Newtown, Ct
  • A blinding tragedy, another mass shooting in the US. In retrospect, it seemed like Americans were just used to mass shootings. There had been a mall shooting several days before, there have been other events, in the days since, including in a hospital. It takes twenty dead kids to even open a discussion, it seems.

    I hope we decide on some rational guns laws. No combat rifles or extended mags would be a start. I don't know, gun nuts are already calling for armed teachers, so "rational" may be a pipe dream. I have multiple family members in teaching. They would all tell you the last thing they need in their cat-herding lives is a Glock to keep track of. Nobody is going to outlaw guns in America, but better regulation would be nice. This does not feel like a "well regulated militia" to me.

    It would be nice if we funded mental health better. Again, strange folks on the Internet are already blaming Prozac and MK Ultra and such, so this may be an uphill fight. There used to be one psychiatric bed for every three hundred Americans. We are currently at one per seven thousand. Schizophrenia runs at about one percent, for example, so illness is more common than most think. We don't know for sure here, but previous shootings have featured some remarkably ill men. There are parts of the country where you just have to wait for an ill person to end up in the prison system.

    Nothing can prevent all such tragedies. It would just be great if the US would stop ignoring how we lead the world in this grim undertaking. We could at least act to reduce the rate.
  • Kinda off topic but I thought I'd post this.

    [SPOILER]Here's a disturbing coincidence I saw another site. It's not a photoshop I assure, just a pretty odd coincidence.

    So easily the two biggest tragedies in america this year were the Colorado shooting during TDKR, and now sandy hook.

    If you look at this screencap of the blu ray version of the film.

    On the left of the cell phones on the map you can clearly see the words "Sandy Hook". A bit disturbing for the superstitious I guess. I don't know, just thought I'd share it.[/SPOILER]
  • It's gonna be like pulling teeth to change gun laws, I think there needs to be more mental health help. There was also an incident in china where a man stabbed 20 kids, if he wanted he could have killed them.
  • Actually, there have been multiple knifings in China, and the counts don't get as high, proving tools do matter. If we all could all own nukes, the world would have ended long ago.
  • I don't expect any change in gun laws, because no politicians outside of Bloomberg and a few others want them changed, and I expect no improvements to mental health care, because that would involve government spending. Neither of those are on the table from either party right now.

    Mental health care is hard. It's hard to diagnose, hard to heal. It's the second biggest life-quality drag in the world after poverty.

    The Pharmaceutical industry has made the decision to stop basically all psychiatric research this year. The companies saw no gain in it. Companies like Pfizer, Merck, and Novartis has basically shuttered their entire psychiatric research divisions. The US government has axed mental health care spending in recent years, as it was seen by many as unneeded. We now have a complete and total void from both the private and public sector in mental health care. Good luck straightening that out.

    I'd like to see some gun law reform because I think there is enough demand from public opinion now, but Republicans won't touch it and lose their base, and Democrats won't touch it and lose conservative independents. The NRA is one of the most powerful lobby groups in D.C. They throw a lot of money at a lot of people.

    One interesting statistic; the US, since Columbine, has had 25 school shootings. The rest of the world, combined, has had 11.
  • So, you expect a bunch of hand-wringing, and no meaningful change? Man, that is depressing. We have gun laws, you can't mount a Browning on your truck. We would just be making adjustments.

    We don't have to have new meds. Just some better screening for adolescent depression would help. Also, commitment standards in the US are much tougher than Europe. Merely being as crazy as the day is long does nothing.
  • westsw said:
    So, you expect a bunch of hand-wringing, and no meaningful change? Man, that is depressing. We have gun laws, you can't mount a Browning on your truck. We would just be making adjustments.

    I do. I think there is a perception from the Democrats that they will lose too many votes if they start talking guns. It's why Obama never really has. They know there's a potential to make strides in Congress in 2014, and the gun debate will die out in a few months. It's never been a top 5 subject for voters and it won't be as long as the economy is still as it is. We know the Republicans won't touch guns at all. Way too much support from gun owners and NRA money. There's no legislative willpower right now, except maybe on a state level.

    And we do need new meds and more research, we always do. Essentially every other area of disease in this country is getting private and public money; AIDS, cancer, heart disease, etc. From cures to detection and everything in between. Mental illness is not. It's a total vacuum at this point.

    Mental illness is right up there with poverty and a few other diseases as the most crippling conditions on the planet, yet when is it ever talked about it that light?

