The VENT Thread

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Ballerina
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:24 pm

Good letter making its rounds on social media. LOTS OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT

An Open Letter to Senator Murphy on Gun Violence in America

Senator Murphy,

I was on a conference call for work today when my boss, who lives in Parkland, FL said "There's a been a shooting at my kids' school, I need to go." Thank God, a few minutes later he learned both of his daughters were safe.

I've already seen several posts on social media by people referencing your comments today. They are understandably upset and angry that this continues to happen in our country. The frustration and anger we all feel are well placed. No family should have to endure the pain of losing a loved one to senseless violence, especially a child who should be safe at their desk in school. I agree with these people wholeheartedly. Now is the time to have a serious conversation about gun violence in this country.

But what does that conversation entail? Many seem to believe it starts and ends with gun control. It includes much more.

Let's talk about gun control, yes. Let's talk about limiting the sale of excessively large magazines for rifles and armor-piercing bullets. Let's talk about back door sales of firearms at gun shows.

But let's not stop there.

Let's talk about the entertainment we consume. About the unhealthy obsession of watching horrific acts of torture and murder in horror films.

Let's talk about the games we allow and teach our children to play, with their assassinations and the rape and murder of prostitutes in the city park, before killing police officers for fun.

Let's talk about the moral relativism our society has embraced. The retreat from teaching moral absolutes. The refusal to recognize the value of human life as an objective truth that is always worth protecting.

Let's talk about the removal of any type of conversation on values from our schools lest someone be offended.

Let's talk about mental illness in all its ugliness and the sad reality of those left to live on the edges of society, many times in encampments on our streets.

Let's talk about the inability of many parents to parent. Their refusal to have real conversations with their children or to even pay attention to them at all.

Let's continue to pretend that minors shouldn't have supervision in their digital activities, that somehow the right to privacy of a 12-year-old supersedes any obligation to parent and guide their values and formation.

Let's talk about our obsession with our devices and our "stuff".
About our increasing inability to form interpersonal connections with people that may actually allow us to see when people are hurting, distressed, and troubled so that we can have these types of conversations before 16 kids in Florida lose their lives.

Any "real" conversation on gun violence includes all of these things. All of our "sacred cows" need to be on the table if we want to solve this problem.

If any of these topics above have us digging in our heels and making excuses, then we're not ready. If we're not able to be uncomfortable, then the conversation can't happen.

Solving the issue of gun violence in America will mean that we all may have to sacrifice something or change the way we approach our families, friends, children and even strangers. How many are willing to give up something comfortable to get the desired result?

Let's have the real conversations.

Otherwise, we'll just use the deaths of 16 children as a selfish device to further entrench ourselves on two sides of the gun control issue.

We may even pass more gun laws, perhaps even naming one after the victims, all the while never addressing the real problems that cause someone to actually take another person's life in the first place.

I hope and pray that we're willing and ready.

Respectfully,

Mark Coxon
Tessablue
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:38 pm

Ballerina wrote:
Tessablue wrote:I've been in an active shooter situation. I was with a friend who is an immigrant (foreign concept, I know), and she was less disturbed by the experience and more upset by the fact that we all immediately knew what it meant and what to do when we saw people running past us. See, in most countries kids aren't raised to think about or fear being slaughtered in public, because it doesn't happen. It doesn't have to happen here, either, but it will keep happening until your incomprehensibly vicious, fearmongering, nihilistic ideology is ground into dust. And if my generation doesn't do it, the next one will. Your lot might keep trying, but you can't kill all of us.
Just curious - what lot are you referring to?!~ If you mean me (my lot), I can't imagine how much more obtuse you can get.
Every single person who pushes back against change, who pretends nothing can be done, who feels that utterly inexplicable urge to go online and defend the guns every time something like this happens. The lot who somehow truly believe that this is all worth it.
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Ballerina
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:51 pm

Tessablue wrote:Every single person who pushes back against change, who pretends nothing can be done, who feels that utterly inexplicable urge to go online and defend the guns every time something like this happens. The lot who somehow truly believe that this is all worth it.
I'll defend any law abiding citizen who legally owns a gun, and I'll fight any legislation that wants to take that right away from us. Did you read the letter I posted above? It pretty much echoes EXACTLY where I stand on the gun control issue. The issue goes far deeper than just gun control. Most of correcting the issues pointed out in this letter left to parents. In the meantime, I'll do what I have to do to protect myself from the current generation (not just here in the USA) who may wish to do me harm. If that is contrary to your way of thinking, then the problem is yours - not mine.
Tessablue
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:07 pm

