Should mass shootings and issues arising from them figure in the presidential campaign?

Last week’s workplace shooting in Minneapolis came during a national political campaign that has had scant mention of mass shootings or gun rights. Today’s Question: Should mass shootings and issues arising from them figure in the presidential campaign?

  • Rich

    The rights to bear arms makes perfect sense during Zombie Apocalypse

  • Gary F

    Or even better yet, how we handle mental illness in this country.

  • Jack

    I once was prevented from firing an Carl Gustav 84mm M2CG anti-tank weapon because my military instructor noticed an animal had wandered in front of the designated target.

    Once it wandered off I fired the weapon and hit the target.

    Although I would argue it is suitable for home defense against any intruder, the only problem is the back blast would probably take out my kitchen.

  • James

    Last week’s shooting came during an national election campaign that has had scant mention of anything interesting or controversial.

    No one will mention the shooting as a wrong comment could cost someone a vote or 2.

    This campaign is going to go down as the least interesting campaign in history.

  • Gary F

    Once again, the wrong question posted.

    “Should the September 11, 2012 killings at our embassy be reported on in more depth by NPR, because we now know it wasn’t really about the movie”

  • Gary F

    Gun control? Why has the media not discussed the Fast and Furious scandal. Looks like Univision is all over it.

  • QCIC

    It is a contentious enough issue and the impacts and data are muddled enough that I don’t think it should be a major point of contention. Would a hundred or thousand fewer people die each year if guns were less available. Yes. But that is not that many people in the gran scheme of things and gun “rights” are extremely important to a large portion of the population (as odd as I find that sentiment).

    I would rather the Presidential campaign center around the clear solutions to problems that are easy to solve (like entitlement reform, general spending cuts, general tax increases, less defense spending, et cetera).

    It is obvious we are going to need to raise the retirement age and restructure how healthcare is provided in this country so why not focus on things like that?

  • Jim G

    Yes, but the candidates know that the NRA will demonize anyone who will even broach the subject. This is a huge disincentive to attempt to discuss much less cure this distinctly American cancer.

    In addition, we have two attributes in American culture which are converging to increase the frequency of these tragedies. The first is the inability of our mental health system to effectively manage the thousands of people who are suffering with depression and paranoia. Combine this with easy access to military weapons designed for homicide and you must logically expect these mass killings to continue without end.

  • david

    Nobody wants to upset the gun nuts. For some reason their right to feel like big tough men trumps other’s rights not to be murdered. This time around i was actually effected by this shooting and am NOT afraid to piss off gun nuts in need of making up for their short comings. The father of my fiance’s best friend was murdered in this travesty. He was a very good guy and in no way deserved this. We NEED to have a legitimate discussion about guns in this country. F the nra and F you gun toting sociopaths.

    And gary i don’t get your point about fast and furious. I don’t think you are paying attention except to the anti Obama propagandist. There is plenty of coverage if you would choose to pay attention to it. The controversy there is the ridiculous gun rights in Arizona. The atf wanted to confiscate those guns but couldn’t. Had they it would have unleashed the fury of the nra.

  • kevins

    Great comments David and sorry for the loss you have experienced. People become different in their beliefs and behaviors when holding a gun. It is we who tolerate this, and has little to do with presidential candidates.

  • Gary F

    What new gun law would have prevented this tragedy?

    We will have to wait until the details of this case comes out.

    Until then, I think mental illness is what we should be looking at.

  • James

    Jim, David, Kevin:

    When is one of us going to found the anti-NRA, collect 3 million or so dues paying members and make politiicians as fearful of not dealing with this national cancer as they are of the gun lobby currently?

    It actually seems pretty easy.

  • Wally

    Oh yeah, David, the “father of my fiance’s best friend” puts you REAL close to that horrible crime.

    I have been nearly as close, or closer, to a number of murders–knowing victims, immediate family of victims, or they’ve been neighbors, and in several cases, no guns were involved. Do you want to take away the knives from our kitchens, bats from our baseball teams, and tools from our workshops?

