Re: Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School
As this thread has now morphed to consideration of contributing factors, & the inevitable search for answers, perhaps as somewhat of an outsider to this debate, I can chime in with a few thoughts.
In a country where a very rich & influential lobby opposes mandatory safety catches on guns as being "unconstitutional", yet has a firearms related child homicide rate (by percentage of population) greater than the rest of the top 25 industrialized nations combined, you know any attempt to afford change is nigh impossible. The priorities are just too skewed to make headway.
Mandatory safety catch on a cigarette lighter = no problem.
Mandatory safety catch on a lethal device that would go some considerable way to preventing the 5 or so daily firearms related child deaths & injuries in the US = big problem. Go figure--
Clearly, any degree of gun control will never prevent a determined & resourced deranged individual from carrying out their intended crime. Same applies to terrorism. Ring fencing soft targets won't work either. Take all statistics in context & with a pinch of salt, but when the numbers stack up to be so hugely disparate, to deny that firearms proliferation isn't at least a very significant factor, is to ignore the overwhelmingly obvious. Saving lives of those outside of these dreadful high profile events must be the aim of all right thinking Americans. Preventing the multiple horrific, the exceptional, is a difficult one to win, but the daily slaughter that passes underneath the press radar can surely be reduced by a change of emphasis. Society is increasingly obsessed with protecting the rights of the individual. That's fine, but when upholding those individual rights is to the detriment of the greater society, one has to question personal motivation.
Adjusted for population size, & excluding suicide, the firearms related death rate in the US is 92 times greater than the UK. The UK is no model place, I can assure you, but in global terms, it's society demographic is surprisingly similar to that of the US, the only significant difference being it's gun laws. A multiplication of 92 times the death rate guys, that's no statistical "blip".