Was “heckle” the right word?

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Like most of the media I used the word “heckle” to describe the treatment of Neil Heslin at the gun hearings.

After some push back, I’m wondering if that was the right word.

Watch the video below and tell me what you think. It doesn’t really become significant until the end. Pick it up around 14:00 if you’re pressed for time.

Heslin does seem, rhetorically or substantively, to be challenging the audience.  So, from that point of view, one could argue that he’s inviting an answer. On the other hand, you wonder about the ability of these people to respond to social or emotional cues.  His speech up to that point sent a chill over my heart. He’s describing the sight of his little son in his coffin and he’s asking if, in the teeth of that, anybody can possibly justify assault weapons and big ammo clips. There’ a pause. He resumes. Then people start yelling things including “the Second Amendment shall not be infringed.” The chair asks for silence.

It’s probably not heckling. But it was the wrong thing to do. Even if you believe passionately in completely unfettered gun rights, you don’t answer the man that way.  He’s saying he just buried his little boy  He wants to see some changes — not big ones — in the gun laws.  And he’s asking, with the memory fresh of the bullet hole in his son’s head, if there’s anything that trumps his desire to protect other children. You really have to be a clueless moron to start yelling NRA boilerplate at that moment.

Let me offer an analogy. I don’t agree with Dr. William Petit about the death penalty, and I was even made uncomfortable sometimes by the way he dominated the debate about it for one cycle. (Probably a lot of gun rights people agree with Petit, which is why I’m bringing this up.) But I would never have countenanced yelling back to the man at a hearing, even if he offered up a rhetorical question. You just don’t do that.  Civilized people know that.  And that’s the problem with some of these gun yahoos. They are saying, in one breath, “I am not a civilized person. I can not even restrain myself in situations where the social norms are pretty obvious. And, oh, by the way, I want to own a very deadly weapon.”

So heckling was probably the wrong word.  Stupid was not.

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94 thoughts on “Was “heckle” the right word?

  1. Amanda Kaplan

    This behavior by the gun nuts doesn’t surprise me at all. They are obsessed with their evil, violent hobby and simply don’t care about anything else. I am so sick of these unhinged people trying to elevate a dangerous hobby to an inviolable right. Even a cursory review of gun violence stats reveals a deadly epidemic in our country. The cure is not more guns, as the gun manufacturers would have us believe. Time to grow up, America.

    1. John

      Amanda, no one is looking for “More Guns” as you state. All legal gun owners would love to see EVERY ILLEGAL GUN, IN THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS” removed from the streets.
      Every legal gun owner would admit that individuals with serious mental health issues should be banned from owning guns, but the LAW PROTECTS Dr. Patient confidentiality and we are not allowed to know who poses the threat.
      Most of the UNHINGED people happen to be 1st responders, law enforcement, retired military and as such have played a pat in protecting YOUR RIGHTS and SAFETY.
      Gun sports are safe as they are hunting animals or shooting targets. I see from FB that your husband and son play a lot of hockey,,,NOW THAT IS A VIOLENT HOBBY.
      All the gun statistic you speak of refer to criminal acts by ILLEGAL GUN OWNERS.
      I can see, that like many you are afraid. Your comments and position are based upon fear and fueled by ignorance. Many many people are in the same boat. Major decisions and legislation that will affect the lives of millions and strip freedoms, should not be made from emotion. You know how they say to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry, because you will buy way more than you need? Well. likewise, do not propose laws immediately after a tragedy as emotions are too high and logic is tossed out the window.
      Please refrainf from such harsh judgement regarding matters of which your are uniformed.

      1. Professor Poop

        John; yes, we can agree that too,many guns ate in the hands of criminals. But you know what? The guns got there by stealing them and by legit gun owners selling their gun show bought guns for high prices on the black market. And these supply streams will never dry up until we ban this killing machines. So,comply with the new regulations or you will be tax, fined and incarcerated for violating the law.

        And you don’t want to become a criminal, do you?

    2. Richard


      Some stellar contributions there:
      -gun nuts
      And that’s just a sampling from your first three sentences. Your argument has won me over. Jefferson, Madison, et al, were wrong. And you’re right.

      1. John

        Amanda, I was paraphrasing YOU. All those words you claimed were from my response, are the very words you USED! Read your own uninformed attack on legal gun owners:
        “This behavior by the gun nuts doesn’t surprise me at all. They are obsessed with their evil, violent hobby and simply don’t care about anything else. I am so sick of these unhinged people trying to elevate a dangerous hobby to an inviolable right. Even a cursory review of gun violence stats reveals a deadly epidemic in our country. The cure is not more guns, as the gun manufacturers would have us believe. Time to grow up, America.”
        And you throw those words back at me. This is what has me so afraid.

        1. John

          Just read what you have posted, and Colins reply’s to me, and tell me where the rational, informed, logic is being utilized.
          I have so far refrained from harsh word, name calling, rhetoric, and finger pointing. Have you and Colin?

      2. Professor Poop

        Yes you are correct. She uses inflammatory lexicon. But essentially she is right. Look, it is futile to try and convince anyone who is fascinated by the gun. The point I wish to make is that society has finally awakened. We are going to past major gun reform whether you like it or not. Personally, I think we should begin the process of repealing that dam 2nd amendment. But we have momentium on our side. You are just going to have to find a new drug.

