthy loving prosperous (in the REAL immaterial sense of the word) societies and these problems will simply not occur. Worth aspiring to people? Anybody?
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      Dec 21 2012: Human ability to bark up the wrong tree is amazing. I've seen people in atheist forums using the very same statistics on gun violence to prove that religion is to blame. They call it "evidence" and "reasoning" for some reason.
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    Dec 19 2012: How exactly does violent media connect with violence outside of video games?

    Have you ever thought that the people want to do bad things will do them regardless of the media?

    Humanity has a violent culture, just look at the wars and such that have been going on for the whole of time, glorifying violence is and has always has been the norm.
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    Jan 1 2013: I think if one wants to kill. There are several options available and guns are just one of them. Yes it is easier to kill with an automatic assault rifle than a dagger but one can perhaps find ways to build small bombs if required by a little search on google. Weather it is Sweden, USA or a Sucide Bomber in Iraq. The mentality and philosophy of violence is the root cause of these events.

    I do not believe the in a civilized world and especially in a country which is the worlds super power a citizen needs to arm themselves for protection. This only indicates serious issues within the law and security provided by the government.

    However, if people are held accountable to be more responsible and families and schools focus on teaching social responsibility and gratitude to fellow human beings the concept of violence, rage and anger can certainlty be beter managed. Parents that have chidlren that show serious problems mentally shoudl be held responsible to take proper attention much early on to address the problem, similarly households that have guns must be held seriously accountable with seriosu consequences for not keeping these weapons secure and absolutely out of reach towards children. With this the government also needs to have a more effecient watch system on who they are selling guns to and for what use. Perhaps a watch program for gun owners with periodic assessments could be a possible solution.

    Killing innocent people is a mental sickness. Some are fed with such sickening ideas to kill others, some some are mentally deranged to this level, while others do it in a fit of rage and anger. A serious and effective system to educate people and hold people responsible could certainly turn the situation around. I guess MADD merely did just that.
  • Dec 31 2012: It is my opinion that civilians should not be allowed to own high-capacity semi-automatic weapons.

    Many of my friends are hunters and they do not use guns like these.
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      Dec 31 2012: What would you say to people who believe they have a right to own arms that put them on some type of parity with the military and law enforcement? against the eventuality that they will need them?
      • Dec 31 2012: I understand why our forefathers created the second amendment but much has changed since that time and I think we need to acknowledge those changes.

        In 1791 there were single shot powder loaded pistols and rifles. There were no Fighter Jets, Armored Vehicles, Missiles, Nuclear Weapons, Rocket-propelled Grenades, Helicopters, Rocket Launchers, ...

        Do we think state militias should still be on parity with the US Military?

        I do not believe we need to change the second amendment but need some more rational guns laws. We should keep in mind there are already in place many reasonable gun laws.
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          Dec 31 2012: In fact, the 2nd Amendment never needed to be dragged into the conversation. They have the ability to regulate arms without changing anything in the Bill of Rights.
        • Dec 31 2012: The Afghans beat the Russians and have held their ground against the US with mostly small arms. I think that a determined force could challenge the US.
  • Dec 30 2012: I suggest learning the proper terminology about the weapons being discussed. The term assault weapon sound ominous, but the type of weapon in most of the discussions is nothing more than a semi-automatic (not a military "machine-gun" or fully automatic weapon). Many hunting weapons are identical in function.
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      Dec 30 2012: Hi Larry,
      I agree with you in learning about the weapons that are discussed. The term "assault weapon" does indeed sound ominous, because it IS ominous. There is certain criteria used to identify assault weapons, and you can get that information on line. Guns used for hunting generally DO NOT meet the criteria. One very important reason, is that many of us eat the game, and we don't want meat filled with ammo.
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        Dec 30 2012: Larry has a point. Automatic weapons are already banned. What the media refers to as assault weapons are semi-automatic, which means not automatic.

        Also the purpose of the second amendment was self protection not to have hunting rifles. If the shit hits the fan as it looks more and more likely, a citizen will be defending himself against automatic weapons.
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          Dec 30 2012: I do not believe everything the media says Pat, I generally research information.

