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Monday, December 17, 2012

Should We Ban (Insert Topic Here)?

English: Group of children in a primary school...
 Group of children in a primary school in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
          Again I am postponing something I had intended to put up today in lieu of something of more pressing topicality.  Essentially in this post I will not be exploring anything in depth, I am merely going to be tossing out some ideas for your consideration.  Some (or perhaps all) of these subjects will return for my more in depth examination in future blog posts.   I invite you to say what's on your mind in the comments for this post and your thoughts might help me frame my future posts.

The Current Topic

          Did you hear about the horrific attack on school children that occurred last Friday?  No, I'm not talking about the deplorable event in Connecticut.  The one I'm referring to mostly got lost in that news.  This attack involved a madman in China who slashed 22 children and one adult with a knife.  According to the last report I heard they all survived.  Similar attacks in that country in 2010 and 2011 left 21 dead and 90 or so wounded.

           Since the debate on banning guns or greatly limiting availability of these weapons has resurfaced (if it ever was silenced), I think it's worth looking at the sad events in China.  For me it puts to question the fervor for banning guns.   But this will be my topic for another day.  Today you can make it yours.

           Or, taking into consideration that we still don't know everything about Adam Lanza and the facts that might offer some kind of an explanation of why he did what he did, with what we do know, what are some other things we might want to consider banning or enforcing better?

What About These?

           Should we ban violent video games?   Violence in movies and TV shows?

           Should we ban divorce?  Or at least make it very difficult to get one?

           Should we make it far more difficult to get married?   To have children?

           Do children need to go through more rigorous psychological assessments to make sure they aren't potentially dangerous or destructive?

           Do parents need to undergo training to raise children properly and be aware of maladjustment?

           Do we need "parenting police" to make sure kids are being raised right?

           Should kids who act "weird" or different be reported so authorities can watch them more closely?

           Should we ban certain kinds of foods and food additives that may have an adverse effect on development or behavior?

           Like I said at the beginning, right now I'm just tossing out for your consideration some other things we might want to look at that may contribute to tragedies such as the Connecticut shootings.  Usually the most obvious thing is what the public, the politicians, and the media focus on.  Let's consider all the possible roots of the problem before we get too hasty in jumping to conclusions about what we need to do to prevent these sorts of  tragedies.

           What do you think?   How much government control do we need?   How much control do we want?


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  1. Tough decisions. We don't need more government control though. Too much of that already. Too many chemicals and stimuli? Likely. Too much disconnect? That's very likely. Think people are forgetting how to interact and deal with one another on several levels.

  2. I agree with Alex. Gun control only takes guns away from the good guys. What if the principal and two or three others in that school had had a weapon available to them? I understand that there cannot be weapons in classrooms but we are to the place in our culture where people are going to have to be prepared to defend themselves and those in their care. With our government this gun control thing would only be the beginning. It would gradually be expanded to include more and more classes of weapons until the citizenry was disarmed which would play right into the hands of a government that wants more and more control and that's what we face.

  3. Hi Lee - a range of topics here .. all exceedingly challenging.

    Personally we need to change our societies .. so there is no reverence anywhere to any bully, potential murderer, or cruelty ...

    Somehow the accountability of some humans has been swept away - we need to be more empathetic to people with troubles, while accepting our role as responsible human beings at all times ...

    Set examples all the time, each and every day ... and not be selfish ..
    A tall order ...

    Such a thoughtful post ... that will get us thinking ... Hilary

  4. On the other hand, if the guy in China had had a gun, those kids would probably all be dead, not just injured.

  5. So much tragedy and sadness in the world. and so many difficult, difficult questions.

    I was at a seminar a while back where the presenter showed MRIs of kids' brains - and the effects of too much time on violent video games. Chilling. Terrifying. I don't know if that relates at all to any of these tragedies, but it's something I hope we can change. Kids should be able to grow up safely.

  6. I first heard about the Chinese stabbing from a post on Facebook from New Zealand. I went and checked it out. I shared it with people, but I don't know if anyone really paid attention.
    I do believe a lot of problems are caused by things added to our foods and drinks including tap water. Too many things are classified as Generally Recognized As Safe, but it's not good for anyone. It all affects the way our minds and bodies work.
    Since the USDA, EPA, and FDA are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of the people, they really need to start doing their job.
    Too much time in front of the TV or video games or cell phones causes an over stimulation of the brain. That part is up to the parents.

