Barbara Boxer

Shame On Us If Newtown Panic Leads To Unwise Gun Laws

Most "solutions" wouldn't make us any safer but would make us less free.


On Thursday, flanked by mothers of shooting victims, President Obama sought to evoke the terror and revulsion Americans felt in the aftershock of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

"We need everybody to remember how we felt a hundred days ago," he said when images of the carnage—six adults and 20 children dead—were painfully fresh in our minds.

Fear and loathing were appropriate reactions to the Newtown atrocity, but they make for a spectacularly lousy mindset for evaluating legislation. Given some of the destructive proposals Congress has entertained post-Newtown, it's good that we've got a little distance on the horror and can bring sober judgment to bear.

Toward that end, it's important to remember that the neighborhood school is one of the safest places your child can be. One estimate, published in the journal Educational Researcher ("What Can Be Done About School Shootings?" January 2010), is that any given school in the United States can expect a school shooting every 6,000 years. But because these incidents are so rare they're also hard to predict and prevent.

Even supporters of the president's gun control package all but concede that universal background checks wouldn't have seriously inconvenienced accused killer Adam Lanza. California Deomocratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's dead-in-the-water assault weapons ban would have deprived him of the Bushmaster rifle he used but not the Glock and SIG Sauer handguns he also had.

On Thursday, Obama warned of "powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running [out the] clock," hoping "people will just forget about it."

Was the president referring to the National Rifle Association? Has he listened to Wayne LaPierre lately? The NRA head opposes new gun laws, but he's otherwise been the president's partner in panic, breathlessly demanding an "armed good guy" in every school—a federally funded expansion of "America's police force."

Actually, America doesn't have a police force, though LaPierre seems willing to abandon the 10th Amendment to save the Second. If you wanted to spend more than $5 billion to hire 100,000 new cops, it would be silly to put them in schools, where only about 2 percent of youth homicides occur.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had the properly conservative reaction to LaPierre's idea: "You don't want to make [school] an armed camp for kids."

As the Educational Researcher study notes, public fear in the wake of Columbine and other school shootings in the 1990s gave us "active shooter" drills and a proposal for "Kevlar-coated textbooks" that kids could use as shields.

The authors warn that "exaggerated perceptions of risk" spur "ineffective policies such as zero tolerance that do little to create a sustainably safe and secure learning environment."

Stories from around the country indicate that many schools are again needlessly frightening students by making them rehearse responses to mass murder, and zero tolerance is on the rise again.

A Colorado second-grader was recently suspended for "throwing" an imaginary hand grenade, and a Maryland 6-year-old got tossed for pointing his finger like a gun.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) seems bent on making the problem worse with a bill for federal funding of "surveillance equipment, secured entrances and other important safety measures" at schools and another bill that would encourage governors to call out the National Guard to protect schools.

"Shame on us if we've forgotten" the victims of Newtown, the president intoned Thursday. Fair enough—but shame on us as well if we allow Newtown to spur a legislative panic that leaves us no safer and considerably less free.

This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner.

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  1. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

    —Rahm Emmanuel, Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff

    1. Translation:

      If dead children aren’t there to exploit for partisan political purposes, then what are they for?

      1. If dead children aren’t there to exploit for partisan political purposes, then what are they for?

        It’s why they call him the “Murder Mayor”.

      2. “If dead children aren’t there to exploit for partisan political purposes, then what are they for?

        Finding the clicker/remote, getting you a cold beer from the fridge, and doing the dishes…Ooooh, *dead* ones… Well, I dunno..

    2. Mother of god. How does someone say that in front of a camera? And how does the media not make a gigantic stink about it?

      1. That magical “D” after his name. It has the amazing ability to transform “journalists” into boot-licking sycophants.

    3. Damn straight. I don’t think libertarians are stupid enough to believe that liberal gun grabbers care whether their policies actually work or not. But I’m finding it hard to disagree with what Anne Coulter was saying about libertarians. The time for political posturing is over. The time for talk is just about over too.