        Got it?

    3. Clueless in the 5th District

      If we can pry CT State Senator Beth Bye away from Facebook, maybe we can get her feedback.

      State Senator?…

  2. John

    Both in response to the article AND to Ms Kaplan; As for your reference to being “civilized” calling passionate defenders of the constitution, freedom, and liberty “gun nuts” does not seem to be the most polite way to respond either.
    The problem with the enthusiastic movement toward increased restriction of gun ownership is that those in favor of MORE LAWS, refuse to hear the truth, or respond to logic. The entire issue is inflamed by emotion and misinformation. Any attempts to defend the legal rights of the US citizen, is shot down and obscured behind images of dead children. HOW DOES ONE ADDRESS THAT. WE ARE EXPECTED TO RESPECT THE IMAGE AND EMOTION AND GIVE UP? NOT FAIR DEBATE!
    VERY, VERY, VERY FEW gun crimes are committed with legally obtained guns by law abiding citizens.
    Chicago & DC have the toughest gun laws in the country and the highest crime rate.
    A home made bomb from fertilizer, and fuel took down, the building in Oklahoma City. Planes were the weapon of choice on 9/11. Poison, cars running through play grounds and a myriad of other methods can kill large numbers in a short time should the individual so desire. THE GUN IS NOT THE CAUSE.

    When the laws are made stricter, criminals will still get these weapons, and law abiding citizens will not, that will give the balance of power to the criminal.

    Gang violence is responsible for the largest number of gun related assaults in our cities, and NO GANG MEMBER has ever purchased a legal weapon. Making it harder for law abiding citizens will not stop this, it will only limit our ability to defend against it.

    It was less than 100 years ago when the peaceful democratic state of Germany reigned havoc on MILLIONS. The first thing that occurred was the disarming of its population. Many liberal Democrats think it is silly to believe that the Government will ever “RULE” in the USA. That is only true if the citizens can resist. The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting and sport, it is about keeping the balance of power in the hands of the PEOPLE and not the Government.
    Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, and VA Tech would not have been prevented by tougher gun laws. To use the bodies of those victims as the battle cry for the restriction of liberty and systematic destruction of The Constitution is not the educated proper way to debate issues. So when we are not heard, and labeled GUN NUTS, the only alternative is to shout!
    If we are all “GUN NUTS” how come none of us are shooting at any of you over this? I’ll tell you why; becuase we respect human life and know where and when a weapon is to be used.
    So I understand you are Sick” of us, but remember, when an intruder breaks into your home, and 911 takes 10 minutes to respond, your next door neighbor ( if allowed) could be there when you scream. Also, if the majority of homes owned guns, criminals would be afraid to enter. If “anyone” walking down the street could have a concealed carry permit, being a mugger, or a rapist would be a risky profession as opposed to the walk in the park it is today.
    Young men with guns protect this country from harm. Private citizens with guns created this country. so MS Kaplan, and Mr McEnroe, WE ARE SICK OF YOU! If we were as CRAZY as you claim we are, you would be in danger. But I believe you feel safe, because in your heart, you know that LAW ABIDING PEOPLE POSE NO THREAT TO THE COMMON GOOD.

    Also, an AR-15 shoots a 223 caliber round, ( small bullet) a 12 gauge pump-action shot gun round can kill 6-7 people with 1 shot if they are in line at a bank or waiting for an ice cream truck, and a 357 magnum revolver will put a hole on you the size of a baseball from 20 feet, yet no one takes issue with them. The so-called “assualt rifle” definition refers to those “scary looking” rifles with pistol grips all black. PURELY UNINFORMED EMOTIONAL DRIVEL. AT LEAST GET YOUR WEAPONS AND PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.

    If a crazed killer was to enter my house, I would rather he had an AR-15 instead of a shotgun or 357. So this proves to “GUN BAN NUTS” DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. The most dangerous movement or action is one made from ignorance and emotion.


    So in conclusion, stop distorting facts and hiding behind the bodies of children, and we will stop yelling and heckling. Informed, educated debate is always welcome when entered into with good faith and open minds. This issue is far from that.

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      Actually, I don’t think I ever used the word “nuts”. But in general, long rambling posts full of lots of capital letters are not a good way to distinguish yourself from the lunatic fringe. Just a tip. “Hiding behind the bodies of children” is a very offensive and, for that matter, inapt phrase. A civilized person would not use it.

      1. John

        I use the caps only to emphasize, since underlining or italics is not available. You did not use the word NUTS, but Amanda Kaplan did.
        The phrase regarding the use of victim descriptions as a means to make a point may sound harsh, but that is what is being done. I see that you just criticized my use of caps, and an offensive phrase; do you have any valid points to offer in opposition to the points I made?
        Do you believe that legislation should be drafted and new laws of restriction be passed in the while the nation is in mourning and emotions high? Should not new laws be considered when passions have subsided and logic can be utilized?
        After all it was not a legal gun owner that killed those children in Newtown, so why even mention them while discussing gun laws? Why push for more gun laws after Newtown, the existing laws were all broken?
        Now I am not a civilized person because I pointed out how wrong it is to use these innocent children to fuel and ignorant agenda.
        Well, I have not thrown any mud, nor called any names here. You are a professional journalist and media figure and just called my uncivilized, while offering no useful information to further the cause of the prevailing gun ban agenda.
        Bravo for you! Good Job!

