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In the Media

article imageSandy Hook school massacre reignites the gun control debate

By Can Tran
Dec 14, 2012 in Politics

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Newtown - The shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut has brought national attention and outrage. It has re-greased the wheels of the gun control debate and has made the NRA as the "whipping mule."
December 14 can be considered a dark day in United States history let alone in 2012. It's been made the 2nd deadliest school shooting. The massacre at Virginia Tech back in 2007, also known as the VT Massacre, is still the first. Today, there was a shooting an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. At least 27 people, most of them being students at Sandy Hook Elementary. The children were between the ages of 5 and 10. In the aftermath of the shooting, there are many things happening as a result. There are many things political and non-political that have transpired as a result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. While this is now the 2nd major school shooting in US history, one has look at the ages of most of the victims. They even haven't hit their “tween” or “teen” years yet.
The teachers that did everything they could to protect the students have been hailed as heroes. News reports comment on how carefully the teachers executed their safety plans for the students during the massacre. It was revealed that the shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
Lanza's mother was also a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary who taught kindergarten. Lanza took the life of his own mother and the lives of many of the students in her classroom. While there are at least 27 confirmed deaths, officials say that the death toll could increase. ABC News reports that this comes three days after the shootings at a mall in Oregon. Most reports called the shooter Adam Lanza, while a Huffington Post article says “Ryan Lanza.”
US President Barack Obama, holding a press conference on the shootings, got emotional. He gave his condolences of the the state of Connecticut, the governor, and the victims of the massacre. Obama talked about how those kids had their lives ahead of them. Due to the severity and particular case of this shooting, the gun control debate is seemingly brought back to life; but, it's very risky to approach this situation. Also, this could spell into another difficult battle for Obama. Currently, he is in battle with GOP House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans on the “fiscal cliff.”
But, he and Boehner came together and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff. At the moment until Tuesday, Obama ordered all public places to fly flags at half-staff. Boehner ordered flags flown at half-staff at the US Capitol.
While Obama hasn't called for stricter gun control laws, the words of “meaningful action” could be implied as it. An ABC News article brings up the current gun laws that are in effect. It points out that Congress hasn't been quick to act on the gun control debate despite mass shootings that took place earlier this year. Such examples are the theater in Aurora, Colorado during the screening of “Dark Knight Rises” and the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.
It seems inevitable the gun control debate will be brought back to the table, due to the circumstances of this mass shooting; but the question lies: when? Obama conceded on his battle in regards to UN Ambassador Susan Rice who recently withdrew her name as a possibility for the next US Secretary of State. The main battle Obama has on his plate is the fiscal cliff.
Politicians have already weighed on and took to Twitter to express how they feel. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that no words can console the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook. Representative Donna Edwards, on her Twitter, talked about how now it's time to talk about gun control. Representative Jerrold Nadler said that this is another case of someone unstable getting their hands on a gun.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gave his prayers to the people of Newtown. He reflected back on the Virginia Tech shootings. McDonnell says that the state of Virginia is still dealing with the memories of what happened back in 2007.
Colin Goddard, a survivor of the VT Massacre and gun-control advocate, spoke on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. When speaking on MSNBC's “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Goddard said that he was still dealing with what happened in Oregon. He said that something like this, in regards to mass shootings, is not something that's supposed to be normal in the United States.
Since VT, Goddard has been very active in advocating gun control.
Frank DeAngelis, principal of Columbine High School, said that what happened in Newtown is a reminder of how vulnerable American society is. He told the victims and survivors that they need to know that there is plenty of support out there for them.
Mark Kelly also weighed in. Kelly is the husband to former Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. Giffords was the victim of the shootings in Tucson, Arizona. While Giffords survived, other people weren't so lucky. Kelly said that someone has to take “leadership” in the gun control issue. He said that the leaders need to step up and talk about meaningful gun laws because the children of Sandy Hook and all other gun violence victims deserve those leaders.