          I think I also understand the purpose of the second amendment:>)
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      Dec 30 2012: Larry,
      Another thought......if I observed anyone hunting with an assault weapon, two things come to mind.

      1) S/he is not a very good shot, if s/he needs multiple rounds to shoot wild game.
      2) The meat (and therefor the animal) would be "wasted" because the meat would not be very good for consumption.
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    Dec 27 2012: What did Mother's Against Drunk Driving every accomplish?
    Candy Lightner, its founder, stated that MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. Other critics contend that "MADD is at heart a bureaucracy, a big one. It boasts an annual budget of $45 million, $12 million of which pays for salaries, pensions and benefits. Bureaucracies don't change easily, even when the problems they were created to address change." MADD reported that it spent 16% of its budget on fundraising each year. USA Today reported that the American Institute of Philanthropy was reducing MADD from a "C" to a "D" in its ratings. The Institute noted that MADD categorizes much of its fundraising expenses as "educational expenses", and that up to 58% of its revenue was expended on what the Institute considered fund-raising and management.

    Regarding guns though: "There are deeply held opinions on both sides when it comes to the choice between controlling gun ownership and protecting gun rights: 42% strongly believe it is more important to control gun ownership, while 37% strongly feel it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns."

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      Dec 28 2012: If they are a non profit do they have to publish what the salaries are? I would like to see how much these do gooders get paid at the public/donation trough. The Red Cross is notorious for sucking up a lot of donation gravy in the form of a salary.

      In this state I think a 502/DWI is about 10k for the first offense. It is about the money forget the moral BS. How many kids are on the streets after 2:00 am when most drunks are on the road?
  • Dec 25 2012: It seems to me that the "pro gun ban" people here consistently refer to assault rifles as if they are fully auto-military issued-rifles.
    I read in the first 5 mins at least 3 separate post that used the term "guns that spray bullets". So I would like to point out that those guns your talking about the ones that "SPRAY" bullets are illegal so your desires to have them banned is already granted.
    I do have a question to ask all that are in favor of taking our so called threat (firearms) away from our self. Why does it take such a horrific event to happen before you take any action (I do not doubt you feel sorrow for all involved). Yet over 100,000 die EVERY year from drugs created and sold buy companies with permits to manufacture them and that is in America alone worldwide is 2-5 million YEARLY. If we are going to stand up as a nation to protect the people of the nation guns are not the starting point.
  • Dec 24 2012: A rather ridiculous comparison is being made here, and, the only link between the two are, in your words, "who died in the process." I think that, for your argument to be relevant, you'd have to ban alcohol to combat drunk driving. Instead, you're halfway oriented towards arguing for social change and therefore targeting the people using the weapons, not the availability of any [assault] weapons.

    Why do people need 'guns that spray bullets'? I think you, and everyone who agrees, are asking the wrong question, instead ask why do people want them? Explore this instead because there are very few things we NEED as people. For instance, we don't need a computer, a cellphone, a personal car, nail-polish, make-up, etc. I promise you there is a sensible answer there for every gun owner.

    Echoing other posters, the issues surrounding violent video games is absolutely absurd. There is absolutely no data to conclude or suggest that players of 'shooters' are leading to violent behavior, or in this case, school shootings. Should parents be more responsible for their children's upbringing? Yes, of course! However, the blame is placed on video games, television before that and comic books before that. For me and hundreds of people I've associated with over the years, I've played competitive violent video games since I was a boy, we are the some of the least violent people on the planet. If this is hard to swallow, consider the martial arts world, one would expect these fighters to be some of the most aggressive and violent people on the planet because that's what they do for a living right? Quite to the contrary, some of the nicest, friendliest and least aggressive people are professional fighters.

