Tuesday, January 8, 2013


What about the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School?  Of course there should be stricter gun laws and there should be no NRA. Of course there should be greater attention paid to troubled youngsters (and even oldsters) with a seriously antisocial attitude. But what there shouldn’t be—if only one could control it—is a mother like Nancy Lanza.

Da liegt der Hund begraben, as the German adage has it: there lies the buried dog, or, in the English equivalent, there’s the rub. In all this understandable uproar, there hasn’t been enough barking up the right tree (the dog image again!) at mother Nancy Lanza.

What exactly shooter Adam Lanza’s motive may have been we’ll never know for sure, but we could look more closely at Adam’s mother, without whom there would have been no Adam. She is the Eve who, however inadvertently, fed this Adam the apple, which in this case was the assault weapon AR-15.

Let us look at her more closely. What kind of woman keeps a deadly arsenal at home, a semiautomatic rifle and four handguns? Is this for the self-defense of a woman living alone, or with one unbalanced son, which proves more precarious? Either way, one handgun should be sufficient, unless perhaps the locale is Syria, Mexico or the Sudan, although even there more might be less useful. What good is even an armed innocent against a heavily armed killer with murder in his soul? But in peaceable, small-town Connecticut, a Texas congressman’s idea to turn high-school principals into gun-toting cowboys would seem—and be—absurd.

Yet not only did Nancy have such an arsenal, she was also proudly boasting about it in the bar where she was—suspiciously—a regular.  A barfly in the ointment, indeed. And she used her weaponry at the shooting galleries she frequented, taking her troubled son along. Such establishments should provide clients with one relatively harmless gun, and legally ban all others.

In any case, why bring Adam with her? Did she think that that’s the way to make a nerd macho? As far as I can gather, Adam did little or no shooting there. But watching his mother at it must have given him some notions. He must have learned all too well how to use guns.

That Adam was weird was apparent to any number of youngsters and probably not-so-youngsters at school and elsewhere. It may have been made clear by his older brother’s not visiting for the last two years. Also by the father’s having divorced Nancy and subsequently staying away from any contact. What does it mean that the 28 killings elicited only such scant, routine condolences from him?

Significantly, the first person Adam killed with several shots in the face was his mother. Was it only because she happened to be there, blocking his path? He could easily have sneaked out of the house when she was not watching him. Adam, after all, was twenty, and not some kid under close parental surveillance. And that, too, is peculiar. Why, given his acknowledged smartness, was he not in college?

He did, to be sure, speak of moving to the West Coast for some higher education. But why so far away, making it an idea as inchoate, as unreal, as our death is to most of us? More interesting yet is the fact that Nancy declared her willingness, if Adam chose California, to pick up stakes and make a home for him there. Could he have felt smothered by excessive coddling?

But those grade-schoolers—surely they were not suffocating him with some unwelcome and draining dependency. Rather, I think, they represented to Adam the larger enemy, humanity. Moreover, he himself had gone to that school years ago, and maybe harbored unhappy memories. Ultimately, though, it was a place where he knew his way around, and where a sizable chunk of humanity was conveniently gathered nearby into an exposed target. A vulnerable kind of infant humanity, unlikely to fight back. The same for some women teachers, no obviously formidable adversaries. Still, if, say, a factory, or some other adult assemblage, had existed a few miles away, there is no telling that he wouldn’t have hatched the same plan.  

Yet how come that Nancy was blind to the threat Adam represented? Well, is there anything blinder than blind mother love? Only stupidity, of which, too, Nancy may have had a healthy—or, rather, unhealthy—share. Little children, moreover, so dear to their parents, might have been a double target for Adam, a smart, and therefore unsuspected, lunatic, surely the most dangerous kind. His act was clearly excogitated rather than spontaneous. And doesn’t the Bible warn us about the danger to little children ever since Herod’s time?

I repeat, arming teachers won’t do. Perhaps better arm all politicians who support guns for everyone, and have a go at them. Is the danger that the pols are underarmed, hence the murder of our consul in Benghazi, a highly well-meaning diplomat? No, the danger is both inadequate mental health and gun laws (if those aren’t just one and the same problem). And don’t think for a moment that either Bloomberg or Obama or 28 dead can seriously change the situation.

No doubt our Constitution must bear some inadvertent blame. What is that business about the right to bear arms? Protection against whom? Indians? Brits? Hardly threats any more. But certainly not against the Adam Lanzas, who always shoot first, unexpectedly and lethally.


  1. "Protection against whom?" Mr. Simon rails,
    Well, the criminal and also the mad---
    Those on prescribed (or not) chemical cocktails,
    The chronically bitter and the sad.

  2. In 54 years living in the USA (the South, the Midwest, the West), I have never felt so unsafe that I wanted to buy a gun. If I had, I would have moved elsewhere.

  3. That would be protection against whatever may threaten "the security of a free state," no? I mean, it does refer to that right in the text of the Amendment.

    One example of such a threat would be foreign invasion. Another would be tyranny. Tyranny sounds like the right one to me, especially considering who was doing the writing, and under what circumstances.

    Look, one can argue about whether the Second Amendment is a good thing or not--and if enough people are persuaded that it isn't, they can even get it repealed. But merely to indicate its existence and then spout this sort of willfully obtuse nonsense is pointless.

  4. Mr. Simon,

    I will believe you and listen to you when you demand Israel disarm.

    Dan Kurt

    1. Dan Kurt, if Israel disarms there will be no more Israel, mainly due to the efforts of your Arab friends. You've joined some fairly reprehensible company in imagining the disappearance of six million Jews. It's not clear that anyone should care if you listen to them.

