Opinion: Female mass shooter can teach us about Adam Lanza
Laura L. Lovett says lessons from Brenda Spencer can help prevent another school mass shooting.
December 21st, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Opinion: Female mass shooter can teach us about Adam Lanza

Editor’s Note: Laura L. Lovett is an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a founding co-editor of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.

By Laura L. Lovett, Special to CNN

(CNN) - “I don’t like Mondays.” This was the answer given by one of America’s first contemporary mass school shooters, Brenda Spencer, when asked why she had fired 30 rounds with a semiautomatic rifle at a San Diego elementary schoolyard on January 29, 1979.

She killed the school’s principal and custodian and wounded nine schoolchildren, some as young as 8.

So unfathomable was the event at the time that this action even inspired a popular song.

But today, Spencer has been nearly lost to our collective memory.

Why is she not remembered? Perhaps because she is one of only two female school shooters that we know of. (In 1985, Heather Smith shot her ex-boyfriend and another boy at her high school before committing suicide.)

Masculinity, mental illness and guns: A lethal equation?

Our biases about gender and violence predispose us to want to make Spencer the outlier.

While it is true that most school shooters have been male and that our cultural association of masculinity and violence may contribute to a shooter’s profile, this association also leads our society to de-emphasize what we might learn from women like Spencer.

And while all of these shootings have complex causes that cannot be reduced to gender alone, when we try to make sense of these tragedies by going back to history of school shootings, we need to do so with a clear eye in order to make meaningful comparisons.

Shootings at elementary schools are rare; killing elementary school children is even rarer, with the 2006 killing of Amish school children standing out in recent memory.

Our usual recitation of sorrow takes us to Columbine or Virginia Tech, Paducah or Jonesboro, but not to that horrible Monday in San Diego.

Despite its profound impact around the world, Spencer’s rampage is rarely included in timelines of mass school shootings.

This is surprising, because of all the unbelievably tragic stories of shootings on school campuses, Spencer’s actions come the closest to offering a potentially illuminating precedent to the Newtown shootings.

Spencer may have much to tell us about Adam Lanza.

Spencer, like Lanza, grew up in a home in which a divorced parent was an avid gun collector.

Her father Wallace Spencer, who worked as in the audio-visual department of San Diego State University, had given his daughter a.22 caliber semiautomatic rifle for Christmas the month before she opened fire on children.

Unlike most school shooters, Spencer did not kill herself after she took aim at children. When asked why she had done it, she responded simply that the decision to shoot up Grover Cleveland Elementary School had “livened things up” for the week.

Later, in a parole hearing, Spencer plaintively noted that she had asked her father for a radio and had been given a gun. She had warned classmates at her high school that she and her father kept enough ammunition in their house for “a small army.”

Both Lanza and Spencer appeared to have planned on using many more of the rounds than they fired. Spencer’s 30 rounds, with an almost one-third accuracy rate, were ready to be supplemented with 500 more when she eventually surrendered.

Spencer was described by a classmate as “really scrawny ... a real little girl – real thin.” We now have “improved” weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 that Lanza used, that they are light enough for young people, even skinny ones, to use with deadly accuracy.

Comparing Spencer’s and Lanza’s attacks on small children and school staff members, we begin to see that these terrible episodes are more than an expression of a male-dominated culture of violence.

Much more salient are the facts that Spencer and Lanza both came from homes with ready access to guns and massive amounts of ammunition. Both had parents that celebrated gun use, and both appear to have been psychologically troubled.

As we try to piece together some meaning from the Newtown tragedy, hoping that we can find a way to prevent its repetition, we need to interrogate what might have caused it.

We cannot learn from school shootings that are not remembered.

Allowing Spencer to fade from our memory robs us of meaningful points of comparison that might make us slow or stop the cycle of violence where troubled young person after troubled young person seeks to turn their pain into unforgivable pain for others.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laura L. Lovett. 

Posted by
Filed under: Gender • How we look • What we think • Women
soundoff (531 Responses)
  1. damon valletti

    no mention of sylvia seegrist or jillian robbins who used a rifle during a shooting at penn state? it happens more than you really think..

    December 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Nor of Laurie Dann from Winnetka, IL who went on a killing spree.

      December 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Suzanne

    And let's not forget Kip Kinkle, a disturbed teen who was given a rifle & a Glock by his father, as a way to reach out to his son. And that rifle killed the father, mother, and several students at Kip's high school.

    December 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. inspiration for the rest of you

    If you outlaw the guns, the number of them in the hands of criminals will go way down too. And the gun crime right along with it. Check out Australia – their murder rate using guns went down 60%.

    Most civilized countries all have outlawed the guns, and they are so much better off for it.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frostiken

      Yes, and the rape rate went up threefold.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah right

      Actually, 20 years of outlawing weapons in Chicago showed an increase in violence and and increase in gun-related crimes. Until Chicago was forced to allow handguns back in the city, then the gun-related crime rate dropped. Gun-related murder ... also down. Go figure.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sombody

      Yes gun crime Down Under has gone down. But every other form of violent crime has skyrocketed. Aussies are commonly heard complaining that the police don't even bother to take reports on stolen cars, or common assaults.

      December 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • tony

        Stolen cars?, you rather have 30'000 people killed in USA each years as long you don't get your car stolen?
        Cars can be replaced, human life can

        Crimes in Australia have not gone up, only thing that happened was gun deaths dropped 59%

        December 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ben

    Anti-depressant drugs are the cause, and the main stream media especially CNN are censoring this truth out to drive their gun control agenda. CNN is propaganda. I am going viral with CNN censorship on other social media to kill CNN viewership and hold them accountable for this evil censorship.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      You know both of the Bush presidents were on antidepressants while in office? I agree it's terrible. But that doesn't have any relation to the merits of gun control.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • ghastly

        And both of them started a war.

        December 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Ben, you are a complete moron if you actually believe that anti-depressants cause mass shootings.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yes, they do

        The most certainly do. Do some research.

        December 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. richard

    I looked up the story on Mrs. Spencer to see what weapon she used. The author stated one of the reasons these school shootings are so deadly compared the earlier shootings, such as the Spencer shooting, is because the newer weapons are lighter and easier to use by people of smaller stature. This is incorrect! The specs on any weapon can be found online. Spencer used a .22 cal. Ruger 10/22. It weighs 5.25lbs empty. If indeed Lanza used a Bushmaster carbine (as the media is portraying) it would have a empty weight of 6.22lbs. If it was a full size rifle it would have a even higher weight, closer to 9lbs! Once again we see the media not bothering to look up the facts or to double check the info the "experts" give them, or just flat out "changing" the facts to their liking. The thing that confounded me with the coverage of the Newtown shootings was the constant changing of the information coming out of the event. "His mother was a teacher there", "He was 20yrs old with a child in that school", "He only used pistols", "He only used a rifle" "He killed his mother at home, but she was a teacher" "His mother wasn't a teacher". The media can't understand why we don't believe them. With reporting like what we see every time something like this happens, what do you expect! Maybe you should wait until you have ALL of the facts and they have been CHECKED!!!!!! Maybe before writing a story you might do some research on the subject. Maybe go to a gun store and examine the weapons used, heck maybe even fire them at a indoor gun range.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • zachv

      weight isn't the only factor, newer guns reduce recoil and muzzle lift in comparison to older models, guns in general have become easier to use.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • richard

        have you ever fired a gun? the difference in a .22 compared to .223 is way different when fired. Both weapons where being produced at the time of the Spence shooting, in the same form as today (although Colt was the only major manufacturer at the time of the AR rifles) The recoil and muzzle lift was the exact same then as it is now! Let me help you to understand the difference between the bullet Spence used compared to Lanza's.
        .22 .223
        length 1" 2.26"
        base dia. .226" .377"
        velocity 1,080ft/sec. 3,100ft/sec
        energy 104ft/lbs 1,767ft/lbs

        If you took any physics in school you should be able to tell that these are completely different rounds and they would not fire the same at all, nor would the .223 have less recoil or muzzle lift. The idea that "modern" weapons would shoot "different" is incorrect at best, as I stated above these rifles where both being produced, in the same configuration then as they are now, with no modifications. Spence was barricaded across the street from the school that she shot up using a telescopic scope and the window sill as a bench rest. She murdered 2 people and wounded 9 people. Her answer when asked why she did it? "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig [policeman]. I think and I want to shoot more. I'm having too much fun [to surrender]." Lanza was basically shooting from point blank range, with iron sights, where any muzzle lift or recoil wouldn't of made any difference. In any case both cases are examples of cowardly, horrific, heinous acts committed by sick individuals in desperate need of professional help.

        December 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sombody

        Read the comment you replied to again. Spencer used a 10/22 that has less kick than any AR platform other than a .22 caliber AR. Yes the Bushmaster and indeed the AR platform clear back to the M-16 as invented in the 50's does substantially reduce the kick to not much more than a .22 but there is still more for a .223 or 5.56 AR than there is for a .22.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Yeah, you're right. That inaccurate reporting proves that all those people were not murdered with legally purchased weapons and Nancy Lanza was in fact defended by her own gun!

      December 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • bs1

        The guns used in Newtown were stolen.

        December 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        Shows you how legal gun owners enable criminals, doesn't it?