    As always, we must remain vigilant and introspective, the answers will come and they need not be rushed to satisfy our bubble of safety mentality.
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    Dec 19 2012: Timothy McVeigh was an American domestic terrorist who detonated a truck bomb in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 800. It was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    No assault weapons used here. My point is just that even though I wish that we could just ban assault weapons and violence would end, it won't!
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      Dec 19 2012: Mothers Against Fertilizers
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        Dec 20 2012: It's funny you should mention fertilizers. In Australia bulk fertilizer is a controlled substance for that exact reason. We have lots of laws that tell me I'm not allowed to own something but we don't mind cause we're too busy surfing in the sunshine to want a gun or a 100kg bag of ammonium nitrate or a concealable knife. Maybe paranoid kids would be less paranoid if they didn't think everyone had a gun and was going to shoot them.
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        Dec 20 2012: No I'm suggesting he feared people, the guns just make people more scarey.
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          Dec 21 2012: And you would be wrong. The drugs bring out the worst in people. Literally millions of stories that make this ABUNDANTLY clear to anyone without an agenda.
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        Dec 21 2012: I'm scared of people with guns. Also I don't doubt the fact that drug use is involved but you can't deny that it would be impossible for someone to shoot people if they can't get a gun. Sorry Krisztián for hijacking your thread
    • Dec 20 2012: After seat belts became widely adopted about 70.000 people still die each year in car crashes in the United States and European Union, so seat belts have not eliminated traffic deaths.

      Well, that's one way to look at it, here's another:

      Seat belts lower traffic deaths by around 30%, all other things equal, and a disproportionate percentage of people who died in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt. The NHSTA estimates 15.400 lives were saved by seat belts in 2006 in the US alone.

      Arguing that something is not worth it if it doesn't solve 100% of the problem is the oldest trick in the book used when people have run out of real arguments, it's a fallacy.
      • Dec 20 2012: Exactly. I don't think we can hope to eliminate mass murders, I would like to hope we could limit the frequency and number of casualties caused by easy access to rapid-fire weapons. While a bomb is potentially more destructive, it seems to me it is more difficult to implement and the risk of being caught beforehand is much higher than taking your mother's AR-15 assault rifle and driving down to a school and pulling the trigger as fast as you can. There is no time to react, no time to intervene. Even if there was a armed defender in the school, by the time he/she would have gotten there the damage would have been done. The novelty of owning a rapid fire killing tool is not important enought (or shouldn't be) for the risk of it being used to kill kids in our own schools. I am sure we can find a secure place to stockpile the hundreds of thousands of these weapons in case Russia invades or you need to overthrow the government. Statistically, Joe America is not doing a good enough job keeping these tools out of the hands of the crazy people who will shoot their kids.
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      Dec 21 2012: The Oklahoma bombing was a planned and well thoughout attack and the fertilizer and diesel was bought by different people with different IID's.

      This is a kid who snapped picked up an assault rifle left unsecured and sitting around the house and went and killed 25 people and himself we have kids killing kids with firearms that should only be used by armies.
      Held by irresponsible owners who believe they need a cache of weapons for self defence. You can't shoot that many weapons at once why do you need them?? what bogey man are you so afraid of??? What are you defending yourself from have you ever needed to????

      Can you honestly point a firearm at another human being and pull the trigger????

      Have any of you ever seen the aftermath of a multiple shooting???? if not I hope you never do because there is no such thing as a dignified death.
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        Dec 24 2012: One reason to have all those guns may be the same as for the military, for protection. Certain people, me being one, do not like the thought of our safety being completely out of our hands. ...

        The snapped kid that came across an unsecured weapon is tragic. The irresponsibility of the owner is tragic. But regardless of the weapon used, lets look at society, whats going on? What is causing people to want to channel their emotions through an assault rifle to kill or whatever? Is it something we can circumvent?

        Your last line is fear mongering; it conjures up obvious horrific images, and when people are scared they make irrational and poor decisions not best for choosing definite and long term possible changes to peoples rights for one
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          Dec 24 2012: No it is not fear mongering it is a question which the majority of gun owners can't answer because they never have and hopefully they will never be put in that kind of position
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    Dec 19 2012: As a member of DDAM I protest your post regarding social change which reminds me of the temperance movement and Carrie Nation. The unintended consequences of that were much worst than the "demon" it protected us from. Just what we need another protect us from ourselves with endless ignorance and hubris, sorry but that flies in the face of the Constitution which I highly recommend you acquire a nodding acquaintance with.

