Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

And now, Parkland

Parents wait for news after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

No.

Not here.

Please.

As if we residents of Broward County, Florida, could somehow put blood on our doors, and keep the Angel of Death at bay.

For, surely, the Angel would have known better than to stride into Parkland, Florida — that place in our county that had the reputation of being the “safest city in Florida.”

This time, the Angel of Death came in the guise of Nikolas Cruz, the alleged shooter. He had an assault rifle. Who, other than the police and the military, needs such a weapon? Nikolas Cruz was violent. He was troubled. His school knew it. His friends knew it. They saw it.

Nikolas Cruz was a member of the Republic of Florida, which is a white supremacist group. The members of the Republic of Florida seek to create a white ethno-state in Florida.

We often speak of six degrees of separation.

That is not how it is in Broward County.

When it came to the unspeakable events of Wednesday, there were not six degrees of separation. There were more like two degrees of separation.

Everyone in Broward County knows someone who knows someone who was affected.

Especially in the Jewish community. Several of the casualties and the fatalities were Jewish kids, and a Jewish teacher.

To quote my colleague, Cantor Israel Rosen: “Kol Florida aveilim. Every Floridian is a mourner.”

The Hasidic master, Reb Nachman of Bratslav, tells the story of a king, whose wise men tell him that they have learned that the harvest is tainted. Whoever eats of the harvest will go insane.

They ask him: “What should we do?”

The king replies, “We must eat of the harvest, because to not eat means starvation.

“But, you and I, my teachers and advisors – we will put marks on our foreheads. We will see the marks on our foreheads – and we will know that we are insane.”

There are so many school shootings in the U.S. that some call it the new normal.

We have eaten from the tainted harvest.

As a culture, we are insane.

I have three questions for those politicians who have been reticent and reluctant and cowardly – and who have categorically refused to apply a tourniquet to the bleeding.

The first question: What does it mean to be pro-life?

An unproven hunch: most politicians who are pro-gun are also pro-life.

Those pro-life, pro-gun politicians care about fetal tissue. They care about a pregnancy at four months.

There is virtue in that.

You care about the tissue of potential life at four months in the womb.

Might we ask you to care about the tissue of a human being outside the womb — at four years, or at fourteen years old, or at forty years.

The second question: What does it mean to care about the Bible?

For, here again: many politicians who are pro-gun pride themselves on their connection to the Bible.

I want to invite those pro-Bible/pro-gun politicians to study Bible with me.

Let’s learn the story of Cain and Abel. Abel’s bloods – yes, bloods, in the plural – cry to God from the ground.

Bloods – because when Cain killed Abel, he not only killed Abel, but all his descendants.

Let’s learn the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Learn the story of a society that surrendered its soul to bloodshed and cruelty – and suffered horrific circumstances.

The third question: What do you mean when you say: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered this terrible loss”?

“Thoughts and prayers” is Hallmark, hollow, and helpless.

Let’s just cluck our tongues. Let’s talk about how it is too soon to talk about changes in our laws.

Until the next inevitable shooting — when they will offer their thoughts and prayers.

I invite you, my readers:

  • To be part of the process that will change this country’s culture for the better.
  • To be part of the process of dismantling our nation’s love affair with guns.
  • To challenge the literal, fundamentalist reading of the Second Amendment – by people who still think that we need militias, “well organized” or not.

Finally, on the subject of “thoughts and prayers”:

In the Reform prayer book, Mishkan T’filah, two prayers illustrate the kind of prayer that is sometimes necessary.

  • “Pray as if everything depended on God; act as if everything depended on you.” Piety is fine, but action is necessary.
  • “Disturb us, Adonai, ruffle us from our complacency; Make us dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with the peace of ignorance, the quietude which arises from a shunning of the horror, the defeat, the bitterness and the poverty, physical and spiritual, of humans.” 

The late writer and social activist, Elie Wiesel, tells this story.

A righteous man came to the wicked Sodom and pleaded with the people to change their ways. No one listened.

Finally, he sat in the middle of the city, and simply screamed.

Someone asked him, “Do you think that will change anyone?”

“No,” said the righteous man.

“But at least, they will not change me.”

I once loved to tell this story.

No longer.

It is not enough to sit in the middle of the town square and scream. It is not enough to hope that the world will not change us.

The time for impotent screaming is long past.

It is now time to change our culture, and to heal our nation’s wounds.