    Connecticut goes full retard.

    1. This is what bipartisanship looks like.

      1. Yes. If there is anything more useless than a NE Republican, I am unaware of its existence.

        1. A California Republican?

    2. Lawmakers also agreed to create a so-called eligibility certificate, where legitimate gun owners would submit to fingerprinting

      Awesome job making gun owners feel like a persecuted minority. I’m sure that won’t cause a rise in illegal arms purchases or anything.

      1. I’m sure that won’t cause a rise in illegal arms purchases or anything.

        There is no such thing as unintended consequences. It’s all a meme thrusted upon you by Rush Limbaugh.


        1. And they have no plans of ceasing any guns. They just want to register every gun owner for their own good or something.

          1. I’m surprised they didn’t make all gun owners wear a gps collar at all times, you know, for the children.

      2. That’s a feature, not a bug, RN. The more gun owners who are criminals (even for technical violations), the more the hysterics can paint gun owners as an inherently criminal class, which leads to (fill in the blank).

        1. What Tonio said.

        2. They managed to marginize smokers. Should be easy for gun owners. They’re most of the way there already.

          1. I think it will be a lot harder to do to gun owners. For one thing, a lot more people own or use guns than smoked when all the bans started. And people who own guns pretty universally wholeheartedly want to own guns, which is much less true for smoking. Smokers know that smoking is bad for you. Gun owners know that owning guns is not and there are lots of single issue gun rights voters.

        3. the more the hysterics can paint gun owners as an inherently criminal class, which leads to (fill in the blank).

          It leads to bird doodie, of course.

          1. what a flash back! Nice one Ted S.

    3. “We raised and considered every issue from every angle, and that has produced a comprehensive, broad, bipartisan package that deals with mental health, it deals with school security, and it deals with gun violence,” McKinney said.

      EVERY ISSUE, John! They considered EVERY. ISSUE. from EVERY. ANGLE.


      So why do you want more childrenz to be killed and their blood to run in rivers down the ROADZ!!1?

      1. Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ia ia Shub Niggurath!

        1. Google Translator can’t detect a language.

          1. At least not one that’s spoken aloud in over 10,000 years.

        2. The bullet ridden body of Cthulhu was found in his suite in the sub-basement of The Carlyle this morning , the apparent victim of a dawn raid by 1,000 goats with Uzis.

      2. So how much would you like to bet questions about mental health privacy are met with dead silence by the likes of McKinney and co?

    4. This is disappointing in the extreme. CT used to be pretty damn good about guns, especially in relation to what surrounded it: NY, NJ, MA, RI. I hope it fails, but it won’t. So I hope it gets challenged in court.

    5. Should not the state do the honorable thing and succeed from the union before they take the big dump on the Constitution that supposedly holds it together first?

  3. Toward that end, it’s important to remember that the neighborhood school is one of the safest places your child can be.

    Unless you take the “education” they receive in to account.

    1. And since when is that true? Mostly school has always been a place to get in trouble with teachers or get picked on by bullies. I hated going to school as a kid.

      1. Agreed.

        I had drunk teachers. Physically abusive teachers. Verbally abusive teachers. Teachers who would punish just to “teach a lesson.” I too hated school, and it was because of school I never realized how important getting an education was until late in college.

        1. yeah, and we should totally arm those teachers… that’ll stop another newtown… said no one ever.

      2. I loved school – right through college. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.

        Mostly for teh recesses…

        1. Don’t forget the juice boxes and the animal crackers.

        2. Yeah, school was pretty good. Nothing to worry about, all your friends in one place, recess. I’m against government schools on principle, but my experience in school was really pretty good.

  4. If my daughter is a victim in the next mass shooting, and there will be a next one, I’m going liberal hunting.

  5. Healy, could we have a proper link to that illustration of vaguely pistol-shaped things that can get one kicked out of public schools. Alt-text would be nice, too, but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. Live the dream, my man!…..hotostream


      Finding that was a lot rougher than I would have thought. Google didn’t want to admit “freedomnw” existed, first changing it to “freedom now,” and then when I corrected it back it searched for “freedom now” anyway.

