December 14th, 2012

First reports on Connecticut school shooting

In another dreadful, outrageous, vile act of violence, a shooter (now dead) opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, about halfway between Hartford and New York City.

There have been extremely conflicting and shifting reports on the number of people killed, but as time has gone on the number reported dead has risen. Right now the NY Times says eighteen children were killed, with other fatalities as well. US News reports eighteen children and eight adults dead.

These figures will probably change. But it’s fairly clear that loss of life was profound in this horrific crime.

Other things are clear, too. One is that this will renew calls for more and more gun control. Another is that perpetrators will always be able to get guns. A third is that it doesn’t take guns if a person wants to do this sort of thing: the worst mass killing of schoolchildren in the US occurred in 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, and involved bombs.

You may never have heard of it before (perhaps because it doesn’t serve the anti-gun lobby), but here are the basic facts:

he Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–14 years of age attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the fourth-deadliest massacre in U.S. history, behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the Mountain Meadows massacre and 9/11.

The bomber was school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe, 55, who was enraged about a property tax levied to fund the construction of the school building. He blamed the additional tax for financial hardships which led to foreclosure proceedings against his farm. These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack…On the morning of May 18, Kehoe murdered his wife by beating her to death, then set his farm buildings afire. As fire fighters arrived at the farm, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many schoolchildren. He used a detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of pyrotol which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers started gathering at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and detonated a bomb inside his shrapnel-filled vehicle with his Winchester rifle, killing himself and the school superintendent, and killing and injuring several others. During rescue efforts searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol planted throughout the basement of the school’s south wing. Kehoe apparently had intended to blow up and destroy the whole school.

Shades of Columbine, where the perpetrators had rigged the school with bombs that in their case failed to go off, but which were intended to kill plenty more. This destructive nihilistic impulse seems to be behind many of these killings. We may learn in the present incident that the shooter had some connection to the school, some special beef. Or it may be a random act by a stranger.

Either way—bombs or guns, random or targeted—all are evil acts.

[NOTE: I’ll be curious to learn whether the school had metal detectors, and whether it had a policy of locking its doors or not.]

44 Responses to “First reports on Connecticut school shooting”

  1. Harold Says:

    News reports indicate the school locks up after the day starts and people need to be buzzed in.

    It is clear that Obama is responsible for this. He has blood on his hands. By creating a climate of hate and violence he must assume responsibility. Dead ambassador, union violence in Wisconsin and Michigan and now this, support of Muslim Brotherhood throughout the middle east.

  2. artfldgr Says:

    Shades of Columbine, where the perpetrators had rigged the school with bombs that in their case failed to go off, but which were intended to kill plenty more.

    Double tap

    A double tap or controlled pair is a shooting technique where two well-aimed shots are fired at the same target with very little time in between shots.

    Another meaning of “double tap” can also be a technique whereby a target is bombed from an aircraft, and then bombed again when relief efforts of the affected area are in effect.

    the tactics have been used by Russia, then used in things like bombing abortion clinics, and as you mention columbine… and other places.

    this is one of the reasons that people who are in the know really dont like the anti terror people who pretend to be in the know and helping.

    ie. they argue from ignorance and so do not know how silly this all sounds once you know other things.

    the other day i was arguing on an engineering site, as the first receiver made with 3D prototyping machines was under discussion.

    remember, these were ENGINEERS.. and you would be suprised at how many made up all this responsible and erudite talk of having to control that technology before someone prints out recievers…

    the idea here is that an inner city idiot with below 80 IQ, will buy a computer, buy autocad, make a receiver design or download one, print it out, buy springs and parts from all over, then put it together to make a rifle. a rifle they can buy openly with less money than the computer and software costs.

    it was inane… but since the inanity was a custom of treat it like erudition, it became more inane.

    the engineers all seemed for forget “Zip Guns”, which you can make from trash… (and i even referenced a gun from the zip gun wiki which was made with pieces of pipe that you can get in any home depot – should we make home depot illegal too?)

    here is the problem which they DONT see, but its going to happen…

    back in the 60s, the government wanted to stop pot smoking. so they decided to fly over the boarded into a sovereign state and spray chemical defoliants to kill the pot plants. paraquat.