For, this week, the war came home to us in Broward County, Florida.

In the words of the Psalmist: “How long? How long?”

 

 

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

61 Comments

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  • Everyone is yelling that something should be done. But realisticaly we all know that you are not going to take firearms away from everyone. So what can be done.

    First thing I would greatly increase security at schools. There should be controlled points of entrance and exit and armed security. It is unfortunate but would be effective.

  • “effective”

    against an AR-15?

    Effective at producing dead security guards as well as dead pupils, staff, bystanders I suspect.

    Reposted

    Mark Ruffalo
    ✔@MarkRuffalo
    Prayers without accordant action are silent lies told to oneself, heard by no God, amounting to nothing. Action is the language of truth, the prayers of the Saints.

    I do’t know who Mark Ruffalo is – he may well have a faith I can’t share – but I believe he has humanity.

  • I may be wrong…but as I recall…several schools that have such stringent security were the victims of mass shootings. Increased security would be addressing the effect and not the cause.

    I think we need to stop this narrative of “The Guvmint gonna take away mah guns..” It’s a non-starter..that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about stopping those who are unfit from owning guns in the first place.

    The NRA has made up this false narrative. we can at least START a conversation about how to screen better..how to promote agencies to SHARE data and information about deranged or dangerous people. The simple fact is….a deranged/mentally unbalanced person can move from state to state and essentially get a clean slate.

    How about this….make buying a gun as difficult as getting a trucker’s or aviation license….show you are mentally stable…show you are willing to learn safety and usage..show you have a clean record.

  • “How about this….make buying a gun as difficult as getting a trucker’s or aviation license”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

    I have been stumping for an idea that allows sharing of data nationwide with none of the NRA “big brother will take away our guns bull crap”. Mandatory liability insurance, like what we have on cars.

    When one has property/casualty insurance, Insurance companies need to keep data on ownership and even the object owned for business purposes. Police need to follow minor due process rules to access this info. It adds a financial disincentive to gun hoarding and creates a means to stymie straw buying. Best of all it is done by private industry seeking to protect ownership interests, not the government.

  • Realistically, nothing can be done?

    Realistically, it is an argument like that that makes it possible to do absolutely nothing while pretending to do something by sending thoughts and prayers.

    20 years ago, Australia made a concerted effort to get their guns under control. Suicides and murders plummeted.

    Of course, we can do something. But you might have to vote democratic to make it happen.

  • I did not vote for Trump for many reasons, his cheating on his wife being one of many. But he is right about the neighbors, teachers and fellow students of this shooter should have reported him to authorities. We must stay involved with our surroundings and report safety issues about potential shooters, traffic hazards, weather related hazards et. al.

  • I would suggest you, read, study, and memorize a 2000 year old book with questionable authorship. you will then know everything you need to know, and you can quote it extensively.

  • You are correct. It is sad that we are so dominated by gun love in our country that we have to make our schools resemble prisons more and more.

  • The comedian Chris Rock some years back presented a solution, make each bullet cost $5000. Okay that’s extreme but the concept…pure genius.

  • Schools with a student population of MSD in Parkland, 3,100 enrolled, security would wipe out the budget annually. Just like the school near my home, Benton KY, a large consolidated entity would require several entry points. It would need many of them so as not to create a “funnel effect” and leave students standing about outside as targets for any one with a semi-automatic weapon. And the buses would need to double as mobile hardened shelters.

  • Yes, let us learn the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. First and foremost is that the city did not suffer destruction, until the last legal heir left the city.

    Change has already come to America, there is no longer:

    One nation under God
    In God We Trust
    Ten Commandments in public
    Sanctity of life
    A legal heir in America [ as defined by God ]

    This is not to say that there should be AR-15 rifles sold to the public anymore, they should not. It is to say that guns in general are not the problem, the idea that religion is the the problem, is now the problem that is bigger than guns.

    God protects a city, until the last legal heir is gone.

  • Poor snowflake bemoans being a conservative protestant doesn’t grant him the privileges it used to. How cute.

    “the idea that religion is the the problem, is now the problem that is bigger than guns.”

    Given that religious figures sign off on the sloth and indifference which enables more gun violence, one has to question what good are they?

  • The second question: What does it mean to care about the Bible?

    You care about the Bible because it protects your Gun, that protects your Bible, that protects your Gun, that protects…

  • We never were “One nation under God” — and “In God We Trust”…actually we should not trust a speculative God. The Sanctity of life was never important in Christianity, certainly not important to Jesus or his wrathful Dad.

