As happened in another very advanced, civilized country in the mid-twentieth century, the United States is in the process of being taken over by a horrible minority. The barriers to gun control, abortion, a true reading of our history are merely gambits to attract a horrible portion of the electorate. One of the political parties is willing to accept death and repression in our society strictly to ride to total power.

Dan, thanks again for an inspiring column.

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20 ~ 6 and 7 year old babies died in Sandy Hook "after" other mass school shootings. Republicans passed nothing, changed nothing and did nothing. Guns kill. Hate kills. White male mass shooters with their their fake grievances and privilege kill. Stop blaming mental illness because it's lazy and insulting to people who suffer from it and would never carry out a mass shooting. The puzzle pieces fit every single time. I gave up hope after Sandy Hook. 20 ~ 6 and 7 year old babies and their dear teacher using her body to try and protect them died and nothing changed. More mass shootings followed and continue. If that White boy was a Black boy, his locker and definitely his back pack would have been searched. He would have been sent home, expelled, kicked out of school immediately whether his parents were notified or not. But White boys and men always get the benefit of the doubt. Always presumed innocent first. Always get the pass. Women, children and BIPOC do not matter so much in this country, and therein lies the problem. Make them matter.

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Confession: In 1976 (or as best I can recall) I was in the 7th grade and wanted desperately to kill everyone in my class. To be honest, it was a means to an end; I just wanted the torment to stop. Not every kid in my class was terrible but the majority of them had a real deficiency in being kind. My parents, understanding that I had a proclivity for violence, made absolutely sure that there were no weapons available. Nothing happened.

Looking back now, I understand how my thinking at the time was worse than anything those kids ever did to me. But I can also see it from the other side as well. Kids can be terrible to each other, and someone being taunted and tormented will use whatever they have at their disposal to make it stop. In my case, figuring I couldn't stop them, I decided to try to stop me. Fortunately, those attempts were not successful.

Regrettably, I don't think we can't stop kids being terrible to one another. But we can stop them killing themselves and each other by restricting access to the tools they might use to kill, just as my parents did that prevented what could have been a slaughter. Why is that so hard to understand?

Dan's right about those people who care about a life until it's born, and then that child be damned. Until there is a social structure in this country to support every child born, forcing birth under penalty of law only compounds the problem. Why is that so hard to understand?

As a male of the species, my feelings on abortion are inconsequential, as it's not a decision I will ever have to make. And therein lies the issue: Old men should not be making laws for young women about issues old men will never face. Old men should instead be focusing on how to ensure "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for everyone, young men and women included. Until that happens, forcing birth is only ensuring a death sentence.

If that's "pro-life", I want nothing to do with it.

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My youngest granddaughter is the same age as most of the Sandy Hook victims, but she has gotten to live her life and is now a sophomore in high school, an honor student, and a three-sport athlete. It makes me sick and disgusted to think of the lives cut short by a mentally ill young white man with an automatic rifle and a grudge in his heart. And that is the tragic scenario that is played over and over in these school massacres. And to put the icing on the NRA gun-lover's cake, a congressman has sent out a Christmas card with a photo of his entire family--adults to young children--armed and pointing their favorite weapons at the camera. When an elected official feels comfortable releasing that kind of greeting less than a week after four students were killed and 11 others injured by a mass shooter, I know that guns have become the #1 right and privilege in this country. Where can we go from here? I just don't know.

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Thank you Thank you Thank you again, oh wise Dan! And everyone reading, go to the website CHOP WOOD CARRY WATER. Jessica Craven is doing her own wonderful job of posting what we can do EVERY DAY. Call senators and congress people, text the president, barrage the folks who represent you! There are lots of people DOING something and trying to help others do the same. Action assuages anxiety. Let's get to work!