        December 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • richard

        James, I'm sorry but I can't argue with a idiot as somebody walking by might not be able to tell who the real idiot is

        December 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnnieMiami

      The PUBLIC clamors for information before facts can possibly be known and verified. A good rule of thumb is to treat all first (second and third...) reports as preliminary and subject to revision and clarification as, and when, a thorough investigation is completed.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ben

    Anti-depressant drugs are the cause, and the main stream media especially CNN are censoring this truth out to drive their gun control agenda. CNN is propaganda.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ben

    CNN are criminal for censoring posts speaking out against the obvious gun control agenda they are pushing. Watch, this post will be removed if it even makes it up on the board.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. db

    Before acting on anything one must try to use reason before emotion to get a true picture of what the cure should be.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • inspiration for the rest of you

      Sick people cannot be prevented, but we can make it more difficult for them. Just outlaw the guns.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • db

        Who is sick and who is not? Criminals do not care what laws you pass, they will still get guns to kill you. How do you protect your family and yourself?

        December 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • inspiration for the rest of you

        If you outlaw the guns, the number of them in the hands of criminals will go way down too. And the gun crime right along with it. Check out Australia – their murder rate using guns went down 60%.

        December 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        db, I say the same about drugs and abortion. Criminals like me are still gonna get drugs and use them, so why make them illegal? I have the same philosophy on abortion: dirty criminals are gonna get abortions anyway, so what is the point in wanting to limit them? Don't you agree?

        December 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • 54StaryNights

        @DB–Who is sick and who is not is an important but tricky question. Who determines who is sick and who is not is an even thornier one. There do seem to be some people whose brand of mental illness is a high indicator of potential violence toward others. One such group is those who torture animals. I think that if the torture of animals was taken more seriously and was prosecuted more vigorously and a mandatory sentence for those convicted of animal torture were to include a lifetime ban on possessing arms or living in a home in which arms are stored, we might keep weapons out of the hands of many members of an easily identifiable mentally ill group that has a high potential for violent crime.

        December 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • DrEH

        You do make an interesting point. In fact Sociopaths (your typical random shooter is a sociopath aka psychopath) do tend to display some warning behaviours that are common. A typical tria I learned while in med school was cruelty to others and animals, fire starting and curiously enough bed-wetting. Sociopathy is under the classe of mental disorders known as 'personality disorders' I wont bore you with the others, but one thing they all have in common is that they are completely uncurable and largely untreatable. Schizophrenics who act out violently tend to not do so in such a planned fashion, they tend to lash out agains the voices in their heads or other hallucinations eg pushing people off subway platforms or random stabbings. Their mental capacity is usually so befuddled that they are not capable of planning an attack. If guns are available to these people they can grab one and start shooting though. An excellent reason to keep gun access very restricted.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Drugs are the cause. CNN will censor this post out shortly. They are trying to cover this up.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Engineer

    Food for thought...
    Guns were everywhere and thought to be required for personal protection in the "Wild West". Local leaders realized so many years ago that this was not the solution to reducing crime, so towns began to outlaw guns for the protection of all citizens. We should learn from history. There will always be unstable people, but to protect society, there must be limited opportunities for people to cause damage by their unstable actions. A person's individual "rights" should never be of more importance than the good of society.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah right

      Didn't work in a single town that's done it either. Chicago is the largest failure on that front. Murder rate and gun-related crime through the roof until handguns were allowed back in the city. Get your facts lined up before you start spreading half-truths and lies.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sombody

      Yet it was after restrictions started going into place that the frequency of crimes being committed with guns really started climbing. While the wild west has a reputation the mythical gun-slinger, bank and train robbers and shoot-outs were actually very rare, why? Because any such criminal knew that he could very well walk into a bank/train/town full of armed citizens who would shoot back, and who knew how to shoot back as such knowledge was critical to survival on the edge of the frontier.

      Where-as as states have reduced carry restrictions across the country, the crime rate falls every single time the restrictions are reduced. Without fail, when the criminals no longer can just do what they want without fear of meeting equal or greater force, they find easier/safer ways to make a living. The cities where you are most likely to be mugged, raped or outright murdered are those with the tightest restrictions. Luckily the courts are realizing this connection and how such restrictions violate the 2nd amendment and such laws are getting struck down one after another.

      December 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike in SA

    BTW...concerning the first point. To insinuate that Adam Lanza grew up in a home filled with guns is a lie. As reported by CBS News, Nancy Lanza did not own any guns until March 2010...when Adam was 18 years old.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dondi Cook

    "We now have “improved” weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 " I believe the writer needs to do some research. the AR-15 has been around since 1958 and is nothing new. it is also no more dangerous than any other standard semi-Automatic Rifle... It does look more intimidating granted, But it is also highlt suject to jamming and malfunction... Ask any Viet Nam Veteran... as for dangers of misuse, You can also take out a large crowd with normal Baking Flour if You know how to, it's just a matter of wanting to do something vile.
    Personally I believe the only solution is that we use OBAMACARE to give everyone a phych eval. and require those whom pass it to own and posses firearms. Idiot willl be idiots, But, If there is a greater risk of failure these type of incidents will lose thier luster and appeal.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • inspiration for the rest of you

      Not quite. How about the ease of accomplishing the deadly feat? If you have to build a bomb, for example, it will take some real determination to accomplish that, plus days if not weeks to prepare. Hopefully by that time one will move on to bigger and better things, plus the psychosis might pass by then, too.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • damon valletti

        a few guys blew a building up in OKC with some fertlizer and a uhaul truck...

        December 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yeah right

        You can mix and explosive powerful enough to kill an entire room of people with items you can find under the average American household's kitchen sink. You can fit it in a backpack. You can get the "how" portion from any high school chemistry book. IN all, it'll take less than 30 minutes to create and deliver. So do we outlaw kitchen sinks, backpacks, and high school chemistry books too? Fix the problem. People are killing each other.

        December 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • chicadow

      People needing powerful weapons often intimidated by those around them and feel a need to compensate for their insecurities with a material object? I believe that is the definition of NRA member in the dictionary.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Shinn

      I also agree with you. These kinds of attacks have had appeal to the angry mentally ill, because they feel certain that they can be very sucessful.
      On the other hand with the mall shooter, he only killed two and then was unable to kill more because people were secure behind the locked doors of the stores.
      I like the Stanley Slide Bolt Latch.
      When people have survived these attacks, it has often been because they were able to barricade themselves in rooms.
      A Stanely Slide Bolt Latch is quick, easy, and requires no key, and could have saved many children in the recent attack.
      If people considering doing something like this was hearing repeatedly that others had managed to kill very few people, which means almost no success, they might figure it would not succeed and not bother.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sombody

        No he stopped because he was faced with an armed citizen, one who chose not to shoot due to others in the line of fire that might get hit. But the shooter didn't kill another person after encountering the armed citizen, but rather he ran off and suicided. Every mall door I've ever seen was glass, one bullet and a kick will clear the way regardless of what kind of locking mechanism is used.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Yeah, the baking flour deaths are in the thousands every year, but the libs have a special thing about guns called "barrel envy," so they wanna disarm the population and exterminate the "politically incorrect" with baking flour. Hitler, Stalin, Obama!

      December 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    Hold on now. There was an interview on the Today show this morning where a "noted expert" said that all the mass shootings have been committed by young men!

    You mean the EXPERT was WRONG???

    December 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • inspiration for the rest of you

      One or two instances over decades out of many doesn't make the expert wrong, just not 100% accurate.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Damaged

    The problem is psychological and spiritual... guns merely make killing convenient. Outlawing guns makes about as much sense as outlawing airlines. Mass murders have been committed with planes flying into buildings. Automobiles have also been used to slam into crowds of people. Poisons have been used to taint food and drink sources. Those bent on killing will find a way. The problem is within.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • inspiration for the rest of you

      How about the ease of accomplishing the deadly feat? If you have to build a bomb, for example, it will take some real determination to accomplish that, plus days if not weeks to prepare. Hopefully be that time one will move on to bigger and better things, plus the psychosis might pass by then, too.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cate


      December 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Patterson

      The far better argument is that more people are killed by drunk drivers than murdered by guns. Why not eliminate all alcohol? Many of these people against gun ownership see no reason to own one. I hunt and go into remote places by myself. I have a valid reason to own guns. What valid reason can there be for allowing alcoholic drinks? If you're for banning guns then why not alcohol? I imagine the 12,000 or so people killed annually by drunk drivers includes plenty of 6 and 7 years old kids.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        First of all, Don, you would eliminate cars, not alcohol. You've no doubt read all the arguments that Lanza was on meds, which is the "intoxication" part of it. Second, more importantly, no one is talking about banning guns altogether, as far as I know. Now the problem with the car argument is that cars are super way more useful than guns. Also, it's really hard to kill 26 people with a car. Further, you can't walk into a "soft target' area (NRA lingo: they are so "hard"–nothing Viagra about it wink wink) and whip it out (your car) and start killing people in the kindergarten classroom. Hinckley would have sucked with a car. John Wilkes Booth couldn't have pulled it off even with a Maserati. And little Adam Lanza couldn't have whipped out his big monster Humvee and done what he did. Got it?

        December 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chigirl60

    That song gave me the chills when I just listened to it. It seems like the questions "how?" and "why?" are asked after every one of these mass shootings, and whatever answers or conclusions evolve disappear from our collective consciousness. Until it happens again.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john right

    They've sensored my comments too, not just starying today. To hell with em.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Ted

    Show me an unbiased, not self-righteous, not profit driven news network. And btw, the article brings a good point – shooter's gender is not an issue – military weapons and mental illness combo is.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  17. nwi

    If you don't draw the circle around "schools" and "shooting", you can find endless tragic examples of mentally ill moms, nannys, and other women killing small children.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Orangy

      True. Women are more capable of violence than popular culture admits, but certain forms of violence appears to be gendered. Whether this reflects biology or cultural conditioning or a bit of both is the big question.