    3. Thanks, Bro, but still hoping for Healy to correct this. Makes his post look better, and gives readers easier access to the graphic.

    4. Thank you for your support in this always important endeavor!

      /The Society for the Promotion of Alt-Text

      [See our President Auric D on Hit & Run! LTC(ret) John, VP for H&R commentary]

    5. They need to do that coexist thing in firearms.

    6. Can a caulk gun really get you in trouble at a school? Next they’ll be complaining about how we need to build new schools because the old ones are too drafty and there’s no other way to fix the problem…

      1. Can a caulk gun really get you in trouble at a school?


        1. And it sounds like “cock” so it’s sexist too.

  6. “proposal for “Kevlar-coated textbooks” that kids could use as shields.”

    Heh. The first thing the kids would do is grab the closest gun and try shooting their textbooks to see if the Kevlar really works.

    1. That would make the books really fricking heavy. But books are already decent bullet-stops, at least for .22 LR. We used to use phone books and Sears catalogs as backstops when I was a kid.

      1. Any textbook of any size at all (virtually all of them from junior high onwards) will stop a 45 ACP too.

        Tested by the late teen me, in my neighbor’s studio. In his house. In suburbia.

        1. The Box of Truth‘s take on the subject.

          I thought you were full of it when I read your claim, but his test seems to confirm it, depending on whether 4.5 inches would go through your book or not.

    2. Why not ceramic plate school uniforms?

      1. could you imagine all the kiddies out on recess climbing the jungle gym wearing miniature Modulate Tactical Vests and Kevlar helmets?

      2. “I wonder what will happen if we run into stuff?”

  7. Need I again link the CNN videos of hosts crying about how gun laws would have saved the kids of Sandy Hook? Liberals are all about emotional appeal, so of course they think its a shame that clearer heads are now looking at most gun control measures.

    1. Apparently, it’s their lack of a delta brainwave, and the spectacular inefficiency of the snarled clusterfuck of other brain waves cobbled together to produce a mind capable of feigning empathy, yet barely capable of remembering to breath, swallow, or produce lucid thought… Their thoughts get mugged and murdered whilst strolling from “cause” down the road to “effect”

  8. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten” the victims of Newtown, the president intoned Thursday. Fair enough?but shame on us as well if we allow Newtown to spur a legislative panic that leaves us no safer and considerably less free.

    “[…]and considerably less free.” — That’s the point.

  9. The geometry teachers’ unionion is in for it– if pictures of targets are outlawed, only criminals will draw circles .

  10. Given some of the destructive proposals Congress has entertained post-Newtown, it’s good that we’ve got a little distance on the horror and can bring sober judgment to bear.

    Sure, but no thanks to the president or the mainstream media. Both keep parroting the necessity to curb gun ownership as a means to stop “gun violence” despite the fact that their schemes failed to achieve that goal.

    1. Every morning on Morning Joe.

  11. NEWSFLASH: Not every problem can be solved with a new law.

    I know Soccer Moms tend to have sub-triple-digit IQs but surely we can get them to look away from The Today Show for long enough to imbibe this vital lesson? Oh, who am I kidding…

    1. Simple. Take them shooting.

  12. Yet this administration doesn’t want us to see or even talk about the consequences of drone strikes that make terrorists out of bereaved parents.

  13. “flanked by mothers of shooting victims, President Obama”

    Fuck your appeal to emotion you fucking piece of shit.

    1. Why do you hate teh childrunz?!?!!11!1!

    2. When logic has a well known bias against your ideology, emotion is what you appeal to.

  14. Shame on us? US? You make it seem like we’re the ones creating these laws.

    We’re not the ones creating the laws. We’re the ones subjected to them. The only shame I feel is that we still have people that continue the myth that “we can vote so it’s our fault”.

    It’s not our fault. Government does this TO us, not FOR us.

    Shame on us if we allow Newtown spurring them to legislate in panic?

