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The worst massacre of children in modern US history: Bath School, Michigan, 1927

I find it strange that this dreadful crime is so little known; I first read of it only within the last few years. Perhaps this is because Wikipedia and many other sources refer to it as the “Bath School Disaster“, as if it were a natural catastrophe, rather than what it was, a mass murder. Worse may have happened in the Indian Wars, or in the various other conflicts during the early history of the European presence in what is now the United States, but the premeditated murder of the children of Bath Consolidated School was the worst such killing in the US in time of peace.

From the Wikipedia article Bath School Disaster:

The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, and four other adults; at least 58 people were injured. The perpetrator first killed his wife, and committed suicide with his last explosion. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–14 years of age[1]) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history.

The bomber was the school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe, 55, who was angry after being defeated in the spring 1926 election for township clerk. He was thought to have planned his “murderous revenge” after that public defeat; he had a reputation for difficulty on the school board and in personal dealings. For much of the next year, a neighbor noticed Kehoe had stopped working on his farm and thought he might be planning suicide. During that period, Kehoe carried out steps in his plan to destroy the school and his farm by purchasing and hiding explosives.

Kehoe’s wife was ill with tuberculosis and he had stopped making mortgage payments; he was under pressure for foreclosure. Some time between May 16 and the morning of May 18, 1927, Kehoe murdered his wife by hitting her on the head. On the morning of May 18 about 8:45, he exploded incendiary devices in his house and farm buildings, setting them on fire and destroying them.

Almost simultaneously, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many schoolchildren. Kehoe had used a timed detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of incendiary pyrotol, which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers gathered at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and used a rifle to detonate dynamite inside his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself, the school superintendent, and several others nearby, as well as injuring more bystanders. During rescue efforts at the school, searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol planted throughout the basement of the south wing. Kehoe had apparently intended to blow up and destroy the entire school.

In the aftermath of the mass shooting of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newton, there have been widespread calls for gun control. It is worth noting that two of the most deadly massacres of children in the US, the Bath School massacre and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, among the 168 victims of which were nineteen children under the age of six, were carried out with explosives.

68 comments to The worst massacre of children in modern US history: Bath School, Michigan, 1927

  • Regional

    Gun Control of AK47s flooding across the Mexican boarder and why aren’t these compassionate people concerned about the homicide rate with guns in Venezuela or Mexico just to mention a few?

  • jerry

    Explosives don’t fit their agenda, are used less frequently, and are not nearly as easily demonized.
    Most of the left avoid and/or are, intentionally or otherwise, ignorant of ANY instance that does not fit with their goals.

    This is another case where they drag out the same old tired drum ( WE GOTTA HAVE MORE GUN CONTROL !! ) and start beating it incessantly.

    Ask any of these drum beaters –

    Why have 20,000 plus gun laws we ALREADY HAVE not prevented
    these types of events and just WHY will just one more ( or a dozen ) accomplish that ?

    Provide a SPECIFIC DEFINITION of an assault weapon. ( I’m old enough to remember when the drum beat was ‘Saturday Night Special’ – that didn’t work either ! )

    The goal is a disarmed populace. No matter WHAT else is said. That is the goal. There are useful idiots who ‘help’ this movement and probably really believe the world would somehow be safer without guns but many of those same people are the FIRST to scream for help from an ARMED person
    ( Police ) when danger threatens.

    These people live in a fantasy land. There is NOTHING that can be done REALISTICALLY to prevent the types of tragedy that happened in 1927, on in Colorado or last week. They have happened many times before and, even more unfortunately, will continue.

  • Sam Duncan

    Why have 20,000 plus gun laws we ALREADY HAVE not prevented these types of events and just WHY will just one more ( or a dozen ) accomplish that?

    Exactly. It should also be noted that the worst three school massacres in history took place outside the US, two of them in the UK. One was Dunblane, whose perpetrator should never have been issued a firearms licence under the existing laws, which were already much more draconian than anything in America. But, whether through incompetence or corruption – in the hoplophobic panic of the aftermath, the reason for the system’s failure seemed to get lost – he was.

    That’s what the gun control freaks can’t get into their thick heads: banning something won’t stop it from happening. Criminals, by definition, don’t care, and enforcers are fallible. Our government’s response to the fallibility of the enforcers in Dunblane was to make guns extra double super illegal, but that will fail someday too, and probably for the same reason. It already has, if you look at the gang violence in our major cities.

    All we can do is allow people to defend themselves.

  • Paul Marks

    the other rob – yes.

    And the insane 1990 Gun Free School Federal Act must go – it actually encourages schools to be “gun free zones” (with signs and so on).

    They might as well put up a sign saying “hey foxes – here be the chicken house”.