    what happened from there? most dont know the story at all… but it WILL illustrate what WILL happen here.

    they destroyed the crops in the north… so to stay in business, the drug runners went farther south where the US could not fly so far and over so many borders and do that.

    and lo… they found out that the mexicans had been selling americans really really crappy pot. here they found pot that was many times stronger. and so, they started smugging this “super pot” back… (and that label ended up attributed to joints with pcp in them)

    anyway… they eventually arrested the biggest dealer and put him away. he ended up in jail with a man i think was named carlos… they got to talking.

    when he got out and carlos got out, they then created the whole modern cocaine industry… as carlos decided to use the distribution developed after they stopped the northern selling that was mostly people going over the border and coming back home. (planes were not needed and Tijuana was popular).

    in the modern age, there is no way to restrict guns as you can buy a lathe with a millin attachment and make one easier than you can use a 3D printer.

    but also. you stop guns… and you start them looking for other things…

    i think some call it the “nest effect”, and its related to welfare, and guns, and anything that we do.

    ie. when in the nest, you are satisfied and happy, and there is no reason to leave and find better and so you dont find better…

    that is until someone pushes you out of the nest, out of your comfort zone, and forces you to seek alternatives. THEN the one in the nest finds better.

    the sad truth is that these guys are not bright thinkers. even the very bright, capable, and tricky unabomber was not very clever in methodology.

    oh. he was very careful as to making them, but if you read, he really had to figure out his way, and he selected what he did as he didnt have to be there for the events he caused.

    but he didn’t look to “better methods”, of which there are some that are cheap, easy, and could kill thousands before anyone even noticed!!!!!!

    (and i will never point out what that kind of thing is. please suffice that there ARE things out there that people dont look to that can be used and would be devastating).

    over and over and over you will find out that the state doesnt keep us safe, but its the fact that competent people rarely use their competency this way, and that people who DO act this way, tend to copy what they see in other places of which they dont know much.

    they resort to guns because guns are easy in terms of use, and so on.

    but the people against guns dont realize that if each of the teachers had one, the outcome would be different.

    over and over your going to read that there are 50 adults in an area, and not one of them had a gun except for the idiot who was breaking the law!!!!

    every year we put out chemists, engineers, and you can even go online and find stuff.

    there over a quarter billion people in the US…

    in fact, i pointed out to the worry warts who were claiming to want to save lives… this fact.

    the most deaths i could find in the US in one year is under 17,000… lets double it… 34,000..

    and you (to the person saying they want to save lives), say that its worth taking away our rights to save lives..

    ok.. fine..
    so take that 34,000 and times it by 40…

    so… if gun deaths in total (suicide, accident and crime) was stuck at the highest level… and then doubled… and then fixed every year to the same amount.. for 40 years, you would find 1.36 million dead.

    and they want to save lives?

    well, 40 markes the number of years from 1973 to 2013… the years roe V wade has been a right.

    since that time, nearly 60,000,000 humans were murdered as growths…

    my hugely inflated number isn’t even 3% of that total

    change that total by 3% and you have saved more lives than if you waved a wand and negated every gun death in the US for over 40 years.

  3. parker Says:


    I hold BHO responsible for many things, including the deaths that resulted from F&F and 4 dead in Benghazi. However, Ryan Lanza pulled the trigger on this sad, insane tragedy. My sympathies to the victims, their families, and their community.

  4. Molly NH Says:

    Like the first poster mentioned, how much of this horrific behavior is due to the tenor of the times?
    Look at the State rep in Michigan who actually said in the state house, “There will be blood”
    because of Right To Work passing, where is his sense of propriety ???
    So sad, these dear little ones. Many of these current violent acts have taken on a drug revenge
    persona, where it isn t enuf to kill the victim but those innocents “dear” to the victim are also targets. Yeah Obamas “Punish our enemies” comes to mind.

  5. liamalpha Says:

    I was commenting on the other thread about Hannuka songs, and I’m ashamed to say I completely missed this thread Although I heard about this horrible event in the news a couple of hours before it slipped my mind. It is very shocking and saddening to hear such news at any time, and particularly during the holiday season. I would offer my sympathies, but all words are empty in the face of such an incident.

