A Final Thought on Gun Violence and the Shootings At Sandy Hook Elementary School

What leads one to purchase a small arsenal of assault style firearms unless you are part of a militia in a war-torn country or a member of a drug cartel?  What drives some of those in the U.S. to purchase an excess of guns to feel secure in their homes?

 thoughtful ape

As more information evolves from the tragic killings of twenty 1st-graders and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a profile has emerged of the mother of Adam Lanza, who herself was killed by her son prior to the school massacre.  Nancy Lanza was killed with an assault rifle she purchased along with two other semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun and a hunting rifle.

Away from her house, friends characterized the 52-year old sandy-haired mom of Adam Lanza as a generous soul, who was willing to share the substantial income she received in an amiable divorce from her husband, Peter, in 2008.  She was well-liked by her neighbors and many of the friends she played bunco with, a favorite parlor game of this small, affluent New England community.

But hidden beneath the surface was a woman who not only dealt with the looming threat from ever-increasing behavior problems of her young adult son who had Asperger’s syndrome, but one who had come to assimilate the fear that an economic collapse in this country was just around the corner.  This latter state of mind drove her to start making preparations for such an event and in so doing, led her to purchase an assortment of weapons she perhaps felt were necessary to fend off those who hadn’t prepared and would thus come after those who did.

Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.

“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”    SOURCE 

As this revelation manifested itself, I couldn’t help but think how this “survivalist” seed that was planted in her mind was the origins of a crime that would shock a nation that was already becoming numb from the growing number of mass killings in this country.  Who would have thought that the fear that gripped people like those at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians in Waco would be a causal factor that has now changed the way we look at gun ownership.

What was always a part of the end-timer fears found amongst small contingents of anti-government and zealous religious groups – usually blue-collar types with no more than a high school education at best – became a way of life for Nancy Lanza who was more a part of upper middle-income lifestyles that included a college education and an income derived from Wall Street activities.


There is a veritable smorgasbord of personalities and cults who preach that end-time conditions are upon us.  There has been for as long as I have been alive.  But it seems that such groups have become more pronounced over the last few years, ever since that “socialist” Obama was elected, implementing policies that some people have concluded will lead to economic ruin.

Though many of the people who take this tact genuinely feel that prophecies regarding an Armageddon are in place, there are those who raise this level of paranoia to take advantage of people’s fear simply to turn a buck for their own self-gain.  People like self-proclaimed survivalist movement “pioneer” Miles Stair.

Stair has written a series of booklets and newsletters on such a movement and created a website, the End-Times Report where he warns adherents that “Time is fast running out to get preparations done for hard times.”  One of the booklets he hawks on this website is entitled Survival Reloading that tells readers to “Keep your rifles and handguns shooting with properly reloaded ammunition using portable reloading equipment.”   It comes as no surprise either that Mr. Stair also has another business he calls the Wick Shoppe that just happens to sell “the world’s largest selection of … quality kerosene items since 1999.”

I have no idea where Nancy Lanzer’s source of information came from about preparing for economic hard times that likely suggested arming herself.  Nor do I want to dwell on this subject matter that has led many to spend what resources they have preparing for a dark day that exists more in the minds of people who are too easily convinced of such fears than planning for a future of promise and growth.

But I do raise this aspect that is now related to the tragedy in Newtown to demonstrate that guns in this country, once viewed as a source gathering food and a defense against unknown threats in frontier regions, has evolved into a culture that now makes this country the primary marketer of firearms around the world.

In 2011, US corporations sold 75% of all the arms sold in the international weapons market, some $66 billion of the $85 billion trade. Russia was the runner-up with only $4 billion in sales.

The US share of the arms trade to the Middle East has burgeoned so much in the past decade that it now dwarfs the other suppliers, as this chart [pdf] from a Congressional study makes clear.   SOURCE 


It is this culture of guns and their destructive capabilities we have developed along with other factors that create a fertile medium where the seeds of mass killings are planted in the minds of vulnerable people like Nancy’s son Adam.  Most people who own guns to feel secure in their homes likely pose no threat to their community.

Not counting the innocent deaths of children who get ahold of their parents’ poorly secured guns and accidentally discharge them, guns are relatively safe until they get into the hands of that small percentage of people who are not legally qualified to own firearms and fall through the cracks.   Background checks are required only with licensed dealers.  Roughly 40% of the guns sold in this country are sold through gun shows and individuals who are not required to perform essential background checks.  In the harried minds of such sick people who may also have been overwhelmed by socio-political tensions common today, guns will kill more people much easier than any other weapon at their disposal.

crayons before bullets

It is in this understanding that the efforts to regulate guns in American society needs to be addressed.  Personally I would have no problem with it if guns were no longer a part of our lives.  I did my share of game hunting as a youth and qualified with the M-14 rifle while serving in the Marines.  I know their deadly capabilities when operated by thoughtful owners.  I shutter at the death and destruction they exact in the hands of desperate criminals and mentally imbalanced individuals.

