Will Newtown become the 9/11 for gun control? - Macleans.ca

Will Newtown become the 9/11 for gun control?

The deaths of 20 children could spark a change of consciousness


Visitors light candles at a memorial to shooting victims on Dec. 17, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (Jason DeCrow/AP)

There is pattern to these things: A deranged individual goes on a shooting spree and America mourns the loss of innocents. Some voices raise the subject of gun control; others say “this is not the time” for such discussions. And then national attention moves on. (For example, a federal assault weapons ban passed by Congress in 1994 was allowed to expire under the Bush administration.) Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association continues to raise money, lobby, and make massive campaign contributions to candidates who receive high grades on its voting report cards. The NRA spent $24 million in the last election cycle — more than 4,000 times the amount spent by the leading gun control advocacy group, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

Could this time be different? Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, there was the bombing of the USS Cole, and before that, the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center. But it took the scale of the 9/11 devastation to transform the nation’s view of the terrorist threat and to respond with action.

Could the deaths of 20 children be sparking a similar change of consciousness?

There are signs that this might be the case. But it will be months before we can say for sure.

Here are some indications that this time, it’s different:

— A growing number of pro-gun congressional Democrats are saying they would not support more restrictions on weapons; Said West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, whose pro-gun positions had earned him an “A” rating from the NRA, said:

 “Who would have ever thought, in America, or anywhere in the world, that children would be slaughtered? You know, that–it’s changed me.” He called for a “dialogue that would bring a total change. And I mean a total change.”

— The pro-gun rights majority leader in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, has said “all options should be on the table” to prevent future tragedies;

— A visibly shaken President Obama, who wiped away tear after tear when speaking about the dead children, has tasked his cabinet to come up with ways to respond to the killings in an effort to be led by vice president Joe Biden;

— Investors are dropping gun companies ;

“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” said a press release announcing that Cerberus, a private equity firm would sell the maker of Bushmaster, the rifle that was used by the Newtown gunman.

— Rupert Murchoch, the owner of Fox News, the stalwartly conservative television network, has called for the U.S. to follow the example of his native Australia, which cracked down on gun ownership after a mass killing there. He said on Twitter:

Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?


Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.

— Fox News star anchor Megyn Kelly, teared up and compared the shootings to 9/11 in their impact on the national psyche and said:

“This is one of those moments, it’s like, it’s like what the country felt after 9/11 where regardless of your politics you feel first an American, you feel first a parent, and you think, it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is.”

“We have to work together to be honest about what led to this,” she said. “And how to stop it from happening again. Without any quick fixes, without any quick judgments, but to really look at it and try to figure it out.”

But here are a few of the obstacles:

— No congressional Republican has yet come forward to say he or she would support more restriction on weapons or high-capacity ammunition — and Republicans control the House of Representatives;

— The president seems to think he has time to come out with proposals and that support will be there in the coming months; he may be wrong;

— Despite Murdoch’s tweets, top executives at Fox News, who retain editorial control of the network, have reportedly banned discussion of gun control;

— Gerrymandering of congressional seats means more and more seats are “safe” Democratic of Republican. This means the main obstacle to obtaining office is not the general election, but winning the party primary. For Republicans, this often means winning the endorsement of NRA among other conservative groups.

— The U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark 2008 case of D.C. v. Heller, ruled that the Second Amendment protection of a “right to bear arms” extended to individuals in their homes, unconnected with service in a militia. The ruling struck down a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., and ruled unconstitutional the district’s regulations that required all firearms to be kept “unloaded and disassembed or bound by a trigger lock.” The top court may also decided to consider a case asking whether the Second Amendment also confers a right to be armed in public.


Will Newtown become the 9/11 for gun control?

  1. ”Who would have ever thought, in America, or anywhere in the world, that children would be slaughtered”


    Children all over the world have been slaughtered all along….by American guns. That’s why 911 happened in the first place.

    In fact children in the US are killed by guns every day. People shrug and say ‘these things happen’ and move on.

    Newtown may have finally brought it home to Americans that they are a violent and out-of-date society and have to change.

    I personally doubt that a ‘cultural seismic shift’ is occurring in the US…..and that’s what it will take…..but we can always hope I suppose.

    • Too true. I recall the tragic case of the little boy who brought a gun to school and killed a classmate some years ago. How many more similar accidental shootings are there in homes all over America? How does a law requiring gun owners to keep their guns secured and unloaded infringe on their right to bear arms?

      • About a week ago I read of an 8 year old who shot his 4 year old sister when he found a gun in the house. And a father who got back in his truck, went to put his gun in the glove compartment and accidently shot his 7 year old son.