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“I do believe, with all my being, that the vast majority of Americans do not want this madness to continue. It is a minority inflicting this insanity on the majority. “

The last part of that statement is the clincher, Dan. THAT right there in a nutshell is what is happening in our government, from the top Federal level all the way down to the state and local governments. It's happening across the board in legislative and judicial branches of government at every level. Truly, "the inmates are taking over and running the asylum." And we're letting it, sometimes we even seem to be enabling it. After this horrible, tragic shooting, I still ask for the one-millionth time: WHAT will it take for people in this country, that "vast majority" you allude to, to get off their collective asses and effect the changes that we all want?? Are we THAT hamstrung by this minority?? The terrible shootings in Oxford might as well be light-years away from most Americans and that is just beyond tragic. If it doesn't immediately affect them in their respective little bubbles, then don't look for them to become particularly concerned about it. [*Sarcasm alert* God forbid if because of the omicron variant there's a sudden rush on toilet paper...now THAT gets everybody upset!!]

Get ready folks. Look for steadily more and more "insanity" dictated to the rest of us by this minority. We got a foretaste of it from the expected overturn of Roe v Wade by the SCOTUS. With the far right now holding a solid majority on the highest court, get ready for more and more things to be changed and overturned. School shootings are the symptoms of a far worse disease, a disease we seem loathe to address and almost content to ignore. Maybe this is why Americans seem to be retreating more and more into their respective little bubbles. It's a defense mechanism of how people wall themselves off from the sad, tragic realities overtaking this country right now. I don't know to what degree people will keep allowing this to happen before they do anything, but one day, I predict, the dam will burst. Until then, I fear things will get much worse before they get better. I pray I'm wrong somehow. But...look at history. We just don't seem to ever learn.

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Everything changed for me when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. I had three small children at the time. I don't remember what I used to say when I dropped them off at the school doors, but on December 15th, I got out of the car with them, gave them a kiss and told them I loved them. They are now teenagers and I continue to do this EVERY DAY. EVERY DAY I worry when I kiss them goodbye - even more so now they are in high school. I know that fear won't cease until they have graduated safely. It doesn't help when representatives like Massie Tweet a Christmas card of all family members holding guns. There's clearly a disconnect. My fears need to overshadow the selfishness and pure stupidity of people like him in order for change to happen. I am not feeling very positive these days...

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Our niece clutched her phone Tuesday, November 30th around 12:50pm, watching the horrific texts come in from her daughter, our grandniece, who was crouched in a classroom while the shooting was taking place just outside it. She told her mother how much she loved her & tried to sob quietly. Our grandniece saw her favorite teacher get shot. She knew one of her best friends in the world was in very serious condition. That day will NEVER fade for those members of our family, just as it will NEVER fade for communities around this 'Wild West' of a country.

We take so much for granted these days. Our weather reports have gotten so very accurate so that we rarely are surprised by severe weather without some form of warning. Our cars are so highly engineered that we're alerted to problems well before they begin in many cases. Our society has become so used to vast amounts of information at our fingertips... but we can't divorce ourselves from our love of certain anachronisms. The idea that the general public *needs* guns to protect themselves is one of those.

I've seen studies that say that conservative minds are more prone to worry over unseen fears & threats. I truly believe this. Why else would they cling so desperately to the idea that every man, woman, and child in the U.S. *needs* multiple firearms? Why else would Rep. Massie post a "Christmas Card" showing his entire family armed to the teeth? These poor, paranoid, terrified individuals need our compassion in order to learn that the threats that they perceive are not real, yet their actions elicit little more than abject horror from me. May whatever deity they worship have mercy on them... and on the rest of us because of them.

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Such sadness premeates the majority of us! When will our country pass the necessary laws to stop this madness! We are held hostage by the few! ENOUGH!!

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Dec 5, 2021Liked by Elliot Kirschner

You continue to speak because the victims of society's abeyance can't. Your readers by their act and comments give further voice to injustice that cannot be left to flourish through false arguments that support such ongoing carnage. Please, keep working the puzzles.

