Gun Nut Takes Over NY School

In Pine Plains New York, a gunman in his 40s, alone, has taken a high school administrator hostage, no shots have been fired, and it sounds like they are getting the students out of the school OK.

Pine Plains is east of the Hudson near Rhinebeck, near the Mass/Conn borders. This is a fairly rural area.

Comments

  1. #1 george.w
    November 10, 2009

    Let me be the first to say it: I don’t think we should let gun nuts serve in our military.

  2. #2 Gwenny
    November 10, 2009

    ::cries:: I’m beginning to think the even skeptics can’t be unbiased and honest all the time. Your title is inflammatory and inaccurate. In the 20 articles I read, there is no mention of the man being a “gun nut” . . by which I assume you mean someone who supports 2nd Amendment rights. There was a brief mention of him being a police officer. It says he is a former student of the school, that he has a child in the school and that he’s upset about another child who is deployed in the Middle East.

    So how, exactly, are your misrepresentations to promote your deeply held belief that gun control is any value any different than the morons screaming about Muslims because of the Fort Hood incident? Hell, I’m surprised you didn’t throw in that he home schooled and was a Christian.

  3. #3 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Gwenny, of course skeptics can’t be unbiased all the time. Nobody can. It’s a lot of work.

    However, I have a tough time translating from “decided to hold a principal at gunpoint” to “maybe doesn’t think he has an unfettered right to use guns”. As Greg pointed out in the comments on the prior one of these posts, thinking that someone who decides to use a gun in a crime like this, either as a premeditated act or because they were so attached to their gun that it was right there and handy when things went bad, isn’t a gun nut is a proposition that requires some evidence. The fact that the discussion doesn’t usually go that way in modern American life doesn’t have any bearing on whether that demand for evidence is reasonable. Or as he more simply put it, prove him wrong.

  4. #4 Roadtripper
    November 10, 2009

    “::cries:: I’m beginning to think the even skeptics can’t be unbiased and honest all the time. Your title is inflammatory and inaccurate.”

    Just as there are ‘gun nuts’ in America, there are also ‘gun control nuts’ who are equally irrational. Mr. Laden follows the typical pattern; if a news story involves a gun in any way, it’s time to get out the soapbox and bullhorn, and start running the standard ‘gun control nut’ routine. We all know how this goes now.

    In other news: yesterday, millions of American firearm owners did absolutely nothing illegal.

    Rt

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Roadtripper, how do the actions of other gun owners affect whether or not this one is a gun nut? Are you really wanting to argue for the idea that this guy is typical, or are you just reacting to the fact that Greg pointing to someone using a gun in a bad way?

  6. #6 The Science Pundit
    November 10, 2009

    In other news: yesterday, millions of American firearm owners did absolutely nothing illegal.

    In other news: yesterday, millions of American rapists didn’t rape anybody.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    In the 20 articles I read, there is no mention of the man being a “gun nut”

    Do you think they’re going to TELL us if he’s a gun nut?

    any different than the morons screaming about Muslims because of the Fort Hood incident?

    You are confused. I’m sreaming about Muslims too. We don’t know what happened in Ft. Hood, but if this was a religious act … then it was more evidence tha we want to limit that whole religion thing. Don’t yout think?

    he home schooled and was a Christian.

    There is an excellent chance he’s a christian. The chance that he was home schooled is probably greater than from the general population, given that he’s a nutbag.

    Not that I’m against home schooling. I’m not, in principle. I myself was home schooled. But you’ve got to admit there is a higher rate of nutbags in that area of life.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    “decided to hold a principal at gunpoint” to “maybe doesn’t think he has an unfettered right to use guns”

    No, that’s just me being snarky, which should be rather obvious. We’ll see if he turns out to be a gun nut.

    Oh, and when I hear a right wing nutbag yahoo call Obama a “Liberal Socialist” for the LAST time … I’ll reconsider calling everybody who carries out an act of senseless violence (including kidnapping) with a gun … a gun nut. And we can go and get more nuanced terms, like distinguishing between “gun nut” and “nut mit gun” and “nut sans gun” and so on.

