Saturday, December 15, 2012


We need note that the Sandy Hook massacre took place only just over 32 hours ago, but the argument (it is just that now) is already raging again over gun control.  We think that any discussion on this topic is in the public good.  If we don’t constructively “Stop, Look & Listen” this time, we may once again and forever lose the opportunity for productive debate.  Ironically, that may even be Adam Lanza’s legacy…

Everybody, please know that we are very early on in this investigation where conflicting information is already surfacing about the shooter and his Mother Nancy - a supposed elementary school teacher at Sandy Hook.  Sources at the school are now saying that they have never heard of her.  There is obviously a lot of work to be done with the truth of it all yet to be determined.

What we do know is that Adam Lanza is the known (not alleged), deranged, “developmentally disabled” killer of 26 people (20 children and 6 adults) at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  Lanza is already being analyzed post mortem by neighbors, former fellow students, psychologists, behaviorists and, among many others, this writer.  Few have anything positive to say about Lanza, except that he was a bright kid who excelled in school. It is apparent that he had several tell-tale signs of some kind of mental disorder (one neighbor said he was on medication), yet no alarm bells reportedly ever went off.  Though some state they were nervous around him, he was apparently perceived as benign and non-threatening. We ask, then, where were the school psychologists? Where were the professionals that were supposedly treating him for his mental disorders – whatever/whoever they were?  Maybe that will all come out so we can shore up that system.

The horror and the magnitude of this act demands our attention, now, more than the all too numerous previous mass killings combined.  This is tragically new territory – killing kids/our babies – and should be the proverbial last straw and the one that breaks the camel’s back.  This post is directed to our lawmakers and anyone else who will listen.  The message – we have to finally and inexorably address the issue of gun control as well as the care and treatment for the mentally disabled.

I grew up in the NRA and have shot competitively.  My grandfather was Range Master for the Massasoit Gun Club.  I owned guns and know how to use them. I had a carry permit years ago in Georgia, but no longer.  I do not think, however, that any John or Susan Doe walking off the street or having access to a computer and a credit card should be able to purchase (in-store or on-line) a Remington .223 Bushmaster assault rifle (magazine 30+ rounds) without raising some alarms somewhere.  Having said that, two pistols - a 9 mm Glock (17 round magazine) and a 9 mm Sig Sauer P226 (15 round magazine) were on the scene though the Medical Examiner today related that the Bushmaster apparently was Lanza’s weapon of choice.   

Preliminary reports say those guns (as many as five total?) were legally purchased and registered to Lanza’s Mother Nancy?  We were led to initially believe that Nancy Lanza was a kindergarten teacher hence the incredulity of many wondering why (in God’s name) she would purchase an assault rifle – a weapon designed to do one thing – kill people?  Well, it seems that she collected guns and took her kids target shooting.  Was Nancy Lanza really a “collector” or did she make a straw purchase for Adam?   

We don’t know the answer to those questions yet but have great confidence that Connecticut law enforcement authorities including their forensic teams will figure all that out.  We note that Adam was 20 and you have to be 21 to legally purchase and own any firearm in Connecticut (Federal law though some states have tweaked it).  If the identity of the purchaser of the weapons is not called to question, that begs another whole issue that has to be part of any future gun control legislation.  Why keep firearms around someone who is mentally disturbed?

While I am not a profiler, photos of Adam Lanza show a nerdy-looking, frail and awkward kid that would pique my curiosity and may even set off alarms - if he came into my store or logged onto my web site looking to purchase a Bushmaster assault rifle.  Would I treat him any different?  Probably not, but I would sure as hell check his ID (OK, maybe a little closer) and order the obligatory background investigations.  If Adam Lanza was 21 years of age, he would have had the right to legally try to purchase all those weapons – the purchase ultimately dependent on a background check.     

For those detractors who may complain that profiling in this manner is unfair and subjective, we think you have to start somewhere and geek or not, right or not, who the hell needs an assault rifle?  The Bushmaster assault rifle looks to me like an AR-15 clone and is the same rifle used by the Washington DC sniper several years ago.  The fact that this weapon (or any other military grade device) is still being manufactured and made available to the general public causes great concern.  Yes, the Federal ban on assault weapons lapsed in 2004 and attempts to reinstate it since then have been unsuccessful mainly because of lobbying by the NRA.

For those of us who are asking what made Lanza “snap”?  We need to appreciate that Connecticut law enforcement has indicated that this appears to be a carefully planned and executed act. He was wearing a mask, all black commando gear and a bulletproof vest.  So what happened to Adam Lanza?  Some of the reports on we have seen and heard to date conflict.

The media are in a feeding frenzy with each and every one of the major networks trying to cash in on this tragedy.  It sure appears that some premature and inaccurate reporting has taken place. 

So, it’s time for this writer to shut up.  We need to stop our hypotheticals and listen and see what the Connecticut State Police come up with.  In the meantime, we pray for Newtown, Connecticut and the Families who lost children and Family members in this stupid, senseless act.  Pray also and lobby for a rational approach to gun control including the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons and care for our mentally ill. Failing all this, and we probably shall forget, we will continue to publicly condemn this atrocity though make no provision for a solution and then doomed - repeat it again and again… and so it goes…  Let’s not forget Sandy Hook…or Aurora, Colorado, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, Virginia Tech or Columbine or…


Ned Buxton

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