    The Ten commandments are un-American…Some commandments require “No other God”– and “Keep Holy” certain days … violations of religious freedom. And ‘No Graven Images” means no freedom of speech. Basically the Commandments don’t conform the first amendment of the US Constitution.

    …”last legal heir” — some kind weird, incoherent Christianese ?? So no comment necessary.

  • So presumably when we were “one nation under God” or had “ten commandments in public” there were no atrocities? No slavery, lynchings, crime, etc.? I don’t ever remember reading about that America.

  • No, I, the Great Prophet Maytag, will help you with that.

    Use the budget/thrifty cycle if it lasts less than 35 minutes. It’s The One Commandment.

  • The adoration of ‘money’ and ‘buying and selling no matter what’ help make these things happen.

  • It’s funny what you don’t know. Before the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the courts had always ruled that the two clauses in the Second Amendment–“right to bare arms” and “well regulated militia”–were linked. That’s why the government limited civilian sales of weapons pretty much to hunting rifles and shotguns. They kept pistols, automatic weapons, and howitzers for wartime use. The 2008 ruling uncoupled them, giving just about anyone the “right” to own just about anything he wanted. And that opened the flood gates. It was good for the gun manufacturers, but hard on the school children. WIKI says there were 260+ school shooting incidents (not counting suicides, or adults on adults) in the whole 20th century. In just the last 17 years we’ve had 200+, 2/3 of them in the last 7 years alone. If feels like it’s getting worse every year, that’s because it is. The Court got us into this mess, maybe they can find a way to get us out.

  • Then you know you must send money to me asap.

    Did i say i was the Great Prophet Maytag? My bad. I sometimes confuse myself with the Deity which i serve. Occupational hazard.

    I am the Prophet of the Great Maytag, who is both Creator of the known Universe AND Sovereign God of Large Appliances. Fear his wrath etc.

  • Ah, the old “Australia did it!” again.

    I have news for you. “Australia” will never happen in America.

    “When someone says the United States ought to adopt Australia’s gun laws as its own, he is really saying the cause of gun control is so important that he is willing to impose these laws even at the cost of violent insurrection. Make no mistake, armed rebellion would be the consequence. Armed men would be dispatched to confiscate guns, they would be met by armed men, and blood would be shed.”

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/25/the-australia-gun-control-fallacy/

    “Well, like I said, our histories are completely different. The U.S. had a horrendous civil war, with more casualties than every other war combined. We didn’t have that history. It really went to the core of what it means to defend your people. And so you have a Second Amendment based on an antiquated view of what it means to be occupied.

    But the gun culture is so ingrained in America. I can’t wrap my brain around impulsive buys, no cooling off period, no mental-health checks.” – Joe Hockey,
    Australian Ambassador to the U.S.

    https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/02/australia-ambassador-on-why-gun-laws-cant-save-america/553655/

  • Such a shame in that the school was running drills the day of; but yet this kid slipped in regardless. Maybe in the future they will have to not advertise “drills”, but I am not aware that Cruz was aware there were drills the day of. Although you’d think someone wearing a Gas Mask would have been the first tip off.

  • Glad to hear you would be traitors to your country. Glad to hear about all of your revenge fanatasies. Glad to hear that your gun fetish is more important to you than the lives of your fellow citizens. Glad to hear that your second amendment is more important to you than anything else.

    All the more reason to institute gun control. I love the smell of impotent rage in the morning,

    You have a sickness, sir.

  • Australia didn’t have to deal with the NRA and its millions of dollars given to politicians. The NRA is not a lobby for gun owners anymore, it’s a lobby for the gun maunfacturers. No one needs a AR15 to hunt or to protect their family. The AR15 is a military weapon that is designed to kill a lot of people fast. Antonin Scalia said that there is no constititutonal right to own an AA15.

  • My rabbi yesterday read this to the congregation:

    Opening Prayer For the Colorado State House in the Aftermath of a Tragedy February 15, 2018
    by Rabbi Joe Black

    Our God and God of all people,

    God of the Rich and God of the poor.

    God of the teacher and God of the student.

    God of the families who wait in horror.

    God of the dispatcher who hears screams of terror from under bloodied desks.

    God of the first responder who bravely creeps through ravaged hallways.

    God of the doctor who treats the wounded.