    Just as there are ‘gun nuts’ in America, there are also ‘gun control nuts’ who are equally irrational. Mr. Laden follows the typical pattern; if a news story involves a gun in any way, it’s time to get out the soapbox and bullhorn, and start running the standard ‘gun control nut’ routine. We all know how this goes now.

    Yes, that is correct, but that is a recent phenomenon. I didn’t used to do that. Do you know why I do it now?

  9. #9 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Greg, I was talking about Gwenny’s presumption that he isn’t a gun nut. I have a tough time thinking that someone who feels entitled to use a gun to get their way doesn’t also feel entitled to the gun. I may have used too many negatives in the sentence for it to read well. The sentence after it is certainly a monster.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    Sorry, my confusion actually. I was trying to agree with you and make the point at the same time.

    Let me rephrase and elaborate:

    First, I’m in the habit as of the last few weeks of labeling everybody who takes a gun and shoots a bunch of innocent people, takes a hostage, whatever, as a “gun nut” as a kind of experiment to see how willing actual gun nuts are to declare that THEY are gun nuts and THESE killer-kidnapper people are not.

    Which is just really really funny. And so far it seems to have all comet true.

    Then, there is the logical argument (that you are making, Stephanie) about the relationship between what people think they should/should not do (in relation to guns). That goes beyond my experiment into the realm of argument, which is a step farther that I had attempted and is seemingly working.

    And I’ll just mention that I think not everyone who owns a few guns is a gun nut. The person I know who owns the most guns (dozens) is not a gun nut but rather a collector, hunter, and shooter, and the only pistols he owns are antiques. Our friend josh is a gun nut (and I think he would admit that) because he owns a small number of guns and insists that it is a really good idea to strap them on and saunter around near politicians who say things he disagrees with.

  11. #11 Azkyroth
    November 10, 2009

    Gwenny:

    He has aleady demonstrated that he 1) owns guns and 2) feels he’s entitled to endanger others (or has an unlimited capability to rationalize away the danger his actions pose to others) if it means he gets what he wants. It’s not clear yet whether he also possesses the deep-seated insecurities, often characterized metaphorically in terms of penis size, which produce the overwhelming emotional “NEED” to own firearms, vastly out of proportion to any real threats to one’s safety or property and independent of any actual utility for work or sporting purposes a firearm might present, that almost invariably characterizes the people you euphemistically refer to as “someone who supports 2nd amendment rights,” but I’d put money on it. Even if not, however, he’s already 2 for 3 on “gun nut.”

  12. #12 Roadtripper
    November 10, 2009

    In other news: yesterday, millions of American rapists didn’t rape anybody.

    When a rape is committed, nobody screams for possession of a penis to be criminalized.

    Rt

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    When a rape is committed, nobody screams for possession of a penis to be criminalized.

    Well, now that you mention it, given that most crime is committed by men, there should at least be a differential tax.

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Maybe not, Roadtripper, but people do talk about the existence of a rape culture and how to fix that.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    Well, if there is a rape switch (http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/06/is_there_a_rape_switch.php) then maybe there is also a gun trigger.

  16. #16 NewEnglandBob
    November 10, 2009

    I will be the one to come right out and say it.

    The founding fathers were wrong in the way they structured the second amendment. Their intention seemed to be to allow a militia, organized by the states and using muskets.

    The modern interpretation is that every dickhead is allowed a gun (including pistols) to ‘protect’ his property. I think the founding fathers would laugh at this.

    Most people are not responsible enough or emotionally and intellectually stable enough to use guns at home, at work or on the street.

    So, yes, I agree that this criminal is a gun nut.

  17. #17 Katharine
    November 10, 2009

    My best friend is starving in Eastern Europe and barely paying the bills and this shit happens.

    What the fuck, humans.

    Most Homo sapiens can eat a dick.

  18. #18 Gwenny
    November 10, 2009

    I’m sorry folks. I mistook you for intelligent people who didn’t feel the need to project your phobias on the news.

