Published on 15 Dec 2012

After the shooting: the calls for action on guns

Every time there is a massacre like this we seem to be descending to new lows. In the last year we had the first mass shooting at a cinema, in  Sikh temple and now a primary school.

Pre News refresh player


According to the experts there have been 61 mass shootings – defined as a killing in a public place of at least four people, excluding the killer – in the last three decades. The vast majority have been committed by white young males. Eleven have taken place in schools or colleges and there have been seven in the last year alone.

That makes this one of the worst years for gun massacres ever. These are the killings that grab the headlines and our attention. On average 125 Americans die this way every year. It is a shocking number but in pure maths it pales next to the 15,000 or so Americans who get killed every year in single acts of gun violence.

Read more: School shootings – horror, shock and calls for gun controls

The president set the nation’s tone on Friday night in the White House when he shed silent tears and was lost for words as he talked about the slaughter of the innocent. I have never seen him this emotional in public. In fact, I have never seen any president this emotional in public.

I doubt we will be hearing people accuse him of being aloof any time soon. As Mr Obama said: some meaningful action must come out of this. But what?

A ban on assault weapons, which he endorses, would be a start. But this shooter apparently used handguns. Some have suggested posting police officers in every school.  There are already metal detectors in all public high schools.

Follow @mattfrei on Twitter

Tweets by @mattfrei

10 reader comments

  1. Nomad says:

    I don’t recall him ”shedding silent tears” for the Pakistani and Afgan children he has killed by ordering drone strikes in these countries.

    Perhaps he thinks children are only innocent if they are American children.

    Double standards.

  2. Nick says:

    The brevity of this piece really says it all. There is a debate to be had on guns, but the two sides are so far apart, it will just be simple statements of the obvious from both. A duel to the death. Or deaf….

  3. Martin Kay says:

    I smell a rat. Its strange how these youngsters keep suddenly, out of the blue, turning up at schools and shooting loads of kids- it’s almost as if they’ve been mind controlled… and what better ‘genuine’ reason for a total ban on guns in the hands of the public
    I doubt if the great American public will willingly give up their guns just yet and I know the government really want that. An armed public is ultimately less complicit and more difficult to control than I guess the US government would like.

  4. Philip Edwards says:


    Suppose Obama summoned the guts to say something like this:

    “Gun murders and gun ownership in this country long ago passed into mass insanity. We must now decide if we are a civilised nation which recognises The Enlightenment or not. If we do, we must ban private ownership of all guns; if we don’t, we must concede all other nations will consider us a permanently paranoid, barbaric people with few redeeming features, and that there will be recurring slaughters like this. We will now amend the Constitution to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding on the issue.”

    He won’t, though. The USA has become a hell hole of deluded gun owners egged on by a culture that has no intention of changing itself. The politicians are useless cowards or bought off. The population shrinks in terror from its own psychoses. They are well down the road to self-immolation in one form or another.

    Meanwhile, we have the heart-breaking, tragic sight of yet another school subject to a massacre of the innocents. Yet again the US Nightmare flares up to match its actions abroad. What a terrible, terrible waste of child lives.

    And still they wonder why the world despairs of them and their way of life and death.

  5. Thomas Friedrich says:

    Once again in the face of the great evil in Connecticut the liberals are crying out against the gun as if it had a conscience. The devil is alive and well and the secular,dissfunctional,sick society multiplys his minions.

  6. Not the Prof. Thomas Szasz says:

    People in the U.S. have had the right to bear arms for hundreds of years, but the mass shooting is a phenomenon of only recent decades.

    What, then, has changed in modern U.S. life?

    Could it have something to do with the fact that almost every mass shooter is known to have been under the influence of dangerous psychiatric drugs — drugs that are well-documented to induce “violence, mania, psychosis, aggression, hostility and homicide.”

    When will there be a federal investigation into the link between psychiatric drugs and extreme violence?


  7. Jimmy Hughes says:

    Guns have gone too far in the US. IT is not going to get better. In fact I believe it will go in the other direction. There will be armed security at every public building. There probably is already, but this will increase. Schools and nurseries will become fortresses. Ther will eventually be armed security at social events. This is the direction that they are headed and I think it it irreversible. Even if tomorrow they banned automatic weapons, they do not have the resources to go house to house throughout the country to remove them. Look at countries like Venezuela where this lifestyle has become routine. You can already see the big security companies licking their plates.

  8. Meg Howarth says:

    Point of correction: it was a semi-automatic gun that was used in the school massacre and the killing of the gunman’s mother.

    ‘As Mr Obama said: some meaningful action must come out of this. But what?’

    Easy. The Second Amendment 18th-century ‘right’ for every individual to carry a gun HAS TO GO. The US’s domestic frontiersmen-colonising days are over – the land has been taken from its original inhabitants, guns are no longer needed for that unsavoury purpose.

    Political opposition to such a move must be faced down. It’ll take time, of course, but Obama has to start now if there’s to be any chance of civilising the US out of this dangerous backwoodsman nonsense.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      FYI – on sale at Walmart: make of assault rifle used in Newtown massacre

  9. Tim says:

    Murder is horrible and the murder of children even worse, but it goes on globally year in year out, only when it happens in God’s blessed flag wearing corporate America are we supposed to feel a sense of outraged sorrow for the dead, and yes it is utterly tragic, but has everyone forgotten America in Vietnam, America in Iraq, America in Afghanistan and soon enough somewhere else.

    Perhaps their god is visiting on them what they have visited on others many times over, they believe in the supernatural, where all personal responsibility is subjugated to the unreal, for all we know the killer was such an indoctrinated citizen, buried deep in his subconscious the knowledge that his collective nation of god justified his actions.

Comments are closed.