    Regarding guns I also protest your post, your perfunctory understanding of this situation tells me that you should by no means be in charge of anything beyond a hot dog cook out.
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      Dec 19 2012: '... that you should by no means be in charge of anything beyond a hot dog cook out'

      Well, this is Pat at its very best! Eloquent and charming at the same time ... lovely!

      A shame that animated zombie icons are still not available at TED, as this would probably be another place to have seen them walking... :o)

      By the way, if you protest as a member of something, does this really increase its effectiveness? Please let me know if this is the case, as there was a lot of enrolling to be done from my side... ;o)
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        Dec 19 2012: Yes it is hard to tolerate that level of obtuse.

        Yes you are on the opposite side of the fence and will be into perpetuity...
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          Dec 19 2012: Ahh, the grass only looks greener, as usual, that's what I thought ... :o)

          And is there a level of tolerance you are capable of? Ok, you endure some of my teasing at times and you lower yourself by pat(ting) my head with a view comments - if you will pardon this pun - yet even though with my whole perpetuity at hand, I struggle to picture that level ... :o)

          Never mind, my imaginative power is adding little and walking zombies to your comments on my comments anyway and without exceptions, which might be of your liking and to close your gap of visual expressions ... ;o)
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        Dec 19 2012: It boils down to individual freedom verses being taken care of. Me and my ilk want to have purpose and the liberty to pursue it and object to the incessant push to take that away all with good intention but in reality slowly and surely taking the life out of life descending into a dystopian perdition. What you see as narrow mindedness I see as vigilance toward Liberty.
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          Dec 24 2012: Yes, nicely said Pat.

          When it comes to protecting myself and my freedom I do not want to hand over my responsibility to someone else; police, militia. To protect yourself is fundamentally human among other things that I just do not want to be at others discretion. Especially cats I do not know personally.
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    Dec 19 2012: "We will change our resopnse to violence and stop purchasing violence video games as gifts for our children, and stop patronizing films that promote violence, mayhem and murder. Glorifying the horrific has become the norm."

    How many of these very same games and films are available in Canada, Japan, China, Australia and the 50 countries located in the European block?

    Next question:
    How much gun crime do these countries have?

    As much as I agree with you on the subject of banning assault weapons (and guns in general if the opportunity arose, its about time this 'govmunt gunna get us' American paranoia was put to bed),
    blaming inanimate items that are viewed/used by 100's of millions all over the world and using it as the go-to excuse because of the actions of one person is quite simply lazy and misguided.

    Correlation does not equal causation. Just because certain outlets show guns does not mean that someone who uses one was influenced solely (or even vaguely) because of it.
    It was argued with Rap music=violence before it and Rock music=satanism before that. It was asinine then and that reality remains unchanged.

    Perhaps you should instead consider the more likely explanations:
    Lifestyle > parents > Psychological state > events in life > PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY > What provoked the event to happen at that time.
    Hopefully then we can get on the right track and actually fix the issue, rather than scapegoating it and allowing such events to continue happening.

    Take care.
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      Dec 20 2012: Thank you for your most thoughtful post, Xavier. By far, you make the most sense. Absolutely, lifestyle > parents ? psychological state > life events > PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY all play a part. A 20-year old may be old enough to vote and wear a military uniform, but a 20-year old is stll technically an adolescent. There is evidence now that the brain doesn't develop to the point where putting the brakes on taking one's irrational thoughts and putting them in action. Absolutely, answering your question of what provoked the event in the first place is crucial to addressing the tragedy and preventing similar events from occurring in the future.

      I know, without a doubt, that we as a nation need to address the issue of gun violence. I am a gun owner myself, by my rifle is locked in a carry case. I doubt I will ever use the weapon. My intension is not to ban guns, but is there really a need for weapons that fire 3-to-10 rounds per second?

      We have a generation of young people who have grown up in the information age, are totally at home in a virtual reality, sometimes more there than in the real life reality, and where many are children of privilege. The lines between privilege and responsibility are blurring, if not disappearing. That is a tragedy. If we don't model self responsibility, how can we expect our children to be self responsible?

      I am grateful to TED for this arena to read and respond to the comments of others.