        People treat guns like they’re toys. Look at these:


        • Only foolish, careless and ignorant people treat guns like toys….. the same sorts of people who treat knives, cars, crossbows, swimming pools, fireworks and motorboats like toys. We could outlaw all those things…. Better yet, we could outlaw those kinds of people.

          • Or we could stop with the gun glorification of a gun culture.

          • Who’s we? You’re the maroon with the guns.

      • You ask, “How does a law requiring gun owners to keep their guns secured and unloaded infringe on their right to bear arms?”

        Because the right to bear arms is correlative with the right to self and home defense. Requiring lawful weapons owners to keep their weapons in a state of un-readiness for rapid use in self-defense is essentially the same as disarming them. That’s how it “infringes”. It is essentially using the law to say, “Okay, you have the right to ‘bear’ arms, but only if you can’t effectively use them for their intended purpose….” Thanks, but no thanks.
        However, just as no responsible weapons-owners would purposely disarm their homes and then consider those homes properly defended, it is also true that no decent and responsible parent of a child would store a loaded, dis-chargeable weapon where children could access them. With proper care and precaution both aims are achievable. And laws against negligent injury and/or homicide already exist, not that decent and loving parents need those as motivation for keeping weapons out of their children’s hands.

  2. We sometimes wonder what is the difference between Canadians and Americans. The answer is guns. They love them. They worship them. I don’t think they will ever agree to real controls. A few years ago there was talk of the US building a wall along their border with Canada. I say: “Mr. Obama, build up that wall!”

  3. Are you people stupid? Guns have saved so many people in self defense situations where they otherwise would not have been able to physically overpower their attacker. Simple solution stop doing stupid stuff like teaching a kid with mental issues how to use a gun and where it is kept in your household. In other cases simply check the potential owners background.

    • Please stop swallowing snake oil.

      • You’re the only one swallowing anything, Emily, and I believe you meant to say “Kool-Aid”, not snake oil. You are but one among many of the brainwashed masses who go along with the ludicrous dictum: “When someone goes on a shooting spree, it’s time to take more guns away from the people who didn’t do it.”

        • Oh I’m sure you’re into Con Kool aid….but it’s snake oil you’re buying.

          Kill the gun culture the US has.

          And I’m a gun owner.

          • I’m not sure what Con Kool Aid is, but I assure you I’m neither buying nor selling anything, snake oil or what have you. And if Con Kool Aid is for neo-con, or con-servative, I’m neither of those either. I’m a libertarian, and also a gun owner.

            I’m curious as to what you believe a “gun culture” is, and why you think this country has one. I for one am part of no culture. My ownership of firearms is simply an extension of my individual liberty, and are for routine use in nothing beyond hunting and target practice, and for the reserved use of self-defense. I suspect this will be the most prevalent attitude you will find among gun owners, in your search for a gun “culture”.

            Rather than advocate the killing of some presumed gun culture, it would be more productive to work toward the extermination of collectivist thinking culture, non-critical-thinking culture, gangster culture…. for starters…

          • Koolaid…the preferred drink of Jimmy Jones. Cons drink it too. Especially SoCons….and teabaggers etc.

            Libertarians bathe in it. And absorb it like plants.

            Ayn Rand called Libertarians ‘rightwing hippies’. That they are. Mooches and looters the lot of them.

            A ‘gun culture’ glorifies guns, and the people who use guns…..like cowboys, cops, criminals….especially Soprano-types….and various other ‘outlaw’ types as long as they can be imaged as ‘cute’….like the Sundance Kid and so on. When angry….go for the gun, the ‘quick draw’ at high noon, the biggest barrel, the most shots…..it’s always a Shoot-out at the OK Corral. Gunsmoke in Dodge city. Boot Hill, Tombstone…and Snake Oil…a linament sold to gullible settlers in the old west.

            The American west was never actually like that….it’s solely an invention of the tabloids of the time, and Hollywood westerns. Entertainment, not reality. But some fools….like the NRA and their ilk….believed all that fantasy. And then promoted it.

            Of course you have a culture….you’re an American…..and that alone says a wealth of things….most of them totally opposite to the cultures of other advanced western nations. The ‘frontier’, after all, has been dead for well over a century.

          • You appear to live quite comfortably amidst a wealth of prejudices and non-comprehension. What would happen, I wonder, were you to suddenly realize a mind is a terrible thing to close? What would happen if you refashioned your intelligence into a tool of inquiry instead of judgement?

            Libertarians are “moochers and looters”…?