  • James

    Number of unarmed Americans shot and killed by law enforcement officers so far this year: 525

    Number of Americans murdered with rifles last year: 352

    So for all the talk about banning assualt rifles, wouldn’t disarming the police make more sense, if you were really concerned about reducing gun deaths?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I propose calling ‘gun-free school zones’ ‘kiddie game farms’.

  • Why have 20,000 plus gun laws we ALREADY HAVE not prevented these types of events and just WHY will just one more ( or a dozen ) accomplish that?

    Exactly. It should also be noted that the worst three school massacres in history took place outside the US, two of them in the UK. One was Dunblane, whose perpetrator should never have been issued a firearms licence under the existing laws, which were already much more draconian than anything in America. But, whether through incompetence or corruption – in the hoplophobic panic of the aftermath, the reason for the system’s failure seemed to get lost – he was.

    That’s what the gun control freaks can’t get into their thick heads: banning something won’t stop it from happening. Criminals, by definition, don’t care, and enforcers are fallible. Our government’s response to the fallibility of the enforcers in Dunblane was to make guns extra double super illegal, but that will fail someday too, and probably for the same reason. It already has, if you look at the gang violence in our major cities.

    All we can do is allow people to defend themselves.

    As a gun control freak the concept that a ban would end all gun death has permeated my cranium. It seems that no reasonable person is holding the view that these awful events can not be be stopped from ever happening. There are however genuine arguments to be made on both sides on how the law could be used to change the probability of these events occurring. There is also a danger that singe awful events provide to powerful a narrative when compared to the regular dull deaths in policy making.
    In making the case for gun control I would refer to a law in the UK that was brought in a different field. It is now not legal to sell more than 16 paracetamol at one time so as to reduce suicides. This clearly wont and does not stop all deaths in this manner but there was a 20% drop that stayed down when it was brought in.

  • Steven

    Here’s a recap of a conversation I had this morning.

    Soccer Mom: Guns are bad, nobody should have guns except the army and police, guns are bad, blah blah blah…
    Me: If he had driven a car through the playground at recess and killed 20 kids, would you be calling for cars to be banned?
    Soccer Mom: Well, that’s different.
    Me: Why? The kids would be just as dead and isn’t the point to prevent these things from happening again in the future?
    Soccer Mom: But, guns are bad, nobody should have guns except the army and police, guns are bad, blah blah blah…

    The truly depressing thing isn’t that government will do whatever they want up on Capitol Hill and that there is literally nothing I can do about it. It isn’t even that I can see as clear as day that Khrushchev was right, and that they did ultimately bury us. It isn’t even the knowledge that there is no place to go that is free of the heavy-handed laws of useful idiot do-gooders and their agenda-driven masters. No, the truly depressing thing is the idea that her vote counts as much as mine.

  • Regional

    Prohibition worked well and led to the rise of organised crime.

  • Regional

    Seppos will just begin buying AK47s on the black market.

  • James

    What I’d be interested to know is what the penalties are in America for illegal possession of a firearm? I assume these vary from state to state, but surely one way of cracking down on firearms crime would be to stiffen the penalties. Isn’t this something conservatives, libertartians and leftists could all support?

  • RogerC


    Most libertarians would not consider simple possession of a tool to be a crime, as no harm has been done to another person, their liberty or their property. Conservatives, on the other hand, might be persuaded, depending on their outlook.


    We had almost this exact scenario happen in Cardiff a few weeks ago, when Matthew Tvrdon murdered one person and attempted to murder at least 13 others by running them over in his van. There has been no outcry against vans or motor vehicles in general – a good thing, but it exposes the hypocrisy and emotional thinking that surrounds these issues. If he’d done the same thing with a gun, I guarantee you we’d have seen a campaign to tighten the laws by now.

  • Paul Marks


    Well Mr “gun control freak”.

    Please put a sign on your house saying “gun free home”.


    Then do not support the 1990 Gun Free School Act – that, basically, ecourages schools to do just that.

    “I just want to have a reasonable discussion”.

    No you do not. And my suggestion above was, in fact, quite reasonable.

  • PeterT

    The argument for allowing handguns for self-defence is strong and can be made purely by referring to the facts. Of course, it cannot defeat the ‘soccer mom’ “argument” of ‘guns are bad’.

    I find it much harder to justify allowing assault weapons, machine guns etc. It is hard to argue that you need a machine gun to protect you against burglars. The “I need to defend myself against George III” argument, to quote Homer Simpson, is one I believe in (its all about the state/individual power balance) but not one I would hope to successfully use to convince somebody who did not have the same fear of the state that I do.

    I would be interested in hearing arguments that might convince those that agree with the case for allowing hand guns, that this should be extended for heavier weaponry. I can’t think of any myself.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Why doesn’t President Obama start campaigning for the repeal of the second amendment?

