Burch: A moment of silence

Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

There was a moment of silence after Sandy Hook, then the National Rifle Association’s madness resumed.

A wise man once pointed out that if we don’t learn from the errors of the past, we are doomed to repeat them. Are Tennessee students and teachers now doomed to die because the NRA and its political lackeys refuse to learn from their egregious errors?

According to a U.N. report, the U.S. has by far the highest rate of gun-related deaths among the world’s 23 richest nations, averaging 20 times more such homicides than its peers. Tennessee probably has one of the highest gun-death rates in the developed world, since according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, we ranked eighth among the states with 966 shooting deaths in 2009.

The center gave Tennessee gun laws an “F,” and that was before some of the even crazier legislation of recent years.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, the NRA went through a silent period during which it stopped sending out Tweets and made no public comments about the murders of 20 young children and six educators. Many of us hoped this silence indicated that the NRA was really thinking for a change, rather than just relentlessly pursuing its rigid ideology of “the more guns, the better.”

But when the NRA finally spoke, it was the same old funny farm looniness. There was no admission that flooding the nation with weapons, including assault weapons, is getting children and teachers killed. The solution, according to the NRA, is to put an armed policeman in every school.

But the Columbine and Aurora massacres illustrate why this is not really a “solution.”

When two heavily armed killers attacked Columbine, Neil Gardner, an armed sheriff’s deputy who had been policing the school for almost two years, was on duty. Gardner confronted the killers and exchanged shots with them, but he was outnumbered and they had the advantage of surprise and superior firepower. Gardner had a handgun. The killers had semi-automatic weapons, shotguns, and a variety of bombs. Gardner was also handicapped by not wanting to accidentally harm innocent children and teachers. The killers obviously had no such compunctions. So as soon as they were inside the building they had every advantage, including potentially a large number of hostages. If Gardner had gone into Rambo mode, entering the school in a hail of bullets, he might have been killed and more innocents along with him.

The Aurora killer wore full body armor: ballistic helmet, ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, throat protector, groin protector and tactical gloves. He carried an assault rifle with a 100-round magazine, a 12-gauge shotgun, two semiautomatic pistols and gas canisters. Could a single policeman armed with a handgun have overcome all those advantages?

The NRA wants us to believe that real life is like a cowboy movie, where one Lone Ranger can defeat any number of villains even though all the odds are stacked against him. Here’s what Wayne LaPierre said in the NRA’s first public statement after Sandy Hook: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He also claimed that confronting guns with guns is “the only line of positive defense that’s been tested and proven to work.” But that simply isn’t true. Other nations have demonstrated that there are better ways to reduce gun-related deaths.

Here are three quick examples: (1) Our closest “relative” among the nations is England, but we have more than 40 times as many gun-related deaths per capita as the United Kingdom. (2) Japan has ultra-strict gun control laws, and gun-related deaths there are very rare. (3) After a shooting spree stunned Australia in 1996, leaving 35 people dead in Port Arthur, the government quickly issued sweeping reforms of its gun laws. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since. Australia’s National Firearm Agreement, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of automatic and semi-automatic weapons being bought back, then destroyed, has undoubtedly saved many lives.

The fearmongering NRA is lying to the American public. The earth’s richest, most developed nations have proven that gun control can and does save lives. The stronger the gun control — as in England, Australia and Japan — the fewer the gun-related deaths.

The NRA wants to sell tons of guns and is willing to put profits above the lives of our children and teachers. It’s time to tell the NRA in no uncertain terms that we intend to put the lives of our children and teachers first.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Michael Burch | NRA

172 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 12/28/12 at 4:14

Mike, citing examples of what has proven to work in other nations is probably pointless when dealing with the paranoia ridden NRA members.

For one, their pitifully small minds have already been made up, the decision carved indelibly in the massive bone encasing that woefully inadequate brain.

Second, they will never believe what has worked in another country will work in America. They have taken the phrase, "American Exceptionalism" to a new low, shifting the meaning from exceptional ingenuity and resourcefulness to exceptional paranoia and shortsightedness. If the example comes from a nation they consider to be wallowing in socialism, well, just try not to be hit by spittle as they foam at the mouth while rabidly ranting and raving.

