On the EDge: Thoughts and prayers are not enough

Image of a woman praying. Undated | Image courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — Thoughts and prayers may bring relief to some, but it will not bring back the 17 innocent victims who perished at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, during the latest mass shooting to scar the American soul.

We’ve had a lot of occasion for thoughts and prayers.

From 2006 to 2017 alone, we have had more than 340 mass killings where four or more people were cut down, according to a study prepared by USA Today. That’s about one every two weeks.

We’ve had mass shootings since 1949 when a man named Howard Barton Unruh, 28, took a 12-minute walk through his neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey, and killed 13 innocent people. Unruh was taken alive and, subsequently found to be insane, was held in a secure institution until his death in 2009. His last public words? “I’d have killed a thousand if I had enough bullets.”

Tragically, we have seen the frequency of these killings accelerate over the last couple decades.

They happen on the streets; on elementary, high school and college campuses; on military bases; at fast food restaurants; movie theaters; a nightclub; a big, outdoor concert; a church.

They are seemingly random, although we will never know for sure what was going on in the shattered minds of most perpetrators who end up dead either at their own hand or by engaging in a firefight with law enforcement.

And, instead of seeking answers in the aftermath, we are told that it is too soon to discuss, or that it is society’s fault, the educational system’s fault, the internet’s fault, the entertainment industry’s fault.

We’re told by politicians who are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, which gave more than $800,000 in donations to those running for federal office in 2016, not to politicize it. That donation alone was most certainly political in nature, with the money going to Republican candidates who promised to toe the line when it comes to the NRA’s interests, a fact they neglect to share when they deride Democrats or fellow Republicans who are sick of this senseless loss of life.

In fact, if any issue demands being politicized it is this one because, even more so than tax reform, this one cuts sharply between parties.

We’re told we cannot talk about this issue in the immediate aftermath of one of these massacres.

Don’t be angry, we’re told.

Let’s keep a civil tongue, we’re told.

But, how can even the most even-tempered among us keep a civil tongue when the first thing we hear or see is the defenders of guns and their inconsistent interpretations of the cryptic 2nd Amendment?

Then as the news cycle turns, the horror is put on the shelf.

Until the next time.

Until more innocent lives are lost.

Because, you know, it is more important to make sure we allow people to have as many guns as they can afford without concern about what they plan to do with them.

We’re told this is a mental health issue.

That is, obviously, true. No sensible human of sound mind takes up arms against another in a civilized society.

But, the fact is, the numbers on mental illness are not that far apart as you look around the globe.

Why don’t other nations have soaring incidents of mass violence like the United States?

Why do we not see this horror in Great Britain or Australia or Spain or elsewhere?

Why is the violence pretty much contained to the United States?

Could it be the ready access to assault weapons and other arms?

Besides, a 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of all gun deaths in the United States could be attributed to mental health issues.

In the aftermath of the Parkland massacre, former Vice President Joe Biden said, “Congress has a moral obligation to take action and spare more families from this violence.”

That would work, of course, if Congress had a moral compass.

It doesn’t.

Look, in this instance, the system failed us.

The shooter gave plenty of warning signs.

Concerned individuals alerted the authorities.

The information, however, fell through the cracks; the FBI failed with the tools it had that made this guy pop up on its radar.

But, it rarely works out that way.

Normally, we hear shock from family, friends and neighbors who say “he seemed so normal,” except he – yes, this is a male-dominated crime – wasn’t.

Finally, we hear that there are no simple solutions.

Excuse me, but there are.

The problem is that the so-called “law-abiding” gun owners wouldn’t like them because they would be held accountable.

The solution might not stop it all, but it would go a long way.

Simply make every gun purchase go through a background check, even when sold privately.

If I sell you a weapon, if I do not have a background check from the authorities on your status for purchasing a weapon and you commit a crime with that weapon, I go to jail with you, whether it is a strong-arm robbery or murder.

You have to register a vehicle when you sell it privately, do the same with weapons of every caliber.

A new weapon is, in almost every instance, sold through a federally licensed dealer, whether selling through the internet, at a gun show or in a store. The licensee is issued the right to sell arms by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, which requires all dealers to run a background check regardless of the manner of the sale. That means that originally, just about every gun out there was bought legally by a so-called “law-abiding gun owner.”

Somehow, a lot of those guns have ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, the mentally ill through private party sales.

Make the last person who sold the weapon accountable, make them do a background check on every potential buyer and I guarantee things will change.

Take assault weapons off the market, period.

Please, don’t go into little loopholes here. We all know what constitutes an assault weapon. To play otherwise is disingenuous and detrimental to the discussion.

The AR-15 is an assault rifle. So are the many other models built in its fashion.

It can be used to kill varmints and small game, particularly in the instance of small coyote and whitetail deer or very aggressive animals like wild hogs where the hunter can suddenly find himself faced with a pack of angry animals. The AR-15, in that particular instance, offers firepower, meaning the hunter can get off a lot of shots in a short period of time. But, in general, the .223-ammunition round is not terribly efficient at taking larger game like deer and elk, often shot at longer distances. The AR-15 is quite good, however, at killing human beings at close range, especially when outfitted with a bumper stock that virtually turns it into an automatic weapon.

If the cops pick you up with a weapon, that weapon should be confiscated until it is proven that the owner has passed a background check. If the gun was purchased privately, the opportunity should be given for them to apply for ownership of the gun. If they fail, they forfeit the weapon.

Tighten up the concealed carry permit laws.

