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Gun debate grows tiresome amid continued shootings

By Cynthia Oi


This morning, I measured water into the tank of a coffee maker, shook some grounds into the filter and slid the carafe on to the heating plate.

Nothing happened.

Although the device is called automatic, it would be more accurately described as semiautomatic.

It still requires a human touch, someone to flick the “on” switch, just as a .223 Bushmaster rifle needs human contact to fulfill its one and only objective, which is to discharge projectiles that can pierce through flesh, bone and organs to destroy life.

I am aware that there are many gun enthusiasts who use their weapons simply to make holes in paper targets, who enjoy testing their skill at punching puka in a bulls-eye.

I am aware that there are others who use their rifles to hunt animals for food or trophy, though their numbers have dropped in recent years.

I am also well aware of the overworked saying that guns unassisted don’t kill, that people with guns do, as do people with knives, machetes, ball-peen hammers, cudgels and automobiles.

However, the discussion in the light of the awful slaughter of children and the adults who took care of them is about guns, their accessibility and the ease with which they kill.

To end a life takes just a squeeze. To remove from this world a future, to introduce anguish, to forever link the memory of a complex human being to a flat despair of victimhood requires a slight pull on a tiny lever.

As the massacre in Newtown, Conn., is dissected, other issues begin to cloud the picture. Among them, a mental disorder that may have afflicted the barely adult man who killed; the fringe, gun-touting group that has cowed weak-kneed politicians wholly for its nonsensical ideological gain and the profits of the allied gun industry; a ridiculous idea to fill no-gun zones such as schools with pistol-packing teachers and guidance counselors; and the phallic psychology of those who feel a need for long-barrel .22s, multi-cartridge banana clips and large-framed speed-loaders.

Then there are the tiresome militia-minded bullet-hoarders with their delusions of fighting off “the gummint” with their modified semiautomatics, a flock composed of the very people who should not be armed.

I’ve heard it all before. What I don’t want to hear again, what I don’t want to watch on breaking news any more is a horrible recounting of death because someone with a grievance, real or imaginary, effortlessly picked up a gun and killed.

Creating laws, regulations and restrictions necessary to end this madness have eluded this country for too long. The task will be difficult with many viewpoints to consider, but it is not insurmountable.

Protecting fellow human beings from harm is instinctive. We need to encourage the sense as an automatic response.

