Leaders from around Cobb say use of more gun control is not the solution for preventing mass killings
by Jon Gillooly
December 18, 2012 03:10 PM | 3944 views | 34 34 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)
In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)
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MARIETTA — County Chairman Tim Lee and four Cobb mayors say gun control is not the solution to preventing future massacres like the one last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Our country is great because we have those freedoms, and guns don’t kill, people do — you know that old phrase? — and so I’m not for more gun control at all to stop this,” Lee said.

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood, and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews made similar points. Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin could not be reached by press time.

“Say you do away with the guns,” Jerkins said. “Well, what’s next? They’ll come up with some kind of bombs to do something with in the classrooms. I mean, there’s so many ways to kill people that we can’t stop from happening.”

Jerkins said one way to combat the problem is by identifying people with mental illness such as the 20-year-old suspect, Adam Lanza, before they commit the murders.

“In Georgia we don’t have anywhere to send somebody like that,” Jerkins said. “There’s a friend of mine that’s got a son that’s capable of doing some serious things, and as soon as they get him in somewhere for 30 days they turn him back out, and he’s fine as long as he takes his medicine,” Jerkins said. “But if he don’t take that medicine he’s liable to do anything. He’s could do something similar.”

Bacon, now 64, recalled the days he was in college.

“I went down to Milledgeville (Central State Hospital), and it was amazing how the state took care of so many people,” Bacon said. “They just sort of put them in a building. There’re ways to help them, but it costs money and it costs time.”

Bacon said an emphasis on safety should trump individual rights in such cases.

“In some ways I really think if somebody has a mental disease or is a threat to our community, I think for one time maybe you just throw their rights out the window and say, ‘what are we going to do best for our community,’” Bacon said. “This deal about ‘they’re not doing anything,’ ‘there was no reason for us to be concerned with him,’ that’s bull crap. There is a concern and there’s got to be something done. The guy that shot the congresswoman (former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords), I still picture his face. He was whacked out.”

Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn believes the rise in shootings stems from the violent entertainment children are exposed to.

“My personal thought is this: I wish there was a way that we could do away with the violent TV programs and the violent movies,” Vaughn said. “Our children are being raised in seeing so much violence.”

Vaughn, soon to be 65, said growing up in her day was worlds apart from how it is today.

“We had ‘Andy Griffith’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ There was no violence on TV,” she said.

Vaughn said returning to traditional values is essential for the health of the country.

“I think if we don’t turn back to our Christian ways — I’m sorry, that’s exactly how I feel — then our society dies,” she said. “Things that were not acceptable many years ago are just very acceptable everyday things today. If something doesn’t change — and I wish I did have the answers, but I don’t — I’m afraid it will be worse. We’ll see more and more of it.”

Vaughn was the only mayor who said she would consider some form of gun control.

“I think tighter gun control if someone does come in to buy the assault rifles and the assault things that there should be more checking out of that person,” she said.

At the same time, Vaughn acknowledged that someone intent on obtaining a gun was going to get it regardless of the restrictions.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb), who chairs the Health & Human Services Committee in the Georgia House, said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s mandated that unless the patient was going to kill themselves or harm someone else they could not be kept against their will in a psychiatric facility.

“I’ve had several calls since I’ve been in the Legislature of families who are really scared of their grown children, and had tried to get them care when they were younger and all, but these young people were exhibiting behaviors where they really needed to be away from people and have treatment, and the law won’t allow them to be kept in those situations against their will,” Cooper said.

As for what’s causing the mass shootings, Cooper said it’s a combination of things.

“It’s my understanding that the services have used video games where you kill fake people to desensitize soldiers to killing,” Cooper said. “And if you grow up shooting fake people in a troubled mind, I guess you don’t really perceive that it’s a living thing, so I think that’s a problem. I think it’s been glamorized in the movies. I think it’s years and years of not paying attention to mental illness. I think it’s a lot of things. Mental illness is serious, and it certainly needs to be treated, and I think it is a real problem across the country and in Georgia.”

Allegood said he spent Monday meeting with the principals of the schools in his city.

“One of the things that we encouraged all of our principals to do is for the staff to be ever vigilant,” Allegood said. “Work really hard to encourage the staff that anything that doesn’t look right to call 911 because our response time to our schools is about one minute, one minute in a half. So what’s to be done in the short term is to create this heightened awareness and vigilance to be able to access our police department if something doesn’t look or seem right.”

