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Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?

What will it take for reasonable conversation about changes to our gun culture? Patch columnist Heather Borden Herve asks if the number of Newtown’s dead is finally reason to say, “Enough.”


I’m tired of the rhetoric, from all sides. I’m tired of the pro-gun statistic fight against the anti-gun statistic fight.

There comes a point where ‘this’ quote citation to defend constitutional originalism and ‘that’ quote citation to defend constitutional interpretation is basically like arms buildup. I’ll see your statistic and absolute proof that the Founding Fathers wanted us to keep our guns, and I’ll raise you my statistic and historically empirical evidence that they never could have imagined semi-automatic, rapid-firing reloading guns in the hands of citizens!

Quite honestly, I can’t decide if I’ve intentionally used that ‘arms buildup’ pun or not. Because I just don’t know what makes it through the rhetorical barrage anymore.

On each side, we find our numbers and quotes to defend our position and we’ll continue having the same argument unless we say, “Enough.”

Can we consider the possibility that a document that is almost 226 years old might need us to legitimately reconsider the context of 2013 when figuring out how to move forward? Can we consider that the unfathomable slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in a school, a place once considered a safe haven, is a price too high to pay to ignore that?

Because while we may debate the certainty of what the framers of the Constitution really did want when it comes to the Second Amendment, what I think we can all agree on with absolute certainty is that the individuals who wrote it did respect thoughtful consideration, reasonable debate, and discussion without absolutist decree. If they were content with failure to change, we never would have had found ourselves independent of England’s rule to begin with.

The closest thing I’ve found to even begin to approach reasonable discussion about the gun rights debate is an article in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg — a link to which was posted in one of the 110-plus comments of a Wilton Patch article I wrote last week about a local group that met with state legislators to talk about the issue. (I’m sure the reader who made the comment and link will be surprised that I’m citing it here, as he and I stand, by and large, on opposite sides of the debate.)

The Atlantic piece asserts that there are steps which could be taken to reduce access to guns and ammunition “for the criminially minded, for the dangerously mentally ill and for the suicidal, and that measures could be taken that sensibly restrict access to weapons and ammunition that “have no reasonable civilian purpose, and their sale could be restricted without violating the Second Amendment rights of individual gun owners.” However, he concludes, these efforts would be noble but “too late” to have any meaningful impact on the rate of gun violence.

He writes that it’s too late because of the number of guns — 280 to 300 million — in private hands in this country.

While I disagree with much of what the Atlantic writer asserts — from an emotional standpoint — I have to give the writer credit for speaking to experienced people around the country on both sides’ frontlines of the gun discussion: victims of gun violence, researchers, law enforcement officers, gun enthusiasts, and lobbyists and activists.

It’s a step toward acknowledgement of what each side believes; it concedes that each side has some ground, at the very least; and it starts to establish a foundation for how pro and con advocates might be able to stop ramming each other and start listening, if not conceding, to each other, “You’ve got a point.”

I acknowledge that I tend to come at this issue from my own, emotional perspective. Even this opinion column has to take a side, by definition, if not just by its headline. But the emotional arguments of gun-control crusaders that get belittled by the gun-rights activists are just as outsized as the fear-mongering assertions made by those same extreme gun-rightists meant to stop anti-gun advocates in their tracks.

But I suspect there are plenty of people in the middle who would like to figure out a way to move toward this rational discussion about how some changes can be made.

Haven’t we had enough of the killings to try? I guess not when some people think we don’t have enough guns, as if the solution to gun violence is more guns. Or that it’s too late to do anything about it because there are too many guns out there already, so why try anything at all?

We can keep headed the wrong way down the road, where more deaths are sure to happen, and just continue going the wrong way because we’ll eventually get to where we need to go. The world is round so all we have to do is circle the globe, we’ll get there eventually. But by then, there won’t be enough of us left on either side who say, “Enough.”

The Atlantic piece ends with Goldberg writing about gun-control advocate Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign, who asked, “’In a fundamental way, isn’t this a question about the kind of society we want to live in?’ Do we want to live in one ‘in which the answer to violence is more violence, where the answer to guns is more guns?’” Goldberg adds that in a nation with 300 million guns, it’s an irrelevant question.

