Monday, February 4, 2013

Newtown bereaved father just doesn’t get it

No one can feel the grief that MarkMattioli feels, except the other nineteen families whose children ages 6 and 7 were slaughtered by Adam Lanza in the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December.  But the father is way off base when he said, “there are more than enough gun laws on the books.”  Although the proposed legislation by President Obama for universal background checks, including private sales at gun shows, wouldn’t have helped in this instance, it will certainly help identify responsible gun owners in the future.


True, Mattioli’s plea for improving the mental health system could have prevented Lanza from having access to the weapons he used; although since they belonged to his mother, that is debatable unless we extend the mental health requirements to forbidding any firearms in a home where there is a known mental health problem.  Wouldn’t that just drive wacky Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA), right up the wall?  But when you think about it, there is really no other way to keep someone who is mentally incompetent away from guns.


Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and according to the National Institute of NeurologicalDisorders and Stroke, “Some individuals with ASD are severely disabled and require very substantial support for basic activities of daily living.  Asperger syndrome is considered by many to be the mildest form of ASD and is synonymous with the most highly functioning individuals with ASD.”  And most experts agree that Asperger’s syndrome doesn’t cause violence.  Since autism, which is what AS is a part of, is not considered a mental illness, is Sandy Hook even a mental health issue?


Yes, that's wacky Wayne LaPierre behind the sign
Contrary to Mattioli’s  position, a large group of Newtown residents voiced their opinions to Connecticut lawmakers to take state action that would prevent another tragedy like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  But other residents were concerned about their 2nd Amendment rights at about the same time Wayne LaPierre was frothing at the mouth again over the NRA’s “absolutist” rights, which was in response to President Obama reminding the gun fanatics you cannot “mistake absolutism for principle.”  Apparently they just don’t get it either.


One Newtown mother said, “there's a national misperception that Newtown residents want to repeal the Second Amendment. Rather, Newtown residents want to protect people's rights while also protecting children and their safety.”  It is this belief by the gun nuts that gun control advocates want to take their guns away that has been instilled in them by LaPierre for years.  Fear works when you are trying to initiate action, like raising more money for the NRA.  I liken it to the selling of cancer insurance by junk mail years ago.  Scare the hell out of them to induce buying the insurance.


And then there was this classic statement by Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary, the school psychologist, was killed in the carnage:


He said he respects the 2nd Amendment “but it was written in a long-ago era where armaments were different.  I have no idea how long it took to reload and refire a musket," he said. "I do know that the number of shots fired in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in those few short minutes is almost incomprehensible, even in today's modern age." 


David Wheeler’s 6-year-old son was killed in the massacre and cited the mental health angle again:


"That a person with these problems could live in a home where he had access to among the most powerful firearms available to non-military personnel is unacceptable," he said. "It doesn't matter to whom these weapons were registered. It doesn't matter if they were purchased legally. What matters is that it was far too easy for another mentally unbalanced, suicidal person who had violent obsessions to have easy access to unreasonably powerful weapons."


If the Newtown incident is ruled to be mentally incompetent connected, it will certainly be a clear sign that it is necessary to evaluate every home in which firearms are housed.  And that would significantly apply to those having assault-type weapons since this seems to be the weapon of choice for the mass gun murderers.  Once again this raises the need for a national database of firearms owned and with the improvement of identifying the mentally challenged, there could be an instant cross-reference that would identify any potential problem households.

To some gun owners and wacky Wayne LaPierre, that is blasphemy toward their sacred toys.  To me it is just common sense.

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