    Mental illness, is really, really hard to get a handle on. Depression is hardly a sign of violence, and therapy and psychiatry can find it hard to pin down. There are a limited number of ways to tell if someone will be violent. Most therapy sessions start out by simply asking a patient, particularly if they are a student, but that's easy enough to deflect. Unless there is a prior history of aggression, it's hard to know if someone will snap.
  • Violence in mental illness is actually rare. But if you don't treat much of it, you are waiting for bad outcomes. We could do more with our current technology. Not treating just leads to many psychotic folks going to prison, amongst other suffering, and that ain't cheap either.

    I just read the mother was a "prepper". We will see. That show usually features folks who would clearly like to kill at least one of their neighbors, so that worldview pushed onto an isolated, ill man... We will see. To soon to call.
  • People will no doubt say this is cold and blah blah blah but I have no sympathy at all for anyone in the US anymore. This has happened too many times now. Yes, it's a tragedy, but I think the real tragedy is that nothing ever changes over there. That in my opinion is far more abhorrent than lacking sympathy. People will tsk and cry and ask why God allows this to happen, then some moron from TV will flash a nipple and everyone forgets all about it until it happens again. And since the media makes stars out of these people- let's face it, how many of the victims names do you know? -they inadvertantly keep upping the ante by immortalising the killers and announcing a "score" for the next whack job to try beat. Michael Moore is probably already writing a movie script.

    So I expect nothing to change. I do think it's a tragedy, as they all have been, but I can't feel sorry for you guys anymore. It's a waste of emotion.
  • [youtube]PezlFNTGWv4[/youtube]
  • It has to be mentioned that, as a whole, the US has terrible gun violence and murder rates. While these events get all the media attention, everyday, 35-40 people are killed by guns, many in poor, inner-city neighborhoods that people don't care about. The US murder rate is 4.2 per 100,000, the same rate as Yemen and Turkmenistan. The closest fully developed country is Taiwan, at 3.2 per 100,000. For "normal" murders, mental illness not nearly as often the problem as it is with the spree shooters.

    Still, there was a good writeup by The Anarchist Soccer Mon, talking about her struggles with a mentally ill young boy:

    According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. ( Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

    When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

    I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (

    With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (

    No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

    Our health care is broken, and it's particularly broken regarding mental health care, which as I said earlier, is completely and totally removed in this country from consistent funding. The vast majority of private insurance does not cover mental health, so families are SOL regarding costs. Politicians and citizens alike slashed our mental hospitals and care facilities in the name of spending cuts, and look where it has gotten us.
  • Why don't they use fingerprint-operating tech or something similar on all new gun models? This would almost all but end impulse killings, and would also aid in identifying suspects or keeping it away from known psychopaths and mental patients, the underage or . The fingerprints can obviously still be swabbed and applied but it's much tougher to do. The technology is available and it should be considered despite being far away from cheap. (Of course you probably can't go out and retrofit older guns, just new models.)

    Some police officers and military personnel have guns with corresponding bracelets and won't fire unless within range of the bracelet. Something like that for the mass market would be good, but that wouldn't prevent legal gun owners who snap from going off on people, it won't stop someone from stealing the guns and the bracelet to go off on people, but impulse killings and massacres of this like through oh so easily accessed weapons can be cut down on even with this lesser tech.

    This wouldn't stop legal gun owners, but it'd be a decent start seeing as we can't just ban these from my fellow crazy ass constitution abusing Americans.
  • That kind of thing sounds great, but we have many steps before that. Just getting some of the most dangerous stuff off the street is going to take years. If we pull our heads out of our butts and realize combat rifles and extended mags are stupid toys that fpsrussia and nutnfancy use in male fantasy videos, that have no good application in actual civilian life; it will take a while to get this stuff back. I say just outlaw it and if people want to keep it and ignore the law, please to enjoy a sentence of 3 to 5. Buyback and amnesty programs could sprinkle through the years, but the line should be clear. We have enough data on mass shootings to know some of the tools that increase body counts. This same shit doesn't seem to do any good, except feed the egos of people about as dumb as Ted Nugent. It's not like bank robberies are foiled every week by citizens with AR-15s. The Red Dawn crowd needs to be told that grown ups don't like stacks of dead kids and this crap has got to go.

