back to article After Sandy Hook, Senator calls for violent video game probe

Gun control remains a politically fraught issue in the US, even after such events as the December 14 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, but one top lawmaker has proposed legislation that could lead to tighter restrictions on firearms – at least the imaginary kind. On Wednesday, Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West …

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Anonymous Coward

This is just stupid, anyone with any sense can see this is all just for show. If games, movies and other media were the problem then wouldn't many other countries be having the same issues? Canada is right next door and consumes mostly the same media yet has a significantly lower rate of gun violence.

It's time for the US government to grow some balls and do what's needed rather than just pretend to do something,

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

Possibly many other countries would be having the same problem, if many other countries allowed assault rifles and handguns to be owned and carried in public.

After all, guns don't kill people, people kill people, people with guns. It's pretty hard to kill someone with a punch. Furthermore, the NRA et al say that guns should be used against people perpetrating serious crime, or against a state over abuse of power/a tyranny. If this is genuinely the case, where are the people with guns shooting Police when things like the Rodney King beating happen, why do none of these massacres end in a member of the public shooting the killer, etc. etc. etc. No, I can only conclude that these sorts of guns are for gun nuts.

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Re:

>It's time for the US government to grow some balls and do what's needed rather than just pretend to do something,

In theory the government is the people, and the people are deeply divided on guns. We shot up the king of England's boys a long time ago when he thought it was a good idea to do what he needed to do.

Just trying to blame guns alone doesn't make sense, Canada has had a much lower rate of mass murders then the U.S. per capita even before guns were banned in most cases there. I'm assuming that this has a historical basis of gaining independence via violence and surviving a very violent civil war. It becomes ingrained in the American ideal that violence is a solution that has worked in the past. Also add in the teaching that American freedom and independence helped saved the world both in WWI and WWII.

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Facepalm

Re: Re:

In the rest of the rational world it's very easy to blame guns as there simply wasn't any other way of placing standard amounts of lead into innocent 6-year-old bodies.

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Re: Re: Re:

Yes, guns are the easy way to commit a mass murder. Take away the guns and you are still going to have a higher number of mass murders in America then other places. There is a cultural need to solve problems with violence here.

Also, Austraila has a gun ban, but it didn't stop this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childers_Palace_Fire

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FAIL

Re: Re: Childers Backpacker Fire

If you'd care to do a bit more research, you'd have found that the Childers Palace was a death trap from a fire safety point of view and had been refused a fire safety certificate more than a year earlier. The reason so many died was that they were trapped. The same outcome could have happened if the fire had been accidental rather than deliberate.

See: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/06/19/1055828439185.html

If want to bring other countries into thisI, I suggest you research the number of mass gun murders in Australia post-Port Arthur vs a similar time frame in the US, then come back and we'll continue the discussion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re:@pixl97 121220 1031

"Also add in the teaching that American freedom and independence helped saved the world both in WWI and WWII."

Three years late the first time, two years late the second time.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmm...

"It's pretty hard to kill someone with a punch."

Actually it isn't as, according to FBI data, hands and feet accounted for nearly 750 homicides in 2010. I'll also point out that in this case a member of the public would be breaking the law just having the means to shoot or even a weapon to beat the killer. What law abiding person would regularly break the law in case of the extremely rare event when a killer breaks the law? Why risk becoming a criminal given the negligible odds of such an event happening? It is negligible by the way given the number of schools and school days in the US, not that it makes it any less painful when it does happen. Add to that most folks who have a firearm own it for personal protection not crime fighting like a comic book superhero.

People don't generally shoot the police because camera phones are a much better weapon against the police. If you start shooting cops you pretty much sign up for a life of harassment hell even if it is found to be self defense. You are trying to paint with Bizarro brushes and label anyone who disagrees with you as a nut but it isn't honest discourse, it's just more of the too typical knee jerk ad hominem fueled by emotion not reason.

Last point, in some instances a member of the public does get involved when they are able but there isn't anything to say if it stopped something more serious or not.

