The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is very close to home. I used to commute to work in Newtown. It is a commutable distance from Berlin for work, about 40 miles away.
We have been witnessing a number of mass shootings recently.
February 22, 2012 — Five people were killed in at a Korean health spa in Norcross, Georgia, when a man got into an argument and opened fire inside the facility.
February 26, 2012 — Multiple gunmen began firing into a nightclub crown in Jackson, Tennessee, killing one person and injuring 20 others.
February 27, 2012 — Three students at Chardon High School in rural Ohio were killed when a classmate opened fire.
March 8, 2012 — Two people were killed and seven wounded at a psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when a gunman entered the hospital with two semiautomatic handguns and began firing.
March 31, 2012 — A gunman opened fire on a crowd of mourners at a North Miami, Florida, funeral home, killing two people and injuring 12 others.
April 2, 2012 — A 43-year-old former student at Oikos University in Oakland, California, walked into his former school and killed seven people, “execution-style.” Three people were wounded.
April 6, 2012 — Two men went on a deadly shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shooting black men at random in an apparently racially motivated attack. Three men died and two were wounded.
May 29, 2012 — A man in Seattle, Washington, opened fire in a coffee shop and killed five people and then himself.
July 9, 2012 — At a soccer tournament in Wilmington, Delaware, three people were killed, including a 16-year-old player and the event organizer, when multiple gunmen began firing shots, apparently targeting the organizer.
July 20, 2012 — James Holmes enters a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and opens fire with a semi-automatic weapon; twelve people are killed and fifty-eight are wounded.
August 5, 2012 — A white supremacist and former Army veteran shot six people to death inside a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before killing himself.
August 14, 2012 — Three people were killed at Texas A&M University when a 35-year-old man went on a shooting rampage; one of the dead was a police officer.
September 27, 2012 — A 36-year-old man who had just been laid off from Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota, entered his former workplace and shot five people to death, and wounded three others before killing himself.
October 21, 2012 — 45-year-old Radcliffe Frankin Haughton shot three women to death, including his wife, Zina Haughton, and injured four others at a spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin, before killing himself.
December 11, 2012 — A 22-year-old began shooting at random at a mall near Portland, Oregon, killing two people and then himself.
December 14, 2012 — One man, and possibly more, murders a reported twenty-six people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, including twenty children, before killing himself.
In the United Kingdom firearms are tightly controlled by laws which have commanded widespread public support. The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. With the exception of Northern Ireland, most police officers in the United Kingdom do not routinely carry firearms. Despite being unarmed, fatalities of police officers are extremely rare.
Except for Northern Ireland, fully automatic and semi-automatic weapons of calibre larger than .22 rimfire are totally banned, pistols are limited to .22 calibre in short barrel, while calibres up to .357 magnum are allowed in long barrel pistols. All other rifles and their ammunition are permitted with good reason, which may include target shooting, hunting, and historic and black powder weapons, but not self-defence. Shotgun ownership and use is controlled. A firearms certificate issued by the police is required for all weapons and ammunition except air weapons of modest power.
Possession of a live firearms round can lead to severe penalties. Shotgun cartridges can be possessed by anybody over the age of 17 but a Shotgun Licence is required for purchase.
Do the British have it right? Do we have it all wrong?
Imagine our police officers not carrying guns like the British bobbies. I like that. I don't want someone armed with a cannon approaching my vehicle or home, whether that individual is a criminal or a police officer. Do you?