  7. Great posting Lee! I don't think we need more government in our lives, they are choking us all now. Instead of government wasting money on zombie drills, the money could be better spent on figuring out why so many children in this country have Autism now. On gun control I feel criminals and the mentally ill aren't supposed to have guns, haven't stopped them yet. A ban will only mean responsible can't get. This will not stop criminals or even the mentally ill from getting them. Knives kill too, should we all lose the right to have one in our kitchen? Fire kills ppl too, should we all not be allowed to have matches or a lighter? Drunk drivers kill, should we all have our cars taken away?
    I remember the days when everything was blamed on dungeons and dragons, now it is video games. Children today see so much violence in their homes and in their neighborhoods. Anyway don't want my comment to be a posting. Great post and Happy Monday!

  8. I'm not a proponent for more government in our lives. I am proponent of limiting violence in our games, TV and movies, but that's really a parent's responsibility. So how do we make people better parents is the question.

    I wish I had some answers, but you've asked some excellent questions that might lead us in the right direction.

    Certainly, parents, teachers and friends should be more aware of behavior that indicates a person needs help. Suicide prevention is based on encouraging people to notice and report when they see specific signs that someone is thinking about taking their own life.

    Thank you for your post. It opens a dialog that needs to happen.

  9. I actually think things will be a lot easier if potential gun owners have to be psycho-evaluated first.

    Not a ban, but then at least people have a clue about whether or not the person wanting to do the buying should in fact be allowed to own a gun.

    But I also have to say I agree with Alex. A lot of this seems to be happening because people don't seem to remember how to connect with others and feel empathy for them. No amount of government intervention will correct that.

  10. i have no societal answers--only my faith gets me through---this post was much appreciated<3

  11. Alex-- The answers aren't simple and the solution might not only be difficult, but virtually impossible.

    Downsizer- History has already shown us the result of too much government control. What are we willing to sacrifice?

    Hilary -- Accountability is the big word in your response. Few people want to accept responsibility for actions and thoughts and want to place the blame elsewhere. It's a sad trend in modern society and the effects are bringing us down.

    Trisha -- That is true, but it's also true that if he had constructed a massive homemade bomb or driven a large vehicle through a crowd the damage could have been worse than a guy with a gun. People who are set on killing can find many ways to do so.

    Jemi -- I read about a similar or perhaps the same study the other day. I can't help but think that at least certain minds will be affected by watching and fantasizing about violent behavior.

    Ruth-- there are a lot of potentially scary things that may be having a bigger influence on us and our children than we realize.

    Gossip Girl -- The first controls could set government control out of control. Ban one thing, but why stop there?

    C.Lee-- Which violence do you ban? Films like Saving Private Ryan send a strong message through the depiction of violence. And what about the news? The real world is more violent than the fictional world, but do we stop being aware of what is really going on? So many questions, but not enough answers.

    Misha -- Psychological evaluation can be a tough area to delve into. And when it comes to screening it might not necessarily provide all the necessary data. Background checks can be useful. Figuring out who should own weapons might be a start, but probably not a foolproof solution.


  12. Blaming or banning movies and video games is a useless idea, and it always crops up. In the '50s, people blamed comic books for bad behavior. Before that, it was radio shows. In the Victorian era, nursery rhymes.

  13. I really don't think it is a matter of banning anything - it is mental health issue first and foremost.

  14. I hadn't heard about the attacks in China which definitely do give us something to think about considering their gun prohibition. This is where I get confused, there are so many other different factors that influenced Adam Lanza to perform the events that happened in Newtown, factors that are simply more than that he was just in possession of a gun. But then people will argue a lack of guns will make it less likely and that that as well is true which is why it confuses me even more. All I know is that it was a vile and unspeakable tragedy and people need to look into things because these attacks cannot continue forever, too many people are dying and America and the world in general are going to be driven into action based on the pure repulsion from what's happened already.