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Re: Hmm...

"After all, guns don't kill people, people kill people, people with guns. "

After all, guns don't kill people, people kill people, people with guns, or any other device, be that kinetic (such as a gun) or chemical ... like an explosion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

Fixed...

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Silver badge

Very true, video games probably only contribute a small amount to the problem, although perhaps it warrants some study. As for Canada, they have significantly less guns per person but more significantly their culture is very different. Gun control will go some way to reducing the damage done in attacks, an outright gun ban would help further (but won't happen and wouldn't stop attacks either). We need to address the culture as a whole, we need to address how people aren't being spotted and given help and we do need greater gun control (seriously how dangerous have deer got that you need an assault rifle? we hunt boar with knife and deer with a bow, predator and terminator were just movies!) but probably around the UK level rather than the Japanese level, we also need to significantly increase police funding. All these things together, over time, should reduce both the number of attacks and the severity. It will not be a simple or quick fix but it does need to be fixed. I don't want to take a hunters rifle away, I don't want to take a home owners handgun away, but I think we need to address the type, concealability, storage, number and power of the weapons some people have. We also need to buy back weapons that are outlawed (fair is fair). Minimum handgun barrel lengths, max magazine sizes, assault rifle bans etc rather than any attempt at an outright ban is probably the better choice in the short term to begin to have an impact.

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Anonymous Coward

You never know - There may be an issue

Repeat after me: Guns good, Tits baaaaad, Violence good, Tits baaaaaad. Now wave the stars'n'stripes. Good boy. Do it again.

In any case, the act requires government to subsidize a proper study. That's all. It will be interesting if the results of the study show what we all know: Tits gooooooooood, Violence - definitely bad.

I just do not see how this will be presented in a country where the end of the world is declared if half a nipple is seen on live TV.

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Re: You never know - There may be an issue

I agree and I also never did understand Mary Whitehouse lumping sex and violence altogether.

As far as I could see consential procreative sex lead to more people and was more often the cause of joy and happiness .

Violence can lead to less living people, and not a lot of happiness.

So from my point of view Mary Whitehouse was only half right.

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Silver badge

Product of a different time I guess. Kids see nearly as much at the beach these days.

Different folks see different problems and adopt differet types of solution. I'm not daft enough to believe I am the only person that is right. When people feel they need a gun next to their bed something is wrong. You just shouldn't have to feel you need that. Yes, if you do then in the short term you should have that protection but I think that is happening because the police (as a whole, not as individuals and likely due to funding) are not able to provide that security. Isn't the best long term fix for the police to provide that? Having a bedroom closet that looks like a pullout for guns and ammo is a short term overreaction and just results in more dead people, criminals we won't miss so much but its the accidental deaths. I have also noticed (only in some states, the opposite in others) thats the open carry folks treat it as a licence to be a twat. Perhaps being less of a twat would mean less need to carry.

Look at Sandy hook, those were legally owned guns, how did the kid get his hands on them if they were secure? Why the assault rifle? It has moved away from being a sport, protection or a way of getting food into some delinquent, macho, disaster in waiting. I remember talking to a NRA member a while back and saying I support your right to own a gun but you need to clean house or there will be a huge reaction at some point and you will lose much more then you need to'. Advocating letting felons get guns is a serious mistake, if the NRA value their freedoms they should be front of the line shouting for felons not to have guns.

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Rob

Can we stop calling him a kid...

... he was 20 years old.

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Re: Hmm...

"Actually it isn't as, according to FBI data, hands and feet accounted for nearly 750 homicides in 2010. "

As opposed to the roughly 10,000 gun murders...

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Re: Hmm...

I've always said "Guns don't kill people, Americans with guns kill people".

Also, does anyone else find it ironic that Kinder Surprise Eggs are still illegal in the States because they are considered a serious hazard to small children...

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FAIL

Really?

Google Marc Lepine.