Utah is one of the easiest states in the Union in which to get a CCP. And, it recognizes CCPs from all other states. Yes, there are reasons for some people to carry a concealed weapon, but the Utah numbers are over the top. A total of 662,720 CCPs have been issued in a state with a population of only approximately 3 million people.

The argument, of course, is that a bad guy is less likely to commit a crime if he thinks his victim is armed.

All evidence, however, points to the contrary. In fact, overwhelming research shows there is a greater risk of suicide or homicide in homes that are armed.

It’s also time for Congress to either rewrite or constitutionally define, in modern terms, the Second Amendment, which was written when muskets and erratic cannons were the state-of-the-art weaponry.

Again, “Congress has a moral obligation to take action and spare more families from this violence,” Biden said in the aftermath of the latest tragedy.

Except Congress has no moral authority on this issue, especially considering how it has been fed millions upon millions of dollars by the NRA in campaign contributions.

This latest shooter was a 19-year-old.

The warning signs were there.

He made his intentions clear on social media.

He was a member of a white, nationalist group called The Republic of Florida Militia.

It was pointed out in one article I read that it was more difficult for him to buy beer than the weapon he used.

People alerted the authorities, yet he slipped through the cracks somehow, and now we are burying 17 young people whose only mistake was showing up for school.

RIP, Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Scott Beigel, 35, Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Chris Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsay, 17, Alex Schachter, 14, Carmen Schentrup, 16 and Peter Wang, 15.

Your rights were forgotten because our government has allowed the NRA and gun lobby to dictate policy and the law.

Your lives were ended because reason flew out the window, replaced by ill-conceived notions that force is better employed than reason.

Your voices have been silenced, but many of us promise to continue to speak for you.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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78 Comments

  • Christine February 20, 2018 at 7:24 am

    You are more likely to die in a car crash if you own a car, too. And there is nothing in the article about taking cars off the market, when those cars are used to plow through busy sidewalks or things. Or banning the knives that are sometimes used in these mass killings. yes, it is easier to get guns, please don’t get me started on the obnoxious idea of jailing someone for selling an item for the crimes of someone else. That is just ridiculous! What if you have jailed Mike, who sold the gun to Bob, who sold the gun to John shot someone? And not all people with mental illness will pop up on the background checks – these so-called “normal” people or kids who have no record.

    • No Filter February 20, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Why does everyone bring up the car thing. You have to have a license to drive a car, but not own a gun, this doesn’t make sense. We know people can use them as weapons, I can use a shovel as a weapon and you let me have a shovel, but to have that as your only excuse not to make it hard to get guns in stupid. If you have a better idea then please do tell us because doing nothing is what caused these kids to die. I would rather have no guns at all then to have innocent kids dying from idiots who think they are playing a video game. You gun loving people only care about yourself, that is the problem with our country. Texas guns laws didn’t protect the church so what makes you think it will work in the rest of the country. We need answers and we don’t need them from the NRA.

      • Christine February 20, 2018 at 5:42 pm

        How about we teach our children to be respectful and not ignore them? It is not the NRA’s fault people use their guns to shoot people. Just as it is not the tobacco company’s fault that people smoke and get cancer and die.

        • No Filter February 21, 2018 at 8:07 am

          Your right it is not the NRA’s fault they shoot people, its just their fault we can’t pass legislation to make gun laws stronger.

  • Mike February 20, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Some of this I agree and some I disagree but I have one question for you Ed. “What if” that brave coach in the Florida shooting had his own weapon and took that idiot out? Oh and by the way “what if” that idiot was armed with a sawed off semi auto shotgun which would have killed and wounded more? Should we now ban shotguns? Background checks I have no issue with but in this case did nothing to prevent this. There were warning signs the FBI even let go! Our society has changed!!! Until we get back to a humane society we have one choice but to protect ourselves and secure our schools.

  • tcrider February 20, 2018 at 8:07 am

    great article Ed,
    I would guess why the number of conceal carry permits
    is so high, is because there is a large number of conservatives
    in this part of the country, and that could be attributed to a fear
    based mentality, I personally have been thinking of
    getting a conceal carry permit, but for the sole purpose of self defense
    while driving in the St George area, it does not seem like there is
    much for law enforcement and anyone that drives around here will
    witness a road rage incident every time they drive around here.

  • Who February 20, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I have a question. Will outlawing ANY specific gun keep them out of the hands of criminals? Are you saying they will think, that gun is illegal-I better get a legal gun?
    Why not train and arm the teachers?
    Do you think anyone will go with the intention of shooting up a school where the guardians of our children are prepared to defend them?
    More laws are never the answer. Education is always the answer. You keep advocating more laws and sooner or later something YOU agree with will be illegal.

    • No Filter February 20, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      How many of these mass shootings were carried out by criminals with a violent past? They have only become criminals after the shootings. What you call a criminal is not who is killing our children at schools. Better to save one life because of a gun restriction than no lives because we want to cry about losing part of our 2nd amendment rights. How many people must die so that you can have your gun to make you feel all powerful in your home.

  • statusquo February 20, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Wrong again Ed.

    Shootings of any kind are not a gun issue but a people issue. Shootings are a mental health problem, I would even say a spiritual problem. When people hear voices telling them to kill people, whose voice do you think is speaking to them?

    We need to crack down on crackpots , not guns.

  • Death Valley February 20, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Thoughts and prayers in Utah = “Heavenly Father, I think they’re coming for my guns. I pray that they don’t take them.”