      Take care.
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        Dec 24 2012: Kate when is the brain fully formed and matured? I'm not sure if ever, it seems humans are constantly learning and changing. I have no studies to back that up, its my belief, though studies are hard for me to believe as the absolute truth.

        Yeah, your original post is a little more imposing than these later comments.
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    Dec 18 2012: Your campaign might be more far-reaching than the weapon types and entertainment you blame. If you want to prevent another unspeakable slaughter direct your energy toward identifying and isolating the homocidal maniacs who are currently roaming free. Then, with that done, we can set about determining how they became so sick, and what can be done about it. Thank you, and may God help those who have suffered the worst kind of loss.
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      Dec 20 2012: I totally agree with you, Edward. Weapon types and entertainment were the first things that came to my mind when I decided to start this converstion. The media hype around the tragedy, where they continuously mention 'assault weapons', and the like, gave me the nudge I needed to put something down on paper.

      I am not advocating re-enactment of temperance, as one commenter put it, or banning all guns, as several others have mentioned, or even banning violent video games. Just the other day, I heard a report on CNN or possibly PBS that there is now evidence that shows kids who play violent video games are less likely to be violent themselves. The reason being is that the players are able to release their anger, etc., virtually, and do not need to express their feelings in real life.

      What I am asking for is that we start paying attention to what's happening all around us. One of us may be able to stop someone from crossing the line of no return and prevent another tragedy from happening. When one suffers, we all suffer.
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        Dec 20 2012: I see. Your headline will probably get more responses dealing specifically with banning guns and video games since that is what it says. You can edit the post as your thoughts evolve in response to the dialog. Be well!
  • Jan 1 2013: Colleen,

    I live in a hunting community, ten miles from a town of about 70. Almost every male and many females own guns. Most of the hunting rifles are semi automatic. I don't hunt but I know people who use it for their only meat source. Guns can be a very useful tool. A semi automatic weapon can make a huge difference in your success at hunting.

    As for body armor, why would a civilian need it unless expecting to be a gunfight. I spent many years in a large city in a poor neighborhood and never felt the need.
  • Jan 1 2013: I suggest you read a bit more history.
  • Dec 31 2012: Automatic weapons are for the the most part illegal except for military or police use. The average hunting rifle is an semi-automatic. A semi-automatic firearm was used at Newtown. Because the rifle looked like an M-16 people call it an assault rifle. This emotional moniker will only drive a edge in any attempt at legislation. The discussion should be about how to help troubled people before they resort to violence. We didn't outlaw diesel and fertilizer and they are a far more deadly combination. Perhaps outlawing body armor and large clips would have some affect. With over 50% of US households having guns I think any legislation would stall. Especially if you want to outlaw all semi-automatics. Perhaps you should delineate your definition of assault weapons.
    • Jan 1 2013: actually the fertilizer that used to do that is under tight restriction now.
    • Jan 1 2013: According to recent University of Chicago research only 32% of US households have guns down from 50% in 1973.

      I believe the majority of hunters do not use semi-automatic rifles. At least the hunters that I know in the northeast US.
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      Jan 1 2013: Mark,
      I do not believe the "average hunting rifle is a semi-automatic"....certainly not true in this area!

      I agree that "outlawing" "large clips" could be helpful, along with banning the assault weapons serviced by the "large clips".

      While an individual's definition of assault weapon may vary depending on one's knowledge, there is criteria which legally defines assault weapons, and that information can be found on line.

      I do not believe that "outlawing body armor" could serve any useful purpose...body armor generally protects people from harm....it does not cause deaths....to the best of my knowledge.

      I agree with you Mark, that emotional factors sometimes get in the way of legislation, which is why having accurate information is important with this discussion.

      Brian and Mark,
      I was curious about the question of how many US housholds have guns, so I did a search. The numbers are all over the charts, and as one survey says....it depends on who is honest about having guns in the household!!!
  • Dec 31 2012: One of the things that I have really loved about Ted.com is that academic thought has been brought to the massess, and great thoughts and ideas can be shared amongst anyone with a computer and the curiosity to learn more. The future and the past mingling in a wonderful present, dealing with reality, and pondering the possible.Kate, I want to thank you for making your statement. Murder is horrific in all its forms and volumes.