That’s exactly why my initial question — “Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?” — needs to be seen as anything but irrelevant. It’s become the most relevant question of all.

sebastian dangerfield January 08, 2013 at 11:44 PM
abraham Again, you miss the point of the Constitution. By saying it needs to be altered, or updated does in no way equate to someone claiming to 'know more' than Jefferson. Washington didnt write the Constitution, so right there you demonstrate how little you know. But the more important element to the Constitution, is that our Forefathers, who you are honoring, made the document living. Allowing for the concepts of changing technologies and threats to the society they set up, they made it eminently possible to change elements of the constitution that became outdated. So, Abraham either you honor the forefathers intentions of allowing change, or you , yourself disrespect what they intended. Jefferson owned Slaves by the way-are you saying that everything the man did was correct? And ben franklin, gave a speech just before signing the constitution which began: "I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others." Listeing to dissent is also part of the founding fathers philosophies.
COSMO P January 09, 2013 at 12:59 AM
@ Paul D First of all the 223 is a hunting round and the AR15 is used for hunting in CT and in every corner of the world. The gun grabbers said they did not want to ban hunting rifles. Well the AR 15 is such a gun. Second the 223 is not a NATO round and not designed as such.The 5.56 is the NATO ROUND. Full Metal jacketed. So this retired fool is telling you BS as the round is a light rifle load, And secondly it is a 22 caliber that is a small bullet. Just for the record what was the wounds on the victims. Were they 223 or were they 9 or 40. No one is saying. And the length of the barrel also determines Ballistics. But at point blank range what the hell is the difference. A 223 is a fast bullet that does travel at 3000 FPS it has to it is a light small caliber bullet. And for the retired general he should know better. Because the Geneva convention regulates bullets in war. The retired general is either a FOOL or totally ignorant about a 223 ROUND
COSMO P January 09, 2013 at 01:04 AM
@ Paul D You sir do not have one iota of facts and you are making a fool out of yourself. Bottom line is show me a loaded gun cocked and ready to go that walked off a night stand and shot someone. Untill you can show me how this happens PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE.
COSMO P January 09, 2013 at 01:08 AM
http://www.thegunzone.com/opentip-ammo.html
Winston Bernard IV January 09, 2013 at 02:09 AM
When on earth are we going to find out if the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school massacre, like so many other mass shooters, had been taking psychiatric drugs? In the end, it may well turn out that knowing what kinds of guns he used isn’t nearly as important as what kind of drugs he used. That is, assuming we ever find out. Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/the-giant-gaping-hole-in-sandy-hook-reporting/#ZAjsWm3OpsXgLEw4.99
Linda Lavelle January 09, 2013 at 03:32 AM
You are so right. The mental health issue is critical. A couple of decades ago laws were changed so families could not mandate help for their adult mentally ill offspring unless violence was committed. Considering that many mental illnesses do not come to full blossom until the mid-twenties or so, this leaves thousands (millions?) of sick people roaming the streets. More people are killed by knives and fists than guns. Let's deal with the real problem.
kfy0821131 January 09, 2013 at 07:39 AM
www.CHEAPLEBRONWIND.COM
paul d. January 09, 2013 at 01:56 PM
By that round of logic, "accessory" crimes should be taken off the books too. After all, driving the bank robber to the bank knowing he was going to kill and rob isn't the same as actually doing it. Getting someone drunk and handing them car keys? Oh yeah, no crime in that. People kill people is a smokescreen. Too bad you can't see through it - that is making a fool of yourself.
COSMO P January 09, 2013 at 05:38 PM
paul d. 8:56 am on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 By that round of logic, "accessory" crimes should be taken off the books too. After all, driving the bank robber to the bank knowing he was going to kill and rob isn't the same as actually doing it. Getting someone drunk and handing them car keys? Oh yeah, no crime in that. People kill people is a smokescreen. Too bad you can't see through it - that is making a fool of yourself. Once again making a fool out of yourself. The state law on guns is quite clear on access. If you own guns you are required to protect them in a matter fitting to keep them away from people that are not authorized to use them. So with that clearly these guns were not stored properly.. Example with a pistol permit you cant leave a gun on your dash board while you go to 711. Once again you are making an fool out of yourself because you don't know the law and once again explain to me how a gun robs or kills someone. Or a car drives someone to a robbery by itself. So are we to ban HONDA cars because the killer clearly used a HONDA to get to the school. Clearly this is why people like you should be stacking shelves other than posting about guns and gun laws. So explain to me what you would do to prevent this fro0m happening again and not violating legal gun ownership. This should be amusing at best.
paul d. January 09, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Isn't 20 kids and 6 adults enough for you? It is for me. I am done with people like you.
Rambo T. Rifleman January 09, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Bravo, Insanity is having weapons ownership easier to obtain than a driver's license.
Kelley Anne January 09, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Cosmo, what do you think of this? http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ronald-reagan-helped-pass-the-1994-assault-weapons-ban/
