Napans express shock at Connecticut school killings

Some question easy access to guns
2012-12-14T20:40:00Z 2012-12-14T22:38:34Z Napans express shock at Connecticut school killingsHOWARD YUNE Napa Valley Register
December 14, 2012 8:40 pm  • 

Within hours of the carnage inside a Connecticut grade school, the reactions of Napans ranged from undiluted shock, to urgency about restricting gun use, to wondering how to avoid more such mass killings.

Key details remained elusive in the wake of Friday morning’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman the Associated Press identified as Adam Lanza, 20, killed at least 26 people — including 20 children and his mother, a teacher at the school — before taking his own life.

Meanwhile, some locals were left to wonder about their grim familiarity with other mass killings of the recent past.

“I was horrified; my first thought was, ‘This is Columbine all over again, or even worse,’” said Napa resident Janet Morris, mother of a 20-year-old son in college, some 8 1/2 hours after the Connecticut shootings.

News of the killings — and of the suspect carrying two semiautomatic handguns into a school with pupils as young as 5 — appeared to expose tensions over how strictly to regulate firearm possession, and those tensions were apparent even in Morris’ thoughts.

“I don’t think gun control, by itself, will stop what’s happening, but I don’t know what it is that separates us from other countries where this doesn’t happen,” she said. “And I’m questioning how a private citizen could have gotten so many rounds.”

Other Napans, however, were more certain in their convictions.

“We need more attention to mental health, early intervention — and reduced access to weapons. I’m opposed to weapons,” Linda Jesmok, a retired federal worker living in Napa, said flatly.

When 14-year-old Christopher Weygant got the news Friday afternoon while visiting his grandmother, his first thought was for those in Connecticut who had their children ripped violently away from them.

“Those parents must be very sad, that this happened two weeks before Christmas — maybe they had the gifts wrapped for them already,” he said.

“People should have the right to bear arms, but there should be tests to show you’re mentally stable enough to have a gun,” he added.

A British expatriate in Napa said the Connecticut bloodbath exposed not only the wide gulf in public attitudes toward gun possession between the U.S. and his home country, but also revived memories of the United Kingdom’s worst campus killing: the fatal shootings of 16 pupils and a teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, in March 1996, which inspired tighter firearms restrictions in Great Britain.

“That was my first thought, Dunblane,” said Malcolm Jessop. “... Something’s going to have to change in the laws. I’m so shocked that guns are so readily available here. I’m 53 and I’ve never known any family or friends back home who’ve owned a gun. There’s a big difference between a farmer and his shotgun, and having body armor and an automatic weapon.”

Perhaps more troubling to Jessop was the seeming normality of such massacres in the U.S. to those on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Sadly, when I talk to people back in England, it doesn’t come up in their conversations,” he said. “They’ll just go, ‘Well, it’s another one, and another one.’”

Another Napa resident joined him in hoping people’s attitudes never become too calloused to shrug off the Connecticut massacre, or similar killings.

“It’s shocking to see another one,” said Sarah Jones. “I just hope people don’t get desensitized to these things, to the fact this happens so often.”

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(17) Comments

  1. David Grega
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    David Grega - December 14, 2012 7:36 pm
    If this young man did have two semi automatic handguns he acquired them illegally as he is not yet 21 years old.

    I am and always will be for the right to own personal firearms...I also think better education is unnecessary, you should have to pass a minimum safety and proficiency test (much like a drivers license exam with a written and practical portion) and similar background check to what police officers go through should be implemented.

    Banning firearms takes them from the good people who would use them responsibly, ban or no ban criminals would have plenty of access to them...making sure citizens who want to own a firearm are mentally sound and have proficient safety and weapons handling skills is a better way to protect ourselves.

  2. Napa
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    Napa - December 14, 2012 7:49 pm
    It's just another sign that Jesus Christ is returning real shortly. God is fed up with all this mass killing. This world is a mess. My God little children never to grow up, get married, go to college. The horror of this is just unspeakable. God help us, and the United States of America.
  3. anothervoice
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    anothervoice - December 14, 2012 8:10 pm
    The last report I heard on the news was these guns were his mother's .. purchased by her and registered. No way yet of knowing if this is true. Yes, the insane and criminals will ALWAYS find ways to get guns. Also news said the family said "the shooter was obviously not well." What we need to do is to hospitalize these people, place them on meds and have people who know all about mental illness, meaning doctors, decide if and when these people should be out and "walking amongst us." From what I have read regarding the many tragedies before this one, there were many signs these disturbed people exhibited long before they kill.
  4. chunk215
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    chunk215 - December 14, 2012 10:31 pm
    The shooters brother said he had Aspergers.
  5. guesswhoiam
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    guesswhoiam - December 15, 2012 1:33 am
    Anothervoice said it well. As for England or other countries without guns, they have the same types of violence only it's knives, machetes, or bombs. More emphasis needs to be placed on tell tale signs of this type of mental illness. Every case your hear how family and friends knew something was wrong. I beg you, if you know or are related to a person with irrational mental clues and propensity to snap tell the authorities. Legislators also need to give authorities and doctors more tools to detain people with mental health issues.
  6. rocketman
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    rocketman - December 15, 2012 7:56 am
    More gun control will NOT solve these insane acts:

    22 kids, 1 adult injured in knife attack outside Chinese school
    Published December 14, 2012
    Associated Press

    BEIJING – A knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for morning classes Friday, police said, the latest in a series of periodic rampage attacks at schools and kindergartens.

    The attack in the Henan province village of Chengping happened shortly before 8 a.m., said a police officer from Guangshan county, where the village is located.

