Another poster family for gun control

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A 10 month old baby, two young children, and one adult were murdered by a gun toting Illinoian, who then killed him/her self. I would like to suggest that this household should not have had firearms in it. The children were not part of the argument that led to this carnage.

And no, it is not true that the same thing could have happened by using Scotch Tape or a piece of rope or some poison.

A family of five, including a baby and two other children, was found shot to death in the small eastern Illinois farming town of Emington, a county official said Friday.
Livingston County board member Bob Young, who lives in Emington, said the dead included a man, a woman, an infant, a first grader and a fourth grader. The family had moved to the town about 80 miles southwest of Chicago within the last six months and the two older children attend school in nearby Saunemin, Young said. The street where the family lived was closed by police, he said.

Details here and here.

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6 thoughts on “Another poster family for gun control

  1. An alternate title to your post might be something along the lines of “another poster family for better health care (including mental health)”.

    It’s always popular to jump on the gun control bandwagon when a terrible tragedy like this occurs.

    And:

    And no, it is not true that the same thing could have happened by using Scotch Tape or a piece of rope or some poison.

    Not possible? Just last week:
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/209960/woman-asphyxiates-three-children-hangs.html

    Maybe we should institute pillow, rope, and knife control too.

    Ugh.

  2. Niam, I have not jumped on any bandwagons.

    You, however, have. Your reference to a smothering event is insensitive, inaccurate, and indicative of a dogmatic position that is indeed a bandwagon.

    When firearms are used in violent acts, including and especially suicide but probably most of the “household” (or workplace) variety acts, the death rates are demonstrably higher. A killing (of others or self) is far more likely to be successful when using a firearm than any other method. Please familiarize yourself with the research and statistics on this (and no, I’m not going to do your homework for you) before making such statements.

    Also, with certain kinds of violent acts that lead to injury or death, where mental health is involved, interventions often lead to a better outcome. It is most easily demonstrated with suicide. Failed suicide attempts followed by interventions usually don’t lead to a successful suicide, but only a small percentage of suicides attempted with firearms fail.

    “Kills family, self” cases are too infrequent to have good statistics on this sort of thing, but it is reasonable to very strongly suspect that if fewer people had guns laying around and easily accessible that fewer things like this would happen.

    The fact that the gun lobby insists on zero restrictions for firearms is irresponsible, cynical, obnoxious, in humane and has to stop.

  3. Easy Greg, I am not in complete disagreement with you regarding gun control. I merely disagree with one statement, and the emotionally charged strawman argument you make with it (see my explanation of this below). I am all for talking about things rationally, but your post was not. Thus my distaste for part of your post.

    Your reference to a smothering event is insensitive,…

    No more insensitive than the original blog post. I was merely referencing another tragedy; if that is insensitive, what does it say about the fact that you wrote an entire blog post about one? You are allowed to reference a tragedy, but I am in the wrong for doing the same? A close friend of mine took his own life with a gun in his early teens; the sensitivity of the issue is not lost on me, I can assure you.

    …inaccurate,…

    Can you explain how this example is inaccurate? I wasn’t making a claim, merely refuting a claim you made with a factual example. I’m sure you aren’t refuting the tragedy I referenced, but I don’t know what you are referring to by “inaccurate”.

    …and indicative of a dogmatic position that is indeed a bandwagon.

    I have not even stated my position on gun control, you are overreaching here. I merely said that your statement is incorrect:

    it is not true that the same thing could have happened by using Scotch Tape or a piece of rope or some poison

    I am merely referencing another incident that disproves your statement indicating that these tragedies only occur with guns. “Less likely to have the same outcome”, yes. “Could have happened no other way”, incorrect. And an apparent attempt to strengthen your case by flat out misrepresenting an alternative (i.e. strawman) doesn’t help your case. If I am mistaken about your intention here, I apologize; your post is brief and appears to be quite emotional (as appears your response to me) and nonverbal intentions can be easily misconstrued with text.

    When firearms are used in violent acts… the death rates are demonstrably higher.

    Of course. History has shown that, as sentient creatures, humans are very good at deriving new ways of killing each other more efficiently.

    A killing (of others or self) is far more likely to be successful when using a firearm than any other method. Please familiarize yourself with the research and statistics on this (and no, I’m not going to do your homework for you) before making such statements.