      However, in general, most violence, be it from men or women , is done to family members, lovers or spouses.

      December 23, 2012 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  18. jcsmith1

    Yes, false and factually incomplete.
    Our biases don't make this story an outlier. Math does.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ben

    Anti-depressant drugs are the real cause, involved in every one of these incidents going back to Columbine.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  20. american cowboy

    gun toting mom, the nra and recipients of lobby money such as cantor all have blood on their hands

    December 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      Nice hysterical hyperbole. Do you have anything factual, reasonable, or helpful to add?

      December 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  21. J. England

    Shouldn't a certain amount of the responsibility also be doled out to the supplier of the ammunition?

    December 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      good point. but would you suppose a list... nevermind... it's a good point.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. John Harris

    The baseball bats that are designed to hit baseballs are used to commit murder 10 times more often than guns are.

    Cars that are meant to transport people accidentally kill more people than both combined and their hydrocarbon emissions will eventually do even more than that.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Are you trying to say that there were over 100,000 baseball bat murders in 2009? I don't think so: There were only 16,000+ homicides in the entire year, 11,000+ of which were by firearms

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Dand

    I'd like to know why a mother of a disturbed son who told a sitter not to turn her back on him, had firearms so accessible to him. Precautions could have been taken to eliminate this problem. If she hadn't died, she should have been charged with something.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clint

      Everything is "so accessible" when your dead.

      He killed her to get to the guns.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dand

        Thought he killed her with her own guns. Had they been locked up, probably wouldn't have had a problem with it.

        December 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Ben

    Guns are the exclusive cause of this violence.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  25. RMinIL

    Ms Lovett research is really weak. Google Laurie Dann

    December 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  26. professor of history??

    "Spencer was described by a classmate as “really scrawny … a real little girl – real thin.” We now have “improved” weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 that Lanza used, that they are light enough for young people, even skinny ones, to use with deadly accuracy."

    FYI, AR-15's where on the civilian market in and before 1979.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Peggy

    Jill, I read thru several of the above comments and I really do agree with your whole statement. I recently got a permit to purchase a handgun and will be taking a concealed weapons class in a few weeks. I grew up with several guns, rifles and the sort and was taught respect by my parents. My parents have been gone for quite some time and I have always wanted to at least replace one particular revolver my dad had that was stolen so I recently signed up for a very lengthy pistol class JUST for the knowledge of handling and cleaning a gun. I grew up on western shows and have always been attracted to the western style handguns. I am NOT taking this course just to carry a weapon as I really don't feel that threatened to ever have to go out of my house armed. If I did, however, feel any threat alone in my home some night, I honestly would not grab a gun first... I would grab a heavy object first... too many times you hear of people shooting their own family or friends this way. I love guns and I love target shooting, I am not into hunting but not against it in any way. I would puke if I ever shot even a rabbit! lol. Anyway, what I was really trying to get to is that by applying for a permit to purchase or a permit to carry, I did not realize just how horribly LAX our government is on either of these permits. Ok, so they did some sort of background check for me to get a permit to purchase after 3 days... BUT, then I find out that a person can actually get a permit to carry ONLINE without ever even handling a gun of any kind! I also found that there are classes that do NOT require you to shoot. I think if gun laws are changed, they most definitely need to be like you stated and have background checks, AND a MUST HAVE IN-Person gun class, NO MATTER the type of gun and NO MATTER if it is for hunting or self protection. I know I can get this permit now online but I refuse to do it that way... I want to know about the weapons, the safety and cleaning knowledge MORE than anything and MORE than even legally carrying one.... again, I don't want to live in a world where I feel it's necessary to carry a concealed weapon. If others want to carry, that is fine with me and not my decision but I do think this class I am taking should be a REQUIREMENT for all weapons, not just concealed. Also, I think mental health needs to make a huge come back in society.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Don hunt

    American's give the impression that they are afraid of their own shadow. Lose the guns and stand up for yourselves like real men and women.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Amen! Land of the free home of the brave, my fellow American cowards hiding behind guns!

      December 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  29. poopyonastickmakesmesick

    Thanks for pointing this out. The writer finds a commonality in these killers access to guns, but not in their mental illness. About as helpful as pointing out the time of day the shootings took place.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  30. Ron

    Ever notice that the Liberals' answer to the drug problem, which kills more people and ruins more lives than guns by far, is to legalize all drugs. But the answer to gun violence is ban all guns.


    December 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • HMagilow

      Actually, Ron, I'm liberal. I'm also for legallizing both drugs and guns.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  31. UncleJohn

    500 rounds of .22LR ammunition costs $15, fits in a 3"x2"x5" box, and is a standard unit of sale. It is not a "massive amount" of ammo, it's the smallest bulk packages you buy.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • demaris

      Don't confuse them with logic!

      December 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Andrews


    December 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  33. Kevin McGonigal

    II understand that most Americans would just like to declare our schools to be"gun free" zones, ban assault weapons and drop it at that. I fear however than this conversation and the very public grief, angst and even traumatized horror at this has alerted people who would do America much harm that the easiest way to do this is to go after our "gun free" , soft targets schools. A few years ago Chechnyan terrorists seized a secondary school in Russia and slaughtered over a hundred students. I am certain the bad guys are thinking this might be an effective way to really hit us hard. I would urge our public officials to think about this unpleasant scenario because, iIassure you, the bad guys are.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda Shinn

      I agree with you. I am not a gun enthusiast. I don't have one.
      But, I was listening to the NRA individual who was saying on the news, that, "The president has armed guards at all times, as does congress. So, then if they feel that the best way for them to be safe from danger, is the have armed trained guards around them, then why do they feel that our children in our schools should be in gun free zones where they have NO protection at all from a bad man with a gun? The statement that the only protection from a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, I think has merit. My husband has suggested armed military personnel.
      I also think that there will always be unstale people who will arm themselves and try to harm others, what we can all agree on is that schools need to be more secure.
      In every attack there have been survivors, and they have often lived because they were able to barricade themselves into a room.
      The Stanley Sliding Bolt Latch is a good solutioin. Quick, easy to use, no keys required, it could have secured the doors to the classrooms and kept the shooter out.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  34. jason

    It is so easy to use guns as a scape goat. Maybe we should look at the decay of moral fiber in our youth. The family is under attack. Violent video games that glorify killing and actually makes it a cool and insensitve thing. Kids with mental health issues, parents divorced. All of these factors and the best we can do is blame the gun. The number on killer's weapon on the FBI list is the baseball bat. Do we go after the makers of baseball bats? Better yet don't drive a car because it kills people and don't go to baseball games because it kills people. People wake up, these are signs of our moral decay in society. The media wants you to believe that it is just as easy as to blame the gun. The real fact is that the liberal media is to blame also for the moral decay.

    God Bless America!

    December 22, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • HMagilow

      Yet no one blames the car if the driver kills someone while drunk driving. The gun cannot pull its own trigger, anymore than the car can turn the key in its own ignition. Yet, despite the number of fatalities due to vehicle accidents, they are still acceptable. Why? Because they're convenient to the average person. The same average person that forgets that his car is a weapon.

      Guns do have only two legal and moral purposes: protecting the home and putting food on the table. Most people don't hunt for their food. Some people still do. Either way, the ability to protect my home is still important.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      Well said Jason!! You're probably the only person on here who has left a common sense comment.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      Our morals and sense of values have declined in this nation. Then we act surprised when chaos erupts in our society when actually we've just become a product of what we've been taught: no God, don't deal with your problems, blame other people, no accountability for your actions, etc.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzets

      Thank you for bringing up a very salient point that everyone seems to miss. I am sick to death with people saying that our problems stem from "lack of god". We need LESS of religion and more of helping our fellow citizens in humane ways. We need MORE intervention with the mental and physical well being of our children and parenting. Religion breeds apathy and non-action. Relying on a god or other higher power is not going to fix the problems we have. Not believing in supreme beings does not equal lack of morals. This is the only life we get and we need to live like that is so. Having compassion and taking action to help those without is the ONLY way we will continue to survive and do so in a healthy manner. Our medical status and our lack of empathy is what is killing this country. Until we figure out that we all have to work together for the greater good, we will just continue to decline as a species. Complete health care is a good starting point. However, I do not have faith that I will live to see that realized.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why check facts when you can make things up?

      Well-known complete lie about baseball bats. Please see: http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/baseballbats.asp
      The FBI's statistics do not track murder by bat. Regardless, murder by gun outnumbers all other methods (including bats) put together, by a lot. Please stop spreading these lies.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  35. RickBangkok

    My father is an NRA life member and retired gun salesman.

    I grew up shooting. i made a decision in 1979 when I was 21 not to shoot anymore or own guns.

    At that time I saw the hippie generation of the 1960s and 1970s morph into the disco cocaine generation a la Miami Vice and guns were being used more and more by drug dealers and guys trying to be macho.

    i do not go to any bar or dance club where I have to walk through a metal detector. That is a clue enough that Sunday manners will not be used by all people there.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Hi Rick,

      I agree. There are places on BOTH sides of the border that I just wouldn't go to anymore.