    He has aleady demonstrated that he 1) owns guns

    YES, he had a gun. HE’S A POLICEMAN.

    2) feels he’s entitled to endanger others (or has an unlimited capability to rationalize away the danger his actions pose to others) if it means he gets what he wants.

    Yes. He’s a policeman. Did you bother to go and read about this?

    And, you know, I’m done with this conversation. There are subjects you all just aren’t rational about. I’m disappointed that atheists are capable of this level of hypocrisy, but you are all just human, I guess.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    Gwenny, no, I’ve not heard the latest, I’ve been in a conference call and doing other things. What’s up?

  20. #20 Jason
    November 10, 2009

    Correct me if I’m wrong, NewEnglandBob, but wasn’t private, non-militial gun ownership pretty much completely uncontrolled and fairly common in early America? I don’t know whether the founding fathers were concerned either way about whether they were used for protecting property.

    However, frankly, I don’t get too concerned about what the founding father’s wanted; I think laws should make good sense today. Trying to discern what ‘founding fathers’ would do about a given modern scenario they could not have envisioned is only a couple millenia better than trying to discern what abrahamic mideastern shepherds would do. I tend to be somewhat against gun control. I believe, based on laughably incomplete data mind you, that the benefit of banning guns in a country with nearly as many guns as people would be slim. Maybe it would be worth it in the long term, however, to at least stop their manufacture and sale.

  21. #21 Elizabeth
    November 10, 2009

    There is nothing in the news (CNN/ABC/MSNBC) that talks about this man being a cop. I think it is a little much to insist that your friendly neighborhood blogger know what is not reported on the major news sites.

  22. #22 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Gwenny, please cite your sources. I haven’t been able to confirm what you’re saying, and yes, I’m paying attention to the stories. There are some unconfirmed reports that the gunman is a former student and/or the parent of a student. There’s a name and age. That’s it.

    As for being skeptical, feel free to argue with the logic of my reasoning, but dismissing it as “projecting my fears” is baseless.

  23. #23 John McKay
    November 10, 2009

    This story has already been bumped off the Google news feed by another hostage situation. This one is in an office building across the street from the governor’s mansion in Missouri.

  24. #24 John McKay
    November 10, 2009

    Far too much of this conversation has been distracted by Greg’s use of the phrase “gun nut.” I disagree with his use of the phrase for the simple reason that I already use “gun nut” to describe something different but related–those for whom a warped interpretation of the 2nd amendment, and a sense of persecution, colors all of their political interest and participation.

    If I understand Greg right, what he’s saying is this: a subset of the group “gun owners” is emotionally disposed to use the gun at hand to act out on their feelings of frustration and/or anger. Greg calls that group “gun nuts.” Calling that group a problem–by whatever name–shouldn’t be controversial. In the last week we had two mass murders committed with firearms and at the present moment we have two hostage situations going on. We have a problem. Some people might think total disarmament of the population is the best solution to that problem and some might think arming toddlers is the best solution. I hope most people are somewhere between those extremes, but no one should deny that there is a problem.

    Who cares what Greg calls them. Stop focusing on the labels and focus on the problem.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    I already use “gun nut” to describe something different but related–those for whom a warped interpretation of the 2nd amendment, and a sense of persecution, colors all of their political interest and participation.

    John, I agree with this definition.

    The deeply disturbing point that I’m making is that you can’t really tell a gun nut from this definition from a guy who brings his gun into a school and takes someone hostage to make a point, from the point of view of philosophy and belief in the law of the land and so on. I’m not prepared to allow gun nuts to define those who actually kill or maim to not be gun nuts any more than I’m prepared to allow christians to disavow Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.

  26. #26 daedalus2u
    November 10, 2009

    Apparently he needed psychiatric medical attention and this was the way he figured out how to get it. Sounds like a good reason to pass a single payer option that includes a mental health benefit.

    http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20091110/NEWS05/91110003/Police–Stissing-Mountain-High-School-under-lockdown

  27. #27 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    There’s a bit more information from the AP about weapon itself, which appears to have been a shotgun. Not a police officer’s weapon, not handled as an officer would handle it, and no mention of the guy’s job. If he were a cop, it would be news and by now, I think we’d be seeing it in this article or the local one daedalus2u linked.