In an LA Times op-ed, people expressed their anger about gun violence. One person wrote blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA). The author of the letter gave a sarcastic congratulations to the NRA.
Another person wrote blaming lack of proper and effective regulations. Also, another person blamed the NRA of being part of the problem.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York called upon a crackdown on guns. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on Obama's words of “meaningful action,” said that “immediate action” and not “meaningful” action is what's needed. He called upon Obama to introduce a bill to Congress to address and fix the problem.
In a Salon article, only four House members talked about gun control. All of them are Democratic members of the US House.
The group called Demand A Plan has issued an online petition in regards to Newtown. It's using the incident to force Obama and Congress to talk about guns.
Lisa Belkin, a columnist for Huffington Post, addressed gun control as a parenting issue. In her column, Belkin is saying parents should step up in regards for gun control. She talks about several cases of how parents bought guns to protect their children; but, their children accidentally killed themselves with those same guns.
Democratic State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco, California called for new gun control measures as a result of Newtown.
Even conservative pundits are weighing in on the Newtown shooting. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said that liberals and the mainstream media will use the Newtown shooting as ammo against the Republicans. He said that he was “sickened” of the calls of gun control as a result of Sandy Hook.
Glenn Beck, taking to Twitter, said some things. He said that American society is broken, there's a lack of self-control & personality, and it is not the gun but the soul.
Ann Coulter, another conservative pundit, used the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to make her case for concealed-carry laws. There was the implication that if people were packing concealed weapons, then the massacre wouldn't have happened. However, the article points out that Connecticut is a concealed-carry state. She said the same thing in regards to the Virginia Tech Massacre back in 2007. In the same article, the shooter was referred to as “Ryan Lanza” and not Adam Lanza.
So far, the NRA has found itself to be the proverbial “whipping mule” in this tragedy. Matthew Chapman, the director of “The Ledge,” writes in a Huffington Post article seemingly telling the NRA to take a look at itself. He asks the NRA this question: How many more people will have to die?
Tom Athans, creator of The Ed Show, wrote a piece called “It's Time to Stop the NRA.” In the first paragraph of his piece, Athans expressed irony at the situation. He talked about how Michigan's legislature passed a bill, supported by the NRA, that allows gun owners to carry concealed handguns into schools, daycare centers, churches, and so forth. Athans said that the NRA has wielded too much political power long enough.
In an Examiner article, it is reported that many people are taking to Twitter to attack the NRA. These are simply everyday people attacking the NRA. One person, whose tweet is shown in a photo, said that an assault rifle is for killing, not self-defense. Even celebrities took to Twitter to talk about gun control and the NRA.
The NRA recently canceled its country music concert as a result. It said that the concert will be rescheduled. However, it is unknown when. A Salon article reports that the NRA has gone “mute” on its Twitter in regards to Sandy Hook.
Despite being the whipping mule of the Sandy Hook Massacre, the NRA can still recover from the damage and remain on top according to The Atlantic Wire. This is due to the passing of the laws in government that favor the NRA. It talks about laws such as “expanded castle” and “stand your ground.” “Stand your ground” became heated with the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The Atlantic Wire article lists a time line of things having to do with gun violence.
Gary Mala, the Avon Superintendent of Schools, met with his staff to discuss how they will respond to the inevitable flood of questions from parents and others in regards to Sandy Hook.
In a National Public Radio (NPR) blog, experts are saying that schools have become more secure since the Columbine High Massacre of 1999. Paul Timm, RETA Security's president, talking with NPR noted things such as most of the outside doors are closed, first responders actions, having the closest officers respond to take out the shooter, etc. However, experts say that Newtown presented another problem: the perception that school shootings are mainly in big cities. In this respect, the perception gives schools in smaller communities a false sense of security. That's something the NRA could use if and when it chooses to defend himself from the volley of attacks from angry people at the moment.
On Kotaku, is is reported that people are suggesting violent video games as a connection to the recent Newtown shootings. Anti-video game advocate Jack Thompson was quick to attack video games as the cause of the massacre. He even blamed video games for the VT Massacre.
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