      Years ago, I wouldn't think twice of confronting an idiot out in public. These days, I'd likely just walk away. Too much chance the idiot would pull out a piece and blow me away.

      With the risk of offending my American friends, I am especially cautious when in the US, even in nothern Minnesota or North Dakota. Just TOO MANY guns. I just would NOT go to a place like Chicago or New York, period.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Clint

      "Sunday manners". Give it a rest.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Lil Chantilly

    The guns, the AR-15, the .22 semi-auto rifle (that shoots one round per trigger pull) didn't cause these people to shoot children. Their parents made it easier to get the guns, and for that I implore that all gun owners go above and beyond to protect their weapons. By the way, the AR-15 was invented the late 1950s, so it was technically available when Ms Spencer conducted her mass killing.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  37. SokrMom

    The fact that this perpetrator of a gun rampage was a woman is obviously not the reason why she has been forgotten. The reason she was forgotten is because there is nothing remarkable about the fact that both men and women can be mentally ill.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  38. Mike

    Time for unicorns to fly from the sky and make all people happy people so that there are no more killings yay.

    Now let's get back to the real world in which there are about 200 million guns in the country.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  39. Ben

    Time to ban the drugs that are linked to all these shootings.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  40. KRector

    Not for nothing, but Brenda Spencer did not fire upon an elementary school. She fired out her bedroom window at a group of students who were walking to the elementary school across from her house. Thus, this was in no way a school shooting like Lanza's was. Hers as a shooting of the most random type and I don't believe it has been swept under the table as the article implies. I was two when it happened, but I know about it because of the song.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      You're high. Brenda Ann Spencer targeted school children as they were huddled around the school gate waiting for the principle to open it. There was NOTHING random about it and it targeted school children AT THEIR SCHOOL.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  41. cutedog2

    I fail to see the parallel between these two events. Is it the guns? The divorced parents? The mass ammunition? A parent not listening to their kid? From what I understand Spencer was also on drugs when she committed the crime, yet the author never bothered to bring this up. Please, before you spread your anti-gun rhetoric, make a sensible argument. Signed, Not a Gun Owner.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • GUNS N GOD

      Yes sir, it was that their guns fault! It went off right by itself

      December 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      Yeah...the problem is that this is an extremely inaccurate and disingenuously slanted viewpoint. This woman obviously didn't take the time at all to research the situation at the Lanza home. She heard "collects guns" and jumped to a misinformed conclusion and now tries to assimilate it into her grossly incorrect theory.

      You see Nancy Lanza, did not start purchasing or collecting guns until 2010, when her sons were adults. Contrary to the dishonest picture Lovett wants to paint, Adam Lanza at that point was no longer a child. He was 18 years old and already out of high school. They absolutely did NOT grow up in a household filled with weapons.

      Yet like most liberals are wont to do Ms. Lovett gladly misinforms the reading public by leaving out these facts. Why? Because if she were honest, she wouldn't be able to scare people enough to make them want to tale away other peoples' rights.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  42. Joe

    What about the Bath Massacre?

    December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Bath, MI was not a shooting but a bombing incident.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  43. erj

    What about Sylvia Seegrist at the Springfield Mall in PA 1985?

    December 22, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  44. rastafanman

    Good points, but they won't get it, Canada even has more gun ownership per population than the US so the numbers are even more outrageous. In fact we here in the US have more gun related every year than the rest of the industrialised world all put together. Bit it is the fault of the mental health system, video games, moves, music, and on and on, never a problem with guns

    December 22, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  45. SeeThruIt2

    There are gun restrictions in many states in the U.S. There are mandatory background checks.

    But, when one sane person goes through all checks and delays and buys a gun, then doesn't properly secure it, we need to consider what level of law enforcement is needed to stop this type of abuse of rights. People have the right to buy and own a gun. They don't have the right to arm a crazy person.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  46. Tim

    I would like to point out that the same week that this shooting happened 20 children where attacked with a knife in China where only the government has guns. This year alone in China there where 11 attacks in schools resulting in over 50 deaths. So this just proves that it is sick minds that cause these attacks not guns. The real problem is these people maybe sick but they are also very smart so even if we armer every school it will most likely not stop these sick minds. We need to change mental health laws.

    December 22, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • GUNS N GOD

      So its all the guns fault? Not the fact that our society is morally decaying? The fact that children are given mind altering drugs at such a young age? The fact that we live in a "wah is me" Society. O im so sad..hold me. Man up.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
      • James

        LOL man up? I've lived without a gun for 44 years and doing just fine thanks. You lived for 44 years behind a gun. Who's got more courage?

        December 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        You're the coward. I don't need a gun to live. I'm not afraid.

        December 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      1: It appears you are implying that a gun CAUSED this tragic event. I dont see how that can be. If you want to say that access to guns allowed this to become such a deadly and tragic attack, then at least we can start a conversation at that point, but to say they actually caused it is simply taking it too far.
      2: The validity of the attack in China argument depends on the point be made. On the one hand, I wont argue that a knife is usually not as deadly as a gun (although with modern medicine even guns have become less lethal, so to speak), that is why I choose to have a gun my family's protection instead of just a knife, afterall. But you also cant say that those kids in China werent in a seriously dangerous situation that could have easily ended with some deaths. So yes, if I were forced to choose, I would rather ave my child attacked with a knife instead of a gun, but both cases are dire enough that I would want someone there who was armed themselves to defend my child.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • seemsmorelikeademontome

      if you believe in evil spirits – it sounds like there exists one (or more) for killing children in mass

      a begrudged evil student spirit perhaps ???
      wonder how many of those exist?

      must be the culture – or something environmental like it would seem from many acts that are similar in nature.
      what was same in environment – other than the obvious (or even the most obvious)?
      both events happened at approx. same time on different sides of the world this time – china and northeast USA
      anyone got a ruler? see if it was parallel – could be demon digging to china type thing (or vice versus)
      or perhaps an evil darth vadar death ray.
      something environmental ... same thought patterns

      December 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindseym

      All the kids in china survived, though.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hemyola Shantini

      ...and no one died in China's school. That's the point. No Gun, no (or by far fewer) deaths.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • theweapondoesn'tmatter

        christmas news – 13 students dead from some guy mowing them down with vehicle in china – it isn't one particular weapon- it is groups of students ...

        December 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Ben

    The article seems to imply that the AR-15 is a newer design that offers "improvements" from what this shooter had available, but the truth is that the AR-15 has been available since the early 60s. It is a 50 year old design. Really, all semi-automatic firearms are rather similar in design, whether it looks like a hunting rifle or an evil black one. Please understand that an "assault weapons" ban is based purely on aesthetics. In order to do anything that would affect the public's ability to purchase weapons that actually like an AR-15, gun control proponents would basically have to ban ALL semi-automatic rifles, not just the ones that look scary. I know some are in favor of that anyway, but I want to make the point for those that think that banning "assault weapons" only would have any affect on the public's ability to purhase weapons that function the same as the AR-15 used by the Newtown killer.

    December 22, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  48. dakattack

    but you still cant have my guns!!

    December 22, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  49. MannyHM

    The number of women applying for CCW or carrying concealed weapon is increasing remarkably. Underneath that skirt might be a loaded 357 Magnum.

    December 22, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  50. llatpoh

    Our mental health system is broken. That is the lesson we should be learning from all of these "case studies"...
    Focus on THAT

    December 22, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      Stop pinning everything on mental health. Any person who has the ability to systematically plan a cruel attack such as this has a lot of brain power; and they used it for evil not for good. Personal accountability is non-existent in our society today.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        You seem to be confused on the issue here. Having "lots of brain power" doesn't mean someone is mentally healthy. Intelligence and reasoning ability aren't the same thing. A person can be very intelligent and do evil things while accepting personal responsibility for them at the same time. A mentally unhealthy person may very well believe what they are doing is the "right" thing to do and accept full responsibility for doing it.

        December 22, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Jasmine

        So Jim, where do we draw the line?

        December 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • John Q. Public

      You are 100% correct Sir, move to the front of the herd!

      December 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  51. Historian

    Laurie Dann – This is why "historians" should not rely on WIkipedia as a primary source for information they intend to publish. I have since edited the entry with the information below, but be professional.

    A simple Google search for "female school shooter" put a Wikipedia article and a Chicago Tribune article for Laurie Dann as the first two hits. Still low effort if you are lazy about your research. There are many examples of online primary source material available, use it!

    December 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  52. mike

    In her article, Lovett failed to mention that Brenda Spencer was high on PCP and alcohol when she started shooting.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  53. Ralph

    You need to fill space so you ask this Historian (I take lightly) and accept this drivel from her for publication. "Where's the Beef." Quite frankly I would hope she would not accept this from her students.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  54. h_brazuca

    Are you ever going to address the problem of a society with a real problem? Schizophrenic are everywhere, guns are everywhere, but a society thath stresses their members to become successful, no.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  55. Hemyola Shantini

    Its the prescription psychiatric drugs they take. It has been proven beyond doubt. Most school shootings are done under the influence of these drugs. They cause violent hallucinations.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I agree but our government and people will not wake up to this fact. Every mass shooting in recent history has a had a shooter on some sort of psychiatric drug. These mass shootings are a recent phenomenon, beginning to occur more frequently after the 1970's. Gun control has become more strict since then but the prescription of psychiatric drugs has increased dramatically. These problems will not stop until psychiatrist and doctors stop blindly prescribing drugs that people do not need. This country has a huge problem and the only solution that people seem to care to use is prescription drugs.