  • chris keele February 20, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Well Ed, Your first couple of sentences are a great indicator of a big part of the systemic failure in our modern society, ” Thoughts and prayers may bring relief to some” and a little further on your ” We’ve had a lot of occasion for thoughts and prayers” shows the agnostic attitude that has become prevalent in today’s culture, have you seen the graphically violent video games that a lot of youth are playing? Have you listened to and studied the lyrics of the music that is out there for our young people to listen to? Have you noticed a huge deficit in the character within the structure of our Families? , broken homes,single Mom’s raising children without the support of a Father? Etc. etc. etc. You can’t legislate fixes for these kinds of issues with another law, people that are this mentally ill don’t care about laws, you need to stop looking at everything through the lens of these naive, progressive, dysfunctional , temporary rules and regulations that are not capable of fixing the problem. We have enough laws!! Let us get God back in our schools and homes,and try and live like the decent, kind people most all of us esteem to be, and we could begin by being more charitable in our everyday language and discourse with each other!

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Yes, because the Christian church has such a solid record of violence and morality. More than 70% of people who divorce are Christian which undermines your hypothesis about god’s role in our alleged moral decay. And its not like we have any evidence of violence and trauma inflicted in the name of god through human history, do we?

      We must be getting close to getting enough support for gun control when so many people are desperately throwing this Hail Mary.

      I have no problem respecting an individual’s right to practice their faith but that doesn’t mean I have to kowtow to some ridiculous idea of Christian supremacy and an ahistoric myth of its singular role in morality.

      Sincerely,

      A patriotic, gun owning American who doesn’t buy into the simplistic whitewashing of our history or future.

      PS… we’ve had emperical analysis of the influence of violent video games on actual violence and it showed no significance, ie verifiable role. They are still despicable but it turns out the vast majority of humans can maintain basic moral decency after seeing such rubbish. Same with movies. Same with music. Etc.

      • comments February 20, 2018 at 11:25 am

        “PS… we’ve had emperical analysis of the influence of violent video games on actual violence and it showed no significance, ie verifiable role. They are still despicable but it turns out the vast majority of humans can maintain basic moral decency after seeing such rubbish. Same with movies. Same with music. Etc.”

        Yeah bike, and most teens don’t do school shootings either; they are an anomaly. These little studies or whatever of violent video games don’t take into account the people that are anomalies, and who will end up being heavily influenced towards violence as a result of video games. It was reported that Lanza was heavily addicted to shoot and kill games.

        You even want me to provide you with some kind of “scientific studies” that women are different from men? You can be quite ridiculous, bike.

        • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 11:42 am

          Your rhetoric is an utter failure, comments. Are you asking me to show my evidence, I will? The video game tlmeme has been a go to for decades after a non-expert posed as one for years on television show circuits etc. The correlation is bogus. But that can be consistent with rare individuals behaving in the way this young adult did. In fact, its worked into statistics, hence the outlier concept.

          Are you suggesting we regulate video games?
          If you are going to troll at least be competent at it. And I this point I assume you are admitting you lack basic logic and reasoning skills and are just petty and willing to conflate personal opinion with fact. Feel free to prove my guess wrong.

          Are you Prophet Bob Gifford? As that might explain some of your strategy and content here.

          • comments February 20, 2018 at 11:55 am

            Put forth your evidence that’s women’s behavior and psychology is basically the same as that of men. I’ll just assume you’re delusional until then.

            “regulating video games” i’m not gonna go into…

          • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

            Logic, reason and basic civil discourse require the one making the claim to provide the evidence. You lack all three in your current strategy.

            Can you show me where I said ” women’s behavior and psychology is basically the same as that of men”. Are you now fabricating mistruths to facilitate your sexist stereotypes?

            Such lengths you’ll go to deflect the attention away from your own unreasonable and illogical comments.

          • comments February 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm

            And yet you can’t prove me wrong on any account.

            Figure it out.

          • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 5:34 pm

            Nothing to disprove other than highlighting you have only stated sexist opinions, not anything resembling fact.

            Being Prophet Bob would explain your difficulty with logic and reason. Your behavior does resemble an antiquated self-appointed title that values faith over emperical truth. Its just pretty lame to claim you have science on your side without being able to provide one shred of evidence.

            Luckily some of us understand reason, logic and science and its basic expectations. At this point your constant deflections reveal your underlying fraud.

        • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 5:53 pm

          PS…you misrepresented my ideas again. I’ve been specific in my questions and what I expect you to provide evidence about. Either you are incompetent in regards to science, in which case don’t claim you have such support for your claims, or you are a malicious fraud whose ideas don’t deserve even a hint of respect.

          Feel free to prove me wrong. But let me guess, you’re going to quadruple down on the fallacious claim that it’s my job to disprove your unsubstantiated ideas?

    • theone February 20, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Your god is part of the problem and considering it’s not real that says a lot.

  • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Its my understanding the ROF retracted their statement and there has been no verifiable link with white supremacists organizations. I think they retracted within a day, ie before this went to publication. An editor should have caught that.

    The concealed carry numbers are a red herring unless I am missing a valid connection between those gun owners and massacres?

    I’m for solutions and thoughtful gun control but I’m not sure how we can constitutionally ban assault weapons nor do I think it will make a lick of real difference. Hundreds of thousands to millions are already in circulation and there is no way we will get legislation that in any fashion resembles registration, ie the foundation of the idea of every gun being traceable to legal owners and them being held accountable. That is a non-starter that will erode the #s of any base legislation like this needs.