    The constitution provides for this, and all he has to do is gather the requisite majority – problem (his perceived problem – I am not taking sides here) solved.

    He doesn’t, I assume, because he thinks (knows?) that he would lose.

    If the US is a constitutional republic, enjoying the rule of law, this is the correct and only way to proceed.

    For him to say “We must take action regardless of the politics” can only be translated as “What I think should prevail, regardless of the law.”

  • Paul Marks

    “The Simpsons” – Harvard propaganda packaged for “the masses” (and broadcast on Fox – so much for an alternative….)

    People who laugh at the show should remember that “Homer Simpson” is what the elite think all of us are (hence such books as “Freakonomics”, “Nudge” and “Thinking: Fast and Slow”).

    Need a Bushmaster (which is not a “machine gun” by the way) to defend against George III?

    I doubt that – but against the totalitarian Harvard types?

    Most certainly.

  • the other rob

    As Paul Marks alludes, so-called “assault rifles” are, in fact, functionally identical to plain ordinary hunting rifles. They are not full auto or select fire weapons, which is what I presume PeterT means by “machine guns”.

    My Stag 1L (aside from being left-handed) may look like an M4, but it fires only one shot for each pull of the trigger and is, in practical terms, no different from a Ruger Mini 14 – a rifle which I believe is even legal in California. Any “assault weapons ban” would be an irrational law, outlawing tools on the basis of appearance rather than functionality.

    Those who are afraid of full auto weapons may take comfort in the knowledge that access to such is already very difficult. The bar lies not in the onerous registration and permitting requirements, but in the fact that the ban on the manufacture of new “transferable” Class 3 weapons has created an artificial scarcity, causing the price to skyrocket and making them unaffordable to most people.

    This last is a shame – I’d love to have a WWII Sten in my collection, but balk at paying North of $25,000 for one.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    The only effective penalty for gun control is capital punishment. You want it to be effective, you have to make the punishment that stiff, that extreme. Singapore uses this extreme form of gun control. Together with other features such as a largely urbanized environment with police close by, and tight border controls, gun control works.

    Most countries, however, do not fit the criteria. And even if they do, the always present squishy liberals will find it hard, but not impossible, to accept the death penalty due to cognitive dissonance.

  • Slartibartfarst

    Interesting post and comments. I had not known that the worst massacre of children in modern US history was at Bath School, Michigan, in 1927.
    What are the odds of these sorts of massacres happening in the US? It would probably depend on the degree to which gun licencing was administered, controlled and policed.
    But what about other probabilities/possibilities?

    Looking elsewhere in the world, for the purposes of comparison: the example of the worst massacre of children in modern British history was in Aberfan (Wales) in 1966. In that case, the crime was committed by the State rather than a nutter with a gun, or something.

    The Aberfan disaster was the result of an environmental time-bomb that had been deliberately and progressively built up over 50 years, its effect being felt in the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip that occurred in the Welsh village of Aberfan at 0915hrs on Friday 21 October 1966, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
    School had started. The tip slipped and flattened the school. At the inquest, the cause of death was discussed, and those who were killed were said by parents of the children to have been:

    “…buried alive by the National Coal Board”

    (The NCB was a government nationalised industry.)

    Many people would say later that this was a categorically true statement.

    “What’s black and goes to school on Fridays?”

    Answer: “A number 7 tip.”
    (Black humour from a school child in North Wales at the time. Not likely to be understood or appreciated by schoolchildren outside of the country.)

    Hopefully, the Aberfan lesson has been leaned, at a tremendous cost, and this kind of massacre by an irresponsible and negligent State body could never be repeated.
    Odds of it happening again? Probably nearer to zero now.

    However, the odds of other, newer possibilities would seem to be higher – much higher – and for other reasons/causes. For example, what we might be able to expect and prepare for in future is our children being deliberately slaughtered wholesale in our schools for religio-political ideological reasons.

    We have recently had this newer lesson repeated – and always at a huge cost – for example:
    (a) in the 2012-03-20 French Jewish school shooting, in Tolouse, France, by Islamic terrorists bent on Jihad – Islamic religio-political ideology.
    (b) in the 2011-07-22 ‘holiday island massacre’, by Anders Behring Breivik, in Norway. Breivik was apparently motivated by his right-wing religio-political ideology.
    (b) in the Sep. 2004 perfect and exemplary Beslan school hostage massacre, by Islamic terrorists bent on Jihad – Islamic religio-political ideology.

    Our children, it seems, are perfectly legitimate targets in the eyes of people driven by religio-political ideology. You can even find websites discussing mitigation of this risk. For example:
    Mass Slaughter In Our Schools: The Terrorists’ Chilling Plan?http://www.killology.com/art_mass_slaughter.htm

    That’s likely to be where the odds will be highest.

    Happy days.