      Wake up people mass shooting didn't occur in early 1900s with no gun laws but now the rate of them is increasing with the increased rate of psychiatric drug use.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
      • rastafanman

        1989 Patrick Purdy kills 5 children wounds 29 other, no mental health problems no drugs. 1991 Gan lu kills 4 in Iowa, no drugs, no mental health history. 1993 Colin Ferguson kills 6 wounds 19, no drugs, no mental health history. 1998 a 13 and 11 year old in Arkansas kill kill 5 injure 10, no drugs, no mental health issues. 1998 Guigi Ferri San Francisco kills 8 injures 6, no drugs, no mental health issues. 1999 Columbine, no drugs, no mental health issues, 13 killed 24 injured. Could go on and on, your argument is false, one also perpetrated by the NRA. The only thing in common is access to guns.

        December 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      I agree.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  56. are122

    This author reminds me of something I used to say, "don't come to me with problems, I know all the problems, come to me with solutions." After reading this I now know some people have guns, some people have a lot of ammunition and some people are nuts...it can be men or women and Americans have a short memory. Okay. So? And? How is that solved?

    December 22, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  57. Cedenk

    "Our biases about gender and violence predispose us to want to make Spencer the outlier"

    What about the actual facts and statistics making Spencer the outlier? What do biases have to do with it? Sounds like you can make up whatever facts you want to, so you can write an article.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  58. Dr. Smedley B

    What a moran. This woman wants to put children on pills! The fact is that these "murderers" want to make history, to have their face on the front page, to go "viral," and the writer of this column, with the matching but offset face moles, is helping them to be remembered. Grossly sick.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • BJB

      Moron, eh?

      December 22, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  59. Chris

    "Why is she not remembered?"

    Simply because you must kill more than five people for Americans to consider a shooting as mass murder.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • gunowner

      She isn't "remembered" because the media didn't report on it for weeks. It probably made the evening news for a couple days and maybe mentioned again when the trial started, but it wasn't fixated upon for hours and hours and for days, months and sometimes a year or more.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  60. Eve

    If I had regarded iniquity in my heart,
    The Lord would not hear my prayers.
    Psalms 66:18

    December 22, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • david esmay

      Because he, she, it, doesn't exist.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
      • are122

        And your proof is?

        December 22, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
      • Clint

        The proof for nothing is nothingness. Lack of existence is based on lack of proof.

        IE, when your mythological god shows up, let me know, I'd like to meet it. Until then, take your meds and get some rest.

        December 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  61. bing_oh

    "Spencer was described by a classmate as “really scrawny ... a real little girl – real thin.” We now have “improved” weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 that Lanza used, that they are light enough for young people, even skinny ones, to use with deadly accuracy."

    It's unfortunate that people don't do a little research before making comments like this. The AR-15 pattern rifle was developed by Eugene Stoner in 1957, 22 years before this incident in 1979.

    December 22, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil Fugate

      The point was that they are more available now than in 1959.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
      • hoosierwolf

        No, actually they are no more readily available now than they were then. They are a lot more expensive now though.

        December 22, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
      • AK

        Really? I bought my first of 5 AR-15's..in 1977...in California. There it was, sitting on a wall display. Walked out NIB with a bag of ammo, for $250.

        Try again.

        December 22, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      It's unfortunate that your ability to comprehend a simple statement is so deeply impaired, but thank you for educating us to who the develper is and when he developed it... Even though this has absultely no importance to the article. This "shooting pattern" could have developed by Mayans for all it matters, however the point is that modern guns are lighter and more easily used by everyday people. Lanza was able to stand in one spot and fire off numerous rounds without much effort.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
      • bing_oh

        Just as he could have with one of the original civilian versions created in 1963. The fact of the matter is, the AR15 is not a rifle that has just entered the civilian market in the last few years. It has been widely available to civilians for nearly 50 years now. And, despite what others might say, there have been relatively few major changes to the rifle in that time. The receiver remains lightweight aluminum. The original barrels were actually lighter than modern "heavy" barrels. The furniture was and still is made from plastics.

        December 23, 2012 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You fail to mention the evolution of the AR-15 since 1957. When Stoner first created it, it was built for the US Army as a replacement for the M1 carbine which was the standard issue rifle. The AR-15 has evolved, now including a telescoping stock, a lighter barrel, a reducltion in weight. These things make teh weapon more readily usable by smaller persons. The truth is that there is NO PLACE for assault weapons in the hands of private gun owners. Show me an animal that you have to hunt with an assault rifle. if you are that bad a shot, you shouldn't be hunting. And don't tell me you need it for home protection. In the case of a home invasion, a determined perpetrator will kill you before you get to your AR-15, then take it and rob someone else with it.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Brian Smith

    II am not sure a mass shooter, who is one of two females, from a world FORTY years ago has any relationship to today's society ? Aside from the 4 or 5 similar facts of the situation, everything else is different. She never played Mortal Kombat and the NRA places the blame on movies and video games and songs, so obviously the true cause is something else.

    December 22, 2012 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
    • olddorothy

      How many elementary school children have to be slaughtered before we achieve a "pattern?" I thought the article made an excellent argument, but obviously not one which would influence a die-hard NRA supporter, all of whom are apparently predisposed to reject any suggestion of any law involving even the slightest gun control. The absurdity is profound! They all clearly suffer from "mass paranoia."

      NRA supporters now hold many of our elected representatives hostage, through their united efforts as single-issue voters. We who recognize that the answer for this gun-crazy culture is fewer guns, not more guns as the NRA proposes, must unite as single-issue voters. We must oppose any candidate who votes with the NRA. We must seek candidates who will propose and stand up for legislation aimed at ridding our society of the semi-automatic, military weapons so vigorously defended by the NRA.

      If we fail to disarm the NRA we will end up with armed guards at the doors of every public venue in America. Will we have gained any security? Of course not! We would just have that many more people armed any ready to go on a rampage when they blow a gasket!

      December 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Hemyola Shantini

    And, the emperor's new clothes: They all are on prescribed psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from such at the time of
    the shootings. When will we talk about prescription drugs control and stop pretending that we don't know why
    people have violent hallucinations?

    December 22, 2012 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Dammit

      We don't hear about meds when these massacres happen because if any media outlet dared to raise the issue they know they would suffer the wrath of the omnipotent pharm industry. Defense of revenues will always trump the public interest.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
      • Suzanne

        I think you're both hallucinating. Tom Cruise, is that you?

        December 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  64. kneesus

    Assault rifles and high cap weapons are nothing new. "We now have..." Have you ever heard of the Thompson sub-machine gun? The AR-15 has been available to civilians since the 60's.

    December 22, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil Fugate

      Ever shot a Thompson? It will break your shoulder.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
      • hoosierwolf

        Yes I have and no, they wont. The damn things are heavy as hell. They might wear your shoulder out from carrying it. You can also shoot them from the hip obviously with considerably less accuracy. Not that a Thompson is accurate anyway.

        December 22, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        A .45 ACP will break your shoulder? My daughter shot her first .45 pistol at age 12. I doubt a 13 lb. gun firing a low pressure handgun round will break anyone's shoulder.

        December 22, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
      • AK

        In that case millions of soldiers of all Allied armies in WWII would have had broken shoulders.

        Guess that's the charm of open online forums...anyone can say...anything.

        December 22, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  65. Ohioviper

    You want to pass a law to stop the shootings pass one that will prohibit the media from releasing the name of the shooter. Take away their motive to be famous and take away the attention they seek. Let them rot in prison or die unknown and the shootings will stop.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudedog

      then the shy psychos will go on rampages.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • gunowner

      hear, hear! you hit the nail on the head and that suggestion about the anonymity law is just what is needed, may not stop them all, but surely would not make it so "glamourous."

      December 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  66. Carlos Marin

    This expert, who has obviously given years of thought to the issue, can only tell us that the shooter was 'troubled' and had a parent who loved guns. How helpful is that to prevent the next incident? Hmmm... I'd say ZILCH...

    December 22, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • HMagilow

      Well, considering that the only information cited is two facts that we hear in many cases like this, I'd say less troll and more pointing out the historical usefulness. Just my two cents. Your mileage may vary.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  67. NanookoftheNorth

    There are many San Diegans that remember Brenda Spencer every time there is a new shooting of schoolchildren.
    I hope she never, ever gets released.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

    If you still need an argument for gun control –

    Man Shoots Girlfriend Over ‘Walking Dead’ Argument

    December 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • M. A. Simonetti

      I think we also have to look at the intention of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment was intended to protect the freedom of American everywhere. But we need to look at this closer. Is it possible that the right to hold arms can actually be restricting the freedom of Americans? If Americans need to be fearful of their safety...I think so.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • viaquest

        so where do you draw the line at which right's your willing to give up , i'll trade you my guns for your freedom of speech!!! deal?

        December 22, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Chuck

        America without the Second Amerndment is not America, it would need to be renamed

        December 22, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
      • RSharma

        I think the second amendment is outdated. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The first part of the sentence was outdated in the 1800s as America has a large freestanding Army, (best in the world) no militia is required. Therefore no need for the citizenry to bear arms. The second amendment doesn't say you can keep and bear arms for hobby purposes, it's for a specific reason; for the protection of the country. Why doesn't anyone stand up to the NRA and point this out???