    If we can have better tech in the future, great. There was talk of just doing ballistics on every gun made some years back, just registering what bullets fired from it looked like, digitally. I don't know enough facts to really discuss that, but rational regulation would be a new tact in general. Again, nobody is going to outlaw guns in America. The crowd that states banning ARs and AKs and whatnot will lead to "duh gummit" taking over need to be treated like the tin-foil hat platoon that they are.
  • the only thing i have to say on this after reading everyone's posts is that this is an issue in the U.S. and it must be fixed and it will not be fixed by just changing mental healthcare and gun laws.
  • What solutions do you propose?
  • A lot of people are blaming violent video games now too, not just guns and mental instability. There was even a proposition to have a day of "cease fire" among those who play online shooter games as a sign of respect towards those who died. To me, that's a completely stupid idea. I understand having a moment of silence on your own time if you like but reacting to that sort of plea, I think it sets gamers up as tacitly admitting blame to an extent. Plus it all seems so....insincere. It doesn't do shit for the families or address any of the real issues while unintentionally making it seem like violent games had a role in it. You can bet video games will be thrown under the bus quicker and more efficiently than any lawmaker would dare touch gun regulation or mental health.
  • Huge swaths of schools in Michigan, including basically all of southeast and southwest Michigan, have closed due to end of the world rumours combined with threats of violence from various students.
  • GoodEnoughForMe said:
    Huge swaths of schools in Michigan, including basically all of southeast and southwest Michigan, have closed due to end of the world rumours combined with threats of violence from various students.

    Yeah I'm from Port Huron, MI, which is in SE Michigan and there have been a bunch of threats on the school today. Kids today disgust me. Carrying a gun around doesn't make you a hard ass. They need to get their heads on straight.
  • Some schools were closed in Ohio, too. I'm guessing there's plenty across the nation. The recent shooting combined with end of the world fear would be something a lot of schools don't want to touch. It's practically holiday, anyways.
  • Well the NRA finally came out of hiding... and doubled down on their crazy. At their press conference, where they took zero questions, they demanded an armed policeman in every school. They also wanted better and more centralized lists of people with psychiatric illness.

    They were not just stupid, their suggestions seemed almost against some of their core beliefs. It was bizarre. Let me explain. It was stupid because you can't eliminate soft targets. Policeman in every school does nothing to prevent the Aurora shooting. Are you going to have armed guards at every school bus stop? every Chuck E Cheese? The idea that you can play defense of this is stupid. We have to reduce the number of potential shooters, and make it harder for them to have the deadliest tools. You can't guard everyone everywhere.

    Their strategy is stupid. It is bizarre because the NRA always talks about how an armed populace is the only thing preventing government oppression. Somehow they ignore whole swaths of Europe and Asia, where democracies done fine with unarmed citizens. What are they proposing? Armed government employees in every school? Sounds way more Police-statey than one would expect from the NRA.
  • Plus, it's money no state would want to spend. An armed security guard can easily run $60,000 a year. My state alone has 4,200 public schools. That's $252 million dollars a year, with just one at each school. You start getting into bigger schools that need a dozen or so to even be able cover any ground, and you can easily have a multi-billion dollar expense. What a ridiculous idea. One guard doesn't even stop Newtown. Someone can walk into a classroom, close the door, and start shooting. With an assault rifle, you can take out an entire room before anyone knows what is happening. If more guns were the answer, America would be crime free, and Fort Hood would never have happened.

    As the NRA was giving their presentation, a man went on a shooting spree in Pennsylvania, killing four and wounding three others. Sad irony.
  • westsw said:
    Their strategy is stupid. It is bizarre because the NRA always talks about how an armed populace is the only thing preventing government oppression. Somehow they ignore whole swaths of Europe and Asia, where democracies done fine with unarmed citizens.