    God of the rabbi, pastor, imam or priest who seeks words of comfort but comes up empty.

    God of the young boy who sees his classmates die in front of him.

    God of the weeping, raging, inconsolable mother who screams at the sight of her child’s lifeless body .

    God of the shattered communities torn apart by senseless violence.

    God of the legislators paralyzed by fear, partisanship, money and undue influence.

    God of the Right.

    God of the Left.

    God who hears our prayers.

    God who does not answer.

    On this tragic day when we confront the aftermath of the 18th School shooting in our nation on the 46th day of this year, I do not feel like praying.

    Our prayers have not stopped the bullets.

    Our prayers have changed nothing.

    Once again, a disturbed man with easy access to guns has squinted through the sights of a weapon, aimed, squeezed a trigger and taken out his depraved anger, pain and frustration on innocents: pure souls. Students and teachers. Brothers and sisters. Mothers and fathers- cut down in an instant by the power of hatred and technology.

    We are guilty, O God.

    We are guilty of inaction.

    We are guilty of complacency.

    We are guilty of allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by politics.

    The blood of our children cries out from the ground.

    The blood of police officers cut down in the line of duty flows through our streets.

    I do not appeal to You on this terrible morning to change us. We can only do that ourselves.

    Our enemies do not come only from far away places.

    The monsters we fear live among us.

    May those in this room who have the power to to make change find the courage to seek a pathway to sanity and hope.

    May we hold ourselves and our leaders accountable.

    Only then will our prayers be worthy of an answer.

  • You exhibit the same blind zealousness which afflicts so many on the anti-gun side of the fence – the need to demonize all and any dissent to your agenda and the eagerness to perceive anything less than enthusiastic support as dissent. This, of course, is exactly what the pro-gun camp is doing as well. So both sides are bleating and baying past each other while more innocents die.

    Do yourself a favor and read the two links I posted. Or not. I find them to be very insightful in understanding why proposed solutions will not work in reality. Subsequently, we are better informed to look for more feasible solutions.

    In contrast, the much easier way is to keep doing the same old thing – shouting and brandishing slogans on the Internet and in the streets, building up that feeling of smug self-justification that tells you that you have done something worthwhile by winning in a game of one-upmanship with a stranger who wasn’t even playing.

    The horse has long since bolted. There is no way to implement “Australia” in America short of declaring martial law which will likely result in a “Terminator: Judgement Day” scenario where overwhelming armed force must be directed against civilians who would die and kill for their guns.

    Far-fetched? I don’t think so. Ask yourself this: what scale of civil unrest (imagine pockets of Waco together with Beltway snipers happening all over the country) are you willing to accept to get “Australia”?

  • Sorry, but no. Well, not sorry at all.

    Blind zealousness? That I am tired of Americans being murdered because they went to a school or a concert? That we’re something like Guatemala when it comes to gun violence? That the pro gun side of the argument keeps arguing for the straw man of “they’re gonna make all guns illegal” when very few people are actually arguing anything of the sort?

    You can tell me all about blind zealousness when we have actually tried gun control. Meanwhile, read your third paragraph, and closely. Civilians who would die or kill other people so that they can have their guns?

    Sane, sensible people might call them thugs, murderers, psychopaths, or traitors, enamored of violence and unwilling to live with their fellow citizens unless it is in separate armed camps.

    Sorry, no thanks.

    You, and THEY, have a sickness, sir.

  • People everywhere get murdered going about their every day lives.

    Instead of presenting a load of vague “very few people are actually arguing anything of the sort”, get specific. We actually have gun control, and have had gun control since the 1930s.

    Every time your side of the discussion tries something new it fails to work.

    And then the response is something along the lines of “well, let’s try ….” and we hear some new unworkable scheme that blames violence on things rather than human nature and a tendency to settle arguments with violence in this country more commonly than in many other – but not all – countries.

    We have plenty of laws. As the last administration demonstrated, if you don’t enforce them nothing improves.

    People, not things, need to be controlled.

    As a huge opponent of that – when it deals with something you favor – your hypocrisy when you wish to place a boot on the neck of something you dislike seems to elude you.

  • Oddly gun crime increased after Australia imposed draconian gun laws.

    And both before and after Australia by world standards never had a gun crime problem.

    “When in trouble, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!”

  • The NRA is not the problem.

    It is the target/whipping boy for the Bloomberg-funded anti-gun propaganda.