  15. I believe, based on the preponderance of verifiable evidence, that we don't need more government interference, we need less, much less. No one, no matter how lofty their seat of power, has the knowledge to make every decision for us. We need to make our own decisions and take responsibility for them. The corollary to that is that we must hold people responsible for their decisions and the actions they take based on them. You may argue with these assertions all you like, and I'm sure that many will. However, their arguments are based on feelings and a sense of fairness. But, who is to decide what is "fair"? Whose "feelings" are more relevant than mine in my life? Fact: The jurisdictions with the highest crime rates, especially crimes involving the use of firearms, have the toughest gun regulations. How will making them tougher help. Fact: The recent tragedy inspired Senator Diane Feinstien to advocate a reapplication of the ban on assault weapons. What led her to that conclusion? Assault weapons weren't used in this instance. Assumption: Those who hate/fear guns use tragedies and their victims to further their political agenda regardless of the fact that their motivations are based in fear not reality. Fact: Hundreds of children die every week, most by gunshot wounds inflicted by youth gang violence. Why do we only hear these protestations when "good" children are victimized?

  16. Here's what I know:
    A guy in China attacked a bunch of school kids and wounded 20 (or so) of them. They all lived.
    A guy in Conn attacked 20 kids with an assault rifle and they are all dead.

    Sure, getting rid of guns might not stop the crazy people, but, you know what? It might stop the deaths.

    Which is not to say that I'm for the banning of "guns," but I think I am for the banning of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. There's no reason for the average person to own a weapon like that. None.

    As for what to do about the line between freedom and security, I don't know. I am reluctant to exchange freedom for security, BUT freedom should not include the freedom to inflict harm upon others.

  17. There are so many questions here that I can't begin to answer. Each one is a matter for serious discussion and thought. Banning things only pushes them underground half the time - it's the culture of indifferent acceptance that needs a rethink.

  18. As my mom says, "You can't legislate evil." In other words, if you take a gun away from a man, he will use a knife. If you take away the knife, he will use a bat. You take away the bat, he will use a sharp stick. Take away the stick, he will use a rock.

    As for your points about banning other things to try and straighten out the world... the government will never be the medium to dictate right and wrong. If you need the government to do that for you, you really are in a world of hurt. Banning only takes away from our freedoms. The 1st Amendment is in place to keep them. Our mind is in place to dictate what is acceptable and what isn't. I think we are seeing the loss of the latter... people have stopped using their minds and have started expecting the Government to do their thinking for them. That does lead to trouble.

  19. Hey Lee, I heard about the attacks on children in China, and the major difference between that and what happened in Newtown is that all the Chinese children are still alive. All the children that were attacked in Newtown are dead. I don't think anyone, anywhere needs to have an assault rifle...or even a handgun for that matter. Sure, people can be killed with a knife, but it's 'easier' for a lunatic to kill a bunch of people with a gun...with a gun they can stand at a distance and shoot...a knife involves getting up close and personal to the a foreigner, it seems to me that America has a culture of violence...I don't know the exact statistic, but the figure for the people killed each year by guns in America is astronomical when compared to other developed nations..I do think that Americans have access to guns that is beyond what anyone else, in any other nation, has. Sure this guy who slaughtered these children in Newtown was deranged, but if he didn't have such easy access to guns, I'll bet that those 20 children would still be alive...I just cannot even imagine the pain that those parents are feeling.

  20. The slippery slope argument! :) I'm not sure I believe regulations in one area necessarily lead to regulations across the board. I do think that as our society grows ever-larger and resources become more unevenly distributed these kinds of tragedy will continue apace.

  21. I agree with Downsizers. I don't want a gun, but I don't want my government telling me I can't have one either. The more regulations, the more control they gain. And that is a really scary thought. Remember, this is the government that removed the Ten Commandments from schools because, God forbid, someone would actually follow them.

  22. I guess I have one question about banning guns. Do violent crimes usually occur using a gun purchased the legitimate way, or buy stealing or illegally obtaining one?

    One other question, what is happening to our world?

  23. Kelly -- I would agree with you. The blame has to be directed more to individuals. The question there is what triggers an individual to do such a thing?

    Tami -- Yes, and that is related to my previous response to Kelly.

    Yeamie-- Yes, and the roots of the problem don't come down to any one solution. It's a complex issue.

    Jack -- You have no disagreement from me. I think you have pointed in the right directions where many of the sources of the problem come from.

    Andrew -- If we look at the reasoning behind the 2nd Amendment the assault weapons and more might be a logical interpretation. More security may not necessarily result in greater safety. Freedom is an essential part of what our nation is founded on.