  6. artfldgr Says:

    1927 Bath Michigan School Massacre
    The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–11 years of age [1]) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the fourth-deadliest massacre in U.S. history, behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the Mountain Meadows massacre and 9/11.

    anyone want to go over the number of deaths that communist Jim Jones accomplished in terms of children? around 300…

    also, i china, a large number of children were attacked as well…

    obama now has ordered flags at half mast…

  7. artfldgr Says:

    Ryan Lanza has been arrested.

    but as i was reading, the page reloaded and all the information was scrubbed away.

  8. rickl Says:

    Ace has a pretty good post up.

    I’m still at work now, so I haven’t had a chance to read much else.

  9. artfldgr Says:

    According to police, Lanza, 24, is suspected of killing 26 people — including 18 children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

    his site is still up on facebook..

    his brother is a potential second gunman being hel

    college student.. parents may be dead as there is rumor unconfirmed of more bodies back home

    others are reporting the parents are dead too

  10. artfldgr Says:

    a coworker of mine has a daughter up at the school.
    its upsetting.. (she works there not attends)

  11. artfldgr Says:

    School Shooter: Ryan Lanza Interview

    people already have vids up related to things..

  12. artfldgr Says:

    CBS 2 has learned the school district had just installed a new safety policy designed to prevent situations such as what happened on Friday.

  13. Mr. Frank Says:


    Thanks for the Ace link. I’d like to see the media voluntarily not show pictures of these mass murder nut jobs.

  14. T Says:

    As instapundit posts:

    “As William S. Burroughs once said, ‘After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.’”

  15. RandomThoughts Says:

    The shooter apparently was given access to the school because he was recognized–his mother worked at the school. And she apparently was his target.

    In addition to the casualties at the school, a dead body was also found in his home, officials said. Sources said the gunman was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest when he opened fire in the elementary school.

    Among the dead in the school was the gunman’s mother, who was a kindergarten teacher at the school, sources told ABC News. Many of the students slain were in class with her when she was killed.

    Normal people with healthy family relationships do not do things like this.

    I think that prior to a crime like this, or VTech, or Columbine, happening, family members around the killer were either in denial of or outright contributing to the depth of the killer’s psychological problems. This kind of murderous insanity doesn’t just appear overnight out of nowhere.

  16. RandomThoughts Says:

    Link to where I got the above quotes:

  17. helenL Says:

    I am not anti gun, I am anti extended clip. It won’t stop gun violence, or any violence, but it will keep the body count down. It’s amazing to me that such things happen.

  18. n.n Says:


    Exactly. It’s the same lack of perspective which defends and promotes atheism or secularism, when individuals who adhere to that faith and that imagined isolation were responsible for one hundred million or so deaths in the 20th century alone, and the effective enslavement of a billion more through poorly-considered policies such as communism and socialism (i.e. control by a minority interest). The total number murdered and enslaved by these degenerate systems is only rivaled by Islamic imperialism, which was processed over a period exceeding one thousand years.

    It’s even more amazing how people who, ostensibly, respect individual dignity and recognize an intrinsic value of human life are capable of rationalizing not only involuntary exploitation, but the elective abortion of developing human life when it literally has no means to protest and no recourse to due process. They seem to forget the choice was self-moderation, which is a prerequisite for liberty. It’s one thing to tolerate dysfunctional behavior. It’s something altogether insane to normalize it.


    It is trivial to exchange clips. Banning high capacity clips will not prevent massacres. And as with banning guns, it will only restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. Also, while guns are a convenient method for inflicting casualties, they are neither the most effective nor the cheapest.

  19. parker Says:


    The SKS rifle is an inexpensive semi-auto with a fixed 10 shot magazine. It can be swiftly reloaded with a stripper clip. With a bit of practice a shooter can get off 30 shots with decent accuracy in 40-60 seconds. IMO, magazine capacity bans will not stop a determined individual bent on committing a massacre. As the 1927 incident neo highlighted shows, such individuals will always find a way to kill.

  20. Book Says:

    I never remember the names of the bastards who do this. But I do remember the names of the Columbine idiots who inspired this sort of megalomania. Part of me lays the blame at their feet after every single school shooting.

