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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz Commentary

The reaction to recent shootings has been, to put it mildly, immense. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Crazy ideas circle in wake of shootings


The word "crazy" gets tossed around pretty much after something like the horrible shootings in Connecticut happens.

You hear it all the time. "The guy must have been crazy," or "It must have been a crazy man who did it."

I'm not entirely sure what "crazy" means, but I can guarantee you that the guy who committed this act is not the only crazy guy attached to this incident. As a matter of fact, we've got some politicians right here in Wisconsin who are suggesting things that might be crazy.

The reaction to the shootings has been, to put it mildly, immense. Many people cried. They donated. They sent dogs to comfort children. Many people prayed.

In Wisconsin we had a couple of other suggestions.

First of all, there were reports that some state legislators have begun to talk about introducing legislation that would allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons.

I called State Sen. Frank Lasee, a Republican from Green Bay. Six years ago, after a couple of school shootings, he introduced legislation to allow teachers and principals and custodians and gym coaches to carry guns in schools for protection.

At the time he issued a press release that said, "To make our schools safe for our students to learn, all options should be on the table. Israel and Thailand have well-trained teachers carrying weapons and keeping their children safe from harm. It can work in Wisconsin."

Fortunately Lasee's proposal didn't go anywhere and when I talked to his office this week they just about moved into full panic trying to avoid any idea that he might introduce this absurd legislation again. "Kevin," who said he was Lasee's aide, told me the senator was gone and then he put his hand over the phone and talked to the senator, telling him, "he really wants to talk to you." Unfortunately, Kevin didn't totally cover the phone.

Lasee is safe, though, because the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin has stepped into the breach started a campaign to arm teachers.

Here's an excerpt from their press release on the matter:

"In the immediate aftermath of news surrounding the shootings, pundits and politicians seek to manipulate this tragedy to impose new restrictions on firearm ownership, exactly the opposite of the approach needed to combat tragic gun violence in schools.

"Politicians created a 'gun-free zone,' a killing zone, for deranged killers," said R. Lee Wrights, vice-chair of the party in Wisconsin. "They've given them an open killing field, and made the children of this country the victims."

Former party chair Jim Maas pointed out that merely the knowledge that armed people will be present acts as a deterrent for would-be shooters.

"They're not going to walk into a police station or shooting range, and why not? Because that's where the guns are," he said. "Banning guns clearly is not safer. Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation."

The Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act prohibits carrying firearms on school grounds in most cases, effectively criminalizing the right to self-defense in places filled with the most vulnerable citizens. Without that federal prohibition, adults working at the school would have been free to defend themselves, very possibly saving the lives of many of the young children and adults who were slain in this horrific tragedy.

"We must stop blinding ourselves to the obvious: Most of these mass killings are happening at locations where self-defense is prohibited," said Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "Gun prohibition sets the stage for the slaughter of innocent children. We must repeal these anti-self-defense laws now to minimize the likelihood they will occur in the future."

By the way, the gun-free school zone was created by a measure introduced by Wisconsin's very own Sen. Herb Kohl.

Now, to add just a little bit more absurdity to the Libertarian Party and the rest of them, along comes our wonderful Attorney General, J. B. Van Hollen, who climbed out of his gopher hole to mention a couple of things about the shooting.

In an interview with reporter Jason Stein the state Capitol on Tuesday, Van Hollen said he wasn't convinced proposals to ban assault weapons, "would have made any difference in this case."

The attorney general said policy-makers should look at the possibility of spending the money needed to put armed police officers in schools and at limiting the access of firearms to the mentally ill.

And people are calling the killer crazy.


Talkbacks

emills81 | Dec. 21, 2012 at 4:23 p.m. (report)

The kid went to collge at 16. If he didnt have acess to a gun I'm guessing he could have came up with numerous other just as dangerous alternatives. Prohibition is a band-aid, not a solution.

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Bunk6 | Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:20 a.m. (report)

I generally agree with Mr. Begel's point of view, but this is still a frustrating piece to read. It would be nice if Mr. Begel could point out to those who might not see things the same way as him why the ideas he mentions are crazy, rather than just repeatedly stating that he thinks the people coming up with those ideas are crazy.

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ChateauDweller | Dec. 21, 2012 at 10:09 a.m. (report)

What a ridiculous article. He calls the idea of arming school professionals crazy but doesn't explain why it is crazy. How does this get past the editors?

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TheyThink | Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:13 p.m. (report)

What a surprise, Lefty Davey penned an anti-gun screed but once again fails to proffer even a single solution to the problem. Instead he choose to label others with whom he disagrees. Dave, you often times mention your grandson whom you dote on. Would you allow him to attend a school that didn't have fire alarms? Fire extinguishers? Emergency exits? Smoke detectors? Crossing guards? Of course you wouldn't, so why would you allow him to go to a school where his life couldn't, by law, be defended in the case of a deranged shooter?

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Loukanis | Dec. 20, 2012 at 6:41 p.m. (report)

This makes me so angry. On Milwaukee is not an entertainment site. I dont like coming here to have liberal gun grabber preach to me about what he thinks is crazy. He is calling me and also the millions who believe in freedom and the 2nd Amendment. There is a whole part of America that is strong minded and big hearted enough to carry a gun to protect themselves and those around them and theyre not crazy. You are a scared little man who would hide behind women- beating cops. You are just waiting to become a victim and you are so ashamed that you force others to do the same to justify it.

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