        December 22, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Because, RSharma, a large standing army was exactly what the founding fathers wanted to avoid. The second amendment is also about protecting the people from the government, i.e. those who own the large standing army.

        December 22, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Dammit

        I guess viaquest has never heard of the Patriot Act.

        December 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Chiavarm

      O.J. Simpson killed his ex-wife admale friend with a knife but no one ask for "Knife" control

      December 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • M. A. Simonetti

        no offense...but can you really compare a knife to a gun? If we can do this....we might as well bring in abortion too. As long as guns are legal so should abortion....Where do you draw the line? Where do you draw the killing? We can compare apples to oranges all night long but it won't get you anywhere.

        December 22, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Catalysis

        In response to Simonetti: It all boils down to responsibility and wrong doing. Aborted PEOPLE never committed a crime and they have not done anything wrong. To use a term from a pro abortion group "it's their body their life". Responsible people deserve the right to drive a car, own a gun, say what they want, and live their life. Irresponsible people abuse the rights of others, make mistakes, and take other lives. Why should we take away the right of the responsible people (who have done nothing wrong) to protect themselves, whether in the womb or in the classroom? If we use your phrase "where do we draw the line"?

        December 22, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
      • Brian Smith

        oh, but he was innocent.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
    • jrpowers

      We've had a war on drugs for over 50 years, but drugs are readily available and cheaper then ever. The inner cities are decimated from gang wars and Mexico is nearly a failed country, and drugs continue to flow. Prohibition simply created a very strong and powerful mob, while doing nothing to prevent consumption of alcohol. Why would banning guns lead to a different result? Every time mass shooting there is also a mass violation of gun laws. I would like to know what law would have prevented the Newtown, CT murders? Laws have never prevented crimes, they only provide a pathway to justice in response to injustice. We've had laws against murder, rape, theft, since antiquity, yet these crimes continue. Why is a gun law presented as a miracle solution that no other law has ever achieved?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        This is simply not true–laws, gun control laws–DO prevent deaths. Countries that have them have dramatically lower firearms murders. Countries that have implemented them have lower rates of firearm murders after they are implemented. I do not know what it is in the NRA mindset that prevents this fact from being recognized.

        And I should mention–these laws do not make guns illegal. They make them more difficult to access, and they ban certain weapons. Sorry, but societal protection is more important than your "right" to carry a large ammo clip or certain semi-automatic weapons! I have hunted; I have no beef about gun ownership. Just get it under control!

        December 22, 2012 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Lap333

        In response to john's response: I also wonder what other programs are in place that our country does not have re healthcare, mental health and social services in general? These are far from black and white issues that are not discussed while discussing other countries gun laws and homicide rates. To be fair all of these things need to be taken into consideration.

        December 22, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Phil Fugate

        Fully agreed with both of the above.

        December 22, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
      • BroBill

        John is correct. In countries where there is strict gun control there are fewer gun deaths. However, the murder rate is exponentially higher. An unarmed populace is a defenseless populace.

        December 22, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  69. Billy Bob

    "Spencer was described by a classmate as “really scrawny ... a real little girl – real thin.” We now have “improved” weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 that Lanza used, that they are light enough for young people, even skinny ones, to use with deadly accuracy."

    Nothing new and improve about the AR 15 it's was avaiable when Spencer did her shooting, went on sale in 1964, and semi auto rifle have been around for over 100yrs. Do any of you anti gun people even try to learn anything about firearms before you start spreading lies, like the AR 15 is an assault rifle, it has no full auto capability so it's not an assault rifle.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

      Semi auto been around for 100 years? Really? Can you name it please?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jon

        semi auto rifles were first introduced in 1885

        December 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

        Thanks for the info. The earliest I could think of was that German Mauser auto pistol.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lyss

        Yes – how about the Winchester Model's 1903, 1905 and 1907. Also the Browning Auto A-5 (1905), and the Remington Model 8 (1908). Those are just some of the rifles. There were also pistols around over 100 years ago, including a German prototype as early as 1885. And let's not forget that the Gatling Gun was around in the Civil War – as was the Henry Rifle with a 16 round magazine was available in 1860 with an impressive firing rate of 28 rounds per minute. So in other words in 1860 a shooter like spencer could have put out those 30 rounds in less than 2 minutes including time to reload.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Frank Sinatra

        I'm sure there have been some before it, but one model that comes to mind immediately is the Colt 1911 (made in 1911, so yes, that's over 100 years)

        December 22, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ARightsell

      It can easily be converted to fully auto with a kit you can easily find off the internet. AR stands for Assault Rifle.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Shane Lucy

        AR stands for ArmaLite the original manufacture of the AR series. Please do your research before making statements of fact.

        December 22, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
      • Brian Smith

        They aren't statements of fact if they are wrong.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Serena

        The term "Assault Rifle" actually refers to the Sturmgewehr-44, literally "Storm Rifle" (translated to English as Assault Rifle) by Adolph Hitler when he test fired one. It was a fully-automatic rifle. The modern ArmaLite AR-15 has a different design in the receiver to prevent installation of parts from the M16A2 specifically to prevent this conversion.

        December 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Dondi Cook

        You stand Correted, AR Doese not stand for ASSAULT RIFLE, It Stands for ArmaLite a defunct company that was absorbed by Colt Arms. Please asto assure Flatulence comes out proper orifice!!!

        December 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • billy bob

        Armalite is not a defunct company, has changed owners a few times since the 50's but still in business. They sold the patent to the AR-10 and AR15 to Colt in 1959.

        December 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Dean

      You're right. Semi auto rifles have been around for awhile, but that's not even the point. They said that she was given a .22 caliber rifle which don't weigh much at all. So there was no reason to include that in the article in the first place. She used a 10/22 which are 5.25 lb AR-15 are at minimum 5.5 lb. So the author just included that just to make readers think that we have some type of super rifles now that are feather light that any kid can mass murder with.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  70. Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

    I think you are wasting your time trying to reason with 'hey'. He is obviously one of those over the edge, too-stupid-to-help types.
    Best to just ignore him and move on.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • CatBat

      Your response doesn't make much sense. Are you criticizing the author of this article, or the people who did the shooting?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

        By the time I posted my response to a particular thread it had apparently been deleted and my response was just randomly dropped at the top of the page.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  71. lsoderling

    Why should we remember these people or give them a name who commit horrible acts of violence? They didn't care about the names or ages of the people who's lives they took. Yes they were someone's son or daughter, but when someone chooses to commit unspeakable acts of violence against others, don't give them a name, but instead learn about why (if we can) more about the nameless person and what could have made them turn so ugly to want to hurt others.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • CatBat

      Although I agree with you in concept, that it is a bad idea to remember the names of these mass murderers, on the other hand, we expect (in the United States) THE PEOPLE to be the ones to ultimately vote and make policy, via our representatives. If you are not informed, how can you have the clearest picture in which to influence your representative? This is the unfortunate burden of this type of freedom.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  72. ted davey


    December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  73. hey

    oh you mean how you left wing liberals took the school shooting and made it political withing an hour of the shooting blaming the nra yea get bent. The left is nothing more then a souless attack machine. Let me repeat thigns over and over again and they might end up true thats a mental disorder. Its called denial.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • sodesoky

      I'd rather listen to people argue and attack verbally than have even one more person die because someone attacked with a gun. We're sick of it, and sick of you guys arguing that we need less legislation for guns than we do for cars.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Glomski

      You're "projecting". Conservatives are known to do that.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudedog

      Sorry that we get alarmed when our kids are butchered.
      How is that Benghazzi politicing going?

      December 22, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  74. hey

    @Steve Wilson, Canada
    you should ask yourself why do you trust your government so much instead of why so many dont its clear why we dont we pay into a system that represents the lazy the so called poor the wide scale abuse of our social programs are used agaisnt us.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada


      Sir or madam, I would love to try to answer your question, but I'm having one hell of a time undertstanding it. Drink less beer before you start typing.

      If you're refering to our Canadian "socialist" government (we do have health care, so that makes us socialists, apparently) you are crazy.

      Again, not sure what you're asking. Your 3 rd grade level writing skills are very difficult to understand.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      Friendly suggestion, refrain from posting, your intelligence is showing....

      December 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Farrok

    This article is propaganda, all you kiddies do as mommy says (government). You know it for your own good, Surrender all your weapons and I will take care of you………………. Turn them all in and I will (government) put you to sleep for a very, very, very, very, very, long time...........................

    December 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Dude, no-one is going to take all your guns away, so relax. But, I think there MUST be some middle ground to reduce the number of gun-rleated murders your country current experiences. Does your country really need assault rifles and automatic weapons in "Joe Citizen's" closet?

      Or, do you think that things are just fine the way they are? Did you see the news last Friday?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  76. lawdog1521

    This article completely ignores Spencer's drug use. She was dropping acid by 16.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • AceGirlsHusband

      Correct. But that fact would've been inconvenient to the message the author is trying to peddle.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Nutjobs with Computers

      So, drug problem or other form of mental illness, what's your point?
      Chick shot up a school for fun. Surely you can see there just may be a lesson to be learned here?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Amanda

    In all the news articles about past school shootings Northern Illinois University is never mentioned. It is more recent than Virgina Tech and 5 students were killed in 2008. Or even Oikos Univeristy in April of this year where 7 were killed and 3 injured. There were also a few other bad ones in the late 60s early 70s. I feel its important to know about those victims too.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  78. cobrisco

    You failed to point out that they both come from a broken family. It's funny that few have the guts to say that the values and a stable family and parents that care make a whole difference. More than having guns around. Divorce messes up the kids. Ask a therapist and go see statistics from prisons, mental health, etc.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stinki

      Oh get off ur high horse. I was raised by a single divorced mother and have a stable marriage of 42 years, raised 2 children, am a productive member of society and never once drew a gun on anyone. One does not equate to the other.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Scott

        You're an exception then, stats indicate otherwise.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sodesoky

      Nope. Now, some marriages do break up when one child is a problem, and then the problem child may become a bigger problem child with the loss of one parent.