    One thing is for sure. I have never blamed guns or “the gun culture.” These are sick people who committed these crimes. You can’t stop crazy people. They’re everywhere, and they camouflage very easily in “normal” society.

  21. rickl Says:


    This is a nitpick, but most modern firearms use detachable magazines, not clips. Clips are used in firearms with fixed magazines, such as the WWII M1 Garand.

    It’s a fairly minor point, but that grates on some people. I won’t go into more detail, as it is largely irrelevant to this thread.

  22. Charles Says:

    Sorry to sound rather cold about this; but, Obama’s “reaction” just pisses me off big time!

    His press conference in which he “tears up” is such nonsense. He certainly should NOT get an oscar for that performance; but, the news media gives him a pass (no surprise really, is it?) on such crap. And hollywood would give him an oscar if they could.

    Obama is just, in the words of ol’ Chicago mayor Daly – FAKER! Obama is just a Goddamn faker!

    Obama makes me want to puke.

  23. rickl Says:

    There’s not much that I can add to what has already been discussed, here and elsewhere. There are at least three threads and hundreds of comments at Ace’s.

    The first thing is that much of the information that comes out in the first few hours turns out to be erroneous or inaccurate. The MSM falls all over each other to be the first to report a scoop. It’s best to wait a day or to until the whole picture begins to take shape.

    At times like this, I’m glad I no longer watch television. There’s an old saying, “If it bleeds, it leads” and I’m sure that was on full pornographic display today.

    But beyond this heinous, evil act, I think I’m actually more disgusted by the cynical ghouls whose first instinct is to use this crime to push their political agenda, namely gun control. I’ve already seen statements by David Frum and Mayor Bloomberg to that effect.

    We all know it’s coming. School shootings were used as a pretext to ban guns in both England and Australia.

    It’s a form of magical thinking: Something awful happens, so we need to pass a law to keep it from happening again. But since when do criminals and madmen care about laws? The only thing such laws accomplish is to keep normal, healthy, sane, law-abiding people from being able to defend themselves from criminals and the insane–and from a tyrannical government.

    There was a Gun Free School Zone law passed in the 1990s. So this guy broke that law the moment he set foot on school property with a gun, before he ever pulled the trigger. Fat lot of good that law did. Were any school employees armed, and in a position to stop him? My guess is that there probably weren’t, possibly as a result of that very law.

    Any push for new gun laws must be resisted at all costs. I’m not claiming that there is any conspiracy involved, but the totalitarians can opportunistically use this as a Reichstag Fire moment. And you can bet that they will milk this for all it’s worth. Their ultimate goal is to disarm the American people, after which they will have “more flexibility”.

  24. Mr. Frank Says:

    Connecticut has very strict gun laws. You must have a permit to purchase a gun, and there is a two week waiting period. A permit is required to carry a gun.

  25. rickl Says:

    Argh. “Day or two”, not “day or to”. I know the difference; I just didn’t hit the “w” hard enough.

  26. suek Says:

    >>The shooter apparently was given access to the school because he was recognized–his mother worked at the school. And she apparently was his target.>>

    All is still in confusion, I suspect, but I’ve seen reports that his mother was _not_ at the school, but was found shot dead at home.

    Apparently the shooter wasn’t Ryan Lanza, but his younger brother Adam.

    At least that’s the info I’ve found up to now.

    It makes no sense – but I guess that’s no surprise.

  27. rickl Says:

    When was the last time you heard of a mass murder in a gun store or a shooting range?

    I remember a coin and precious metal store a few years ago where one of the store clerks wore a pistol on his hip, in plain view. I was taken aback at first, but quickly realized that he was no threat to me, a paying customer. He would have protected me if a couple of robbers had walked in while I had my wallet out.

  28. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    Artfuldodger, I did a rough calculation ca. 1998 based on
    a) the world pop at each decade
    b) the us pop at each decade
    c) the number of gun-induced deaths per capita in the USA at each decade.

    I then calculated, using the end-of-decade numbers for the whole decade, how many deaths there would have been had the entire world had guns and gun deaths per capita just as the USA did.

    The figure, as of about 1998, was about 10 million dead since 1920.