    Dunno about their government oppression excuse, I'm pretty sure most people these days realize that the government is no longer of the same caliber (no pun intended) as the average American citizen with a couple guns in their basement. Unless we get access to missiles, nuclear weapons and tanks, I'm pretty sure the gov could easily overtake even the most armed gun fanatic in no time...less time if the gun fanatic didn't need to be taken alive. What I hear mainly from gun nuts is that their weapons protect them from other American citizens...those sneaky criminals who will somehow get a gun on the black market and use it against a poor unarmed populace. So naturally, the only reasonable tactic is to have MORE guns in every hand to deter the criminals. What the NRA doesn't realize is that a lot of Americans just don't want guns. I don't feel comfortable carrying around a lethal weapon with me just to feel safe, and most people will admit they don't want one because in times of great distress, you're not really going to be able to use it properly anyway...not to mention the chance that a criminal might actually get the drop on you and be able to use the gun against you or shoot you first before you react. I wouldn't want to be involved in a mass shooting and be sitting there with a gun, trying to point it at the shooter and then get mistaken for being an accomplice and get shot myself. The NRA is a bunch of baffoons. We don't NEED these kind of high powered weapons to live peaceful lives.
  • A couple of stray tweets aside, I've largely kept my mouth shut on this subject because I didn't feel like I had much to add to the debate, have no idea of any potential solution and there's a couple of key things I don't really understand. Plus I'm sure our US chums don't need to hear what another foreigner thinks of their domestic policies - after all, I'm British, you can probably guess what my opinion on guns is.

    That said, I would like to share a little story. You can read on my very wordy blog right here on about how my daughter has recently started at Nursery. Now, it's always been my wife who has dropped off/picked up Baby g from the nursery as my work has less flexible hours. However, one Friday in the middle of December, our schedules changed and for the first time I got to both take her to the nursery and pick her up in the evening. Leaving her with a group of people who were (to me) strangers felt awful and the emotion of seeing her waiting amongst the last kids to be picked up at the end of the day was very hard to describe.

    The first part of that evening was the usual blur of cooking, feeding, bathing and putting to sleep, so it was a couple of hours later before I switched on the TV to see the news. At this point, things were still unclear, numbers were only being hinted at, the perpetrator's name wasn't known, but it was clear that something truly awful had happened in Sandy Hook.

    Now, I'm not going to claim some moral/intelectual superiority that comes with 'speaking as a father' (skip to 8:45), nor that being a parent gives you some monopoly on emotions or empathy, but watching the footage of bawling kids being herded out of their school by policemen on the same day that I had left my daughter in the hands of others in a place where I would expect her to be 100% safe was a true gut-punch.

    So we've talked about the need for better Mental Health support - that pretty much goes without saying, even taking tragedies like this aside. The provision of Mental Health Care is always lower than needed, and probably doesn't make much money for insurance companies and is easy to ignore in government-run medicine (certainly if the UK is anything to go by). We've also talked about the need to remove the notoriety of the shooters from the equation by not naming them - I really hope the press start listening to that, although asking journalists to act with tact and decency is always going to be a big ask, particularly once one agency has stepped over whatever the agreed boundaries are. At that point, all the others have to join in or risk appearing uninformed.

    So all of the above would need to be part of the solution. But...guns.

    Just what is it with America's obsession with guns? This is what I fundamentally don't understand and it's what seems to hamper any non-American's ability to have a rational debate with an American when it comes to guns. This post even started out as a blog that I was going to call 'Guns: The American Illness', but I thought that I'd get more replies and explanation in here.

    I always understood that it was a constitutional right, and changing the constitution is seen to be a no-no. But isn't it an amendment to the constitution that enshrines the right to bear arms? Can't it just be amended back the other way? This article certainly suggests that it's purely a historical connection that appears to have formed in many people's minds between the ownership of a gun and 'American-ness', 'Freedom' and 'safety' (as if having a deadly weapon lying around your house is in some way safe). So we can't amend the constitution to allow for gun control because it will be too much like hard work? Let's ask the parents of the kids who died in December how they feel about such staggering indolence, shall we?

    Elsewhere the article implies that this difficulty of govermental reform and the existence of a right to bear arms all exist to keep the US's already relatively-tiny government in check. For the tin-foil hat brigade who are worried about the feds charging in and taking the guns out of their hands, I have this advice for you. You have a a government, it exists and will never go away, just bloody get used to it. Also, you want a conspiracy theory? Evidence that a large, well-resourced, centralised organisation is trying to manipulate your life and control you? Well, who is telling you that you NEED a gun? That owning a gun makes you a patriot and a responsible citizen? Several groups, but principally the NRA who are funded by (amongst others) the gun manufacturers. Do you think they're telling you this because of their concern for your constitutional rights, or out of concern for their bottom line? As conspiracy theorists are fond of saying - Follow The Money.

