Thursday, October 1, 2015

Yet Another Shooting

Students evacuating the school (NR Today)
Seems a bit ridiculous, right? Sadly, at around 10 this morning, a shooting occurred on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon. The shooter's identity has not been revealed, but he has reportedly killed and injured up to 20 people before being killed (whether by the police or himself).

This shooting incident is likely to bring up the topic of gun regulations again. President Obama has taken this chance to push for more action on that topic, claiming that "somehow this has become routine... We've become numb to this." "This" refers to his response, the media's response, the response of opponents of gun regulations, and more importantly, the response of the people (or lack thereof). It is likely that this shooting will just become one of the many shootings of this year that will have no significant response. Furthermore, if this problem is not addressed this time around, when the next shooting comes around (which it will), the aftermath will be another case of rinse and repeat. You would think that by repeatedly seeing mass shootings, people would be more inclined to enact stricter gun regulations to protect the public, or even just themselves.

I believe that the fundamental problem in our nation's ability to protect its citizens is allowing guns to be so readily available in the first place. However, in order for change to occur, people who oppose stronger gun regulation need to realize that letting everyone have guns to protect themselves doesn't necessarily mean everyone will take the chance to do so. In fact, solving this issue of frequent violence by advocating for a solution that creates even more violence is certainly not the answer.

With that said, do you believe that in the wake of this shooting, people will be ready to start answering to calls for stronger gun regulation? Or if this incident is not "motivating" enough, when do you believe people will deem this issue as pressing enough to start acting?

Links:
ABC News
NR Today
NBC News

8 comments:

Grant Hillman said...

I can explain exactly why opponents of gun regulation won't change their minds after this shooting. It's because this shooting was not the result of firearms being "too easily accessible" as gun-grabbers (for lack of a better term) would like to lead you to believe.

I posted a very similar comment to this one on Juliana's post about the Delta State shooting a few weeks ago. The reason for this is because Delta State and Umpqua Community College have something in common: both universities ban any and all firearms on campus.
https://web.archive.org/web/20150316175339/http://umpqua.edu/safety-security-information
From the Safety and Security Guidelines: "Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited."
In short, pretty much anything even resembling a gun is banned from campus. However, the shooting still took place. I said this on the last post regarding a shooting, but I'll say it again: I think American universities should follow the lead of universities in Texas and allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus. I'm not advocating for students to walk around with AR-15s strapped across their shoulders, but I think allowing concealed weapons is a very smart (and actually safe) precaution to take. Here's a question for you: In which situation do you think a school shooter would be more successful - in a "gun-free zone" like in this case in which no one is able to defend themselves, or in a location in which somebody could potentially shoot back?
For all of Obama's talk about gun control being the "common sense" option, all of these "gun-free" college campuses seem to be the real threat to our safety. I say we abolish "gun-free zones" first,then see what happens.

Nick Jadallah said...

I agree with Grant in that there needs to be something done about gun control. After every school shooting, the White House always makes some strong statement regarding gun regulations, but so far, no serious legislation has passed. With this said, I don't know if having concealed carry for teachers and students on campuses is the best way to go, especially if modeled after the laws and regulations in Texas, a state known for its loose firearm regulations. If ONLY teachers were allowed to carry firearms on their person, then that might be a safer, lower-risk option. Once you add students to the mix, that is when things could get dicey. You also have to take in to consideration that most people who carry out these shootings are mentally ill, and mentally ill people may not care whether or not people have guns where they are going. The best option, in my opinion, is to have stricter gun laws, like California and Massachusetts. In states like these, you have to register all firearms and obtaining permits to carry is much more difficult. If you have a history of being mentally ill, it would be much harder for a person to acquire a firearm ( part of CA background check involves hospital records). Also, it is important to understand why many people are opposed to stricter gun regulations. For example, some hunters may be afraid that new gun laws would somehow interfere with their ability to either purchase hunting weapons or go hunting. Organizations like the NRA are not helping that. The only (and most difficult) way to get around these organizations is to somehow convince them that new laws will not restrict their ability to the recreational use of guns, like hunting or target shooting. Their concerns do need to be respected. They feel just as bad as we do after what happened in Oregon. TO sum everything up, the harder it is to obtain firearms, the less likely it will be for school shootings to occur. The regulations do need to take in to account the concerns of recreational shooting groups. Good article...