    I never claimed otherwise, again you assume; please don’t put words in my mouth. Again, I was merely disproving your statement that tragedies do, in fact, occur with anything up to and including a perpetrator’s bare hands; I was in no way making a statement about success rates. I am well aware that about two thirds of murders in the US are committed using firearms. I am also aware of the 36,000 gun deaths every year in the U.S., 51% are suicides and 44% are homicides. And your assumption that I don’t know what I am talking about shows a bit of unnecessary, and maybe even unwarranted, hubris.

    Failed suicide attempts followed by interventions…

    I agree with everything in this paragraph but was referring to proactive intervention, not after the fact. Yes, sometimes things escalate to a tragedy with very little time (or none) for an intervention, but often these things are premeditated to some degree. Jared Lee Loughner is one recent example that comes to mind where better laws may have prevented that incident (Arizona is particularly lax when it comes to gun control).

    …it is reasonable to very strongly suspect that if fewer people had guns laying around and easily accessible that fewer things like this would happen

    Depends on what you are referring to with “fewer things like this”. If you are referring to the number of attempted murder/suicide incidents, I disagree as people generally find a way to accomplish what they set out to do. If you are referring to the high probability of a lower success rate using an alternate method, I agree completely.

    The fact that the gun lobby insists on zero restrictions for firearms is irresponsible, cynical, obnoxious, in humane and has to stop.

    I never said anything about “zero restrictions”, and I don’t stand with the gun lobby. In fact, we are in violent agreement here. While I don’t how you would go about changing this, personally I think there are some very good restrictions that could (and should) be implemented (either in every state or at the federal level) without being overbearing. The coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns runs the website Trace The Guns that, while specifically attempting to reduce illegal gun trafficking, is a good start when it comes to sensible gun control. Admittedly, depending on when the gun was acquired this particular incident may not have been prevented. However that doesn’t affect my very point: if not with a gun, it could very well have been accomplished by other means.

    I also agree with the very first paragraph of your post where you indicate that “this household should not have had firearms in it”. Of course; hindsight is 20/20.

    Are you aware that a neighbor heard the commotion, went into her backyard to see what was going on, and witnessed the mother shoot the youngest child? One could argue just as easily that, had that neighbor been armed, the situation may not have ended with as many casualties. There is certainly scant evidence indicating more gun control prevents crime.

    I don’t state this as fact because we currently don’t know. Comparing crime deterrence statistics in states with liberal gun ownership laws vs. restrictive states can give some information, but doesn’t control for a ton of variables that could influence the likelihood of crime in the first place. The New York Times had a good piece about this very issue.

    Are we moving into an age where society is more civilized and less violent? I would like to hope so, and Stephen Pinker’s new book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” provides some hope. Are we there yet? Not even close.

    Situations like this certainly warrant disgust and similar emotions, and you have every right to express them. But if we want to make progress on these issues, let’s try to be careful about the factual arguments we make in the process.

    – Niam

  4. Naive. Gun control is not the issue here. Mental health is the issue.

    At least one in this family had a mental issue that was not diagnosed and/or treated. It is naive to jump to the conclusion that the means is the cause. Get out and read some more, experience more, open your mind.

    I’ve read several similar stories. One in which the mother drowns the children. It is horrible but it happens.

    If you want to use your time more productively, find out how we can reach out and help families that may be under emotional stress.

  5. Niam: am all for talking about things rationally, but your post was not.

    I promise you that a 2,000 word comment that starts with that gets put on the back burner. I’ll see about reading it later if I have time.

    Advice: Never lead with the dismissive statement. You could find yourself dismissed.

    Rob: Mental health is an issue here. I was unaware that there was a “one issue at a time” rule.

  6. It’s not just about mental health. It’s not just about gun control. It’s also about people not pulling crap like this:

    “As they fill in some of the blanks on the life and times of Derek Jensen, it’s clear they’re still on a roller-coaster. At some points they try desperately to defend their friend, expressing collective anger over the widespread use of an image from Jensen’s now-disabled Facebook page that shows him aiming a rifle.”

    This guy saw his ex-girlfriend at a bar with a few other guys, pushed her around, got hauled away by his friends…then a short while later, he gunned down his ex, the guys she was with, and another girl who was with them. And then killed himself.

    And his friends claim they need to remember him as the guy they love. And hooray for blaming everything or everyone except the person who pulls the trigger.

    I hate guns. I hate what they’ve done to our species. I hate the fact that certain members of our species feel compelled to invent new and better and more impersonal ways to kill other people. Is it because it takes so much more strength, courage, and endurance to build rather than destroy? Double hooray for taking the easier route that harms people.

    No, this story isn’t about a parent killing his/her children, but I find it to be the same mentality: this is my property and I will do with it as I damn well please.

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