I’ve had a number of tabs open on my computer about stories you should check out reading the shooting.
Here are a few:
Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed: As Candidate In 2008, President Obama Promised Tougher Gun Laws.
During his first year in office President Obama signed into law more repeals of federal gun policies than President George W. Bush did during his eight years in office, according to the Brady Campaign. The President, speaking after the tragic shooting in Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children said “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”
But the President has failed to live up to a promise he made during his first campaign for the presidency during which, he said in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times that he would push for stronger gun laws.
After the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and others at a supermarket in Tucson in early 2011, the Justice Department drew up a detailed list of steps the government could take to expand the background-check system in order to reduce the risk of guns falling into the hands of mentally ill people and criminals.
Most of the proposals, though, were shelved at the department a year ago as the election campaign heated up and as Congress conducted a politically charged investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case, according to people familiar with the internal deliberations. It is not clear which, if any, of the conclusions were relayed to the White House.
Reporters and producers around the country, frantically searching for information online about the alleged school shooter, found what seemed like a match. Ryan Lanza, 24, was believed responsible for the deaths of 27 people in Newtown, Conn., at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Facebook profile showed a Ryan Lanza from Newtown, Conn., who currently lives in Hoboken, N.J. — a male who looks like he’s in his 20s. The photo fit the description, so countless news orgs ran with it in stories and tweets.
Problem is, it was the wrong guy.
The Onion, about the Aurora theater shooting this summer in Colorado – still relevant, and eerily spot on,”Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado Shooting’s Aftermath Will Play Out“:
The nation’s citizens also confirmed that, any time now, some religious figure or cable news personality will say something unbelievably insensitive about the tragic shooting.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been through this a lot, and I pretty much have it down to a science when President Obama will visit Colorado, when he will meet with the families of those who lost loved ones, and when he will give his big speech that people will call ‘unifying’ and ‘very presidential,'” Jacksonville resident Amy Brennen, 32, said, speaking for every other person in the country. “Nothing really surprises me when it comes to this kind of thing anymore. And that makes me feel terrible.”
“Oh, and here’s another thing I hate I know,” Brennen continued, “In exactly two weeks this will all be over and it will be like it never happened.”
Steve Kornacki at Salon, “When Democratis gave up on guns,” from April of this year:
It’s probably worth remembering how this situation came about. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Democrats proudly trumpeted their support for gun control. Crime rates were much higher, so the issues polled well, and when Bill Clinton became president in 1993 he managed to push the long-stalled Brady bill, which mandated a five-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun, through Congress and into law. A federal ban on assault weapons followed a year later, and while Democrats paid a real price with gun owners and rural voters in the 1994 midterms, Clinton had no trouble winning a second term in 1996.
The gun control turning point came in 2000, when Al Gore lost a number of states – West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas and even his native Tennessee – with substantial populations of rural and small-town lower-income white voters that Clinton had carried 1992 and ’96. At the same time, Gore improved on his party’s traditional performance in large metro areas with more affluent, culturally liberal voters, producing a virtual tie in the national popular vote and a national electoral map dominated by Republican red.
“Values,” it was decided, were at the heart of this shift, with lower-income whites buying into the Republican claim that Gore embodied a national Democratic Party hostile to their way of life. Disgust with Clinton’s second-term sex scandal and Gore’s own environmentalism were part of this, but the post-election consensus held that gun control had played a major role. If they were ever going to win back the lower-income whites they had lost, Democrats decided, they would have to change their approach to gun issues.
Joan Walsh at Salon, “Sorry Jay Carney, now’s the time to talk about guns“:
Jay Carney’s a decent guy, but the notion that we can’t politicize tragedy, and we can’t let a horrific act like a school shooting immediately galvanize action, contributes to paralysis and impotence. As Colin Goddard, a Virginia Tech victim, noted on MSNBC Friday: “We see these tragedies, we express our condolences, and that’s where it ends.” It can’t keep ending there. Leaders need to lead.
Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about ‘Basketball Diaries’?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.
The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. “Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”
In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon, “The NRA is the enabler of mass murderers”:
New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler called for a “war” on the National Rifle Association in light of the mass shooting in Connecticut today in an interview with Salon, saying the gun lobby group is the “enabler of mass murderers.”
Nadler, a rare fierce advocate of gun control on Capitol Hill, said the shooting should be a wake-up call to our “crazy attitude to guns” and the power of the gun lobby. He noted that other modern industrialized countries like the U.K., Sweden and Germany witness fewer than 50 gun homicides every year, compared to the roughly 10,000 people killed here. The difference, he said, is that they have “rational gun control regimes,” while we can barely even discuss gun control thanks to the power of the gun lobby.
“Al-Qaida killed 3,000 people in the World Trade Center in 2001. The United States went to war because of that. Because of the NRA, we’ve lost 10,000 people last year unnecessarily. It’s time we went to war,” he said. “And you have to say the National Rifle Association is the enabler of mass murderers. And we’ve got to stomp on them instead of kowtowing to them.”
And finally, the Onion sums up the national mood at the Sandy Hook shooting:
F*ck Everything, Nation Reports
Just F*ck It All To Hell