I don't care what your stance is and I don't care about that pathetic excuse-making letter. It's not a complicated issue anywhere else. I'm just exhausted and sick of all of this and I want you and people like you to know that it isn't going to last no matter what you do. All these arguments? All that fear you desperately cling to? It's not just pointless- it'll be a source of scorn and derision for generations, until it's finally forgotten. That's your legacy! If you're okay with it, then I can't stop you. I'm not interested in stopping you. I just want to make sure you know.
stark
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:13 pm

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Ballerina
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:14 pm

Tessablue wrote:I don't care what your stance is and I don't care about that pathetic excuse-making letter. It's not a complicated issue anywhere else. I'm just exhausted and sick of all of this and I want you and people like you to know that it isn't going to last no matter what you do. All these arguments? All that fear you desperately cling to? It's not just pointless- it'll be a source of scorn and derision for generations, until it's finally forgotten. That's your legacy! If you're okay with it, then I can't stop you. I'm not interested in stopping you. I just want to make sure you know.
Guess what? I know, and like you I don't care what you think because you basically don't get it. You're like a terrier with a bone that will ankle bit anyone who interferes with your train of thought which regrettably doesn't have a caboose. How you can discount the words in that man's letter indicates you're not open to debate - your way or the highway. Have at it and see where it gets you.
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starrydreamer
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:17 pm

Ballerina wrote:
starrydreamer wrote:I'm not sure where you got the stats that IL has the most crime and TX has the least. Here's the US News and World Reports list of safest states by violent crimes (and gun crimes are always violent) - https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states ... lic-safety. IL is actually rated as safer than TX (30th vs 35th for violent crimes).
If you read it correctly, Illinois is higher than TEXAS in violent crime
Actually, no. It's a public safety list, so the less violent crime, the higher you are on the list. VT has the least violent crime, which is why it is ranked highest at 1. IL is 30th, TX is 35th.
Tessablue
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:39 pm

Guess what? I'm pretty sure we had this exact same argument maybe twelve years ago, only it was about gay marriage instead. I was right then, I'm right now, you probably know it on some level but I don't particularly care either way. I'm happy to be entrenched on team "people shouldn't be able to slaughter kids with weapons of war." It is, without a doubt, the winning one.
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Ballerina
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:56 pm

Tessablue wrote:See, in most countries kids aren't raised to think about or fear being slaughtered in public, because it doesn't happen.
Really? You might want to look at the stats as to how many other countries have experienced school shooting. From 1927 to present, school shooting deaths in the USA is 292. Compare that to what goes on in some other countries in more recent years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... death_toll
stark
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:57 pm

Tessablue wrote: I'm happy to be entrenched on team "people shouldn't be able to slaughter kids with weapons of war." It is, without a doubt, the winning one.
Pretty sure everybody is on the same team when you describe it like that.
Now, how do you get there?
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Ballerina
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:04 pm

Tessablue wrote:Guess what? I'm pretty sure we had this exact same argument maybe twelve years ago, only it was about gay marriage instead. I was right then, I'm right now, you probably know it on some level but I don't particularly care either way. I'm happy to be entrenched on team "people shouldn't be able to slaughter kids with weapons of war." It is, without a doubt, the winning one.
We're pretty much on the same page with that one. Do you think the problem can be resolved with just gun control?
sweettalk
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:37 pm

Ballerina wrote:
Tessablue wrote:Man, imagine what it must be like to hear about these incidents and think "Guns are good and I must defend them. We need more guns."

Yet another one of those shameful legacies my generation has to tear down and rebuild, I guess.
Let me ask you this. If someone approaches you aiming a gun at you, wouldn't you want to be carrying, as well. Sad to say - it wasn't always this way so it's the current generation that is causing the problem. It's now kill or be killed and until the good guys show the bad guys they are not going to get away with their ****, it's not going to change. Illinois has the strongest gun laws in the Union and the most crime. Texas has the most guns and the least crime.
if someone comes at me with a gun, i need to defend myself. so, i'm admitting that guns are dangerous and that we probably should have limited access to them, while assuming me with a gun is better than someone else with a gun.

also, correlation is not causation. what new kinds of guns have been invented and offered to the public since whatever date we want to go back to? 100 years ago, you probably couldn't mass shoot with the most technologically advanced (publicly available, at the very least) gun.

ultimately, we have no idea what would and wouldn't work because we aren't trying anything, which is what my article was saying. we say "wow, how sad. thoughts and prayers." and wait for the next one, without changing anything.

not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone, just offering a viewpoint.
Tessablue
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:16 pm