  28. #28 Alex
    November 10, 2009

    I have a hard time understanding those who make the argument, “It’s in the Constitution, therefore it’s moral”.

    Your Constitution doesn’t even have a “right to life”, and yet it has a “right to own a gun”!

    Hell, originally, it didn’t even consider non-White Americans as fully human.

    (Not that I can complain much. My country the UK doesn’t even have a constitution)

    No-one on this page made that argument (though #2 came dangerously close) but I’ve seen it a number of times in discussions like these.

  29. #29 Azkyroth
    November 10, 2009

    I’m sorry folks. I mistook you for intelligent people who didn’t feel the need to project

    Ahem.

    He has aleady demonstrated that he 1) owns guns

    YES, he had a gun. HE’S A POLICEMAN.

    I’ll admit to being underinformed about this issue – are police officers really given THAT long a leash with the off-duty used of their department-issued weapons?

    2) feels he’s entitled to endanger others (or has an unlimited capability to rationalize away the danger his actions pose to others) if it means he gets what he wants.

    Yes. He’s a policeman. Did you bother to go and read about this?

    The passage you quote was in reference to him taking hostages, genius. At least in this country, that’s not part of the job description of a police officer.

    And, you know, I’m done with this conversation.

    Please, I heard that line just last week.

    There are subjects you all just aren’t rational about. I’m disappointed that atheists are capable of this level of hypocrisy, but you are all just human, I guess.

    See link above.

  30. #30 Viking
    November 10, 2009

    Greg: You seem to have your own definition of gun nut, please elaborate further, if you would. I define gun nut the way it is used here: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut
    I am unclear if, in your view, John’s definition you discuss in 25 would apply to the writers of this blog and others like them who self-identify as gun nuts or if you are talking about a subset of this group, or another group entirely.

    @NEB “Most people are not responsible enough or emotionally and intellectually stable enough to use guns at home, at work or on the street.”

    I couldn’t disagree more.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    Viking, John McKay gave a definition above that I agree with, have given elsewhere on this blog and/or agreed to elsewhere on this blog and on this thread. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Regarding who can be considered responsible enough to own guns, yes, most gun nuts would disagree with the statement that they are dangerious tinydicked testosterone poisoned morons. They would. But then, they would.

  32. #32 Jason Thibeault
    November 10, 2009

    I don’t know about anyone else in this thread, but I define “gun nut” as “a nut, that has a gun”. Gun enthusiasts own guns, generally speaking, so they fulfill the second half of that sentence quite nicely. If they happen to be crazy, or if they happen to GO crazy, then they fulfill the first half as well. Should nuts have access to guns? And how do you STOP them from having access to guns, if it’s interpreted as a right granted you by your constitution?

  33. #33 Azkyroth
    November 10, 2009

    Regarding who can be considered responsible enough to own guns, yes, most gun nuts would disagree with the statement that they are dangerious tinydicked testosterone poisoned morons. They would. But then, they would.

    Presumably they’d also disagree with the statement that they are reactionary, impulse-driven cowards who irresponsibly overestimate the likelihood of their successfully distinguishing, while half-awake and panicked, the noise of a burglar moving around in the house from the noise of their kid getting up really late for a glass of water without worrying about turning the lights on. Or that they’re just plain stupid about the ability of their curious five year old to circumvent safety mechanisms. Or…

  34. #34 José
    November 10, 2009

    However, frankly, I don’t get too concerned about what the founding father’s wanted

    On a personal level, I don’t care what the founding fathers thought about gun ownership either. On a practical level, it’s good to try to understand what their intent was because their intent is so often the basis for “hands off my guns” arguments. Currently, the notion that our founding fathers intent regarding the second amendment was to insure that the average person be allowed to bear arms for personal protection (or even to overthrow a our own government), is stated as given by many people on both sides of the gun control debate. However, this is a position that’s contradicted by many facts.

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