            My God…. Words fail me. I’m going back to bed; I only got up to use the bathroom. Shouldn’t have refreshed the browser til later…

          • Your mind has been snoozing all this time. Your body might as well join it.

          • Better rested now…

            I think it just hit me — you’re Canadian, aren’t you. That would explain everything. How could I miss it? I even missed the blog header with the red maple leaf. My God, I’m in Canada, and never left the house. Damn this internet.
            So are all Canadian gun owners as brainwashed as you, or do any of you understand libertarian principles the way most American gun owners do? Nevermind; I don’t want to start engaging my own tendencies to prejudgement. Just don’t invade our country with your .22s please.

          • You don’t even know what country you’re in and you own guns? Hmmm.

            Canadians have as many guns as Americans do. I own several myself. We just don’t have a gun culture. Guns are tools, not toys.

            And most people here regard Libertarians as loons….like I said before, looters and moochers.

            The US has invaded Canada 5X, and gotten it’s ass kicked every time so go brag about your toughness to someone else.

          • Sorry for the delay Emily, I had to make a quick trip up to Canada for a fresh supply of the Idiot Pills they hand out to everyone up there. I’m the local distributor in my area. It’s alarming how many Americans want to stay as stupid as Canadians, and take pills to make it happen, but what the hell, business is business. Where there’s a demand, there’ll be a supply. O Thank You Canada, for making me rich.

            And speaking of idiots, the actual facts on gun ownership reveal that only 25% of Canadian households have any weapons. In America it’s presently over 50%, and here in the South it’s a great deal higher than that. And curiously, unlike Canadian gun owners, none of the local American gun owners here are also Idiot Pill consumers.

            What this all comes down to, aside from you being full of shit, is that you better hope American CITIZENS never take a notion to “invade” Canada, because you would be toast. The War of 1812 was a squabble between GOVERNMENTS, not citizens, and the American government deserved its ass kicking. It still does. But the citizenry is another matter. Don’t even think about it, you sanctimonious snippy bitch.

          • Americans couldn’t win in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq or Afghanistan…..with all the firepower on earth…..so don’t be making silly threats.

            Buncha blowhards.

            Canadian and American citizens fought in 1812.. And your White House got burned down. You guys can’t fight your way out of a wet paper bag.

            Oh wait….you’re good at killing your own children though.

          • No, moron. Canadian and American GOVERNMENTS fought in 1812. To do so, the American GOVERNMENT used its armed forces, while your GOVERNMENT used Britain’s. And it was the British GOVERNMENT that brought the whole thing on with their high seas Impressment of Americans into involuntary military service to fight for the British GOVERMENT in its war with the French GOVERNMENT. Citizens themselves, in all four of these countries, didn’t much care for the entire enterprise.

            Furthermore, it was the American GOVERNMENT’S White House that was burned down. Good, I say. They (the American GOVERNMENT) had it coming. It would only have been more of plus with the burning of The House of Lords, The Palais de l’Élysée, and Canada’s Central….. Igloo. But we’ll take what we get.

            Are you getting the pattern here, you nanny-headed, statist, brainwashed-progressivist, monumentally ignorant twunt? Of course you’re not. Typical Canadians, and far too many Americans, are mentally incapable of distinguishing a country’s GOVERNMENT from its actual CITIZENRY. Your continued conflating of the two displays your pathetic stupidity.

            Equally stupid is your conflating the actions of one deranged individual with the attitudes and behavior of millions of law-abiding citizens, and then laying it at the feet of “America”. You want to talk about “killing children”?
            Here’s a list of names for you: Brampton Centennial, École Polytechnique, Concordia University, W.R. Myers High School, St Pius X. High School, Dawson College… Any of those sound familiar?

            Please take your preening sanctimony and shove it up your ass. You are truly an execrable creature.

          • LOL is that your latest excuse? Took 200 years to come up with that one, and you still haven’t got it right!

            Or are you one of the whacko ‘Freemen’?

            You guys really should do something about your mental health problems.

          • It is obvious your ability to comprehend and communicate has been completely submerged beneath your indoctrination into the delusional, drone-like mentality of collectivism. You can’t even speak to the actual content of one individual post on a comment board, beyond invoking pluralistic and competely non-sequitur platitudes.

            “200 years”?

            “whacko Freemen”?

            “Mental health problems”?

            Do you EVER have some sort cogent point to make, or do you just babble out buzzwords you’ve picked up?

            Are you real, or one of those demented, Canadian auto-responders?

          • Well I’d repeat it in French or Chinese, but I doubt you’d understand it any better than you do in English.

            Just go hide in your bunker, and stop boring people.