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Bronze badge
Meh

It's not stupid, it's pork

On Wednesday, Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced a bill that would require the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a study into the impact that violent video games have on children.

You can be assured that Senator Rockefeller has already identified the paid "consultants" that will be paid to do this study for the NAS.

Remember, a payoff is not illegal if it's authorized in a bill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re:

Given the choice of living next to a nutter and next to a nutter with lots of guns what is your choice going to be?

Mental illness isn't going away, so lets at least get some of the less essential ways for them to kill people out of the picture.

It's hard to ban fire.

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Anonymous Coward

Reason fo down vote.

It is very obvious that you know bugger all about firearms and its legislation in the UK or anywhere else.

Some control of ownership of firearms is obvious; requiring all guns to be registered and civilians to obtain a license before hand also makes sense. The licensing can help stop people with mental health issues and those of violent/criminal tendencies getting them easily.

It is surprising how many people will just not bother getting something if it entails a bit of paper work, and a visit by a firearms inspector (mostly ex-coppers) every 5 years or so.

The total banning guns, like the Labour party did in 1997 with pistols has been actually proven to be a bad thing. It actually encourages some people to go and get them for no other reason than to be seen as tough/hip/etc...

The legislation in the UK is a total mess, with vast numbers of acts and amendments made by politicians with no understanding of the law enacting new laws over the last 90-odd years. A good example being when the Labour govt. spent weeks discussing and voting on “new” laws to stop people using air-guns in public places. The fact that there were already laws covering/prohibiting such activity never dawned on them!

As a side note:

If people are so concerned about the safety of the general public, it would be far more productive to have tougher driving tests (actual driving not academic papers), and require drivers to renew their driving license every 5 years along with mandated eye tests. There are 1000's of people out there who can hardly see beyond their car bonnets let alone seeing some kid in the road.

Or what about fast cars, they have absolutely no real purpose on our roads and when used by the average drivers (ie: twats who think they are the next Hamilton/Moss/etc...) kill far more people every year than guns do in the UK.

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Re: Hmm...

That is a very skewed view. In fact, the recent mall shootings in Oregon could have been far worse if the murderer had not been confronted by Nick Meli, a shopper who was legally carrying a concealed weapon. Meli positioned himself behind a pillar and aimed his weapon at the man. Meli couldn't or wouldn't bring himself to pull the trigger, but when the man saw him pointing a weapon at him he ran off and shot himself and nobody else was harmed. True, it did not end with Mr. Meli killing the man, but it was because Meli was normal and did not want to kill people. Nevertheless, he certainly saved the lives of several people that day by confronting the wacko with a weapon. See "Armed civilian at Oregon mall shooting thought about firing at gunman" on MSN.

The reason that you never hear of this is twofold. For one thing, the crazies are looking for soft targets, like schools, where they are sure nobody will shorten their killing spree. For another, the media chooses to downplay the heroic action of Mr. Meli and others because sensationalism of the massacre apparently sells better. Likewise, it seems blaming it on video games is also a good seller.

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Re: @pixl97

Yes, we will have more murders in the US even without guns but it ain't cultural -- there is a growing body of evidence that antidepressants cause violent and suicidal behavior. We will be fucked as long as Big Pharma runs medicine.

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Silver badge

Re: Can we stop calling him a kid...

If progressives like Neil McAllister admit that he wasn't a kid, they lose one of their emotional hooks to override logic in their jihad against guns. Just like they ignore that according to the Brady Center Connecticut has the 5th best gun controls in the nation. And amongst the states which surround it, 3 rank higher and only Vermont below the median for the country. So "tough" gun controls didn't help any of those kids one damn bit.

In fact, Wayne Pierre was right: there was only one thing that was going to stop that punk from killing more kids: an armed adult who was already inside the building, prepared and equipped to shoot the S.O.B on sight. Yes, posting armed police officers inside every school would bust already over-burdened government budgets, so that's not really an answer either. But it might point at one that would work: allowing teachers and/or faculty at schools to carry weapons. Concealed carry holders seems like a good point from which to start. Based on police statistics they are more law abiding than your average citizen in the first place. Couple that with appropriate training requirements and you can probably accomplish the same goal at an affordable cost to the government. The only obstacle to this rational solution is the inordinate fear of guns from people like Neil. And apparently most Brits too even though your own current experiences should inform you otherwise.