    We’re going to have to dig deeper into nuanced solutions than we currently have in recent history.

    • Ed Kociela Ed Kociela February 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      ROF did not, as far as I can see, retract. The local sheriff said he could not find a link.

      • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 3:08 pm

        https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5a85ca6ae4b0774f31d34100

        “UPDATE: As of Thursday evening, law enforcement officials in Florida have reportedly not yet confirmed that a link exists between the Parkland school shooting suspect and the white supremacist paramilitary group Republic of Florida. ROF’s Jordan Jereb has not supplied evidence for his initial claim that the shooting suspect was associated with his group, and he later walked back his statements. Additional reporting by HuffPost has not found any credible links between the two. The claim was nevertheless widely reported, including in a headline on HuffPost’s front page.”

      • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        “But by the end of day Thursday, Jereb was walking it back. “There was a legit misunderstanding because we have MULTIPLE people named Nicholas in ROF,” Jereb wrote on Gab, a social media platform that people use when they’re too racist for Twitter. “I got a bunch of conflicting information and I have not slept for like 2 days”

        I won’t add the rest of the quote as its anti-Semitic garbage but both Vice and HuffPo reported the “walk back”, ie retraction, by Thursday night. Its not a viable claim to make any longer.

        https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/vbp37y/white-supremacist-tries-to-walk-back-made-up-story-about-nikolas-cruz-blames-media

      • comments February 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        Sorry, but what is “ROF”? is this some acronym I should be familiar with or are people being deliberately lazy?

  • mctrialsguy February 20, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Good thing Ed wasn’t around in the late 1800’s or railroad guards and stagecoach “Shotgun” riders wouldn’t have carried guns. Ed, didn’t you ever jump in the front of the car when you were younger and say “I’ve got shotgun”. Bring back check your weapons when you ride into town. Every citizens has the right to bear arms and to protect his life and the life of his family! Period. California already has all of the laws that the other states are talking about enacting and we know how well that has worked out. A criminal or psycho will always find a way to kill others (cars, bombs, fire, etc…) and that will never change. If the teachers were better armed and trained, the mayhem would have been far less. See how well banning drugs worked…thank God that worked and there aren’t any more drugs for people to be addicted and die.

  • DRT February 20, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Big Brother will protect us, if we just give him the chance!
    This is the crock of crap the liberals believe in.
    If some armed person, other than the shooter had been on scene, this probably would not have become a mass shooting.

    • theone February 20, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Or if some unstable person had no access to a weapon this mass shooting would not have happened at all.

      • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 11:49 am

        So how do we keep someone like him from accessing weapons when the current laws aren’t even being enforced properly. It sounds like he should have been arrested or involuntarily committed a while ago which would have eliminated his ability to purchase. But the current police and FBI apparatus failed.

        Also of note, as people aim to add laws we are hearing pretty aggressive rhetoric about changing HIPPA laws to suit the conservative narative about this being a “mental health” issue. Its ironic, as those with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence not the perpetuators. Even worse is the willingness to further erode the trust of the medical establishment, designed to protect and aid patients, with “see something say something” type oversight. Mental health practitioners already have to report viable threats to self or others but that metric is designed by professionals who know the field. Now we as a nation want to involve the sentiments of lay citizens into an already stigmatized population?

        Its a sad situation. I think we should talk about it and seek solutions. But so much of the content of alleged solutions are knee jerk responses not ideas that substantively reduce the risk (without unduly eroding personal liberty).

        • theone February 20, 2018 at 12:29 pm

          I think we can take a page from other places like Canada for example. I realize we’re not Canada but they seem to have far fewer mass shootings and their citizens can still own an AR-15. That type of weapon is categorized as restricted. It means you have to jump through some hoops and it can take about six weeks, but it helps to eliminate the chance of them ending up in the wrong hands. I get the Second Amendment, but we make it too easy for any Tom, Dick or Harry to walk in and buy whatever they desire.
          One thing is certain, all this sitting on our hands and doing nothing while the next mass shooting is looming is unproductive. We’re supposed to be intelligent are we not?
          For me, the lives of our children far outweigh the words in the constitution which can and should be amended in times where needed to protect them from ourselves.

          And the laws didn’t drop the ball, human failure in a law enforcement agency bears some blame.

          • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 12:46 pm

            Fair correction.

            I agree than ideal would be something like a “restricted” status. I worry that the manufacturers will continue to be savvy enough to circumvent the letter and spirit of any such law and make weapons that just barely exist outside the definitions that make it restricted. I think its solvable but fear the US’s unique gun culture and our different constitutional protections/language create a higher hurdle.

            Sitting on our hands is definitely accomplishing nothing except endangering more students. Appreciate the thoughtful response.

    • comments February 20, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Exactly, big brother just like the russian communist atheist bolshevik regime that murdered millions of innocent people–their own citizens. Atheist communist regimes have been far more murderous than any christian theocracies. Leftists will ignore these hard facts because they don’t suite their agenda.

      • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 11:56 am

        WTF? How are “russian communist atheist bolshevik” regimes even part of the issue we are talking about?

        Red herring alert. Clean up on Aisle 11.

        I love the either or. We must accept Christian supremacy or become victims of Russian Bolsheviks. Red Scare much?

        How about we not assume the supremacy and alleged certainty of either and deal with the nuances of American culture, including guns?