    I own several guns, only have ever used them on vermin. I just about fetched a firearm a couple days ago for a pit bull that came running at me from across the alley, but turned out it was on a long chain. A couple days later, the owner shot the beast, to the great relief of the entire neighborhood. I guess that makes him a sociopath.

    I am NOT a member of the NRA you want to F, but as I am evidently one of those “gun toting sociopaths” you so despise. So just remember, that when you come to F me, I will be toting one of my guns. And if a real sociopath comes at you with a gun, I may be real tempted to just keep mine holstered and see how you disarm him/her with your wonderful powers of persuasion.

    And David, you don’t get the point about Fast and Furious. When the government hands out guns to dangerous criminals, it becomes very clear there is no real interest in disarming those who pose a risk to all of us. The government’s motivation is in disarming law-abiding citizens, who threaten their Machiavellian machinations.

    Just think, if one of the law-abiding individuals at the sign company had been armed, the outcome may have been less tragic. The father of your fiance’s best friend might still be alive. I am sorry for the senseless deaths, but not for your sorry attitude.

  • John

    People in Minnesota have a right to conceal and carry and they should use it. Businesses should allow there employee’s to carry guns if they want, it will make everyone safer. Most crazy goofs would think twice if they knew they are not going to get more than one shot off before their head is gone.

  • Ann

    Maybe the drug and alcohol problem should be discussed in the campaign. How many people are on drugs when they shoot people? Both prescription drugs and illegal drugs are affecting our society in many ways.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    The knee-jerk reaction might be to promote more gun control, but that would be ineffective and a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Why punish law-abiding citizens?

    The only worthy new regulation on guns would be to close the gun show loop-hole to even out the playing field among gun sellers. The goal should always be to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting our Constitutional Right to Bear Arms.

    I seriously doubt the issue will come up at the Presidential debates.

  • david

    Wally no normal person is going to walk around with a gun 24/7 just in case some psycho comes after them. If you do, and as your post illustrates, you are not a sane and normal person. You live in fear of mythical boogie men. If your neighbors are shooting their own dogs that points out that you do not live in a sane and rational place.

    The government did not give away those guns in fast and furious. Please get your news from a more reputable place then the right-wing conspiracy sites you quote so often. Those guns were all purchased from a gun store legally. It would have been illegal to confiscate them. Just like this a-hole was aloud to purchase 10,000 rounds of ammunition without it raising any suspicions what so ever. Maybe that’s a good place to start looking if we want to do something about gun violence in this country.

    I stand behind what i said, i just have no respect for these one trick ponies who base their votes and allegiances on ridiculous issues that do more harm then good. Like abortion issues, a lot of people have already made up their minds on who they will vote for based on that one issue. To get elected it is better to not take a stand that might upset these people just in case it’s a close race. In the mean time kids will be shot in their beds. Get real and get a life. Grow the F up. There is no boogie man out to get you. No government conspiracies to take away your guns. We as a people have to decide enough is enough, that we don’t want to let this happen any more.

  • Regnar James

    More people should exercise their right to legally carry a weapon.

    With proper training and practice they could put down these rabid dogs before they inflict damage to the weak.

    Google this.

    On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs – Dave Grossman:


  • Alison

    MPR: Please end the “Today’s Question” feature. Far too many of the responses fall short of the well-reasoned discussion of issues that I expect from Minnesota Public Radio. This feature frequently detracts from your mission.

  • bill

    Both Presidential candidates, even though Romney wouldn’t admit it, will push for handgun control. You see they are on the defensive, they know there are gun owners out there that dislike what is going on in this country and Obaney’s don’t want to be the target. The only real candidate that they won’t let you hear is Gary Johnson.

  • Jane

    Yes Alison, there mission to control what we hear. This is the ONLY place on MPR’s news system that you can find alternative opinion.

  • Gary F

    “well-reasoned” = left leaning

  • jockamo

    In the immortal words of Archie Bunker, when he was being harassed by his daughter and The Meathead on the subject of banning all guns so people wouldn’t be able to kill each other:

    “Would it make you feel any better if they threw them outta windows?”