        1. cmcenroe Post author

          John, it really is uncivilized to use a phrase like that. I’m not even sure what the phrase means. You seem incapable of believing that people would behold a massacre of little children and, genuinely horrified and saddened, want to investigate ways to limit the possibility of this in the future. You seem to suggest that we’re not really sickened by Newtown. We’re just cynically using it as leverage. That’s a terrible thing to say. I’ll speak for myself. I hadn’t written a column or done a radio show about gun control for many, many years. So this was not some ongoing agenda I had been pursuing and then opportunistically coopted Newtown. It was real shock and real sorrow. And it drew me to the issue for the first time in years. For you assign some other motive to me and to other people is deeply, deeply insulting and inhumane. If you can’t see that, we don’t have much to talk about and you won’t be welcome on this blog.

          1. John

            You can ban me if you like. I have not been disrespectful at all. The phrase i actually used if you read my post, was: “The entire issue is inflamed by emotion and misinformation. Any attempts to defend the legal rights of the US citizen, is shot down and obscured behind images of dead children”
            I never said anyone was ” hiding behind the bodies of children” as you accused me. I claimed the ISSUE is of safe gun ownership is OBSCURED by the images the ban proponents keep using.
            I live 11 miles from Newton. I am a father of 2 young girls. I AM NOT A GUN OWNER. I AM HORRIFIED and SADDENED by the tragedy the befell my neighbors, and pray that this never happens again. Why you feel I am incapable is an erroneous assumption on your part. I am however rational. If a crazed maniac is intent upon reigning death and destruction, no law will prevent it and no level preparation will be sufficient. You cant defend against CRAZY, you can’t predict when Crazy will happen.
            Take away all guns, and they will use a bomb. sniff out bombs and they will crash a truck, take away driving and they will poison the water.
            My point is that law abiding citizens need not be restricted because of the acts of a maniac. You are caling me uncivilized; I feel it is uncivilized to use these situations to further an agenda.
            We need to find out what causes this “CRAZY” in people and try to minimalize. it. Perhaps early intervention in school when anti-social behavior is noticed. Perhaps limiting the exposure to and glorification of violence in the media, and yes,,,arming those in charge of protecting the innocent ones.
            Pleas refrain from using the word “uncivilized” as that is as offensive, or more so than anything I have said.
            I feel deeply for the Newtown Families. There are several of them that are not in favor of these bans and a few spoke up, but we are not hearing that. I would do anything possible to avoid death and violence against children or anyone for that matter. I am just adamantly opposed to government control of its citizenry.
            Like I said, I do not OWN GUNS, so cannot be considered a “Gun nut”. I am a parent and a member of these community of outrage regarding these mass killings. But if the law regarding murder was ignored here, and the law involving transporting loaded weapons, and the law regarding illegal acquisition of these weapons, and the law regarding bring a weapon into a school, what makes anyone think more laws will prevent these types of tragedies? This is where the “incapable of understanding” is prevalent. Go right ahead, ban me from your blog. Most children, when they have noting constructive to say, take their ball and go home, so go!

          2. cmcenroe Post author

            Sorry John. I have to hold you to your exact words which you suddenly have no memory of writing:
            “So in conclusion, stop distorting facts and hiding behind the bodies of children, and we will stop yelling and heckling. “

    2. Professor Poop

      No John, please don’t say more. Please learn to summerize more. No one wants to read long philosophical discourses here.

      1. Rally Against Guns Feb 14 at Capital

        And by the way, I attended the public meeting in Newtown late evening and most every speaker had to fill up half their time with needless autobiographical info and going over their time. I couldn’t take one more life statement since time was growing short, I didn’t stay to try and read my short statement.

        However, the family members of the lost had every right to express themselves as long as they wished and it was so sad to listen to them. I don’t thin there was a dry eye in the room.

        Their loss is so incredibly sad. So incalculable. So unnecessary.

        I am convinced from last night’s testimony that CT will now lead the nation in the most stringent gun reform. Everyone who believes in this reform please rally for gun reform on Feb 14 between 11-12 at the Capital North.

  3. Todd Zaino

    Wow John…just wow! Don’t allow the anger that is about to be posted here against your post to get in the way of your logic…wow, man…that was an awesome post!

    Funny but I suspect that the anti-gun crowd here would secretly love to have one if they ever had a break at their own home…but just like liberals never say anthing bad about Obama…they would never admit to wanting a gun for their own protect…wouldn’t suit their wine and cheese crowd cocktail party mindset.

    1. Cynical Susan

      “but just like liberals never say anthing bad about Obama…they would never admit to wanting a gun for their own protect…wouldn’t suit their wine and cheese crowd cocktail party mindset.”

      What world do you live in, Todd?

    2. John

      All that can be posted would be anger. I am sure there will be no responsible, factual, comments to refute what I stated. There will either be rhetorical mud slinging, anger, or silence. It is scary that mentality such as that can draft and produce legislation to govern. It is the beginning of the end my friend. The responsible , productive members of society with the intent of preserving freedom and democracy, are outnumbered in this country. There are now more of THEM, then there are of us. We are doomed.