        The good guy with a gun argument has largely been rhetorical. I have seen a few incidents that were true but its largely untested. I’m curious why folks never account for all of the structural issues of the alleged solution. What happens with all of these people suddenly brandishing arm in an uncontrolled, low information active shooter situation? How do untrained lay people distinguish between the good guy and the one doing the massacring once multiple people are involved? Seems like a naive recommendation but I’m willing to hear more detail from those willing to explain it away.

  • chris keele February 20, 2018 at 11:43 am

    When I suggest that a big problem in society now is contributed largely to a lack of God in our schools and the broken moral fiber in this Country, I base that on findings from leading Sociologists like W. Bradford Wilcox @ the University of Connecticut, where he publishes his findings as ” Many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith, be it Christian or other, have a divorce rate ,markedly lower than the general population”. I rely on these types of opinions, and just common sense from personal experience, these are people who practice a religion on a regular basis, not someone who may have attended a meeting or two at some point in their life. Some of the Agnostic’s don’ t like to hear those realities it would seem.

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      But that wasn’t your original statement about prayer and god in schools. You have moved the goal post to “seriously practice” religion. So what would those numbers look like in a nation that is supposedly predominately Christian? Given the way evangelicals already force god into law what would be so different about requiring prayer in schools that would lead to more “serious” Christians? For comparison, most schools still do the Pledge of Allegiance, does that actually create more “serious” Patriots?

      The fact is we live in a country that prioritizes liberty and enforcing a “serious” code of god is incompatible with such values. You would think the supposed supremacy of your god would be able to survive the free will he supposedly created and instill the alleged morals you posit.I mean if they are so all powerful and relevant they would be welcome with open arms in a free, critical thinking society, right?

      Or maybe its that the constant god thumping evangelicals don’t actually have a leg to stand on with regards to the supremacy of their “morals”. The sort of ad hoc reasoning about “serious” Christians might be the reason you are shrinking in ranks every year.

      Learn to deal in nuance the first time if you want your ideas taken seriously. Until the Hail Mary “but what about god” excuse will always be missed by the receiver. Maybe its time the faithful to your god should take a look at the skeletons in their own closets before trying to prescribe a cure for a disease that doesn’t exist.

  • comments February 20, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Over the Edge, pls give it a rest with the line breaks. It doesn’t make it any easier to read and you’re not writing poetry here.

    Give up all your guns to Big Brother, Ed. History has shown us just how quickly governments can turn to tyranny and oppress and brutalize their own citizens. People haven’t changed since times of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc etc etc. You ultra leftists like to sweep a lot of history under the rug when it doesn’t suite your opinions or agendas. Plain and simply, I don’t trust the gov’t to be the only ones w/ the guns. You leftists like to label that view in derogatory terms, but I’d say you people are naive and foolish, and ignorant of history.

    • comments February 20, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Steps can be taken to ameliorate massacres, and they need to be taken.

      If I ever sell one of my guns I’ll be requiring the buyer to go with me and get himself background checked. That’s just to put my own mind at ease, but it should be required.

      Things can be done that don’t include a massive gov’t gun grab.

  • comments February 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    People will lose interest in this in a few days and be on to the next iphone version coming out or some trivial little craze like that, at least until the next massacre. The public has a very short attention span.

    I guess we can discuss all this again at the next massacre. Cheers everyone.

  • No Filter February 20, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    We don’t need assault weapons. Why would a 19 year old need an AR-15? Restrictions on renting a car are better than buying a gun. The only person under the age of 21 or so that should be able to carry a gun like that is one that has been trained by the military or law enforcement. This gun is a killing machine and that is it’s only use. You don’t need an arsenal to defend your home. I have a shotgun that protects my home and feel 100% safe and that is the only gun I own. I don’t need a gun that shoots dozens of bullets, my shot gun can stop a criminal in one or two shots. Our politicians won’t help save us from a mass shooting because the NRA is paying them to keep guns in peoples homes. Until we can fix that, we are sadly going to keep seeing these types of mass shootings.

  • comments February 20, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Sorry, but me and 99% of everyone else are over this already. Old news.

    When is the iphone 13 coming out?

    Or the next star wars whatever movie?

    Oh, it’s the parade of homes, right? Well, that’s exciting isn’t it?!

  • John February 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    AR 15’s are not assault rifles..period..
    AR-15-platform rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold. They are today’s modern sporting rifle.
    The AR in “AR-15” rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”
    AR-15-style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.
    If someone calls an AR-15-style rifle an “assault weapon,” he or she either supports banning these firearms or does not understand their function and sporting use, or both. Please correct them. “Assault weapon” is a political term created by California anti-gun legislators to ban some semi-automatic rifles there in the 1980s.
    AR-15-style rifles look like military rifles, such as the M-16, but function like other semi-automatic civilian sporting firearms, firing only one round with each pull of the trigger.
    Versions of modern sporting rifles are legal to own in all 50 states, provided the purchaser passes the mandatory FBI background check required for all retail firearm purchasers.
    Since the 19th century, civilian sporting rifles have evolved from their military predecessors. The modern sporting rifle simply follows that tradition.
    These rifles’ accuracy, reliability, ruggedness and versatility serve target shooters and hunters well. They are true all-weather firearms.
    Chamberings include .22, .223 (5.56 x 45mm), 6.8 SPC, .308, .450 Bushmaster and about a dozen others. Upper receivers for pistol calibers such as 9 mm, .40, and .45 are available. There are even .410 shotgun versions.
    These rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. And they’re used for target shooting in the national matches.
    AR-15-style rifles are no more powerful than other hunting rifles of the same caliber and in most cases are chambered in calibers less powerful than common big-game hunting cartridges like the 30-06 Springfield and .300 Win. Mag.