Additionally, each and everyone envisions themselves, as you point out, the embodiment of The Lone Ranger, Marshall Dillon, ( either William Conrad on the radio or James Arness from television) Rambo, or any of a number of fictitious characters from television or the movies wildly brandishing guns, killing dozens of bad guys with a single bullet. I wonder if any of these potential Zimmerman's has ever considered the bad guys will not always be a teenager armed with only Skittles, often fire first, not even allowing one of the "hero's" to even draw a weapon, and most important shoot back unlike the unarmed paper targets they gun down safely at a range?

I think the gun nuts will shoot themselves in the foot, Barney Fife style, as they will whine, cry, and carry on to the point they will offend the majority of Americans. Instead of making concessions on certain classes of weapons while strongly advocating improved mental health care and screening, they will, by their own actions and ignorant, callous comments become the poster children for a near total ban on weapons, ammunition, and accessories.

Even Americans who at one time would have been willing to accept some classes of weapons will be turned off by the embarrassing spectacle.

The funniest aspect of this entire episode is, the gun rights folks have done more themselves to cripple their own agenda than an army of anti gun activists could ever have hoped to accomplish.

By: Loner on 12/28/12 at 6:19

Good morning, Nashville.

Thank you, MIke Burch, for researching and writing this informative article. If they could round up the assault weapons in remote Australia, it may be possible to do it here too; the Australians, like the Americans, have this frontier logic problem. If the Crocodile Dundees can be brought under control, maybe the American Rambo-types can also be brought under control.....perhaps, there is hope after all.

I still have this nagging feeling that if we started a US gun round-up program, hundreds, perhaps thousands of American gun nuts would snap and go berserk, rather than give up their firearms....but that should not deter us; if they snap and go nuts, we shoot them down like dogs....eventually, the nut jobs will either be de-fanged or dead.

Either we round up the guns or we cower and wait for the next massacre in silence, as we have done before. Enough is enough; round up the weapons now!

As for La Pierre, git a rope!

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 6:27

The only guns I want to see "rounded up" are the assault weapons. Agree or disagree on the semantics of the 2nd amendment and it's true intent, it has established, firmly, the maxim of the right to bear arms.

I've been asking every day since Sandy Hook happened, why people need commercial versions of military weapons with high capacity magazines and not one person has even tried. That speaks volumes.

On the flip side, I cannot give a good rationale for repealing the 2nd amendment. Despite the semantics or original intent of the Founders, it is firmly established and if you truly wanted a second civil war, by all means, attempt to repeal the amendment.

But, as the assault weapons ban in the 90's illustrated, you can have gun control without infringing upon the right to bear arms. That's the starting point. From there, we expand background checks, crack down on gun show sales, somehow deal with the growing mental health issue...

By: bfra on 12/28/12 at 6:39

gdiafante - I agree with you on all counts! Mainly the gun shows & dealers should be scrutnized much better. Mental health in any family should be throughly checked out before issuing permits for guns

By: Loner on 12/28/12 at 7:00

Guns are needed by people who suffer from some sort of inferiority complex...men who were short-changed in their genital "packages" often seek an equalizer, some phallic symbol, to offset their shortcomings. Woman who have penis envy also fall into that category.

Thankfully, most people are not obsessed with these issues; sadly, millions of Americans do suffer from this syndrome....the NRA preys upon the fears of the sick ones.

By: Rasputin72 on 12/28/12 at 7:05

I can only wish that this anti-gun frenzy had existed 25 years ago. Then perhaps we could have prevented Sandy Hook,Columbine and probably an untold number of deaths.

Today with the United States coming face to face with a new majority of people and transitioning into a socialist bankrupt nation, gun sales are soaring and expected to continue at sales rate that defies all logic.

I don't own a gun and do not at this point plan on owning a gun. I have no intention of killing anyone but then again I come from a culture that has disappeared over the past 25 years.