Cami Nemschoff said...

After countless shootings and tragic events, it is time for our government to enact stricter laws on guns. However, unfortunately I do not think that this even is enough to tip the government to take action. Recently, there have been so many similar shootings, but action still has not been taken. Although Obama has come out in public and stated his dismise of such events that does not guarantee change. Following any mass shooting of this type, the President of course will express his greivances. However, after similar mass shootings the grievances expressed have been nothing but empty promises. Additonally, to address what Nick mentioned about giving teachers guns, I think that idea is absolutely ridiculous. For one, providing or even requiring people to have guns only further promotes the continuous idea of violence. Also, such actions could lead to so many unseen consequences and cause a variety of hazards to students. Yes, a teacher likely is more trustworthy than the average citizen (hopefully) but that does not mean all teachers should be given guns and the responsibility to use such guns in the case of a school shooting.

Juliana Stahr said...

Unfortunately, this incident will not be "motivating" enough to make calls for stronger gun regulations. This reason for this is simple: a bill would most likely not pass due to our very long and inefficient law-making process as a result to the partisan and competitive nature in our Congress today. I strongly believe that we should not attempt to pass a law on gun restrictions because well, it will NEVER pass. The effort is nice, but well, a waste of time. This is exactly what Congress has done over and over again, but still, a compromise will never be reached. Instead, we must educate the public on how to protect themselves without hurting the enemy. Why use guns when we can use other methods for protection? My friend's mother heard that several robberies were taking place in her neighborhood and some took place with the homeowners in their home! She was very concerned about this matter and wanted a way to protect herself in case thieves entered her home while she was there. This makes perfect sense. Did she go out and buy a dangerous weapon that could kill someone in seconds? No. Instead, she bought a taser gun. In my opinion, this is a much better method of protecting ourselves without completely killing an individual. We must educate the public in using better methods to protect ourselves. Similarly, pepper spray can be extremely beneficial. My friend keeps pepper spray on her keys and one in her purse to protect herself if she ever felt in danger. She tells me that this, "makes her feel safe." If a man were to approach her, she could simply take out her spray and use it on a man to free herself. All in all, we must limit the sale of guns because this simply promotes violence in our area. If we were to remove guns all together, these mass shootings were never to happen. In my opinion, guns should simply be used as a hobby and NOT as a form of protection. There are SEVERAL other ways we can protect ourselves without putting danger on others. If we were to simply hand out guns to everybody and tell them to use it for protection, how would they even know how to use them? Do we simply train everyone in this country to use a gun properly? How would we fund that? These irrational thoughts are not where the United States should be headed. We should feel safe in our country. In addition, to answer the question when will people begin to take again? Unfortunately, people will start to take action when it affects a large amount of people. These school shootings have happened many times, but have only affected a few number of people. Sadly, a large school shooting will give people the incentive to make changes to our gun laws. School shootings will hopefully come to an end and I hope this will be due to a sudden drop in gun sales.

Katherine Liu said...

Thank you for all your comments. I agree that it is unlikely that significant change will come from this incident, mainly because of how deeply rooted Americans are in their ways. With the state of our current government, it is also unlikely that a gun regulation bill will be passed successfully as well.

However, I still stand by my opinion that strict regulation of guns is the best, and most ideal, way to prevent mass shootings from happening so frequently in the first place. Since this is unlikely, I do agree with Juliana's statement that people also need to find ways to protect themselves that do not revolve around the use of guns. Doing so is definitely a step in the right direction because we need to start by attempting to change people's minds about the necessity of carrying a gun in everyday life. People shouldn't need to live in fear of being shot.