    Lizy -- The sheer number of questions involved is why there is not one easy solution. I will probably address all of the questions I've posed here and more in future posts--issue at a time.

    Robin -- I think you have addressed the crux of the issues I've posed.

    Eve -- A gun will kill more people than a knife, but a bomb can kill far more people than 10 people with guns. Remember Oklahoma City. Pure evil can sometimes inspire totally demented genius.

    Johanna -- A secular society may not be able to find the total solution without taking away freedom.

    L. Diane -- I think you are getting closer to what I think the real solution might be.

    Ciara -- I think if we restrict or take away guns it will mostly affect the people who play by the rules. And even without guns the bad guys will still find a way to create havoc and intimidation.


  24. Lee-

    I spent more than thirty years in Philadelphia where a permit to carry a gun was hard to come by, and another twenty in Arizona where a gun rack is standard equipment on all cars.

    I've not felt that either legal scenario really makes one safer.

    Truth be told-our society has simply become more violent over my lifetime.

    I doubt the reason for that is availability of guns.

    Is it video games? Movie content?

    Alan Keyes out forth a theory some fifteen years ago, that our decline comes from putting the self first.

    We do not have a gun problem.

    We do not have a money problem.

    We have a moral problem.

    I am far from a preaching man, but we have swung the pendulum so far to the left that we have raised a generation with no concept of the value of life.

    With apologies to non-Christians, teaching Christian morality in schools was better than teaching no morality at all.

    Be careful what you wish for, America. Stephen T. McCarthy once told me that step 1 in stripping away ALL freedom is disarming the people.

    But I am sure as long as we are fed iPads, iPods and a steady diet of "Glee" and "The Voice," Americans will continue accept a curtailment of their freedom and way of life that is FAR WORSE than those we thought worth fighting a revolution for in 1776.

    Go back to sleep America-your government is in control!


  25. Lee you certainly threw enough chum in the water to get a frenzy of activity. I have opinions on probably all your topics but for the sake of brevity I will not attempt all of them today. I however look forward to your posts on any of those subject and may choose a couple to post about in the near future.

    Yes, I did hear almost equally about the NewTown and China attacks. And we can just stop the gun control talk with this statement: If guns hadn't been available he could have just bombed the building, malatov cocktailed the classrooms, etc. There are much more effective ways to create mass death. And the knives in China clearly demonstrate guns are not necessary. So just stop with all the "ban guns" talk. I mean really limiting a magazine to just 10 shots instead of 13 or 15...who are we kidding. The problem here lies much deeper. Suffice to say this kid would have found another way to accomplish his end. After all he started with his mother.

    And speaking to your point on additives in food...absolutely. You read my FDA post so you have a pretty good idea where I stand on this entire genre of a subject.

    Your mention of violent videos games is interesting in light of a recent episode of Criminal Minds I saw. In this one 2 young guys kidnap an entire bus of high school kids to cull out 10 they intend to use in a real life first-person shooter "video" game. I like the show Criminal Minds but I sometimes wonder if these type episodes give creative thoughts to people in our society already at the tipping point. More so than the video game itself.

    Look forward to seeing you Friday.

  26. Larry -- You're there! Those are some of the answers I was looking for. I don't think our government, our media, or most of our populace will ever admit to the truth of this. I have no reason to believe it as much as I would like to believe it.

    Chuck - You are so right. There are so many more effective ways to kill a lot of people faster than the fastest firing guns ever could. 9/11 proved that. An imaginative psycho or most run of the mill creative writers can think of many ways to commit mass murder and mayhem, often with items easily obtainable by anyone. Writers of fiction may want to consider this when they write violent material.


  27. You CANNOT legislate morality. That's been said several different ways here. It's especially true when those who are the 'law makers' don't have the least degree of morality about them. The only place where more control needs to be taken, is in taking it AWAY from the devils who have been in charge for too long now.

  28. This was a terrible thing to happen and in a school of all places where parents think their children should be safe.
    Some people I suppose think they need to own a gun for the safety of their families, but there is always someone whose mind is not capable to fully understand how dangerous these weapons are. Here in the UK some time back a man went on the rampage in The Lake District just killing anyone he saw before shooting himself. It's a sad, mad world we live in times like these.