Ballerina wrote:
Tessablue wrote:Guess what? I'm pretty sure we had this exact same argument maybe twelve years ago, only it was about gay marriage instead. I was right then, I'm right now, you probably know it on some level but I don't particularly care either way. I'm happy to be entrenched on team "people shouldn't be able to slaughter kids with weapons of war." It is, without a doubt, the winning one.
We're pretty much on the same page with that one. Do you think the problem can be resolved with just gun control?
It has been elsewhere, so if that isn't enough here it can only be due to our insane gun culture. There are so many things we could be doing that aren't done because of this infuriating resistance to change that permeates every aspect of our cultural discourse. The country didn't collapse while the AR-15 was (to an extent) banned, but it has since claimed... hard to keep track of the lives, but I know it's at least Newtown, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, yesterday... and for what? What does anyone gain from this?

Ban the weapons that are designed for mass murder (or others, just start somewhere), or at least ban/severely restrict the sale of ammunition. Standardize background checks and license restrictions across states, increase training, enact laws on a federal level so that current state laws aren't bypassed as easily as they are now. Eliminate the N.R.A. money from politics, and reform (or remove) the lobbying industry while we're at it. Most of all, freaking lift the funding ban on gun violence research so we can responsibly figure out what to do. It is just sickening that this country has so many resources but so little movement towards actually doing something. It's just: thoughts and prayers, feign helplessness, defend the guns!, express indignation, obstruct everything, wait for the next one. It has got to end and it's going to end, but how many lives are we going to lose in those intervening decades?
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Sparrow Castle
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:04 am

I'm with you, Tess, 100%. The status quo is not tolerable. These are our children, and most of them spend years inside school buildings. Even those children who aren't killed or injured by gunfire can be badly scarred by these events.

My 8 year old granddaughter texted her mom today that she wanted to come home because "her heart hurt." Her school is very near the school where a shooting was prevented here in Washington because an alert and concerned grandmother snooped in her grandson's journal and guitar case. I think the kids and/or teachers) were talking about it in schools today. The conversations these youngsters are having...it's heartbreaking. Being shot and seeing friends shot is not what these kids should be thinking about.

No, it can't go on like this...do something, Congress...your prayers and platitudes haven't been working.

The NY Times published a powerful article today that's been tweeted around even horse racing circles. (I think anyone can access 10 free NYT articles a month.) It mentions The Onion piece, sweettalk, which is also very powerful.

Gunfire Erupts at a School. Leaders Offer Prayers. Children Are Buried. Repeat.
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/u ... ayers.html

And, if you like data, this is a good article from October 6, 2017:
Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With Other Countries
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... -countries
stark
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:30 am

Worth watching for just 4 minutes and 34 seconds.....

http://video.foxnews.com/v/573481138700 ... show-clips
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Ballerina
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:33 pm

stark wrote:Worth watching for just 4 minutes and 34 seconds.....

http://video.foxnews.com/v/573481138700 ... show-clips
It's singing to the choir, stark. Gun control fans won't get it. They don't want to get it. They don't want to understand the cause and effect of gun violence. Nope, nope, nope - gun control is the only answer. And what the heck does that mean?!~

Let's suppose Congress passed an act that disallowed the sale of any further fire arms in the USA. Let's jut suppose. That would quell the frustration - especially those who think this would solve the problem. Nope, nope, nope, There would still be millions of weapons owned by millions of law abiding citizens and perhaps mega thousands from ill gotten gain and/or owned by mentally impaired young men and perhaps a small % of women. So what's the solution? Gun confiscation - like Australia? Hah and double Hah. Ain't gonna happen, and if it's ever tried, the bloodshed will be immeasurable and the government can't afford to build the prisons to accommodate those who refuse to comply or fight for their constitutional right. Nope, nope, nope - let's just punish everybody for the sake of a few nut cases. Nut cases who, for the most part, have let society know that they are becoming unbalanced and nothing has been or is being done about it - nothing. Can't step on their rights unless/until they break the law. Good course to pursue. Let's just push aside all the cause and effect reasons for gun violence - let's just label them "pathetic excuse making".

Let's talk about this young man who committed this atrocity in Parkland, FL. Having heard a bit of the shooter's background, it would seem to me that red flags were all over the place and nobody did anything. A boy that age who was adopted and suddenly lost his father and then his mother and obviously his home environment might well be angry with the world. He had lost everything that was stable in his life. He let many people know of his fascination with guns. Why didn't anybody see the signs and instead of expelling him from school, get him help before he hurt somebody?

And this scenario can be played out in many background stories of many of the men who have resorted to mass shooting violence.

Nope, nope, nope - let's blame the President, the Congress - especially those right wing gun nuts, the gun mfgrs, the gun vendors, and most importantly - the NRA. I say all that with tongue skewered tightly into my cheek.

