Ban knives? Murrysville school attack prompts gun debate

 
Family members hug in Murrysville, Pennsylvania following a knife attack at a local high school. Murrysville, Pennsylvania, families react to the mass stabbing at a local high school

On Wednesday 16-year-old Alex Hribal allegedly entered a high school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and stabbed 21 of his classmates and a security guard. Although some of the injuries are serious, so far there have been no fatalities.

Given the recent history of school shootings in the US, it didn't take long before the incident became fuel for the ongoing debate over gun control. If you were wondering whether the chasm between the two sides on this issue had narrowed at all, it hasn't.

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Guns aren't our problem, mentally ill people are”

End Quote Elizabeth Nelson Capitalist Preservation

The Pennsylvania attack proves that firearms aren't the problem, argue gun rights advocates. A disturbed individual is always capable of finding a weapon and causing violence.

"Jack the Ripper, OJ Simpson, Ted Bundy and the BTK killer never used a gun to subdue or killer their victims, and yet our administration would have us believe that guns are our enemy," writes Elizabeth Nelson of Capitalist Preservation blog. "Guns aren't our problem, mentally ill people are."

Dan Zimmerman on The Truth About Guns blog agrees:

As someone once said, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun (or a knife) is a good guy with a gun. Of course, as we all know, our schools are sterile, gun free zones where, with the occasional exception of a resource officer, guns are prohibited. Kinda like our military bases. How's that working out?

Alex Jones's Infowars.com site asks whether liberals will now start calling for a knife ban:

School shootings have resulted in demands from the Obama administration and Congress for laws scaling back the Second Amendment. Piers Morgan and other media figures have railed against the idea citizens have a right to own firearms.

Is it possible they will now move to restrict the use of knives and other sharp instruments? Will the government create a national cutlery database? Will there be a move to microstamp buck knives?

Ah yes, Piers Morgan - the Brit who until recently hosted a CNN talk show, where he was an outspoken proponent of gun control. As Salon's Elias Isquith documents, Morgan continues to be a lightning rod for gun boosters, who showered his Twitter feed with invective.

"America's lack of knife control is sickening, isn't it fella?" went a typical tweet.

Although Mr Morgan was largely silent, other pro-gun advocates framed their arguments along the lines of a comment made by one of the surgeons who operated on students injured during the attack.

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Nobody could have outrun a bullet if the suspect had been armed with a gun”

End Quote Michael Daly The Daily Beast

"Even though many people were injured and injured severely, this would be a completely different scenario if a firearm was in place," Dr Juan Carlos Puyana said.

Michael Daly of the Daily Beast writes that President Barack Obama might be appearing at another mass shooting memorial service "if the mayhem at Franklin High had been perpetrated with a 9-mm pistol like the one the 2009 Fort Hood gunman used or the .45 calibre pistol the more recent shooter wielded."

"Nobody could have outrun a bullet if the suspect had been armed with a gun, but anybody who managed to stay outside the reach of the blades escaped injury," he writes.

The editors of the Hartford Courant compare the school shooting in nearby Newtown, Connecticut, and this week's incident in Pennsylvania:

Gun advocates frequently quote the old saw that "Guns don't kill people - people kill people," and argue that determined would-be attackers, if denied firearms, will find other weapons. As far as they go, those statements aren't untrue.

But look at the consequences: In Connecticut, 20 children and six educators died. In Pennsylvania, nearly two dozen people were attacked, and there were no deaths.

They conclude: "Pennsylvanians must ask themselves, as we and all Americans must: What if this student hadn't used a knife? What if he had wielded a gun?"

"Knife attacks happen in countries such as Japan where guns are hard to access, and they have been lethal," writes John Hopkins Prof Katherine Newman. "Just not as deadly as a loaded high-capacity automatic weapon that requires a split second to gun down dozens of people."

So this is where the gun debate stands in the US. A 16-year-old boy can run through a school, indiscriminately stabbing his fellow classmates, and it's either compelling evidence that gun control doesn't work - or exactly why it does.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 45.

    "Surely it's a sign of a dysfunctional society"

    YEP! Considering the role our present administration plays using agencies of our government to attack citizens! Only goes to prove that we have a dysfunctional government!
    http://www.infowars.com/federal-snipers-train-guns-on-family-for-filming-cattle/

  • rate this
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    Comment number 44.

    Surely it's a sign of a dysfunctional society when this sort of thing happens on such a regular basis? There are more lawless countries than the USA but I doubt if they have as many incidents of young people killing other school children. Where did he get the gun from...Daddy?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 43.

    The US was founded on the principles of guns and violence. The barbarism we witness there every day will take hundreds of years to abate.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 42.

    Guns or knives - none of these should be in any school, anywhere, irrespective of what gun control laws are in place.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 41.

