Mass Shootings Set Pro Gun Agenda Back

It was not a good week to work for the right to carry a concealed weapon in churches, schools and public areas.

It was not a good week to work for the right to buy more than one firearm a month.

After previous mass shootings — the Wisconsin church killings of 7 in 2005, the Salt Lake City and Omaha mall killings of 13 in 2007, Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University killings of 5 last year — the public would listen to the gun lobby dogma that we need more guns not less and teachers, church goers and shoppers should be armed.

Not this time.

After a week of mass gunmen and massacres, no one wants to hear the gun lobby’s OK Corralspeak in which we good guys have to arm against the bad guys — at least until the 50 plus funerals are over.

The problem is that gun “enthusiasts” like Michael McLendon and Bruce Jeffrey “Santa Claus” Pardo are increasingly becoming the gun lobby’s poster boys.

McLendon killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff’s deputy in Samson, Alabama, setting fire to his mother’s home and killing her dogs in last week.

Pardo killed his e-wife and her family and burned their house down in Covina, California on Christmas Eve, dressed in a jolly red suit, last year.

Both were exemplars of the right to buy more than one weapon a month which the gun lobby strongly defends.

McLendon had a cache of an M-16, an AK-47, a shotgun, two pistols and a “great amount of ammunition.” Pardo had five semi-automatic handguns and two shotguns.

Even Terry Sedlacek who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at a church service in Maryville, Illinois last week and is being held at an Edwardsville jail was in the gray area — being an “avid hunter” but having no state firearms-owner identification, say news reports.

And recently another image problem is plaguing the gun lobby besides gun-collecting, family-killing arsonists. Child killers with “skills” mentored through youth hunter programs!

While the first reports of 11-year-old Jordan Brown of Wampum, Pennsylvania who shot and killed his father’s pregnant fiancée Benzie Houk in February said the child was jealous over the new sibling that was coming, later reports revealed that Dad himself had given the boy the 20-gauge shotgun and taught him to kill living things. Oops.

Even Houk had encouraged bloodsports for the 11-year-old said press reports — the same age Alabama killer Michael McLendon started hunting — which called the family “hunting enthusiasts.”

Like many states, Pennsylvania has NRA backed “mentored youth hunting programs” encouraging children under 12 to hunt with adults so hunting — and the revenue it brings to the state in licenses — doesn’t die out. In some states children as young as eight are encouraged to shoot tame pheasants the state has hatched and grown at taxpayer expense. Hey, it’s not violent video games.

Remember the eight-year-old St. Johns, Arizona boy, now nine, who shot and killed his father, Vincent Romero, and Timothy Romans with a .22-caliber rifle last year? He was also a budding hunter being trained by his father on prairie dogs say press reports.

Three days after the murder of Rev. Fred Winters of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, a group of gun owners in yellow T-shirts gathered outside the Illinois Statehouse hoping to visit with legislators and chanting “Concealed Carry Now.”

Referring to pending Illinois laws that would limit who can sell a gun and how many people can buy, Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist, said: “We’re not just going to lay down and take this stuff.”

Some of the recent gun victims would have said the same thing.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Martha.

28 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rg the lg said on March 17th, 2009 at 11:41am #

    I have no problem with the right to bear arms.

    I do have a problem with the inability of some people to realize that the right to bear arms is really a right to rebel against government as it constitutes itself over time.

    Sure, guns are violent things … just as are people. Outlaw both … mybe no more babies would, over time, eliminate violence. It would be far more effective to eliminate babies and thus violence, than to eliminate guns but not babies.

    And all y’all think I’m kidding?

    In cynicism and doubt for the nature of humanity,

    RG the LG

  2. Barry99 said on March 17th, 2009 at 12:23pm #

    I would just outlaw the production and import of bullets. Seems there is nothing in the constitution prohibiting that.

    Many countries have pretty much eliminated having babies – they are well below replacement rate. Doesn’t stop them from using up lots of resources though. And that’s where the problem lies. No nation is going to volunteer to reduce consumption. Those countries still having 5.8 children are not consuming nearly as much. Besides, if the problem is overpopulation per se – each of us knows what he or she can personally do about it.

