Monday, December 14, 2015

Unintended Consequences

Three years ago: what was once unimaginable, is no longer so

At their 12/10 meeting last week the Amherst Board Of Health spent 45 minutes (out of a one hour scheduled agenda ) tip toeing through a mine field ... while blindfolded.

They were trying to decide if gun violence falls within their perview as a public health issue.  Like, say, tobacco.  Although unlike tobacco, guns can be used safely.  It's the 30,000+ annual deaths (mostly suicides) where guns were used not so safely, that concerns them.

And of course if you're a rational human being you cannot help but be affected by the tiny minority of major tragic events that seem to crop up more and more often these days.

Although it appears using those high profile incidents to promote gun control legislation has backfired, as any talk of added controls only stimulates gun sales in a country where guns now outnumber citizens.

The BOH decided to invite APD Chief Scott Livingstone to appear before them at an upcoming meeting to discuss guns, which are not a big problem in little Amherst. 

Other members will reach out to national organizations working to reduce gun violence in the land of the free and home of the brave.

During the initial discussion, Board Of Health members seemed unclear if they had any jurisdiction or role in dealing with gun violence.  But one outspoken member responded, "If not us, then who?"



31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great! A bunch of liberals sitting around wasting time deciding how to save the world. If it's not "global warming" it's guns.

Timothy Atteridge said...

Especially not them that is who. I think the Chief of Police has the gun situation well in hand without the Board of Health expanding their perceived authority.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right on, Anon 3:28. Screw those "liberals" for trying to "save the world" by enacting gun laws or solving global crises. How a horrible bunch of do-gooders? Won't some bored guy with a gun kill these zealots??

Larry Kelley said...

No, but I'm sure they are in for a rough ride.

keithw said...

The FBI includes gang shootings to that data (along with suicides) which helps to inflate the number considerably.

Anonymous said...

You have gotta be flipping kidding me! Seriously??? How about taking up car accidents. More people die in them than in gun violence... Let's ban all Hundais, Toyotas, Chevys, anything with four wheels!! Stupid Town

Larry Kelley said...

Tobacco kills over 400,000 Americans annually.

And it would be a heck of a lot higher than that if Public Health Departments had stayed away from the issue.

Anonymous said...

This report indicates that those in power in Amherst are sitting deciding how much power they have, on their own....I repeat, on their own. Guns do not scare me, people in power defining the limits of their power scares the daylights out of me. Such actions have produced the worst of history and more deaths than guns ever could.

P.S. for the young and ignorant, that is the citizens' job, to tell the leaders what they can and cannot do. If the citizens fail at both doing this and preserving this right as their own, society has broken down and the American experiment has failed.

It is the job of family and friends to save suicidal associates. To think that the government will do anything but make this worse involves ignoring the citizens that the government literally owns, the military. Let's not sacrifice more lives at the alter of government, this religion has already taken so many and destroyed so many families.

P.S.S. Tobacco does not kill anyone, guns do not kill anyone, cars do not kill anyone. Poor parenting kills millions a year. All of the above are objects and until people understand this, what is the point of discussing anything? Perhaps they could teach this at the local schools in exchange for the 250,000 objects charged per student. Perhaps let them graduate when they understand the difference between a human and an non-living object, this would make them smarter than most adults in town...but I get it, propaganda and manipulation of words and facts are ok to achieve the goal...any goal. Especially that of reserving guns for criminals, which seems to be pretty big on the agenda (this is often called gun control).

Anonymous said...

There is something that protects every single gun owner in this country: Supreme Court case law. If you read that law, you will see that there are some things that government absolutely cannot do to gun owners, and to their guns. That's established law.

This makes all the kvetching and rationalizing done anonymously on line, here and elsewhere, by gun rights advocates about our current rash of mass shootings seem like a colossal waste of energy. (At least Mr. Atteridge has the rare courage to use his name, in the various forums where he comments.)

I would just like to go back to a National Rifle Association that those of us middle-aged folks can remember, which did not view every single effort and innovation for increased gun safety as a global threat to all gun ownership. So much of what gun owners feel irrationally threatened about cannot be done without a constitutional amendment. And, as anyone who supported the Equal Rights Amendment in the last century knows, the amendment process creates an extremely high bar.

No, the Board of Health in Amherst can't do anything to your constitutional right to own guns, so why worry about it? Let 'em talk.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

The well regulated Militia will be pleased.

keithw said...

"I think the Chief of Police has the gun situation well in hand"

Speaking of the chief, What kind of issuing authority is APD and how difficult is it to obtain a LTC in Amherst?

Larry Kelley said...

I believe he has to sign off on any permit issued in Amherst. The process takes eight months.

Anonymous said...