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Can they explain.

Can violence because of video games explain mass murders before the days of video games? There were plenty of them before 1980 or so.

Video games are much easier to blame then the rest of our culture.

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Silver badge

Re: Can they explain.

No, but they do make a difference, particularly when couple with the prevailing gun phobia from government elites.

There was a study done, don't remember who or where, and it came to one conclusion that in retrospect makes sense: video games train for higher kill ratios than we had before them. You get more points for kill shots in the games, so they train you to take those shots. I don't think that is grounds to ban them, but we do need to recognize the effect when working out how to protect people. The other part of course is that before the mass hoplophobia, you were likely to find guns on campuses. So for instance, on one college campus shooting incident a student was able to retrieve his rifle and kill the shooter before the body count went over 20.

The most important reform we won't get. All of these mass killers (from the Texas Bell tower shooter through Columbine, and now Newton) exhibited pronounced signs of depression, anger, and desire to kill lots of people. What's needed is a better ability/requirement for psychologist/psychiatrists to commit these disturbed people to secure facilities to deal with their issues.

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Thumb Down

More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

Barack Hussein Obama gave orders to CIA to create the mass murder case.

Just like with the The Dark Knight Rises..the mass murder in a theater a few months ago.

Banning video games is not going to stop a damn thing.

Banning weapons is only going to help criminals. Which is the main goal of Barack Hussein Obama and Democrats party will.

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Facepalm

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

Don't talk bollocks... most guns in the hands of criminals were originally bought legally then stolen from the idiots who bought them in the first place!

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Silver badge

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

"stolen from the idiots who bought them in the first place!"

Quite true and in this case the idiot happened to be his first victim. Perhaps if she could have seen the real beast inside her, undoubtedly, precious little angel then this might not have happened. This is more about poor parenting than it is about games and guns. Yes, I'm blaming the victim because either her rose colored glasses blinded her from the monster in her home or she was just too busy in her own world to pay attention. I find it impossible to believe there were absolutely no warning signs. Of course it's possible she was as much of a nutter as he was.

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Black Helicopters

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

With clear-minded folks like you leading the way it is TOTALLY unbelievable to see how Barack Hussein Obama could have won.

One, insignificant, oft-quoted, but unlikely, achievement of banning weapons in the US is that Canada might have less murders committed, especially in gang warfare, using weapons smuggled in from the US.

But, obviously, not worth considering since we all know how important home US gun ownership has been in keeping the Commies' out and US citizens safe. I personally tremble, living right next to one of Canada's poorest neighborhoods, whenever I have to walk there without a concealed weapon to defend myself with. Shameful. Obviously, we could cut our already low crime rate by half, or more, if we adopted laws freely allowing obviously intelligent and decent citizens, like you or me, to carry near-military grade weapons. Or at least concealed 9mm pistols.

Did you know that Red Dawn was actually a documentary? Yes, it was. Suppressed, shamefully, just like Capricorn One. Best way to hide a truth is to dress it up as fiction. Standard CIA black ops.

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FAIL

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

Well, at least the title of your post is truth in advertising. "More retarded nonsense" indeed.

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@Franklin

Allright, Franklin, I'll bite.

My post was intentionally snarky & nasty, because Joerg comes across as a bats**t swivel-eyed loon on his post accusing Obama of being behind Sandy Hook.

Exactly the same way I think the 911 Truthers & the Michael Moores are loons for accusing Bush, a man I don't much like, of being behind 9/11. Left wing zealots, right wing zealot, both fanatics to me.

Do you disagree with me thinking Joerg is an idiot for accusing Obama? Or do you think that Obama had something to do with it? Regardless of your views on gun control? Regardless of my views of gun control?