    The tragedy of having 26 people massacred in a single location, in a single act of terror, is heartbreaking. But if we can set our emotion aside, so it may not be used against us by those who “would not let a good crisis go to waste, because you can get away with things that you couldn’t ‘normally’ do,” then ingest the uncomfortable acts of last century, we may accept that evil exists, and that evil lives by rules you and I do not live by. Evil is simply about power; power whose gears are greased with the corpses of those who get in the way.

    As incomprehensible to my own mind and soul , the 26 loved ones recently murdered, is a single drop of blood compared to an estimated 170,000,000 slaughtered last century alone when politicians used their power to disarm and kill their citizens to meet their twisted agendas. Whole families, cities, races were targeted.The use of sincere human emotions after a tragedy to demonize guns is a dream of those who sincerely are fearful of guns and want to find and create a more loving and nurturing society. In that wish they find partnership with those hidden in their agenda to control and rule the citizens from which they get their power.

    I would like to know if you still think of gun control the same as you do now, after watching the following historical summary of what happens when citizens are disempowered:

    Innocents Betrayed

    There is evil in the world. Evil understands force. Evil thrives when it can roam and attack unresisted. Guns manage evil locally.
  • Dec 31 2012: Much of what I read in this are distractions from the topic. I would say, 'speak to the families of the victims - their reactions should count !'
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    Dec 30 2012: Thank you Kate for introducing a wholistic approach to the criminal violence issue.

    Unfortunately gun legislation won't make the deeper changes that we need to embrace and the implication that we need to take an authoritarian approach, actually undermines the notion that we can and should be better communities without putting all the sharp objects where we can't reach them.

    Where are the consumer boycotts of the deranged cultural material that is aimed at our children in film and other multi-billion dollar media industries?
    The people have much more power in their day to day interactions than top down legislation will ever achieve. Moral persuasion is more lasting tool. Where are the electorate demanding that we again provide mental health services? Why hasn't money been made available to enhance school security systems? Much of our infrastructure improvement potential is bled out of the country when we invest in foreign wars.

    Mahatma Ghandi also wrote "'Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." It takes some dimensional thinking to understand why he would make such a statement. And within that context you find the same elements that surface each time the gordian knot of gun control is discussed in this country.

    Many people, myself not one of them, live in parts of the country where there very real safety is dependent upon them having guns themselves.

    It is too easy a solution to use gun control as the end all and be all of a problem that stems from so many other societal derelictions.
  • Dec 28 2012: your article remember me with famous motto "TIME IS MONEY". Life without money is nothing, but not everything in this world can be bought by money. So..The TIME is your LIFE. Time is everything. If you can control the TIME, you can control the WORLD
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    Dec 28 2012: Hi Kate,
    Yes....I believe the time is NOW for people to stand up and say "no more assault weapons", and not wait for the government to legislate the change. We ARE the government....we send our elected respesentatives messages all the times regarding how we want them to represent us. I totally agree..."change starts when people change". I agree that glorifying the horrific has helped to "normalize" the behaviors.

    The representatives in the state I live in (Vermont) are already talking about legislation to ban assault weapons when they are back in session in January. Although we have lots of hunters in this state, I'm not hearing any protest.

    The gun buy-back in L.A. this year, which was moved up in time, appears to send the message that people are taking this issue to heart, and not waiting for legislation. The buy-back took in 400 MORE weapons than usual (total of over 2,000 weapons), including assault weapons

    • Dec 30 2012: Yeah, that's what I'd want my hard earned tax dollars going towards.
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        Dec 30 2012: You'd prefer your hard earned tax dollars be spent on keeping those who kill people with assault weapons in jail? That cost is $75,000 - $85,000 per person per year.
  • Dec 28 2012: Yeah from virginia... Last place on earth anyone would look from an ignorant fearful report. Guns Do not imply inferiority in judgement.. they envoke the highest spirit of truth and justice. Two nouns and verbs that no one acts on. Any person willing to do what they wish in the highest desire.. will carry that action out. Doesn't matter if it aligns with populous vote. It's a higher purpose defined by pure good or pure evil. It is why spirituality cannot be ignored as a science... with the compulsive understanding of the minds of most with science... we can finally understand on a much more planar basic level... the reaches of desire. If it is perfection we are looking for it will be among the perfect before us... which has been preached for 5,000 years. Research leads to rides that are far deeper than fear. To a true war. Once that demands research by the silent brightest.

