By Brigitte L. Nacos
The 20-year old who killed 12 little girls and 8 little boys and six women within a few minutes in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, carried a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle and two semiautomatic pistols, including a .10 mm Glock and a .9 mm Sig Sauer. These three weapons plus two hunting rifles were owned by the shooter’s mother who, according to media reports, was a gun enthusiast, a person fascinated with guns.
Her son used the Buckmaster rifle, an assault weapon used by the military, in his horrific attack. It is not known yet, how many bullets were shot. But according to Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, all victims were hit multiple times. Moreover, as Dr. Carver revealed, the bullets the attacker used were designed “in such a fashion the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in” and therefore resulting in deep damage.
In the renewed gun-control debate, there are demands for background checks, longer waiting times, stricter rules for gun show and online sales.
All of that might help a bit.
But it hardly would have kept the Connecticut mother from buying those weapons and her son from using the most lethal one in his attack.
Therefore, the law provision most urgently needed is the categorical ban of military-type assault weapons in the hands of civilians.
Apart from the military and SWAT teams, nobody has any reason to own killer-weapons that mow down dozens and dozens of targets within minutes.
Later today, President Obama will visit Newtown, the small New England community that experienced the ultimate nightmare.
In the face of unspeakable tragedy, a good president becomes the consoler-in-chief.
But that is not enough. He must now become the attack-dog-in-chief against the National Rifle Association and its allies.
Unless there is a categorical ban of automatic weapons, shootings in public places will be as American as apple pie.
Consider this, in the week of the Connecticut massacre
- a gunman at an Oregon shopping mall killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday crowd estimated at 10,000 people;
- an 18-year-old student in Oklahoma was arrested for allegedly plotting a shooting and bombing attack at Bartlesville High School the same day the mass shooting occurred in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown;
- one day after the Connecticut massacre, a man was arrested after firing about 50 shots in the parking lot of a Southern California shopping mall, prompting a lockdown of stores crowded with holiday shoppers. In this case, fortunately, no one was harmed.
- Also on Saturday, a man in Cedar Lake, Indiana, who had 47 guns hidden in his home was arrested after he threatened to "kill as many people as he could" at an elementary school.