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onevoice82 wrote:
Cynthia Oi, you are simplistic at best! There is no law that will stop this from happening, NONE! Just like there is no law that will stop drug abuse or speeding cars. The only answer is Gods Law and it has been around since the beginning of time. "Love'. And people like you are removing God from everything public. Your article bored me.
on December 20,2012 | 04:45AM
Slow wrote:
Cynthia is one of those people "removing God from everything?" Didn't see that her cogent and compelling writing has anything whatsoever about god. Thank god. I am sure your god is really nice but "Love" and even the 5th commandment (Thou shall not kill), if your god happens to be the Christian flavor of deity, has not worked too well. God does not do for you what you can do for yourself. God didn't make the guns and god won't take them away. Or maybe we should simply let everyone carry all the guns and ammo they want wherever they want. Then we can ask god to not let them shoot us.
on December 21,2012 | 06:27AM
SprayHawk wrote:
We can't become tired of the debate, otherwise there will be no change. I want the debate. I want people, politicians - our leaders to become educated about the problems associated with events like the tragedy in Newtown. I want this because I think it will help address the fears associated with guns AND will help us find a solution that works for everyone. I own the same types of guns that the shooter used. As you pointed out, they don't do a thing just sitting there - they need human intervention. I am one of those gun owners that shoots largely for sport. I enjoy shooting clay targets in the air or the tin can on a fence. I also have my guns for protection. I will shoot (at) coyotes/bobcats that visit our home. I will also defend my home if an intruder enters. I have to do this because we live in rural Kansas and I am 911. I am not going to stand by and watch my dogs be mauled or my family assaulted. So I am a gun rights advocate, but I also see a need for a change in where we are at as a society. We don't need high capacity magazines. It is a nice convenience, but I can reload more frequently if that helps everyone. The general public also doesn't need access to fully automatic weapons - ever. Currently, there is some red tape to work through, but it is possible to own a fully automatic weapon if you 'check out'. We also should have more mandatory education/training before being allowed to purchase a weapon. In Kansas, all I needed to do was complete a three page form, which was used on a brief background check and then I was good to go. This surprised me. We also need to reexamine the mental health care that is provided in the US. I am not an expert in this by any stretch, but I do know that in Kansas, we have closed several facilities, which has shifted the burden of care onto our primary care facilities, which don't have the resources or expertise to handle properly. I think that the level of care that is current available is not sufficient to handle the patients who have a need. Please don't give up on the debate. By working together, we, as a society, can make America better through these tragedies.
on December 20,2012 | 06:50AM
gth wrote:
Fortunately, Hawaii ain't Kansas and we do not need assault weapons here.
on December 20,2012 | 11:13AM
Leinanij wrote:
Mahalo Cynthia. You speak for many of us who saw that those children could have been our children. To not try to make sure it doesn't happen again would be to dishonor their memories.
on December 20,2012 | 06:52AM
onevoice82 wrote:
So to try to make sure it doesnt happen again Leinanij, we need to arm our teachers who are trained and capable. I am so mad that the school district in Newtown and all the school districts across the US, did not take control the first time this happened in a school and take measures to arm our teachers. So, I blame the school districts and people like you for the deaths of these 20 children. Put that in your pipe and smoke it young lady!
on December 20,2012 | 09:13AM
control wrote:
Just what the world needs, more lolo's with guns with the faux notion that it will somehow protect them and solve all their problems. It's people like you ARE the problem. I'm tired of people like you who want to convert our homes, schools, churches, work place, and malls into maximum security prisons. Put that in your gun and shoot it.
on December 20,2012 | 10:23AM
Slow wrote:
I find it amazing that anyone can actually believe that more guns will bring less violence.
on December 21,2012 | 06:31AM
lowtone123 wrote:
They should outlaw the assault rifle which was created by the military and it's sole purpose is to inflict maximum damage to the greatest numbers in the shortest amount of time. There is no need for it in any arena, be it hunting, protection or sport.
on December 20,2012 | 07:24AM
cojef wrote:
Just like outlawing the violent children video games. Today children are exposed to violence of the likes we have not seen in the past. The rise is mass shootings are not a manifestation of firearm possession, but the increase of violent video games. The intensity of the violence is such that even adults are shocked. Wake up America, it's parents who do not take charge of what is being offered to their children. Children mimic and reenact what they have witnessed on these violent video media. An inanimate object does not kill, it is an inflamed and indoctrinated mind that moves the body to cause the violence.
on December 20,2012 | 08:22AM
saveparadise wrote:
I agree. Violent video games that parents use to babysit their children are doing psychological damage. What is happening to human interaction and sensitivity to other's emotions and feelings? Life and death mean nothing in a virtual game.
on December 20,2012 | 10:01AM
medigogo wrote:
Amen. And those violent TVs and movies too.
on December 20,2012 | 11:40AM
saveparadise wrote:
Cynthia, your argument is sooo tired. No law abiding citizen wants to see anyone murdered. You are insulting every law abiding citizen that owns a firearm to insinuate that their weapon will be used to commit murder. Put yourself in other's shoes for a moment.....be a murderer for a moment as well. Seriously, would not having what you call an "assault rifle" deter you? Why don't you go on a crusade against alcohol and automobiles instead. That combination has killed more people than all wars put together.
on December 20,2012 | 08:19AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I an appreciate Cynthia's emotional argument but this kind of op/ed actually does more harm than good. All of us, gun owners and gun haters, are sick and tired of the extreme violence that characterizes our society today. But the roots of that violence and that deadly mind set are very complicated.

Saying in effect "I am sick and tired of hearing about guns used in crimes" contributes nothing. What about issues like mental health services, the incredible proliferation of very violent video games, rampant spread of psychoactive drugs including all the child drugs being dispensed, the role of the entertainment and media glorifying "gangsta" imagery, diminished time spent by parents with children, and lots more? These are big issues and play a role in why America is violent today.

"Ban the guns!" is a knee jerk reaction (tried before) that does not address the tens of millions of existing guns, the fact that the gangs have real automatic weapons already, the whole 2nd Amendment issue, etc.

What Cynthia has done here is increase the heat but not add light. It is a rabble-rouser op/ed that offers no insights or suggestions as to the real issues involved. Even her discussion of weaponry is fraught with inaccuracies.

We all agree that what occurred in Connecticut was horrible but let' start by acknowledging that this was an irrational act by a mad man and it is folly to try to explain the irrational with rational arguments. Let's start the debate but let's admit upfront it is a nuanced issue with lots of moving parts and deserves more than the "Guns, bad" approach.

on December 20,2012 | 09:25AM
control wrote:
same old tired song and dance. Pretending that you aren't part of the problem. People are fed up and they aren't buying the NRA shibai any more. It won't be politicans that bring down the NRA. It will be the scoccer moms fighting back to protect their kids from gun toting idiots.
on December 20,2012 | 10:25AM
hawaiikone wrote:
If your "soccer moms" took the effort to effectively arm themselves, realizing that you and those like you are naive in thinking that more gun control will protect them, then they would at least have a chance to defend their kids. Your name is well chosen.
on December 20,2012 | 03:27PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
We need to hunt down all those with autism, especially Aspergers syndrome. We're sick and tired of crazy people going on these shooting rampages.