    • No Filter February 20, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      And to think I was hoping we wouldn’t hear John’s “AR does not stand for assault rifle” speech. The point is when look at all the mass shootings in our country they involve an AR-15 or some form of it. If you still think the AR-15 is not to blame then you are part of the problem.

      • John February 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm

        no filter, so you are scared of an ar15 because it looks scary? do some actual research ..It is not an assault weapon.. that’s just a libtard talking point..The plastic does not make it fire any faster than putting flame stickers on your car makes your car go faster..

        • No Filter February 20, 2018 at 10:19 pm

          Well mister know it all, maybe you should do better research because an AR15 is made from aluminum and polycarbon fiber, not plastic. An AR15 is also modeled to spec of the m16 auto that was made famous in the Vietnam war up until it was replaced by the m4 carbine shortly after 9/11. Don’t believe me look it up on the website for Colt rifles. Not fake news but from the manufacturer themselves. I have carried and fired both versions of this military weapon. Even qualified as expert using the m16 before serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Call me a snowflake all you want but the only difference is the full auto switch. You are so brainwashed by the likes of Sean Hannity and Alex Jones that you can’t even think for yourself. Sad world you must live in John. I’ll let you back to your Fox news, you wouldn’t want to miss another Hilary colluded with the Russians story.

      • John February 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm

        nofilter, take a look at a ruger mini 14, you could do just as much damage with it. It is essentially the same rifle without the scary plastic trim..You don’t have the first clue about firearms, just what the MSM tells you and it is sad..

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      As a political term, the AR-15 is definitely an “assault weapon”. The term is definitely problematic but mostly because gun- control advocates mistakenly assumed it was synonymous with assault rifle, which its not. And the gun control advocates are rightfully dealing with pushback after conflating those terms for years.

      But the AR-15 is an assault weapon and has gained prominence in the home defense and prepper communities because of many of the properties that define that awkward category.

      • John February 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm

        brokeandloser, the AR15 is a friggin pea shooter with scary plastic trim.. Too bad you are wrong again, IT IS NOT AN ASSAULT WEAPON OR ASSAULT RIFLE…The real problem is that in 1990 Creepy Joe Biden introduced the bill that turned our students into targets by making schools “GUN FREE ZONES” The modern sporting rifle, based on the AR-15 platform, is widely misunderstood. Why? Confusion exists because while these rifles may cosmetically look like military rifles, they do not function the same way. Also, groups wanting to ban these rifles have for years purposely or through their intentional ignorance spread misinformation about them to aid their cause…

        • Striker4 February 21, 2018 at 2:34 am

          Hey John it seems somebody ruffled your pretty pink panties again ! lol

        • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 1:16 pm

          Its definitely an assault weapon. Even Gun Digest discredits your notion, ie copy and pasted from a website, that the term was created by anti-gun activists. Phillip Petersen wrote the 2008 Buyers Guide and references its use in the manufacturing industry before activist took it on. Its been used for ages to loosely define semi-automatic weapons that look like or patterned off of their military counterparts. Even the NRA legislative branch, NRA-ILA, has an overly broad definition that includes AR-15s as assault weapons.

          The fact is certain gun enthusiasts and their own activists organizations have been trying to erase the terms complex history to frame the narrative against its ban-like emphasis. And your are failing. As a gun owner and 2nd Ammendment rights defender I am fully aware of your copy and paste definition and narrative and find it laughable.

          If its just a pea-shooter than why are you folks always worked up about the national conversation. I know why, as its a disingenuous attempt to minimize its well-marketed benefits and why its sales go out of the roof in moments like this. Because its not like there are a plethora of sites that explicitly talk about its tactical benefits during assault-like situations. Or that its a go-to platform for preppers and home defense enthusiasts. Or that its modular/accessorized nature allows it to perform efficiently in any number of scenarios. Yep, pea shooter.

          Swing and a miss.

          • John February 21, 2018 at 2:03 pm

            the FACTS say the ar15 is NOT an assault weapon. The liberal media says it is, you are a tool of the liberal media..Face it. you are wrong. Assault weapons have been banned from private ownership since the 1930’s. Too bad the plastic scares you so badly.. But it doesn’t make an AR15 any more dangerous than putting baseball cards in the spokes of your bike make it go faster..

          • comments February 21, 2018 at 2:25 pm

            john, you’ve reached a new level of idiocy

            YOU should not even be allowed to own guns.

          • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm

            Wow, do you even read what you write before posting it. In one post you say “An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.” Which I don’t disagreous. You also clarify that “Assault weapon” is a political term”, which partially true, given manufacturers have long used the term as well. You laid out a basic difference between the two in your post, which most educated people agree on, beyond the exact history of the assault weapon usage. But then you contradict yourself and say “Assault weapons have been banned from private ownership since the 1930’s” You aren’t even consistent with your own comments.

            Beyond the lame attempt at humor, its absurd to claim that the AR15 isn’t “any more dangerous than putting baseball cards in the spokes of your bike”. If thats the case than we would see preppers and home defense enthusiasts making runs on FLEER and Upper Deck everytime a D was in office. Your ideas are beyond ridiculous.

            At least try to be consistent with your basics, John, if you want your ideas to be taken seriously at all.

          • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

            Here, just look up AR-15 in this:

            https://www.amazon.com/Digest-Buyers-Guide-Assault-Weapons/dp/0896896803

            Interesting, as Phillip Peterson is a licensed gun dealer who wrote an entire guide on assault weapons and included the AR-15? Wonder why that would be? Especially for a common resource like Gun Digest. Its almost like there is evidence that is inconsistent with your narrow, political worldview.

            And the funny think is, I actually with his statements, including the problems of the 1994 Ban.

          • John February 21, 2018 at 3:51 pm

            you’re right, I just put baseball cards in my spokes and my bike goes faster, you are a misinformed liberal , again… those flame stickers on my fenders really make my car go fast too…hahahahahahahaha! did you know that the ruger mini 14 is identical to the ar15, only that it has a wooden stock and looks like a bb gun? No you wouldn’t because you didn’t do any research..It uses the same magazines and fires exactly the same way. .. and I never said an Ar15 was fully automatic..all liberal talking points.. I happen to be a licensed dealer too. I have been for over 35 years. The AR 15 IS NOT AN ASSAULT WEAPON- IF IT IS WHY DOES NO MILITARY USE THEM?

          • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 4:14 pm

            You can’t even understand the inconsistencies in your own words.

            Never said you said an AR-15 was full automatic, I highlighted how you were incorrect about about assault weapons being banned according to your own definition.

            So now the definition of assault weapon is defined by its use the military? Changing the definition again? Is it a political creation or not, like you originally claimed?

            You are the only one mentioned the Ruger. But according to the “Gun Digest Buyer’s Guide To Assault Weapons (2008)” it qualifies as an assault weapon as well. Interesting. An industry guide that includes both guns as assault weapons. Its almost like there exist an industry standard that doesn’t match your ridiculous one? How could that be?

            PS….your reading comprehension sucks.

  • ladybugavenger February 20, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Where’s God you ask? God waa taken out of schools. God is a threat to your existence and your goal is to take God out of everything. Welcome to your Godlessness, it’s going to get worse.

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Godfulness wasn’t exactly non-violent. You could actually argue the Christian faith, the god you are clearly referring to, has more blood on its hands than any number of school massacres throughout history could catch up to.

      Its empty rhetoric that relies more on the vengeful god of the old testament instead of the Christ-like teachings of the New.

      Its interesting that you are so comfortable with children being collateral in your worldview.

      • ladybugavenger February 21, 2018 at 10:00 am

        I’m not going to argue with you on the existence of God. You on the other hand, just want to argue. You think your viewpoints are completely relevant and insightful and 100% truth. Good for You! Have a blessed day!

        Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

        • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 11:07 am

          Never mentioned anything about the existing of god. But you came on a public forum trying to claim not believing in your god is why we have violence. Its an asinine idea given the amount of death created in the name of your god. Its not even logical.

          If you actually have some support for your claim than share it. If not, stop vomiting your personal faith over everyone as if it is anything more than a lazy cop out for actually having to work to make our schools safer.

          • ladybugavenger February 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm

            Listen, people like,you keep taking God out of everything, God offends you. I get it. Hearts without God is a problem.

            You just keep being you and I’ll be me. Ain’t nothing wrong with my love for God. Ain’t nothing wrong with my love for Jesus. Somethings wrong when you take God out of hearts, homes, schools, marriage.

            You can not believe in God/Jesus. I don’t call you names for it.

            You can challenge my belief all day long, it’s not going to change me.

            I’m not vomiting, but frankly, you are offended by my belief and you shouldn’t be. I don’t come after you or anyone for your beliefs. I’ve told my testimony. And someone out there, reading my comments, has gotten healing, or has felt like they are not alone. ❤ you St Georgians.

          • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 2:14 pm

            Nice yet failed attempt at deflection.

            When did I take your god out of anyone’s “hearts, homes, schools, marriage?” That a fabricated lie.

            When did I say “god offends” me? Not once have I said anything about the validity of your god. When did I say I was offended by your faith? Another lie. I am challenging your action. And this isn’t about testimony, this about the constant forced prescription of your faith onto everyone else. Saying ” Welcome to your Godlessness, it’s going to get worse” is not testimony but a despicable attempt to claim the death of school children are fair game in your view of a godless America.

            And no….if being you is vomiting “sins of the father” narrative after massacres than I am not just going to sit here and let that go untested. There are plenty of Christians doing amazing things that honor their faith and also help society in these moments. What you are doing is the opposite.

        • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

          I’ll put it more clearly in your language….when you push a “sins of the father” narrative for these tragedies you are going to be called out in the harshest of terms. I refuse to accept the ideas that school age children are collateral in your game of religious supremacy. Don’t invoke the wrath of the Old Testament vengeful god unless you are prepared for a righteous blowback.

          • ladybugavenger February 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm

            I get it, you dont believe in God, therefore, you will never understand what I speak. It’s ok b&f keep being you

          • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 2:36 pm

            I fully understand what you speak but its unChristian-like, ie honoring the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus. The Bible isn’t some magical text only visible to those who believe, its always been a source with lessons available to all.

  • commonsense February 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Gun laws are a deflection from the real issue of school responsibility to protect students.
    Obama had eight years to enact gun laws and chose not to. Why? Gun laws dont work, in fact, the more laws, the more murders. Ask Chicago.

    For schools to allow access and then watch a psychopath mow down its students is unacceptable.
    There are no automatic weapons sold without extreme permits. The semiautomatic rifle requires aiming and pulling the trigger on each shot, it’s nor a machine gun. This allows time for intervention but hiding under a desk invites carnage.