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 12:16 AM
So getting a drivers license requires a federal background check. Once again a person that should be stacking shelves In WALL MART. Guess you never heard of instacheck. Or is that something that just slipped you mind. This is beyond sanity how much BS you anti gun people post.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Kelly The weapons ban was temporary as agreed by BRADY to establish a data base for gun purchases. There fore the ban sun-setted after that data base was built. The original ban includes 12 firearms and is adopted by a few states. The weapons ban in CT has 89 guns on it one of the highest in the country. This still did not stop this NUT JOB from killing these innocent people. But keep building GUN FREE ZONES and the killing will continue. Their is no other choice other than arming people as the constitution will never be changed in our lifetime. And what do you do with the millions of guns in circulation. By the way CT requires a pistol permit and or paper work for long guns. So the guy tried to buy a gun legally and could not. The sales person failed to call the cops as he should have. By the way a gun dealer can refuse a purchase if he feels their is an issue with the buyer. But if they called the cops on this kid they would have 50 Liberals and the ACLU suing everyone for profiling. So once again the liberals caused this as they do not transfer medical records to NICKS. Mental records are secret. They found this out in the VT shooting. The guy was seeing a shrink and the info was not passed on. So here is a plan that will work quite well. Make it mandatory to have a gun safe if you have guns. Other than the one you carry. And add mental health records to NICKS. Have you read any thing about this from the GUN GRABBING LIBERAL DEMS. NO!! Never they want you guns period.
Rambo T. Rifleman January 10, 2013 at 12:43 AM
You're very loose with your "facts" there cosmo. he National Instant Criminal Background Check System is applicable to sales from federally licensed dealers. Sales of firearms by private sellers are allowed to proceed without a background check unless required by state law. These regulations remain in place at gun shows, where no special leniency is granted to licensed sellers, and no additional requirements are placed upon private sellers. ps: when you learn that it's WALMART, not Wall Mart, they may hire you to clean their toilets.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Not in this state and many other states RAMBO. So where do we go from here! Are you still stocking shelves in WALMART. Thanks for the spelling lesson. Anything else that is bothering you. So what is your Plan or should i say what is your plan to trash someones rights. Just a thought! The guns in question were stored incorrectly and stolen. Any other questions!!
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Rambo are you an assault weapon expert. Just checking!! I would love to know. With your signature you are a lever gun guy i guess. Just a thought.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 02:56 AM
@ RAMBO You can only buy a pistol in the state you live in. So other than that an FFL is required. So once aagain what is your point. Q: To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA? A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may sell or transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector. [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30] Q: From whom may an unlicensed person acquire a firearm under the GCA? A person may only acquire a firearm within the person’s own State, except that he or she may purchase or otherwise acquire a rifle or shotgun, in person, at a licensee’s premises in any State, provided the sale complies with State laws applicable in the State of sale and the State where the purchaser resides. A person may borrow or rent a firearm in any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes. [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(b)(3), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]
sebastian dangerfield January 10, 2013 at 05:07 AM
carl K Is that President George Washington? Is that a real quote, or a quote you got from some pro-gun blog? I believe the Washington quote had to do with arming a militia....and included the idea of proper uniforms and equiptment. I dont think that arming the military is really the same debate that is occuring here, do you? You really need to check your sources---I do all the time--and if all you do, is listen to the far right, its as bad as people listeing to the far left.
Ali Abdulah January 10, 2013 at 02:39 PM
cosmo - do you think that your little pistol fact makes the thousands of innocents murdered by gun freaks feel any better? ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Prosecutors in the Aurora movie theater shooting trial established a timeline to show James Holmes began stockpiling weapons and ammunition months before the massacre on July 20, 2012. A preliminary hearing is underway for Holmes, who is charged with 166 counts of murder and attempted murder -- two counts for each person injured or killed in the theater shooting -- along with one count of possession of an explosive/incendiary device and one count of using a weapon to commit a violent crime. After the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there's enough evidence to try Holmes on each count. Weapons and ammunition purchases Prosecutors outlined Holmes' purchase of four weapons and 6,295 rounds of ammunition. Testimony from ATF Supervisory Special Agent Steven Beggs and an ATF timeline revealed the purchases were made both in person and online. The 16 purchases detailed in court Tuesday began on May 10, 2012. The last was on July 14. The online purchases came from sites based in at least six states. The biggest online purchase of ammunition involved 4,325 rounds from a dealer in Georgia. In total, Holmes purchased two .40-caliber pistols plus 2,600 rounds for them, a Remington tactical shotgun plus 375 rounds for it, and a Smith & Wesson M&P15 plus 3,370 rounds for that gun.