Until we get a handle on the causes that evolve into effects and come up with solutions and deterrents, nothing will change - nothing. Except maybe mandatory gun confiscation, and that isn't going to happen.

Now let's talk about weaponry because the vast majority shouting gun control knows jack schitt about weapons. Every gun can be used to commit an assault. Ergo, EVERY gun is an assault weapon. I doubt that most people know the difference between different types of hand guns - of which there are only two. AK-47's and AR-15's have been the problem. So let's do away with their sales failing to take into consideration that great many hunters prefer this type of weaponry. I've never understood the hunting and killing of defenseless animals except in extreme conditions. But, it is a right and I have no business challenging that right other than to say I find it abhorrent. And, please remember - that's a personal opinion. I am not storming the gates of the hallowed halls of Congress to take away the rights of hunters.

Let's take a look at the kinds of weaponry used in mass school shootings. You'll find the list peppered with lots and lots of semi-automatic hand guns,

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0057.htm

So now the gun control addicts profess to do away with "assault" rifles but also semi-automatic hand guns? A revolver is OK because it only shoots 6 or 7 bullets failing to take into consideration that more than 1 person can be killed by a person adept at using a revolver.

No - the solution is not in gun control/people control. It is digging out the root cause of gun violence and putting into place checks and balances to drastically cut down these events from happening in the future.

Another point I'd like to make. Many times students see a problem with one of their classmates and don't say anything because they don't want to be labeled a stool pigeon. The See Something, Say Something agenda doesn't seem to be working in a great many instances.

Have at it because I am sick and tired to listening to people who say the only solution is gun control/people control. It is not. Violent people will find an outlet for their behavior even if they don't have access to weaponry. Weed them out, get to them, put them away if they can't be helped.

I'm in the September of my years. I don't have children to worry about, but I still worry that the course of action gun control fans want to pursue in their blind rage will solve all the problems. It won't, and I won't be around to say, "I told you so". But, perhaps, some of you will remember.
stark
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:05 pm

I'm fairly certain this kid didn't need an assault rifle to commit his crimes. If it wasn't available he would've built a bomb, gotten behind the wheel of a car, or who knows what? His actual choice may have resulted in the most minimal of all possible outcomes, imagine that!
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Ballerina
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:07 pm

stark wrote:I'm fairly certain this kid didn't need an assault rifle to commit his crimes. If it wasn't available he would've built a bomb, gotten behind the wheel of a car, or who knows what, his actual choice may have resulted in the most minimal of all possible outcomes, imagine that!
As I, too, pointed out "Violent people will find an outlet for their behavior even if they don't have access to weaponry. Weed them out, get to them, put them away if they can't be helped." Look at what Timothy McVeigh did with a homemade bomb.
Tessablue
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:59 pm

I thought blaming the victims was as pathetic as it got (newsflash: his behavior was reported beforehand), but "those kids were dead anyways so we shouldn't make it more difficult for teenage sociopaths to buy weapons designed for mass murder" sure beats it out. What a miserable way to view and interact with this world.
Sparrow Castle wrote:I'm with you, Tess, 100%. The status quo is not tolerable. These are our children, and most of them spend years inside school buildings. Even those children who aren't killed or injured by gunfire can be badly scarred by these events.

My 8 year old granddaughter texted her mom today that she wanted to come home because "her heart hurt." Her school is very near the school where a shooting was prevented here in Washington because an alert and concerned grandmother snooped in her grandson's journal and guitar case. I think the kids and/or teachers) were talking about it in schools today. The conversations these youngsters are having...it's heartbreaking. Being shot and seeing friends shot is not what these kids should be thinking about.

No, it can't go on like this...do something, Congress...your prayers and platitudes haven't been working.

The NY Times published a powerful article today that's been tweeted around even horse racing circles. (I think anyone can access 10 free NYT articles a month.) It mentions The Onion piece, sweettalk, which is also very powerful.

Gunfire Erupts at a School. Leaders Offer Prayers. Children Are Buried. Repeat.
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/u ... ayers.html

And, if you like data, this is a good article from October 6, 2017:
Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With Other Countries
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... -countries
Thank you for sharing those excellent articles, Sparrow Castle. My heart breaks for your granddaughter... it just isn't fair, to her or to the rest of us, that these conversations have to happen. That they keep happening. There's a lot more I want to say, but I'll just leave it at that for now.
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Ballerina
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Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:18 pm

There's a lot more a lot more of us could say, but for what purpose would it serve? Doubt anyone's opinion would change. No détente will ever be reached.
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