    Democrat extreme hypocrisy is tiresome. They had a chance in 2009 to work on this but chose highly flawed Obamacare with no bipartisan support. Politicizing tragedy is tragic.

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Didn’t you just “politicize tragedy” with your rant?

    • bikeandfish February 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      And no, Obama did not have eight years to pass gun laws. The Dems in Congress never had enough votes to force a bill through. At max they had 58 senators, 2 shy of a 3/5 vote and 9 short of a supermajority. And at max they had 257 votes in the House, 4 short of even a 3/5s vote nonetheless a supermajority to envoke cloture on a filibuster. Given gun control laws almost always pass along party lines they never had a chance.

      It apropos that you mention the ACA. That didn’t pass by a traditional vote; they snuck it through (I was against) on a budget vote and in a rather smarmy way at that. Its an example of how gun control never stood a chance.

    • comments February 21, 2018 at 11:58 am

      commonsense, you know nothing about guns. I’ve fired a full auto m-16, and full auto fire isn’t even practical. It’s eats up the contents of a mag rapidly and can be difficult to aim. You’re not going to have time to “intervene” between the shots of a semi-auto AR-15. It’s a ridiculous thing to say even.

  • vickbill February 20, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    They always blame the NRA and their donations. The facts are their donations are a fraction of what politicians get. The Unions spent 1.5 billion in the last election. Plan Parenthood gave 38 million to Democratics so they will allow millions of unborn babies to dies. The NRA has only given 300 million in the last 20 years so to say politicians are beholden to them is just another way for people to divided the country. If the current laws would be enforced and help given to those with mental Illness would go a long way to help solve this problem. Add in school security and we would be on the right tract but just screeming we have to do something, anything will not solve the problem. The other fact is we don’t have to defend the 2nd amendment. It’s the law of the land.

  • riccie February 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    I still don’t understand why no one is talking about the responsibility that the school itself had. If, like they stated, there was a single entry system and security cameras filming and dozens of office people and staff why did none of them stop him at the gates. Its not like you can hide one of those and not be noticed. Even though it was in a bag the bag itself does not resemble anything that a normal person would take to school.
    If people had been observant and reported this and contained him as they saw it I am sure it would have made a difference.
    Did the school system itself fail to keep the students safe?

    • comments February 21, 2018 at 11:53 am

      AR-15 is quite compact. It wouldn’t be hard to conceal in a backpack or gym bag.

  • commonsense February 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    But Ed, the Dems pushed thru Obamacare without a single Republican vote. Guns must not have been a priority or perhaps they realized that gun laws just don’t work because the tools we call guns are not the problem. In fact, guns are the only solution right now to shooters like Cruz. Many studies show that “shooting the shooter” quickly is the only answer.

    Hiding under a desk and watching your students get shot while waiting for the police is cowardly and unacceptable. The semiauto rifle used would have to been reloaded several times to kill and wound that many students, plenty of time for an armed onsite intervention.

    • comments February 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      ” plenty of time for an armed onsite intervention.” Right, more nonsense.

      The gun can be reloaded in about 2 seconds by a practiced/skilled person.

  • ladybugavenger February 21, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Out of all the people that read this news article, out oif all the people that comment, I’m the only one that cries out to Jesus?

    You see b&f the odds are against me, the people are against me….but I am the voice to help the suffering find a way out of the suffering. Too many people walk around in depression-jesus is the way to deliverance. Too many people walk around in stress- Jesus is the way to peace of mind. Too many people walk around with pride- Jesus is the way to humility. Too many people walk around with emotional and mental hurt and pain- Jesus is the way to healing.

    If your offended by this, then perhaps you are the one inflicting pain, stress, and hurt on people.

    • bikeandfish February 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      ” I am the voice to help the suffering find a way out of the suffering”

      Absurd given your initial statement:

      “Welcome to your Godlessness, it’s going to get worse.”

      That’s not a voice for those suffering, these are:

      “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
      “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

      Those are Christian words meant to help and comfort those in need. They don’t remotely resemble your rhetorical damnation.

  • An actual Independent February 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Let’s stop wasting our breath on “thoughts and prayers”. Just lip service requiring nothing and achieving nothing. They haven’t stopped this stuff and they certainly haven’t brought any of the victims back. They never will. It’s time for “thoughtful action” instead. As for “moments of silence”…..what good has that done? It’s more than time for “moments of outrage”. And honestly, I’m a little tired of flags flying at half mast constantly, to demonstrate that we are a nation of hopeless victims.
    Stop telling me that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. There are obviously a lot of people who should not have access to guns. We require a license to drive a car, give a massage, sell insurance or own a dog. The People’s Theocracy of Utah sees no Constitutional problem with infringing on the right to publicly have a glass of wine with dinner, or to dance joyfully in an open, public forum. That Constitution was written on parchment, not engraved in titanium. It gave us options and processes for correcting errors and fixing problems. We can sure as hell do something to stop lunatics from carrying weapons of mass destruction around on their hips or in a backpack.

  • ladybugavenger February 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Your,right b&f God has alot of blood on his hands …right there on the cross, he died for the sins of the world. He died so you and I, and all this world could live forever. If you so choose.

    • bikeandfish February 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Ever thought about becoming a politician? You have their BS pivot down. You insinuate godlessness is responsible for our current mass shootings and violence. My point was clearly about that irony of that claim given the number of people murdered in the name of your god. And not just in the past. Christians continue to murder in the name of your god to this day.

      But I have no doubt you’ll still blame it on godlessness and damn innocent children in the process. Great solution [Team Sarcasm].

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