Roundup of Responses to Our Shows Related to the Newtown Shooting
Forum produced three shows related to the shooting in Newtown, CT: on gun control, mental health care, and violence in the media, respectively. We received hundreds of comments on these shows. Here are some noteworthy and representative responses that we received.
- As a gun owner who's stood silently by as the extreme wing of the NRA has claimed to speak for me, I feel partly responsible for the massacre at Sandy Hook. I call on sportsmen and responsible gun owners nationwide to say "not in my name" and to support reasonable restrictions on the sale and transfer of weapons designed solely to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. The first rule of gun ownership is personal responsibility. Let's show some.
- Stephan commented: "We have an obesity epidemic on our hands! When are we going to start talking about Fork Control?"
- Another eight children were killed by firearms in the US yesterday. That happens every day, day after day, in America. Almost 3,000 gun-related child deaths each year, 90% by homicide or suicide. Tell me again why slavish strict interpretation of the second amendment is a good thing. Explain it to me like I was six years old.
- ChrisnFolsom commented:
"Please stop with the 2nd amendment quote as it was written in the late 1700's. There are two sentiments there:
1. Right to bear Arms - the arms available in the 1700's were the Canon, Flintlock Musket, Flintlock Pistol, Sword and Sabre - NONE of which can be used to massacre individuals and relied on a group to be dangerous.
2. Ability to protect your state in a Militia. The only power that today protects an army is air power (anti-air weapons and/or helicopters and jets) - which no one here has advocated and nullifies that portion of the 2nd Amendment.
I am a gun owner, I want to keep a gun, rifle, or other arms, but I will not use a misused interpretation of the 2nd amendment to justify my ownership and "blanket" ownership of others to their weapons - there ARE sound reasons to own guns, but not in the 2nd Amendment."
- Older Mom commented:
"I think there is a huge unawareness about the total lack of emergency mental health support services. I have a brother with multiple forms of schizophrenia and despite ending up at short-term psychiatric clinics, he wasn't diagnosed until he landed in jail. Even after multiple suicide attempts, the psychiatric clinics could only keep him a day or [two] and then they'd call us up to pick him up, with few suggestions on where to take him afterwards for appropriate care."
- Liz commented:
"I lost my brother to suicide at the age of 28. He suffered from schizoaffective disorder. His first big psychotic break was in college. A caller suggested we needed programs at schools to raise awareness and provide support systems. I AGREE. Young adults who are suffering from diagnosed mental illness (depression or bipolar) are often far away from the support systems to help them continue their treatment. Those who experience an acute episode of major depression or a psychotic break, often have nobody to turn to. It's an imperative that we build a community to support our youth when and where they need the help..."
- Afraid commented:
"The stigma over mental health makes me fear that I would not be accepted for health insurance with a mental health history. I would rather struggle with mental health than give up my access to physical health care. The elephant in the room..."
- Anonymous commented:
"The problem is not just a burden for parents. As the daughter of a head-injury survivor, I constantly battle with knowing what to do when my parent, who functions so highly on a day-to day basis becomes so abnormally enraged at the most unexpected triggers. I fear that getting help for my parent is almost impossible unless the rage were to affect someone outside of our family."
- Beth commented:
"This discussion needs to include our school systems. I have been an advocate for children with hidden disabilities (k-12) who are mostly ignored & denied services by the schools. Most special education departments do not seek out or treat these kids. They are often the children who are just labeled: anti-social, behavior problems, drug users. I have never once seen an effective behavior modification plan implemented by a public school. What happens to these children -- who often despite heroic efforts on the part of parents do not receive the care they need -- when they turn 18? We as a society must, from the moment kids enter school, embrace them, care for them as individuals, and raise them as a community. The price is too high to continue to ignore those with hidden disabilities."
- Ella commented:
"... Over many years I have seen dozens of wonderful productive people who have varying levels of diagnoses and are indeed much higher functioning loving peaceful members of society than those without. Until we can say, "I have a BP, Schizophrenia, etc." and not "I AM BiPolar" akin to "I have diabetes." No one says "I AM diabetes" we will all be stuck in the consequences of tragic lifelong challenges."
- Violent media is like sugar, to the vast majority of us it's not a good thing, but neither is it a bad thing. However to a diabetic sugar is a critical issue. But the key is not to ban sugar across the board, it's to identify and treat the diabetic. It's one person in millions that has the kind of mental or emotional state to commit acts like this, the solution is to identify and treat them!
- Jane commented:
"I am a preschool teacher and observe a strong correlation between young children's aggressive behavior and how much media exposure they have. I always suggest to parents to turn off all media and when parents do, the effects are drastic in terms of children's socials skills and language development."
- Jesse commented:
"Here we go again. I am so tired of this argument being dragged out every time something like this happens. Let's all gang up on Marilyn Manson again. I am a lifelong horror and action movie fan and as much as I often enjoy violence and brutality on the screen I am still horrified and disgusted by it in real life. Those who are influenced by the media to commit terrible acts against real people instead computerized avatars or fictional characters have serious character flaws to begin with and would probably commit these acts under another influence anyway. Let's start talking about dealing with the sorry state of mental health availability in this country and leave the movie, music and video game makers alone."
- I work in the game industry and because of that, my life revolves around making games, knowing people that make games, and just about every single person that I talk to every day, have grown up gamers. If violent video games make a person violent, then by that logic, every single one of us should be deranged psychopaths. That's not true.
"Today, thanks to the media, every madman is envisioning himself in
place of Adam Lanza.
I think that the only way to stop this chain reaction is to stop making
such massive, detailed and visual reports in media about mass murders.
All the media should report is that there was a murder - suicide. That's it. No names or pictures.
I am sure that after a year of such moratorium the wave of mass murders will subside.
Of course, media will not stop reporting as long as people are watching.
So, we should stop watching, stop buying products advertised on these
channels, and boycott them, like we boycott racially offensive shows,
which should bring a swift stop on this practice."
- Harley comments:
"As a developer of sometimes violent video games, and Mother of two small children, I'm glad to tell [Jim Steyer] about where my sense of responsibility leads me. # 1 - to the kids I make these games for. Video games, even violent ones, can help the poor lift themselves from poverty. It teaches them critical thinking, comfort with technology, primes their intellect for logical consistency, perseverance leading to success, and teaches them to learn and test skills under pressure - something that schools are failing to teach these kids.
I have no responsibility to fear mongers who say in one breath "video games probably aren't the highest cause if violent behavior" and in the next "no one knows if they cause violence" - you admit you don't know, but your assumptions about them color not only your own relationship with them but, because of your position, the relationships of thousands, with no actual evidence..."
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