    Since 1920, out of control governments have killed something in excess of 250 million people.

    …nuff said.

    P.S., Neo, thanks for that info about the Bath incident, I hadn’t bumped into that one before.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    RandomThoughts: actually, you are incorrect on that. This kind of “murderous insanity” does sometimes appear “out of nowhere,” when you are dealing with a violent psychopath (or sociopath). It’s not exactly “overnight,” in the sense that such people sometimes give plenty of warning that they are unbalanced and lacking the usual feelings for others, as well as lacking guilt. But sometimes they are excellent at covering that up, too. It’s further complicated by the fact that not all sociopaths are violent, either.

    At least one of the Columbine killers, for example, was a psychopath. He was receiving treatment, but obviously it didn’t do a bit of good (it doesn’t, with psychopaths). The other Columbine killer was more a depressive type who fell under his influence, but seems to have had a normal family who raised him in a normal fashion. It is easier to blame the family, but sometimes the family is not at fault.

    See this and also this piece by Klebold’s mother.

  30. JKZ Says:

    I blame this not on guns, but on lunatics and the mental health establishment that for so long has limited the commitment of lunatics to institutions that both care for them and protect others from them. Seriously mentally ill people have been loosed upon an innocent society for much too long. So-called professionals believe it is unfair and even inhumane to properly control the insane. so this Connecticut school travesty, and many others, are, at least in a significant part, the products of the leftist conceit of the deadly mental health care cadre.

  31. rickl Says:

    Another area for blame is our increasingly debased culture. Religious instruction has been removed from our schools, and popular entertainment has become increasingly violent and depraved as “artists” continue to push the envelope for shock value.

    So left-wing Hollywood actors will publicly advocate for more gun control, just before taking on their next lucrative Oscar-winning role playing a deranged psychopath. Ka-ching!

  32. bob r Says:

    helenL Says:
    I am not anti gun, I am anti extended clip. It won’t stop gun violence, or any violence, but it will keep the body count down. It’s amazing to me that such things happen.

    Probably not. Video of Jerry Miculek shooting 12 rounds in less than 3 seconds. From a revolver. With a reload in the middle.
    Jerry is a expert by anybody’s standard but it only takes a little practice to get pretty fast at reloads — note just how quickly Jerry reloads; reloading practice costs nothing but time and can be done in complete privacy. A shooter doesn’t have to be a world class pro to be dangerous.

    Even with “10 round” magazines (a common limit proposed in “extended” magazine bans) a person with only a little practice can be pretty damn fast: 40 shots in 16 seconds using 10 round magazines. Once again, practicing reloads costs nothing but time.

    It’s not the weapon. It’s the holder of the weapon that determines the danger and the damage.

  33. rickl Says:

    While I don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, there is another potential factor that needs to be considered.

    That is the recent tendency towards “self-esteem”. Many children are being raised to believe that they are special precious flowers who deserve a trophy for simply participating.

    I suspect that kids raised in that manner will have a hard time dealing with failure and rejection, and may lash out violently when real life doesn’t give them what they feel they are owed.

    I’m speculating here. I don’t know whether that has anything to do with this particular shooter. He may have just been insane. But it bears thinking about.

  34. RandomThoughts Says:

    Neo, I have read extensively about Klebold and Harris, and read Dylan’s mother’s writings as well.

    I know it’s terribly unpopular to do so, but I do blame families, to the extent that the depth of the problems plaguing their loved ones goes unnoticed. Susan Klebold herself expresses the guilt of “if only I’d known” and enumerates the signs which were clear after the fact.

    Why don’t parents know that such children are one step away from mahem? Because we as a society are so damned busy doing everything but spending time with our own family members. We think the most important thing we can give our kids is their privacy and freedom. If they aren’t outright arrested (and even if they are, in the case of Klebold and Harris) we don’t want to do the hardest steps–pull them out of school, get them inpatient treatment, even up and move the family to a new environment entirely. Surely the problem isn’t that bad, and we don’t need to go that far to fix it, do we? Little Jimmy is just going through a phase, and all teens are moody, right?

