Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I don't know what to think...

Part of me is ready to don a Reynold's Wrap yarmulke. I mean, once is a fluke, twice is coincidence, and three times means enemy action, right? I know it's pure paranoia to think it, but when you read
In the nearby town of Bart, Roberts dropped his own children off at their bus stop.

He said farewell to his wife. "He told her he loved her and that was it," said State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller.


At home, Roberts had left "rambling" suicide notes, Miller said. Roberts' wife found one and tried to call him. He returned her call on his cell phone and said he wouldn't be coming home.

Miller said Roberts told his wife that "he was acting out to achieve revenge for something that happened 20 years ago."
you instinctively wonder if he signed off the call by saying "I have miles to go and promises to keep" in a dull monotone.

Of course, such conspiracies are nonsense. The fringe elements that propagate those theories seem to forget that they are accusing the same government that can't get a letter across town in a week (or even keep a presidential blowjob a secret) of orchestrating a machiavellian plot worthy of the next Dan Brown novel. The truth is more depressing yet:

Some people are just broken.

For some twisted reason, a reason we will likely never know, a grown male decided that the solution to his life's problems lay in killing a classroom full of young girls before turning his gun on himself. Just all out of the blue and with no warning whatsoever. How do you stop that?

You can't.

How can you predict, prepare?

This being a "gun blog", I know what you're about to say, and it was my gut reflex, too, but it's wrong. This was Amish country. Even if it was legal for teachers in Pennsylvania to get licensed to carry a firearm, there probably wouldn't have been one there; the Amish aren't notably violent people. For the anti-gun reader ready to pipe up in comments, pipe down. This was a grown man in a classroom of children. Young women. Young women belonging to a placid and non-violent faith. He could have walked into that room with a Louisville Slugger instead of a pistol and had his way just the same. He gave no warning. There was nothing to stop him.

So the end result is that this is something about as predictable and avoidable, terrifying and saddening as a tornado.

And, cold comfort that it is, thankfully a lot rarer.


geekWithA.45 said...

Well said!

Though FYI, PA's "safe school" law, which prohibits weapons in schools, does contain a "lawful purposes" defense clause, which is generally interpreted to mean that weapons lawfully carried for lawful purposes is acceptable.

PA's constitution provides that the keeping & bearing of arms for defense of the self or the state shall not be questioned, establishing the lawfullness of the self defense purpose.

Unfortunately, most school districts prohibit teacher carraige as a matter of policy, usually misquoting the law for justification.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put. Some people will never admit that there is no defense against a person who is determined to do harm and is willing to die. I feel so sad for the children that have died in these school shootings.

Tennessee Budd said...

Evil bastard could've saved a lot of grief & just offed himself.
Here's hoping he doesn't enjoy hell, not one tiny bit.

WE Olsen said...

That troll left many a warning sign the past few weeks, but nobody recognized that he was a lit fuse. No he has ruined many lives in a peaceful community.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Let faculty go armed. Period. That's the only workable solution.

treefroggy said...

"I understand your belief in
nonresistance and pacifism. Does this principal extend to personal situations where you are confronted with imminent evil -- say a known murderer confronting you and your family in your home? Can you use force to preserve your life in this situation? To what extent? What is the Biblical basis for your position?"
"Both Amish and Mennonites are committed to a lifestyle of peace and non-violence. Yes, this pervades every aspect of life. However, no one can predict with certainty how anyone would really react to an absolutely unprecedented crisis such as described above. Emotions as well as thoughts are involved and the situation is personalized. Having said this, we would hope that as people who have practiced a lifestyle of peace, we would not resort to force and violence in a crisis situation such as the one described.
We must briefly make several points:

There is no assurance that use of force would save my life or the life of my family if confronted by an attacker.
We could recall many accounts of unhoped for deliverances, whether by mediation, nature, or divine Providence, when Christians refused to use force when confronted by an attacker.
If the result is death at the hands of the attacker, so be it; death is not threatening to us as Christians. Hopefully the attacker will have at least had a glimpse of the love of Christ in our nonviolent response.
The Christian does not choose a nonviolent approach to conflict because of assurance it will always work; rather the Christian chooses this approach because of his/her commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.
The analogy to war in the situation described above tends to break down when we think of the vast preparations for war -- accumulation of weapons, training of the military, etc. War is planned and seldom is aggression so clearly defined with the defense staying on its home turf.
Some of the Biblical references for peace and non-resistance are: Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 12:18-21; and I Corinthians 6:18."

Suzy's DH said...

Tam, Well Said! You seem to have grasped exactly the sentiments I was trying to share with my wife this morning as we discussed this sad event and put them into words where I could not. As a pro gunner literally a couple of weeks from starting a career as a teacher, these recent shootings really drive home my belief in armed, trained teachers. Unfortunately, that is not an option here in Texas.
Keep Up the great posts. Ken

treefroggy said...

I apologize for the lengthy post which comes from a FAQ run by a former member of the Old Order Amish sect. It seems that self-defense of any kind would be a moot point. At least in theory.

Mushy said...

Yes, very eloquent.

staghounds said...

They all leave signs. So do thousands of other depressed, angry, lonely, sad, fouled up people, every day. And people who aren't any of those things, too.