  3. sirmatthew said on March 17th, 2009 at 12:29pm #

    ALL of the recent gun victims DID lay down and take it. If only they valued their Second Amendment right enough to exercise it many of these victims might still be alive today.

    I say there is NO BETTER time to be involved in the cause promoting gun rights as these incidents prove the point victims are helpless and defenseless to defend themselves. They can’t even rely on a nearby stranger to help them in a life and death situation.

    With the economy in shambles and unemployment rates going through the roof we can only expect more of these situations to happen in the future. People are on the edge of losing it and the weak-minded will be the first to “go over the edge”. With that in mind, citizens need to be EXTRA cautious and take ADDITIONAL measures to defend themselves lest they also become a victim.

  4. brian said on March 17th, 2009 at 1:50pm #

    The mass shootings we see are due largely to the persons using SSRI drugs…antidepressants that can cause suicide and homicide ideation…THATS why we see both suicide AND homicide:

    You can learn more here:

    Its long past time these drugs were removed from the market…Even Michael Moore now agrees they are a likley contributor to the Columbine massacres.
    see his video comment here.

  5. lichen said on March 17th, 2009 at 8:16pm #

    Guns are disgusting, ugly, anti-social murder weapons, and countries that don’t have them are better off. It is time that the US shed’s it’s corporate-profit driven manipulations and enact intense gun regulation and control laws so that people stop dying here and in Mexico, where the lack of US laws makes it easy for their drug cartels to massively import guns. No one in the world should have a gun, or a nuclear weapon.

  6. Josh said on March 17th, 2009 at 9:45pm #

    If you really believe all that tripe you just posted you are in big trouble.
    You live in a fantasy world where inanimate objects make people kill others.

    You want to ban guns? Get the government and the criminals (haha I made a funny) to lay theirs down first.

  7. ILGunGuy said on March 17th, 2009 at 11:11pm #

    Lichen, you have got to be kidding me! You need to do some more research. I know it wont help, you are too driven by emotion, I can fell it in your words. Tell you what, I’ll make a deal with you, I’ll keep my guns and religion, you can keep your hope and change, OK?

  8. Cam said on March 18th, 2009 at 4:20am #

    Germany has the strictest gun law in Europe but they still have shoot outs and the uk has outlawed handguns but the crooks still have them and kids just knife each other.

  9. danny ray said on March 18th, 2009 at 4:39am #

    Lichen, you, giving up one of your constitional rights has no bearing on wheather the mexican cartels have weapons or not. These people have ontacts in columbia where they can purchase weapons in job lots for a lot cheaper than you can buy them in gun shops here in the US. The weapons I have seen on TV all seem to be military grade. you can not buy a rocket launcher at walmart.
    As the gov. gets more and more oppressive we desperatly need a way to tell the boys inside the belt way not just no “HELL NO”

  10. Richard Randall said on March 18th, 2009 at 6:56am #

    NO guns = NO peace.
    KNOW guns = KNOW peace.

    One a month has not stopped anyone, they just wait the few months needed to get what they want. You want to stop gun crime? Then ARM EVERYONE, within a few weeks or so, any smart criminals will change jobs and the rest will be either dead or hospitalized.

  11. David Ikari said on March 18th, 2009 at 7:30am #

    @Cam – Australia has strict anti-gun laws. We don’t have shoot outs or mass stabbings.

    Stating that we must have weapons to defend ourselves isn’t the greatest one to raise. If you do carry a gun, what if the other person has a more powerful one? One which is more accurate, or can spray more bullets in less time? The appropriate response with “match the attacker” would be “carry a similar gun.”

    A gun is a weapon. We can say most anything can be a weapon too. A metal spoon, for instance, can be a simple blunt shiv to jab a person with or damage the eyes. But guns aren’t utensils. They’re crafted specifically as a weapon. As a weapon, they are made to cause severe injury when used against a person. If you don’t intend to hurt a person with a gun, and would rather use it for home protection, buy blanks. A “bang” without a hit would scare an intruder as much as a real bullet. In that situation, loosing your gun to the attacker puts you at an advantage.