      1. Todd Zaino

        John, perhaps the country has to truly bottom out until we can make a full recovery. Malloy has made few friends in this state…and Obama’s second mid-term election is going to be a bloodbath…as the low information crowd catches up with the adults in the room. Barry will be exposed once 2014 comes around and sheeple will see ObamaCare for what it really is. Funny how your post is catching it for you using all caps…once again ignoring your points but pointing out that they don’t like your caps…funny indeed.

  4. equality 7-2521

    If I were a member of an organization like say a, NPDA (Natl Pez Dispenser Assn)and some demented individual were to booby trap Batman dispensers to push out skittles instead, therefore ruining the reputation of all members of the NPDA, I would expect the NPDA to work harder than anyone else to find a meaningful solution to this problem so as not to continue to besmirch its fine members. The alternative of course is to have an interested third party outlawing Batman Pez dispensers, thus creating a paranoia among Pez dispenser owners over unreasonible laws restricting Pez and requiring ultra expensive safe guards.

    I would not be sending letters to government officials and demonstrating outside of public buildings but rather badger the NPDA to go into action to police itself in order to prevent unreasonible restriction of my God given right to flick my thumb over the cartoon charecter of my choice. I would go to the POSH headquarters of the NPDA with the biggest protest sign and loudest chant in order to spur them into action to work with all groups that could keep my name clean as a member and perpetuate the responsible enjoyment I derive over this fetish. I would take full responsibility for my Batman dispensers by securing them knowing that if mine are involved in a crime, because due to my negligence a misfit a criminal is able to load skittles into it, I too would receive the same penalty as that felon.

    May God bless Pez and may mankind not abridge my right to flick whatever I want or they’ll have to peel away my cold, rigor mortised thumb off my Batman dispenser!!!!

    1. Cynical Susan

      This is wonderful, equality (may I call you by your first name?). I’ve often thought to work up something similar about my cameras — after all, they DO steal peoples’ souls!

      1. equality 7-2521

        (yes you may C.S.) I’m fascinated by the camera thought. There may be differences between infinate analog souls and precisely defined modern digital ones.

  5. Chuck

    As with anything related to our Constitution, this is an important debate to have, and, John, you have honestly made some valid points. I think Colin’s point is that offending a grieving father is not the best way to communicate anything. Yes, the emotions connected to any tragedy can be and have been exploited to achieve an end, but responding in an aggressive or angry manner just feeds into the emotional conflict. It’s not effective nor constructive. For what it’s worth, this is not a cut-and-dry issue for me, and I honestly want to hear everyone’s opinion. But, I’m just not going to invest too much time in listening to people fighting.

    1. John

      Offending the grieving Father is not my intent. I seriously hope that he is not reading any of this.
      The problem here is that his son wa not killed by a legal gun owner. He is giving emotional testimony to law makers, mentioning his sons body in the casket. They will be moved by this imagery and vote based on their emotions. If some one does not YELL STOP, serious miscarriages will be executed. No one wants to offend grieving victims and their families. If their story is going to be misinterpreted and used as ammunition to further an ill-informed agenda, then their situation MUST be addressed. The legal gun community did not throw them into the spot light,the gun ban agenda did in a manner that is exploitative. If the gun rights activists remain silent to respect these victims, the debate will be lost due to emotion.
      How do you suggest we address the exploitation of victims with out mentioning them?
      No one can see past the Newton images, this is all fear based and ill informed. To leave it alone out of respect is to acquiesce to defeat. I am sorry, but gun rights groups did not invite these debates. It is wrong to have grieving families testify before law makers. It is wrong to listen to highly emotion-fused pleas for legislation.So yes, it is also wrong to offend families, but what do you suggest?

      1. Chuck

        Well, I’m not an expert, but just making the points in a clear, straightforward manner. And, if people want to bring up the point that the Newtown tragedy is being used in a Machiavellian manner, then by all means, say it but not while alienating the people you’re trying to persuade. Look, I’m not gun enthusiast but I’m not really an opponent. And, I do think the entertainment industry and the video game industry has gotten a undeserved pass in this whole debate. I like to think we are all on the same page — ensuring safety but not at the expense of individual rights. So, just explain it, and I can only speak for myself, but I promise I’ll listen.

  6. Todd Zaino

    Why is the left so concerned about gun related deaths in schools (which yes, are horrible) but not a single concern about abortion? Since 1972 there have been over 54 million abortions in the US. Every 95 seconds, about 4,000 per day, and out of the 4,000, 1,400 are African-American babies…hey wait a minute, I though liberals cared about minorites…they say they do, the media claims they do, the textbooks and teachers tell us they do. How about some hearings on abortions? Liberals are funny like that aren’t they?

  7. Jason

    Colin, this was very well stated.

    I still maintain that the very few that responded probably acted in a manner that was more the result nervous discomfort than the apparent contradictory or confrontational. I do echo that if you can’t control your verbal impulses, you’re not exactly the model of responsibility.