  • jockamo

    Fact is, the worst mass murders, the mass killings with the highest totals of dead and wounded, are rarely mass shootings.

    They are committed with bombs, fire, poison, etc., as such weapons are by far more destructive, more efficient killers.

    Ten dollars worth of gasoline will get you more dead and wounded than many thousands of dollars worth of guns and ammo will. Remember Happy Land? If you don’t remember, google it.

    If that fellow at the sign company had not had access to firearms, he could have wrought more destruction, killed more, with a can of gas. When someone works at a place, he knows when everyone is at a meeting. And he knows how to block it off and light it up.

    Guns are not the problem, the minds of women and men are the problem.

  • Snaab


    Sorry for your loss, of your testicles that is. Why else does someone need to carry a firearm, except that they are afraid of everything and run like a little girl when they perceive a threat (real or most likely imagined).

    Wow, you are really a tough guy going after a dog, must have made you feel like a man, except for the loss of your sack of course.

    Have fun with your gun, and look out for the dark and things that go bump in the night, or maybe not, since then you can shoot first and ask questions later.

  • georges

    There was a time when we put the mentally ill in institutions, and were pretty much able to keep them from hurting others, as well as themselves.

    But then, in the 70s, the leftists took control of the government and decided that it was just too awful to keep them in the drab mausoleums of government care, and the heavy doors were flung open permanently, freeing all who were cooped up, and their descendants and peers forever were free men and women.

    And, as hard as it may be to believe, some of them are unable to live as a full participant in civilized society.

    Liberals……..reaping the fruit of the seed they have sown.

    Sad…but true.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It’s not that we are a violent society because our gun laws too lax. Our gun laws are lax because we’re a violent society.

  • david

    True dat Steve.

  • Gary F

    “The government did not give away those guns in fast and furious. Please get your news from a more reputable place then the right-wing conspiracy sites you quote so often. Those guns were all purchased from a gun store legally.”

    Correct. The gun store owners followed all the proper procedures for the sale.

    The problem was, when they called for approval, they were given it by ATF agents who were told to approve the sales even though they looked fishy. Some gun shop owners were quite amazed that the sales were allowed. If there were not ATF agents(under the supervision of Eric Holder) there would not be the sale in the first place.

    Hey Snaab,

    since you can’t hold up your side of the argument, you need to take a shot at Wally?

  • david

    Twisted facts gary. The atf had to allow those guns to walk because there was no legal reason to do otherwise. They might have known what was going to happen with them, but the burden of proof was on them, and unfortunately Arizona allows the straw purchasing of firearms, even assault weapons. Had the confiscated the guns they would be breaking the law. Please stop bringing bogus rhetoric and propaganda just to try to get your empty suit elected. Real people’s lives are being devastated while jerks spin lies and half truths. It would be nice if this country could start moving forward again instead if a group of gas bags try to take us back to an era that never actually existed just so they can get a little richer.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Tell me why MPR allows such filth posting as shown by “Snaab” ? If a conservative talked that way, they’d have their post removed.

    Steve the Cynic give good example of the mis information when he says, ” because our gun laws too lax.” Gun laws are strict unless the government over rides it as the investigations show they did with fast and Furious gun walking. If they allowed concealed carry at the theater, some REAL MAN would have took the shooter out right away, instead they all layed on floor and or ran.

    So does mass shootings affect campaign? Ask President what he thinks, when he was on plane to campaign in Nevada the day after our Ambassador and former two SEALS were slaughtered. Did President address the nation the same day and tell us, ” The US was attacked again by Islamist terrorists. They killed four of our citizens. ” No, he did not_ he flew to Nevada to raise money for his campaign and then orders his spoke people to lie to us for almost two weeks. Is that the President we deserve? One inexperienced arrogant man that misleads all of us?

    Why do liberals want all guns banned..that idea did not work so well in Syria or Cuba or old communist countries where they have their military slaughter their own people because they can do so to stop protest and no one can resist when they are banned from guns.