Larry-Every word you say about guns is a gross conzoid lie-last year guns killed at least 76,000 people, so you gave a false straw man argument figure, and most gun related deaths were NOT suicides-at less than 10%, they were violent crime related gun deaths, many, many right wing Christians have conducted massacres, against family planning clinics, you name it. What you are saying about guns is just totally false, gun nutzoidic, and ignorant. I agree with you about drunk driving being a very major crime, time to see gun nuts as what they are-not suicides or even mentally ill people, but people with a criminally negligent attitude toward guns, you included. Being an apologist for gun crimes is just a disease-and a CRIME-against the community-like drunk drivers,etc

Anonymous said...

People--boards of health in Massachusetts have wide powers to regulate anythingn involving public health. Stay calm. They aren't coming after you.

Larry Kelley said...

Coming for the drones maybe, but not the guns.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, most deaths by guns are suicide by white males.

http://www.vocativ.com/usa/guns/suicides-outnumber-homicides-comes-gun-violence/

Anonymous said...

Quote for me please if you can any good legislation that is now on the books (and probably unenforced), which would have prevented the horrible acts in San Bernardino. And why are you folks are meeting, don't forget to lobby for making pipe bombs illegal. Oh wait they already Are illegal. I guess those two Muslim radicals forgot to obey the law.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of gun legislation. Plenty of laws on the books. I think it's probably a good idea if we decide to enforce the ones we already have.

Anonymous said...

We have the second amendment not for the benefit of hunters, but so that we can defend ourselves when the government gets too oppressive.

Anonymous said...

I need rather have a gun and not need it then need one and not have it. If you don't want to own a gun don't. If I want to own a gun I will. It's called liberty.

Anonymous said...

Which points to mental health issues.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, who were the first two people killed in Sandy Hook?

Why has no one ever mentioned that?

And as to the Assistant Principal who was wounded but "escaped" -- if you are unarmed, wounded, and leaving a blood trail, you don't "escape" someone wanting to kill you. This isn't like a wounded deer in the woods, where fallen leaves & undergrowth can hide the blood trail, and were there are random trees, rocks, gullies and whatnot -- where the trail can turn in any direction at any time and where the one drop of blood marking where it turns can be obscured and hence missed. (That's why hunting deer with anything smaller than a .30 round is considered inhumane and illegal in most states -- it's too easy for a wounded animal to escape and then suffer a painful, lingering death over days.)

I know neither the particular layout of the school nor her exact route, but this was a public school built in 1950's, when custom & code dictated that there be open/unobstructed hallways with right angles into other open/unobstructed hallways and/or open/unobstructed classrooms. Closets & cloakrooms were moved away from building & classroom entrances, etc. The fear back then was fire, and fire in terms of a building largely constructed of wood -- wooden timber frame, oiled hardwood floors -- fire in terms of what happened at Rolling Green.

Starting from a hallway, the woman had no place to run to, no place to hide. She didn't "escape", the perp chose not to kill here.

It's quite possible that he didn't even shoot her.

Never forget that the four kids who died at Kent State were killed by bullets which had first ricocheted off the parking lot, and that John Kerry was wounded by rice -- the kind people eat. (Kerry was destroying enemy foodstuffs with explosives and wasn't bright enough to get far enough away from the explosion -- the hard rice became shrapnel.) In the hallway of a school of the vintage of the one in Sandy Hook, there'd have been bullets ricocheting everywhere. At close range, bullets impacting plate glass, wall tiles and even the bones of the other two women would generate razor-sharp pieces of shrapnel.

Larry, I think the perp intended to kill the School Psychologist and the Principal -- but NOT the Asst Principal -- and I think we really need to know WHY.

Once you get past the fact that they are both logically inconsistent with reality, the mentally ill are quite easy to understand because they think on a quite simple level. Likewise once you get past the fact that murder is inherently wrong, you can understand the perp's motive, and it makes sense. If you can put yourself into the mindset of the psychopath, you can understand why he/she/it has done what he/she/it did -- and react to what the person is going to do next as well.

In other words, murdering those two women made perfect sense to him, he viewed it as a morally just and necessary act -- and we need to know why!

I mean this in the same sense that Anaphylactic Shock makes perfect sense, that we have to put ourselves into the mindset where we accept the fact that a massive histamine reaction to a bee sting is a logical means for the human body to protect itself -- to the body, it is -- even though we know that it actually is creating a life-threating emergency. By understanding WHY the body is doing this, we can then counteract it INSTEAD OF EXCERBATING IT!

Dr. Ed Part 2 of 2 said...

Part 2

So people can say "guns" and "mental illness" and I can say "the sun is shining" and "the wind is blowing."

Those two women DID SOMETHING. That is not a moral judgment, that is a factual statement -- they did *something* which *somehow* triggered all of this, much like something always triggers Anaphylactic shock -- the reason why you find out what the person is allergic to, and (if that's already known), then how the person was exposed to it is to avoid exposing the person to it again. To avoid future Anaphylactic shock.