The insane notion aroused in many by the gun industry’s handmaiden, the National Rifle Association (NRA) that any all firearms are legitimate wares to offer the general public, has proven to be a nothing more than a deception to increase the profits of some 114 manufacturers in this country.  Though on the surface they argue the more benign view that Americans have a right to feel secure in their homes, there is that underbelly of fear promoted by the other for-profit groups that create an unwarranted urgency to stock pile weapons in the events of economic collapse brought on by political upheavals or long-held prophecies of spiritual Armageddon.  Alleged threats that often peter out shortly after they’re declared but which constantly keep some people on edge.

It is this frame of mind that Nancy Lanza apparently found herself a part of several years ago.  A belief that required the purchase of deadly weapons and found a home in a place where a child with serious mental disorders would eventually get his hands on them and end the lives of 26 innocent people, most of them still years away from experiencing the joys of adolescent love and building a life around their dreams.

…the evidence is clear: we have the current gun laws — ineffective as they are — because we have neglected a right even more important to Americans than the right to bear arms: the right to be safely unarmed.   SOURCE

The belief that the 2nd amendment was meant for anything other than forming a “well-armed militia” to feel secure in our communities or personal ownership of a simple firearm to feel secure in our homes is a false belief fostered by people who see potential earnings in the fear-gripped minds of otherwise normal, decent human beings.  That their passions for profits would lead to a siege mentality in this country and put deadly weapons in the hands of people who cannot function rationally in everyday society is something that needs to be exposed.

The public debate on this issue should not be focused on taking guns away from the majority who own them, but to ensure that those who do are the least likely people to walk into a crowded mall, theater, school or public square and fire off multiple rounds in seconds, ripping flesh and bone from people who simply had the misfortune of being in what most would consider a safe environment.  This is the conversation we need to start having now so those who complain that the blood isn’t yet dried from this recent tragedy won’t be making similar absurd remarks the next time it occurs.



We can Fix the Gun Problem

13 responses to “A Final Thought on Gun Violence and the Shootings At Sandy Hook Elementary School

  1. We went through a similar period with the Y2K hysteria, and in some ways, the “Mayan Apocalypse 2012!” is a repeat. The thing that the hysteria promoters learned from Y2K was that there is big money in playing on people’s fears. Which leads them down the wrong path.

    The reality is something they should know – because there’s real examples. When real-life disasters and “chaos” hits, people don’t hole up in their bunkers shooting neighbors. They band together and help out.

    • ” When real-life disasters and “chaos” hits, people don’t hole up in their bunkers shooting neighbors. They band together and help out.”

      Agreed. What seems to have transpired over the last few years is this isolationist notion that individual freedom supercedes everything, even to the detriment of the society that we live in and are dependent upon for our survival. This morose view that our “collective nature’s” are something foreign is part of sick mentality that people like Ted Kaczynski hold.

      • They also forget that the reason our species has gotten this far is that we’re social</em. animals. The "lone survivor" routine is a myth. I pointed out somewhere else a while back that all the people with the big stockpiles are doing is making themselves convenient warehouses and targets for the desperate masses. 🙄

        There's a difference between being prepared for a disaster and being a "survivalist."

  2. Let us put blame where it is due…….in the beginning the NRA represented gun owners and hunters but over the years it is more a lobby for gun manufacturers then us lowly owners…..and when people that their CEO says that Obama will come for their guns is a lie……and there are those that allow this prick to spout crap and make it sound legit…..Congress is in it for the cash an d the NRA has lots of cash…….hopefully the debate will be more realistic this time…..

  3. Hopefully we have finally reached the tipping point where the voices of reason overshadow the greed of gun manufacturers, politicians happily accepting NRA $, and other pro-gun advocates out only for their own self-interest.

  4. We used to watch that doomsday prepper show as comedy. We won’t watch it again, for we now see the reality of what can happen when the mind goes over the cliff and secumbs to end of the world scenarios. Funny but at the end of each segment, the show gives the “statistical probability” of whatever disaster the person feels is about to occur. It is usually in the less than 1% range. Yet often times they are engaging their children in this fear and bizarre thinking as well. That really makes me sick.

  5. I get the sense that the public is truly getting fed up. And we’ve witnessed the power of people having their voices heard over the nonsense spewing from our elected officials. The responsible gun owners will weigh in finally and distance themselves from the lunatics. The tide turned and we can now talk about solutions. It’s too bad we had to have the Sandy Hook tragedy to get there.

    • “The responsible gun owners will weigh in finally and distance themselves from the lunatics. The tide turned and we can now talk about solutions.”

      From your lips to the ears of the leadership in this country that will be considering these necessary changes Jean.

  6. I’d count myself among the responsible gun owners, having two hunting rifles. I would gladly see them gone if we got rid of all guns, if it meant the lives of children. I don’t think ti needs to go that far, however, if we can all be sane, and voices like yours, LB, are a big step in that direction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s