    Foot Hood was a mass shooting and done by a self proclaimed Islamist jihadist working as a military officer but Obama’s administration called it a “work place shooting” How dumb he thinks all of us are to try such propaganda. Was the Ft Hood massacre the same as the Minneapolis shootings?

    No, it was not __but our President wants YOU to believe he has conqured Islamist terrorism so he looks good, and at our expense.

  • jockamo

    We are one of the least violent societies in the world.

    The most violent, by far, are the countries that are the most primitive.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst, most murderous place on earth.

    The Caribbean comes in right behind. Then Central America, Mexico, the primitive areas of South America, like Brazil, etc.

    The country of South Africa is one of the very worst. You know, that place where Mandela and his tribe lord it over the other primitive African tribes.

    And, according to the BBC, the lesser tribes in Soweto don’t even get water or electricity from Mandela and his tribe.

    Primitive is….well, primitive. Civilized is…..civilized.

    Everyone needs to understand the truth. Come out into the light of day.

    Tis good for the soul.


  • Linda in Plymouth

    David’s comment shows how much Americans can be fooled. He writes that fast and Furious was a legal thing that couldn’t prevent the patrol officer’s death. If so then why does the Congress investigation show otherwise? Next thing we will hear is that when milk prices sky rocket and electricity rates double as coal plants are forced to shut down_ that Obama had nothing to do with that as well, even though his policies caused that. Everyone hides truth about Obama’s failed policies and that is how media works these days_ that is how communists always can take over in other countries too..they first controlled the media. What has happened in past 4 years to the America I cherished and sought to live in? Freedoms are under attack, mass shootings by jihadist are called just a fluke of workplace violence and now the Obama administration wants to appease the UN, i is a UN filled with some terrible leaders.that are trying to remove our freedoms of speech and freedom to own a gun. Any wonder when Obama super PAC supporter, George Soros, just gave $2 million? Look up Soros history and ask the UK what they think of him for purposely crashing their currency…Judge a man by who his friends are and what they have done_ American phrase says, ” Birds of a feather will always flock together.”

  • jockamo

    The best places, the least murderous, are, of course, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, etc.

    Decent folk……our ancestors……..the most civilized of all the peoples on this earth.

    Got to love ’em…….


  • Linda in Plymouth

    Yes indeed, the wrong question was posted.

    “Should the September 11, 2012 killings at our consulate be reported on in more depth by NPR, because we now know it wasn’t really about the movie”

    Most do not know that our former SEALS were NOT at the consulate when it was first attacked, but they were killed in a shoot out and then dragged through streets. Few media dare to report that because why? Because then Obama would have to talk about why his appointed Hillary ordered no live rounds of ammunition for their Libyan consulate guards ? If truth comes out, how will Obama explain that America is now thought of even worse than 4 years a go? If a movie that no one saw causes such mass destruction then what did Obama’s bragging on TV do for fueling the fires in Islam countries? Mass killings happen when the victims are un armed so then, a politician who wants more gun controls so only the military has guns, is putting more at risk. A long time a go, a man tried to rape but was stopped by her gun. Police investigate crimes, they can’t stop or prevent a crime. Politicians need to remember this truth.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Linda asked: “Why do liberals want all guns banned[?]” The answer is simple. They don’t. They just want reasonable restrictions on especially dangerous weapons. A liberal (a label I reject for myself, btw) might ask, “Why do conservatives hate the poor?” The answer would be the same. They don’t. But as long as people keep mischaracterizing each other’s opinions, instead of actually listening to divergent opinions, misunderstandings will continue.

  • georges

    The reason guns are not a topic in this election cycle is the simple fact that we have exhausted the subject.

    We do that. We take a thing, abortion in the 80s, guns in the 90s, etc., and then we overdo talking about it, we come to a spot where it isn’t going to move anymore, then everyone, except a few fanatics, meanders on down the road to other issues.

    Guns are staying right where they are. Just like abortion. Nothing major is going to happen. So, no one cares anymore.