    Bigger isn’t always better. Being armed isn’t always the way out. I must admit with some cliches. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It’s not the bullet with your name on it you should worry about, it’s the one marked ‘to whom it may concern.’ But a gun is a dangerous thing. It’s intention is to destroy or injure, whether for good or bad. We restrict people from getting access to things that cause nothing but injury for the safety of the public. Even bulk purchase of fertilisers can be considered suspicious. When someone buys a gun, there is reason to be cautious: this person may be willing to perform grievous harm (or threaten such) against a person or animal.

    At the end of the day, I’m an Aussie. I can’t talk about a “right to bear arms”, ’cause I don’t have any. And our civil wars were fought by miners bearing rakes and pitchforks.

    But “defending yourself” (striking fear or harming others) isn’t a reason for owning a gun. You could own a bat, or an alarm system, or a taser. “I have the right to protect myself against a corrupt government” is odd too, considering the government should be controlled by your elected officials, and if they fail, people take them out. With pitchforks and rakes if necessary. Failing that, let’s ask the UN and international coalition forces to help out. That’s what they’re for, right?

  12. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 18th, 2009 at 8:07am #


    the pro-gun people are dumb, they think that guns are the best tools to cure this violence problem in America is not guns, but knowledge and a united socialist movement as the real medicine and solution to overthrow the USA corrupt corporate oligarchic imperialist government which has been kidnapped by the democrat party and republican party !!


  13. sastry.m said on March 18th, 2009 at 9:50am #

    If a person is doing research in deep forests about trees or animals he may carry guns or small fire arms for self protection or scaring animals. That guns are either lawfully allowed or licensed to particular individuals even under urban civilization where law and order are the responsibility of governance places a blotted question mark on synthetic human progress as against free natural order in the wilds.

  14. Richard Letaw said on March 18th, 2009 at 12:21pm #

    Ikari the Aussie wrote: “At the end of the day, I’m an Aussie. I can’t talk about a ‘right to bear arms’, ’cause I don’t have any. And our civil wars were fought by miners bearing rakes and pitchforks.”

    Well, Ikari, perhaps you know that felons on this side of the Southern Sea are interdicted with respect to firearms, so they are in the “boat” as your forefathers who were transported to Botany Bay to populate that desolate island and improve the quality of the British Isles population.

    As for your “rakes and pitchforks,” perhaps you ought also to consider shovels. Those were used to great effect in trench assaults during the War to End Wars.

    Up the Oz!

  15. Austin said on March 19th, 2009 at 6:51am #

    @ Ikari
    Actually, much of what you said is wrong. To start with, there is no ‘bigger and better’ gun. It’s a preference. I guarantee, after years of owning my favorite pistol, a beat up Colt 1911 that saw work in World War 2, I can still use this same beat up pistol with its poor sights and achieve far greater accuracy than the thug who walks into the subway I’m trying to eat my sandwich at and pulls out a new Composite based firearm. There is no ‘bigger and better’ to reiterate, just different.

    As such, I don’t need to match my attacker with a similar gun. He can use whatever he wants, and I’ll still come out the victor and have stopped his homicidal rampage. Will I get shot? Maybe, but if I get shot and 20 other people don’t, I’m fine with that.

    You said that purchase of a gun is reason to be cautious; that’s simply moronic. Many firearms are used in competitive sport in America. We have pistols for sport, Semi-automatic rifles for sport, shotguns for sport, I even once shot a ‘machine gun’ in a competition. Also, if I want to shoot and eat a deer, that is my business. If you don’t, that is yours. Don’t try and push your belief that we shouldn’t eat deer into this conversation, because you’re guaranteed to lose.