Lee believes the solution is turning to a higher power.

“A lot of the conflict and issues that face our nation are because of the declining belief in God, frankly,” Lee said.

In addition, Lee said teachers and administrators must undergo rigorous background checks to be able to mentor children, yet those checks are not in place when it comes to entertainment.

“When it comes to games and movies and songs there’s no background checks done, there’s no quality control done, it’s just freedom of the press, you can do whatever you want,” Lee said. “And I think that’s out of balance, and I think good people need to come together and identify good solutions so that we can move toward a more moral, accountable person and individual overall as a society than where we are.”

Failure, he said, is not an option.

“Whether it’s feasible to me right now in my lifetime, you know, we didn’t get here overnight, we can’t fix it overnight, so we need to turn the direction of the ship and head in another direction,” Lee said. “I will continue to stress the importance of the community and the business community and the faith-based community coming together and figuring out how best to provide an environment of growth for the children of Cobb County.”

Comments
(34)
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Linda Brown
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December 21, 2012
Most of us are God fearing, law abiding citizens that just want to live our lives in peace and safety. We want to be able to protect ourselves and our property.

I was a crime victim years ago, and it changed my life. I limit where I go and the people I associate with. I am not as trusting as I used to be. It makes one a lot more cautious.

It is a shame that our government and the media exploit shooting tragedies in an attempt to strip us of our 2nd Amendment rights.
Pat H
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December 19, 2012
Most people with schizophrenia has its first occurrence in the late teens or early 20's. The problem rests with the parents, who ignore the warning signs and allow their children to suffer with the symptoms. Gabby Giffords shooter had a sacrificial alter in the backyard, his parents did nothing. The VA tech shooter's roommate called his parents, and they did nothing. Columbine youngsters dressed like kooks and were building bombs in their backyard, the parents did nothing.

Involuntary commitment should have been used in all these cases. Where was the dad in the case of Newtown? Mom appeared to have issues, only going to a bar multiple times per week, her brother was a chief of police, she told bar patrons that she could no longer control him, kept assault weapons in the home but did not get him the help he needed. She received $300,000 in a divorce settlement per year - she could have and should have afforded inpatient treatment. The dad is the issue - why did he abandon his responsibility to this boy by ignoring the inability of his ex-wife to ensure proper treatment and environment.

Movies, TV, video games have become too violent, music is disgraceful. No private citizen should own these weapons with large magazines and multiple rounds. And we have a responsibility to notice and discuss with the parents when their children exhibit sociopathic behavior.
mk-ditto
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December 19, 2012
Pat H.,... a smart lady that says much of what I agree w/!

Read the (eye-opening) article by Michael Snyder-

"22 Stats that Prove there is something seriously wrong w/ young men in America".

Too bad we don't have more leaders w/ critical thinking skills!

VFP42
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December 25, 2012
I would figure the father is the one who recognized the danger of the boy. The mother was in denial and refused to put her baby into mental care, so the father preserved his own life by leaving that situation. The mother fought for and received custody (the father wanted custody so he could put his son under mental care) since the mother usually wins: "Dad works all the time, right? How can he take care of a son? Unemployable alcoholic mom will do a much better job... as long as dad pays for it all!!!"

The father sounds to be the only one of the three who had a properly functioning brain cell, but you want to dump on him, Pat?

Why is that, Pat? Do you just mantain a blind hatred toward men that causes you to interpret their behavior in the worst possible way?

People with blind hatred are the ones for society to be concerned over, whether the hatred is religion based, politically based, Oedipal, gender despisement, bullied disorder, commute based, whatever. Let go of the hatred!
VFP42
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December 25, 2012
Thanks MK! I wondered if I was too quick to infer hatred of men in Pat H's post, but you clearly saw it in there too.
thatguy93
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December 28, 2012
"No private citizen should own these weapons with large magazines and multiple rounds."

Oh yes, I'd feel so much safer if only the government were allowed to have military-style weapons and high capacity magazines..

I suspect senseless acts of violence like Sandy Hook/Columbine to become more common not because of those evil "assault weapons" but because of our broken society. While I do agree that the parents are at fault and should have paid attention to their kid's erratic behaviors and got them help before they cause harm to themselves and/or others.