Notwithstanding what the UMass ACT Nazis once did, this is not a judgment issue -- if a person can't process certain foods, you don't make the person eat them. That's science, not morality, if you persist in forcing the person to eat them.

It only becomes morality when you persist in your authority to do something, when you persist in using your coercive powers to do something in spite of both objective evidence and the stated desires of the person to whom you are doing it.

A parent who forced a child to eat peanuts, in spite of the child not wanting to and the parent's observation of past allergic reactions to them, would be guilty of child abuse. If a parent, knowing that the child was allergic to them, was so nonchalant in food preparation that the child was repeatedly exposed to them -- while that wouldn't necessarily be malicious, it still would be child abuse at least in the generic sense. It's something you'd have to file a 51A on.

Well the mental health profession is doing the same sort of thing, and I strongly suspect that the mental health profession CAUSED Sandy Hook.

Our mental health practices are barbaric. We essentially put human beings into cages -- I strongly suspect that was what caused Sandy Hook.

We can talk about things like a trigger-happy cop firing 16 rounds into a kid for no good reason (we should also talk about the decent officers who prevented him from reloading) -- we really should talk about some of the schmucks and schmuckettes in the mental health profession. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely -- and we nonchalantly subject people to their absolute power.

Larry, if you know what Asperger's actually IS, someone with it being even able to go do what that kid did is incomprehensible. It would be like me winning a Karate championship against you when you were at your peak -- and if I *did*, it would be a very real "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."

That is my point here Larry -- something so nasty was done to that kid that someone scared of his own shadow went out and shot up a school. Perhaps we need to find out what it was -- and not do it to any more kids lest we have more schools shot up...

Dr. Ed said...

Oh, and Larry --

That part of Connecticut has retail propane delivery -- as does much of the Pioneer Valley -- the trucks with 1075 on them.

When not under pressure, Liquid Propane boils at -33 degrees (F) and (unlike Natural Gas), Propane Gas is heavier than air -- it sinks and is said to flow across the ground like a fog. If it manages to find a source of ignition before it dissipates (and that's not difficult) -- well the energy yield of a Fuel/Air explosion can approach that of a small Nuke.*

If that perp had instead stolen one of these propane trucks, which wouldn't be hard (the only weapon you'd need would be a baseball bat -- think about it for a minute), he'd have been a lot more lethal than he ever could have been with any number of guns. And those Propane trucks aren't very big, as vehicles go -- they aren't that long and don't have a dual rear axle (which makes the vehicle harder to turn), I'm not sure they are even heavy enough to be CDL -- you need the CDL because of the tank and Hazmat. I think they all have automatic transmissions as well.

And a propane delivery truck literally driving by the school likely wouldn't get a second glance -- in fact, the school's cafeteria probably uses propane -- although I hope they don't fill that tank during school hours...

So in Larry's world where there are no guns, the perp steals one of these and rams it into the front doors of the school, homicide bomber style.

He'd have killed a hell of a lot more than 33 kids, and most of those who survived would be horrifically burned. And over the next 5-10 days, there would be lots of parents watching their children die from burns and lung damage. No, no, no...
As bad as the carnage was, be thankful he only had a gun.

And Larry, I can thing of a few things a lot worse than even this - I'm not mentioning them because I don't want twisted minds to think of them and maybe do them. As someone wrote above, pipe bombs are already illegal.

Larry, Heroin is illegal too, isn't it? Enough said?

And Larry, never forget that 9-11 was done with box cutters...

* A fuel/air explosion presumes full combustion of the fuel because there is enough air/oxygen present. That's a blue flame. Yellow flame and smoke is incomplete combustion, lack of enough air, although I still shudder thinking of a couple thousand gallons of liquid propane released into a school full of little children.

And as I am sure someone would point out if I didn't mention, you can only have a fire or explosion when there is a certain percentage of both propane gas and air -- it won't burn at 100% as there is no oxygen, and below a certain percentage it is too dispersed to burn as well. It's that time in the middle that you need to worry about -- and as it is heavier than air, it will "puddle" and stay there.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants that kind of attention will get it.

Larry Kelley said...

I think Facebook needs to do a social experiment: ban all the guns, cigarettes, cars and drones for a month, and then measure the divorce rate.

Larry Kelley said...

Better yet, Anon commenters.

Anonymous said...

Ban freedom. Oh wait--that's what the current regime is doing. Fundamentally transforming America. Let's transform it again and undo what the totalitarian president has done.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Go ahead, Larry ban the CANS. But you Do give everyone the Anon option. Why not remove that option?

Larry Kelley said...

Because maybe 2 in a 100 are worth it.

Anonymous said...

Shite! I just missed the cut!