    The attacker, 36-year-old villager Min Yingjun, is now in police custody, said the officer, who declined to give her name, as is customary among Chinese civil servants.

    Read more:
  7. kevin
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    kevin - December 15, 2012 11:49 am
    Would it have beem too much effort to interview at least one person who isn't ready to automatically cede our Constitutional Rights?
  8. Really napa
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    Really napa - December 15, 2012 1:18 pm
    How about violence on TV, movies, video games, and the desensitizing of life!
  9. napasonomatours
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    napasonomatours - December 15, 2012 3:50 pm
    Did you happen to notice the slight difference in the resulting outcome? "Injured" vs. "Dead" is quite significant, especially when it's your child, spouce, or parent. Prudent gun / ammunition regulation will never eliminate violence, but it seriously reduces the number of victims and fatalities.
  10. Lynn W
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    Lynn W - December 15, 2012 4:24 pm
    If the reoccurring theme of "guns are evil" is going to be thrown around, I would like to remind people that in the majority of these horrific incidents the perpetrators are more often than not, referred to as "socially awkward." Let's talk about what we can do about that. Should we pass laws to control socially awkward people. Some choose to blame guns, I on the other hand have and always will hold people responsible for their actions. We don't blame cars for being too big or too fast when innocent lives are taken by drunk drivers. We don't blame baseball bats when they are used to bash in skulls. Guns have triggers, they don't pull themselves. Let's stop blaming guns and do the right thing and hold people accountable.
  11. newtotown
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    newtotown - December 16, 2012 10:54 am
    Ah, here we go again. Easy catch phrases like "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" and "let's not cede our constitutional rights....."

    Both are easy arguments that do not address the problem.

    Yes, people kill people, WITH GUNS. Sure, there are other ways, as Rocketman showed us above: knives etc.

    But again, these are easy arguments that avoid the issues.

    Knives have other uses, so do cars. Guns are made for killing, and we've made it too easy for people who should not be able to have guns to get them.

    We need to have a program of licensing gun owners, that's it. I'm not saying take away your guns, but come on, take a look at what's been happening here.

    Yes, unbalanced people will always be able to get guns, but it might be harder for them to do it.

    Incidents like this are happening more and more, and unless we at least TRY to limit access to guns, they're going to happen more and more.

    Guns actually do kill people, very easily.
  12. guesswhoiam
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    guesswhoiam - December 17, 2012 6:50 am
    Newtotown here's another for you cocaine and heroin are illegal yet criminals get those too. Your argument also misses the point. It's not legal gun owners who are the problem. It's the criminals and thieves that steal them. Bottom line bad people will do what it takes to do evil and harm whether its a bomb or knife or gun. So why reduce Americans ability to defend themselves by making it harder for good people to own guns. Look into the recent Oregon shooting it was stopped by someone with a concealed carry. Look at Australia's violent crime rate immediately following an all out ban on guns? Bigger picture and I'm no conspiracy theorist but anytime a government usually a tyrants government band weapons bad things happen. The original reason for the 2nd amendment has been over looked. It's also to protect ourselves from the government should a tyrant be in office. President Obama has already started assembling a secret police force?
  13. guesswhoiam
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    guesswhoiam - December 17, 2012 6:55 am
    Napasonoma tours are you really going to play semantics because your points and theories are in the toilet when shown proof that bad people will do what it takes to kill and commit mayhem? Facts are facts.
  14. a teacher
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    a teacher - December 17, 2012 9:29 am
    When you see statements like "President Obama has already started assembling a secret police force", you see the problem here. Some of the supporters of gun rights are unhinged. I'm personally not anti-gun. I know lot's of people who probably, at this moment, sitting in the Delta hunting ducks. They're tasty, I'm happy when they invite me over for dinner. I don't object to hunters. I also don't object to the people who feel the need for a pistol or shotgun for home defense, even though a gun in the house is more likely to injure a family member than a home invader. Those examples aren't unreasonable.

    I object to the military style weapons and ammo that are designed to kill lot's of people, quickly. Who needs that?

    There are 310 million guns in the hands of one third of the American population, an average of three for each of gun owners. There are 11,000 murders by fire arms and 19,000 suicides. A reasonable person would agree there is a connection.
  15. kevin
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    kevin - December 17, 2012 10:45 am
    So, in your expert opinion, what exactly constitutes "a military style weapon"? That's where Fienstein made herself look like an idiot by outlawing ordinary rifles that had tripods on them, or folding stocks.

    Makes it hard to have that "discussion" when one side has no idea what it's talking about...
  16. newtotown
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    newtotown - December 17, 2012 11:13 am
    Yes, criminals with guns are a big part of the problem. But clips that hold hundreds of rounds and making guns with the single purpose of killing people are also a part of the problem.

    Making it more difficult for criminals to get guns, and outlawing clips that hold so many rounds will help a lot in this terrible problem.

    Again, so that you understand, I am not saying to outlaw guns, or anything like that. But these weapons that are so easily obtainable are the reason we're having this problem.

    Please defend the right to have these large capacity clips..... Please defend for me the need for weapons that fire so many rounds....

    There is no need, not in civilian life.

    You need to open your eyes and address the fact that there are problems with our current system of gun laws.
  17. a teacher
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    a teacher - December 17, 2012 12:08 pm
    I'm not an expert, but I am a reasonable person. According to the coroner in Conn, one of the little boys buried today was shot eleven times and that all the action was over inside of ten minutes. Now, I've shot revolvers, semi automatic pistols, shot guns and hunting rifles. Whatever that maniac was using, it wasn't the kind of thing you take deer hunting and it shouldn't be allowed to be in the hands of civilians.
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