I'd just like to conclude by saying that I blame the Boomers for allowing society to decay and letting TV and Video Games raise their kids instead of actually spending family time with them and doing what parents are suppose to do; you know actually raising them. My generation is screwed.
If You Say So
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December 19, 2012
@CobbCoGuy - I respect your point of view but disagree. We are the only industrialized nation in the world with this problem, and the only industrialized nation in the world with minimal controls. Keep your handguns, keep your rifles, just do away with assault weapons.
CobbCoGuy
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December 19, 2012
@If You Say So

Thanks for commenting, but, unfortunately, I'm correct. It is a worldwide problem and we know gun control won't work, because...it didn't.

Google the terms "mass killings worldwide." Here are 3 for starters...

2011 - Norway - 77 killed at a youth camp.

2009 - Azerbaijan - 12 killed at the State Oil Academy in Baku.

2007 - Finland - 8 high school students killed in Tuusula.

...and the lists go on ad nauseaum.
VFP42
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December 25, 2012
@CobbCoGuy

One big shooting every other year from the rest of the world combined is "proof" we don't have a big problem here? Try searching the Internets for school shootings in the USA (but don't use Google, because they only show you what they think you want to see.. If Google has you down as pro-gun, you won't see many results about mass shootings in your search results, and the ones you do see will be further down the list of results. The Googles discovered that being a perpetrator of partisanism same as MsNbc and Fox makes them the most money)

Since you are a Googler, I will help you find a list of shootings in the USA. Here's the list of "notable" "school" shootings. We have so many of these, most are not "notable," and we can list the "school" shootings in a standalone list. "Political camp island shootings" is a different list. Is the "state oil academy" a school? We'll call it a school at give you 2009 as the most recent school shooting in the rest of the world.

Here's the list we're working so hard to make longer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United_States#List_of_notable_U.S._school_attacks

We have eight "notable" "school" shootings this year. Eight last year. Ten in 2010. 11 in 2009. 8 in 2008.

In five years we've had FORTY SEVEN notable school shootings resulting in FIFTY NINE deaths.

Obviously in the minds of the 47% clinging to their guns & religion, that's not enough to warrant any real action

How many school shooting incidents are enough?

And for solutions, the problem is a combination of schools, shootings, and the fragility of hum life. One of the three must be addressed.

We have a right to life, a right to education, a right to guns. Which provdes the least value? Whichever one it is, that's where to look for breaking up the bad combination.

Maybe the NRA should be paying a GMO factory to come up with silkworms that spit out bulletproof silk. Then our kids could all wear bulletproof silk burkas to school with a bulletproof glass face shield like the riot squad cops wear.
LibinCobb
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December 19, 2012
The US has a gun crazy culture, that is, like it or not is who we are. It doesn't have to be that way.

Japan a nation who has a very high population density allows very few people to own firearms, they have a very low murder rate.
LibinCobb
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December 19, 2012
@From Texas: Your state is one of the biggest offenders of an open door policy on firearm sales. At gun shows in Texas there are licensed gun dealers who do the ineffective quick check before a sale, then outside there are private sellers who don't do any check at all and it's a cash only sale. This is where MANY of the guns come from which end up in the hands of the cartels in Mexico.

The patchwork of gun control laws across the US are ineffective.

East Cobber
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December 18, 2012
This reporter chose to ask four politicians their views on the Sandy Hook massacre. Could have been any four Republican or Democrat and you would have gotten their slanted comments.

If you can look past the gun issue, the cause was a mentally challenged young adult. Adam, and make no mistake, there are more like him, was a troubled child, placated by his mother and ignored by the system.

Ask your Special Education counselors how many Adams are in our Cobb schools, don't be shocked at the answer. The most violent will never be part of society, no matter how hard parents push to main stream these children.

The solution is to sequester and let them live their lives, but no wants acknowledge the problem and of course no one wants to fund it.

The gun was the vehicle driven by an unstable human, sadly, it will happen again...
CobbCoGuy
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December 18, 2012
Gun control is not the solution because gun control laws simply don't work.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was signed into law in 1994 by Clinton, and it expired in 2004. Since it passed, there was no measureable decresase in violent crime; and since it expired, there has been no measureable increase in violent crime.

A 2003 study by the CDC, "...found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes."

In a 2004 report to the National Institute of Justice, "...the ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best,

and perhaps too small for reliable measurement."

A study from the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, U of Penn, found no statistically significant evidence that the ban had any effect in reducing gun murders.

Sandy Hook was a "gun free" zone. That didn't stop the shooter.