    It’s the way our self-involved culture functions. Even when we profess to love our kids “with all our heart” they are not the primary focus of our time and energy. Whatever we do for a living fills that bill. The kids get the hours that are left, typically at the end of the day. When the kids are fine, well and good, but when they’re headed toward an abyss, are we even capable at 8 pm after a tiring day at the office, of noticing the signs?

    I don’t want to create an Artfldgr length post, but I will say that I’ve had enough extensive personal experience with addictions, eating disorders, suicide and adolescent/teen development to know that such children display problems long before the snapping point. Signs of depression and psychological disturbance are written off because it never seems “that bad” and the tyranny of the urgent (mostly career related) makes it far too easy for parents to focus on other things

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    RandomThoughts: what I’m saying has nothing to do with an idea being “popular” or not. If you know about psychopaths/sociopaths, you know that (a) they can arise in very normal families; (b) they can often be very clever at disguising their nature and passing as normal; and (c) even when they don’t disguise it, and parents get all the help available, psychopaths mostly do not respond to treatment (although they sometimes pretend to). Did you read, for example, how Eric Harris fooled people about himself and his capacity for reform, and reveled in it?:

    A second confirmation of the diagnosis was Harris’ perpetual deceitfulness. “I lie a lot,” Eric wrote to his journal. “Almost constantly, and to everybody, just to keep my own ass out of the water. Let’s see, what are some of the big lies I told? Yeah I stopped smoking. For doing it, not for getting caught. No I haven’t been making more bombs. No I wouldn’t do that. And countless other ones.”

    Harris claimed to lie to protect himself, but that appears to be something of a lie as well. He lied for pleasure, Fuselier says. “Duping delight”—psychologist Paul Ekman’s term—represents a key characteristic of the psychopathic profile.

    Harris married his deceitfulness with a total lack of remorse or empathy—another distinctive quality of the psychopath. Fuselier was finally convinced of his diagnosis when he read Harris’ response to being punished after being caught breaking into a van. Klebold and Harris had avoided prosecution for the robbery by participating in a “diversion program” that involved counseling and community service. Both killers feigned regret to obtain an early release, but Harris had relished the opportunity to perform. He wrote an ingratiating letter to his victim offering empathy, rather than just apologies. Fuselier remembers that it was packed with statements like Jeez, I understand now how you feel and I understand what this did to you.

    “But he wrote that strictly for effect,” Fuselier said. “That was complete manipulation. At almost the exact same time, he wrote down his real feelings in his journal: ‘Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come, if I’m free, I can’t deprive a stupid f—ing dumbshit from his possessions if he leaves them sitting in the front seat of his f—ing van out in plain sight and in the middle of f—ing nowhere on a Frif—ingday night. NATURAL SELECTION. F—er should be shot.’ “

    And the majority of those signs that Susan Klebold enumerates as clear after the fact were clear after the fact because they were only revealed to her after the fact. It’s not that she looks back at things she already knew and sees them in a different light after the shootings, it’s that she only learned most of these facts after the shootings, because they were previously kept from her, either by her son or by authorities who were aware of some of them.

  36. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    We will never stop this kind of thing completely without giving up our liberty.

    I did hear a suggestion from a retired police officer that sounds sensible to me. There are many retired cops out there who could be hired – 2 to 4 depending on school size – to wear a custodian uniform and be on the ready near the entrance to the school. It would be a boring job, but the presence of a custodian, armed and able to respond, would present a higher level of protection than is now available in most schools. Worth looking at, IMO.

    Mental health problems loom large again. We quit institutionalizing people back in the 60s. Are these mass shootings part of the blowback from that? I don’t know, but it seems that society and government might look at that before pulling out the gun control elixir.

    Unfortunately, I know what the parents and families of these slain children face. I wish I could hold them, comfort them, and tell them that life can go on. It’s a path that leads you through the depths of despair, but for most, the sun will eventually shine through. May God’s Grace be on each and everyone of them. They will need it.

  37. n.n Says:


    The issue is specifically self-esteem without earned merit. The conflict occurs when merit is subsequently required or demanded, but the individual has only their ego to qualify them. This is relevant because in our world, resources, both natural and human, are finitely accessible or strictly limited, respectively. There is a risk associated with exploitation of these resources, and we mitigate it through selection of individuals on their merit.