See how stupid it looks when you try and oversimplify a complex issue?

on December 20,2012 | 04:24PM
serious wrote:
I am happy that Obama is lame duck now, if he were looking for another term he wouldn't have the ____ to bring up this subject. I had to laugh when Bush Senior left the White House he announced that he was tearing up his NRA membership card--what a HERO!!! And his boccolli card also. As they say in the military: it's easy to be a hero from a safe distance!!!
on December 20,2012 | 08:51AM
AndrewWalden wrote:
Connecticut Shooting: Failure of Mental Health System http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/8435/Connecticut-Shooting-Failure-of-Mental-Health-System.aspx
on December 20,2012 | 09:15AM
PabloWegesend wrote:
Cynthia Oi is the one being ridiculous by snickering at the idea of arming school staff! Nobody in Israel is snickering like that, because there, the school staff are armed! That's why Israel (despite being surrounded by hostile enemies) have way less school shootings than the USA! After all, a "commanding presence" can only do so much against a psycho who thinks you shouldn't even exist! But real life experience showed the Israelis that you MUST be ready to shoot the bad guys! You might call that "paranoia", but Israelis call it "everyday life"
on December 20,2012 | 09:45AM
control wrote:
America is not surrounded by hostile enemies - just the paranoid lolo's already here. Armed israel schools have not stopped the violence or protected anyone. It has only served to continue hostilities.
on December 20,2012 | 10:28AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Naive again. Israel has guards at every school, detectors and armed administrators. Zero attacks in schools since implementation. How many more tragedies will we endure before we understand evil is here to stay, and will kill with guns, knives, fists, clubs, poison, bombs, or whatever else gets the job done. Terrible commentary on our times, but keeping our heads in the sand will only make it easier for the next nut.
on December 20,2012 | 04:02PM
mulen wrote:
How convenient in your argument to leave out the rest of the Isreali example-ZERO gun ownership by private citizens.You didn't naively leave that out did you?
on December 20,2012 | 08:23PM
Slow wrote:
Thank you, mulen.
on December 21,2012 | 06:35AM
visitor wrote:
A complex issue, but keep in mind. There is no difference between an "assault" rifle and any other rifle...they all fire bullets. In fact many hunting and target rifles come in larger calibers and are just as "semi-automatic" as any other semi-automatic weapon. It's like placing more blame on a Porsche than a Toyota for DUI cases.
on December 20,2012 | 11:03AM
mulen wrote:
Oh! I get it. When Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, it would have been the same result if he had an AK-47 with a high capacity magazine.
on December 20,2012 | 08:13PM
tiki886 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 21,2012 | 01:25AM
Slow wrote:
Tiki868, do you write for Augie T or, more likely, Michael "Rush Limbaugh" Perry? Better look out for those "COMMIE SYMPATHIZERS." That's a good one. Aside from Fidel, Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong Il, there aren't any commies left. A close relative, a nice guy but usually drunk, keeps loaded weapons in his house. When asked why he said "What you going to do when they come for your kids?" This is the mentality that keeps guns for protection.
on December 21,2012 | 06:47AM
knowsy12 wrote:
Comrade tiki, your bias and ignorance is showing as well. Mulen is merely pointing out that a single bolt action rifle has a more limited consequence than an AK.
on December 21,2012 | 11:03AM
BTO wrote:
I believe in having the right to bear arms in defense of you, your business, home and family. However, it seems there is a pattern of everyone, and I mean everyone who is mentally unstable to control anger and temperance today. Why not further test gun registrants using psychological tests and start classifying them as different potential risks. Also mandatory anger management, coping with societal issues and spiritual assistance can go far as intervention. I think they should make it mandatory to teach these type of classes at the grade school, high school. college and job sites. If they can make it mandatory to teach home economics, and band they can make it mandatory to teach anger management etc...If it can reduce incidences by 30-50% it would be well worth the monetary cost and time investment.
on December 20,2012 | 01:53PM
tiki886 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 21,2012 | 01:31AM
Slow wrote:
Then you get to shoot them.
on December 21,2012 | 06:48AM
lee1957 wrote:
What a bunch of jibberish.
on December 20,2012 | 04:06PM
Anonymous wrote:
Take away every gun and the next nitwit will just use a gallon of unleaded and a match. While you may lack imagination your average homicidal maniac has more than enough to get the job done if he or she is determined. Does every city and town in the country really have to experience what's happening right now in Chicago before well intentioned but naive souls eventually come to realize that laws aimed at implements are never going to accomplish what countless laws dating back to Hammerabi have failed to do. Seriously folks, if we were doctors and this was our treatment plan, the patient would be long dead and we'd be rightfully called quacks. We can't make the world "dangerous people proof" by taking away whatever might get in their hands. We need to identify and treat whatever causes them to have such thoughts in the first place.
on December 20,2012 | 05:35PM
Slow wrote:
Teachers need guns. School staff need guns. Hell, school kids need guns. It's really all about jobs. America makes the weapons and the ammo. Our economy and our country will be in a much better place if we make and distribute a to more big expensive guns, huge clips and high destruction ammunition.
on December 21,2012 | 06:53AM
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