  8. Paul

    CT’s ban on assault weapons was unanimously upheld by the CT Supreme Court in 1995. The NRA never challenged the 1994 federal assault weapon ban (undoubtedly because they knew they would lose). After DC vs. Heller the court reaffirmed that the 2nd amendment does not protect “dangerous and unusual weapons”. Here’s a good analysis by Politico. http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2012/08/if-congress-wh-wanted-to-ban-assault-weapons-could-131451.html This is most likely a policy question; not a constitutional one.

  9. Tim

    I’m not sure what the controversy over whether it was heckling or not is about. The point is that their response demonstrates their inability to think rationally before acting, and they are the ones carrying the guns. Think about it. Regardless, stricter gun control laws is only a small part of the solution. It is probably time for the gun manufacturing and selling community to pick up the ball and make some positive efforts on their own to control who gets the guns. It is surprising that in this liability for the misuse of guns does not seem to propagate back to the sellers and manufacturers. In the other two parts of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), liability for damages resulting from products sold to those who mis-used them has found its way back to the producers. In the case of Alcohol and Tobacco, the products are not intended to be injurious, but the producers’ own statements about the products shows that they are potentially dangerous. The bartender can be held liable for giving someone a drink who shouldn’t get one. The tobacco companies had to pay out $$Millions (Billions?) for health effects caused by their products despite the fact that the users ignored the warnings they gave. Firearms on the other hand are intended to injure, so why so little or no talk about making the manufacturers, sellers, advertisers, and others who profit from them responsible when the guns end up in the hands of those who are so much in the news these days? The Constitution may guarantee the right to bear arms, but there isn’t anything there limiting the liability for the misuse to the misuser. Extending the legal system in this way would do a lot more, and a lot more quickly than any gun control law that could be enacted.

  10. Amanda Kaplan

    ‘John’ is now harrassing me on Facebook so, yeah, standing by my use of the term ‘gun nuts.’

    1. John

      This is the FB message I left AMANda that she claims is harrasment:
      “If you are referencing the comments of the post, I remind you: I OWN NO GUNS. You however are the nut! You are the one that used the vile accusatory language. I see you had no public reply as you know you are ill-informed and ignorant of facts. Anyone that know what what they are speaking of, should refrain from public debate.”
      I left it on FB because she posted on Colins page: “Amanda Kaplan I stand by my use of the term ‘gun nuts’ in the comments section. Case in point: the comments section.”
      about an hour ago via mobile · Like

      That was referring to my reply. She did not has the nerve to post that here, so I met her on FB. She calls me defending my post “Harassment” This women is a paranoid , uniformed coward. These are the types that are attempting to create new laws.

    2. John

      Also, I repeated several time, I OWN NO GUNS.
      If you wish to call me a nut of any sort, refer to me as a freedom nut.
      Thank you.

  11. Todd Zaino

    Amanda is like the arosonist who spills the gas, lights the match…then is seen at the scene of the fire watching the firefighters putting out the fire. Anyone could claim that someone is harrassing them on Facebook. Hey Christie Brinkley stop harrassing me on my FB page…I am just not that into you anymore! Amanda I hope your home is never involved in a break-in…but if it is…I’ll hope that you have a weapon to protect yourself…seriously.

  12. Amanda Kaplan

    Right back at you, Todd! I’ve never seen such a bunch of crybabies. Guess what? Owning military weapons is crazy. There is no ‘responsible’ way to do it. Are these people afraid Colombian drug cartels are gunning for you? Are they hunting dragons? Regulating these weapons of mass killing is common sense, and nothing more. I don’t have a problem with responsible gun owners having hunting rifles and handguns. I do have a problem with private citizens being able to outgun the police, though. There is no gun regulation ‘slippery slope’.

  13. Todd Zaino

    Amanda the slippery slope to me are the over 4,000 deaths today at abortion clinics…any concerns about that practice and that number Amanda? I was sincere in my wish for your safety Amanda…be well, and I’ll add you to my prayer list tonight…can’t hurt…right?

    Calling people who don’t share your views on gun control crybabies seems a tad bit unfair…yes? Godspeed Amanda!

    1. John

      It seems Amanda in unable to have an educated debate without resorting name calling and irrational accusations. She calls those of us that defend our freedom nuts while spews venomous anger and vitriolic hate in our direction. Children that are raised by parents like this are the ones that grow up with the issues we have to worry about. Where is the open mindedness, the informed discussion and the polite respect that Colin is so interested in? They are incapable of rational discussion and throw stones at us. Sad!

      1. dom

        lets try for educated debate, then John.
        Mrs Lanza owned her guns legally. Adam stole them from his mom while they lived in the same house. Is there any way that could have been prevented?

        1. John

          Probably not. She was irresponsible and indifferent to the needs of her son, who was clearly suffering for years. She should have gotten him more help, supervised him closer and kept her guns locked up/ We will never be able to legislate responsibility, or common sense. We can only punish those guilty of it.

  14. Todd Zaino

    Dom you made John’s point…it’s not legal gun owners and their guns we have to worry about…this about people who are not well…and did not take a rocket scientist to see that Lanza was far from well. What if Lanza loaded his mom’s car up with explosives that morning and drove it into SBES that moring? Would you be calling for a ban on cars and explosives today?

    1. dom

      An educated debate about a real incident needs no hypotheticals, Todd. And that doesn’t answer the question.