    Owning firearms is a right, not a need.

    Scalia made a comment about a fully automatic military long arm, not the semi-automatic sporting arm for which Colt owns the trademark “AR-15”.

    Different things.

  • More nonsense from the far right.

    “A tendency to settle things it’s violence”. Boots on the neck.

    Vaginas need controlling. Gay people need controlling. But guns do not.

    Moral bankruptcy.

  • Anyone even vaguely familiar with security in a wide range of settings would find “security would wipe out the budget annually” unrealistic in the extreme.

  • I don’t believe you’ll find one, let alone several, schools with “stringent security” that had mass shootings.

    The cause is not the NRA, nor gun ownership per se.

  • but gun ownership by dangerous people….

    Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook all had several security measures in place which were easily bypassed.

    “In 2005, a 16-year-old student shot and killed his grandfather, who was a police officer, and his grandfather’s girlfriend. He then traveled to Red Lake Senior High School (Red Lake, Minnesota) where he killed an unarmed security guard, passed through a metal detector, and continued to murder a teacher and five students before committing suicide (Heffelfinger, 2006 Heffelfinger, T. B. (2006). The presence of a metal detector did not deter this individual from bringing a gun to school or prohibit his entry into the building.

  • From Newsweek: Scalia left some gifts for liberals in his Heller ruling. He wrote that the right to bear arms had limits. “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    The late justice also more generally offered the belief that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” For instance, Scalia said concealment laws were permitted at the time of the Constitution’s ratification and should be permitted today.

    You can turn an AR15 into an automatic rifle with a bumpstock which shouldn’t be legal either. No, you don’t have a right to own an AR15.

  • I am glad we have the “AR-15″, which he never mentioned, out of the way.

    You cannot turn a semi-automatic “AR-15″ style rifle into a military “AR-15″ with a bump fire stock.

    The military weapon, which is the M-16, is selective-fire (fully automatic, burst, single shot) rifle firing from an open bolt. It can be fired accurately fully automatic.

    Fully automatic weapons are and have been regulated by the National Firearms Act, passed in 1934 and amended several times.

    The civilian “AR-15″ – which is Colt’s trademark for semi-automatic sporting rifles, and look-alikes fires from a closed bolt and cannot be modified to fire fully automatic. It was designed specifically that way to obtain ATF approval.

    “Bump fire stocks” use the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire shots in rapid succession, which simulates to some extent a fully automatic firearm.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/Bump_fire_animation.gif/1200px-Bump_fire_animation.gif

    They cannot be fired accurately due to the mode of operation, only fire one round with a single trigger pull, and work by increasing the speed by which the finger can repetitively pull the trigger.

    Additionally when a semi-automatic firearm is bump-fired too fast, the hammer may be released before the bolt closes. This can cause the firearm to “slamfire”, injuring or killing the operator.

    The Las Vegas shooter picked a location where aiming was not necessary as the “target” was a crowd, and also a location where he could remain stationary braced against a secure rest.

    As in the Parkland shooting, numerous warnings signs of an impending shooting were disregarded, in this case by hotel security.

    Btw, yes you have a right to own an AR-15 unless you live within the jurisdiction of the 4th District Court, which apparently has decided to void the Heller decision. Clinton’s ban on them and similar looking sporting rifles expired because no one was able to detect a drop in gun crime attributable to it, as the FBI testified before Congress when the renewal was considered.

  • More blather from the far left.

    You were dancing up and down when your favorite justice endorsed same sex marriage, speaking of moral bankruptcy, based on nothing in the Constitution but instead fortune cookie logic right out of his back end.

    But given the Second Amendment and District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) you just can’t help salivating over the opportunity to control other people’s firearms.

    Let’s cut to the chase: you know what you like and what you don’t. You know what you want, and you know what you do not want.

    Beyond that there is nothing.

  • I assume you’re aware that those adjudicated mentally ill a history of abusing alcohol or drugs or who have suffered from severe mental illness, and other “dangerous people” are already prohibited from the purchase and possession of firearms by Federal law.

    Neither Columbine, Virginia Tech, nor Sandy Hook had armed security.

    The reason why the metal detector at Red Lake Senior High School at the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota, did not deter the determined killer is that one of the unarmed security guards – Derrick Brun – manning the metal detector lay dead after trying to stop 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise and the other ran for his life since he was unarmed.

    Weise had obtained his weapons illegally.

