Saturday, December 29, 2012

We don't have a gun problem.

Usually cheaper than this.
We have an alcohol problem.
We have a drug problem.
We have a poverty problem.
We have a "Kids Being Stupid" problem.
We have a politics problem.
We have an anti-vaccine idiot problem.

We don't have a gun problem.

I'd really appreciate it if we could stop applying solutions that don't work to problems we don't have, creating new problems we didn't need.

I'm sure someone will claim I'm being obtuse and since few of you has my perspective, I'll be more clear.  I'm not being a pro-gun, pro-NRA stooge.  I'm not ignoring the real problems that many schools have. I'm not ignoring the problems that we do have.

And I'm not ignoring reality.

NOT one of my students, but I see
similar pictures all the time.
First, some information.  At least 50% of my students have guns in their homes. At least 25% of my students have their own guns (and a few are pink camoflage, too).  I know, because they've shown them to me. "Hey Mister, check this out.  I got this deer this weekend." (Shows me a cellphone picture of herself posing proudly with a 6-pointer and the rifle.) This is anyone from one of the seventh graders to one of the seniors.  First kill - they're typically thrilled out of their minds and showing everyone.

I won't say that everyone hunts in this state, but several schools just give up and cancel classes during the first days of hunting season. We don't, but I do get the requests for homework so they don't fall behind. I have friends who own multiple guns, some of which are loaded and lying on the windowsills of the home. It might be startling at first to see it, but the surprise quickly fades. In Brattleboro, you can see people walking down the street, naked except for boots and a hat, sometimes with a rifle over the shoulder.

The law in Vermont allows for adults to own, sell, carry a weapon with very few restrictions. Under 16 only need parental permission. It is legal to walk around with a weapon, concealed or not, except for a few places like schools and courthouses, etc.

Have we had a problem with guns in school? No.

Yes, there was a shooting in an Essex school (just outside of Burlington, the closest we can come to a city) in which a man came in during August work days to shoot his teacher girlfriend, but killed another teacher. A Jericho student killed himself. That's it, going back to the 1960s.

Have had a problem with guns, period? No.

There was a guy who shot at a tractor in the middle of a field and killed the farmer he couldn't see behind it. There was a drug dealer in Burlington. There are the occasional "hunting accidents" and other things, but nothing remotely like Adam Lanza. We have maybe five homicides a year. We DID have the farmer who was angry at the cops and crushed all eight cop cars with his tractor, though, but I don't figure that counts.

We have had more kids die from whooping cough than from school shootings. Can we shut up Jenny McCarthy instead?

Banning guns, getting all paranoid about locking doors, hiring cops, arming teachers, are all security theater .... worthless attempts to solve a problem that doesn't exist here by pretending to raise security. The problem is that they cost serious money while being worthless.

Governor Howard Dean was in favor of tighter gun control but got the NRA's A rating eight times because he refused to jump at shadows. A Canadian news program asked him why he never tried to pass any gun control laws.  He replied, "I would have, but I never found one that would work."

In the national campaign, he said,
"If I thought gun control would save lives in Vermont, I would support it. If you say “gun control” in Vermont or Tennessee, people think you want to take away their hunting rifle. If you say “gun control” New York or L.A., people are happy to see Uzi’s or illegal handguns taken off the streets. I think Vermont ought to be able to have a different set of laws than California. Let’s keep and enforce the federal gun laws we have, close the gun show loophole using Insta-check, and then let the states decide for themselves what if any gun control laws they want. We need to get guns off the national radar screen if Democrats are ever going to win again in the South and the West. Just as we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our school systems and what kind of welfare programs to have, we need to resist attempts to tell states how to deal with guns beyond existing Federal law. Source: Campaign web site,, “On the Issues” , Nov 30, 2002
Let's spend our limited resources on applying solutions that will work to counter something that IS a problem.


  1. "We have a {XYZ} problem ... We don't have a gun problem."

    Who is "we"? You talk about people in your local area and your state, so if that is "we" then perhaps you're right: "we" don't have a gun problem.

    However, if "we" is "the USA", then you're wrong. The USA has a gun problem. Compare its statistics on gun-related deaths, both deliberate and accidental, to those of any country that you would normally compare the USA to (UK, Canada, Australia, Europe, ...) and I think the unavoidable conclusion is that the USA has a gun problem. Other countries have problems with alcohol, drugs, idiots, politicians, etc., but they don't have (significant) problems with guns. The USA has too many guns in too many people's hands, and that's all there is to it.

    Your ideas about state-based solutions sound OK until you consider ease of access to goods in other states. A person's own state laws won't prevent them from acquiring guns and ammunition from another, more permissive, state.