  15. peter brush

    He’s saying he just buried his little boy He wants to see some changes — not big ones — in the gun laws.
    John’s rhetoric could be moderated, but there is no doubt the massacre is being used to promote legislation. I’m not sure what expertise is provided by a grieving relative of the victim. We know it was a horrible thing, that Mr. Heslin has to be suffering. (Although the depth of that suffering can only be imagined.) But, how does that help us, or our legislative representatives, in devising a legislative remedy?
    In general, this blog seems dedicated to discussing the parties to the developing argument. It’s not uninteresting, but what is the argument about? There are two constitutional provisions of a right to bear arms. The existing Ct. assault weapon ban was upheld by the State Supreme Court, but presumably the Court would find some limit to the legislature’s ability to restrict guns. Similarly, a U.S. Supreme Court will find some limit of the Connecticut legislature under the Bill of Rights as incorporated. And, presumably, our legislature while cognizant of some constitutional limit is interested in doing something meaningful, something that could conceivably prevent a recurrence of the Newtown crime. Are there such constitutional proposals that would accomplish anything to which the constitutional libertarians are opposed. Taxing bullets?
    Let’s hear those proposals advocated, explained, and let’s cut the characterization of those who want to preserve the integrity of the law as nutty barbarians.

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      Peter isn’t that like saying that 9/11 was “used” to promote homeland security measures? Sometimes, one thing is just a natural response to another.

      1. peter brush

        Yes, Colin.
        Of course, there is going to be a legislative reaction. I’m not suggesting a wicked purpose on the part of the legislature or those testifying. Obviously, Mr. Heslin wants to be sure that our guys are fully aware of the damage that was done. That’s fine. The crowd was probably out of line, but it’s not my impression that it was acting maliciously, with no consideration to the man’s pain.
        On the other hand, I do think that our pols tend to take advantage of catastrophes. As the current Mayor of Chicago once famously said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

    2. John

      Thank you Peter. My position is that Newtown was a horrific, despicable act of violence and devastation. The innocent lives lost was a tragedy of unprecedented proportion and my heart is broken for the families of the victims. I wish I could take it all away, but I can’t.
      What occurred was senseless act of violence carries out by a disturbed individual that was not properly dealt with over the years, nor was he monitored or supervised. There is no legislation, law, or precaution that can be taken to prevent this, any more than we can prevent a hurricane, or an earthquake.
      If there was a gurd he could have shot him.
      If he had no guns, he could have made a bomb
      If he didn’t know how, he could have crashed an SUV through the play ground.
      If it had a high fence with armed guards, he would have gone somewhere else. But since he used a GUN, the gun ban advocates jumped on this and ran with it.
      Did anyone try to ban fertilizer after Oklahoma City? Did we plan air traffic after 9/11? No, we did not, because we knew the fault was with the mind of the assailant, not the weapon of choice.

      I am sorry that I have no clear cut answer that will assuage societal guilt for the monsters we have created. Violent TV, Movies, Comics, video games, absentee parents, over medicated children, societies intent to keep private mental health records, and sealed juvenile records have brought us to where we are today.
      The moral decay of America and the decline of personal responsibility is to blame.
      I do not think we can ever know where and when situations like this will occur, so it is impossible to protect ourselves from them.
      Stripping law abiding citizens of their rights will not alleviate the impact nor prevent future tragedy. These decisions should be made with clearer heads and open minds.
      Those advocating for freedom have been attacked on this blog. I was accused of being inhumane and uncivilized for pointing out that these unthinkable deaths were being used as the catalyst for an uniformed emotional attempt to legislate society from moral decay. The Gun Ban Advocates here used all the negative language which is proof that these discussions should be tabled until such time as cooler heads prevale.

      1. dom

        So Newtown is just the price of freedom? Are we as a society ready to admit that? Just throw up our hands and say we don’t know where or when so lets not do anything?
        True, we cannot legislate responsibilty, but we can realize that irresponsibility exists, and put in place reasonable precautions. One of which would be to not let him or anyone else so easily get a hold of a rifle that can cause so much death in so short a time, and that would entail talk of both mental health and gun control.
        Freedom offers no guarantees, but it also allows us the chance to try to get closer to them.

        1. John

          I guess the point that mental health is the issue and not gun control is lost altogether. Me assuming that a maniacal lunatic would resort to any number of ways to execute his targets is not even acknowledged, so why do I bother. Newtown is NOT the price of freedom, but Newtown is the potential cost of life. Hurricanes, floods, fires, tsunamis, mass shootings, car accidents, bombings, product tampering, carcinogenic foods, faulty made manufactured items and a million other potential tragedies await mankind. Can we predict, prevent, prepare for any? I think not. We do the best we can to treat one another with civility and hope for the best. The lunatics will slip through,mother nature will have her way, irresponsible businesses will cause damage. This is life, no guarantees. No one is legislating against cars, trucks, knives gas fumes, poisons, and the like, so why attack guns?
          I give up. Closed minded society hell bent on controlling the masses. America is doomed.

          1. Rally Against Guns Feb 14 at Capital

            John; did you write the NRA slogan; “guns don’t kill, people do?” It sounds as if you did based on you faulty reasoning.