          • 无论您使用什么语言。你是白痴中每一种语言。

          • No, not any language will do….you don’t even understand simple English much less simplified Chinese….and stop calling people names.

          • Я не оскорблять людей. Я только формальной образованности оскорбление
            как самостоятельно. Это может быть наиболее подходящим для
            социалистической канадской.

          • Sigh….I have a Russian computer in my collection.

            You couldn’t use that, either.

          • Venäjän ohjausyksiköt on esinettä niin miksi haluan käyttää oman keräämisen? Jos tietokone on Helsingin Eurooppa-neuvoston jälkeen, ja toimii moitteettomasti.

          • Yeah, time for a big Finnish I think. LOL

            I’m not running through every language on the planet with you…..especially since the actual topic here is American gun control…..so off you go to bed.

          • Nej, ämnet är inte amerikanska gun lag. Ämnet är amerikanska Liberty. Gun är ett effektivt sätt att tysta de snabbaste re-observation av nästa

          • American gun control you’re dreaming about are you? Well get ready for a kick in the NOKS (Fininish Kroners to you).

          • Yeah, it’s probably an old Vic 20 that you and some Boolshevit dirtball tried to reverse engineer.

          • En outre, puisque vous êtes un idiot dans chaque langue, vous pouvez
            aussi bien juste s’en tenir à l’anglais ainsi tous les autres peut être

          • Oh are you going to play language games now?

            Yawn, futue te ipsum.

          • Taurus excritus minores confusit.
            And it seems to have had an extraordinary effect on yours.

          • It’s Canada, with its NDP/Marxist corrupted school system, that has the overall mental health problems.

            The filthy Canadian school system, with its 300 pound Trotsky kindergarten teachers, is in the business of squirting out brain dead collectivist puss. Many of the young kids, with a strong home life make it through with moral values preserved. Weak thinkers like you end up on a garbage heap of confusion and bitterness looking for hallucinated revenge.

            By the way, in the US the west was opened up by the pioneers seeking opportunity. In Canada the west was opened up the North West Mounted Police. There’s a basic difference in philosophy from day one

          • WRONG, as usual

            In 1812 there was no such thing as a Canadian citizen.

            Not a single word that spews out of you is reliable.

    • Name them. Count them.

      Then count the number of innocent people killed with guns, asswipe.

      • My God, you are an idiot. The internet lies right in front of you, asshole. Look them up and name & count them yourself.

        Are there ANY anti gun people who think critically and deal in facts rather than irrational emotionalism?

  4. How come no one in the media or elsewhere has noticed or made a point of the following: Earlier on the same day, Dec 14th 2012, the news reported that a so-called “mentally unstable” man in the village of Chingping in China assaulted first an elderly women with a knife and then went on to assault, again with a knife, 22 primary school children. The injuries varied in severity but no one died. The similarity of the 2 events is eery in itself ; but it so illustrates that there are, in fact, mentally ill people everywhere who, left untreated, can potentially cause havoc with little warning. But only in America (which includes Canda) does that person have such easy access to guns that can kill so many in a short period of delusion and madness. Is that not enough proof that no one should be allowed to purchase/own an assault rifle or similar lethal weapons unless they are “licensed to kill” meaning law enforcement, armed forces, professional bodyguards etc.

    • Yes, there are mentally ill people everywhere. And there are weapons everywhere. And there are drugs everywhere.

      But only the US has a gun culture. And only they have constant gun massacres

    • If you think “not allowing” anyone but your designated categories of people to own firearms will somehow, magically, mean that they will be the only ones possessing them, and that criminals will henceforward come armed with switchblades and dinner forks, then why do those select, authorized few need guns at all? Tasers, pepper spray and batons can deal with knife brandishers; why the excessive firepower?

      Why do people like you continue to be unable to think things through on the subject of firearms? Why do you lapse into the sheer emotionalism of assigning criminal culpability to inanimate, mechanical tools, rather than the people using them?

      • Why do you fantasize nonsense about other posters?

        • …Said the pot to the kettle. I at least manage to avoid fantasies of other posters swallowing snake oil, with a Con Kool-Aid chaser.

          • Your last paragraph is quite clear in the fantasy dept.

          • My last paragraph is dead on, and you know it.

            Blaming gun crime on the legal availability of guns, on some supposed gun-culture “worship” of guns, on firing characteristics or magazine capacities of guns, or on just the guns themselves, is what constitutes fantasy.

            Pure, emotion-driven, devoid of reason fantasy.

          • No, it’s just dead.

            Like your brain.

  5. I think America has a long way to go before it realizes how violent a society it has become (Including killings from its wars, TV shows,…).