    It's the middle part of that article, which talks about the political reasons why neither party has been willing to touch the whole issue which I found shocking to the point of nauseating though. Apparently the Democrats lost political capital when they brought in gun legislation following Collumbine in the 90s so they're unwilling to risk it now? I'm sorry, but that is just not good enough. kids have died and politicians are sitting on their hands for fear of losing their jobs? Fuck. You. I elect my politicians to make the difficult decisions, not to protect their collective arses, is it different in the States?

    Overall, looking from the outside, it looks like the leaders in the US who aren't willing to tackle the issue are spineless cowards and the people who are putting the grass-roots pressure on to maintain the status quo are blinkered, anachronistic idiots. But that's just me, feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.
  • puff said:
    Kinda off topic but I thought I'd post this.

    [SPOILER]Here's a disturbing coincidence I saw another site. It's not a photoshop I assure, just a pretty odd coincidence.

    So easily the two biggest tragedies in america this year were the Colorado shooting during TDKR, and now sandy hook.

    If you look at this screencap of the blu ray version of the film.

    On the left of the cell phones on the map you can clearly see the words "Sandy Hook". A bit disturbing for the superstitious I guess. I don't know, just thought I'd share it.[/SPOILER]

    your across the country so i wouldnt expect you to know but. gotham is supposed to be new york in the batman world right? i am not a big fan but thats the way i understand it. so now if you look at a map of new york and you look south across the raritan bay until you hit keansburg or keyport or union beach or middletown, or whatever town you come across when going south of Manhattan. then you go east you will see a long skinny peninsula that stretches north and has the ocean on one side and the bay on the other. well that is known as sandy hook...and is actually a better known sandy hook than the one that had the shooting. so it just makes sense that it was on the map in the movie. (although that map would be backwards or upside down, but anyway there should have been a sandy hook on that map) now you speak of the two biggest tragedies but you missed one, the real coincidence is that hurricane sandy hit sandy hook and the surrounding area hard and took more lives than both the newtown and colorado shooting combined.
  • Yeah Littleg, Guns are tied to identity in America in a very strange way. They seem to be a blind spot for us. I have met upper class Brits who are willing to talk about "class" in a way that makes me think, "The British are good folks, but they are batshit on this topic sometimes." No culture is perfect, we all have blind spots.

    I think guns are tied to radical individualism. the idea that I, alone, could sort out this or that problem. Why is Batman such an American myth? Because he rejects the system and acts outside it. Why is Omar Little Obama's favorite character from The Wire? Same deal. The idea of the rebel is not unique to America, but we have carried that obsession to some weird places. We are more in need of acting together, due to population density, but are less willing to trust each other, due to radical diversity. Many American trends are opposed. An example of the lack of trust at the myth level would be that Gotham was a "good" city for many decades of Batman. Now Gotham is a very dark place that only outsiders can make any impact on.

    If it's just me, by myself, then I will need a gun. It's the best tool for the lone dude.

    That lack of trust in America is playing in many ways. The budget deals are a mess because of the idea of compromise is antithetical to some members of Congress, an entity that exists for compromise. Many folks in the Tea Party love guns because they hate government. The idea of overthrowing the government is very attractive. However, it's important to note that gun sales have shot up, and not just in red states. A bizarre American reaction to the shooting has been to buy more guns. This shows that we do not trust the government to fix this. It is a feedback loop that I hope we can recognize and stop.
  • We had the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia:

    "The Port Arthur massacre of 28 April 1996 was a killing spree in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, mainly at the historic[1] Port Arthur prison colony, a popular tourist site in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia.[2] Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, a suburb of Hobart, eventually pleaded guilty to the crimes and was given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole.[3] He is now imprisoned in the Wilfred Lopes Centre near Risdon Prison.[4]

    The Port Arthur massacre remains one of the deadliest shootings worldwide committed by a single person.[5] Gun control laws in Australia, which had been relatively lenient before the massacre, were reviewed and tightened significantly after the incident.

    After the shootings, it emerged that the shooter, Martin Bryant, had significant intellectual disabilities.[6]"

    "Community and Government Reaction
    Main article: Gun politics in Australia

    Australians reacted to the event with widespread shock and horror, and the political effects were significant and long-lasting. The Federal Government led state governments, some of which (notably Tasmania itself and Queensland) were opposed to new gun laws, to severely restrict the availability of firearms. While surveys showed up to 85% of Australians 'supported gun control', many people strongly opposed the new laws. Concern was raised within the Coalition Government that fringe groups such as the 'Ausi Freedom Scouts',[16] the Australian League of Rights and the Citizen Initiated Referendum Party, were exploiting voter anger to gain support. After discovering that the Christian Coalition and US National Rifle Association were supporting the gun lobby, the Government and media cited their support, along with the moral outrage of the community to discredit the gun lobby as extremists.[17]

    Government-level opposition to the new laws was quelled by mounting public opinion and coercion by the Federal Government,[citation needed] which controls the bulk of State revenue.