            Here, I have a new slogan; “Guns don’t kill; Bullets do.”

            That will be on my sign at the Capital North on Feb 14 Rally for Gun Control.

  16. suzimj

    The question that Mr. Heslin asked is one that I have asked on several other threads concerning this issue, and no one seems willing or able to actually answer it. Why do everyday citizens need high powered, rapid firing, military grade assault weapons with large clips in their homes? No one wants, well I’m sure there is someone out there that does…but anyways, no one wants to take away peoples right to own a gun or protect themselves. We simply want the access to guns, like those used at Sandy Hook, to not be easily available like they were to Adam Lanza. And even though Mrs. Lanza legally obtained those guns, if they weren’t available to be legally obtained they would not have been used to shoot children. Could Adam Lanza have chosen another way to commit his evil last act? Possibly. Could he have also not been motivated enough to come up with other means, if the guns had not been so readily available, and instead just killed himself? Possibly. I am 100% in agreement that mental health conditions and treatments need to be further researched and new ways of helping those individuals need to be found. But maybe, just maybe, denying access to those pesky military assault weapons will also be step to stop this unfortunate tragedy from occurring yet again. And to answer the heckling question, I agree with Colin… Speaking out like that was just plain stupid.

  17. equality 7-2521

    Much of this talk is simply diversion, intellectual misdirection used in order to avoid solving the problem. Let’s have some solutions!
    Mine is simply stated; personal responsibility.
    Any firearm owner who’s firearm is used in a crime would be a codefendant and subject to the same penalty as the criminal.
    Such a law would reduce the laxity of gun owners who do not take proper care in securing their weapons. A lost or stolen weapon would not excuse the owner as this is proof that proper care was not taken in dealing with the responsibility of gun ownership. Only under extreme, publically documented situations can this ruling be waived by a panel of judges.

    Understanding that this may be too extreme for some folk, I will compromise by requiring a 100% penalty for assault weapon owners, 50% of penalty for semi automatic or all concealed weapons and maybe a mandatory 1 year sentence for normal limited shot hunting and target rifles.
    Had Mrs Lanza been aware of such a law, she may have taken better care securing her weapons.
    There will always be, if and or buts, however since the NRA is reluctant to show the way, they’ll have to settle for wht is imposed upon them. I am not advocating disarming the population but an incentive to keep us safe from the criminal element.

    Such a law would also create an industry dedicated to the safe storage of firearms. For instance, perhaps fingerprint locks in a night stand could be used to protect and give access to the home owner for their home security concerns. Special safes could be welded into motor vehicles.

    The simple fact is that it is much too late to restrict any type of firearm and such laws would be ineffective so we must look at personel responsibilty to restrict their criminal use and encourage that in the strongest way.

    1. suzimj

      I completely agree with you in respect to the firearm owners being held absolutely responsible, however if the assault weapons aren’t there, they can’t be stolen. Let us not forget Adam killed his mother, if she had a fingerprint type lock on the assault style guns, he still could have accessed them. I know many very responsible gun owners, and again I do not wish to see all guns banned, this is silly and not at all practical. People do have the right to arm themselves, to protect themselves, but why does have to be with assault weapons?

      1. equality 7-2521

        There are far to many assault weapons out there to avoid future incidents. But hand wringing and bemoaning the situation does not solve the problem.
        When the Russians invaded Berlin there were a group of people who ran around like headless chickens unable to focus. Yet others collected what they could and managed to rationally save their own skins.
        Let us stop dwelling on the misfortune which we cannot change and use our energy to take sane, constructive steps, without over reacting, to control this ever so human disability.

  18. peter brush

    Why do everyday citizens need high powered, rapid firing, military grade assault weapons with large clips in their homes?

    Can someone please tell me how Mrs. Lanza legally owned the Bushmaster semi-automatic “assault weapon?” We have a law prohibiting them, except for those who had them prior to 1994 and who registered with the cops. (Sec. 53-202c. Possession of assault weapon prohibited. Class D felony.)

    The question is not what an individual may “need.” What are the constitutional limits on legislative action respecting an individual’s right to bear arms? What legislation our solons may devise will do any conceivable good, and is that conceivable good worth the price in diminished liberty? What’s the point of labeling people as stupid? A misunderstanding occurred, decorum was restored by the solon in charge, we heard Mr. Heslin testify and everyone on the planet sympathizes with him in is horrible loss.

  19. Todd Zaino

    Liberals love to tell America that everything they do is for the kids. Nice narrative, how can anyone…even the most dyed in the wool Republican, has a difficult time saying no to the protection of children…right?!

    Why is it then that CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all refuse to protect minor Dominican prostitutes? Is it because they are not Americans? Is it because they are not fair-skinned? Could be it that the media is trying to protect one of their own?

    Disgraceful on some many fronts.


  20. Todd Zaino

    Here’s a very simple solution to our gun problem:

    Some Facts:

    Those who steal guns and then use them to kill movie goers, young children in school, fellow college students, etc. have never proven to be conservative NRA members.

    Ft Hood – Registered Democrat; jihadist Muslim.

    Columbine – Too young to vote; both families were registered Democrats.

    Virginia Tech – Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff;Registered Democrat.

    Colorado Theater – Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obamacampaign; Occupy WallStreet participant.