Also, some food for thought: while I was researching more on the topic, I came across a wikipedia page that is dedicated to only school shootings that happen in the US (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States). Although it dates all the way back to the 1800s, the list is still rather long.

In addition, I don't agree that stricter gun regulation will not make a difference. The example that I came across is one from Australia (http://mic.com/articles/123049/19-years-after-passing-strict-gun-control-laws-here-s-what-happened-in-australia). According to the article, Australia responded to a mass shooting about 25 years by passing stronger gun laws. There hasn't been a mass shooting incident ever since. This example clearly illustrates what could happen if our government simply took the necessary steps. However, I recognize that passing such a law is unlikely, or even impossible, with our current government, so this is probably just wishful thinking on my part. Even so, it is good to know that stricter gun regulation laws do have their intended effects.

Nick Jadallah said...

Cami-
I just want to clarify that when I brought up the point about teachers carrying firearms, I was just addressing one of Grant's points. Even though I would not go so far as to label the idea "ridiculous", I do think that a better option would be to enact legislation that makes it more difficult for just anyone to purchase firearms. Really the only scenario in which I would even consider supporting any kind of law that involves teachers carrying guns would be one that was managed at the federal or state government level, contained a provision for very RIGOROUS, in depth background checks, provided quality safety instruction, required regular practice/some form of continuing education ( I wouldn't want someone who took a class a couple years ago and who had not touched their firearm since using that firearm to try any protect me- there is a very serious risk that they could miss due to lack of practice), and mandated adequate funding to make sure that the program continues to run smoothly and safely. Even so, I would still be hesitant to embrace such a law and would much rather support more traditional firearm regulation. By this I mean better regulation of gun shows (lots of loopholes in those), more thorough background checks, longer waiting periods, etc.... I do still believe, however, than any legislation that passes does need to take into consideration the reasonable concerns of recreational shooting groups and hunters. Looking back at what I wrote, I understand how it could have been interpreted the way it did, but I did not intend for that to be the case. My apologies.
Thanks,
Nick

Horace He said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Horace He said...

Reposting since some things were inaccurate.

Juliana,
First of all, it's unfair to blame the lack of gun control laws on Congress's inefficiency.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx
As this poll makes clear, it's hardly true that there's widespread support for gun control that's being stymied by Congress's inefficiency.

As for this statement,
"Unfortunately, this incident will not be "motivating" enough to make calls for stronger gun regulations."

I feel like you're succumbing to availability bias here. This bias was covered in UnSpun I believe. It's the same bias that leads people to think breast cancer is a cause of death more common than it usually is, that leads people to think shark attacks are a major cause of death, and leads people to think that crime has increased over the last century.

Mass shootings by themselves should not be "motivation" enough to call for stricter gun control laws.

This study, conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council (both very respected unpartisan organizations), has this to say about using guns as protection.

"Defensive gun uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputes. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008."

On a whole, mass shootings are and should be considered a rare event. Sure, they're tragedies every time they happen, but the everyday person need not be concerned about being gunned down by a mad gunman. Especially compared to the defensive usage of guns, as explained in the quote above.

As to your point, that there are alternatives to guns for self-defense.
" This makes perfect sense. Did she go out and buy a dangerous weapon that could kill someone in seconds? No. Instead, she bought a taser gun. In my opinion, this is a much better method of protecting ourselves without completely killing an individual. We must educate the public in using better methods to protect ourselves. "

the study has this to say in response.

"Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was 'used' by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun - using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protection strategies,"

This study confirms the obvious; that guns are more effective than pepper-spray or tasers for protecting yourself. Just because pepper spray is a method for defending yourself does not mean that it is the best way of defending yourself. Sure I don't NEED to write things down with a pencil/pen (highlighters work), but they're a lot better.

In any debate, it's always dangerous to simplify issue. Guns may lead to violence, but it's oversimplifying things to say that reducing restrictions = more violence and increasing restrictions = less violence. Similarly, although tasers/pepper spray have their own advantages (not as expensive, less regulation, less potential for misuse), they certainly do not possess the efficacy of guns as a self defense tool.

-Horace