ONE OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ARTICLES I HAVE READ SO FAR ON THIS TRAGEDY.
Guns, Mental Illness and Newtown, Wall Street Journal - Has the rate of random mass shootings in the United States increased? Over the past 30 years, the answer is definitely yes. It is also true that the total U.S. homicide rate has fallen by over half since 1980, and the gun homicide rate has fallen along with it. Today, Americans are safer from violent crime, including gun homicide, than they have been at any time since the mid-1960s.
Mass shootings, defined as four or more fatalities, fluctuate from year to year, but over the past 30 years there has been no long-term increase or decrease. But "random" mass shootings, such as the horrific crimes last Friday in Newtown, Conn., have increased. Alan Lankford of the University of Alabama analyzed data from a recent New York Police Department study of "active shooters"—criminals who attempted to murder people in a confined area, where there are lots of people, and who chose at least some victims randomly. Counting only the incidents with at least two casualties, there were 179 such crimes between 1966 and 2010. In the 1980s, there were 18. In the 1990s, there were 54. In the 2000s, there were 87.
If you count only such crimes in which five or more victims were killed, there were six in the 1980s and 19 in the 2000s.
Why the increase? It cannot be because gun-control laws have become more lax. Before the 1968 Gun Control Act, there were almost no federal gun-control laws. Read more........
Texas - School Where Teachers Carry Guns to Protect Students - Star Telegram - Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged school districts to review their plans to ensure they are prepared to respond to incidents such as the horrific shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday.
David Thweatt, superintendent of the tiny Harrold school district in northwest Texas, believes his staff is ready.
Besides special locks and security cameras, an undisclosed number of staff members and teachers carry concealed handguns.
Thweatt said the "guardian plan," which drew international attention when it was implemented in 2008, definitely enhances student safety.
"Is that 100 percent? No," Thweatt said Friday in a telephone interview. "Nothing is 100 percent. But what we do know is that we've done all we can to protect our children."Read more........