  • Rob

    I wonder if Soccer Mom’s attitude to guns would change if she heard, say, two men breaking into her home in the small hours of the night while she was there with only her teenage daughter for company.

    For women, guns are a great leveller when it comes to self-defence against 6ft tall, 15 stone rapists.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    It always amazes me how quickly the Democrats start making political capital out of the blood of murdered children and how little criticism they face for their shamelessness in the popular press.

    No one knows what an “assault weapon” is, so how can banning something that is imaginary have any impact on crime at all? Or is this simply a case of being seen to do something while making the lives of people Obama et all don’t like that little bit more burdensome?

    I had a wee think and I have a potential solution to the problem of school shootings in America. It would be cheap, and it would be effective. Each school should compile a list of children’s fathers in their school who have no criminal record, have concealed carry permits and are members of the community in good standing.

    Each father should be asked if he would stand guard at one of the school’s entrances for 3 hours per month. American employers would be happy to grant time off for so noble a venture. In an average sized school there would be enough dad’s that the individual workload would not be too great.

    An absence of strong attentive fathering was at least partly to blame for this situation, and I firmly believe that its presence is the solution.

    I can tell you this: if I were on watch over the entrance to a school where my kids were and I had a gun, nothing that wished those children harm would cross that threshold while there was breath in my body.

  • Regional

    Yet the Democrats think nothing of dumping a massive debt on them.

  • Laird

    PeterT’s “argument” against “assault weapons and machine guns” has already been addressed by the commentariat, but that response bears repetition and expansion because the “argument” is so common. First, machine guns (fully automatic weapons) are already illegal; we don’t need another law against them. Second, it’s a complete red herring: none of the weapons used in this massacre met the legal definition of “assault weapons”, which is a tortured conflation of elements which can best be characterized as “ugly guns” (it includes such things as bayonnet mounts, attached grenade launchers and flash suppressors). And third, although the federal ban on “assault weapons” has indeed expired (thank the Great Frog!), Connecticut (where this massacre occurred) continues to have its own state-level assault weapons ban which mirrors the old federal one, and the weapons used were perfectly legal there. They were stolen by a lunatic. No law could ever prevent that from occurring, and believing that it could can most charitably be described as wishful thinking. I can understand the emotional impulse to lash out wildly at the unfairness of such a tragedy, but once passions have cooled we need rationality to return. (I’m far less tolerant of those who are seizing on this for political purposes.) More anti-gun laws are not the answer.

    And isn’t it curious that these mass killings always occur in gun-free (“victim disarmament”) zones? Where guns are common, stories are legion of people stopping would-be killers in their tracks using their (legal) handguns. What would otherwise have been a mass killing is reduced to one or two deaths, or even none at all. And the data is clear that where gun ownership is liberalized violent crime rates go down, not up. In fact, the highest violent crime rates are in areas with the tightest restrictions on handguns. But of course we can’t let facts, or logic, interfere with The Narrative, can we?

    Also re PeterT’s comment, self-defense is not the principal purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Neither is hunting. Both are merely ancillary benefits. Its purpose is protection from the government. And while it is certainly true that a citizenry armed with shotguns, and even AR-15s, would be a poor match for the US military (although I note that determined Afghan tribesmen managed to defeat the mighty Soviet army, and are well on their way to defeating the US’s, too), it would be enough of a deterrent to cause the government to pause before moving against its own citizens. The need for the 2nd Amendment is as strong today as it has ever been, perhaps even more so.

  • James

    Laird, I’m all for gun rights and the 2nd Amendment, but I think your argument about no law being able to stop lunatics stealing guns is a little weak. In this instance, stealing them was hardly a stretch, as the guy lived with the legal owner of said guns. We could at least consider regulation that prohibits people who live with mentally unstable individuals from buying guns. “A well-regulated militia”, and all that.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    James, if you think a free individual should have their right to defence taken away from them because of the conduct or status of another person, then you’re not “all for gun rights and the 2nd Amendment” at all.

  • Laird

    James, you’d better be prepared with a solid definition of “mentally unstable” before you start taking away people’s constitutional rights, especially people who merely “live” with someone who is “mentally unstable”. There are some serious due process issues there. You’re thinking emotionally, not rationally.

    We’ve always had lunatics and we always will. They’ve always done bad things and they always will. That’s the nature of the world, and we just have to live with it. There’s not always a solution to every problem, and where there is a solution it’s not always (usually?) more government.

  • the other rob

    Well said, Jaded Voluntaryist. Some things really are that clear cut.

  • John K

    On a point of information, there is no such thing as an “assault weapon”. The term seems to have been adapted from “assault rifle”, which is a military weapon of intermediate calibre capable of selective fire. The rifles sold to civilians in the USA meet the calibre requirement, but are incapable of selective fire. They are thus not assault rifles, but the term “assault weapon” seems to have been coined to demonise them in the mind of the public.