There is really very little honor in accusing the other's side politicians of being an accomplice at a time of national tragedy like this. I find it profoundly, profoundly, disgusting and it denotes a singular lack of decency and civility.

With 9/11 & Bush. With Sandy Hook & Obama.

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Silver badge

Re: @Franklin

Okay, now attempt your best Marlon Brando impression:

"They train young men to rain fire upon people, but don't allow them to write 'fuck' on their airplanes because they think it is obscene".

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Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

I presume when you wrote "More retarded nonsense" you were referring to the mindless drivel in your own post.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

@Dire Criti¢

Yes you are talking utter bollocks.

Most illegal firearms are just bought with cash in the USA where that is allowed, everywhere else where there are restrictions they are illegal imports (most illegal guns in the UK are imported from easter europe) or are even manufactured locally. In the 1970 they even had a nickname for them in the states of "Saturday night specials" which were badly made revolvers (typically .38specials) that were made cheap and nasty so they could be just thrown away after use.

Guns are not magical devices, any reasonably competant metal/machine shop worker can make them from scratch, making them illeagal just makes another niche for criminal to make even more money. Just like the "War on drugs" has just made lots of money for organised crime and little else.

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Holmes

Re: More retarded nonsense. And CIA under Barack Hussein Obama orders behind it!

Duh! The cash paid to the likes of pawn shops etc? Where the guns that are stolen from idiots are fenced?

You must be one of those idiots from one of the "cold dead hands" states who labour under the myth that having a gun means you are protected and safe.

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Silver badge

Re: being an accomplice at a time of national tragedy

Direct accomplice in the sense of ordering the CIA to find a nut job and set him loose on the school? No.

Accomplice in the sense that what happened is the inevitable result of their cumulative asinine policies? Absolutely. Politicians are supposed to take the time to sketch out those consequences before they advocate their policies, and we're supposed to hold them accountable when they don't. Unfortunately almost no politicians do the first, and we have too few citizens doing the second.

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Facepalm

I would have thought that...

...more imaginary weapons than real ones would have had more of a desired affect, not less.

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FAIL

How many people...

... have been killed by a video game...?

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Re: How many people...

Does this count?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2175410/Teenager-dies-playing-game-40-HOURS-straight-eating.html

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Trollface

Re: How many people...

I watched Tron, I know how dangerous they can be.

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Anonymous Coward

One simple test...

When any legislation is proposed for "protecting" people right after a mass attack by some deranged perpetrator one must ask a simple question:

Would the proposed law have prevented the incident that just happened. Also would existing laws have prevented it, but were not enforced.

If either of these can't be answered correctly, then what use is the proposed law. It just becomes nice "window dressing" that shows that the politician "cares" and doesn't want to waste a crisis that the whole country (or world) knows about. It is unfortunate that innocents lost their lives, but restrictions on otherwise law-abiding citizens for some specious "do good" reason is a fools game.

In addition there should be a "waiting period" for legislation just like the purchasing of weapons. It would allow the hysteria die down a bit and allow for saner heads to prevail.

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Pint

Re: One simple test...

Well said.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One simple test...

Spot on.

Here's a good example of crap legislation (by the last labour Govt.)

Due to some claims made in the media, the last Labour gov. made the purchase/sale/gift of a certain type of air pistol illegal, and made it an offence to own one without having a firearms certificate. Breaking this law makes someone liable for 5 years prison for being in possession of an illegal firearm.

The air guns in question were the self contained cartridge variety (often call "Brocock" after the main manufacturer). The reason being that supposedly you could make chamber adapters for them to shoot 22LR ammunition.

However, the government didn't want to ban them as that would mean having to pay compensation to the owners (these guns typically cost between £450 to £1000 each) and the banning of pistols cost a lot of money. So they passed the law as above and went back on ruining the economy.