  38. n.n Says:


    The debased culture is exactly right. This is related to nature and nurture arguments. We know that both are relevant, but we lack knowledge of their proportional contributions. So, we manage risk by promoting desirable or functional behaviors. We teach our children to respect individual dignity, irrespective of incidental features. We teach our children that life has an intrinsic value and should not be capriciously taken. While this does not guarantee an outcome, it does increase its likelihood, and that is the best we can hope for in this world.

  39. RandomThoughts Says:

    Neo, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were not the same psychologically, very true. Eric was a true psycopath and his father expressly excused his behavior repeatedly, blaming it on the perceptions of others who kept trying to point out how screwed up Eric was (it’s not his fault he’s just misunderstood).

    Dylan however was a different story. He was clearly severly depressed. Yet his own mother described a typical day in their house–she hears his tone of voice is different, but he’s up and gone without her even seeing his face. How many days was that typical; it’s the absolute epitome of modern American family life. We come and go with barely a word between us beyond “How was your day?” “Fine.” That’s the extent of many converstations with kids. Do most families eat breakfast togther? Do ANY? How about dinner?

    Do most parents pick their kids up right after school, when everything thought and experience spills out of them afresh? Or do they see them later in the evening, when nothing is going to be shared? If they even take the time to intrude on the solitude such kids enforce in their own rooms.

    I have lost count of the students to whom I’ve spoken who barely see and hardly ever speak to their parents, because both mom and dad are working, and the kids feel like there’s no point in even trying to share what’s on their mind. And these are “good” kids, from “good homes.” One of them committed suicide last year; her parents had “no idea” she was so unhappy. Hey, they gave her everything–a car, a private school education, a very nice home in a very nice neighborhood. How could she be so unhappy?

    How could they know?

    Going back to Klebold, when he lost interest in learning, when he went from an eager, happy learner to a disinterested student, something significant was going on, and it was not sufficiently addressed by his parents. We will never know exactly what happened to that happy child to alienate him so, but something did, and that it went virtually unaddressed by his parents is the greatest tragedy, because it led to his final act of terror.

    I am profoundly sorry for his mother because I can’t imagine living with that level of guilt. But it is not unwarranted guilt, and she knows it.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    RandomThoughts: completely disagree.

    Her guilt is not warranted, although it’s inevitable in a caring person. Hindsight is 20/20, and you have the benefit of it. She did not.

    Teenagers are very very often moody, and although it’s true that Klebold was shy and quiet, this is really not considered an extreme danger sign. He seemed to have friends, for example (not just Eric Harris, either). I actually believe that his relationship with Eric Harris pushed him over the edge into violence, though. It is very very common for these violent young male duos to have one psychopathic member (in this case, Harris) and one depressed/troubled member who is not a psychopath (in this case, probably Klebold), and the two have a synergistic effect on each other in terms of the genesis of the crime. You see that pattern quite clearly in the In Cold Blood pair, for example, which I’ve written about before.

    It is one thing to look back and say your kid had some troubles and you could or should have done more, it’s another to condemn the parent for not taking more action when the child’s troubles only look particularly bad in retrospect. Nearly anyone who’s been the parent of teenagers (except near-perfect ones) knows how hard it is to tell serious problems from ordinary problems.

    You are making a whole bunch of unwarranted assumptions about Klebold’s mother. That morning of the killings, when she didn’t see him, it was because (as she states) she was getting ready for work and he left very early and suddenly. If you’re getting dressed for your day, and your teenager is getting dressed for his day, and he leaves very early (she says he could have slept 20 minutes longer, so he left at least 20 minutes early), are you supposed to know he’s going to leave early and head him off at the pass? The first Mrs. Klebold knew of it was when he’d slammed the front door, and she leaned her head out of the window to try to speak to him, but he said “bye,” got into the car, and drove away. Was she supposed to follow him in her car because he left for school 20 minutes early? And why do you assume it was the normal course of events in their house in the morning that they not speak or see each other, when she seems to be indicating this was not the normal course of events? She also describes a number of instances where she tries to talk to him (about college, etc.), and my impression is that she certainly was involved with and concerned about her child, and made efforts to communicate with him. He was a taciturn kid, and wasn’t doing as well in school as he had when young, but that’s certainly not unusual and he was doing well enough that he had gotten into four colleges. And he gave the impression of planning to go to college.

