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DISCUSS: Newtown Tragedy Brings Guns, Mental Health Issues to Forefront

"We have to change," President Barack Obama tells a grieving community and nation. But what does that mean to you?

In the hours that followed the unthinkable tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where 20 small children and 6 adults died in a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a devastated nation began bringing up issues of gun control and treatment for the mentally ill among friends or publicly on social media.

For many, the timing for such a discussion was too soon, but as details emerged over the weekend about the mass murder, and the identities of the slain became known to the world, the chorus only grew louder for change. It was a message President Barack Obama emphasised on Sunday night, speaking at a memorial in Newtown.

"These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and it is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this," he said.

But what exactly does that mean to you? How can we do better? Where do you stand on gun control or our nation's mental health care? Let us know in the comments below.

Across the Long Island Sound, families are still mourning their lost children, so we ask that you keep the conversation civil as a measure of respect to them. Mean or insensitive comments will be deleted.

highhatsize December 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
This tragedy should focus our attention on the necessity of improving oversight and treatment of childhood mental disorders. It will be difficult to structure and EXPENSIVE to operate such programs but this catastrophe grew out of the mind of a disturbed young man and THAT'S where our deterrent efforts should be directed. The alternative remedy of banning guns is cheap and easy to conceptualize but it is a chimera, not an answer.
Jaguar-Guy December 17, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Well put Hat.
Jaguar-Guy December 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I write "intrusion" MB because it is similar (constitutionally speaking) to Obamacare's slight intrusion on Catholics excercising their right to freedom of religion. They do not believe in being forced to purchase birth control when it is against their religion, and yet, we have Obamacare. So, I have written - get ready for an intrusion to the right to bear arms, which is an exactly accurate statement. I have a newborn, and this is just sickening to any sane person. And, at the same moment, I certainly am allowed to circumspect on (especially when Patch invites our comments) what I forsee happening in the future. But thanks for patrolling cyber-space Officer for people who don't goose-step along to your beat.
muskrat December 17, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I am a gun owner and have been in favor of sensible gun control for a long time. Australia had a mass shooting in the 90's in which 35 people were killed - there had been others before then with smaller numbers of victims. But that big one finally caused the nation to decide that enough was enough and it banned all assault rifles. The government bought back 650,000 guns, about 1/5 of the nation's guns. It did not infringe on the public's rights to own guns, just the type of guns. It hasn't had a mass shooting since. Take a look at Nickolas Kristoff's OpEd column on gun control in the NY Times this past Sunday: www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-have-the-courage-to-stop-this.html?ref=nicholasdkristof&_r=0
John Gruber December 17, 2012 at 07:09 PM
exactly, banning guns only puts the law abiding citizens at risk by giving them nothing to defend themselves with when someone holds a gun to them. There reason WHY this occurred needs to be addressed and it didn't occur because of guns, it occurred because someone with a severe mental illness was not treated properly


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