    If these rifles were somehow banned in the USA (which would be unconstitutional, but then again the Supreme Court seems to be able to do six unconstitutional things before breakfast), then perhaps a future American spree killer might be armed with a twelve bore shotgun or a .22 rifle, the two most common civilian sporting guns in the world, and the types of gun used by Derrick Bird to murder twelve people in Cumbria last year. The bald fact is a that a madman with a gun will kill people at will until he either decides to stop, or is made to stop by a sane person with a gun. Banning a type of gun on the grounds that a madman used it was the response of the British government which banned semi-automatic rifles and then pistols after Hungerford and Dunblane, only for Derrick Bird to use the most traditional guns in his killing spree, which he conducted whilst the unarmed police stayed at a safe distance as he killed unarmed people with absolute impunity until he’d had enough and killed himself.

  • James

    I said “we could at least consider”. I didn’t say “should definitely do it”. I don’t know how “mentally unstable” would be defined; it’s the job of those crafting laws to consult the relavent experts. All I say is that we have in interest in keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and that well-designed regulations can be a means of doing this.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am sure someone else has mentioned this already, but I wonder if any of those calling for gun control in America have any idea of a, Fast And Furious, and b, the number of non-combatants killed by drones in during The One’s time in office. Just thought I should ask.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Jaded at 5:52: Exactly.

    Laird at 5:53: Exactly; Exactly.

    . . .

    By the way, just on the personal level, what if it turns out your roomie is psycho and takes it into his head to explore your anatomy with a chef’s knife at 3 a.m.?

    Maybe we should just make it a law not to have nutso roommates.

  • Jay_N

    As much as the gun control arguments are over simplistic I can’t help but feel the arguments used to combat them are the wrong ones. We need to move away from the ‘what if it was a car’ arguments. They are too easily dismissed, a car/hammer/tool of your choice all have primarily and demonstrably benign functions. A gun whichever way you cut it does not have such a claim. Defences on use for hunting or pest control are also too easily dismissed.

    The argument has to be made in relation to their true utility, guns enable the defence of humans from the aggression of other humans. They do so in a way that requires no dependency on physical prowess or intensive martial training. The pro-gun argument is that guns have an essential function for as long as humans have a will to do violence and exert power over others. And this isn’t, as the point is made in relation to this tragedy so that ‘good’ gun owners are on hand to defend against ‘bad’ gun owners. It’s so that the weak are not at the mercy of the powerful irrespective of whether they wield weapons or not. A sixteen stone man will easily overpower an eight stone woman unless she has the ability to level the threat. The habitually violent will always have an advantage over the habitually peaceful unless they have a way to level the threat. The pro-gun argument is that they are indeed a tool with a highly specific function, this is not why they are bad, it is why they are good.

    We can argue over gun types, names and structure of control, but the argument over whether guns have a true utility or not is being lost because the central point of misunderstanding is not being addressed. Everyone argues over semantics, definitions, specific circumstance and invent ever more ‘telling’ examples of why guns aren’t the problem. While never making the bolder point, they solve a problem that has no other effective solution. Only once that point has been made can discussions about accepting the risks that come with such a tool be made.

  • PeterT

    I didn’t really get a reply to my brain teaser: how would you convince somebody who isn’t afraid of the government, but believes in allowing guns for self defence, that you should be allowed to own heavy duty military hardware (e.g. rocket propelled grenades)? Maybe there is no way.

  • the other rob

    PeterT – Your question rests upon a fatally flawed assumption. The duty of convincing lies with those who seek to restrict freedoms, not those who seek to exercise them.

    In other words, why the hell shouldn’t we own anything we damn well please?

  • Steven

    It’s not about the tools for self-defense. That’s just an ancillary benefit, although no reasonable person should ever even consider restricting someone’s ability to defend their life and property. It’s about having the tools necessary to either defend the nation or stop a tyrannical government. If it’s good enough for a common infantryman to have access to, it’s good enough for the militia to have access to. So long as the police and military have 30 round magazines, I should have access to them to.

    The only people that should not have access to firearms should be convicted felons and adjudicated mentally ill. Beyond that, carry what you want, where you want, when you want, how you want. If you show you are incapable of handling that responsibility by being a criminal, off to prison you go. I’d even go so far as to require marksmenship classes in PE instead of spending time on tennis or square dancing.

    Before anyone says “but they couldn’t have even conceived of rapid fire guns in 1787,” well not only could the Framers conceive of them (after all attempts to make rapid fire weapons started right after guns were invented), but the Puckle Gun was already fifty years old. The Continental Congress tried to buy the Belton Gun in 1777, which supposedly would fire up to 20 shots per second.