In the previous 10-15 years there were an estimated 75,000-100,000 air guns of this type purchased like any other air gun (ie: No registration was needed). However unless you were a keen air gun user and purchased gun-mart or any of the other air gun magazines, you would never know this law had been passed, which probably accounts for the fact that only about 15000 have ever been registered.

So as a result there could easily be 40,000 or more UK citizens who may have possibly forgotten they have these, are now classified as hardened criminals.

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Pint

Any excuse

Why is it never just the fault of the individual, there always has to be something that forced them to do it. This kind of mentality really gets on my wick.

At the end of the day people need to accept that some people are just plain wrong, they choose to do these things, ultimately because they want to.

If it was down to a particular, game/movie/activity, then there would be a lot more of this stuff happening.

Until people stop trying to make excuses for these people and actually place the blame with the person doing the crime, things are not going to get better.

Beer - because this sounds like a pub rant.

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FAIL

Why is it illegal to slap a politician?

Oh, here we go again. The various stages of FAIL whenever there's a large-scale killing involving guns.

Blame the video games! Err, no, they have the same games all over the world (you can actualy get more violent games outside the US) and no, people aren't grabbing guns & walking into places and blazing away.

Blame Hollywood/violent movies! Err, no. See above. And again, there's less censorship outside the US than in it.

Blame the lack of prayer in schools! Ye gods & small fishes! See above.

Blame Marilyn Manson! I don't really care for his music (I'm old) but I don't think for one second that he's got anything to do with gun deaths.

Blame... err... [INSERT HOT ISSUE OF THE DAY HERE]!

Heavy sigh...

But let's make absolutely sure that we don't talk about the extend of mental problems, the lack of facilities to monitor/track/treat them, the easy availability of guns and a significant percent of the population that thinks guns and violence can be answers to their problems.

Take the countries of Western Europe & Canada, throw in Japan and you have a population roughy equal to America's, with a broad similarity of culture, the same, or similar, foods, drinks, games, movies, books etc and you... don't get the same number of gun deaths.

Guns are (Canda excepted) much, much rarer beasts outside the US and mental health (including Canada now) is much better addressed.

So will the States actually do anything? They should but I'm betting that, 2 years from today, nothing meaningful will have been done & another 20,000 people (in ones & twos, most of them not together) will be dead through gun violence.

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Silver badge

Re: Why is it illegal to slap a politician?

I never listened to Marilyn Manson, or liked his image... but when I heard him talk in Bowling for Columbine, he seemed the only sane contributor.

I still don't listen to his music, but he seems someone you can have a beer with.

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Stop

Re: Why is it illegal to slap a politician?

You had me until you went all gun grabbing on us.

Mental health should be the focus of this, not guns. Remember the worst ever massacre of school children in the US happened with dynamite.

Besides, it is easy for everyone to gang on the US (and I am not american, I am brazilian) while conveniently not mentioning the Ecole de Polytechnique massacre, Anders Breivik, 300+ (150+ children) slain in the Beslan massacre in Russia, the Realengo school massacre in Rio last year, the crazed guy stabbing children in China this very week and many, many others. Nor the fact that gun-free Britain has a thriving business of kevlar-laced anti-stabbing school uniforms. I am not implying they are all the same, but I am saying what all had in common is deranged sub-humans murdering children, gun laws or yankee nationality be damned.

Just saying, get off the high horse and look around the world.

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Bronze badge

Re: Why is it illegal to slap a politician?

you nailed it here: "significant percent of the population that thinks guns and violence can be answers to their problems"

... but that begs for question: why? Perhaps popular culture, especially when produced in Hollywood or American game companies etc., has something to do with it? Could it, possibly?

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Re: Why is it illegal to slap a politician?

Sure such mass murders do occur everywhere, but they are far more prevalent in the US. Most countries will go years without an incident like this, the US can't seem to go a few months without another occurrence.

They aren't going to get a gun ban through congress, there are just too many paranoid Americans that think they need a gun for self defense. But they should try to ban semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines. That won't prevent another mass murder but it would likely cut down on the number of dead.

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