    To you,
    From Us
  • Dec 27 2012: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh

    It's not the weapon. You're foolish to think so.

    P.S. This isn't an intellectual discussion and doesn't belong on "TED.com"
  • Dec 25 2012: My life is spiraling out of control. The stress is feeding off the maoi's. My own sadness has left me with nothing but hate for those happy. I would like nothing more than to hurt as many innocents as I possibly can. I will buy a rifle and go to the nearest school, no one has a gun there so I will be able to be in absolute control during my final blaze of glory. I will go there, execute as many as I can with my weapon, and die.

    Now the story without an assault rifle.

    My life....as many innocent as i possibly can. I can't use a gun to give me power, and a blade would be too easily overpowered. Instead I will resort to a makeshift weapon. How about a molotov cocktail. With a few chains and some gas i could burn a whole theater alive, brutally killing hundreds more than I would have even if I sprayed a crowd with an entire clip.

    The problem is the violence, not the method. Banning guns wont stop mass killings. Even in the unlikely event a killer couldn't acquire a gun illegally, there are so many legal weapons with much more horrific potential. Evil will not be thwarted by the laws of good, but a rifle in the hand of that teacher could.
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    Dec 25 2012: I have tried throughout my life to never enter a discussion or debate angry ... and have refused to be influenced through the passion of the moment.

    Please do not think that this decisioin make me either weak of indecisive .... it is my belief that it allows me to make decisions based on facts not emotion.
  • Dec 24 2012: People have the right to bear arms. However, I don't know for sure that people have right to have guns that can spray bullets. This is a sticky topic because some of the argument revolves around what people do to each other with guns. Another side of the argument revolves around defending ourselves from the authorities who have unlimited weapons.
    I once saw a slogan that said "If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns."
    It's not really the guns that bother me. It's the judgement of the people with the guns. Drugs are illegal and it doesn't stop people from dying because of them.
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      Dec 24 2012: I agree w/ you, Dan. That's why I started this conversation. I don't think banning guns in total is the answer. Guns that spray bullets >> who needs those weapons? Soldiers, SWAT teams maybe, and possibly a few government agencies. We continue to banter the argument that the right to bear arms is all the authority we need to own guns >> of all types. I challenge that idea.
      • Dec 28 2012: I would like to point out the grouping of "guns that spray bullets" is made by people who know next to nothing about actual firearms. Secondly, guns that spray bullets aka automatic weapons are ALREADY ILLEGAL in many if not all states. Thirdly, over 75% of convicted shooters did NOT get their guns through legal channels. And lastly, if outlawing guns would stop people from having them, then why don't we outlaw cocaine and heroin?
        • Dec 28 2012: I don't need to be an expert to know that guns that hold 50 bullets are different than guns that hold 6 bullets that have to be reloaded by hand instead of a clip. I would say that the gun that the shooter used in the school is closer to spraying bullets than an old six shooter or shotgun used in hunting. My father was a county sheriff for 20+ years so I was exposed to guns at an early age. i would qualify myself as someone who knows something about firearms.
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    Dec 24 2012: "NOW" is always the best time to do something as that's the only timeframe though tiny on which one have control over.
    What about nuclear weapon ?
    What about use of weapons (in all form from) by powerful nations / countries over weak nations / countries?
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      Dec 24 2012: Good question, Salim. On the national level, we are in a different arena. When nations tgo to war, there are those who supply weapons. War is in a different category. Yes, people die because of guns, but usually these folks are aware that there is war going on. Usually (one would hope), they have an opportunity to fight back or flee. Children in schools, people in theaters, politicians making speeches should not be killed by rapid fire guns.
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        Dec 28 2012: Kate, understand your point and fully support your stand..........