Connecticutt has some of the more restrictive gun control laws in the U.S. That didn't stop the shooter.
FROM TEXAS
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December 18, 2012
Crazy people control is the answer the liberals have created this monster the crazies have more rights than we do. Bill Bennett is right there should have been a Benelli M4 or Saiga shotgun with military trained dogs to take down this crazy gamer, the whole outcome would have been different it would have broken the cycle that otherwise unfolded.. These people are crazy but very resourceful as well if not guns something else would have been used. We have gun control those guns shouldn’t have been in that house or he shouldn’t have been in that house. They pushed the mother and son out of the system she had money so it festered on its own and this was the result!!
Just Sayin'....
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December 18, 2012
These 4 gentlemen need to catch a clue. Assault weapons should be banned. This whack job in CT could not have done close to the damage he did with standard guns.....but give him an assault weapon and he could have killed even more in another 5 minutes. It is time for you old boys to get with the program....this is not the same thing. Using the logic they expressed, rocket launchers are fair game.

Tim, these are the dim comments that cause you so much trouble. Please refrain from commenting on things like this in your official capacity. The other three guys were no shock, but you of all people should know better.
mary kirkendoll
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December 18, 2012
The reports have come out that this kid was obsessed w/ the video game 'Call of Duty-Black Ops' & spent much of his time playing it in his basement.

People kill people.

I'd prefer to keep my guns to protect me from those creeps.

Take away guns,..the only ones w/ weapons are the criminals & the government.

In many countries they are one & the same!

We are headed in that direction , quicker than you think!!
FROM TEXAS
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December 18, 2012
Bloomberg calls for gun control how many armed guards does he have and is he going to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious since he so interested in illegal guns. How much money do New Yorkers spend on cops for Bloomberg and how big of private security does he have? Just food for thought
fluffhead
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December 18, 2012
What does this have to do with anything?
Lib in Cobb
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December 18, 2012
The second amendment was ratified in 1791. Since then, our nation has increased in population, firearm technology has greatly changed, the percentage of people who wish to do harm with a gun has changed. The only constant in this scenario is the unchanged second amendment. It is not 1791 anymore. We as a nation currently have a patchwork of ineffective gun control laws, if you can't buy the arsenal of your choice in your home state, just drive to GA or Texas or Arizona and but what you want, with very few questions asked, especially at gun shows where there are licensed gun dealers and private sellers. The private sellers are not interested in who you are or what your criminal history may be.

Change the second. The second amendment was not written to make murder more efficient.

We need very strict federal gun control laws there are countless innocent dead victims of gun violence asking for your help, including 20 dead children in CT.
Another Lib in Cobb
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December 18, 2012
We need less regulation in this country, not more. I think it sad that the death of these 20 children is being used as a political tool to put more regulation and control of US citizens on the books.

I grew up thinking that I lived in the land of the free with liberty and justice for all, but I am now beginning to see that we live in a police state. These families need justice, not gun control.
speak up
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December 18, 2012
The children killed were growing up in a great community in the land of the free. The staff killed were part of a great school. Our country needs Love, prayer, support, hope and the backbone of citizens to demand a stop to the sale of weapons of mass lethality.
Another Lib in Cobb
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December 19, 2012
It looks like the media is just not going to talk about the Orgaon mall shooter who was stopped by an citizen with a weapon and a concealed carry permit.

I am speaking up - against gun control and for MORE freedom not less.
Just Wait
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December 18, 2012
Why are these people even being questioned about gun control? They have no input on what this country may or may not do about guns. Who cares what they say about guns. Go pave a road or something.
manmanmanmanman
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December 18, 2012
Claiming that video games are the problem in one breath while then refusing to think that even modest reforms to gun access (limited magazine size, single-shot only, actual background checks and licensing) are an awful idea has got to be the most inane thing I've heard all morning.

Care to explain the fact that as video games have gotten more popular violent crime rates, especially amongst children, has gone down?
ohmanohmanohman
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December 19, 2012
@manmanmanmanman

Maybe you could care to explain how gun control will help, when the facts also show that violent crime has gone down as gun ownership has increased (and since the expiration of the original AWB)?

Yeah, it does sting a bit when the data doesn't support your cause, doesn't it?
Killer Cars...
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December 18, 2012
The situation in Newtown is tragic, no doubt. But the laws didn't fail. In fact, Conn has some of the strongest laws on the books. No matter how hard you try, you can't stop crazy.