    How in fuck do you propose we stop them?

    1. It is our fault. We keep electing them and voting for them.

      How in fuck do you propose we stop them?

      We could fire them. If we wanted to. We don’t.

      1. We keep electing them and voting for them.

        I don’t and it keeps happening anyway.

        1. That’s why I said “we”.

          I don’t elect them either. But someone is.

          1. Maybe you should say “they” then.

            1. Agreed. Because I certainly am not a part of any contingent that voted for the fuckers we have in any branch of government.

  15. I’ll just leave this here:…..and-youth/

    Virtually every gun starts out as a legally manufactured product, but the
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) points to three common ways guns move from legal distribution channels to the criminal market:

    Corrupt federally licensed gun dealers: Federally licensed gun dealers send more guns to the criminal market than any other single source. Nearly 60% of the guns used in crime are traced back to a small number?just 1.2%?of crooked gun dealers. Corrupt dealers frequently have high numbers of missing guns, in many cases because they’re selling guns “off the books” to private sellers and criminals. In 2005, the ATF examined 3,083 gun dealers and found 12,274 “missing” firearms.

    There you have it. The majority of the problem of guns in the hands of criminals lies not with the buyers, but with a handful of crooked FFL holders.

    1. Yeah, right.

      If a dealer sells guns “off the books” he’s up for ten years in federal prison per gun. Plus ten more for selling to a prohibited person, per transaction. Plus other miscellaneous charges at 5 or 10 years per.

      If the above is anywhere near true, why aren’t the dealers in prison?

  16. “We need everybody to remember how we felt a hundred days ago,”

    Wonder how our king would feel about showing video of Americans jumping to their deaths from the burning WTC.

    Oh, that’s right, we quit showing those images within hours and haven’t shown them since. Wouldn’t want people to get all emotional so they’d be unable to make sound decisions.

    1. “”We need everybody to remember forget how we felt a hundred days ago about Benghazi, F and F,Solydra, Obamacare, LightSquared, Fisker, the AWB + DOMA(Clinton), Guantanamo not closing, -“Gas should be $10 a gallon”, sequester hype, etc…,”

      That sword cuts both ways..

      1. Watching our pols is like watching the world’s crappiest ever magicians perform. Their every move and attempt to deceive is easily detectable. It’d all be ridiculous to the point of amusing if it were not for so many of our fellow citizens being completely blown away by every trick.

    2. Wouldn’t want people to get all emotional so they’d be unable to make sound decisions.

      I’m not sure that was the goal in the wake of 911.

  17. Gene Healy is just an angry white man with a small penis. /left-tard talking point of the day spewer

    1. Sure sign they have lost the argument when the best they can come up with is: “well if you don’t support gun control it means you have a small penis!!!!!!!!!!”

      I’m sure that one will really convince people.

      1. No need to convince people if you believe you can seize their liberties without their consent.

        1. And if they’re the ones on the side of expanding the power of the state, then maybe there’s actually some projection going on here.

  18. All my lefty friends and family members were upset after 9/11 that Bush and the Republicans were manipulating the public by dredging up feelings of fear, anxiety and anguish. I heard passionate and philosophical objections to making decisions out of fear, and outright accusations that Republicans thrive on the irrationality of excessive emotions.

    1. Yet I bet those same friends and family members are quick to tell you how much you hate children for not acquiescing to any and all gun control efforts.

        1. 9/11 gave us the Patriot Act. Do we really want to repeat that?

  19. “Gun control is what you do instead of something”, as a man once said.

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  21. The lives of those dead kids in Newtown are NOT more important than MY freedom and liberty.

    In fact, MY freedom and liberty is MORE important than the lives of those kids.

  22. Shame on us if we don’t remember when the U.S. government kept thousands of AMERICANS of Japanese decent in camps during WW2. If we did remember, well we would just be ginning up fear about gubmint coming for us…but that never happens…

  23. what Lois answered I’m alarmed that you able to get paid $9299 in one month on the internet. did you read this web site

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