Leoj January 10, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Was Holmes a "gun freak" or just a mental case? If he didn't have guns would he have used some propane tanks or some fertilizer?
Ali Abdulah January 10, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Here's a modest proposal, since eye exams are required for drivers licences, what on earth is wrong with a mental exam for weapons ownership (especially automatic assault weapons)? Most states require all first time applicants to pass an eye exam. And some even extend this mandate to new residents, senior citizens and license renewal applicants. Tests take place at DMV licensing offices.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Voice you beat all with your outrageous BS. NFA gun purchases are federal. You need to be investigated for at least 2-3 months. They do a complete back round check on you and that is a FACT. Second if you care to shoot up a school with an M16 it will cost you 20 Grand not including the treasury stamp of 200 Bucks. Please stop posting as your lack of knowledge is making you look real DUMB. I got it you are a liberal Obama lover Sheep following anti American jerks that do not know the difference from a BB GUN and a toilet. So stop posting garbage and find out some facts. HERE 75% of all US shootings are between gang members drug dealers and felons. 14-18% are justifiable. (cops killing bad guys) And suicides account for another 3%. Now go find a dog to kick and stop posting BS.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Even anti-gun Clinton researchers concede that guns are used 1.5 million times annually for self-defense. According to the Clinton Justice Department, there are as many as 1.5 million cases of self-defense with a firearm every year. The National Institute of Justice published this figure in 1997 as part of "Guns in America"—a study which was authored by noted anti-gun criminologists Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig.(3) * Concealed carry laws have reduced murder and crime rates in the states that have enacted them. According to a comprehensive study which reviewed crime statistics in every county in the United States from 1977 to 1992, states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their rate of murder by 8.5%, rape by 5%, aggravated assault by 7% and robbery by 3%.(4)
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Twice as many children are killed playing football in school than are murdered by guns. That’s right. Despite what media coverage might seem to indicate, there are more deaths related to high school football than guns. In a recent three year period, twice as many football players died from hits to the head, heat stroke, etc. (45), as compared with students who were murdered by firearms (22) during that same time period.(6)
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 06:12 PM
CDC admits there is no evidence that gun control reduces crime. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has long been criticized for propagating questionable studies which gun control organizations have used in defense of their cause. But after analyzing 51 studies in 2003, the CDC concluded that the "evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of these [firearms] laws. Gun shows are NOT a primary source of illegal guns for criminals. According to two government studies, the National Institute of Justice reported in 1997 that "less than two percent [of criminals] reported obtaining [firearms] from a gun show. And the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed in 2002 that less than one percent of firearm offenders acquired their weapons at gun shows.
COSMO P January 10, 2013 at 06:15 PM
A study claiming "guns are three times more likely to kill you than help you" is a total fraud. Even using the low figures from the Clinton Justice Department, firearms are used almost 50 times more often to save life than to take life.More importantly, however, the figure claiming one is three times more likely to be killed by one’s own gun is a total lie: Researcher Don Kates reveals that all available data now indicates that the "home gun homicide victims [in the flawed study] were killed using guns not kept in the victim's home In other words, the victims were NOT murdered with their own guns! They were killed "by intruders who brought their own guns to the victim's household. Gun-free England not such a utopia after all. According to the BBC News, handgun crime in the United Kingdom rose by 40% in the two years after it passed its draconian gun ban in 1997. And according to a United Nations study, British citizens are more likely to become a victim of crime than are people in the United States. The 2000 report shows that the crime rate in England is higher than the crime rates of 16 other industrialized nations, including the United States.
Ali Abdulah January 10, 2013 at 06:48 PM
cosmo - thank you very much for demonstrating the immediate need for mental exams as a condition for gun ownership. Peace Bro!
Jason Silver January 10, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Nice Cosmo. Spoons don't make people fat. You need to fix the person. And in these shooting cases, the medications the individuals were on is the problem. Nearly every mass shooter was on an anti depressant. If you read the warnings, the manufacturers tell you that the drugs may cause suicidal thoughts. And when people go off their SSDI meds, they go of the deep end. Look at the real problem folks, if you dare.
Voice of Reason January 12, 2013 at 03:20 AM
@ Vincent DePaul. Why have you changed your handle to "Voice of Reason"?

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