  • Laird

    I don’t really care whether the Founding Fathers could conceive of rapid-fire guns in 1787; they certainly couldn’t conceive of bazookas or rocket-propelled grenades or armed aerial drones. But whatever weapons the military have should be available to civilians, too. Sauce for the goose.

  • @ Paul Marks
    I don’t need a sign on my house saying gun free as im from the UK.
    You then quoted me as having said something I didn’t (though did imply i wanted to be reasonable)
    followed by telling me that i was lying about being reasonable.
    next saying your suggestion was reasonable when you had made no suggestion.

    @ Jaded Voluntaryist
    If you believe that gun control would save lives then putting forward your arguments to try to effect the political change that you believe in IS the moral thing to do(it’s “making political capital” if you disagree with them).
    And practically i don’t think having a sanctioned armed vigilantes watch over schools would be sound financially or interims of safety.

    And more generally…. There will be no quick fix. However different countries do have vastly different gun deaths per population. Arguments that the published correlations have cherry-picked have some validity but there is still a correlation. in the UK the death rate is as low as it is from gun crime/accidents as there are so few available for a unhinged person to get their hands on. My argument is that this state is a goal you can work towards. The argument against seems to be that the short term while trying to restrict guns it will be worse? Is that the case or am i setting up a straw man?

  • Steven

    The argument is that by restricting the law abiding citizen’s ability to get hold of guns, ammo, accessories, violent crime will somehow magically go away. This clearly works and all we have to do is look at cities where guns are almost legally impossible to obtain and look at the murder rates. NYC, Chicago, DC all have horribly high murer rates. But crime really has nothing to do with it. Our masters could not possibly care less what happens to the inner city or anywhere else; they have an agenda and that agenda is no guns in the hands of the proles. Only the privledged few and the agents of the state will have access to guns.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    If you believe that gun control would save lives then putting forward your arguments to try to effect the political change that you believe in IS the moral thing to do(it’s “making political capital” if you disagree with them

    I disagree wholeheartedly. I firmly believe that legally requiring everyone to be shackled to their living-room wall 23 hours a day would save lives. I’m not campaigning to make this the law.

    In any case, it is my belief that the reason big government authoritarians like to push for gun control laws while the bodies are still warm is because it is easy to make their case emotionally, and almost impossible to make their case rationally.

    This of course makes them shameless opportunists.

  • Bill

    I learned about the Bath Schoolhouse Massacre on 4chan the day of the school shooting in Newtown. Andrew Kehoe still holds he record for most bodies dropped at a school.

  • Julie near Chicago


    …i don’t think having a sanctioned armed vigilantes watch over schools would be sound financially or interims of safety.

    How is having armed volunteers as school security guards any different from having armed guards doing paid duty as security guards? I mean, how come the former are “vigilantes” whereas the latter are, well, security guards?

  • Jordan

    If you believe that gun control would save lives then putting forward your arguments to try to effect the political change that you believe in IS the moral thing to do

    What if I believe that sterilizing poor people will save lives? Or banning automobiles? Or strip searching everyone before they can leave their home? There are a great many evil things that can and have been done in the name of saving lives. Disarming peaceful people is among them.

    The argument against seems to be that the short term while trying to restrict guns it will be worse? Is that the case or am i setting up a straw man?

    The argument against is that is an immoral state to work towards. Criminals (many of them government agents) will still have guns. Preventing people from possessing an effective means of self defense is immoral. If anybody should have to justify their right to bear arms, it should be governments, since they have murdered hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century alone.

  • PeterT

    I put this link on the previous thread but I was a bit late on the game so I’ve reposted it here:


    One interesting fact is that UK gun crime is actually much higher than the official figures say, as apparently only murder by gun is counted (i.e. if you’re just grazed, or if its judged an accidental death, its not counted), whereas in the US the figures are more comprehensive.

  • Paul Marks

    Angus – I suspect that those who are opposed to freedom in the area of arms, are also opposed to freedom in other areas.

    For example freedom of speech.

    Angus – perhaps I am mistaken.

    Please inform me of a nation that does not have the right to keep and bear arms, that has freedom of speech.

    The United Kingdom certainly does not – there are many statutes and regulations attacking freedom of speech here (on racial and other grounds).

    But perhaps there is some other nation where freedom of speech exists but freedom of arms does not.

    Angus – please inform me of this nation.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course if Barack Obama is really sincere about “gun control” he will get rid of the armed guards that go with him whereever he goes.

    Do not hold your breath for that.