    The murders stopped when police arrived and engaged him in gunfire.

    The school still has a metal detector, but the guards are now armed.

    There have been no school shootings in the Red Lake Indian Reservation since.

  • OK, but we saw in Las Vegas the carnage a bumpstock can cause. It still makes an AR15 even more dangerous.

  • Just for the sake accuracy, a bump fire stock caused nothing in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock caused carnage.

    In order to use a bump fire stock, and this is the first case I am aware of where one was used in a crime, he had to find a crowd (the stock makes aimed fire impossible) and high position to fire from.

    In any case bump fire stocks appear to be headed for the scrap heap – both parties are moving in that direction.

    Just to gain some sense of what you mean with references to an “AR15″, what exactly do you think an “AR15″ is?

  • Columbine and VT had armed security/.campus police on campus.

    Red Lake…precisely….guards and metal detectors did not stop nor deter.

    Schools need to be schools..not prisons.

  • As previously noted, the guards at Red Lake were unarmed.

    Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy, Neil Gardner, was assigned to the Columbine High School as a full-time uniformed and armed school resource officer. Gardner, rather than eating lunch in the school as he usually did, was eating lunch in his patrol car at the northwest corner of the campus, opposite where the shooting began.

    The security staff at Columbine did not observe the bombs being placed in the cafeteria, since a custodian was replacing the school security video tape as it happened.

    When the Deputy heard on his police radio that a female was down, he assumed she had been struck by a car. While exiting his patrol car in the Senior lot he was fired upon by Harris, who was sixty yards away. Gardner leaned over the top of his car and fired four rounds at Harris from his service pistol. No one was hit during the exchange of gunfire. Gardner was not wearing his prescription eyeglasses and was unable to hit the shooters.

    So five minutes after the shooting started, and two minutes after the first radio call, Gardner had engaged in a gunfight with one of the student shooters. There were already two students dead and ten wounded. Gardner reported on his police radio, “Shots in the building. I need someone in the south lot with me.”

    Deputy Paul Smoker, a motorcycle patrolman, was writing a traffic ticket north of the school when the “female down” call came in at 11:23, most likely referring to the already dead Rachel Scott. Taking the shortest route, he drove his motorcycle over grass between the athletic fields and headed toward the west entrance. When he saw Deputy Scott Taborsky following him in a patrol car, he abandoned his motorcycle for the safety of the car. The two deputies had begun to rescue two wounded students near the ball fields when another gunfight broke out at 11:26, as Harris returned to the double doors and again began shooting at Deputy Gardner, who returned fire. From the hilltop, Deputy Smoker fired three rounds from his pistol at Harris, who again retreated into the building. As before, no one was hit.

    From 11:29 a.m. to 11:36 a.m. the shooters perpetrated the Library Massacre unresisted.

    By noon, SWAT teams were stationed outside the school and the duo, at 12:08, killed themselves.

    One of the shooters, Harris, had a website with numerous threats of violence against another student – Brooks Brown. Brown’s mother filed numerous complaints with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office concerning Harris, as she thought he was dangerous. The website contained numerous death threats directed against Brown: The investigator Michael Guerra was told about the website. When he accessed it, Guerra discovered numerous violent threats directed against the students and teachers of Columbine High School. Other material included blurbs that Harris had written about his general hatred of society, and his desire to kill those who annoyed him.

    Harris had noted on his site that he had made pipe bombs, in addition to a hit list of individuals (he did not post any plan on how he intended to attack targets). As Harris had posted on his website that he possessed explosives, Guerra wrote a draft affidavit, requesting a search warrant of the Harris household. The affidavit also mentioned a suspicion of Harris being involved in an unsolved pipe bomb case in February 1998, two MONTHS before the shootings. The affidavit was never filed.

    It was concealed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and not revealed until September 2001, discovered during an investigation by the TV show 60 Minutes.

    So, better surveillance, proper police work prior to the shooting commencing, and proper preparations at the school for lockdown and police notification in the event of a problem all could have prevented the massacre. All those security measures are in place today.

    Would you like the recap of Virginia Tech?

  • I might vote Democratic again and overlook their hypocrisy when they
    1. hold Hillary Clinton accountable for breaking federal law regarding classified information on a personal server.
    2. hold Bill Clinton accountable for an inappropirate relationship as the most senior political official in our nation with an intern on his staff
    3. stop advocating and defending the murder of millions of unborn children because they were unwanted.