"These truly are the times that try mens souls"

The anti-gun crowd is just a whisper in the dark against the gun-crowd. There are just too many frightened Americans and just too many people from the ghetto that depend on their guns for their strength. The productive class will align with the criminal class and the NRA and the 2nd Amendment to keep guns as a staple.

The only victory will be a restriction on the sale of assault weapons. The black market for assault weapons will keep this part of the arsenal going for a long time even if they ban assault weapon sales.

I think the government can control the productive class and the ghetto boys normally kill each other. Guns in the hands of the dweebs and mental cripples and the social misfits will continue the slaughter unfortunately.

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 7:07

I can't believe I'm defending them, but some actually own guns for hunting or collecting too, Loner. I know several that keep them unloaded and like a museum piece, locked in a cabinet. That's clearly not for protection and, for one in particular, I doubt very seriously that she is compensating for a small package...lol

By: Captain Nemo on 12/28/12 at 7:20

Rasputin are you as rich as Denise York?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 7:35

As if he's part of the "productive class." LOL

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 7:36

Hey, Junior - Don't Stop Perceivin'!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/28/12 at 7:37

We live in a Rambo culture and owning guns make little men, big men. After all Rambo’s resolution is too arm him self with 100lbs of guns and ammo. Assault weapons in both hands, he cuts his way through any problem. The NRA loves the Rambo manner, which is easy to scare and then rush to buy bigger and more guns.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 7:39

People forget that the only reason the NRA exists is to lobby for gun manufacturers. They really do not care about rights or the nation's welfare - they care about gun sales. Plain and simple. To think otherwise is foolish.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/28/12 at 7:39

Rasputin weeps to find that his Image does not return his love. :-O

By: Loner on 12/28/12 at 8:05

Why wait to be attacked by gun-nuts; the nation needs to go on the offensive; this means rounding up the guns...shutting down the civilian guns & ammo market...those who prefer to have their guns pried from their cold dead hands can have it their way.

A National Gun Round-up is long overdue.

By: Loner on 12/28/12 at 8:07

Let the SWAT teams go in and remove the guns from the cold dead hands....we have enough firepower to clean up any pockets of resistance...let them make OUR day, for a change.

By: bfra on 12/28/12 at 8:16

Loner - Your OUR in "OUR day" might not include enough people to be "OUR". The 2nd amendment holds strong! A ban on assault weapons & clips for such weapons should be passed immediately.

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 8:26

Loner you're making the argument for the gun nuts...this is exacly what they fear, the government taking away that right. And though I am no gun lover, even I can see that is taking it way too far and, really doesn't add anything to the issue because it's not based in reality.

By: Rasputin72 on 12/28/12 at 8:46

This little website consisting of. an old hippie, six simpletons, three well intentioned liberals,a relic from the rural south,a couple of out theres and a antagonist represent 75% of the make up of the new USA..

Now all we need for a quorum is non english speaking hispanic and a couple of felony parolees.

Is this not diversity at work?

By: Moonglow1 on 12/28/12 at 8:47

Moonglow1: The real question should be "Why do lobbyists and their front organizations have absolute power to control public policy discussions. "

The NRA is nothing but a front for gun manufacturers. Their only goal is to promote gun sales and increase profits for their "clients. " The NRA is holding an entire nation hostage to achieve their goal which is "maximize gun sales. "

Contrary to the belief of many freedom and the second amendment are merely tools to the NRA to help them "craft the message" to achieve their goal.

The NRA like Grover Norquist (both lobbyists) are holding Americans hostage until the goals of their corporate clients have been met. This includes purchasing politicians to pass legislation favorable to them. So this is free enterprise? Democracy?

40 % of gun sales are not subject to a background check

1 in 5 persons have a mental illness

1 in 35 persons are on probation or in the criminal justice system

So of the 40 % who have not had a background check a substantial # are mentally ill or criminals

By: yogiman on 12/28/12 at 8:50

With this site having so many anti-gun nuts, can one of you explain why so many children are being killed in Chicago each year? And Chicago in only one city, but it is a major city with such strict anti-gun regulations.