  29. Should we ban hand guns,cars, knives, baseball bats, fists, crossbows, rocks, or anything that might be viewed as a weapon? Of course not. Any of these objects can be lethal, in the hands of a sick person.
    In view of what has taken place in our schools, why have we not placed armed individuals in such areas as these? An armed person would not have let that madman enter that Elementary school.
    Guns in the wrong hands do kill. Upright citizens of sound minds act accordingly.
    Another area we need to address is the fact that, too many emotiononally sick people are walking the streets these days unmonitored. Why aren't they hospitalized in mental institutions?
    The government should concentrate in this area instead of more useless gun control laws, which have not been effective.
    God bless the city of Newtown, and their residents. These slain children should never be forgotten. America's heart has been broken.

  30. Faraway eyes -- You said what many of us have thought.

    Yvonne-- There have always been evil people in this world and we cannot legislate them into goodness.

    Dr. Johnny-- You have touched upon some of the things I will probably be dealing with in the future. Well said, my friend.


  31. Much easier and quicker to go out and buy a gun and a bunch of bullets than it is to figure out how to make your own bomb. Seriously.

    I will never understand this gun-loving culture, but then that's natural 'cause I come from a different kind of culture.

  32. Trisha -- This world can be a very ugly place. I'm no fan of guns. I've never owned on and only once have I fired one, in my younger days, some 40 years ago. I do, however, understand the reasoning behind the 2nd Amendment and the deadly force of oppressive powers, whether governments or gangland thugs. I'll be posting on this topic in a future post.
    Thanks for stopping back by.


  33. People that really want to kill can always come up with ways to do that; however, many people that don't really want to kill, do, and they only do it because they are angry and have a gun handy. That is just the sad truth.
    Also, bombs are illegal. How many deaths by bomb have we had in the USA in the last year?
    Falling back on people can always come up with a way to kill someone else is a lousy excuse to allow continued gun violence.

  34. Andrew -- I think our society, and the world for that matter, is filled with angry people who don't know how to address that anger. It probably wouldn't hurt to work on our societal ills.


  35. Well, that's certainly true; however, those aren't easy fixes, and our current mode of dealing with that stuff is drug people, which doesn't fix anything; it just buries it.

    Making it more difficult for people to own guns is certainly a step toward ending unnecessary deaths until we all become enlightened.

  36. These facts are a little old but...
    In 2003, an average of 6 children a day (in the US) died from car accidents.
    Cars accidents are the leading cause of death of children.
    Ban cars!!!

    I'm sorry if I sound flippant but there is no answer - bad things happen to good people. People need to continue to override evil with goodness.

  37. Andrew -- I'm not a big proponent of psychotropic meds. I don't know a huge amount about them, but I think you're right that they just cover up the problem.

    Moondust -- I believe you are right. Stuff happens and people die all the time. Life goes on. We need to strive for the goodness, but we need as many people on the same page as possible to make it all work.


  38. You definitely raised a lot of very interesting questions. I like how you did it, too; thought provoking, but not in a way to incite arguing.

    I don't think we need more government regulations for the most part. People eventually have to assume some responsibility for their own actions, without the government acting as a nanny.

    I think you may be on to something in asking if we should make it harder to have children, or if parents should have to undergo some training. I think the answers to that are YES and probably. The ability to reproduce doesn't mean it's a good idea for a person to.

    You have to take a test to prove you can drive, you have to have a criminal background check for a concealed weapons permit (at least in my home state), but NOTHING other than the ability to conceive or impregnate to produce and raise a child, which you will then send out into the world with any and all baggage, issues, problems, etc you created, caused, allowed to flourish, etc. That scares me a little.

    Again, very interesting questions.

  39. Danielle - Thanks for letting yourself be known to me. I do plan to address all of these issues in future posts. So many people are fixated on the gun control issue and I think they are missing the possible root causes behind the shooting problems. I don't think we should stop at what seems to be the glaring solution and not take into account what's really happening. Be watching for more and please continue dropping by.


  40. Lee,
    I am enjoying perusing your blog as I am visiting the A to Z blog sponsors. Seems like the Lord has blessed your brainstorm of a few years ago. I like your style and your ticklers. Can't help but want to come back. Still considering whether to join the A to Z challenge. It looks like fun and not to difficult, but with the admonitions with which it begins, I wonder if I am missing something. Anyway. This is the introduction you asked of new followers. I can be visited at: I can't wait to see what you are tossing out. I'm grateful that I visited. God bless, Maria


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