      Other kids become adults just fine with their parents divorced, just like they do when one parent dies.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |

      When we have presidents that have have come from single parent homes, it is time to stop bashing single parents as the cause of problems. Obviously, people can come from single parent homes and be very successful. AKA Clinton and Obama. Both two-term presidents.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Richard

        Oh obama has done a great job? Are u high, look at the national debt but since cnn and the liberals are butt buddies you dont hear about that much

        December 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  79. Margaret

    "I don't like Mondays" and it "livened things up" for the week???? I don't like mornings, but it never occurred to me to go out and kill someone. Some days are a bit dull, but I never thought going out and killing someone would liven up the day. How does this help us understand? I want to liven up my day I put on some different music, or go to You Tube and watch goofy videos. Killing people just won't do it. Now if they said the pounding music coming from cars or a neighbors house made them want to shoot something, that I could almost understand, but I would want to destroy the speakers. I just don't understand, and maybe that is a good thing. I want to go in my sleep peacefully.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  80. ricciap

    If it helps prevent just one life from being taken, I think it makes sense to analyze every mass shooter alive, male or female. Sylvia Seegrist was another female shooter. She opened fire in the Springfield Mall in Springfield, PA in 1985, killing three and wounding seven. I lived close to the mall and watched my neighborhood turn into what looked like a war zone in the aftermath. My classmate’s grandfather was one of the people killed. Seegrist is alive and behind bars today.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  81. FL

    So. You can find two women to reference out of over 80 shootings that occurred in schools? Statistically speaking those are the very definition of outliers. Not to mention having to reach back about 20 (or more) years to find them, it's telling. When you broaden the definition of mass shooting to include things like movie theaters the number perpetuated by women shrinks even more. Do an analysis do how many victims of violence are women, it's much higher than men – they are the designated victims by and large. Articles like this one make me sad. We absolutely should be wondering why our boys are turning to massive slaughter. We should not be looking for ways to blame women or make it as if they are the best proxy for all these shootings in recent decades by men and boys. Doing that only ensures we do not fix whatever it is about some male Americans that is going so horribly wrong.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Amy

    Don't forget Laurie Dann in Winnetka, IL.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victoria

      Laurie Dan went into Hubbard Woods elementary school and shot 5 children, killing one and gravely wounding 4 others. She too committed suicide after shooting someone else in a nearby residence. She had a personality disorder and tried to kill many more people that day. That May day, so many years ago, still haunts Winnetka.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  83. Madeline M.P.

    Yes, let's analyze what made one woman go crazy and start shooting innocent people. When 99% of mass shootings are done by men, when countless women and children die daily from male violence euphemistically referred to as "domestic violence," when a half a million women and girls are systematically raped by men in the Congo over a period of just one year, let's balance the odds by NOT analyzing the roots of male aggressiveness and violence and instead look for that lonely one in a thousand or more female who will make human violence look more gender "balanced."

    December 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kealia1974

      I was going to type something so similar to your comment. Nicely stated!

      December 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bairkus

      Lets look at all mass shootings.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  84. abc123

    Paranoid gun nuts. They make the US sound like the twilight zone.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Eudy

      Paranoid liberals. Make guns sound like the reason evil people are evil. Without guns no country would exist even ours. How are they evil when our american lifestyle depends on defending that lifestyle in our homes and abroad.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kealia1974

        I am sorry that you feel you need to defend your lifestyle using guns. I have an incredible life and I don't have guns. Who is the paranoid one?

        December 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • HMagilow

        I'm a liberal. I'm a woman. I'm pro-gun. The odds of someone choosing to rob a store, house or other building drop drastically when they think that someone inside might have a gun. The odds of someone choosing to assault someone else drop when the victim might shoot the attacker. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator – if s/he is going to shoot back, the potential attacker is going to reconsider. The Founding Fathers knew this. Hence the right to 'keep and bear Arms.'

        I am not, however, pro-slur. Please refrain from bringing my political party into your insults.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  85. empresstrudy

    Shorter Lovett: "It's men's fault. Even when girls do it."

    Frankly I'm shocked you didn't chalk it up to body dysmorphism or anorexia borne of the patriarchy.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  86. WDinDallas

    Well, so much for the white male band wagon.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angelina

      I work in Federal law enforcement and it is a fact that there are a lot more males in federal prison than females. Men are responsible for more of the violence. I agree that maybe ordinary citizens don't need automatic weapons, but just one mom or grandpa with a concealed carry handgun in the school at the time could prob have stopped the shooter in CT.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • HMagilow


        December 22, 2012 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
      • shatteredmen

        Yes, you are right. there are more men in prisons then women but very often, women are not charged for the same things men are. According to all unbiased research, the domestic violence rate is EQUAL between men and women and one researcher for the CDC stated that when only one is doing the hitting, it is the woman doing it 71% of the time. The problem is that when a woman does it, it is very often not called domestic violence. There are many things that are only illegal if a male does it. Men still have to register for selective service, if they do not, they are instant felonies. Women get to enjoy all the perks men can not get if they do not sign up and they do not need to bear any of the responsibity to assure those rights. I can see MISANDRY is alive and well on this board.

        December 22, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  87. tc4012

    Outlaw women now? Will CNN run another story that weak women own guns to bolster their felinity or other such garbage nonsense?

    December 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • theresa schroeder

      Do you mean femininity? Or do you think all women are cats?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • raulisodo

        well, considering cats are hunters, and I don't see how guns can bolster femininity, that's probably what the O.P. meant – felinity.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • scott


        December 22, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  88. Peter

    Uhhhhhh....the fact this this author didn't mention or "hasn't heard of" Laurie Dann...means she needs to do a lot more background research before publishing an article to CNN, AND CNN NEEDS TO DO THE SAME ON THEIR AUTHORS AND THEIR CONTENT.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Actually, her failure to mention Laurie Dann supports the part of her thesis that we tend to focus on males, and does nothing to undermine her argument about the similarities between Spencer and Lanza.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • kd

      The reason she doesn't mention Laurie Dann is because that would destroy her 'it's because their family liked guns' argument. It would, however, support the 'they were freaking looney' argument...but that wouldn't have given the author a chance to talk about how bad guns are.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Lou Vignates

    Why do people ignore the influence on killing that comes from the way our government uses the military to kill civilians in countries around the world. Those doing the killing and those commanding them are vaunted as heroes. Is it any wonder
    that mentally ill people look to these military killers as role models?

    December 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      They do?? I've never heard that one before...

      December 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      Do mentally ill people have role models?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • hey

        mentally ill not brain dead genuis yes they have role models if we really have to point that out God help us.

        December 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Ellie

    The Grover Cleveland shooting was in Stockton California in 1986 by a man. Not in San Diego...whoever does this research should be fired.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellie

      Oopsie, same school name. My bad, good thing I don't research for articles. Carry on....

      December 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Jan

    Sylvia Wynanda Seegrist (born July 31, 1960) is an American woman who on October 30, 1985 opened fire at a Springfield, Pennsylvania shopping mall, killing three people and wounding seven others before being disarmed by a mall cop. The individuals killed included two men and a two-year-old boy.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Jess

    This was written by an academic? Man, they'll print anything.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      Yes, even the paranoid ramblings of those who believe we are in imminent danger of having our tyrannical government turn our military against us, and commit atrocities a la Syria, Germany, Armenia, Cambodia, Soviet Union, etc.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • hey

        yea because america is perfect and it could never happen here right? i personally believe we will be invaded not by our government by extreme jihadist but thats just me i have see nthe youtube threats against america and if you want to trust you government to take care of you then give up your freedom and go with the gov.

        December 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Steve Wilson, Canada

    So sad to know that there are many people in our society who are seriously mentally ill. The gun violence, (in Canada too) I believe is a combination of too many mentally unstable people, combined with easy-access to millions of firearms.

    I'm a hunter and I do own guns... a few shotguns and rifles. But, NONE of them were designed to kill many people as quickly and as efficiently as possible. They were designed to kill ducks, geese, grouse, moose and deer.

    I do NOT think we (Canadians or Americans) need to have military style (AR -15 for example) and or high-capacity magazines in our public sector. The ONLY people that should have them are the police and military.

    If you do not "trust your own government" move to a different country. Some of the paranoid gun nuts scare the sheeeet out of me. You live a free society, as we do here in Canada. Relax... and stop with this "we must have the right and the arms to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government" non-sense.

    The American government is NOT going to "come and get you." Nor, is our Canadian government.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      Right. Because the military or police would never abuse their power...

      Except when we look back at world history we see that military and police as well as governments have done just that.

      Your remark about trust is asinine. Having trust in one's government, or another person for that matter, is hardly a contract to keep them from ever doing something against that trust.

