About Bruce

  • Bruce Barcott, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction, is the author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, named one of the best books of 2008 by Library Journal. His previous book, The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier, was a recipient of the Washington State Governor's Award and was recently re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition. Barcott is an environmental journalist whose articles on humans and wildlife appear in Rolling Stone, On Earth, Outside Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He often reviews nonfiction for the New York Times Book Review. He is currently at work on a book about marijuana legalization in America.

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December 17, 2012


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Excellently put! I agree 100%

Auden Schendler

Good piece. We also need to ban large capacity magazines. That is a key point, nobody should need a high capacity clip, which is only designed for combat, and when rampages are stopped by civilians, historically it has been during the reload. My wife had a terrible time dropping out kids off today and I spent much of the day thinking about how to tell my five year old son to run if someone comes into a room with a gun.(One six year old in CT DID run and survived...) This is a little boy who told me his teeth chattered and his body shook "so he could not to speak" when they taught him about "lockdowns" and did drills in Kindergarden. I have not said anything to him yet, I can't figure out how to.


Thank you for this, I couldn't agree more. I'm ready, it's past time.


I don't agree. Your comments are misguided and you are sadly politicizing a tragic event to advance your own agenda. Connecticut has the strictest gun laws in the Nation and they did not prevent this violence from happening. Limiting law abiding citizens from legally obtaining and owning firearms will only lead to more violence and the criminals will be the only ones with the the guns. We need more responsible sheepdogs that can be prepared to stop and deter these senseless "terrorists." Wake up....

Mark Messinger

An almost common component in the mass shootings is mental illness, too. The widely distributed piece from a parent of a mentally ill child - a parent told by authorities they cannot treat him, but could incarcerate him, if only he would commit a crime - is telling. There needs to be a mental health component to our response to what's happened in Connecticut.

I don't believe a the controls suggested in this article, alone, will reduce this kind of gun violence. That said, I agree with every one of Bruce's ideas. There's no reason law-abiding citizens need ready access to assault weapons.


Hi TK - I write from the UK where we along with the rest of the modern world watch incredulously at these events and listen even more incredulously at views like yours - criminals can always get guns, in every country - that is not the point; criminals don't tend to go into schools and massacre children! Nutters on the other hand would find it incredibly difficult to get such violent weapons in other countries - they certainly would not be able to buy them over the counter or "borrow" from their mother's cabinet!! Less guns / less shootings - right to bear arms was for cowboys; normally America leads the world, but on this one issue it lags a long way behind :(

Doyle McClure

An excellent assessment on the consequences of a nation awash in guns--the political connection is well illustrted by the following:


Howard Platte

Just for the record, I am a huge gun enthusiast and gun owner rights advocate and I agree with almost everyone of the ideas suggested– except for some of the ignorant terminology used by a writer who knows nothing about guns or current laws already on the books in many states.
But here are some counter points to give careful thought to:
First - The gun used in Newton was NOT a real assault weapon, it was a civilian version lookalike of a real assault weapon.
Second- I would like to point out that a proficient shooter with a regular pistol or shotgun could have shot almost as many people in the same amount of time. Should we ban those too if that happens next week and 20 people are killed if the shooter used a pistol or a hunting rifle?
Third – If a group of armed thugs broke into your home in the middle of the night threatening your family’s lives using baseball bats, knives and a shovel from your backyard….would you rather defend yourself with equal force? Or a big giant handgun? You think about that………There is a reason SWAT teams use overwhelming force to attack. You don’t want a fair fight, you want such overwhelmingly good odds in your favor that they decide to retreat and not get into a fight. Or do you think we should ban shovels too? Or maybe you think you should only give them a ‘fair’ fight? Right?? I mean it just wouldn’t be fair if a homeowner shot a guy dead who only had a big kitchen knife in his hand, now would it? I am pretty sure that any person who had their family murdered by thugs would do anything to have a chance to do it all over again only this time, with a great big gun in their hand. But that’s just me. Unthinkable? Yes every time I read in the news that someone breaks into a home and rapes and kills the family inside, yes I think that is unthinkable too.
Fourth – There are other good reasons for the public to own guns. For example, in case there ever is a reason to form a militia because our government has gone out of control. Don’t laugh, without exception, every great society in history has collapsed under its own weight and corruption. What makes you think we are immune? So although there is a time to re-examine certain gun ownership laws, let’s be real careful here……. People need to be very skeptical when our lawmakers start protecting us from each other. They are supposed to protect us from our enemies and criminals. Not stop our ability to protect ourselves or raise arms against them!
Think real hard when you give up your rights to anything. Getting them back is almost impossible.
People who think government can solve all of our problems conveniently choose to ignore all the failures and corruption of government and blissfully think that a new set of laws will just fix everything! They are also naiive to think that if any type weapon is outlawed all of a sudden every criminal out there will immediately march into the police station and surrender his newly illegal weapons. How "Nutter" is that type thinking? I am sorry, I don’t have that kind of faith for the screw-ups and outright liars that run our government.

emily white

a friend had a great idea

figure out which companies in the US have money flowing into the gun and ammunition industries. I bet LL Bean is out there. Or Storables. Pressure these companies just as we did with divestment from South Africa. By "we" I mean big-time lefties.

Bruce, you are the crackerjack reporter, can we do this>


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