  • @Jordan and jaded.
    You both took me up on saying that if one thought it would save lives then it would be moral to campaign for it. I accept your point and would like to change my stance to “if you believed that the saved lives made gun control the right moral thing to do, you should campaign for it when it is relevant”.
    @Paul Marks
    I simply don’t know how strong the coronation is. The most un-free societies (in all terms not just free speech) do not always have the most severe gun laws e.g.contra to your statement in world terms the UK has strong free speech protection. (I personally agree though that the UK is far to weak on this right and would like to see a change in our libel law and removal of “being offensive” as the basis for any prosecution)

    @Julie near Chicago
    …..ah. Good point. Totally against what I instinctively feel. I am worried by the thought of a self appointed armed member of the public but re-assured by an authority having the weapon. Im assuming you feel the opposite. Your comment is why im here. Im not saying I now agree but have never had to ask myself that before.

    @Paul T
    interesting link.

  • Sorry just rememberd this BBC radio program


    It was from after the last shooting but still relevant.

  • Kevin

    The context of our right to bear arms is part of American History, not just some legal loophole. The founders of the country knew well of both tyranny in government and tyranny of the masses and did their best to frame the Constitution accordingly. A government that institutes the “power” to come into private citizens home and attempt to confiscate weapons is the exact government the 2nd amendment specifically enumerates the right of the citizenry to fight. Confiscation is not on the table regardless of whether or not offends the sensibilities of foreign bodies or domestic collectivists.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Continuing the discussion, there’s this AP story, just an hour old….

    Texas town allows teachers to carry concealed guns

    HARROLD, Texas (AP) – In this tiny Texas town, children and their parents don’t give much thought to safety at the community’s lone school – mostly because some of the teachers are carrying concealed weapons.

    In remote Harrold, the nearest sheriff’s office is 30 minutes away, and people tend to know – and trust – one another. So the school board voted to let teachers bring guns to school.

    “We don’t have money for a security guard, but this is a better solution,” Superintendent David Thweatt said. “A shooter could take out a guard or officer with a visible, holstered weapon, but our teachers have master’s degrees, are older and have had extensive training. And their guns are hidden. We can protect our children.”

    Farther down:

    Texas law bans guns in schools unless the school has given written authorization. Arizona and six other states have similar laws with exceptions for people who have licenses to carry concealed weapons.

    There’s quite a bit more, worth reading. The piece ends with this (my boldface):

    “Nothing is 100 percent at all. … But hope makes for a terrible plan, hoping that (a tragedy) won’t happen,” Thweatt said. “My question is: What have you done about it? How have you planned?”


  • Julie near Chicago

    “Awaiting moderation”? Good heavens! And now I don’t even get shown the Kitties as a consolation prize! (My favorite is the absolutely outraged black fella whose warden is apparently lifting him out of the bath. I don’t blame him at all and I know EXACTLY how he feels! But I also like the rather bored “Right-Wing Cat … cannot get excited about John McCain.” He is perfect.) ;>)

  • the other rob

    Congrats, Julie! As far as I know, you are the first of us to be faux-smited under the new system.

    I’d buy you a drink, to commiserate on the lack of kittens, but I’m a long way away in a state where people other than criminals are allowed to own guns. I suggest that, if you supply your own beverage, I shall raise a glass of Laphroaig to you.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Why thank you other rob, I accept with pleasure! I would dash out for some good bourbon except that at the moment we are having a theoretical blizzard Near Chicago. (6-9″ of snow has somehow magically become 0.9″ and is forecast to end soon.) Plus my son-in-law has the car. If you’ll settle for hot chocolate at this end, I’ll be happy to join you. 🙂

  • Paul Marks


    You have not answered my question.

    Surely you could find one nation that did not have freedom of arms but still had freedom of speech?

    No? Does this not conern you?

    Still I am glad that we agree about Britain.

    Being told “we have freedom of speech in Britain” rather irritates me as I have had people with tape recorders (and so on) in my home as part of an official investigation of me – and that was for quoting words I was OPPOSED to. God knows what would have happened to me had they been my own words, expressing something I was in favour of.


    Good news from Texas.

    The friendly State makes me smile again.

    And good news from South Carolina to – seen to be Senator Tim Scott (a man whose forefathers really were slaves).

    No doubt people in Alabama (and so on) are doing similar things.

    Hopefully there will be good news from the West (South Dakota and….) as well as the South – and soon.

    As for Chicago.

    I know where all that missing snow went.

    The invisible voters took it away.

    You know the people in Chicago – who vote in alphabetical order and “live” in the graveyard.

  • the other rob

    I am troubled by some of the statements made at the NRA’s press conference this morning.

    In particular this (source – WSJ):

    Mr. LaPierre said that we should be able to afford to put a police officer in every school. He calls on Congress today “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation.”

    Further, the “School Shield Program” proposed appears to have the potential to become a bloated, bureaucratic nightmare.

    I fear that this could be the TSA all over again and that the NRA has made a tactical decision to pander to the statists – “Leave the guns alone and we’ll give you another bureaucratic empire – it’s what you really want anyway.”

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Dads would do a better job of guarding schools than security guards. Security guards frequently run away when faced with danger.