      You have insurance to protect your house from fire, or from unexpected death. Why not have insurance to protect one from unexpected loss of freedom? Americans would not be free to day if the civilan population did not have the means to fight against the military of a tyrant.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • burnz

        So, those Iraqi veterans that you pretend to 'support' would back Obama if he decided a Chinese dictatorship would be better? American gun-nuts are simply cowards. I used to have a teddy bear when I was 3, it helped protect me from the dark. Guns are a grown-up teddy bear for many of these people. Maybe American men need to carry purses.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • raulisodo

        yeah. Talk about asinine. What president of the United States has ever been a tyrant? Or even referred to as a tyrant?

        December 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Wilson, Canada

        Jeff, if you HONESTLY and TRULY believe that Obama or any US President would someday turn on the general public, you should move to another country.

        When in US (or Canadian) history has the (your quote) – "Except when we look back at world history we see that military and police as well as governments have done just that." ever turned on it's own people? Sure, in Iraq, they have. And, in Syria, they have. But NOT in civilzed, democratic nations like yours and mine.

        Stop being SO paranoid. You're scaring me.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Margaret

        Perhaps the closest we came was Richard Nixon with his insane desire to get re-elected. Or at the extreme edge FDR when he tried to pack the court but our system of government with the 3 branches stopped him. All in all our system works pretty good.

        December 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lolo

        If the government wanted to take you out, what makes you think they would get close enough for a gun to make a difference?
        With drones, bombs, missiles, and chemical and biological weapons they could do it from the safety of a bunker. Arguing that you need a gun to protect yourself from the government is ignorant to the point of being funny.

        December 22, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      Yes. I hear Syria is nice this time of year. AND their tyrannical government needs overthrowing

      December 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • donna rochester

      Thank you Steve for such a rational comment and reminding me just how great Canadians are. I am a grandmother and spent several weeks alone on Vancouver Island in 2006 and in July the second gun murder of the year was committed. (Tucson, where I live, had had 68 gun deaths by July) I traveled all over the island by myself and was never afraid, even at midnight watching the fireworks in Victoria Harbor. The NRA has far too much influence here but I think maybe the tide is turning after this latest tragedy.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carole Goodwin

      Good for you! You are absolutely so very right!

      December 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • hey

      lets see 320,000,000 citizens in the united states 288,000,000 privatley held guns 3 mass shootings in 2 years thats 0.000000001% of the population do we really have a mental health epidemic becuase that sounds like you could be unstable i mean really wake up people there are mental people yes its not an epidemic anyone who says this is tone deaf and blind stupidity is an epidemic

      December 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Aunt S.

    The crux is that the US is not yet a civilized society.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      You judge a entire society of 311 million on the actions of less than 50 people?

      I don't see how you can claim our entire population is uncivilized based on the actions on a handful of individuals who were not.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Wilson, Canada


        If I may be so bold as to speak for Aunt S., the end result of the "50" people you are speaking of, is 15,000 murders per year in your country. First, it's a hell of a lot more than 50 people. Second, when young, inccocent kids are gunned down IN SCHOOL, people tend to use the word "uncilized" when expressing their feelings.

        I agree with Aunt S., but I know in my heart that the USA is a great country with many, many great people. It's the gun culture and the level of violence that causes people to use the word, "uncivilized."

        I tend to agree.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • raulisodo

        I believe it's called a "generalization". People use it all the time to make a point. The term "society" in this context refers to a large group. Within groups, there is diversity. All 311 million are not the same. But if you try to define the term "civilized" and apply it to a large group, some in that group are going to fall outside the definition.

        If you want to distract and divert attention from the topic being discussed, you can make your own generalization, and say something like "You judge a entire society of 311 million on the actions of less than 50 people?" without providing any explanation of what you mean by "less than 50 people". Now you've successfully diverted attention from the topic of whether or not society is civilized, to "what 50 people are you talking about?". and "Where did you come up with the number 50, that you are comparing to 311 million?" Well done.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mary

        Fifty people? Where did you come up with that number. Clearly you haven't visited the south side of Chicago this year where there are multiple shootings every single day.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Junior C

    The focus should be mental illness, if you look back on the mass homicides committed, in most cases mental illness was considered a factor. Research is needed, but the funding is not there because mental illness just isn't considered to be important enough. It should be, I lost a family member to mental illness, and a gun was involved, but she was intent on taking her own life and nothing and no one was going to change that. That's just my opinion, banning guns isn't going to have much of an effect.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      Blanket condemnation – easy to do. He wasn't crazy until he got the gun and turned it on his mother. Nothing I've seen in any news item has mentioned that he was diagnosed as "crazy" before that point.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dailyideology

      Did you not read the article, or anything about this woman or the fallout from the shooting? She was never considered crazy or mentally ill. Later when she tried to excuse her actions via mental and emotional abuse by her father, she was denied any and all legal defenses related to mental or emotional illness.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Mike

    Another poorly researched article from CNN. You might want to learn how to use Google and Wikipedia – I came up with Laurie Dann – May 20, 1988 – elementary school shooting where a woman killed a 8 year old boy and wounded five other children.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Betsy Hayes

    In 1988 a disturbed young woman by the name of Laurie Dann entered an elementary school in the northern Chicago suburb of Winnetka. She shot and kill at least one child and wounded 3 or 4 others before turning the gun on herself. This was a very tragic incident and should be remembered as well. I do believe she was in possession of more than one weapon and had obtained them legally despite a history of mental illness. I was working as a nurse at a nearby hospital that day and have always remembered this tragic incident.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MannyHM

      I think we have to accept the fact that we can die anytime and anywhere because somebody got upset with somebody (not necessarily at us) or somebody got careless while texting got into a head on car collision.
      I also believe that not all killers are mentally ill and that not all mentally ill are killers.
      Where are the inventors ? We need a subsonic bullet that can disable but not kill. This way, less hesitation in firing it and it can be in the hands of teachers and principals. We have no choice here except to stop that mass murder from happening. It's stopping a murder from becoming a mass murder.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        You might need a quick course in ballistics. There are plenty of subsonic bullets. They've been around for hundreds of years. The whole point of rifles is increased accuracy and range, which – wait for it – you get with a faster bullet. To simplify, pistol bullets are subsonic, due to the smaller power charge and shorter barrel (it's physics). Rifles with sufficiently large cartridges (a .223, aka 5.56×39) and longer barrels produce supersonic bullets (2700 feet per second – speed of sound is 1100 fps). A basic .22 fires roughly the same size bullet but with a much smaller power charge – use Google to see the size differences between the cartridge bodies verses the bullets. Most .22s are subsonic. Better chemistry and improved metallurgy have also allowed increased muzzle velocity to a lesser degree.

        December 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  98. Fred

    What Psychotropic drugs were they on???

    December 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louise

      Yes! Fred, that is the first question I ask and the one the media usually refuses to ask in their collusion with Big Pharma...at least corporate media

      December 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Sick of Mass Media

    The media in the US is owned by a handful of people with a sick anti-American agenda. It should be broken up and decentralized so that wealthy elites can no longer force their sick social fantasies on the rest of us.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris R

      Start with Fox and I'm with you.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • the_dude

        Yep Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, etc etc etc. They are all garbage.

        December 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • raulisodo

      You mean the sick social fantasy where people believe we are in danger of a tyranical leader turning our military against its own citizens? This isn't Syria, you know.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Wilson, Canada

        Agreed, 100%.

        Why do SO many Americans distrust their government? You may not be happy with every single law put through, but overall, your government (and ours) does a pretty damn good job. Don't believe me? Go live in Africa for just one day. Then, come back and you'll stop your paranoid whining.

        Good post, raulsodo.

        December 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • raulisodo

        Thanks, Steve. I'll have to look you up when I move to Canada. Between the tyrannical government and the anarchy that's coming, it's getting a bit uncomfortable around here. LOL

        December 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • TSB8C

        I bet the people in Syria wish they had access to guns instead of the strict gun control laws their government enacted before attacking them. Look at history – Germany, Armenia, Cambodia, Soviet Union, others. Millions murdered by their own governments after guns were outlawed and confiscated. The US is not immune from such atrocities if we continue to allow our rights and our protections to be taken from us in the hope of gaining some type of temporary security.

        December 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • hey

        ok to those who tell us to go live in africa becuase we distrust our government we tell you go live in africa if it wasn't for the social programs we pay for with our tax dollars you wouldn't survive in america with you obama phone food stamps health care and housing you live great on my dime so shut the hell up anyone who receieves government money should not be allowed to vote period!

        December 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • andIsaythis

        @Hey up above-

        You're saying that US citizens who trust their government belong in another country, yet if a citizen receives gov't assistance you want to take away their right to right to vote? I think you just made the argument for us that you don't belong in a great, free country where we each have rights like the US.

        December 22, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
      • HenryMiller


        There are several reasons a lot of us don't trust our own government. In no particular order, they include that many of us don't believe that the US government has our interests at heart. They tax some to reward others. Our politicians seem to be more interested in being (re)elected than in doing what's best for the country. And so on.

        Those in our government are routinely caught in lies, or what appear to be lies. They manifest astonishing incompetence in interfering in the American economy.

        But, above all, many of us distrust the American government simply because it's huge and powerful, and most of us take to heart Lord Acton's dictum that "Power tends to corrupt."

        December 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Fortunately the manufacturers of Bushmasters, Glocks, and Sig Sauers are just lil mom-n-pop operations (jk)

      December 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
1 2