    And then, to come to the end, you speak about ‘defending yourself with a taser, a baseball bat, or an alarm system’. These are all terrible ideas.
    A taser, while occasionally useful, hinges upon ONE thing for succesful application; that the target will not be wearing anything more than a light t-shirt, and that you won’t be more than 50 feet away. Why? Because a taser requires penetration of the skin for its barbs/electrodes. Many criminals wear very heavy clothes due to the fact that they A)obscures their figure B)dampens the impact of a physical blow at least a bit and now C)will stop a taser from penetrating the skin, thus rendering it useless.
    A baseball bat is even worse. To use it, you need to be within 5 feet of your target (which is not likely, especially if your home is broken into while you’re asleep). At the point when you’re actually using the bat, your target, who may well have a knife, a gun, or a crowbar, will probably be stabbing, beating, or shooting you to death while you try and land a second hit.
    An alarm system is by far the worst idea on here. Sure, they occasionally make less proffessional criminals flee, but the fact is that after the alarm goes off, it will be an average of 5 minutes to 15 minutes before the police arrive, depending on where you live, what day it is (God help you on the weekends), and other criteria. Once the police arrive, they don’t have to help you. The supreme court has stated time and again that Police officers are under no legal obligation to put themselves in harm’s way. Besides, by the time they’ve arrived, you’re probably already dead.
    Now, let us suppose I have my pistol and a robber breaks in (and let’s leave my dog out of the picture for now). The robber breaks in, I hear it, he sets off the alarm, but figures he’ll make off with something I own (computer, TV, antique clock, jewelry, one of the expensive plaques in my office, an old book, my PS3, a fur coat, whatever). He starts heading upstairs to what looks like the master bedroom, walks in, and as my wife turns the lights on hears me yell ‘DOWN ON THE GROUND OR I’LL SHOOT’. Very likely, he’ll drop his gun and lie down, or he’ll try to run. Very few robbers are dumb enough to try and fight an armed citizen; they’ll take the short jail time and go back to robbing houses rather than die.
    Dogs are also a good system, in combination with aforementioned pistol. The dog (a real dog, mind, not some teacup poodle, chihuaha, or anything else that fits in a purse) will attack the robber, making noise enough to alert me, and holding the robber til I get there. Then go back to the step above, and I’ve won.
    By the way, your idea to buy blanks is idiotic, mainly because most burglars who come into your house at night are crackheads who could care less about a ‘bang without a hit’. They’re too intent on getting money for more crack. The best way to deal with them is a real bullet.

    You talk about people ‘taking out’ corrupt officials. Who? Other corrupt officials? Or do you mean that someone would ‘take them out’ in the sense that someone would do them grievous bodily harm? Once again, who? The citizens who don’t own firearms? The UN, which has NEVER proved useful in a firefight or rebellion? Look at Rwanda, Somalia, and pretty much anything else the UN has had to do.

    And just because using pitchforks and rakes was a good idea in Australia a few hundred years ago doesn’t mean it’ll fly now. When only the government has guns, it’ll no longer be beholden to its citizens.

    Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not. – Thomas Jefferson
    Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. – Benjamin Franklin

  16. watchman said on March 23rd, 2009 at 7:11am #

    The Second Amendment to the Constitutiom of the United States of America gives me the RIGHT; I say RIGHT to bear ARMS. It was placed there for a reason. It was placed in the Constitution to protect us from a Government who would place TAXES on us like the British (i.e. The Boston Tea Party). It is in the Constitution to protect us from a Government; duely elected, who would become tyrannical in it’s demeanor. It is in the Constitution to protect us from elements in our society who would have the U.S.A. become a Socialist State of the NWO!

  17. watchman said on March 23rd, 2009 at 7:41am #

    If persons living in this country do not like the way that freedom has given them the right to voice their opinion (i.e. The Conastitution via the Second Amendment’s protection), let them live in Cuba or some other chaotic third world country living in the clutches of Communist Socialism. I feel they would want to come home to the good old USA.
    The wanna-be “socialist” of this generation do not know what they are asking for. Soon they will come for your weapons and then your property and then your CHILDREN. Those who buck the SYSTEM will be sent to concentration like “camps” to be “re-indoctrinated” or shot dead. Children unknowingly will be asked to betray their parent”s trust in school, and any information gathered from said third or fourth grader could be used against said parents concerning their political or religious beliefs. This is NOT what America wants.
    America must WAKE UP and see what is happening to our country. A President was elected. Not one of his policies have worked. The economy is trashed to say the least. The country is on a down hill spyral to destuction. His Treasurer is a criminal (tax cheat and liar). His Vice-President is a joke and his Cabinet is questionable at best.