And no, not 20 at a time, but a hell of a lot more than 20 school children in CT.


Please explain.

By: bfra on 12/28/12 at 8:51

Raspy - You forgot a wannabe that isn't & never will be. Namely yourself!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 8:53

Crime is down 9 percent overall, the largest drop on record, he said. Emanuel noted the city has torn down 200 buildings in a campaign to eliminate hangouts for criminals. He added that crime this month dropped 30 percent from 2011, one of the biggest declines on record.

The city's homicide rate has been declining for about two decades. In the early 1990s, Chicago recorded 900 homicides a year. Since 2004, the rate has been lower than 500 every year except 2008.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/10/30/Chicago-says-438-dead-in-2012-gun-violence/UPI-76391351611702/#ixzz2GMIMoych

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 8:54

Apparently you don't know much about Chicago. Or anything else for that matter.

By: budlight on 12/28/12 at 8:55

From the AP "California senator Dianne Feinstein said in a press conference last week that President Clinton may be involved in helping Senate Democrats draft the gun-control legislation they plan to bring to the floor in the coming month. “Yesterday, President Clinton called and said if there’s anything he can do to help, he will do it,” she said.

Ironically, it was Clinton who, in 1998, spearheaded a program akin to the school safety initiative proposed by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on Friday, which was widely criticized by Democrats, that would put armed guards in schools across the country. The New York Times reported at the time:

"Two weeks ago, President Clinton announced a program called Cops in Schools, aimed at making it easier for school districts to get money to hire police officers in hopes of preventing the types of shootings that have resulted in the deaths of students and teachers in half a dozen schools in the last three years."

Read more: http://times247.com/articles/bill-clinton-once-backed-armed-guards-in-schools#ixzz2GMHmA4nK

By: budlight on 12/28/12 at 8:59

Evil comes in many forms. A woman trying to find a job went on what she thought was an interview; she was overpowered and raped. The guy posted on Craigslist.

Many people have died (relatively speaking) as a result of ads on Craigslist. So why are you people NOT calling for a ban on Craigslist and/or The Back Page?

GUNS do not jump off the table and fire. It is evil people who use guns to kill (aside from the occasional accidental shooting).

AND PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION about Obama's City of Choice which has laws against owning guns:

By: yogiman on 12/28/12 at 8:50
With this site having so many anti-gun nuts, can one of you explain why so many children are being killed in Chicago each year? And Chicago in only one city, but it is a major city with such strict anti-gun regulations.

And no, not 20 at a time, but a hell of a lot more than 20 school children in CT.


Yogi, they are dumbfounded by your questions. Why are so many kids killed in Chicago each year when it has such a STRICT ANTI-GUN LAW? DUHHHHHH

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:00

bud, I answered the question about Chicago. See above.

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 9:00

You know, what no one is talking about is how underfunding has affected law enforcement. Remember, people still want the service (now they want it expanded to armed guards at every school) but they don't want to pay for it.

Let me ask everyone a question, would you favor a tax increase in order to put guards in schools? Would you favor a tax increase to hire more police? Would you favor a tax increase to focus more recources on mental health?

By: parnell3rd on 12/28/12 at 9:00

You should know when some one is lying. That is the business you are in, Propaganda.
I find it very interesting that you can use UN statistics. But you leave out FBI and CDC statistics. You know American Gov't agencies.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:01

I am dumbfounded at the ignorance of the questions posed. You have that part right.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:03

Exactly, g. They don't want tax increases but they expect a cop in every school. I guess the money is supposed to magically appear.

By: parnell3rd on 12/28/12 at 9:03

Mr. Burch, if you hate America so Much why don't you move to one of those contries you listed?

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 9:04

s/h/b resources

Many people have died (relatively speaking) as a result of ads on Craigslist. So why are you people NOT calling for a ban on Craigslist and/or The Back Page?

As long as we're doing the straw man stuff, why not ban alcohol again? While we're at it, the sun causes skin cancer which kills I don't know how many, let's ban the sun too.

