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Newtown School Shooting/ Open Lines

Date: 12-14-12
Host: George Noory
Guests: John R. Lott, Dr. Peter Breggin, Open Lines

In the first hour, research scientist John Lott reacted to the Newtown school shooting and calls for greater gun control in the wake of the tragedy. He recognized that proponents of stricter gun laws are "trying to do what they think is best," but disagreed that legislation could prevent such events. Additionally, Lott observed that many of the shootings that have taken place over the last several years have occurred in locations where guns are banned, suggesting that these places are thus seen as 'safer' targets by the shooters. He also acknowledged that preventing these horrific crimes is exceedingly difficult, because the perpetrators spend an inordinate amount of time planning the event and often intend to die.

During the second hour, author and psychologist Dr. Peter Breggin shared his thoughts on the tragedy. Noting the similarities between Newtown shooter Adam Lanza and previous mass shooters, he stressed that, contrary to the notion that they needed and lacked psychiatric care, almost all of them actually had received such treatment. Beyond that, he contended that Lanza was very likely on some form of psychiatric medication which probably led to him "going over the edge." Therefore, he advocated for less reliance on medication in favor of "more caring, outreaching ways" to help kids that have gone astray. Beggin also opined that violent video games could be another influence behind these shootings, since they "inure people to harming others."

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The latter half of the program was devoted to Open Lines and featured numerous callers responding to the tragic events in Newtown. Anthony in Oregon blamed the lack of a moral compass in society, lackadaisical parenting, and over-medicated children as reasons behind the spate of shootings. Echoing those sentiments, Christian in Los Angeles lamented that there is a "leadership gap in government and especially in family." He reasoned that the government needs to find a way to give young people hope through these difficult economic times. On that note, T.S. in Montana theorized that the modern economy, which often sees both parents working full time, has resulted in less cohesive families, which may play a role in these tragic events unfolding.

News segment guest: Lauren Weinstein

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The decade-long legal saga of UK computer hacker Gary McKinnon appears to have been resolved today as British officials decided against putting him on trial in England or launching a new criminal investigation, after extradition to the US had been thwarted in October. McKinnon gained worldwide notoriety for allegedly hacking into US government computers in search of UFO secrets. In light of today's decision, McKinnon's family is turning to President Obama in the hopes of getting a full pardon for his crimes. More on the story at The Telegraph.

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