We kill thousands more each year with cars via drunk drivers - and most of them get barely a slap on the wrist for their first offense until they finally do kill someone. Then it's not even considered premeditated murder.
fluffhead
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December 18, 2012
First of all, the title of this article is very misleading. it should read 'The 5 Ultra-Conservative Mayors That Were Available For Comment Still Think We Don't Have a Gun Problem In This Country'. That would be a bit more fitting. However, not surprising coming from the MDJ.

Are we seriously going back to the 'it's violent video games' argument? Gimme a break. Violent video games and violent movies are played and shown all over the world. The US has over 10,000 gun-related deaths per year. Canada had something like 150 last year. Canada's kids are plaing Halo 4 just like kids in the US are. Canadiens watch the same violent movies the US does. Hundreds of millions of people play these games and watch these movies. That's clearly not the problem.

We have to do something about the gun problem in this country, plain and simple. I'm not sure what else it's going to take for people to wake up and see that. The argument that people will start using other methods to kill people is ridiculous. I actually saw someone on FB say that this kid could have just as easily done as much damage with a knife or (get this) A SHOVEL! You need to look no further than to the guy in China who, on the very same day, INJURED 22 people with a knife. Yes, INJURED, not KILLED. Hate to see what he would have done with a shovel.

Assault weapons are designed to do one specific thing, commit mass murder in a very short amount of time. That's all they're designed to do. The fact that these weapons are readily available, and legal to obtain is insane. No one needs assault rifles.

The other argument that someone who was armed themselves could have defended themselves or stopped this. This theory didn't seem to work out for Adam Lanza's mother, did it? A gun owner herself who, for whatever reason owned these guns, could not use them to protect herself. How ironic.

The fact is, guns do way more harm than good. The number of people who are killed by guns in this country each year far outweigh those who use them to protect themselves. Enough is enough. How many more of these horrific events need to happen before we get serious?
mk-protect rights
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December 18, 2012
Everyones thoughts & prayers are w/ those families & the city of Newtown. Just heartbreaking. We all share the tears & grief of these families!!

But Bacon's comments are out of line & NOT what American citizens should hear from an elected official..."just throw their rights out the window",... is a wreckless, boneheaded comment and should send chills down our spines!

(I have 1st hand experience of Smyrna mayors lack of respect for peoples rights!!)

Whatever caused this kid to go berserk, we just don't know yet.

I think many troubled kids these days have become desensitized by the video games they play obsessively 24/7 . Some of these games,.. you win by how many people you kill. These games are very, very dangerous & harmful to young minds & our society.

There is talk about gun control & help for mentally ill,... but take away peoples RIGHTS?

Smyrna would be better off w/out a mayor that see's no need in protecting citizens rights at the helm. THAT is very VERY frightening!



anonymous
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December 18, 2012
MK, I have figured you out. You have a huge, huge, huge crush on Max Bacon. He is all you talk about, think about, and write about. Sounds like love to me!
cobbone
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December 18, 2012
I can't believe these clowns are leaders in the Cobb Community. Same old BS that has been said for years and the situation is just getting worse.

We need leadship that doesn't bury their head in the sand and keep things status quo.
VFP42
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December 18, 2012
Well of course the local yocals say gun control is not the answer. A good part of the local economy is gun sales. Smyrna's Citizen Of The Year earned his award for nothing more than selling guns, for Christ's sake.

If the yocals put together amounted to just one brain, they might realize stricter gun control "Up North" benefit the local economy as proxies are sent here to acquire guns where it's not so simple to obtain them.

Stricter gun control Up North would equal more sales here, but our NRA knee jerkers already jerked their knees didn't they.

Gun toters point their fingers at the mentally ill as the problem. Nearly everyone else points their fingers at guns as the problem. SO how about this: We should impose a significant new tax on gun sales, say even a 100% tax, at the federal level to pay for inpatient mental health care for the deranged.

And after the known-deranged are all locked up, and the unknown-deranged continue to shoot up elementary schools (now that that door has been opened for them), maybe then we can look at a 200% tax on gun sales, but NEVER look at the guns of course.
speak out
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December 18, 2012
Please speak up for those little children and their brave teachers and administrators. Love God and your neighbor. Advocate for better mental health, stop the stigmatization of those affected. Turn off the violent TV shows and lose the violent video games. Gun control is part of the solution.

Please don't blame Mothers for their child's mental illness. Together we can make it a safer world for our children.
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