Oh, and the dark void left by the absence of sunlight kills too, so why not ban the dark? And the cold...in fact, we can't survive in a vacuum, so let's ban space too.


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:06

Chicago is an example of how tightening up gun laws is starting to help. Yes, there is still a lot of gun violence but it has been declining almost every year for the last two decades.

By: bfra on 12/28/12 at 9:08

As bud, yogi, raspy & ilk are killing this board, can we ban them?

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 9:09


By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:11


What a crew of blithering idiots.

By: Rasputin72 on 12/28/12 at 9:21

Oops! I left off the roll call roster, a retired clap distributor.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:27


Intervention is more effective that adding more guns.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:28

s/h/b "than adding more guns."

By: yogiman on 12/28/12 at 9:29

I realize I'm not as brilliant as you think you are, B2, but I have a legitimate reason; how about you?

"Peace is that brief moment in history when everybody stands around reloading."
- Thomas Jefferson

I wonder why he said that. I also wonder why; "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them which would include their own government" was said by George Washington; You know, our very first President. And you know what? He was in that office legally.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:32

Do you care to comment again about the gun violence in Chicago as it relates to stricter gun control laws?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:33

Oh wait - you were WRONG so you change the subject. Blithering idiot indeed.

By: gdiafante on 12/28/12 at 9:33

Actually, yogi, George Washington wasn't born in the United States, Obama was.

lol - any bets that this goes over his head?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/12 at 9:34


By: dargent7 on 12/28/12 at 9:41

I think P-3 has the worst posts. Very hostile and condenscending.
Mike left out Canada which has maybe 10 murders a year.
I can't stomach LaPierre as the NRA's CEO but the President of the NRA is on tv saying if the Principal had a Mac-10 she'd still be alive.
Several posters over at the other paper brag about owning arsenals themselves.
LA had a "gun drive" in reverse yesterday and got over 2,000 returned weapons. Ralph's gave out $100. store gift cards per gun and $200. for an assault.
People referrenced Conn. as to their motivation.
All these killers hell bent on mass shootings always are armed with extended mags and assault. No one walks into a place of work or school with the intent to kill with a 6 shooter.
Time to ban the sales.

By: Loner on 12/28/12 at 9:46

I am not the only person who is in favor of Gun Control and a National Gun Round up...the movement will gain momentum...and yes, we will pry the guns out the cold dead hands of the gun-worshipers....if that is their preference.


Yogi, we're coming for your weapons....if you cannot live without a gun, then stick the gun barrel in your mouth and do the right thing....good bye A-hole!

By: dargent7 on 12/28/12 at 9:49

re: Craigslist Murders. I know of only 2.
There's that many a day per state between co-workers, ex wives and ex-husbands, fired employees...people are basically on the edge in life and go nuts and turn to violence when rejected.
What we're talking about here is not equating stangulation or poisonimg with 100 round magazine equipted assult weapons.
I assume.

By: dargent7 on 12/28/12 at 9:52

I think organizations like MADD will form and take the NRA and USA gun laws on.
They got the legal driving BAC down to 0.08% in every state.

By: parnell3rd on 12/28/12 at 10:03

Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation and they just had their 500th homicide of the year.
Is it a gun problem? Or a people problem?
NYC just had their second murder by train. Is Mayor Bloomberg calling for subway train bans?
As Mayor Bloomberg was calling for tougher gun laws, did you notice his armed body guards?

By: yogiman on 12/28/12 at 10:04


I wouldn't trust Emanuel any more than I would Hussein Obama. They've both been caught in too many lies on a daily basis.

But, yes, I hope he is right for once when fewer people are being killed in Chicago. Especially the children because they have no way to defend themselves.

But just how far has Chicago advanced in a civilized nation like the USA? That city has been ruled by "landlords" ever since I can remember. So what makes you think the city has become a civilized city with the usurpation of Emanuel to office? He only owned a house there, he never lived there. When did he become a citizen of the city; when he became mayor?