  18. watchman said on March 23rd, 2009 at 7:43am #

    GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. bozh said on March 23rd, 2009 at 8:51am #

    note please that US, having support of some 97% of its pop and with about 50mn rabid supporters of its societal structure, does not have to fear dissenters amounting to about 2-3% of its pop.
    cuban society, on the other hand, may contain 20-30% lethal dissinders; the have murder in their mind.
    and supported by an empire which has been sowing death all over the world for at least 200yrs.

    i can allow dissent in cuba, venezuella only if the lethal enemies of equality wld swear off use of violence/sanctions/blockades/sieges/bombings against socialist states.

    do you think i’d allow my enemy freedoms who wants and will kill me the first chance s/he gets and with help from fascists?

    the best people on our orb love socialism; the worst love fascism and killings of pristine aliens.
    some blessing?? tnx

  20. mary said on March 23rd, 2009 at 8:52am #

    You seem to be talking to yourself here Watchman. Are your hands cold and dead too like your thoughts?

    For your consideration –

  21. bozh said on March 23rd, 2009 at 8:54am #

    correction! “dissinders” shld have been either dissidents or dissenters.
    but being 91 yrs of age, i get oft confused; and i have earned that right!

  22. Max Shields said on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:16am #

    watchman, the right to bear arms was there to ensure a militia could be mustered up to defend; in lieu of a standing army.

    Today we have by far the largest military in the world, with an budget equal to that of the world’s combined budget. We have 800 bases throughout the world and are fighting “wars” in two sovereign nations who never attacked us.

    I don’t think the constitution or the 2nd ammendment had any of this in mind. It certainly didn’t spring for the enlightenment period that supposedly gave “birth” to the constitution.

  23. Nadia said on March 23rd, 2009 at 10:48pm #

    Once again, you must explain to the anti-gun side – IN SIMPLE TERMS SO THEY CAN UNDERSTAND – what the real problem is.

    “After previous mass shootings — the Wisconsin church killings of 7 in 2005, the Salt Lake City and Omaha mall killings of 13 in 2007, Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University killings of 5 last year — the public would listen to the gun lobby dogma that we need more guns not less and teachers, church goers and shoppers should be armed.”

    Wisconsin church killings: DEPRESSION – ANTIDEPRESSANTS
    Salt Lake City mall killings: POSSIBLE PTSD/GANG RELATED
    Virginia Tech killings: DEPRESSION – ANTIDEPRESSANTS
    Northern Illinois University killings: DEPRESSION – ANTIPEPRESSANTS

    Guns are not the problem. That little white pill is the problem.

  24. mary said on March 24th, 2009 at 7:45am #

    If the guns were not at hand, there would not be the killings. Find the cause of the depression and do something about it!

  25. Kjellter said on March 26th, 2009 at 12:06pm #

    People need to realize that a murder weapon could be anything. If you really wanted to take someone’s life…you’re going to do it by whatever means you have, whether it’s a gun or a shovel.
    should we outlaw anything that could possibly be used to beat someone to death? I don’t think so.
    Hey I know, let’s surgically remove hands from anyone, so there will never be any more stranglings!
    The real issue is the condition of the human heart. Evil!

  26. Tree said on March 26th, 2009 at 1:39pm #

    Kjellter, a murder weapon “could be anything” but a gun cannot be anything but a murder weapon.

    It would be incredibly foolish for anyone to think the intent of the 2nd Amendment was to allow citizens to possess semi-automatic weapons or engage in the kinds of killings we see on a daily basis in the US.

  27. lichen said on March 26th, 2009 at 7:14pm #

    We need a constitutional convention to write up a new version that will guarantee us all real rights based on today: not the right to blow each other up with machine guns, but the right to single-payer healthcare, free college education, housing, clean water, healthy organic food, commiunity-level democracy, and a world without corporations having the same rights as persons.

  28. Ehran said on April 8th, 2009 at 11:35am #

    i find it greatly interesting that the pro gun people are so adamant that more guns are the answer to these sorts of crimes. i did some reading of what the actual endings were of these mass shootings. in not a single one of the ones i followed up was the shooter put down by a citizen. every single case i read was a leo or the shooter suiciding that ended the event.

    the mass shootings were all across the states pro gun areas and anti gun areas. i wonder if anyone has the time to really pursue this and generate some more useful stats. sociology thesis anyone?