    We are doing same sex fondness equalization, now. And voting purity. And can we find what Obama thinks, if we bring a tweezer. And does Obama have the ability to find Egypt on a map of the world. And does Obama get the beer recipe when he leaves the White House, or do the People get to sell it. Obama didn’t build that brewery, you know.

    He didn’t build that.

    Important issues on the docket, now.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Mass shootings should be a factor depending upon how our leaders react to it and how they ascribe meaning and cause to the acts. Look at the Fort Hood shooting and how our president chose to ignore the facts and minimize the issue. Why did he do that? Who was he protecting by saying it was “work place violence” and thus, is not so different from a 3rd shift unstable postal worker that opens fire on his co workers?

    Can a good Muslim be a good American? This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his reply:

    Theologically – no . . . Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon God of Arabia

    Religiously- no. Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)(Koran) ( But Obama says we should believe Islam is a religion of of tolerance..I do not think so much that is true especially after they burn our flags for some bad film trailer no one saw when it came out in late June or July. )

    Scripturally- no. Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.

    Geographically- no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

    Socially- no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make true friends with Christians or Jews.. but they are told to act as if friends with their new neighbors when migrating to another country so as not to raise suspicion or ire.

    Politically- no. Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , the great Satan.

    Domestically- no. Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34) ( How many Honor killings has America seen in the past ten years? Too many.)

    Intellectually – no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt. (How many have demanded they be afforded Shariah Law while here in the USA? Too many court cases have shown this.)

    Philosophically- no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression.. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

    Spiritually- no. Because when we declare ‘one nation under God,’ the Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran’s 99 excellent names.

    Therefore, after much study and deliberation….Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL GOOD Traditional MUSLIMS in this country. – – – They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish, it’s still the truth. Their religious war against the USA is far larger than most will accept.

    Can a Muslim be a good soldier???

    Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire at Ft. Hood and killed 13. He is a good Muslim!!!

    Footnote: The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within.

    So we see, mass shootings under the name of Islam should be discussed by our choices for President because the President’s oath is to defend the USA.

  • Steve the Cynic

    None of the muslims of my aquaintence fit Linda’s defamatory description. And muslims don’t worship a “moon god.” Allah is merely Arabic for “the God,” of which muslims insist there is only one. It’s handy when ugly rants contain such obvious errors, because one can simply ignore them, rather than take the time to refute them.

  • Marty

    It’s all just a symptom of mass epidemic of cannabinoid deficiency.

    We all should know the answer by now the prohibition of cannabis/hemp.

    Carl Sagan cautioned us, see what he wrote about it.

    Btw, thanks for your insightful posts Steve (tc), I think Carl would have really loved you.

  • Marty

    The ending of prohibition of cannabis, being the answer to the problem that is.

    The question which the candidates will avoid is “what brought on that prohibition in the first place?”.

    “Greed, delusion and hatred underlined by fear” is a clue.

  • Steve the Cynic

    You may be disappointed to learn, Marty, that I’ve never tried cannabis. I wish it were legal, but as long as it’s not, buying it supports organized crime, and I don’t want to do that.

  • James Keeler

    The short answer is yes, there should be a reasoned debate between candidates. But that will not exist without reasoned discussions between a more reasonable people.

    Like most hot-button issues, it’s “facts” have become clubs to beat up the “other” -unreasonable-side. Four people die and it is national news, as long as it is gun related, not just another auto collision. Hot-button issues arouse emotions, and make cheap and easy news. Issues relating to those more difficult, and often far more deadly, are avoided. Four dead is a tragedy, the billions of tax dollars, the thousands of U.S. lives alone, spent in maintaining our addiction to Mideastern oil, are just numbers. Until we are willing to sacrifice the conveniences that kill countless numbers, it will always be easier to argue the merits of rights that cost far fewer lives here.

    As for a reasoned debate about issues like guns, gay rights, abortion, an oil based economy, etc., I do not see a tough minded analysis of the cost vs. benefits of any of anytime in this election cycle. I haven’t seen them in previous ones either.