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Please Stop Talking

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Why is it that every politician in America thinks he has to run his mouth about the child massacre in Connecticut?  If they had something original to say, or even slightly helpful, that would be one thing.  But they don't, not a one of them.  So I wish they would stop.  Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal.  Just stop.

If they aim to act, get moving and go do it.  I proposed one such act  --  immediate reinstatement of the death penalty in Connecticut.  While we're t it, this would be a good time to reinstate capital punishment in the other states that have legislatively repealed it in the last few years (Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey).

But we've had the discussion, ladies and gentlemen.  You can listen to your TV all you want (or can stand).  You won't hear a thing you haven't heard before.  Much of it is phony.  It's not there is nothing genuine here; quite to the contrary.  It's that anything genuine does not need to be staged in front of a camera.  Virtually everything that goes on in that setting is a study in platitudes.  None of it represents thinking a normal adult couldn't do for himself.

So, politicians, stop.  Just stop.

6 Comments

Decency evolves: One final thought Bill. I watched Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy discussing her experience after the death of her husband during the course of the Long Island Railroad Massacre; how she wanted to know how It happened, how someone so mentally Ill acquired such weaponry and used such high capacity clips to kill her husband; about organizing in support of the assault weapons ban and being enraged at her representative when he told her he would support it and then voted to repeal it; of running for Congress for that reason; of her strong feelings that some rational restrictions on assault weapons and high capacity clips is essential; and of her feelings in seeing this massacre and how it reinforced her views. Should she shut up? Are her feelings as a crime victim and a politician less valid than yours, or entitled to less of a hearing because she doesn't support conservative positions?

Decency evolves: I've retread your pst and I don't think I am being fair to you. That said, original or not, I think what she had to say was worth listening to, and I think that perhaps politicians do need to be less timid in the face of the NRA.

Your post is a call to action, rather than more talk, and I completely agree with that position.

Fair enough. Ms. McCarthy speaks as the widow of the victim of a mass killer, which is vastly different, indeed, so far as I know unique, among politicians.

Almost all of what I hear is office holders checking their "sensitivity box." I doubt it's genuine feeling, and if it is, it's more appropriate for private expression, not to get on TV.

If this murder explosion had happened the day after the Connecticut repealer bill had become law, and if the killer had survived, there would be an outcry of gigantic proportions. In the McVeigh case, 80% of the public supported the death penalty, including a majority of those who said they were ordinarily against it on principle. At least the same percentage would support execution in this instance, and the legislators who had made it impossible would be in serious trouble in the next election -- if they made it to the next election instead of being recalled.

I would still like someone to produce actual evidence that this would not have happened if Connecticut had stricter gun control laws.

In the 1960s, we engaged in massive deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and then failed to adequately replace those services with community based services and you see all sorts of unfortunate consequences from it. How do we reduce the number of seriously mental ill young men, most of whim have no prior criminal history, from engaging in mass murder suicides? Call me crazy, but mental health treatment sounds like it has a greater chance of success than reinstatement of the death penalty. And I'd rather see tax dollars go to that than to the apparatus of capital punishment; less money down a rat hole in any event.

I don't disagree with the view that deinstitutionalization in the 60's has had poor, and sometimes dreadful, consequences. Nor do I disagree that preventing these episodes through treatment is better than punishing them after the fact.

That said, I do not subscribe to all of your views. First, it's a great deal less than clear that all those who might be candidates for treatment will even be identified, much less actually treated. Second, the effectiveness of treatment is an open question; I believe Loughner (the Arizona shooter) was actively seeing a psychiatrist at the time of his murders. Third, in a blog about crime and consequences, the focus is naturally on what happens after the fact. I doubt that any preventative program will be 100% effective (if it were, it would be the first time in history), so the question is, what should we do with the shooter after the deed is done?

Where the shooter is legally sane, I see nothing other than the DP that's even vaguely proportionate to the crime. I have to think that at least 80% of the public would support executing the shooter in this case, were he still available to be executed. The planning and cold-bloodedness of this episode, and the number and age of the victims, is beyond any normal experience. Jail, no matter for how long, seems more like a really sick joke than a punishment.

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