April 20th will mark the 14th anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Two demented teenagers shot 12 of their peers and 1 adult coach to death and then, themselves. The young victims who died were between 15 and 18. Most were shot multiple times. It was a miracle more of the 24 who were injured didn’t die as well. There were student’s shot in the head that survived and many were shot repeatedly. Richard Castaldo, 17 at the time, was shot 8 times and remains paralyzed from the chest down to this day.
Columbine classmates Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold did it. Klebold and Harris were pathetic, rejected and vengeful school “outsiders.” Harris routinely saw a psychologist. He was known to be mentally disturbed. His autopsy revealed the presence of a prescribed anti-depressant drug, Luvox. With the laws being considered for passage now, he would never have been able to buy a gun. He didn’t buy a gun in 1999 either. Pals made straw purchases or he bought them on the street.
The pair had 10 round magazines, 13 of them. Current bills being considered for passage limit magazines to 10 rounds. Klebold and Harris used up 96 of a total of 130 rounds in their magazines. Law enforcement officials said they had enough arms and ammo to kill every student in Columbine.
There was a deputy sheriff on duty at the school at the time of the mayhem. There was an initial exchange of gunfire between 2 sheriff’s deputies and the perps in the school parking lot. The deputies missed as Harris and Klebold then fled into the school. A total of 6 deputies then stood outside cleaning their fingernails before a SWAT entry. It took SWAT at least 45 minutes to enter the school while a perimeter and logistics were figured out. All the while they couldn’t help but hear the hail of bullets and screams coming from inside Columbine.
According to the Denver Post reporting of the slaughter, it took the two teenagers 16 minutes to tear the student population to shreds. Law Enforcement arrived over a period of 3 hours and 14 minutes. SWAT didn’t enter the building until shortly after the carnage was over. It was a keystone cops response of ineptness, fear and stupidity.
The adult victim lay bleeding to death for the well over the two-hour span it took for SWAT to ‘secure’ the inside of the school. So, in the case of Columbine, you had all sorts of firepower. To no avail. Another question might be, “Who would shoot at whom?” A student holding a cell phone at the wrong angle could have been blown to smithereens, by SWAT or, as Wayne LaPierre would say, “Good guys with guns.”
It was December 14 of last year that Adam Lanza, at 20 a slightly older version of Harris and Klebold, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 6 adults and 20 very young children and like Harris and Klebold, committed suicide. He had earlier killed his mother. Lanza was diagnosed with Aspergers, a form of autism not associated with violence. He was also diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), a condition that over- stimulates the subject to pain and touching. Some incident could well have triggered Lanza’s shooting spree. He was often described as being in his “own little world.” It’s almost certain he would never be allowed to purchase a firearm under restrictive definitions of mental illness but he didn’t have to. He had easy home access to the weapons he used in the killings.
Back on June 20, 2012, James Holmes killed 12 patrons and injured 70 more in an Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater. His mental challenges were not only well known, but his psychiatrist actually warned campus police that Holmes was dangerous and homicidal. So yeah, identify the mentally ill. Then what? Were Wayne LaPierre and the Nutional Rifle Association going to station an armed guard in Holmes’ living room?
You can station small army’s in and around schools. You can publicly shoulder bazookas or secret mighty semi-autos inside your coat. So what? And the idea that if somebody passes a background check, they’re just harmless little pussycats isn’t born out by the facts. Background checks do help mitigate some of the damage but they’re not end all, be all’s. Domestic abusers pass background checks all the time. Thinkprogress points out that if you give these scumbags access to guns, they’re 7 times more likely to kill their partners. That brings me to another Thinkprogress stat; 90% of female homicide victims are killed by someone they know.
As for eliminating gun ownership for the mentally ill, the feds and 44 states already have such laws on the books ranging from having been institutionalized in a mental hospital (ever in some cases) or a drug or alcohol rehab center.
The federal law forbids selling arms and ammo to any a person “Who has been adjudicated as a mental defective (hate that term) or has been committed to any mental institution.” State laws vary widely and as LaPierre gently put it to NBC, “We have no national database of these lunatics.” If there were such a database, would LaPierre be included? Just asking!
One unalterable fact colors the gun argument. Fewer guns; fewer deaths. When there are national buybacks and the sale of more types of guns is banned, gun deaths go down. Dramatically. As said many times before on this site, the NRA, gun manufacturers and radical red state politicians won’t allow fewer guns to happen. Ever. They can’t care about the deaths of children or they’d do something.
No meaningful Republican initiatives have been born of Sandy Hook. None! It’s the Democrats who have initiated any movements toward reasonable gun laws. As I’ve often stated, most women hate guns. They can’t express their feelings openly (on TV, in Letters to the Editor or at the dinner table) because of the Neanderthals sharing their beds. But these Alley Oops can’t see how the wife or girlfriend votes.
There’s your answer to the gun crisis.
Addendum: Sad closing note. Pastor Rick Warren’s 27-year-old son Matthew committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his home Friday morning.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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