    Connecticut School Shooter – Registered Democrat; hated Christians.

    Common thread is that all of these shooters were progressive liberal Democrats.


    Ban Democrats from owning guns!

    1. rally for gun control Feb 14 at 11


      You have made some good points. Our firm needs a first rate statistics analyze. Would you like an application?

    2. Cynical Susan

      “Ban Democrats from owning guns!”

      What ELSE did these shooters have in common? Hmmmm. Oh, I know! They were all men! Maybe we should just ban men from owning guns!

  21. peter brush

    our pols tend to take advantage of catastrophes
    And, our press, such as it now is, tends to view its mission
    not merely to report, but to provoke emotion/promote “reform.” Now comes a professor of journalism suggesting that we need to see photos of the dead children’s faces.
    We hear of their power and their destructive capabilities. We recoil in horror of what we imagine.

    It’s been said that the mind can conjure up greater terror than what the eyes can actually see. That may or may not be true. Although I have imagined the trembling fear in the eyes and hearts of the young victims, and while I am moved by President Barack Obama’s hanging a painting from one of the victims in the private study of the Oval Office as a reminder in the fight for a ban against this particular weapon — I just don’t think it’s enough.

  22. Todd Zaino

    peter, I too saw Frank Harris’ “essay” and was thinking the same thing. Punk move on Harris’ part to pull out an almost sixty-year old crime and try to attach to this!

    Perhaps if Harris is so willing to show us photos of dead children…how about some photos of all of the children our Nobel Peace prize winning president has killed with his drones?

  23. Cynical Susan

    “…all of the children our Nobel Peace prize winning president has killed with his drones?”

    You probably aren’t aware of this, Todd, but MANY progressives/liberals/Democrats agonize over this, as they agonized over Bush’s / Johnson’s / Nixon’s / all unnecessary wars.

    1. Richard

      Yes, but they agonize privately instead of in Bushnell Park at anti-war rallies backed by SEIU and AFSCME.

      1. Rally Against Guns Feb 14 at Capital

        Where we’re you in October, 1967 when the anti war rally was taking place in DC? I was 14 years of age and marching.


        1. Richard

          Oooh. Back then it was popular to rally against a Democrat like Johnson. Kind of like the Bushnell rallies 2006-08 to rid the country of the treasonous Bush by the faux anti-war union toadies and public sector grifters who disappeared into the woodwork once a Democrat is in office.

  24. equality 7-2521

    We don’t need any more fish mongering or shifting of the blame which is within us all. We don’t need no more finger pointing, rallies or bewilderment for what we know has been happening. We need real solutions, painful if necessary but not as painful as of those who have been victims of this mess. Working together, admiting and forgiving each of our faults is the beginning to achieving real results otherwise you are the problem if you don’t care to open your eyes and provide meaningful action.

  25. Todd Zaino

    SHHHHH! Funny how the media is very quiet about yesterday’s middle school shooting in Atlanta where a student was able to wound a 14 year old…but gosh darnit…an armed security guard was able to get the gun away from the shooter!

    I wonder why CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and of members of the media are so reticent about an armed guard?

    1. equality 7-2521

      Yah, maybe we can get our young’uns used to living in a police state and making firearms a natural part of our daily lives.

      1. Todd Zaino

        The Atlanta story had no deaths equality 7-2521…I realize that you think that more deaths would only help your cause…but in this shooting, thankfully resulted in no loss of lives…isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t that be reported? Not this media-edited heckle or no heckle BS.

        1. equality 7-2521

          Before seat belts were mandated, I was a racer & understood the value of seat belts on the track & had them custom installed in my street cars & used them until the gov’t said I had to. At which point I stopped in protest, because I felt an intrusive gov’t was worse than common sense safety. We also had some idiots back than who always justified not using belts because of a one in a halfmillion accident where a belt caused a death. Despite these oddities, seatbelts are overwhelmingly the sane way to go.
          I’ve since returnrd to using my belts, partly because no one really cared to ticket me. Oh,there are still odd cases were a belt caused a death but mostly not.
          I have firearms & use them responsibly. No one is going to take them away from me & will not advocate irresponsible use due to a fluke situation. The overall effect of a police state negates the sanity, freedom and happiness we are striving to achieve.
          You may enjoy being a contrarium and we do need gadflys, but do it with responsible thought.

  26. Pappy D

    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.
    Gun CONTROL.

    ObamaCare is about:


    Denying people a 32 ounce drink (Bloomberg/NYC) is about:


    Media jihads against those that are not politically sensitive or correct is about:


    Anyone see a pattern here?

    1. equality 7-2521

      Certainly, the opposition is attempting to GUN down the discussion in order to CONTROL the debate.

    1. Cynical Susan

      From your link: “…a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.”

      Does that say The President or does it say The Federal Government? Is it possible that people voted for Obama “on election day” because they knew it might be worse if they didn’t?

    1. Rally Against Guns Feb 14 at Capital

      But I’m the tx man, yaaaaa I’m the tax mannnnn
      If you buy a gun I’ll tax your sheet
      If you but some bullets, I’ll tax them too
      if your NRA I’ll tax your teeth.
      Cause I’m the taxman, YaaaaI’m the taxmannnnnnn

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