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I believe that the reason we seem to be on a downward spiral is simply we are losing our humanity. By that, I believe there is a trend that really caring about others has been declining. Oh, yes, we have holidays and there is emphasis on "good will" but everything you touched on can be explained by what I call the ME attitude. If ME is bothered by something or someone, ME can take action, ranging from yelling to the senseless killings we see. If ME believes I am entitled, ME can take whatever, as ME wanted it, ME doesn't have to work for it. The mentality of it is all about ME is prevalent. I work in Public Safety, and see on a daily basis, the lack of respect, and the road rages, the attitude of when ME calls for service, if you don't side with ME, you are against ME. Our politicians follow this also, if your aren't going along with ME, I will walk out. I grew up on a time where you were taught manners, respect and gratefulness, not entitlement and selfishness. You were able to discuss different views without losing friendships or respect, or even your life.,. In my opinion, the lack of parenting, lack of caring about others, the violence hitting our senses in so many forms, selfishness and greed with the inability to communicate effectively is the basis of what we as a society, are becoming. I like you are very concerned, but truly I believe that most people are good, hard working..they just are not the focus. Maybe one day, we will start thinking about how the ME actions will affect others before ME yells at a clerk or slaps a flight attendant, or runs someone off the road, killing them. I wonder to myself after those 10 seconds of ME actions that can cause so much damage, if the ME person would have stepped back for 2 second's and thought about consequences, would they have continued? I hope it is not too late to turn it around. Just my viewpoint.

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Speechless. Grieving. Retired educator who finds the failure to take action on gun safety unconscionable.

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Thank you, Dan and Steady team for this objective and clearly heartfelt appeal to awaken the collective conscience of the majority of this country to this horrific and unnecessary modern-day reality: our most precious resource, our children, are at risk of getting shot in the place that when we were kids (I am a "boomer") was always a very safe haven.

The sad reality is that the 2nd amendment has been completely twisted and hijacked/co-opted by a conservative minority and big money (buying politicians) into encouragement for gun ownership by anybody (eg parents buying guns for their kids... Rittenhouse, now this... beyond stupid - all those parents deserve major jail time). And to make matters worse it is all further enabled by inadequate, disparate poor local regulations and enforcement - and - a woefully inadequate mental health care system.

It will take another big blue wave to get more women and men of integrity and sound mind (IQ & EQ) into major political positions. Then we need to use that majority to:

-(a) get big money Lobbying curtailed and fully transparent - especially the NRA (and whatever it tries to morph to).

-(b) federal regulations to treat guns like cars, i.e all registered, inspected, pass safety exams on gun ownership (and storage).

-(c) disallow any ownership of "military-grade automatic weapons" and "upgrades to convert guns to semi or full auto" and offer buyback. Stricter regulations on stockpiling weapons/ammo with enforced confiscation.

-(d) pack the Supreme Court with more objective and humanistic judges to overturn the abomination of Citizens United (and fortify Roe v Wade).

-(e) reinstate a stronger version of The Fairness Doctrine to curb the weaponized misinformation being spewed by unbridled fake news sites (that all strongly promote guns, conspiracy theories, and fear-mongering) and enact severe financial penalties and jail time for offenders. The same is true for Political ads - they must pass vetting by a review board; no more open-season on lying and fear-mongering.

-(f) get rid of gerrymandering and the electoral college. Enhance voting rights so it is a true one person=one vote. period.

Yes, a dauntingly tall order... but if enough of the majority act it can happen. The question comes down to: how many more atrocities have to occur and to which people will push the collective conscience of our society to act collectively and take away the power of a few.

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What a sick society it is that continues to place more importance in the right to bear arms than the rights of the victims to pursue happiness.

There are no manslaughter charges for the politicians who refuse to do anything, but maybe there should be.

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Once more Dan has written a sensible and truthful essay. I have to say that as more came out in the news about this story, my thoughts were who is stupid enough to purchase a gun for an underage child? The booking photo of Ethan Crumbley showed what I refer as a dead face, someone who has obvious mental health problems. His note saying "the voices won't stop" is another sign and a symptom of schizophrenia which my own brother has. His completely out of touch parents surely had to have some clue that their son had problems. As for the Republicans in Congress who will not even allow any discussion of gun violence, it's too bad that they cannot be charged as accessories.

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Amen my friend, amen. May we actually do something.

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