    There is no question that some parents of violent kids have failed to take an interest in their children, failed to notice clear warning signs and do something about them, but it’s not at all clear to me that this was the case with the Klebolds. Not at all.

  41. RandomThoughts Says:

    Clearly our perception of parental responsibility for children differs, Neo, and I suspect our perception of healthy parenting does as well. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this; it’s not going to bring back the dead children nor absolve anyone left alive anyway.

  42. beverly Says:

    I saw this comment on another blog; it’s the best one I’ve seen so far.

    >>THEY shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

    Some of you may have read an earlier comment of mine mentioning that Newtown, Connecticut, is my home town. I left to go to college, and it’s been quite a long time since I lived there, but we all have a home town, don’t we? I am in a bit of a state of shock, and have been trying to collect my thoughts all day, and feel the need to say something. Let’s see if this makes any sense.

    Once again, as the loudest voices always seem to do, there will be calls for new and more laws for gun control on the heels of this horrific tragedy. Once more, we will furiously fail to learn anything that is actually useful from this event. Instead, we will choose to think with our feelings and attack the symptoms while ignoring, and in fact aggravating the causes.

    By one estimate, there are 310 million firearms in the United States. Guns have been a part of our culture since its very beginning, and they are everywhere. Gun control advocates are forced to ignore this simple fact while constructing their arguments. Forget for a moment that the 20-year-old shooter was breaking laws already on the books in Connecticut by possessing those weapons on his person.

    There is literally no way that legislation can be conceived which could come anywhere near having the desired result of removing access to firearms from those willing to break the law to own them. This also ignores the fact that the manufacture of a firearm has become a relatively trivial exercise, and this trend will only continue as a consequence of the advance of materials technology.

    I read recently that someone had actually ‘printed’ a working firearm with a $15,000 3D printer. People wise enough to lead on this issue must concede the reality – firearms are here to stay; will only be driven underground by tighter legislation, and the solutions we consider must accept the truth of that.

    This is a very serious matter for our society. Violence tears at the fabric of civilization. But we must be in possession of the facts if we are to succeed at this. We must acknowledge that gun-free zones have only ever exposed their occupants to risk. . . .

  43. beverly Says:

    [Here’s the rest:]

    The history of events like these makes this case in an overwhelming fashion. As a society, we must also come to grips with the fact that generations of glorifying violence in media and entertainment while federal policies destroy families and self-loathing progressives teach moral relativism in our schools has not been without consequence. The idea that a new law will be a fix for this is a profoundly irresponsible proposal, made by a fool or a demagogue.

    If we truly seek to understand before acting, we would be taking a very careful look at how, for example, the Swiss have managed to make firearms a peaceful part of their culture’s foundation.

    Our national crisis with violence is not a consequence of too few regulations, but of an epic cultural failure that is manifesting itself in virtually every part of our society, from the music our children listen to, to the games they play, the designer drugs they blithely risk their lives on, the corrupt and bloated government that preaches the message of indifference to personal accountability, and the masses too fearful to stand and demand better from everyone around them.

    Americans need to gather the courage to make systemic changes if we wish to address what it is about our culture that could produce a person capable of killing his own mother and a classroom full of young children on the way to ending his own life.

    Gun laws do nothing about the hell on earth that is the reality of these deeply emotionally disturbed individuals who somehow manage to evade the concern and attention of those around them and wind up perpetrating these unspeakably evil acts.

    Is it possible that our public schools have become this bad and our parents this detached? Are we so corrupt, so selfish, so self-centered that these damaged souls can walk among us unaided until the pain of living becomes unbearable? Seek your answers here, America. <<

  44. NeoConScum Says:

    N-Neo…Another thing fascinating about psychopaths and sociopaths is that they typically have VERY High Self-Esteem.

    I can’t get Dylan’s great song,”Forever Young”, out of my old 60’s head. My beautiful wife is a 30-yr elementary school teacher. An absolute “Child Magnet”. This horror has left those big brown Sicilian eyes very wet.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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