    Under federal government co-ordination all states and territories of Australia banned and heavily restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles, self-loading and pump-action shotguns, and heavily tightened controls on their legal use. The government initiated a "buy-back" scheme with the owners paid according to a table of valuations. Some 643,000 firearms were handed in at a cost of $350 million which was funded by a temporary increase in the Medicare levy which raised $500 million.[18] Media, activists, politicians and some family members of victims, notably Walter Mikac (who lost his wife and two children), spoke out in favour of the changes.

    Much discussion has occurred as to the level of Bryant's mental health. It is generally accepted that he has a subnormal IQ (estimated at 66, and in the lowest 2% of his age group[19]) and at the time of the offences was in receipt of a Disability Support Pension on the basis of being mentally handicapped. Despite reports to the contrary, Bryant had never been diagnosed with schizophrenia, nor any major depressive disorder. Reports that he was schizophrenic were based on his mother's misinterpretation of psychiatric advice. Media reports also detailed his odd behaviour as a child. However, he was able to drive a car and obtain a gun, despite lacking a gun licence or a driver's license.[20][21] This was a matter which, in the public debate that followed, was widely regarded as a telling demonstration of the inadequacy of the nation's gun laws.

    Bryant was assessed as fit to stand trial as a mentally competent adult. There were no indications that he could be regarded as criminally insane at the time of the offences; as he clearly knew what he was doing. See the M'Naghten Rules for more information.

    After Bryant's imprisonment, several other prisoners boasted of their intention to murder him in jail. For his own safety, Bryant was held in near-solitary confinement in a specially built cell from his sentencing in November 1996 until July 1997.

    His motivation for the massacre remains a closely guarded secret,[21] known only to his lawyer, who is bound not to reveal confidences without his client's consent. The lawyer later released a book outlining that Bryant was motivated largely by the media surrounding the then recent Dunblane massacre. From the moment he was captured he continually wanted to know how many people he had killed and seemed impressed by the number. Bryant is only allowed to listen to music on a radio outside his cell, and is denied access to any news reports of his massacre. Photographers allowed in to take pictures of him in his prison cell were forced to destroy the film in his presence when the Governor found out.[22]"

    "Professor Paul Mullen, a forensic psychiatrist with extensive involvement following the string of massacres in Australia and New Zealand, attributes both the Port Arthur Massacre and some of the earlier massacres to the copycat effect.[24] In this theory the saturation media coverage provides both instruction and perverse incentives for dysfunctional individuals to imitate previous crimes. In Tasmania, a coroner found that a report on the current affairs programme A Current Affair, a few months earlier had guided one suicide, and may have helped create the expectation of a massacre.[25][26][27] The coverage of the Dunblane massacre, in particular the attention on the perpetrator, is thought to have provided the trigger for Bryant to act.[28]
    Community response

    A substantial community fund was given for the victims of the Port Arthur massacre. The murder of Nanette Mikac and her daughters Alannah and Madeline inspired Dr Phil West of Melbourne, who had two girls similar in age to the murdered children, to set up a Foundation in their memory. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation supports child victims of violence and runs a national anti-bullying program.[29] It was launched by the Prime Minister on the first anniversary of the massacre."

    I know we are sometimes perceived as a little backwards, and sometimes rightly so, but our reaction to Port Arthur where chiefly:
    a) we banned and bought back privately owned semi automatic weapons, and;
    b) refused to give the killer the media validation he theoretically sought.

    And these days we focus on the crime in media reporting, and try to minimise the '15 minutes of fame' for the perp.

    There was condemnation of the gun buyback at the time: "If we do a gun buyback, only good people will give back the guns, meaning only bad people will have semiautomatic weapons." ... well, it's been seventeen years. We haven't had anything on that scale since.

    Also, regardless of the value of the point that's being made, I find posts like the one I've just made a little bit disrespectful to those whose lives have been destroyed by a massacre like this (whether they died, were injured, or just lost someone who was everything. So in acknowledgement of that I offer my condolences.


Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Most Popular This Week