What do we do with the "signs"? Nothing. Who can imagine that someone he knows will do a thing like this?

There is no answer. When someone reads about human greatness or heroism, he doesn't say "What went wrong? There were signs. Why didn't we intervene to stop this shocking step away from normal human behaviour?"

The school killer is the other end of the bell curve is all. If we can have John Quinton, we will have school shooters.

It is just sad that it's true.

IndianCowboy said...

I'm not Amish, but I was born and raised in a nonviolent religion myself: Hinduism.

the Bagavad Gita is considered one of our most holy works, and funnily enough a decent chunk of it revolves around understanding when the nonviolent must nevertheless take up arms.

The Dalai Lama himself has said that if someone were to attack you, there would be nothing wrong with shooting him.

I'm a firearms enthusiast and a trained boxer. I don't start fights. But every now and then I've been duty bound to. To defend those in my charge, those who it was my obligation to protect.

Hiding behind nonviolence is not a good enough excuse to forsake the duty of defending your own.

shawn said...

A few thoughts. First armed teachers in an Amish school..unlikely. Amish do own fireams and hunt, they aren't Quakers remember. But still very unlikely, based just on probabilities of need.
Second is two conflicting thoughts, first Tam as you said"I don't want to go out like that" and if some one or better several someones had resistited would it have stopped or at least reduced the death toll? But the age and insularity(?) of the victums argues agaist it happening. But still...?
As to warning signs, I recall a book by one of the two founders of the FBI's serial killer profile unit, (Who ever battles monsters?) in which he gave the signs of the typical person who becomes a serial killer. The problem is that in any moderate sized city you can find several dozen to hundreds of people who fit the profile and 99.8% never fall over into the darkness. But when that final stressor hits those few and they fall.......well it doesn't matter if they walk into a fast food joint, a school, or a ferry boat with a samuri sword blood is going to follow.
This is why I oppose gun control laws. They will never stop this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

"Some of the Biblical references for peace and non-resistance are: Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 12:18-21; and I Corinthians 6:18."

Some that do not:

Exodus 22:2-"If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him...If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."
Psalms 144:1-"Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight."
Luke 22:36-"Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Also worth noting is that when Peter severed a guard's ear when they came to take Jesus, Jesus told him to put the sword back in it's place, but didn't tell him to get rid of it. Peter was interfering with scripture by defending Jesus from the Jews. I have a hard time (as someone with a faith-based upbringing) that God would have us to be defenseless and to succumb to evil.

Billy Beck said...

I would like to address a peripheral point, if I may:

"...the same government that can't get a letter across town in a week (or even keep a presidential blowjob a secret) of orchestrating a machiavellian plot worthy of the next Dan Brown novel."

And yet...

Let me draw your attention to "Operation Menu": elements of 15th Air Force, 7th Air Force, Strategic Air Command, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), a total of almost 20,000 individuals in Southeast Aisa, the Pentagon (very selectively, and only to manage "an elaborate dual reporting system to divert information from normal channels"), Norodom Sihanouk, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Melvin Laird, and "a few sympathetic members of Congress" (see Karnow): This was the illegal bombing of Cambodia, which was planned to go on for fourteen months "in total secrecy", excluding (not trivially) the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff.

I've pointed it out before: if that's not a large-scale "conspiracy", then there is no such thing. It was actually undertaken and in progress for months before the New York Times broke it open. Now, that fact might be taken to validate the attitude about this stuff which holds that they can never get away with it, but that misses the real point: we're not talking about the smartest people in the world; they're merely among the most audacious. If they see an angle on it, they'll try it.

I might also point out the MK-ULTRA LSD experiments at CIA under Richard Helms, or the Tuskegee Institute syphilis experiments. The former existed completely in the dark for twenty years, and the latter was actively conducted for forty years before any of it saw the light of day.

Here's my general point: it is an important mistake to dismiss "conspiracy theories" so blithely as many people do, these days. The fact is that they can certainly exist exactly as those derided as "conspiracy theorists" maintain. The three examples I've brought make the point conclusively.

The essential question is whether the facts fit the theories. And only investigation can conclude, one way or the other. Anyone who blankly dismisses "conspiracy theories" exactly the way that a Dan Rather would, is announcing their disqualification from discussion.

Don't do it.

Zendo Deb said...

School shootings occur for one simple reason (aside from the broken-people reason Tam mentions.) It is the same reasone post-office shootings occur and church shootings.

Disarmed victim zones invite this kind of thing.

And there are several members of my family who are/were in education. I can think of only one who MIGHT be trusted with a gun in a situation like this. Teachers today are not cut from the "violent self-defense" cloth. They are more the "hide under the desk" types. Armed guards would be required. Since in at least one recent case, an unarmed guard, manning the metal detector was the first person to die.

Kristopher said...

Public Schools are too dangerous ... too many easy victims in one place.

Shut them down. Children should either be homeschooled, or taught in a private acadamy with proper security.

Banning Public Schools will fix this faster than trying to ban weapons.

pax said...

Just. One. Person.

That's all it would have taken. Just one. One person with the courage and the tools to fight back.

Just one.

So it's Amish country, and non-violence is a way of life there. And guns aren't allowed on school grounds. And these were young girls, not adults.

But it would only have taken ... ONE.