    The US will sort out it's violence culture only when it's people are tired of burying their children.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 40.

    "Nobody could have outrun a bullet if the suspect had been armed with a gun, but anybody who managed to stay outside the reach of the blades escaped injury," Michael Daly of the Daily Beast writes.

    A gun attack is much louder, so someone can hear the danger from further away. Wouldn't that give them time to leave the area and call for help sooner?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 39.

    37. There are some parallels with Koch Brother's foil, Scott Walker (Wisconsin) as illustrated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8-WR35JtOY Getting the government back to FDR principles/solutions has no champion currently as the dice are loaded for a GOP sweep in 2016, courtesy the Supreme Court: Citizen's United, voter's rights act, with $billions in play to determine the election outcome.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 38.

    #36 Chris A

    Germany has the ´advantage´ of reaching the ultimate´insanity´ --and recovering.

    Others have not yet (truthfully) faced their self-destructive direction.

    As you have said, the idea that ´insanity´is accepted as ´freedom´

    -- appears the rule rather than the exception.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 37.

    #36 Chris A

    The continuity of laws -- from one to the other, forces a society to make decisions (even if unwished) --to a collective societal ´insanity´ over time.

    Having lived in Germany -- some Nazi and societal conclusions were logical --from previous laws and propaganda.

    Whether many UK anti-EU contributions or pro-gun mentalities --I see few differences.

    --the insanity develops.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 36.

    34. 'Crimes of passion', 'political and religious beliefs' and the US culture: $billions spent of violent video games and blockbuster 'action' (sic) movies have 'shaped' the US reality - the NRA advocating all should be armed (blatant profiteering) simple reinforces de facto criminal impulse. In 32. you posit the Nazi atrocities that were deemed acceptable culturally at that time in history.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 35.

    I still find it strange that the NRA still oppose background checks - which is the only way we can screen for Mentally Unstable people or People with violent histories.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 34.

    #33 Chris A

    "insanity equates to 'freedom' "

    Thanks --I thought I was alone with that conclusion.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 33.

    28. & 32. Little question the repeal of 'the well regulated militia' clause in the Second Amendment by Bush Jr's Supreme Court picks (an issue not visited by the SC since 1939) has resulted in a win for the very worst in the nation: the NRA! Gun ownership as a-right will have repercussions for decades as ever more act-out fundamental aggression - insanity equates to 'freedom' (sic).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 32.

    #30 US-Cit

    "You can escalate the weapon used as much as you want, but the fact remains clear. It isn't the weapon that kills.The mentally unstable person kills."

    -- I believe that Nazi Germany showed that not only citizens can justify their ´insanity´-- but also countries.

    --Mental instability and justification for actions are more than simply individual -- when it becomes National ´Right´

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 31.

    I see the irrational, control freak anti gun ownership types are out in force, calling those who prefer to be self reliant "gun nuts" & demanding that they be disenfranchised & then call the result "democratic".

    Oh, of course: it's only "democratic" when the paranoid hoplophobes get THEIR way.......

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    "Even though many people were injured and injured severely, this would be a completely different scenario if a firearm was in place," Dr Juan Carlos Puyana said.
    The doctor's statement is true.And if there had been a bomb, it could have been far worse.You can escalate the weapon used as much as you want, but the fact remains clear. It isn't the weapon that kills.The mentally unstable person kills.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 29.

    "...John Hopkins Prof Katherine Newman. "Just not as deadly as a loaded high-capacity automatic weapon that requires a split second to gun down dozens of people."

    The above is proof that even educated people can be truly ignorant, or deliberately misleading.
    Automatic weapons are highly regulated in the US & it takes a LOT more than "a split second to gun down dozens of people."

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 28.

    Impoverish the gun lobby, prohibit its false propaganda, or disenfranchise it in elections, and democracy will swiftly control guns and their murderous harvest of American lives. Enrich it and permit it to control elections and the courts, and Americans will continue to be sacrificed on its bloody altar.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 27.

    Oaktree: no?

    They don't want us to have universal health care

    Its funny cause' Obama+media loves to tout that 7 million number
    but reality is (outside of medicare) only 1.4 million who were previously uninsured have actually paid for Obamacare (.004% of uninsured)

    O: Holland closed more prisons

    Isn't marijuana legal there?

    (Majority of USA's prisoners are there for marijuana)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    #24 Lucy J

    "too often people want to throw pills at problems
    rather than address what needs fixed and solved"

    -no National Health System ?

    BBC-- Holland closed more prisons -more than one warden for each prisoner.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/04/11/dutch-prisons-hit-prisoner-shortage

    Same for Sweden.

    http://www.icenews.is/2013/11/15/lack-of-inmates-causes-swedish-prisons-to-shut/

 

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