  • I did not say nothing can be done. I said focus on what can be done and school security would be a good start. But the idea that every gun will be confiscated is a non-starter. All you wind up doing is disarming millions of legal and responsible gun owners who have never and will never murder anyone.

    A gun does create a murder. A murder will use whatever is at hand to act on his impulse.

    I’m all for reasonable, realistic, and achievable safety regarding gun legislation such as enhanced background checks and so forth. But I’m also for increasing support for mental health. Remember it was Democrats who gutted the laws releasing many mental health patients onto the streets and making it very difficult for law enforcment to take action until a crime is committed. And I’m all for reasonable security at schools which are soft targets.

    I’m just waiting for when some ISIS sympathizer shows up.Fortunately DHS has been pretty good at surveillance and interception of these threats thus far. What folks don’t know.

  • The gun manufacturers have their own organization.

    The mantra that “The NRA is not a lobby for gun owners anymore, it’s a lobby for the gun maunfacturers” is a Bloomberg propaganda tactic, part of the multi-billionaire’s extremely well-funded anti-gun campaign through his various front organizations like “Everytown”.

    The NRA is 5 million ordinary citizens in the nation’s oldest civil rights group. Its focus is on the Second Amendment, but it is supportive of the entire Bill of Rights.

    The reason it has clout is that, unlike Michael Bloomberg, it represents real voting citizens who are active in their communities. They vote, and their friends vote, and their families vote.

    Bloomberg has to pay people to show up and concoct names for his fronts to give them an aura of grass roots, but in fact taken together they have around 100,000 members.

  • No one is arguing that the all guns should be removed. That is a straw man argument, not one I, or the vast majority of other gun control advocates, are making.

    Reagan was the one that decided that mental health wasn’t important, realeasing thousands of mental patients on to the street. trump abandoned the OBama rules on the subject. But more to the point, the refusal of gun advocates to discuss any checks on the availability of guns is the problem. An arguments with false accusations about the subject don’t help.

  • Funny how she has never been charged with a crime after how many hearings? Funny how trump and others have had exactly the same problem. Funny how whatever

    Bill isn’t president. He was nearly impeached over his Inappropriate affair. Meanwhile, there’s Grabby McPussy.

    No one advocates the murders of millions of unborn children. But 17 born children were Murdered last week. There alhave been 18 School shootings this year, how many kids ar3 dead becuase of our incessant meddling in the affairs of other countries?

  • As hard as it is, you do have to look at things logically.
    If we didn’t we would build bridges and buildings with pure emotion and they would fall down.
    Banning assault rifles is not the answer. If the shooter, who’s name does not deserve being mentioned, could not have gotten an AR-15 he could have done just as much damage with a pump action shotgun loaded with 000 buckshot.
    So if you ban shotguns then he could have used handguns. The vast majority of guns deaths are by handguns. So now you faced with having to literally ban every single kind of gun there is in hopes of stopping school shootings.

    Let’s pretend the liberal fairy godmother waves her magic wand and every gun in America disappears.
    Problem solved, right. Another bump in the road to Utopia stills exists. Currently, depending on the source, up to 350 tons of cocaine are imported into America each year. https://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/JoshSchaikowitz.shtml
    Now add the imported marijuana and bootleg merchandise. You very quickly have well over a thousand tons of illegal stuff coming into America yearly. Honestly, how hard would it be for these same smugglers to ship enough guns to supply the criminals of America?

    But it gets even more complicated. Each year about 2 and a half million crimes are stopped each year by armed citizens. http://rense.com/general76/univ.htm
    That’s a lot of people being robbed, raped and murdered that will now be victimized if guns are totally banned.
    People are killed by guns every year, but you can’t ignore the people whose lives are saved every year because of guns.

  • I did watch that video. However, the commentator was so intent on attacking people who called for gun control that he spent virtually no time in working out what could be done. No doubt he was right that the Australian solution would not work in the United States, but he didn’t come up with anything better or more suitable to American conditions.

    There may be no magic bullet, but the following things might do some good.
    * A ban on”bump stocks” that turn guns into machine guns.
    * Raising the age at which you can buy guns.
    * Tightening background checks.

    In the mean time, this video from the BBC makes interesting viewing:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35048251

  • Well, Bob, being a cheerleader is still better than being the fat old benchwarmer that you are.

  • So, you were one of the thousands of mental patients released?

    How is it working out for you?

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