  5. Mr. Simon, my friend hates SUVs and drives an SUV. Why? He doesn't want to be in Fiat when an SUV (assault vehicle?) slams into him. We own guns not to repel Indians or the British monarchy, but because there are evil people out there, many of whom have guns. In a nation of 300 million guns, what law-abiding citizen would give their's up? Banning guns will be as successful as banning alcohol was and banning pot is (with a similar boon to criminal elements).

  6. http://www.amren.com/news/2013/01/brothers-charged-in-violent-raleigh-home-invasion/

    Why you need guns.

  7. Mr. Simon is an expert on the arts; that does not make him brighter than anyone else on political and social issues.

    It's safe to assume that he semi-retired with a great deal of money and is living in midtown Manhattan in a building with a doorman and perhaps a security guard. Under his own circumstances, not keeping a gun for defense may be a reasonable choice. What is not reasonable is generalizing his own situation to everyone else and demanding that they follow his choice.

    Mr. Simon was once a fairly non-politically-correct critic who often got into hot water for noticing things about blacks that he wasn't supposed to notice, or admit to noticing. Now, though, he seems blissfully unaware of the tidal wave of violent black-on-white crime. Maybe his ignorance stems from getting his news from the New York Times and his old host, New York magazine.

    This posting symbolizes part of our national pathology: comfortable liberals, safe in their high-rises or gated communities, living in mostly-white environments, scold the less fortunate who are not insulated against predators and want to protect themselves and their families.

  8. I think you make a lot of good points, though you have to wait and see until all the facts come in on these things; much that was though early on about Columbine turned out not to be true.

    I recently reread you "Movies Into FIlm" collection for the first time in many years. I was surprised by how many films you actually liked! Some real forgotten stuff was reviewed as well, perhaps deservedly forgotten.

  9. Well, maybe Mr. Simon won't have to worry long about armed Americans (nor those armed politicians who want to arm Americans), as now the Americans who want to disarm Americans are bristling with arms themselves.

    One would have to read Diana West and a precious few other real journalists out there to know what I'm talking about.

    Here's a lengthy excerpt from her recent report:

    During the last 10 months, the Department of Homeland Security has purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, including millions of hollow-point bullets. The department also has purchased 7,000 fully automatic assault rifles, and it has overseen the retrofitting of more than 2,000 light tanks, which, of course, were originally designed to resist the mines and ambushes of the battlefield. Why does DHS need such offensive and defensive firepower?

    Remember, DHS stands for Department of Homeland Security, and “homeland,” just to be extremely clear, means the USA. Obama must be asked against which domestic enemy he is arming nonmilitary forces. It sounds incredible, to be sure, but are we watching administration battle plans take shape against American citizens on the streets of Your Town, USA?


    Government spokesmen, when they’re not trying to make 1.6 billion bullets sound like a frugal, Costco-style bulk purchase, will tell you it’s all about target practice. Really? I hear that U.S. Army newbies soon to deploy to Afghanistan are training with blank cartridges. Why the priority for arming domestic forces, not military ones?

    Even the liberal-minded “debunking” site Snopes.com confirms that the Social Security Administration has procured 174,000 hollow-point bullets for 300 special agents. Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is tasked with “protecting fish stocks from depletion,” has procured 46,000 hollow-point bullets. Spokesman Scott Smullen explained, straight-faced, I am guessing, that 63 fisheries service “enforcement agents” will be using the so-called cop-killer bullets for “target qualifications.”

    And that’s nothing. Last month, Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars.com reported that DHS purchased 21.6 million more rounds of ammunition, including 10 million hollow-point bullets. The latter, of course, are prohibited by the rules of war.

    [Continued next post]

    1. [Continued from previous post]

      Commentators who have done the math tell us the feds’ ammo dump includes enough bullets to fight the war in Iraq for 27 years, or enough bullets to shoot every American citizen five times over.

      ...the mainstream media, can restore balance with attention and exposure.

      [They] might start with Watson’s coverage last month for Infowars.com of Law Enforcement Targets Inc. (LET), a Minnesota-based manufacturer that has received $2 million in unspecified contracts from DHS in the last three years. Recently, Watson writes, the company began selling cardboard cutout targets designed to “desensitize police” to “nontraditional threat targets,” as the online catalog called them. These targets included very pregnant women, children and other civilians in home, playground or other neighborhood settings. All hold guns.


      In its apology, LET insisted these heinous civilian targets weren’t the company’s idea. “This product line was originally requested and designed by the law enforcement community. …”

      I asked a friend with a long career in state and local law enforcement if he’d ever seen the like. He replied: “No. Hell, no. The targets I was trained to fire upon depicted people who really looked like armed criminals. No pregnant women. No kids. No old people. … I could have shot three armed men during my career and been justified. Right or wrong, I didn’t shoot them. These no-hesitation targets are disgusting.”

      What branch of law enforcement requested and designed them? DHS? Fisheries? Social Security? Who exactly is planning for the kind of action that requires all those bullets? Is the government, as some suggest, depleting ammunition stocks as a means of gun control? Then why light tanks, too? We don’t know the answers to any of these questions.



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  11. "What is that business about the right to bear arms? Protection against whom? Indians? Brits? Hardly threats any more."

    The Amendment was protecting the right of citizens to bear arms in order to form a militia in order to fight the United States government itself if it became tyrannical.

    Considering the recent news about the NSA spying on everyone—both here and in Europe—there may come a time very soon when that right to bear arms in order to form a militia to fight a tyrannical Federal government might come in pretty handy.