    Dads for the most part would not. You also wouldn’t have to pay the dads, and they would not require a new government department because they would be volunteers.

    The only reason the NRA are proposing a professional rather than a voluntary force of school guardians is because they have at some level internalised the lie that the average untrained citizen with a gun is an unacceptable risk around school children. I for one would gladly trust the average father to watch over both mine and his own children providing he had no criminal record and was broadly respectable.

    Volunteer “soldiers” fighting for their families always fight harder than mercenaries fighting for pay.

  • Paul Marks

    the other rob

    Yes – the press conference was an epic fail. Stupid talk about violent video games and television shows – and the the “bring in the Feds” stuff you mention.

    They did not even check to make sure there were not protestors in the hall.

    The media in Britain have been gloating over that.

    Sky television just as much as the BBC.

    It should be remembered that both the government television and radio, and the private ones, are scumbags.

  • the other rob

    Indeed, Paul Marks. However, the BBC story did highlight one point that I had missed:

    Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill…

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Paul Marks

    Yes I heard that also.

    Oh dear…..

  • @Paul Marks
    I did answer. I admitted that i don’t know. Thats not the same as ignoring your point. Freedom of speech and freedom to carry arms are both not absolutes. Even here I would guess most people would not advocate total freedom to say shout Fire in a crowed theatre or allow all citizens equal access to nuclear warheads.
    Im not sure (again don’t know as in don’t have the data) that there is that strong a correlation between the two. Repeating my self I don’t like the UK’s restrictions on free speech and i would like to move more towards absolutism on this. However on a world scale comparing to a global mean, the uk has good protection of free speech and strong gun laws. Im sorry you had a bad experience with our very abusable laws on free speech they are wrong.

  • the other rob

    Incidentally, the sentiment on my local firearms enthusiasts’ board is vehemently against the NRA position, as put this morning.

    A good summary would be “If the only way that Mr. Pierre can think of to defend gun rights is expanding bureaucracy and putting the country further into unsustainable debt, then we need to fire him and hire somebody who is less useless.”

    I think that the NRA may have jumped the shark.

  • Julie near Chicago


    Yes, Texas, S. Carolina…I’d love to see S. Dakota join the throng. The Southern states too, of course.

    Chicago. If it were just the dead people it wouldn’t be so bad, but don’t forget their dogs also vote, along with Unidentified Flying (and other) Aliens….

    . . .

    other rob,

    This idea of a national database of the “mentally ill” is absolutely horrible. And of course it flows out of obamacare (the Health Fraud Act) as well as being a dips*** idea of the NRA and probably uncountable others.

    It’s one of the reasons you have to be very, very careful about laws involving the “mentally ill” or “mentally unstable” or whatever is the “mentally” excuse of the day–the guaranteed certainty of deliberate misuse of the law, I mean.

    There are enough horror stories about people wrongly committed to psychiatric facilities who are then nearly unspringable to give any sensible person the willies.

    And what, people never heard of the goings-on in the USSR involving people who were “committed” because some political attitude, or lack of proper veneration of some Power That Was, was clear evidence of mental illness? “It can’t happen here”? Tell it to the Easter Bunny.

    Talk like this is absolutely frightening.

    Also, what you said about the “School Shield Program” (another thing we’re internalizing: For everything, there must be a “program” to handle it) and the TSA.

    . . .


    “The only reason….” I think there’s more to it than that. I think too many people have internalized the idea in general of “it takes a professional.” And also, of “an Authority must set the rules…judge…and decide outcomes.”

  • Paul Marks


    Well I have given up hope for New Hampshire (although the Free State people may prove me wrong in 2014 – they have only lost five Governorship elections in a row, the sixth time may be different….), but I would like to see ALL the States that voted against Comrade Barack act to assert their independence.

    After all all the States that voted against Comrade Barack could leave – they have common borders.

    And if some State that voted for Comrade Barack (New Hampshire, Virginia…..) want to leave the Union also.

    Good – so they should.

  • Slartibartfarst

    Interesting and unconventional comment here: In Defense of the Second Amendment

  • Paul Marks


    Shouting “fire” is perfectly acceptable if there is a fire. Or indeed if the OWNER of the theatre allows it in one of the plays.

    Civil liberties are PROPERTY RIGHTS – or did you not know that?

    As for “nuclear weapons” – on a private base on Mars (or whatever) of course. But where an explosion will damage other people’s property.

    But why are we talking about “nuclear weapons”.

    I said firearms – Barack Obama’s armed guards.

    Ordinary people will disarm when Comrade Barack’s guards do.

    We both know that yet more “gun control” measures will not reduce murders (if anything they increase them).

    This is a collectivist power grab.

    And nothing more.

    You are one side – or you are on the other.

    And Angus that is an “absolute”.